Genesis 18:1-15, (21:1-7) – The Lord appears to Abraham by the oaks at Mamre. Sarah laughed.
Exodus 19:2-8a –  If you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples.

Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19 – I love the Lord because he heard my voice. The nares of death encompassed me. I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.
Psalm 100 – Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.

Romans 5:1-8 – Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand…
Matthew 9:35 – 10:8, (9-23) – Jesus sends the 12. The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.

2017 Summer-Gospels-at-a-Glance, Matthew 10-18
13 Sundays, June 18 to September 10, 2017

June 18 Matthew 9:35-10:8. Mission. Jesus sends the 12. Harvest plentiful. Laborers few.
June 25 Matthew 10:24-39. Commitment. Not peace. Sword. Find life by losing it.

July 2 Mt. 10:40-42 Hospitality. Whoever gives a cup of water in my name…
July 9 Mt. 11:16-19, 25-30 Repentance and Comfort. Come to me all weary…
July 16 Mt. 13:1-9, 18-23 Parable of the Sower. Birds, rocks, thorns, good soil.
July 23 Mt. 13:24-30, 36-43 Parable of Wheat and Tares. Let them grow together.
July 30 Mt. 13:31-33, 44-52 Parables of Mustard Seed, Yeast, Treasure, Pearls, Net.

August 6 Mt. 14:13-21 Jesus Feeds the 5,000. Send the crowds away…
August 13 Mt. 14:22-33 Jesus Walks on the Sea. Command me to come to you…
August 20 Mt. 15:[10-20] 21-28 (Blind Guides.) Jesus heals the Canaanite Woman.
August 27 Mt. 16:13-20 Peter Confesses Jesus. On this rock I will build my church.

Sept 3 Mt. 16:21-28 Jesus rebukes Peter. If you would follow me, take up your cross.
Sept 10 Mt. 18:15-20 Jesus teaches on Conflict. If a member sins against you…

Summer-Epistles-at-a-Glance, Romans 6-14
14 Sundays, June 18, to September 17, 2017

June 18 Rom. 5:1-8 Justified. Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God.
June 25 Rom. 6:1b-11 Baptized. Baptized into Christ’s death, we rise with him.

July 2 Rom. 6:12-23 Freedom. Shall we sin now that we are not under the law? No.
July 9 Rom. 7:15-25a Sin. Paul’s dilemma: The good I want to do, I don’t do.
July 16 Rom. 8:1-11 Spirit. To set the mind on the Spirit is life.
July 23 Rom. 8:12-25 Glory. cannot be compared to suffering now.
July 30 Rom. 8:26-39 Confidence: Nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ.

August 6 Rom. 9:1-5 The Jews: Paul grieves his people have rejected Christ. But theirs are adoption, glory, covenants, law, worship, promises, patriarchs and Messiah.
August 13 Rom. 10:5-15 The Jews: Justified by Faith just like the Greeks. But who can believe without hearing? So blessed is the proclaimer.
August 20 Rom. 11:1-2a, 29-32 The Jews: God has not rejected his people. God has imprisoned all in disobedience, in order that all might have mercy.
August 27 Rom. 12:1-8 Gifts: One body; many members. Conform not. Be transformed.

Sept 3 Rom.12:9-21 Life in the Body. Love one another. Live in harmony. Never seek vengeance.
Sept 10 Rom. 13:8-14 Love in the Body. The whole law is summed up in a single word: Love one another.
Sept 17 Rom. 14:1-12 Conflict in the Body. Don’t quarrel. Welcome one another. Don’t pass judgment on one another. Tolerate differences in piety.

Hebrew Lessons-at-a-Glance
A sprint through the second half of Genesis.

June 18 Genesis 18:1-15 God appears to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre. Sarah laughs.
June 25 Genesis 21:8-21 Hagar and Ishmael sent away.

