Welcome to Episode #109 of Sunday Scripture Podcast!
Today we will read Matthew 14: 13-33 and it is the stories of the Feeding of the 5000 and a crazy storm on the Sea of Galilee
Our key verse is - Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it it I; do not be afraid.”
Quote # 1: The first scene in which Jesus feeds the multitude comes immediately on the heels of another banquet, at which Herod is the host. This sets the two, the worldly king and the true king, in contrast, so that the reader can see where the priorities of these two kingdoms lie. 13 Herod is only interested in power, while Jesus is interested in providing for God’s people.
Matthew Chapter 14 Verse 13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” 17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. 18 “Bring them here to me,” he said.
19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children
Break - Break - Break
Matthew Chapter 14 Verse 22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Quote # 2: Jesus’ question in v. 31 is often taken as a rebuke of Peter, so that poor Peter has been the topic of many comments about lack of faith over the centuries. However, the tone of the question is rather softer than that, and implies a typical wavering between fear of the circumstance and courage at the presence of God. This is reinforced by the verse in the Great Commission at the end of Matthew, in which some of the disciples worship and doubt simultaneously. Rather than being a criticism of Peter, it may be seen as a statement on the life of faith, in which both courage and fear are often present.16
Welcome to Episode #108 of Sunday Scripture Podcast!
Today we will read Matthew 13: 24-45, and it is Jesus sharing a series of parables that surprise and challenge our preconceived notions about God’s kingdom. Each of the parables have images that are simple to understand and easy to remember.
Our key verse is - Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. - Matthew 13:34
Before we read the text, we have a quote from our materials from Spirit and Truth Publishing…
Quote # 1: This passage is a series of parables presented in a public discourse, along with an explanation of the parables offered in a more private setting with only the disciples. Parables in general, and these “kingdom” parables in particular, use imagery from daily life, but have unexpected elements that upset common sense.
They often exaggerate on purpose to push the audience into a different perspective on God’s activity in the world or on the coming of the kingdom. In the logic of the parable, we are forced to accept that God might not work according to human sensibilities. Stanley P. Saunders, “Matthew,” in Theological Bible Commentary, ed. Gail R. O’Day and David L. Petersen (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009), 302.
Matthew Chapter 13 Verse 24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
Matthew Chapter 13 Verse 31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
Matthew Chapter 13 Verse 33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” 34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35 So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:“I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”
Matthew Chapter 13 Verse 36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.
Quote # 2: The verb translated as “mixed in with” in v. 33 is actually the word for “hid” (Gk., enekrypsen, from the root word kryptō). This verb, instead of the more common “mixed in” or “kneaded,” emphasizes the hidden and unexpected nature of the kingdom, which will only be fully revealed with time.2 M. Eugene Boring, The New Interpreter’s Bible, Volume VIII, ed. Leander E. Keck et al. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996), 308.
Key Point - We all can be leaders in faith and make a difference for others.
Quote #1: Our text for today picks up the story of a Jewish man named Mordecai learning of a plot made by the king’s highest advisor to kill all the Jews. Esther was chosen to be queen after the disobedience of the king’s previous wife led him to banish her, but her Jewish identity was kept secret. In today’s story, Esther has to make a decision—will she speak up for her people and risk exposing herself to greater risk? Speaking up on behalf of her people would put her in danger.
Esther 4 New International Version (NIV)
4 When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. 2 But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it. 3 In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
4 When Esther’s advisors and female attendants came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes for him to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. 5 Then Esther summoned Hathak, one of the king’s advisors assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why.
6 So Hathak went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate. 7 Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews. 8 He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to instruct her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people.
- Break -
Esther 4 New International Version (NIV)
9 Hathak went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said. 10 Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, 11 “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.”
12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
17 So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.
Quote #2: Big moments in history often come down to a single action. Seldom do those in the position to change the world know at the time that they are doing so, but in the course of daily life opportunities arise to act with boldness and integrity.
Prayer for the week: God our protector, you were present with your people in exile and led great leaders, like Esther, to work for justice and keep your people safe. Help us to follow your guiding presence as we work to provide safety and justice for those most in need. We pray all of this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Key Point - Though waiting can be difficult, God always hears and responds.
Quote #1: There is a strong theological theme in many books of the Hebrew Bible that God administers justice by rewarding the righteous and punishing the wicked. This has been called “moral cause and effect” where the wicked get what they deserve. It can been seen in many psalms, including Psalm 1: “Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked...they are like trees planted by streams of water” (Psalm 1:1, 3). Habakkuk is challenging this notion of “moral cause and effect,” crying out to God that “The wicked surround the righteous— therefore judgment comes forth perverted.
