F I N A L M A T E R I A L T O A P P E A R H E R E — Introduction to today’s lessons — December 28, 2014  The First Sunday after Christmas  Year A Isaiah 61:10—62:3 The setting of this lesson is the period after the return to Jerusalem of some of those Jews who had been taken in exile to Babylon. It “consists of songs celebrating the return from exile.”1 What is highlighted is "the theme of joy in face of the impending advent of God's salvation.”2 But their salvation has been delayed.3 Verse 11. When salvation does come the nations will acknowledge Yahweh's authority "as the one God.”4 Verses 62:1-3 “comes from a section of Third Isaiah that consists of songs celebrating the return from exile.”5 Verse 62:2: "The prophet's task is to proclaim unremittingly the coming of the day of vindication and salvation, which will be signalized by the new name.”6 The people rejoice in the expectation that the delay in their salvation is coming to an end and as a result their suffering will end. In verse 62:2, the 'new name' represents a new relationship will come into being. It reflects "God's turning back towards his people."7 Verse 62:3 "describes the very close relationship in which the glorified Jerusalem exists with God, how precious she is to him (Volz).”8 The crown is a visual representation of Israel's glory. It expresses the close relationship between Yahweh and Zion.”9 Psalm 147:12-20 Verse 12: "...the psalmist is addressing Jerusalem-Zion and describing the bolts of the city's gates [vs. 13..’the bars’],' which keep the people of the city safe from marauders; [vs. 14] more precisely designates the city limits.”10 "Jerusalem, Zion–-the center of the divine work of Creation and salvation. The hymn accordingly tells of his royal word with which he both rules the elements and gives unique revelation to Israel...they greet him as the Lord of all who has made himself known uniquely in Jerusalem.”11 The motif of this psalm is that "the greatness of the Lord is manifest in his creation and governance of the world and also in his care for his people.”12 "Verse 15: "Literally, 'his word' more probably refers to the thunder that accompanies the rain.”13 Jerusalem is "the city of God, the place where God's Word and will are manifested for the benefit of his worshipers...The peace which the city enjoys under God's protection, [it's] vitality...and the yield of the earth are...the visible proofs of the grace and power of their God.”14 Verse 18: "By sending a pouring rain accompanied by thunder, Yahweh melts the ice and frost.”15 Verse 19, 'his word', "Namely, the Ten Commandments."16 Verse 20: Only to Israel has God revealed himself. "For the psalmist, God's most laudable act is the revelation of his laws to Israel.”16 Galatians 3:23-25; 4:4-7 Paul says the Jewish law was a temporary ‘fix’, an imperfect faith functioning as a 'guardian/disciplinarian' until Christ came.17 "Life could only be made tolerable for society as a whole by the restraining power of the law…Man was created in the image of God and God intended him to be a son and not a slave.”18 As Thomas Aquinas said, “He assumed our nature in order that by becoming human he might make us divine.” "The Son was sent that we might become sons and daughters...He became human through a human birth precisely in order that we might be elevated to the status of children of God...The purpose of the incarnation was the liberation of human beings from the law that they might become children of God.”19 Beginning with verse 4, "According to recent scholarly investigation, this passage is a pre-Pauline creedal formula that Paul has expanded.”20 Verses 4 and 5: “God has purchased the whole person, presumably in the ‘redemption’ which took place through the messiah’s death.”21 Verses 6 and 7: “…the gift of the divine Spirit provides the sure knowledge of the future ‘inheritance’, which is assured but not yet possessed.”22 “What Christ has done is essentially not to give us a new status but a new attitude to God.”23 John 1:1-18 The Prologue to John's gospel, "is a description of the history of salvation in hymnic form.”24 "It is fairly certain that the evangelist John did not himself compose the hymn to the Logos, but that it existed prior to his use of it. Yet, its origin is much in dispute.”25 The beginning of John's Gospel takes one back before creation; in Jesus, God was making a new creation. 