Proper 25A (OT 30)


243: October 29, 2017

  1. 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

  2. Matthew 22:34-46

  3. Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17

  4. Deuteronomy 34:1-12

Featured Musician: Nathan Drake


 Tasty Wafer: TNS 5.2 - Colby Martin

86: October 26, 2014

  1. 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
  2. Matthew 22:34-46

Featured Musician - Dan Holmes

Tasty Wafer: Three Minute Retreats by Loyola



Exegetical Notes


Matthew 22:34-46

Initial Thoughts

  • This is the core of the gospel - a favorite passage for many, especially the first half.

Bible Study

  • Third Challenge and then Jesus’ counter

    • Taxes (last week, Proper 24A, Mt. 22:12-22)- Pharisees and Herodians

    • Resurrection (skipped here, Mt 22:23-33) - Sadducees

    • Law (this week, Mt 22:34-40) - Pharisees and Lawyers

    • Jesus responds to each quickly and concisely

    • Last section is Jesus’ counter, which they fail. Final score: Jesus 4, others 0.

  • What kind of Jesus is this? Not the cuddly, sweet, sterilized Jesus, but a Loving radical

    • Lance Pape ( "According to Matthew’s testimony, none of the things Jesus is caught doing in this context -- from physically trashing the display booths of the money changers (21:12), to trash-talking the biblical literacy of colleagues (22:29), to dropping the mic at the end of a scintillating piece of rhetorical and exegetical gamesmanship (verse 46) -- none of it violates the law of love."
    • Love is not the thing that allows all things, but confronts injustice and rejoices in the truth.

    • “It’s all too easy to remake Jesus in our own image, picking and choosing from the biblical testimony in order to depict him as a friendly, harmless mainline parson with boundary issues -- the same kind of “quivering mass of availability” that too many progressive pastors have become.1 But if we take Matthew’s testimony seriously, we confront the possibility that our Lord discovered that sometimes in this life there are things worth getting worked up about, things worth arguing about, things that call for those who are able to be both loving and formidable in the cause of righteousness” (Lance Pape, Working Preacher)
  • Two greatest commandments

    • Condensing of the 10 Commandments:

      • 1-4 = Love/honor God

      • 5-10 = Love/honor neighbor

    • Not radically different from other Rabbis

      • Rabbi Hillel (Died 6 years before Jesus was born) said,(when challenged by a Gentile to repeat the entire Torah on one foot) "What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn"

  • Jesus questions the Pharisees and ends the “battle.”

    • He ends the line of trap questions with one of his own - one from which they cannot escape.

    • Jesus uses their literal understanding of the Scripture against them. They are stuck between their cultural understanding of the relationship of a Father and Son and their understanding of the relationship between David and the Messiah.

    • The next scene (next week)  is Jesus turning away from the Pharisees, and speaking to the crowds and calling them out.

Preaching Thoughts

  • Is love what pushes us to prophetically demand justice and gives us the courage to counter dangerous theology? Or is love the shield and blanket we use to hide from the difficult issues and avoid conflict?

  • In this passage, we have connected the Law and the Prophets. The Law is about commandments, and the Prophets is about the Messiah. The connecting piece of all of this is love.

  • The question the Pharisees cannot answer? How is it that David can call his son Lord? Because the Kingdom is about love, and love is about turning everything around. Lordship, in to Jesus, is not about holding power over another, but about love. So the Messiah is not about traditional power structures, family structures, or cultural expectations. The Messiah is about the Great Commandment - Love.


Deuteronomy 34:1-12

Initial Thoughts

Bible Study

  • The end of the Torah- these 12 verses compose the whole chapter

    • Moses is 120

    • Talks with all the 12 Tribes

    • Reminds them of their past and the promise of the future

  • God’s promise

    • God reiterates God’s promise to Abraham (one which Moses has had to remind God about in the past)

    • Presumable God will not need Moses to remind God of God’s promises in the future

    • The boundaries of the divine promise have been changed (Gen. 15:8- the Nile to the Euphrates, Deut. 34:1-3 - Gilead region as far as Dan’s territory, Judah, the Southern Plain, Jericho Valley and Manasseh and Ephraim.)- much of modern day Israel-Palestine West of the Jordan River

  • Sight - what Moses can see

    • V. 1 “the Lord showed”

    • V. 4 ”shown it to you with your own eyes”

    • V. 7 “his eyesight wasn’t impaired”

