By Travis J. Scholl Commemorating the sixteenth-century events that came to be called the Protestant Reformation is more complicated than it used to be. Triumphalism—a certain weirdly coiffed presidential candidate notwithstanding—is no longer in vogue. We left it behind in favor of our more cosmopolitan sensibilities. Moreover, the drop in religious literacy has further problematized our ..
By David Schmitt Textual Notes In this reading, Jesus moves from the world of the imagination, where he tells a parable (vv. 9–14), to the world of his ministry, where he blesses children (vv. 15–17). Both of these worlds are joined by a common problem and a common theme. The common problem is contempt for others, ..
By Kent Burreson The Persistent Church and the Long-suffering Lord O Spirit, who didst once restore Thy Church that it might be again The bringer of good news to men, Breathe on Thy cloven Church once more, That in these gray and latter days There may be those whose life is praise, Each life a ..
By Dale A. Meyer This text speaks to our faith within the context of a changed America, a churched nation in our youth but now a country that gives the church no special privilege. This sermon can probe, perhaps uncomfortably, parishioners’ faith, and do so with an eye toward more faithful community outreach. About the text: ..
By Rick Marrs This is a difficult text for Lutherans to hear. We are more comfortable with texts about God’s grace, and being his children and heirs of his promises, but Jesus is prone to saying things that challenge our regular metaphors, and that will increase our faith. This is also a difficult text for ..
By Thomas Egger It is interesting to look at different paintings inspired by this Bible story. The rich man is surrounded by friends and servants and tables furnished with food, and his gaze is fixed on one of his friends or on an alluring woman or on the platters of food. Poor Lazarus is surrounded ..
By Victor Raj Justice God’s Way I began to study this text rather carefully on tax day, April 15. Especially in that context, the theme of accounting surfaced in my mind almost instantaneously as I read along. Thoughts about managing wealth, budgeting, income and spending, and claiming deductions on tax returns could not be disregarded. ..
By Erik Herrmann Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” The parables of the “lost” in Luke 15—the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son—are perhaps the most well-known parables of ..
By Jason Broge It is perhaps impossible to read this text and not be struck by the use of the word hate. Some commentators suggest this is a Hebraism, and should be interpreted as implying preference. The Greek word μισέω, however, is best translated as hate or its synonym and not merely as a lesser form ..
By Wayne J. Knolhoff “They were watching him carefully.” Luke observes that the Pharisees kept a close eye on Jesus. They watched him so they could witness him violating the Sabbath and expose him to the people as a law breaker. They brought a man with edema (retention of water and swelling that was a symptom ..
By Jeffrey Thormodson This focus of this text is about the baptized, to “those who are being saved”; verse 23 uses a present participle that identifies the hearer for whom salvation has already come. An individual in the crowd is curious, or speculating about the salvation of others and asks, “Lord will those who are ..
Jeffrey A. Oschwald As if the themes of this Gospel weren’t challenge enough, two significant exegetical/translational questions must also be addressed. Luke 12:49b is “a passage of well-known difficulty, the translation of which remains doubtful.”1 Just presents the case for the translation “How I wish that it were already kindled,” but the parallels are not ..
Mark Rockenbach It is always important to consider the context of the assigned readings. Therefore, look at Luke 12:16–21. Jesus tells a story about a rich man who has an abundance of earthly goods. He has so many earthly goods that he is considering a plan to tear down his current barns in order to ..
David I. Lewis Literary Context In the verses proceeding today’s text Jesus confronts the religious authorities about their hypocrisy (11:37–54) and then warns his disciples to be faithful in the midst of persecution (12:1–12), persecution that would come in part from those very religious authorities. Today’s pericope then follows. Here Jesus turns from the disciples ..
By Todd Jones It might seem like an odd thing to do, but notice how our first reading in Luke 11 takes on a slightly different tone when it is considered in light of the last of our Lord’s words in chapter 10, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one ..
By Paul R. Raabe The Gospel lesson appointed for the ninth Sunday after Pentecost is the Mary and Martha account. It illustrates the priority of the word over food. The psalm for that day prays, “Teach me your way, O Yahweh” (Ps 27:11). That prayer expresses the desire of Mary. When tempted, Jesus himself said, ..