By William Carr Context Matthew 21 begins with the “Palm Sunday” entry to Jerusalem. For the moment, Jesus is “riding high,” even if on a lowly donkey and its colt. Who is this guy? Here’s the “buzz”: “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee” (21:10). The chapter ends with an emphasis on the ..
By Gerhard Bode Why the Question about Jesus’s Authority? The events in this account from Matthew 21 take place on the Monday before Jesus’s crucifixion. The context of this pericope is important to note, especially since the text includes the first in a series of challenges by Jewish leaders in Jerusalem to Jesus’s authority. One ..
By David I. Lewis Introduction: Today’s Gospel reading contains a parable that is unique to Matthew’s Gospel, the so-called parable of the workers in the vineyard. A title that better reflects the pragmatics of this parable might be, “Jesus’s parable of warning to his disciples against focusing upon the rewards for discipleship and then making sinful ..
By Dale A. Meyer “In this Christian church, he…” Though not our usual style, this text invites an expository approach. The familiar subsections of this reading could lead you to preach a sermon narrowly focused on one aspect of repentance, but neglect the depth of care that Jesus shows for sinners throughout the whole lesson. This ..
By James L. Brauer Caring for the Kingdom’s Greatest Is this reading to be handled as a single insight into the kingdom or is one section of it going to be the subject of a sermon? Each section can be seen as a distinct topic: the greatest in the kingdom, when temptations come, the lost sheep, ..
By Thomas Manteufel Don’t Cross Out the Cross! Both the Old Testament and the Gospel lessons for this day show some startling, unsettling pictures of well-known people of God: (1) the prophet Jeremiah questioning the trustworthiness of the word of God, wondering whether it is “like a deceptive brook” (Jer 15:18), sometimes plentiful with water, sometimes ..
By Kyle Castens Who? What? Have you ever tried to work yourself into a story? In this morning’s Gospel text, Jesus asks the disciples a very powerful question: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” The disciples offer a variety of answers heard from the people. Some say John the Baptist. Some ..
by Michael J. Redeker Liturgical Context: This week’s readings answer a question, “Do Gentiles have a part in God’s plan of salvation?” For example, Psalm 67 never tires of announcing YHWH’s blessings upon his people. But this Psalm also proclaims that all nations should recognize him as their judge, provider, and their way of governance ..
By Andrew Bartelt Literary and Canonical Background Our Lord’s ministry began with the notice that John the Baptist had been arrested (4:12). The words and deeds of Jesus now have been twice interrupted by the ongoing story of John, who sent his disciples to ask if Jesus was “the one to come” in 11:2ff. Jesus answered ..
By Henry Rowold “Feed Them!” As happens regularly in Scripture, this pericope is so rich that it can evoke an entire series of sermons, without stretching or duplicating: Jesus withdrew from the crowd (also 12:15, and other places specify his retreat for prayer); Jesus has compassion, and heals and feeds multitudes of people; Jesus’s grace ..
By Robert Weise Parables of Assurance and Hope I would suggest that the best reference for studying the context of these three parables that “assure them [the disciples] that God is reigning and that to follow Jesus is the good and right thing to do” is found in Dr. Jeff Gibbs’ commentary on Matthew 11:2–20:34.1 This ..
By Travis J. Scholl Consider this act two in the grand dramatic entrance of the parables into the Gospel of Matthew and the Matthean lectionary, the second of three consecutive readings of Matthew 13’s “parables of the kingdom.” The lectionary divisions essentially follow what exegetes have found to be the triadic pattern of the chapter (for ..
By Francis C. Rossow From childhood on we’ve known the scriptural truth that hearing affects living. Only the word of God can create faith in our hearts and good in our lives. The more we hear the word of God, therefore, the stronger our faith and the better our behavior become. Right? Right! A colleague once ..
By Paul Philp Jesus has just concluded speaking words of woe upon the cities where the response to his proclamation among them was ignored and rejected. This word of harsh condemnation makes it clear that those in these cities remain outside of the context of the faith. These are they who do not know the Father, ..
By David Peter Liturgical Context This text is appointed for this date simply because it falls in the sequence of the lectio continua for the gospel readings from Matthew’s Gospel. The theme is that of division, conflict, and strife which inevitably accompany the faithful proclamation of God’s word. The appointed Old Testament reading from Jeremiah 28:5–9 ..