Epiphany 5C (OT 5)


Luke 5:1-11

Initial Thoughts

  • What did we skip?

    • Jesus leaves Nazareth to go to Capernaum

      1. Jesus rebukes spirits

      2. The unclean spirit names Jesus as “holy one of God”

      3. Went to home of Simon

      4. Rebukes Simon’s Mother-in-law’s fever

      5. More people press him, he exorcises more demons, who call him “God’s Son.”

      6. Crowds try to keep him from leaving town (as opposed to Nazareth, where crowds want to throw him off the cliff).

      7. He leaves, and “continues preaching in the Judean synagogues.”

  • This text is at Lake Gennesaret

    • Gennesaret is the next city west of Capernaum, along the Sea of Galilee.

Bible Study

  • Three themes of Luke at this point

    • Jesus is popular, gathering witnesses in Galilee (until turning point of 9:50, when he heads to Jerusalem)

    • Jesus is a teacher (about abundance of the Kingdom of God)

    • Response is repentance

  • Popularity

    • Jesus is being followed by crowds.

    • He left crowds in Capernaum.

    • The crowds here push him into the water to try and gain some space.

    • One of the first instances of Jesus speaking to crowds, but then teaching a few with special attention (see parable of the sower, and the feeding of 5000 followed by Transfiguration)

    • “Luke’s location of this story of the call of his first disciples implies that Jesus’ popularity and the size of the crowds made it necessary to have helpers. This becomes more evident later in the sending of the Seventy (10:1-2). The work of Jesus is thus prophetic of the church’s successful spread of the gospel, a condition that also required the enlisting of more workers (Acts 11:19-26)

  • Teaching/abundance

    • We don’t get the details of what Jesus had been teaching in this particular instance, but we can guess that he has kept with his theme of “good news to the poor.”

    • The sign of the miraculous fish is an extension of his teaching.

    • They follow his instruction

      • Even though this was a huge pain. They had worked all night, and cleaning the nets was an tedious task. To go back out again after cleaning the nets was a big, presumptuous  (maybe even insulting) ask.

    • The enormous catch brings about another important theme of Jesus’ ministry and teaching - that is abundance

    • Part of Jesus’ good news is one of abundance.

  • Repentance

    • “Lord leave me, for I’m a sinner,” is the response of being faced with something too great for your own good.

    • Fear and unworthiness is how to respond to angels

    • Jesus response is also typical of how the angels responded: “Fear not.” But then he moves on with teaching, “You will fish for people.”

    • Repentance leads to acceptance of mission.

    • “The calling of the disciples in Luke and in Mark is narrated very differently. Luke alone includes a miracle, that of the great catch of fish. Stress is laid, however, upon the consequence of the miracle, Simon Peter’s confession of sin…. After his repentance, Simon Peter and those with him become fishers of men or true disciples.” (Anatomy of the New Testament, Seventh Edition, p. 136)

Thoughts and Questions

  • The calling of the disciples is different in Luke in that Jesus is already a well-known teacher and healer. In fact, before Simon follows Jesus, he has already hosted him for dinner, and Jesus has healed his mother-in-law. After that healing, there is no response from Simon. It is not until after this teaching and catch that Simon finally follows. I think there is a misconception that all the disciples just picked up and followed Jesus immediately, without any knowledge. We often understand them to make these giant leaps of faith. Luke tells the story differently, though. Simon has a relationship and knowledge on which to base this life-changing decision.

  • Abundance and Repentance are important themes. Jesus brought abundance, not to the entrenched powers or religious leaders, but to those who were in need of repentance.. He called and ate with a tax collector, Levi. He allowed a sinful woman to ‘waste’ oil on him. He tells the parable of the soil which bears great abundance. He heals a demon-possessed man in Gerasene. He feeds 5000.

  • Simon is seen as the model for how to respond to Jesus.

    • He listens to his teaching.

    • He obeys his commands (with some reluctance)

    • He recognizes his own sinfulness

    • He responds by following - laying everything aside.