Habakkuk 1:1-7 New International Version (NIV)
2 How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? 3 Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. 4 Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.
The Lord’s Answer
5 “Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. 6 I am raising up the Babylonians,[a] that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwellings not their own. 7 They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor.
Habakkuk 2:1-4 New International Version (NIV)
1 I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts;I will look to see what he will say to me,and what answer I am to give to this complaint.
The Lord’s Answer
2 Then the Lord replied:“Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. 3 For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. 4 “See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright— but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness
Habakkuk 3:17-19 New International Version (NIV)
17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.
Quote #2: Habakkuk struggles with the presence of injustice in God’s creation. The LORD responds by saying that justice will come; the righteous should live by faith. In response, Habakkuk states that his relationship with God will no longer be governed by circumstances.
Quote #1: During Micah’s lifetime, the Assyrian Empire began to grow more powerful. In 722 BCE, the northern kingdom of Israel was conquered by Assyria, and its capital Samaria fell, bringing the Assyrian armies to within 10 miles of Jerusalem. The southern kingdom of Judah was not overrun, but was made a vassal state, paying tributes and forced to bow to Assyrian religious and political authority. In the years immediately following the fall of Samaria, the population of Jerusalem increased, possibly due to an influx of refugees from the north. This may have contributed to the economic difficulties and exploitation that Micah addresses.
Micah 3 New International Version (NIV)
9 Hear this, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of Israel, who despise justice and distort all that is right; 10 who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness. 11 Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Yet they look for the Lord’s support and say, “Is not the Lord among us? No disaster will come upon us.” 12 Therefore because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets. Micah 6:6-8 New International Version (NIV)
6 With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Quote #2: “The subtle nuances of the very strong (Hebrew) verb da-rash are just fascinating. “Require” misses the heart of it, I think, for we resort to notions of rules or grading, as in “the teacher requires you turn in a three-page paper by Friday.” The verb darash has undertones of affection, or the healthiest sort of dependency, as in “the child requires his mother’s love,” or “the flower requires rain and sunshine.” There is a mood of seeking in darash; lovers seek each other out, and a shepherd seeks his lost sheep—and in the Old Testament, both situations use darash. So when the Lord “requires” justice, kindness and mercy, it isn’t that the Lord “insists on” or “demands” these things. God seeks them, yearns for them, and frankly needs them from us as intimate partners in God’s adventure down here." - Rev. James Howell, Meyers Park UMC
Prayer for the Week - Blessed are you, O Lord, our God, creator of the universe. When the people went astray and abandoned your covenant, you remained faithful. Lead us to follow your will and walk humbly with you, help us to live in your promises, and remind us of your unfailing love. We pray all of this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Designed for Sun, Nov. 4th
Welcome to Episode #100 of the Sunday Scripture Podcast!
We follow the Narrative Lectionary and the theme our this section is Living Faithfully in the Promise. In last week’s text, we talked about a young king named Solomon. He was placed in a leadership position and had a great deal of humility about his ability to do the job.
As we turn to this week, we acknowledge King Solomon was known for his wisdom, but he was also a king whose policies put his nation at risk. His concern was for wealth over the unity of the kingdom, and desire for wives over faithfulness to the one true God, which led to the eventual split of the kingdom.
The ten northern tribes of Israel broke away from the southern kingdom, and would become known as Judah. During this time the prophets spoke, urging the people to faithfulness and a return to God’s ways. One of these prophets was the prophet Elisha, whom we read about today.
Our key point this week is - Trusting in God’s power creates opportunities to share God’s love and healing with others.
We’re going to start with a quote from our materials.
Quote #1: In the opening verses of this text we hear of Naaman (pronounced Nay-man), a commander in a foreign army that had recently been victorious in battle over the army of Israel. Captives from Israel had been taken, including a young girl who became a servant to Naaman’s wife. In spite of being a powerful man, Naaman had a major problem—leprosy. Leprosy is a horrible skin disease that can cause the loss of limbs and a slow, painful death. Perhaps even more significant, leprosy was treated with disdain and fear, often leading to people with leprosy being ostracized from the community.
2 Kings 5:1-7 New International Version (NIV)
Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy. 2 Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
4 Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. 5 “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing. 6 The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”
7 As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!”
2 Kings 5:8-15 New International Version (NIV)
8 When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.
13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
15 Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.”
