Pentecost - Vol. 1

By Morris Niedenthal; Andre Lacocque | Go to book overview

The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
LutheranRoman CatholicEpiscopalPres./UCC/Chr.Methodist/COCU
Exod. 19:2-6a Exod. 19:2-6a Exod. 19:2-6a Exod. 19:2-6a Exod. 19:2-6a
Rom. 5:6-11 Rom. 5:6-11 Rom. 5:6-11 Rom. 5:6-11 Rom. 5:6-11
Matt. 9:35-10:7 Matt. 9:36-10:8 Matt. 9:35-10:8 Matt. 9:36-10:8 Matt. 9:35-10:8

EXEGESIS

First Lesson: Exod. 19:2-6a. For this text, the questions of "setting in life" ( Sitz im Leben) and date are of unusual importance. The association of the words "kingdom" and "priests" has one ring if it was made during the time of the united monarchy (around the tenth century), and quite another if it dates from the postexilic supreme pontificate (let's say the fifth century). In the latter case, the text of Exodus 19:6 bears witness to the historical shift of power from kings to priests after the restoration. Some elements of the text, however, point rather in the direction of a covenant renewal ceremony during the first decades of Israel's kingship when the festival of Succoth (Booths, Tabernacles) was still in force in Shechem or Gilgal.

Although the opinions of the critics are very diverse regarding the meaning of the expression "a kingdom of priests," one will remember a number of elements able to shed some light on our text. First, royal and priestly functions in Israel were not sharply distinguished (cf. 2 Sam. 8:18, 20:26; 1 Chr. 15:27; 16:43; Ps. 110). Israel as a whole is both kingly (cf. Hos. 4:6) and priestly (cf. Exod. 13:2, 11-16; Num. 3:12; 8:16-17; 16:48). In Exodus 19, the background of the expression is the relationship between Israel and the world. The ultimate goal of God's sovereignty over Israel is his taking possession of the whole earth (v. 5). In other words, the separation of Israel from the rest of the nations is ultimately a dedication to, a sanctification for the whole world. Israel is the locus of the universal kingship of God.

Thus Israel is the leaven of the world's sanctification. She embodies the universal return to God and the universal redemption. Her election is inclusive; all peoples are concerned. Ever since the beginning, Abraham is chosen that in him "all the families of the earth shall be blessed" ( Gen. 12:3). The chosen people is the promise in the world and the first fruit of the reparation of that which has been broken. Such a role of Israel is eminently dynamic; it is a commission, a total dedication, a ceaseless sanctification of the self, of history, and of space (v. 5).

Second Lesson: Rom. 5:6-11 . These verses describe a progression from the past to the future through the present time. While the Romans

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Pentecost - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • General Preface iii
  • Table of Contents v
  • The Day, of Pentecost 1
  • The Second Sunday After Pentecost 12
  • The Third Sunday After Pentecost 18
  • The Fourth Sunday After Pentecost 24
  • The Fifth Sunday After Pentecost 30
  • The Sixth Sunday After Pentecost 36
  • The Seventh Sunday After Pentecost 42
  • The Eighth Sunday After Pentecost 47
  • The Eighth Sunday After Pentecost 52
  • References Cited 58
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