    • “The story of the church is reflected to some degree in this story itself. When Jesus calls, Peter is hesitant and thinks that what Jesus asks of him is both unnecessary and too demanding. Nevertheless, Peter responds, and he discovers that life has a surprise in store for him. By doing what Jesus asks him to do, he experiences an epiphany of God.” (Arland Hultgren, Working Preacher)

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Initial Thoughts

  • These are notes from Easter Sunday, Year B

  • Paul invented the humble brag.

Bible Study

  • You are saved through the good news, which is this:

    • “Christ died for our sins. He was buried, and on the third day he rose.”

    • The proof of his resurrection is in all those that saw it:

      • (Leaves out the women who first witnessed the resurrection. Paul’s letters predate Gospels, so he may not have been privy to that information, or he may have intentionally left it out of his account. It is hard to believe that Gospel writers would have inserted it because women were not trustworthy witnesses)

      • Peter

      • The Twelve

      • 500 others, some still alive.

      • James

      • Rest of the Apostles

      • Me (Paul)

    • The power of God rests on the reality of the resurrection.

  • Resurrection

    • Some in Corinth did not believe in the resurrection

    • Over-realized eschatology – the resurrection had already happened (2 Timothy 2:17-18)

    • Hyper-spiritualized – the idea of remaining tied to our “body-prison” was disturbing to the 1 Corinthians:

      • Having been schooled in such refined philosophical thought, perhaps the “wise” Corinthians said something like this:

The resurrection of Jesus is a wonderful metaphor for the spiritual change that God works in the lives of those who possess knowledge of the truth. “Resurrection” symbolizes the power of the Spirit that we experience in our wisdom and our spiritual gifts. But the image of resuscitated corpses (anastasis nekrōn) is only for childish fundamentalists. Those of us who are spiritual find it repugnant.

    • Rejection of the body in favor the spirit

      • “according to Paul, our future hope must be for a transformed body in the resurrection, not an escape from the embodied state.” Interpretation: First Corinthians.

  • Confessional Statement:

      • that Christ died for our sinsin accordance with the Scriptures

      • and that he was buried,

      • and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures

      • and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

    • Does not explain these statements – which scriptures, how does Jesus die for our sins? What does it mean that he was raised?

    • Justin Martyr, the great second-century apologist. In his debate with Trypho the Jew, Justin acknowledges that there are “some who are called Christians ... who say that there is no resurrection of the dead [anastasis nekrōn], and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven.” Against such “godless, impious heretics,” Justin takes an uncompromising stand: “Do not imagine that they are Christians” (Dialogue with Trypho, 80)

  • The centrality of the Resurrection of the Body and Spirit

    • The resurrection of Christ is the keystone upon which all of Christianity is built.

    • If there is no resurrection, then death on Cross is the end of the story.

    • If there is no resurrection, then there is no point in Jesus’ life. There is no good news. There is just the execution of a righteous man.

    • Nadia Bolz Weber (paraphrase) “I don’t think the early martyrs died for a good story, or for a good feeling they had after Jesus died.”

    • Go beyond lection, and see that Jesus’ resurrection is about more than just who Jesus is, it is about who we are promised to be. We are invited to be resurrection people, but if the first resurrection didn’t happen, then we are simply lost.

  • Clearly trying to convince Corinthians of a few things

    • Paul didn’t make this stuff up.

    • Resurrection is important.

    • Grace does not come from merit.

Thoughts and Questions

  • What does the phrase, “Christ died for our sins” mean? Is this a message of Good News? This is a well known statement of Christianity, but not one that mainline or progressive Christians unpack or address- perhaps now is the time.

  • What does the resurrection of Jesus mean for you? Is it important? If so - why? If not - why?

    • In what ways have you experienced resurrection in your own life?

    • Is there a piece of music, poetry or art that help you envision the resurrection or a sense that God conquers death?

  • Easter matters. All of what we do rests on this idea that Christ was raised from the dead. Everything is for naught if there is no resurrection. What however, is the nature of the resurrection. As Paul said, we were born at the wrong time. Can we still be witnesses to the resurrection of Christ? Clearly, Paul’s witness of the Resurrection was different than that of Peter, but was just as life-altering. What about our experience of the Resurrection.