26 "...The evangelist meant to claim that Jesus was the self-expression of God—the revealed, public side of the divine being. By claiming that Jesus is the Word of God the author supposes that Jesus is the divine medium of communication with humanity.”27 Verse 3: "The fact that the Word creates means that creation is an act of revelation.”28 John’s role diminished Verse 6-8: "The Fourth Gospel stresses more the role of John the Baptist as a witness than as a baptizer.”29 Verses 6-9 have been supplied by an editor.”30 "There is no reference here to John the Baptist's work of baptism, but solely to his commission to bear testimony.”31 "The theme is the Logos, pre-existent, incarnate, rejected, yet revealer of God and giver of sonship to those who believe in his divine mission.”32 Verse 14: "When the Prologue proclaims that the Word made his dwelling among men, we are being told that the flesh of Jesus Christ is the new localization of God's presence on earth...It is quite possible...the Prologue is reflecting the idea that Jesus is now the shekinah of God (God's presence dwelling among His people), the locus of contact between the Father and those men among whom it is His delight to be.”33 "How the divine will can and should be done is now to be shown by the incarnate Word, partly by His teaching, still more by His manner of life, and above all by the manner of His death and its results.”34 Footnotes Isaiah 1. Reginald H. Fuller, Preaching the Lectionary [The Liturgical Press, Rev. ed., 1984], 447: “…Jerusalem has not yet been rebuilt.” 2. Fuller, 209; The Interpreter's Bible, Vol. V [exegesis of Isaiah, James Muilenburg, 1956], 714: "The prophet speaks as the representative of Zion: her words are his words." 3. Reginald H. Fuller and Daniel Westberg, Preaching the Lectionary [Liturgical Press, 3rd ed., 2006], 235: "The subject of the present song is the [yet to be] restored city of Jerusalem. God is now rejoicing over the city as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride...In verses 10-11, the prophet speaks in the name of Israel and rejoices in her return from Exile. It is like a marriage between Yahweh and his people, and it will bear the fruits of righteousness." At 209: “Today’s caption highlights the theme of joy in face of the impending advent of God’s salvation…” Fuller, 447: “It uses nuptial imagery to depict the relationship between Yahweh and Israel…” TIB, Muilenburg, 714-15: "The time of rejoicing is like a wedding feast.” John L. McKenzie, SJ., Second Isaiah [The Anchor Bible, 1968], 181: "The speaker is Jerusalem." At 182; "The response of Zion is a cry of gladness. The 'salvation' and the 'righteousness' in which Zion is clothed are the saving acts of Yahweh.” Claus Westermann, Isaiah 40-66, [The Old Testament Library, 1969], 296; The prophesies of Third Isaiah (chapters 56-66) took place sometime between 537 and 521 B.C. The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. 3 [article, Third Isaiah by Christopher R. Seitz, 1992], 502: "Virtually all modern studies...tend to place the bulk of Third Isaiah in the late 6th or early 5th century." McKenzie, LXVII: "We have identified Third Isaiah as a collection of pieces from different authors, united as a continuation of Isaiah and exhibiting a community of theme and situation." TABD, Seitz, 504: Like Second Isaiah (chapters 40-55), Third Isaiah (chapters 56-66) is anonymous. McKenzie, 181-82; Earlier, “Israel has been presented as the mediator between Yahweh and the nations." 4. TABD, Seitz, 504; McKenzie, 185: "The prophet's eagerness to speak refers to his continued proclamation of the message of promise in spite of the delay of salvation... " N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God [Fortress, 2003], 203: Verse 11: “Note the way in which agricultural images and promise are mixed together.” He also points to “lavish hopes expressed in the Zion-oracles and the songs of royal blessing and victory, drawing on the older theology and re-expressing it as a promise and hope of prosperity for Israel and, wider, for the whole world.” 5. Fuller, 447: “The subject of the present song is the restored city of Jerusalem. God is now rejoicing over the city as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride…The speaker in Verse 1 is the prophet…[The] return had doubtless now taken place, but Jerusalem has not yet been rebuilt.” The city was in dire straits. 