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Revised Common Lectionary Commentary

Clippings: Third Sunday of Easter - May 4, 2014



Saint Dominic contemplating the Scriptures Saint Dominic contemplating the Scriptures
Author's note:
Sometimes I have material left over when I edit Comments down to fit the available space. This page presents notes that landed on the clipping room floor. Some may be useful to you. While I avoid technical language in the Comments (or explain special terms), Clippings may have unexplained jargon from time to time.

A hypertext Glossary of Terms is integrated with Clippings. Simply click on any highlighted word in the text and a pop-up window will appear with a definition. Bibliographic references are also integrated in the same way.

Acts 2:14a,36-41

An outline of Peter’s sermon:

vv. 14-21 Introduction relating the sermon to the narrative framework
vv. 22-36 Jesus kerygma, framed as an accusation of the audience, replete with arguments from the Old Testament
vv. 38-39 Call for repentance and conversion based on the kerygma

At this point in Acts, the evangelical effort is limited to Israel. Later it will be broadened to include other lands. [ NJBC]

Verse 36: “both Lord and Messiah”: Luke tends to attribute Lord and Messiah to the earthly Jesus (see Luke 2:11; 4:41; 5:8, 12; 7:13, 19; 10:1-2; 11:1; 13:23; 19:8; Acts 10:33, 36), so the substance of this verse cannot be his words, which says that God made Jesus Lord and Messiah (Christ) by raising him and exalting him. [ JBC] As mentioned in last week’s Clippings:

Most scholars believe that Peter’s sermon has been placed on Peter’s lips, largely because the construction and grammar are more erudite than could be expected of a Galilean fisherman. This was a standard practice in ancient historiography. Not having access to the actual text – or even to the event – of a speech, the author would compose a speech for the speaker as a way of explaining the meaning of the narrative. Though we might consider such a practice fraudulent today, in ancient times it was considered just a tool for describing the truth in the historical narrative.

Verse 38: “baptised ... in the name of Jesus Christ”: As a formula with the Greek word baptisthenai, with varying prepositions (see 8:16; 10:48; 19:5), it is found only in Acts. Here it is used in a confessional sense. [ NJBC]

Verse 38: “the gift of the Holy Spirit”: Christian baptism and this gift (see 10:45 and 11:17) are inseparable (see 1:5; 10:44-48; 11:15-16; 15:8). See also 8:15-16 and 19:2, 6. [ NJBC]

Verse 39: “everyone whom the Lord ... calls ...”: God controls the young church’s growth – a point illustrated repeatedly in the following chapters. This clause is based on Joel 2:32c; the quotation in vv. 17-21 stops short of this clause. [ NOAB] For “everyone”, NJBC offers as many as.

Verse 40: “this corrupt generation”: See also Deuteronomy 32:5 (“crooked generation”) and Psalm 78:8 (“a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God”). [ NJBC]

Verse 41: Here, as also in Paul’s preaching to pagans in Athens (see 17:29-31), the kerygma awakens the consciousness of sin (see also 3:17) and therewith the state of mind necessary for forgiveness (see also 3:19 and 5:31).

Verse 42: “breaking of bread”: Apparently a common meal which included the Eucharist, as is described in 1 Corinthians 11:17-24. [ NOAB]

Psalm 116:1-4,12-19

Psalms 113-118 are called the hallelujah psalms because they all include “Praise the Lord” (Hebrew: hallelujah). In the Jewish liturgical tradition, they were used in connection with the great festivals. At Passover, Psalms 113-114 were sung before the meal and Psalms 115-118 after it.

In the Septuagint translation, this is two psalms: vv. 1-9 are Psalm 114 and vv. 10-19 Psalm 115. (Psalms 9-10 are one psalm in the Septuagint.) The Vulgate followed the Septuagint, and modern Roman Catholic bibles follow the Vulgate.

Several Aramaic features in this psalm (vv. 7, 12, 16) suggest it was composed during the last several centuries before Christ. [ NJBC]

The psalmist calls on the Lord three times: vv. 2, 4 and 17.

