Pentecost 19 – October 15, 2017

Texts for the Day

Commentary and Reflection

The Isaiah Apocalypse – The thematic connection of Isaiah 25 to the Gospel text is a bit tenuous, with the feast imagery being almost the only thing that connects them.  This week, put this passage back in its original context by reading Isaiah 24-27 in its entirety.

This section is commonly referred to as the “Isaiah Apocalypse.”  These four chapters are dated by modern scholars to the fifth century BCE, more than two hundred years after the historical Isaiah, the author of most of chapters 1-39.  While it lacks the highly structured visions and timelines of later works such as Daniel and Revelation, many of the elements of apocalyptic literature are present.  These include a focus on the end times, divine judgment, the destruction of the earth, and the dramatic victory of God on a “day of the Lord” in the near future.

Questions to think about:

  • What do you like about these chapters? What do you find disturbing or challenging?
  • Where does Isaiah 25:1-9 fit into this section? How does it work differently when read with Matthew 22?

Judgement – “Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  The theme of judgment figures prominently in this section of Matthew.  These and similar harsh words are hard to interpret.  As we enter deeper into the Jerusalem ministry, culminating in the Judgment of the Nations (Matthew 25:31-46) on Christ the King Sunday, take some time to think about this theme.  What are your feelings about it?  What is the place for God’s judgment in the life of faithful Christians?

Comfort – In times of national tragedy, it is common to turn to the Bible for comfort.  Psalm 23, the Psalm for today, is one text that is widely used and important for this purpose.  Here are some other places in the Bible to look.

I composed this list by looking up the word “comfort” in the concordance in the back of my study Bible.  Some editions of the Bible also have lists of texts for particular situations that can be useful.  Another possibility is to simply browse the Psalms until you find something that moves you.

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