Proper 14A (OT 19)


232: August 13, 2017

  1. Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28

  2. Matthew 14:22-33

  3. Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45

  4. Romans 10:5-15

Voice in the Wilderness: Katey Zeh

Psalmist Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

Featured Musician: Jonathan Rundman

75: August 10, 2017

  1. Matthew 14:22-33
  2. Genesis 37:1-28

Featured Musician -  Heatherlyn

Exegetical Notes

Matthew 14:22-33

Initial Thoughts

  • Jesus walks on water is one of most famous signs of Jesus.  “Walks on water” is a phrase that is deeply embedded into common language.

  • Occurs in three of four Gospels (not Luke), but this is most detailed account.

  • Traditional Reading:

    • Peter was doing well until he took his eyes off of Jesus.

    • When he allowed the storm to distract him, then he started to sink

    • So - Keep your eyes upon Jesus, and you’ll be okay.

  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer (as quoted by Charles Cousar in Texts For Preaching, Year A, p. 441) “Peter had to leave the ship and risk his life on the sea, in order to learn both his own weakness and the almighty power of his Lord.  If Peter had not taken the risk, he would never have learned the meaning of faith… The road to faith passes through obedience to the call of Jesus.  Unless a definitive step is demanded, the call vanishes in thin air, and if [people] imagine that they can follow Jesus without taking this step, they are deluding themselves like fanatics.”

  • In The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer goes on to say “Faith is only real where there is obedience, never without it, and faith only becomes faith in the act of obedience.” (Ibid.)

Bible Study

  • Compared to Mark

    • Both:

      • Come immediately after miraculous feeding

      • Disciples leave first

      • Windstorm at sea

      • Jesus walks

      • Fear of disciples, who mistake him for a ghost.

      • “Take heart. It is I. Do not be afraid.”

    • In Mark:

      • Peter stays in the boat.

      • Disciples "Did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.”

    • In Matthew, the disciples’ place in the story is improved.  Also reveals a development of the disciples’ faith, as opposed to Mark, which doesn’t have the disciples develop faith at all.

  • 2nd time that Jesus calms weather

    • Mt 8:23-27 followed similar formula

      • Windstorm at sea

      • Jesus sleeping

      • Disciples fear.

      • Disciples: “Lord Save us”

      • Jesus: “Why are you afraid, you of little faith.”

      • Jesus: Calms the sea

      • Disciples: Amazed, wonder “What sort of man is this?”

    • This story:

      • Windstorm at sea

      • Jesus is not with them

      • Jesus walking,

      • Disciples fear.

      • Jesus: “Take heart. It is I. Do not be afraid.”

      • Peter asks for proof of identification. “If it is you…”

      • Jesus’ response is simply, “come.”

      • Peter: “Lord, Save me”

      • Jesus: “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

      • Disciples: Worshiped Jesus, “Truly you are the son of God.”

    • The cause of the fear for the disciples this time is not the storm, but the man walking.  There is something expected about waves surrounding a boat.  The fact that a man is on the water is not even the source of the fear.  The fear comes the unidentified nature of the one walking.  

      • Question is not “Is this possible?” but “Who is doing this?”

      • Peter challenges Jesus’ claim.  “If it is you…” is a challenge.

      • Jesus admonishes only Peter, who didn’t believe.  

      • All of the disciples respond with worship and declare “Truly you are the Son of God.”

      • In Mt 27:54, the centurion makes a similar claim at the foot of the cross, “Truly this man was God’s Son.”

      • Peter makes his famous “You are the messiah, the Son of the Living God,” in 16:16.

      • Peter is not meant to walk on water.  His place is in the boat, with Jesus.

  • The sea/isolation

    • The sea is the source of death

    • Sea=Chaos and the undoing of God’s creation

    • Jesus is not on the boat, he was “by himself” and “alone.”

    • Disciples were “far out at sea” and had been battered by head winds.

  • Admonition of Peter

    • The problem is not that he sunk.

    • The problem is that he got out of the boat at all.

    • He didn’t trust Jesus’ voice. This was his failing.

    • Jesus - in the midst of the storm - Emmanuel “God with us”

Preaching Thoughts

  • What is the relationship between obedience and faith.  Bonhoeffer describes it as a paradox (like faith and works).  How are we obedient?  How does that reflect our faith?  What lesson can we take from Peter’s foray into obedience and faith?

  • “So, leave walking on water to Jesus. That ship which is the church is where we want to be, and it can provide the way for us to get to other places, so that disciples of the Son of God can be moving throughout the land!” (Mark Vitalis Hoffman, Working Preacher)

  • The mark of faith is understanding that Jesus (Emmanuel) is present even in the midst of the storm. We are not called to go out and venture on our own in the sea. We are to stay in the boat - stay in the community, because that is where we are protected. And know that Jesus is not bothered by the storm or waves. Simply remain in the boat, obedient to where Jesus is leading you.

  • Why did the disciples cross the sea? To get to the other side.  Where there were people who needed to hear the Good News.  So stop worrying about how to walk on water, and get in your boat and get to where people.

Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28 

Initial Thoughts

  • To read or not to read all 28 verses or to not read?

