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Commentary

Isaiah 55:1-9
The economy of the L ORD’s house defies our expectations. Hard to obtain items
can be easily afforded. This love for the everyone starts with the people of the
promise and moves out to the enter world. The prophet then reminds his listeners
that the work of the people is to find the L ORD and to follow His commandments.
The lesson ends with God reminding the world of the difference between His way
of life and ours.

Isaiah 55:1 Ho, everyone who thirsts – People of all times have hungered for
satisfaction from the basic necessities of life like something you drink. This
need is not filled with items that can be purchased using one’s labor. But
instead, this longing can be ended by listening to God and then coming to
Him. He is the One that provides the drink that never ends.
you that have no money, come, buy and eat! – In the world’s economy,
everything costs you something. The L ORD gives it all away. This gift starts
with the people of Israel and finally includes the entire world.

Isaiah 55:2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your
labour for that which does not satisfy? – The question is, “What are you
looking for?” This unanswered need drives people to use their precious re-
sources on items that leave you wanting for more.
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich
food. – The problem is not the desire that humanity feels. Instead, it is our
fascination with things other than God.

Isaiah 55:3 Incline your ear, and come to me – God makes His presence known
so that you realize He is actually here. Use this information to find Him.
listen, so that you may live – The longing that you have for authentic life
can be found in God.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant – The Word that God gives the
people of Israel lasts forever.

Isaiah 55:4 I made him a witness to the peoples – For the followers of Jesus, this
witness can bee seen in the genealogy of Jesus. This role of being a called

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people also has responsibilities. Israel must tell others of the Lord and what
God requires.
love for David – David is a witness to the world the lengths that God will
go for His people.

Isaiah 55:5 you shall call nations that you do not know – The nations of the world
have come to Israel because of the L ORD. Many people of different races
have become Jewish become Jews because of their hunger. Likewise, many
people have become Christian because of the Jew, Jesus.

Isaiah 55:6 Seek the L ORD while he may be found – Each human’s life is limited
by many factors including time. This fact presents a window of opportunity
where one must devote the necessary resources to find the true source of
blessing.

Isaiah 55:7 let the wicked forsake their way – Those that do not follow God are
present in every age and these individuals are called to return to the L ORD.

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts – The way of the L ORD is not
how humans might solve the problem.

Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth – There is a real separa-
tion between God and people.

Psalm 63
The psalmist reminds his audience that a person’s life moves them to look for God.
The author has seen a glimpse of the L ORD in the temple and this brief encounter
with God is more than enough for the poet. He dedicates his life to praising God.

Psalm 63:1 I seek you – There is something about this existence that causes
people to look for root cause behind everything. Some people find it in pos-
sessions, others in nothingness, and yet others still in the God of Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob.
my soul thirsts for you – The emptiness of life moves the poet to find what
is missing in his life.

Psalm 63:2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary – A visit to the temple
proved to the author that God exists.

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beholding your power and glory – The attributes described here only exist
because of the God that stands behind them.

Psalm 63:3 Because your steadfast love is better than life – The way that the
L ORD interacts with the world is more important to the poet than his own
existence.

Psalm 63:4 So I will bless you as long as I live – The proper response to the
L ORD who gives everything to creation is to offer this One thanks.
call on your name. – Despite not using the proper name of the L ORD and
maybe not even known the L ORD’s true name, the author names this One.

Psalm 63:5 My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast – The existence of this life
brings pleasure to the author.

Psalm 63:6 when I think of you on my bed – There is no place where the poet
does not recall the blessings of God.
and meditate on you in the watches of the night – This devotion continues
when others are sleeping.

Psalm 63:7 for you have been my help – The reality is that the L ORD supports
the life of the psalmist.

Psalm 63:8 My soul clings to you – The life of the author stands next to the One
who give him existence.

1 Corinthians 10:1-13
Paul reminds the congregation in Corinth that the God the Christians worship
has been with Israel since its beginning and that the Lord was with them in the
Exodus. This One has rules that must be followed and the life of the world serves
as an example to all who would look.

1 Corinthians 10:1 all under the cloud – This the first of the arguments Paul
makes that everyone during the Exodus had undeniable knowledge of who
the Lord is and what God requires.

1 Corinthians 10:2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea – The
water found in the cloud and in the sea bound the people into the Lord’s
covenant.

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1 Corinthians 10:3 all ate the same spiritual food – God provided for the people.
This was common knowledge according to Paul.

1 Corinthians 10:4 the rock was Christ – Paul wants to expose to his readers the
incarnation of Jesus was not limited to a certain place and time. The One
that feeds and shelters is Jesus.

1 Corinthians 10:5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them – Ac-
cepting what the Lord provides means that you agree with God’s demands.
Today, we would call that a shrink-wrapped license. By opening the pack-
age, you agree to all of the terms even if you never signed a contract.
Apparently, Paul was not familiar with the account in Luke 13:1-9 where
Jesus points out the dubious nature of tying death to God’s punishment for
a certain set of actions.