  • Resurrection is not awarded by merit. There is no deserving resurrection. There is only God’s grace. Response to grace is also important. If we do not respond to grace by sharing the good news, then the grace is “for nothing.” How do we respond to the threat of cheap grace? How do we make the resurrection count?

  • “You are being saved through it…” Salvation is an ongoing process of hearing, believing, and doing the good news.

Isaiah 6:1-8 (9-13)

Initial Thoughts

  • This passage also comes in Lectionary on Trinity Sunday, Year B - These notes are from the last Trinity Sunday - May 27, 2018.

  • “Here I Am Lord” hymn- based at least partly on this (and the calling of Samuel)

  • Immediately precedes the O Come, O Come Emmanuel passage - MAKE THIS LINK!

Bible Study

  • Two parts of a Three part story:

    • Theophany of God (vv.1-4)

    • Calling of Isaiah (vv.5-8)

    • Prophecy (vv.9-13) not included in Lectionary

  • Why is this here instead of Isaiah 1? Isaiah’s prophecy (vv.9-13) specifically relates to the oracles of chapters 7 and 8

    • Ahaz is afraid and wants to ally with the Assyrians instead of trusting “Immanuel” God with us

  • Theophany - visible manifestation of God - What does this tell us about God?

    • “The year King Uzziah died” - died from leprosy in 742 which he contracted because he arrogantly decided to burn incense to God- a task assigned only to the priests (descendants of Aaron) 2 Chron. 26

      • God is not subject to Kings- even faithful Kings - Kings come and go, but God last forever

    • God is seen! This is extraordinary- rarely is God “seen” - most likely a dream

    • God is enthroned in Jerusalem - God is with Judah (Isaiah 7) not simply enthroned in heaven (Ezekiel 1:1-3:11; 1 Kings 22:19)

    • Only biblical mention of Seraphs- very little is known biblically, simply God is attended by supernatural creatures and then they cannot behold the glory and majesty of God

    • Holy, Holy Holy - Holy means “separate” or “other” - three times = Yahweh is the ultimate “other”

    • Hem fills the temple- rob was a sign of power and none can equal the power of God

  • Calling

    • Protestation - common (Samuel doesn’t recognize God’s voice, Jeremiah says he is too young, Moses rejects God’s call repeatedly)

    • Fear - Isaiah has seen what Moses and even Seraphs cannot behold - death is imminent

    • Fear is met with recognition and confession- both individual “I am a man of unclean lips” and corporate “I live among a people of unclean lips”

    • Confession is met with ritualistic purification - coal to the lips - specifically addressing his confession/sin

      • Moses needs proof he talked with Yahweh: is given a staff, given and cured of leprosy, bloody Nile water

      • Jeremiah cannot speak- God touches his mouth

      • Ezekiel given a scroll to eat

    • Seraph acts as intercessor - very priestly acts in response to Uzziah’s disregard of ritual

      • Ritual is important!

  • Answering

    • Only after confessing and accepting forgiveness can Isaiah hear the voice of God- not through seraphs but directly from God

    • “us” most likely referred to the Seraphs and unmentioned divine council over whom Yahweh in majesty reigns - think of a King asking the court - who will go for us

Thoughts and Questions

  • God calls us whether we like it, want it or not- in our weakness (unclean lips) God gives us strength. What is keeping you (or your church) from answering God’s call? How is God helping you overcome that obstacle

  • Isaiah confesses both individually and corporately. What sins are we guilty of corporately and what are we guilty of individually? Are they separable?

  • God with us - in the midst of fear, in the midst of impending invasion, in the midst of dying Kings and unfaithfulness and uncertainty- God is with us. God is Holy and God’s ways are not our ways, but God is with us. How will we preach this while not watering down the fear, turmoil and need for confession?

  • God chooses to offer healing, purification and forgiveness not directly but through a messenger (Seraph). How might we be God’s messengers?

  • Forgiveness can burn us while making us whole

Thanks to our Psalms correspondent, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com,@pomopsalmist). Thank you to Scott Fletcher for our voice bumpers, Dick Dale and the Del Tones for our Theme music (“Misirlou”), Nicolai Heidlas (“Sunday Morning”,"Real Ride"and“Summertime”) and Bryan Odeen for our closing music.