The Genesis text describes the hovering of the divine Spirit over the waters at creation leading into the calling of “light” as “day” for that first day of creation.
The Psalm (being a Canaanite hymn cast into Yahwistic adulation) imagines Yahweh enshrined above the waters as king of all: in power and majesty.
Acts finds Paul leading the Ephesian water-baptized converts into Spirit inundation that Jesus might be demonstrated as Lord.
And the Gospel reading is Jesus’ water baptism leading to the Spirit alighting upon him with the Father’s blessings.
In each of these texts it is the Lord (as Spirit) who oversees the watery baptisms and leads from the abyss of cleansing into the life of the blessed Son who reigns supreme as the glorious light of Heaven. These texts intersect one another pointing to something which a Pentecostal hearing might enjoin as demonstrating the Full Gospel message of Jesus saving, sanctifying, baptizing in the Spirit, [and healing?] as king.
I offer the following brief look at a facsimile of one early Greek manuscript of the New Testament which I use in my Hermeneutics course to speak to both the original manuscripts and to utilizing our translations more effectively.
The following is a facsimile of Mark chapter 1 in Codex Sinaiticus (a Greek manuscript whose original provenance is dated to the 4th century).
Note the following in the second line of the left-most column are the following words which I have zoomed in on below (transliterated from the Greek with translation):
IY (with a line over it) followed by XY (with a line over it). These are what are called “nomina sacra” (for more see my blog post on IHS). They are abbreviated forms of “sacred names”. In this case the name is “Jesus Christ”. The first and last letter of each of these Greek words are written with a line over them. The equivalent in English would be JS CT but with lines over each set of letters.
Then note that right over the kappa that looks like our “K” (note the further zoomed in image to the right) on that same line are more nomina sacra written very small with the following letters: YY ΘY. These are not chromosome pairs. 🙂 Again their are lines drawn just above each letter pair. These are the nomina sacra for “Son of God”.
Whoever was copying or editing for this manuscript believed that “Son of God” should be included in the beginning of Mark’s Gospel (either because they possessed a manuscript that included it, knew of one that did, or simply believed it read such), but did not want to put it into the text proper or because they were adding to what others had already copied and wanted to also include it. So instead they put it into the superscript above the text they were working with.
If you look in any contemporary English translations (like the NIV 1984 to the left) you should see a footnote for Mark 1:1 saying “son of God” does not appear in some manuscripts (or something similar to that). You have actually just looked at one of those manuscripts from your footnotes which did not originally include it even though it was later believed to be needing inclusion. 🙂
No thanks, Matthew Mason. I don’t want to “fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ” (Col. 1:24). I want my best life now. (Crying like a baby)
Er…I guess actually I don’t. What I really want is to be conformed to Christ. To follow Him in His life here and now. To serve Him and His Church faithfully with His all surpassing love that does not look away from suffering, but embraces it with hands and feet scarred, with head beaten and bloodied, with the wounds of a back bearing the world’s rejection. Make me like you Jesus…even though it will (and must) hurt.
[originally blogged June 19, 2012 at bluechippastor.org]
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vineyard keeper.2 He removes any of my branches that don’t produce fruit, and he trims any branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit.3 You are already trimmed because of the word I have spoken to you.4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. A branch can’t produce fruit by itself, but must remain in the vine. Likewise, you can’t produce fruit unless you remain in me.5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything.6 If you don’t remain in me, you will be like a branch that is thrown out and dries up. Those branches are gathered up, thrown into a fire, and burned.7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.8 My Father is glorified when you produce much fruit and in this way prove that you are my disciples.9 “As the Father loved me, I too have loved you. Remain in my love.10 If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.11 I have said these things to you so that my joy will be in you and your joy will be complete. (CEB)
Essentially it was preached as I have preached this text myself: we must allow God to prune us that we might be more fruitful. However, I was struck today by the following thought: What if this is NOT about personal piety, but about communal life?
Here’s what I mean: Such texts seem readily enough at hand to describe the biblical notion of God purifying for Himself a people. He indeed is sanctifying us through and through as individual members of His Church. However, this text seems more intent on the notion of cleansing the community of all unfruitful members. This community that is God’s vineyard finds itself rooted in Jesus as “the True Vine”. All who will not abide in him are cut off and will be cast out.
Instead of this text being about how our God sanctifies individuals, it appears instead to be about how God creates His community, His people as a people. Israel of the flesh would be excised if they would not obey the commands of God and His Son. That is their abiding: to trust in Jesus as Messiah and as Lord. Any claims to belonging to that community apart from remaining in Jesus would lead to death and removal.
Further the community of those who abide in Jesus will have joy fulfilled and receive what they ask in his name. He will be the center of all existence for this community. Their very being is established in him and this because God will cut off all that is not to be found in Jesus.
While I still think there are notions of personal piety entailed (“You are already trimmed”), I think this still has community intent given those who had left Jesus in John 6 over his words about eating flesh and drinking his blood and then later by Judas at the supper in John 13. They had been pruned. Who would remain?
What do you think? Is this a faithful reading of the text? Has our personal pietistic reading hampered our ability to hear this text for its congregational (community) intent and force?
I was asked today about the seeming disparity between the genealogy of Matthew and Luke, both of whom provide a different father’s name for Joseph the (supposed) father of Jesus: Jacob (Matthew 1.16) and Heli (Luke 3.23).
There are two basic proposals:
1) That both genealogies refer to Joseph, with Matthew’s account intended for Jesus place as heir to the throne of David and Luke’s account intended for the actual biological lineage of Joseph.
2) Matthew is recording Joseph’s genealogy and Luke is recording Mary’s. This is supported by numerous early Fathers: Origen, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Athanasius, and Justin Martyr.
It has been suggested (in support of the second proposal) that Mary’s genealogy is given under the name Joseph (by Luke) because (A) women were not official heads in the genealogical records of the ancient world, though they could be mentioned (such as in Matthew) it was always in connection to a husband/father, and (B) that perhaps Mary was an only child (speculation, I know) and would be the family inheritor whose husband is then adopted as the heir for her. Under the second explanation it is usually pointed out that this would make Jesus the heir of David (and Abraham) by both adoption (through Joseph) and by birth (through Mary).
Below are 10 rules on preaching Jesus’ parables that I found written over Faith and Theology, a blog by Benjamin Myers, whom I do not know (but just came across he blog). So I take zero credit for them but find them to be enlightening, funny and quite helpful. Enjoy, and feel free to comment.
Rule #1: Don’t assume that God is necessarily one of the characters in the parable.
Rule #2: Don’t assume that the parable is trying to tell you how to improve your life.
Rule #3: Don’t assume that you’re the goodie in the story (and that other people are the baddies).
Rule #4: If you can explain the whole parable without mentioning the words “kingdom of God,” you’re probably doing it wrong.
Rule #5: If it ends up having anything to do with going to heaven when we die, you’re probably doing it wrong