Quote #2: Naaman expected a showy public ritual rather than a small, private act. It was also customary during this time for the person being healed to present a large gift to the healer or prophet. This makes Naaman’s situation even more awkward when Elisha refuses the gift. This shows that God is more concerned with our internal motivations and faith than great, showy acts. This contradiction—Naaman’s expectations and God’s requirements—leads to Naaman’s change of heart.9
Welcome to Episode #92 of the Sunday Scripture Podcast!
Today we are excited start our series back for the program year in 2018 and 2019. If you missed our brief explanation in Episode 91 I encourage you to download it and listen, we are taking new direction starting today. Brad’s church and my church are both using the Narrative Lectionary and there is a link on the front page of our website, SundayScripturePodcast.com.
Our Social media profiles on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook have always been a way for us to tell you we have posted new content. We’ll still do that, but our profiles will also feature scripture readings for each day, that build towards the message for Sunday.
Today we start with a classic story you are more likely to hear in children’s church than in a worship service - Noah’s Ark. It is an enormous story across three different chapters, starting with Genesis 6, and we have cut several verses for time, hoping to still catch the essence of the message.
Genesis 6: Selected Verses
5 The Lord saw that humanity had become thoroughly evil on the earth and that every idea their minds thought up was always completely evil. 6 The Lord regretted making human beings on the earth, and the Lord was heartbroken. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe off of the land the human race that I’ve created: from human beings to livestock to the crawling things to the birds in the skies, because I regret I ever made them.”
8 But as for Noah, the Lord approved of him. 9 These are Noah’s descendants. In his generation, Noah was a moral and exemplary man; he[a] walked with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11 In God’s sight, the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence. 12 God saw that the earth was corrupt, because all creatures behaved corruptly on the earth.
13 God said to Noah, “The end has come for all creatures, since they have filled the earth with violence. I am now about to destroy them along with the earth, 14 so make a wooden ark. Make the ark with nesting places and cover it inside and out with tar. 15 This is how you should make it: four hundred fifty feet long, seventy-five feet wide, and forty-five feet high. 16 Make a roof[c] for the ark and complete it one foot from the top.[d] Put a door in its side. In the hold below, make the second and third decks.
17 “I am now bringing the floodwaters over the earth to destroy everything under the sky that breathes. Everything on earth is about to take its last breath. 18 But I will set up my covenant with you. You will go into the ark together with your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives. 19 From all living things—from all creatures—you are to bring a pair, male and female, into the ark with you to keep them alive.20 From each kind of bird, from each kind of livestock, and from each kind of everything that crawls on the ground—a pair from each will go in with you to stay alive. 21 Take some from every kind of food and stow it as food for you and for the animals.”
22 Noah did everything exactly as God commanded him.
Genesis 8: Selected Verses
God remembered Noah, all those alive, and all the animals with him in the ark. God sent a wind over the earth so that the waters receded….6 After forty days, Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made. 7 He sent out a raven, and it flew back and forth until the waters over the entire earth had dried up. 8 Then he sent out a dove to see if the waters on all of the fertile land had subsided, 9 but the dove found no place to set its foot. It returned to him in the ark since waters still covered the entire earth. Noah stretched out his hand, took it, and brought it back into the ark. 10 He waited seven more days and sent the dove out from the ark again. 11 The dove came back to him in the evening, grasping a torn olive leaf in its beak. Then Noah knew that the waters were subsiding from the earth. 12 He waited seven more days and sent out the dove, but it didn’t come back to him again.
8 God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 “I am now setting up my covenant with you, with your descendants, 10 and with every living being with you—with the birds, with the large animals, and with all the animals of the earth, leaving the ark with you.[a] 11 I will set up my covenant with you so that never again will all life be cut oy floodwaters. There will never again be a flood to destroy the earth.”
12 God said, “This is the symbol of the covenant that I am drawing up between me and you and every living thing with you, on behalf of every future generation. 13 I have placed my bow in the clouds; it will be the symbol of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember the covenant between me and you and every living being among all the creatures. Floodwaters will never again destroy all creatures.16 The bow will be in the clouds, and upon seeing it I will remember the enduring covenant between God and every living being of all the earth’s creatures.” 17 God said to Noah, “This is the symbol of the covenant that I have set up between me and all creatures on earth.”
