Proper 19B (OT 24)

 
 

288: September 16, 2018

  1. Mark 8:27-38

  2. James 3:1-12

  3. Psalm 19

Psalmist: Richard Bruxvoort Colligan


Mark 8:27-38

Initial Thoughts

  • Lectionary context is different than Literary context

    • Literary: Next passage is the Transfiguration

    • Lectionary: Next week’s passage is Mark 9:30-37, where Jesus predicts his death again, and the disciples argue about who is greatest.

  • Start thinking about next week to avoid preaching the same thing twice.

Bible Study

  • Geographic Context

    • “Caesarea Philipi: Located some 30 miles north of Bethsaida, this was the site of a temple built by Herod the Great and dedicated to Caesar Augustus.” (Common English Study Bible notes, p. 84 NT)

    • In Luke, after Transfiguration it is explicitly stated that they are now heading to Jerusalem.

    • In Mark, the actions starts heading that direction, from Caesarea Philipi to Caperneum, to Judea, to Jericho, to Jerusalem. If you look on a map, these places reveal a route from Galilee to Jerusalem.

  • Markan Secret

    • “Do not tell anyone” is a common charge of Jesus.

    • Different from fame-seeking healers

    • Different from army-gathering messiahs

    • His mission is secret as God’s Kingdom is hidden from view. Not revealed until after Jesus’ death and resurrection.

    • Even disciples, who are in on the secret, don’t get it.

  • “The Human One”

    • Explanation by Editors of Common English Bible

    • This is a tricky thing, and a translation choice of the Common English Bible.

    • “Human One” or “Son of Man”?

      • Sometimes it is simply a descriptor

      • Sometimes it is a messianic title - taken from Daniel 7

      • CEB translates the phrase in Daniel 7 as “Human One” also

  • “Who am I?”

    • Two questions, Who do people say that I am, then Who do you say that I am?

    • One is about community and culture, the other is about discipleship.

    • People:

      • John the Baptist (dead)

      • Elijah (dead, but coming back)

      • Another prophet (dead)

    • Who do you say that I am? This may be the KEY question of discipleship

      • Who is Jesus to you? What is the name that you would give to Jesus and why?

        • “Elijah” = the one who comes before the end

        • Son of Man - a title given to David to herald a time of faithfulness for all God’s people

        • Messiah - the anointed of God set to save people from their sinful ways

        • John the Baptist - one who heralds the beginning of  the Kingdom of God here on earth

        • Bread of Life, Shepherd, Savior, etc.

      • Every year on Good Friday I have a chalkboard and put the questions “Who do you say Jesus is?” and the answers are stunning. Perhaps this can be an exercise in worship. Either on a blackboard or on notes.

  • “The Human One must suffer”

    • Take up your cross and follow me

      • WARNING: text has been used to condone or excuse abuse for generations - name it, confront it and move on (unless that is your focus)

    • Is this Good News?

      • to follow Jesus requires sacrifice

      • When we are willing to sacrifice our comfort, our certitude, our judgements, our old vendettas - only then will the kingdom of God be realized- that is the Good News

      • Is Physical Therapy Good News? Heck no! but only through the hard work can healing happen. We are in desperate need of Spiritual therapy- and don’t kid yourself- it will be painful.

    • What are we willing to sacrifice (personally and as a church) for God and neighbor?

      • are we honest about the sacrifice that being a follower of Jesus requires

Thoughts and Questions

  • Who do you say that I am? This may be the KEY question of discipleship

    • Who is Jesus to you? What is the name that you would give to Jesus and why?

    • Every year on Good Friday I have a chalkboard and put the questions “Who do you say Jesus is?” and the answers are stunning. Perhaps this can be an exercise in worship. Either on a blackboard or on notes.

  • What are we willing to sacrifice (personally and as a church) for God and neighbor?

    • are we honest about the sacrifice that being a follower of Jesus requires


James 3:1-12  

Initial Thoughts

Bible Study

  • Double standard of teachers/leaders/pastors

    • Everyone makes mistakes (cf. Romans 3:23)

    • The mistakes of teachers have greater consequences because they lead/impact a larger community/classroom/congregation

    • There is and should be a double standard for those who teach/lead/shepherd/pastor. To either deny it or exploit the double standard is unfaithful - instead we should acknowledge the power and responsibility of our calling.

    • Can be a difficult message as schools are beginning - instead of undermining the work of teachers, James illuminates the gravity and importance of what teachers and leaders do.

  • The tongue

    • A bit of a call back to James 1 - be slow to speak and anger and quick to listen

    • The tongue/speech is small yet mighty:

      • Bridle controlling the body

      • Rudder controlling the ship

      • Spark igniting the forest fire

    • Spiderman - with great power comes great responsibility - the tongue is a tool of great power and responsibility. It can do great good and immense evil.

    • The malignant power of gossip, misinformation, assumption. Words matter - whether they are said in the pulpit, parking lot or in prayer - how we speak reveals who we are.

  • For James speech is a powerful action

    • Faith without works is dead - speaking is an act of faith, a work, a “doing” of the word

    • Just as actions but be judged by their fruits so too must faith

    • v. 7 recalls the creation narrative from Genesis 1 - the creation of the beasts, birds, reptiles and sea creatures. Only humans are made in the image of God and are given the gift of speak to name the animals. The power and responsibility of speech is not something new, but it part of the fabric of creation. Connection this story with Creation may be a nice bridge with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year 9/9-11, which celebrates the creation of Adam and Eve.

  • Back to the practical

    • What I (Eric) love about James - he always brings it back to the practical - how  we treat one another

    • v.10 - a person of faith cannot bless God can curse the the image of God with the same tongue

    • How do your words reflect who you are? How do the words of others reveal who they are?

    • How is this heard in a time of misinformation, fake news and social media? Our words also include our Facebook posts, our tweets and the email we choose to share.

    • What about self talk- what about our inner monologue- what we say to ourselves about who we are? We must be a blessing to ourselves as much as to others, for we cannot love others unless we love ourself

    • Is your tongue a blessing or a curse to you and others?

  • Is silence the answer?

    • No. We will make mistakes but speech is an act of faith. We must accept grace for the mistakes we make and be diligent that our speech - as much as our other actions - are reflection of our faith in the love of God in Christ

Thoughts and Questions

  • There is and should be a double standard for those who teach/lead/shepherd/pastor. To either deny it or exploit the double standard is unfaithful - instead we should acknowledge the power and responsibility of our calling.

    • Can be a difficult message as schools are beginning - instead of undermining the work of teachers, James illuminates the gravity and importance of what teachers and leaders do.

  • The malignant power of gossip, misinformation, assumption. Words matter - whether they are said in the pulpit, parking lot or in prayer - how we speak reveals who we are.

  • How do your words reflect who you are? How do the words of others reveal who they are?

  • How is this heard in a time of misinformation, fake news and social media? Our words also include our Facebook posts, our tweets and the email we choose to share.

  • What about self talk- what about our inner monologue- what we say to ourselves about who we are? We must be a blessing to ourselves as much as to others, for we cannot love others unless we love ourself

  • Is your tongue a blessing or a curse to you and others?

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.