    • V. 12 “before Israel’s own eyes”

    • What is God showing us? God is revealing the future to us and to the community

      • let those with eyes see -  cf. Jeremiah 5:21; Isaiah 6:10; Matthew 13:15-16; Mark 8:18

  • Moses is not allowed to enter the promised land

    • Moses begs God to allow him to enter- so much so that God finally tells Moses to knock it off-  “Enough! Speak no more to me about this matter!” (Deuteronomy 3:26)

    • Moses is not allowed to enter due to the sin of the people

      • Deuteronomy 1 - the litany of distrust and complaints made by the Israelites

        • V. 26, “you rebelled; v. 27 “You grumbled”, v. 32 “you have not trust in the LORD”

      • 1:37 - “Even with me the Lord was angry on your account, saying, "You also shall not enter there.”

      • How often do we want to set ourselves apart from a sinful community and ignore our complicity? How many pastors complain about their churches (or vice versa) without acknowledging their own sins

  • Mourning of Israel

    • Instead of plunging into the Promised Land- they take 30 days of mourning and lamentation.

    • Are we willing to make time for lament?

      • Americans didn’t take 30 days of lamentation after the deadliest mass shooting in modern history

      • We get a couple days off of work for the death of a family member

      • The lost gift of lamentation

  • The story ends incomplete

    • So unsatisfactory

      • Harry Potter hasn’t graduated

      • The Ring of power hasn’t been destroyed

      • Jim and Pam never get married

      • The Empire doesn’t fall

    • Perhaps this is the point- the transformative journey to being the people of God

      • Not slaves in Egypt

      • Not wanderers in the desert

      • Not the followers of Moses

      • Followers of God- following where God has led them

  • Or does it?- great Jewish commentary on G-dcast Videos from BimBam

    • Death is part of life- even for Moses

    • Begins with creation, doesn’t end with destruction- but promise

    • This is not really the end- we know what will happen

    • Gertrude Baines 1894-2015 - was given the right to vote and voted for a black man for president, “you don’t need to be a prophet to see a lot in 120 years and you don’t need to be Moses to have an ending worthy of a life”

Preaching Thoughts

  • Did Moses succeed or fail? Moses brought the people out of Egypt but did not make it to the promised land- he “moved the football” but didn’t make the touchdown. Many would consider this a failure, but God and scripture does not. Is success the destination or the transformation along the way?

  • Can we see the vision, the mission or the “Promised Land” beyond our own tenure? Have we as a church “seen the promised land”, but perhaps may not make it there?

  • Does the church need to die on Pisgah because we lost faith and acquiesced to cultural norms and the way of prosperity and survival instead of the way of Jesus Christ?


1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

Initial Thoughts

  • There’s not much to go on here.  Textweek cupboard is pretty bare.

Bible Study

  • In context of the church of Thessalonica, this is a much more powerful letter in general, and passage in particular.

    • “While it strikes many modern readers as benign religious encouragement, 1 Thessalonians affirms the Christian faith not merely as an alternative religion among many, but as a singular alternative to the assumptions, motivations, values, and social and political order of empire… Paul’s argument challenges us to think critically and faithfully about the church’s complicity in systems of domination that many of us take for granted.” (Stanley Saunders from the Discipleship Study Bible, introduction to 1 Thessalonians, p. 2010).

  • Paul’s message of the gospel is unique.

    • Not interested in flattery, which is an important part of the Roman patronage system.

    • The Gospel is difficult to sell to people who are comfortable.

    • When the system is working for you, it is difficult to see that the system is broken.

    • Reference to “might have made demands” or “thrown our weight around,” is direct attack at patronage system where “throwing weight around” was the only way to get things done.  Those in power exercised that power by offering services, than making demands.

Preaching Thoughts

  • What does it mean to be “entrusted with the gospel”?

    • What is the responsibility we bear?  With what are we entrusted?

      • “Trustees” of the gospel, or of the building, denomination, institution?

    • The pastor/church/denomination must serve the gospel, offer the love, grace, peace, and justice of Christ.  Not the other way around.  The Church has failed when it has created the institution to serve it.

  • “Share with you not only the gospel, but our own selves.”

    • Is it possible to share the gospel, and not our own self?

    • Can you share the love of Christ without also being willing to love?

    • How often do people share the gospel of love without living a life of love.  Is “Do as I say, not as I do?” an epidemic in many churches?


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”).