Occasional clarifications from our Pastor on the passages we hear and sometimes don't hear on Sunday morning.
In the order of the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Matthew is the first. Sometimes it is called the first gospel because there is a school of thought which believes it was the first written, perhaps even in Aramaic; however, no copy of this has ever been found. Others subscribe to Mark because it is the shortest; over time the tradition grows and thus you have Matthew and Luke. And there is still Q. Some scholars hold out hope of someday finding the missing Q gospel which will explain everything in the three “synoptic gospels,” Matthew, Mark and Luke.
John stands alone in how he presents the story of Jesus. Rather than following a certain sequence of events (as in the others) John chooses the events which show Jesus to be the Son of God and Savior of the world. John’s method is spelled out in 20:30-31. John wants you, the reader, to understand and be saved.
Pastor tends to favor John’s gospel. Most of what we confess in the Creed is from John. We tend to read the Passion from John’s vantage point as well.
In English God’s name would look like this YHWH. It is pronounced Yahweh; once upon a time it was erroneously pronounced Jehovah.
In the scholarly literature it is called “the tetragrammaton” that’s Greek for “the four letters” of God’s name. Translated YHWH means “I AM,” it’s God’s answer to Moses at the burning bush. Since the Second Commandment forbade the misuse of God’s name, it was avoided altogether with a circumlocution, “Adonai” which we render, THE LORD.
The disciples and Greek Christians used (kyrios), the Lord, in referring to Jesus. As if all of this isn’t confusing enough, kyrios was a title that had political connections in its day. Perhaps this is why it was almost treasonous to be a Christian in the first century, and why Pilate wondered to what extent Jesus was a king.
About Jesus, St. Paul says, “God has given him the name above all names… and that at that name of Jesus every knee in heaven and earth will bow. “ Philippians 2:9-10
A Word About Romans
It may not have escaped your notice that we are reading through Romans, and we are scheduled to be finished with Paul’s best known letter sometime in mid September. The lectionary suggests that you finish the reading for this day, 9:1-13 at home.
Chapter 9 takes up a delicate subject; the salvation of the Jews. We live at a time when this is not discussed in polite company. Your friends and neighbors already believe they know what the Church and scripture has to say about this. Leave it there. Jesus has answered this vexing issue for all of us, “no one comes to the Father but by me,” (John 14:6). End of subject.
As for you and me, it is our duty to share God’s love with all of them; to pray for them and even with them, and to show them every kindness. The rest we leave to the Holy Spirit.