Thursday, May 01, 2014

Lectionary Notes for Third Sunday of Easter, Year A

Readings for Third Sunday of Easter, 5/4/14:
Acts 2:14a, 36-41, Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19, 1 Peter 1:17-23, Luke 24:13-35

Acts 2:14a, 36-41:
  • This, like last week's reading from Acts, continues as an account of the reaction of the crowds to Peter's speaking at the festival of Pentecost.
  • "God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified." This is interesting phrasing by Peter - does he believe that Jesus was not innately the Messiah, but only chosen to take on that identity? Hmm...
  • "cut to the heart" from the Greek, katenugĂȘsan tĂȘn kardian, literally means "to be sorely pricked" - as far as I can see, this is the only place this words occurs in the Bible, and occurs rarely in other classical Greek texts. 
Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19:
  • This text was just in our lectionary cycle for Maundy Thursday - hopefully it looks a little familiar to you! What makes it different to read this Psalm during Holy Week, and then during the days of Easter?
  • "I love the Lord, because he had heard my voice." I wish I knew Hebrew - I'm curious about the "because" word here. Do we love people "because" of something? Or does our love, even for God, go deeper and beyond a "because."
  • "I will pay my vows to the Lord" This phrase is repeated in this Psalm. It seems the Psalmist feels he must pay God back for hearing his voice, his supplications. Does God need to be paid back? Want to be paid back? I don't think God wants to feel "owed" as much as loved.
  • "loosed my bonds" - what has you bound up?
1 Peter 1:17-23:
  • "purified your souls by your obedience to the truth" - what does it mean to be obedient to truth? Does it mean to always tell the truth? To go out of your way to share truth? To act on the truth that you know?
  • "genuine mutual love" is literally philadelphian, in Greek, "brotherly love".
  • "love one another deeply from the heart" - the word 'deeply' is from the Greek ektene^s, literally, "intensely," "zealously," or "instantly." I prefer all of those translations to 'deeply'!
Luke 24:13-35:
  • "how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread" I like this phrase. There's so many accounts in the scriptures of Jesus sharing meals with people - isn't it appropriate that it is over a meal that these two recognize him after the resurrection? Methodists have a reputation for always having food at get-togethers - we love our potluck suppers! But it's not the food - it really is the community, the fellowship, being the body of Christ together.
  • "beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures." Ah, if only that conversation had been recorded into the scriptures, eh?
  • I always wonder, in texts like this, and in Mary's seeing Jesus at the resurrection, and the disciples seeing Jesus walking on water - how can they not recognize one around whom they have centered their lives? What keeps them from seeing and knowing Jesus for who he is? Arguably, Cleopas and his friend may not have been as close to Jesus as Mary and the twelve, but still... I guess that Jesus is always showing up for them in unexpected ways and places, and that's why they never realize who he is. A theological happening, no doubt!
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