Bible Study

  • Joseph and Jacob

    • Both dreamers

    • Both have “brother issues”

    • Jacob deceives his father, Jacob’s sons deceive him

  • Dreams

    • interpreted negatively by the brothers and father as a threat to their status and power - not interpreted by Jacob at all

    • “At the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, worship begins with the opening sentences: ‘Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come now therefore, and let us slay him... and we shall see what will become of his dreams’ (vv. 19-20 KJV). The effect is chilling.” - Patrick Wilson, Feasting on the Word – Year A, Volume 3

  • The Brothers

    • 12 Brothers will become 12 tribes

    • Joseph is sent to his brothers to check on their shalom (well-being)

    • Joseph usually did not go into the field and gave “bad reports”(v.2)

    • There is clearly no shalom between the brothers (v.4)

    • Jacob is not fool when it comes to inter-brother discord

  • The “Killing”

    • Trying to overcome the dream (basis for so many stories)

      • Oedipus

      • Heroes

      • Lost

    • Two traditions: Reuben and the Ishmaelites and Judah and the Midianites - two tellings of the same stories

      • Both Reuben and Judah are portrayed as the merciful brothers.

  • Favoritism and Chosenness

    • At the center of God’s interactions with God’s people

    • How does being chosen manifest itself?

    • Privilege and responsibility

    • Helps to have tact...Joseph did not have any (yet)

    • While Jacob will receive his father’s blessing, he will not become a patriarch - God will remain the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob not Joseph.

  • God

    • Is never mentioned - but it does not mean that God is not present

    • Terence Fretheim, NIB: Genesis - “God works in and through even the worst that this family can perpetrate; in everything - even evil - God works for good...The reader will be tempted to fall into one ditch or another in interpreting this dialectic: either divine determinism where God fully controls events, or deism, where God must simply make do with whatever human action turns up and acts with no independent initiative. Neither of these options fully grasps the theological perspective that governs the story.”

    • "I believe that God can and will let good come out of everything, even the greatest evil.... I believe that even our mistakes and shortcomings are not in vain and that it is no more difficult for God to deal with them than with our supposedly good deeds.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison, 46.

Preaching Thoughts

  • A message of hope- contrary to all human will and actions- faith hope and love win. Contrary to all outside perceptions- Sarah can’t conceive, Isaac will be sacrificed, Esau wants to kill Jacob, Jacob is stuck away from the promised land, Joseph is sold into slavery, - God is working within all things and lovingly calling creation to a eschatological kingdom of justice and peace.

  • The 12 brothers represent the 12 tribes of Israel. The 11 “bad brothers” will not be punished for their misdeeds or cast out of the circle of blessing

Romans 10:4-15

Initial Thoughts

  • Connected to Paul’s lament in Romans 9 (see last week’s notes)

    • Romans 9-11: What is the fate of his fellow Jews?

  • Start with vs. 4

Bible Study

  • Justification of the Jews

    • Some Jews will continue to seek justification through the law instead of through faith in Jesus Christ

  • v. 4 “Christ is the end of the law”

    • “End” = Gk telos, not necessarily the termination but could also mean the culmination or fulfillment of the law (cf. Matthew 5:17)

    • Christ “terminates the law as a means of salvation” (Kyle Fedler, Feasting on the Word, A vol 3)

      • Not sure I agree. The law is there to help us reconcile ourselves to God by living a faithful life. How do we respond to God’s love and grace? Obey the law.

      • Not needed anymore - all people are reconciled to God regardless of following the law, but following the law is still a faithful and good thing.

    • Christ is the telos of the law in that Christ did what the law could not- reconciled humanity with God

  • v. 5-8

    • v. 5 quotes Leviticus 18:5

    • v. 6 quotes Deuteronomy 30:11-12

    • v. 8 quotes Deuteronomy 30:14

    • Moses is telling the Israelites that in order to live fully- they should obey the Law and that the Law is not a lofty, far away, difficult thing to understand but is “not too hard for you , nor it is too far is very near to you.” (Deut. 30:11-14)

    • Paul declares that the word which is very near is not the law but Christ.

      • You don’t need to go to heaven- God has come down, incarnate in Christ.

      • You don’t need to die, for God has raised Christ from the dead.

  • Is the law dead?

    • NO- the Law is still good (Romans 7:12), but the law is not the means of salvation.

    • Jesus, in his birth, life, death and resurrection, is the incarnate reminder and promise of God’s love and grace for all- you cannot earn that which is already given.

    • The law is still a faithful response to God’s grace - provides a personal, moral and civic guideline to follow and hold one another accountable.

      • The law is given to a new society in need of civic governance (Exodus-Deuteronomy)

  • Evangelism

    • Evangelion - good news - subverted message, originally used by the Roman empire to spread propaganda- now used to proclaim liberation and reconciliation

      • Don’t go back to the Roman Empire’s use of the word as a weapon of systemic oppression and manipulation

      • Use it to undermine oppression and proclaim love and grace

    • The most important task is to carry the good news to others: God loves you and there is nothing you or anything else can do to separate you from God’s love-GOOD NEWS :)

      • NOT - believe in Jesus or burn in hell- this is BAD NEWS :(

    • Paul’s evangelism does not require anything of the receiver, simply a proclamation of grace that enables the receiver to celebrate the good news of God’s love in Jesus Christ and to seek that love and grace out when in need

      • It is a proclamation of what already is, not a demand.

Preaching Thoughts

  • Traditional Christian thought has supplanted the Law with Christ declaring that the law is no longer a means to reconciliation with God, only faith in Jesus. Infact some have declared that the law is an obstacle to salvation- we crave and do that which is forbidden. We must be taught to sin, even if the teaching is that sin is forbidden.

  • It is past time to reclaim evangelism as good news, a spiritual disciple and duty of the church.



Thanks to our Psalms correspondent, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (,@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 Paul and Storm for our closing music (“Oh No”).