6. TIB, Muilenburg, 717; "They had hope for the future. Although they had been freed from their exile in Babylonia, their present life in Jerusalem was miserable and there was widespread dissatisfaction; crops were meager; building materials were nearly non-existent; the Jews were governed by the Persians; their attempt to rebuild the temple met with opposition from Israel (the northern kingdom); and they thought God had abandoned them rather than restored their relationship with him. Westermann 295; "Things were so uncertain, circumstances so straightened, and economic troubles so severe, that the vast operation which needed a common effort was discontinued." A.S. Herbert, Isaiah 40-66 [The Cambridge Bible Commentary, 1975], Herbert, 167; "The magnificent promises of Second Isaiah have not been fulfilled, and there is no indication that they will be. But he is confident that this prayer for deliverance will be answered." Herbert, Cambridge, 2: There was "a breakdown of social justice." McKenzie, Anchor, LXIX: Third Isaiah answers by informing the Jews that delay is due to "the failure of the community to regenerate itself morally," not to any default on the part of God. 7. Claus Westermann, Isaiah 40-66 [Tr. David M.G. Stalker, 1966, The Old Testament Library, 1969], 373; McKenzie, 181: Third Isaiah's theme is "that the fulfillment of righteousness will bring the delayed salvation to pass." McKenzie, 182: "'Righteousness here (vs. 10) signifies both the moral quality and the vindication which the moral quality secures." 8. Westermann, 375; 9. TIB, Muilenburg, 718; Psalm 10. Mitchell Dahood, S.J., Psalms III [The Anchor Bible, 1970], 348; 11. J.H. Eaton, Psalms [Torch Bible Commentaries, SCM Press, 1967],312; At 311 he notes: “Some ancient versions…treat vv. 12-20 as a separate psalm.” 12. The Interpreter's Bible, Vol. 4 [exegesis of Isaiah by W. Stewart McCullough, 1955], 749; Taken with today's first lesson, it would appear that Jerusalem's vindication has taken place. Artur Weiser, The Psalms [The Old Testament Library, tr. Herbert Hartwell, 5th Rev. Ed., 1959, 1965], 836: "Here lies the special meaning of the historical existence of the people of Israel whereby they are distinguished from the other nations: the statutes and ordinances of God are given to them as the order that is meant to govern their lives. Election implies increased duties and responsibilities before God (cf. Amos 3:2): 'Everyone to whom much is given, of him will much be required.' (Luke 12:48). 13. Dahood, 348, where he adds: The wheat and well-being of the preceding verse and the snow and frost of the next line show the need for rain...” Weiser, 834: Some of its verses refer either to the Exile of the Jews in Babylon or to the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem after they returned from Babylon. 14. Weiser, 835; Dahood, Anchor, 349: Verse 18: "Commentators point out that snow must have always been rare in Central and Southern Palestine, and frost is very rare in Jerusalem...Biblical poets often appropriated phrases and metaphors coined by their Phoenician and Canaanite colleagues further north where snow and frost were quite common." 15. Dahood, 349; 16. Dahood, 350; Galatians 17. F.F. Bruce, Galatians [The New International Greek Testament Commentary, 1982], 182: In the Judaism of Paul's time, a 'disciplinarian' (custodian) "was the personal slave-attendant who accompanied the free-born boy wherever he went, from the time he left his nurse's care. It was his duty to teach the boy good manners, take him to school, wait for him there...then take him home and test his memory by making him recite the lesson he had learned. During the boy's minority the 'disciplinarian' imposed a necessary restraint on his liberty until, with his coming of age, he could be trusted to use his liberty responsibly." The Interpreter's Bible, Vol. 10 [exegesis of Galatians by Raymond T. Stamm, 1953], 517: The 'attendant' was to discipline the boy in his charge "and keep him straight." He was to keep him out of mischief at school. William Neal, Galatians [The Cambridge Bible Commentary, 1967], 18: "It is by faith that men obtain God's blessing, not by trying to comply with the impossible demands of the Law...The Law was simply a temporary guardian of the life of the People of God until Christ should come ... " The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. II [article, Epistle to the Galatians, by Hans Dieter Betz, 1992], 874: This "contains [part of] Paul's line of argument as he justifies his preaching of the gospel to the gentiles and their acceptance into the church without Torah and circumcision." 