Verses 1-4: These verses resemble 18:2-7a. [ NJBC]

Verse 3: “Sheol”: It is also mentioned in 6:5; 88:5-6 (“the grave ... the Pit”); 115:17 (“any that go down into silence”); Job 3:13-19; Genesis 37:35 (Jacob, concerning Joseph’s supposed death); 2 Samuel 12:23. [ NOAB]

Verses 5-6: An instruction to those present.

Verse 7: “Return, O my soul”: When someone was faint (from hunger or thirst), it was thought that the soul/spirit had departed from him. When the person revived, the soul returned. The psalmist reassures his soul that it is safe to return after his terrifying experience (vv. 3-4). See also Genesis 35:18; 1 Samuel 30:12; Psalm 23:3; Daniel 10:17. [ NJBC]

Verses 8-9: Description of the psalmist’s recovery. [ NOAB]

Verse 8: “my soul”: i.e. my very being.

Verse 10: “I kept my faith”: In the Lord, implied. The second part of the psalm starts with a theme similar to that with which the first part began.

Verses 12-19: The vow, and its fulfilment, described. A psalmist says in 7:17: “I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High”. [ NOAB]

Verses 13,17: “call on the name of the Lord”: While in v. 2 the psalmist has called on Yahweh’s name in fear, here he calls on it in praise in the Temple. [ NJBC]

Verse 13: “cup of salvation”: For drink offering, libation, see Exodus 29:40. Here the cup is one that saves rather than a cup of God’s wrath: see Isaiah 57:17ff. [ NOAB]

Verse 15: Why the death of God’s “faithful ones” should be precious to him is not clear. [ NJBC]

Verse 16: “child of your serving girl”: In 86:16, a psalmist says: “Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant; save the child of your serving girl”. [ NOAB]

1 Peter 1:17-23

Verse 14: “obedient”: i.e. to the law of holiness of the new covenant. [ NJBC]

Verse 14: “you formerly had in ignorance”: In front of the Areopagus in Athens, Paul says: “While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent” (see Acts 17:30). See also Ephesians 4:17-18. [ NOAB]

Verse 15: “holy”: Meaning separated, dedicated . [ NJBC]

Verse 16: “You shall be holy, for I am holy”: In Leviticus 11:44, God commands “... sanctify yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy”. See also Leviticus 19:2; 20:7, 26. [ NJBC]

Verse 17: Our relationship with the “Father” is no excuse for careless conduct. In Philippians 2:5-7, Paul tells the Christians at Philippi: “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness”. See also Galatians 4:4; Colossians 1:18; John 1:1-14; 17:24.

Verse 17: “live in reverent fear during the time of your exile”: This does not refer to exile from heaven, but to social dislocation that Christians experience in a pagan world. In 2:11, they are referred to as “aliens and exiles”; their situation was indeed precarious. [ NJBC]

Verse 18: “ransomed”: Slaves and property were also ransomed , redeemed. See also Exodus 13:12-13; Leviticus 25:26, 48-49. The term is also used of the Israelites’ release from slavery in Egypt: see Exodus 6:6 and Isaiah 44:22-23. 1 Timothy 2:5-6 says “For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all – this was attested at the right time” [ IntPet]

Verse 18: “not with perishable things like silver or gold”: Ezekiel 7:19 foretells: “They shall fling their silver into the streets, their gold shall be treated as unclean. Their silver and gold cannot save them on the day of the wrath of the Lord ...”. IntPet sees here an allusion to the Septuagint translation of Isaiah 52:3 (“... You have been sold for nought; and you shall not be ransomed with silver”).

Verse 19: 1 John 1:6-7 says “If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin”.

Verse 19: “precious blood”: Leviticus 17:14 says “... the life of every creature is its blood ...” [ NJBC]

Verse 19: “like that of a lamb without defect or blemish”: For perfection being a requirement of every victim, see Leviticus 22:19-25. For this being a requirement particularly of the Passover lamb, see Exodus 12:5. [ JBC]

Verse 20: This verse is probably a fragment from an ancient creed or hymn: 2 Timothy 1:9-10 says “This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel”. [ NJBC]

Verse 20: God’s eternal plan (see Romans 16:25-26; 1 Corinthians 2:7; Colossians 1:26; Ephesians 3:9-10; Titus 1:2-3) is made known by the Incarnation at the inauguration of the last times. [ NJBC]

Verse 20: “before the foundation of the world”: See also See also 4:17; Hebrews 12:5-11; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:10-11; Matthew 5:44-48.