Quotes Used in the 2nd Half from Dr. Walter Brueggemann
“What we find there is not an angry tyrant, but a troubled parent who grieves over the alienation. He is glowingly aware that the imagination of the thoughts of the human heart are unrelievedly hostile. The conjuring, day dreams, and self-perceptions of the world are all titled
Prayer for the Week - God of redemption, help us to know that where we see destruction, you inspire hope; where we see brokenness, you see promise; where we see rain, you craft beautiful rainbows. Help us to remember your promise and blessing to Noah and his family, and inspire in us the call to follow your call to justice and peace. We pray this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Acts 28: 16-31 New International Version (NIV)
16 When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.
17 Three days later he called together the local Jewish leaders. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death. 19 The Jews objected, so I was compelled to make an appeal to Caesar. I certainly did not intend to bring any charge against my own people. 20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”
23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. He witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus. 24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe.
25 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet:
26 “‘Go to this people and say,
“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”
27 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’[a]
28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”  [b]
30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!
Welcome to Episode #87 of the Sunday Scripture Podcast!
We’re in a series for the summer that will walk through the Book of Acts and today we continue with Chapter 16.
Acts 16:1-5 New International Version (NIV)
1 Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek. 2 The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. 3 Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.
Quote #1 by N.T. Wright
“A few weeks ago I had to choose a new close colleague to work with. It was difficult. There were some splendid people to choose from. Together with trusted friends and wise advisors, I prayed for God’s guidance, I did as much homework as I could, I prayed some more. I called some key leaders together and we prayed for wisdom. We met some of the likely candidates. So much talent, so much giftedness, so many possibilities. We could see ourselves working with this person, with that person, with the other one too. Eventually the choice came back to me. Wright, N.T.. Acts for Everyone, Part Two: Chapters 13-18: 2 (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 56). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.
Acts 16:6-10 New International Version (NIV)
6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
Quote #2 by N.T. Wright
“Two hundred miles on foot takes two or three weeks at the very least; what did the little company think they were doing, and where did they suppose they were going? This must have been something of a testing time for all of them, with Paul and Silas establishing a partnership, and Timothy, as the younger colleague, getting to know them but wondering what on earth he had let himself in for. It’s one thing to trust God’s guidance when it’s actually quite obvious what to do next. It’s something else entirely when you seem to be going on and on up a blind alley.” Wright, N.T.. Acts for Everyone, Part Two: Chapters 13-18: 2 (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 58). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.
Acts 16:11-15 New International Version (NIV)
11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district[a] of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.
13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.
Quote #3 by N.T. Wright
“the word Paul preached was in Lydia’s case tapping at a window that was already open. In came the light, into her heart came the message of the Lord, and she and her household were baptized. Then, realizing that Paul and his companions would be much better off in establishing a ministry if they were resident in someone’s home than if they were staying in an inn somewhere, she insisted on inviting them to stay with her. She already had a ‘household’, and now had four more guests. Wright, N.T.. Acts for Everyone, Part Two: Chapters 13-18: 2 (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 63). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.
So in this story we have…
Welcome to Episode #86 of the Sunday Scripture Podcast! We’re in a series for the summer that will walk through the book of Acts. We have a large text today with several important notes, so we will break it up and discuss interesting points...
Acts 14: 1-18 New International Version (NIV)
At Iconium, Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. 2 But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the other Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3 So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders. 4 The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles. 5 There was a plot afoot among both Gentiles and Jews,together with their leaders, to mistreat them and stone them. 6 But they found out about it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding country, 7 where they continued to preach the gospel.
8 In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10 and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.
11 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. 13 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.
14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: 15 “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. 16 In the past, he let all nations go their own way. 17 Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” 18 Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them.
Quote #1 by N.T. Wright
“...part of the message was precisely that the fulfilment was a complete fulfilment in the sense that the underlying purpose of the promises, that through Israel God would bless the whole world, was now being accomplished. The synagogue communities were being invited to embrace a fulfilment of their own long-cherished hopes, which necessarily meant a relativization of their own ‘special’ sense.”
Quote #2 by N.T. Wright
“So Paul and Barnabas –who if they are anything in the pagan world are missionaries on behalf of the One True God, the God of Abraham, the God of Jewish monotheism who stands over against all pagan idols and declares that they are a load of empty nonsense –this Paul and Barnabas are not only faced with the full show of pagan worship, but they are themselves identified with the very gods they have come to debunk! It is remarkable what can happen to a message when the hearers insist on inserting it firmly into their own worldview.”
Our hope is to provide any individual, teacher, or pastor with a comprehensive look at the lectionary text for Sunday through our podcast, blog, and social media posts