18. Neal, Cambridge, 61; Neal, 66: "What he had done for Israel he had done in principle for all mankind. So all of us who by committing our lives to Christ in faith become part of his Body, the new Israel, are no longer slaves but sons. The status of sonship, which Christ had by right of being the unique Son of God, is granted to us by virtue of what he has done.” 19. Fuller 27, 397; Bruce, 200: "Instead of being imprisoned under law, instead of being under the control of a slave-attendant or in care of guardians or stewards, believers are now full-grown sons and daughters of God; they have been given their freedom and the power to use it responsibly.” Bruce, (quoting H.B. Swete, The Holy Spirit in the NT [London, 1909], 204: "The purpose of the Son's mission was to give the rights of sonship; the purpose of the Spirit's mission, to give the power of using them.” At page 198 Bruce also quotes H. Schlier (Galater, 197): "God bestows on us not only the status of sons [through the sending of his Son] but also the character and knowledge of sons [through the sending of the Spirit]. And he bestows on us the character and knowledge of sons because we are already in the status of sons." 20. Fuller, 27; 21. Wright, 290; 22. Wright, 236; at 398 Wright says: “Paul had an increasingly clear sense that this God was to be known as the one who sent the son and the Spirit of the son.” John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew [The Anchor Bible Reference Library, 1991], 266: Meier uses the frequent NT use of ‘Abba’ (here in v. 6] as further evidence “of the Aramaic-speaking Jesus…” 23. Neil, Cambridge, 67; John 24. Raymond E. Brown, S.S., John [The Anchor Bible, 1966], 23-24; Fuller, Preaching, 391: "The evangelist intends the prologue to serve as a theological commentary on his Gospel as a whole." The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. III [article, The Gospel of John, by Robert Kysar. 1992], 913: "The narrative of Jesus' ministry is prefaced with a hymn (1:1-18) which celebrates the salvific work of God through the Word (logos). Here the author alerts the reader to the identity of Jesus and his place in the divine plan." Brown, Anchor, CXII: “One aspect that immediately sets the Fourth Gospel apart from the other Gospels, and gives it peculiar force is its presentation of Jesus as incarnate revelation descended from on high to offer men light and truth.” Kysar, TABD, 921: "It is seldom denied...that behind the Fourth Gospel resides an oral tradition which was rooted in pre-Johannine Christian history and then preserved and shaped by the Johannine community itself." 25. Fuller 22; Raymond E. Brown, S.S., The Community of the Beloved Disciple [Paulist Press, 1979], 33 (See also Appendix I): In Note 45 Brown quotes "R.A. Culpepper, [The Johannine School (SBLDS 26; Missoula: Scholars Press, 1975), 259, n. 10], 265: "The actual founder of the Johannine school is more likely to be found in the figure of the Beloved Disciple...the role of the Beloved Disciple is the key to the character of the community." R. Schnackenburg, Das Johannesevangelium, (HTKNT 4/3; Freiburg: Herder, 1975) III, 449-64, “maintains that the Beloved Disciple is the authority behind the Gospel in whose spirit the Gospel was written but who had no immediate part in the composition of the work. Rather he is the supreme tradition-bearer and witness for the community." Raymond E. Brown, S.S., The Churches the Apostles Left Behind [Paulist Press, 1984], note 4, 14: "Rudolf Schnackenburg...came to the conclusion that the Beloved Disciple (who was not the evangelist but the authority behind the Gospel) was not one of the Twelve." The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. I [article, Beloved Disciple, by Brendan Byrne, 1992], 660: "It is far more likely that the community, which revered him as founder and guide, conferred the epithet [Beloved Disciple] upon him (perhaps posthumously) and that in due course their representative in the shape of the Evangelist wrote him into the gospel. It could be that the BD was responsible for a collection of traditions in distinctly Johannine form which served as the Evangelist's primary source...The BD [could be] the ultimate source and authority for the written gospel, [although that] need not imply any written activity on the part of the BD...In the figure of the BD we should see the head of the Johannine school in its formative period, the person chiefly responsible for the distinctive cast of its particular brand of Christianity." 