1 Corinthians 10:6 Now these things occurred as examples for us – The reason
for proving the universality of the experiences found in the Exodus is that
every life provides some level of instruction.

1 Corinthians 10:7 Do not become idolaters as some of them did – A group of


the people forgot the Lord who saved.

1 Corinthians 10:8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did
– Another part of the people forgot that God requires a pure life.

1 Corinthians 10:9 We must not put Christ to the test – Since Jesus is universally
found in the Exodus, what really is happening according to Paul is that all
of these acts of rebellion are really occurring against Christ.
and were destroyed by serpents – The outcome for those who refuse to live
up to their side of the bargain is death.

1 Corinthians 10:10 And do not complain as some of them did – Even mumbling
against Jesus is enough to condemn a person to death.

1 Corinthians 10:11 These things happened to them to serve as an example –


Paul reminds the congregation in Corinth, the reason why the punish men
is recorded in the Bible. It serves as a reminder of what awaits anyone who
sins.

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1 Corinthians 10:12 So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not
fall. – The act of believing you are responsible for your life makes you
accountable.

1 Corinthians 10:13 God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond
your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that
you may be able to endure it. – This text is problematic in the light of the
suffering and death of faithful Jews and Christians. It makes those who fail
to stand up to the hurt this world throws at them into people who are not
being tested by God. For if it was God who was testing them, He would
have never let the testing become so severe. Now there is a duality. The
ones who fail are being tested by another power. It also moves the promise
of salvation to those who die under the tests to occur sometime later. Does
this delay mean that God is powerless to help in this present day and age?

Luke 13:1-9
Jesus reminds His followers that judgement of guilt in this world is basically im-
possible to discern. He does this by providing two well known examples of people
dying. Neither the murder of the faithful nor the industrial accident prove anything
about the individuals. Death comes to all that refuse to acknowledge their sin.
The lesson moves to an example of a fig tree that has no fruit. The owner wants
it to be destroyed. The person in charge of the vineyard askes for one more year
before cutting it down. During the intervening time, the vineyard worker will care
for the tree.

Luke 13:1 about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacri-
fices. – The first case presented to Jesus is about people who were murdered
while in the temple.

Luke 13:2 suffered in this – The world often believes that pain is a result of doing
something wrong (See Job).
worse sinners – Johnson points out that the παρὰ with the accusative τοὺς
means “became sinners more than all the Galileans”1
1
Luke Timothy Johnson; Daniel J. Harrington, S.J., editor, The Gospel of Luke, Volume 3,
Sacra Pagina, (The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1991), p. 211.

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Luke 13:3 unless you repent – This phrase is the key part of the story. Death
come to those who reject God. Everyone is called to repent. The Rabbi
Eliezer stated that a person should repent the day before he dies.2 One of
his students noted that a person could die at any time, therefore every day
needed to be one of repentance.3

Luke 13:4 the tower of Siloam fell on them – These are ordinary workers who
do not have the time to devote themselves to the continuous study of God’s
Word.

Luke 13:5 unless you repent, you will all perish – One must be careful to distin-
guish between death in this age and complete destruction where God forgets
you.

Luke 13:6 fig tree – This might be a reference to Israel.4


he came looking for fruit – The owner of the vineyard regularly visited the
tree and he hoped that fruit would be found.
Paul tells us that the church in Achaia is the first fruits ἀπαρχὴ τῆς ᾿Αχαΐας
(1 Corinthians 16:15).

Luke 13:7 he said to the gardener – According to the text, the person taking care
of the fig tree is not a gardener but a vine worker (ἀμπελουργός).
wasting the soil? What is being thrown way is literally the earth (γῆ).

Luke 13:8 one more year – What would you do if you only had a year to live?

Traditions of judgement may help us address issues of account-


ability. They can also teach us to look at consequences. We might
want to sit down with the owner of the vineyard and suggest bet-
ter care for the fig tree. But there are times when firm action is
required, discipline is called for, people or organisations need
to be removed, replaced, because they no longer bear the fruit
which is intended.5
2
Johnson, Luke, p. 213.
3
Ibid.
4
William Loader, First Thoughts on Year C Gospel Passages from the Lectionary Lent 3,
http://wwwstaff.murdoch.edu.au/˜loader/LkLent3.htm.
5
Ibid.

6
Luke 13:9 you can cut it down – Ultimately, the owner of the earth can decide
what to do with the land.

References
Johnson, Luke Timothy; Harrington, S.J., Daniel J., editor, The Gospel of Luke,
Volume 3, Sacra Pagina, (The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN: The
Liturgical Press, 1991).

Loader, William, First Thoughts on Year C Gospel Passages from the Lec-
tionary Lent 3, http://wwwstaff.murdoch.edu.au/˜loader/
LkLent3.htm.

Stoffregen, Brian P., Exegetical Notes at Luke 13.1-9 Third Sunday in Lent Year
C, http://www.crossmarks.com/brian/luke13x1.htm.