Verse 20: “revealed at the end of the ages”: See also Mark 14:62; 1 Corinthians 1:7; Jude 18.

Verse 22: “purified your souls”: See also Ephesians 5:26 and Hebrews 10:22.

Verse 22: “love one another”: This is a characteristic mark of the Christian community. It is found numerous times in the New Testament, including in Romans 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; Hebrews 13:1; 1 John 3:11, 14; 4:11-12, 20-21. [ IntPet]

Verse 23: The author supports his claim with the quotation from Isaiah 40:6-9 (in the Septuagint translation) in vv. 24-25. [ NJBC] [ NOAB]

Verse 23: “born anew”: See also John 3:3 (Jesus answers Nicodemus), 5; Romans 6:3-11; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 4:19; Titus 3:5; 1 John 3:9.

Verse 23: “imperishable seed”: IntPet says that the Old Testament images of the enduring word of God (see Psalm 33:9) and its fruitfulness (see Isaiah 55:10-11) underlie this image.

Verses 24-25a: The quotation establishes the contrast between God’s word and what comes into being through merely natural processes. [ IntPet]

Luke 24:13-35

This passage uses many elements of Luke’s journey terminology. Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem is described in 9:51-19:28. See particularly 9:51 (“When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.”) and 19:28 (“After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem”). [ NJBC]

The infidelity of the “two” contrasts with the fidelity of the women in 23:49-24:12. [ NJBC]

Verse 16: They perceive Jesus, but don’t recognize him for who he is. Throughout the gospel, Luke has played on the theme of seeing. See also 9:45; 18:34; 23:8, 35, 47-49. Now he articulates this theme in vv. 23-24, 31, 32 and 35 as he tells how the risen Christ opens the eyes of disciples to see his true meaning in God’s plan; however their eyes are only opened when they show hospitality to a stranger. See also John 20:14 (“When she [Mary] had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus”) and 21:4 (“Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus”). [ NJBC] [ NOAB]

Comments: Eusebius: Eusebius was born in the 260s in Palestine. He studied and worked in Caesarea, became bishop of the town in 313-314, and died there in 339-340. He wrote several historical works of which History of the Church is the greatest. It is of immense value for it preserves many documents otherwise unknown to us. [ CBCF]

Verses 19-20: This is the Christian creed (see also Acts 2:22-24 and 10:38) but mere recital of that creed does not create the sight of faith. [ NJBC]

Verses 20-21: These facts fulfil Jesus’ prophecies in 9:22, 13:32-33 and 18:31-33 but to recite the facts of Jesus’ life, even knowing his prophecies, doesn’t open the eyes of faith. [ NJBC]

Verse 27: Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount: “‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill’” (Matthew 5:17). See also v. 44 and Acts 28:23 (Paul on the island of Malta). Jews divide the Old Testament (the Hebrew Scriptures) into three parts: the Torah (or Law or Pentateuch, believed to have been written by Moses), the Prophets (including Joshua, Kings and Samuel) and the Writings. [ NOAB]

Verse 28: In Mark 6:48, we read: “When he [Jesus] saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the sea. He intended to pass them by”. [ CAB] [ NOAB]

Verse 30: See also Mark 6:41 (the Feeding of the Five Thousand); 14:22 (the Institution of the Lord's Supper); Luke 9:16; 22:19. This meal should not immediately be interpreted as a Eucharist but should be linked with the theme of eating that Luke has been developing throughout his gospel. [ NOAB]

Verse 30: Comments: At the Last Supper, Jesus said he would not share food with his disciples until God’s kingdom came: In 22:16-18, Jesus tells his disciples: “‘I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God ... I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes’”. [ NJBC]

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