26. John Marsh, St. John [The Pelican Gospel Commentaries, 1968], 95; cf, Fuller 219-20; and Brown, Anchor, 95; Brown, 95: "What God was doing in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was more than simply calling a new people, a new Israel, to himself, more even than making a new humanity, but actually making a new creation." Brown, Anchor, 4: Both Genesis and John begin with, “‘In the beginning’; therefore, the parallel between the Prologue and Genesis would be easily seen…This is not, as in Genesis, the beginning of creation…Rather the ‘beginning’ refers to the period before creation, and is a designation…of the sphere of God.” Wright, 667: “John declares from the start, with the obvious allusion to Genesis 1.1, that his book is about the new creation in Jesus…This is reinforced by the themes of light and life (1:4-5).” At page 447: “New creation is, for John, exactly that: new creation, the renewal of the ‘all things’ which were made by the Word in the first place (1.3). 27. TABD, Vol. III, Kysar, 923, where he adds: “The Word is said both to be God and to be with God. The language suggests both identification with God and distinctive individuality...It is through the Word that creation is accomplished. The Word, therefore, is the 'life' and 'light' of humanity, i.e., the source of authentic and meaningful existence. Through the Word God sought to restore the divine human relationship, empowering humans to become 'children of God'...In Jesus the Word became incarnate and manifested the identity and nature of God. As the prologue began with the assertion that Jesus (the Word) is God, so it would appear to end. 1:18…may have originally spoken of Jesus as the 'only God.'" C. H. Dodd, The Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel, [Cambridge University Press, 1953, paperback, 1968], 277: "Logos is not simply the uttered word or command of God; it is the meaning, plan or purpose of the universe...God Himself as revealed…we know Him only in His logos...the creative power by which the universe came into being and is sustained…God's power in action as well as His thought." 28. Brown, Anchor, 25; 29. Brown, Anchor, 9; cf., R.H. Lightfoot, St. John's Gospel [Oxford Paperbacks, Oxford University Press], 80; John Marsh, Saint John [The Pelican Gospel Commentaries], 122: "Many had apparently thought that John was [the messiah]...it is clear from Mark 8:28 that the appearance of Jesus had caused many to identify him with Elijah, or one of the prophets; it is not therefore surprising, nor in any way impossible, that similar eschatological hopes were raised by the activity of John." 30. Brown, Anchor, 26, 35; at page 35: There is obvious polemic against any suggestion that John the Baptist might be greater than Jesus because he began his ministry first." In this connection, in The Community of the Beloved Disciple, page 117, Brown points out: "John is the only one of the four Gospels that does not describe the baptism of Jesus." The Interpreter's Bible, Vol. 8 [exegesis of John by Wilbert F. Howard, 1952], 467: Verses 6-8 have been "interjected by the evangelist." Fuller, 314; It "is a prose comment that the evangelist inserted." 31. Lightfoot, 80; Raymond E. Brown, in The Community of the Beloved Disciple [Paulist Press, 1979], 32, suggests that the Beloved Disciple (who he believes was the source of information for the author of John's Gospel) "had been a disciple of John the Baptist." At page 70 he writes, it is "at least feasible that the Johannine community was in dispute with non-Christian followers of John the Baptist." 32. Howard, TIB, 1952], 463; 33. Brown, Anchor, 33-34; Marsh 99: In Jesus, "God became man." 34. John Lightfoot, St. John's Gospel, [Oxford University Press, 1956, Paperback, 1963], 84; Dodd 295: "The Torah [Law of Moses] was conceived as the Word of the Lord: its content and character were described as 'grace and truth'. The evangelist affirms that the Torah did not, in the full sense, bring grace and truth, but Christ does. The Torah therefore is but a shadow of the true Word of God, which came in its full reality in Jesus Christ."
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