July 2
Genesis 22:1-14 Abraham tested by God.
July 9 Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67 Isaac and Rebekah. “So he put a ring in her nose, and bracelets on her arm.” (I just love that passage.) “Then Isaac took her into his mother’s tent… and she became his wife… And he loved her.”
July 16 
Genesis 25:19-34 Jacob swindles Esau’s birthright, with red stew.
July 23 Genesis 28:10-19a Jacob’s dream of a ladder to heaven, at Bethel
July 30 Genesis 29:15-28 Jacob, Laban, Leah and Rachel.

August 6 Genesis 32:22-31 Jacob wrestles with God/the angel
August 13
 Genesis 37 Joseph’s dreams and his brothers’ plot. “Here comes this dreamer. Let us kill him and throw him into a pit… and see what will become of his dreams.”
August 20 Genesis 45:1-15 Joseph reveals himself to his brothers.



We would rather be ruined than changed,
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.

– W. H. Auden, The Age of Anxiety

As you know, Matthew is divided into five sections, like the Penteteuch. Each section has a narrative and discourse. Matthew 10 is Jesus’ Mission Discourse. 9:35 to the end of chapter 9 is a transition to this discourse according to David Garland (Reading Matthew).

Jesus has compassion on the people, because they are harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. This image of the shepherdless sheep is often used in the Hebrew Bible to connoted a lack of effective leadership in a dire national situation. The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Sometimes it feels that way today. People are as spiritually hungry as ever, but finding churches that will engage that spiritual hunger, as opposed to doing what has always been done, is a challenge.

Jesus travels the countryside, moving from village to village, house to house, teaching in synagogues, proclaiming the coming of God’s reign, and tending to the sick. He walks into leper colonies, and tells a paralytic to get up and walk, forgiving his sins. The religious leaders find this idolatrous.

The good news here is that God sends healing. God cares about those who are suffering, and sends prophets to address that suffering.

This is essence of Jesus’ ministry: teaching, proclaiming and healing. Should it not be at the very heart of our ministries as well? Is it not possible that you are one of the people God is sending into the world for others’ healing?

Jesus is not content to carry on this ministry by himself. Like every great leader, he is equipping others to carry on the work. He is recruiting and training a team, multiplying his ministry.

In Matthew 10 we learn the names of the disciples. We begin with Peter and end with Judas, as Stanley Hauerwas points out in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible, Matthew. They are people of little faith, and both will betray Jesus in one way or another, but Jesus chooses and sends these flawed folks out anyway. Among those disciples are fishermen and a tax collector.

All too often, our people feel unworthy to be God’s instruments. It is important for the preacher to point out how terribly flawed the major characters of the Bible are. Both Moses and Paul are murderers. This is not to condone their behavior, but to point out that God can redeem any life. If God can use them, God can use you too, probably already has, and will continue to do so in the future.

Here is Jesus’ commission to the twelve: “As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’  Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.” This is our mission as well. Proclaim the kingdom come near. When we catch glimpses of God’s reign in this world, point it out, because we miss it, even when it is right in front of our faces. Then care for the sick, the dead and the possessed. That’s all.

For now, they are only sent to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel,” not to Samaritans or Gentiles. The time for that will come at the end of Matthew’s gospel and even sooner. The number twelve is no accident. Hauerwas points out it keeps Jesus’ disciples in continuity with the twelve tribes of Israel.

This is a great passage to read as a lectio divina/dwelling in the Word. It is interesting to allow people to ruminate on Jesus’ detailed instructions to the disciples. If you do a Bible study, ask people which instructions jump out at them. What might these mean to us today?

  • As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’
  • Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers,cast out demons.
  • You received without payment; give without payment.
  • Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts
  • no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff
  • for laborers deserve their food.
  • Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave.
  • As you enter the house, greet it.If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.  
  • If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town.Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

Give without receiving. Take no money. No bag. No extra tunic or sandals. Travel light. Good advice in general. Even though the text may end at verse 8, I would continue on through at least verse 15.

Mission is the order of the day. It may be a good time to revisit the question of why the congregation exists. What’ is God’s mission in the world? What is the mission of the gospel? The mission of the church? The mission of this congregation? How are we going to engage it together? What is this congregation’s strategy for listening, discerning and carrying out God’s purposes in this time and place? How are we going to do it this year?

Preach the mission. Jesus did.