Sunday, January 26, 2014: “Today’s Scripture Readings”


A Reading from the Book of Isaiah (9:1-4)


There will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.


> These verses are often used at Christmas.

> May take place in the northern kingdom or later on in the south.

> Matthew will quote from these passages in the Gospel.

> In the 8th century BCE Galilee was a pagan area.

> By Jesus’ time, Galilee was predominately Jewish.

> It seems like God helped them to a victory.

> The image in general is that of a new leader and a new beginning.



Psalm (27:1, 5-13)


1  The Lord is my light and my salvation;  whom then shall I fear? *

     the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom then shall I be afraid?

5   One thing have I asked of the Lord; one thing I seek; *

     that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life;

6   To behold the fair beauty of the Lord *

     and to seek him in his temple.

7   For in the day of trouble he shall keep me safe in his shelter; *

      he shall hide me in the secrecy of his dwelling

      and set me high upon a rock.

8   Even now he lifts up my head *

     above my enemies round about me.

9   Therefore I will offer in his dwelling an oblation

      with sounds of great gladness; *

      I will sing and make music to the Lord.

10  Hearken to my voice, O Lord, when I call;*

      have mercy on me and answer me.

11 You speak in my heart and say, “Seek my face.”*

      Your face, Lord, will I seek.

12  Hide not your face from me,*

      nor turn away your servant in displeasure.

13  You have been my helper; cast me not away;*

      do not forsake me, O God of my salvation.


> Popular Psalm – used several times a year.

> Also popular at funerals.

> Prayer for help.

> Affirms trust in God first, then a plea for help.  (Opposite of the normal sequence.)
> God is already giving protection.  God is salvation. 



A Reading from the First Letter of Paul  to the Corinthians (1:10-18)


Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you?  Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.)  For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.


> The basic issue is the unity of the community.

> From Chloe: divisions in unity (Paul/Apollos/Cephas/Christ).

> Baptized by one of them?  Mystical experience.

> Paul’s main mission was not to baptize, but to reunite in Christ.

> Apollos was an Alexandrian Jew.

> Priscilla and Aquilla were apostles of Jesus.  They taught Apollos about Christ as savior.

> Salvation according to Paul’s authentic letters is in the future.

> In the later Gospels, you were already saved.

> Also in the later writings, the church hierarchy is taking shape.



The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew (4:12-23)


Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him. Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.


> More familiar story – in North – Galilee.

> John the Baptist is now out of the picture (arrested).

> Capernaum means village of Nahum.

> It was a fishing center and a larger city with a larger mix of people.

> Matthew pulls out quotes from the prophets.

> This marks the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.

> Matthew follows Mark’s Gospel — the disciples follow Jesus immediately.

> In Luke, they need more evidence to follow him (healing, full fishing nets, etc.)

> Fishermen were most likely middle class – no “poor and lonely.”

> A synagogue was a meeting place and not necessarily a building.

> These verses prepare us for Jesus’ sermon on the mount.