Sunday, Mar 5, 2017: “Today’s Scripture Readings”

 

Old Testament: Genesis (2:15-17, 3:1-7)

 

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”  Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

 

  • We use the term “in Lent” since Sundays are celebrations of the resurrections.
  • Walter Brueggemann noted this appears to have been a marginal text — no other references to it.
  • He noted it was one of many stories and noted the O.T. does not support the fall from grace.
  • No names were given… “Adam” means “earthling;”  “Eve” means “the living.”
  • It’s a variation on the one hundred-year-old story about Gilgamesh.

 

***********

  

The Response: Psalm 32

 

1 Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven,

  whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD

   does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away

   through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;

  my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Selah
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you

   and did not cover up my iniquity. I said,

   “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”–

    and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah
6 Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you

     while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise,

      they will not reach him.
7 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble

    and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

   I will counsel you and watch over you.
9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,

   which have no understanding

   but must be controlled by bit and bridle

   or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,

    but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds

   the man who trusts in him.
11 Rejoice in the LORD and be glad,

    you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!

 

  • This is known as a “teaching Psalm,” in the late part of the Old Testament written after the exile.
  • It expresses a state of forgiveness — We have been forgiven by God.
  • There are four unique sections with four unique responses.
  • The last four verses highlight teaching.

 

***********

 

The Epistle: Romans (5: 12-19)

 

Just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned—sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law. Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come.  But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many.  And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.  Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

 

  • Jumps back and forth between the one man and the many.
  • It contains long run-on sentences.
  • It contrasts the first man and Jesus.
  • The focus is on forgiveness.

 

***********

 

The Gospel: Matthew (4:1-11)

 

After Jesus was baptized, he was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”  Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”  Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.

 

  • Matthew and Luke both used Mark as a source as well as the “Q” or “Quelle” source.
  • These verses appear to come from the “Q” source.
  • In Mark, he notes Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness but gives no details.
  • The “Q” source embellishes Mark’s version.
  • 4o is symbolic in the Bible:  40 days of Noah, 40 days of Moses on Mt. Sinai, 40 years in wilderness.
  • The story seems to be based on the 40 days of the Israelites in the wilderness
  • Three temptations:  hunger — lack of water — golden idol worship.
  • The Israelites failed the temptations all three times.
  • Jesus, in contrast, overcomes all three of his temptations.
  • Jesus also quotes verses from Deuteronomy.
  • The story seems to have been created to help interpret scripture.

 

————–