Lectionary Commentaries for September 11, 2022
Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

from WorkingPreacher.org


Commentary on Luke 15:1-10

Kendra A. Mohn

On a recent trip to the dentist, the dental assistant asked me about the significance of the tree in the Bible that has 99 leaves. As someone identified as a religious leader, I’m used to obscure or intense questions. But this one had me stumped. There were trees in Genesis and Revelation, prophetic trees, and fig trees in my mental database, but no trees with 99 leaves. 

He said he heard about it from a worship song, so I finally just asked him to sing it. “He leaves the 99.” I then recognized the song “Reckless Love” and we had a good conversation about the parable on which it is based: the lost sheep in Luke 15. 

Perspective and focus are important aspects of this set of parables; articulating and considering them provide an interesting entry point for preaching reflection. “Reckless Love” is written from a first-person perspective; the voice understands that it is the one that is lost, the one God has left the 99 to find. The song praises the extravagant, undeserved love of God that is shown to the singer, who experiences God’s love in “being found.” 

The initial perspective of the text is somewhat different. Jesus speaks to a group of people who resent his inclusive welcome to all, especially tax collectors and sinners. They are focused on how Jesus’ attention on those deemed undeserving undermines his authority in their view. He responds to their criticism with a parable that shifts the focus to the expectations of those in authority to seek the lost, and the joy experienced when the lost one is returned to community. 

The audience, the Pharisees and scribes, are placed in the parable by Jesus: “Which one of you…?” Jesus calls them to identify with the role of a concerned shepherd, a move that creates both connection and contrast. Jesus appeals to their sense of obligation and caregiving associated with leadership while simultaneously establishing his own authority as the seeker of the lost. While this tactic summons their sense of responsibility, it also potentially creates a contrast between those in authority and Jesus as God’s agent. Would each of those Pharisees and scribes truly leave 99 healthy sheep to find one that is lost? Or is their character different from the shepherd in the parable? And even if they wanted to leave the 99, is it wise or good stewardship to do so?  

Jesus’ query to his critics challenges those in religious leadership to consider how they relate to God’s work among the lost. But ultimately, the focus here is on God’s orientation as the seeker, and Jesus as God’s agent in that endeavor. The parable ends on the joy of the shepherd shared collectively with his friends and neighbors. 

So how does this translate into a sermon in a world of economic stress, national political conflict, gun violence, global war, and the damage done to our institutions and communities during the past few years of pandemic? What needs to be said and heard? The move to identifying the hearers with the lost is understandable and potentially life-giving; it is the relief expressed in “Reckless Love.” But an immediate association potentially oversimplifies the current situation for weary hearers as well as skims the surface of the depth of God’s commitment to all. A good sermon will sit with the tensions present in the text and in the Body of Christ. 

For those at home in the religious community, there is an edge to this parable; the 99 are left in the wilderness, vulnerable, while the lost 1 is found. During a time when some may be wondering where God is, or what God is doing, “seeking the lost” may be the right answer, but it’s one that potentially leaves the 99 feeling alone. For leaders, clergy and lay alike, who are fatigued from the past few years, chasing down another wayward sheep may not sound like good news. And while the return of sheep to the community is welcome, it also creates the possibility of resentment and conflict.

Burnout and exhaustion are realities for communities and their leaders. Scattered congregations awaken at different rates and times to the reality that they will not be going back to 2019. Leaders wonder how—or how urgently—to pursue those who have drifted. Small cores of people who have kept the lights on and the bills paid find themselves increasingly stretched and wondering if there will be enough and how to inspire others to help.  

The second parable, of the woman seeking her lost coin, speaks to this dynamic. Verse 8 is brief but describes potentially hours of work, as the woman turns her house upside down in search of the lost coin. Anyone who has ever searched for an important document, a particular tool, or a single Lego or puzzle piece, knows the feeling. Here the risk is not in leaving the 99 alone, but in expending energy, resources, and time that might not be recognized, rewarded, or replenished. 

This parable, like the last one, culminates in joy at finding the lost. The repetition is important, emphasizing joy as an integral part of finding what is lost. The theological implication of connecting God with the shepherd and the woman means that God is 1) a seeker who 2) is not fatigued and 3) experiences joy and fosters celebration when the lost is found. 

The absence of joy, whether in Jesus’ critical audience or in the pandemic-weary contemporary hearers, closes us off to the reward of God’s labor. The burden of seeking the lost is not solely ours. We are the ones who get to rejoice in God’s work among us. Our work involves preparing ourselves and our communities to receive those God brings in and figure out a way to work together in this new world.  

God still rejoices in us. Putting one more piece of the puzzle into place in God’s community is cause for celebration. The persistence and resilience of the Christian community in recent struggles is gratifying to witness. The joy of God is Good News, both for the 99 and for the 1.

First Reading

Commentary on Exodus 32:7-14

Rachel Wrenn

The foundation from which to build your sermon for this week is Exodus 32:1, appearing seven verses before today’s assigned pericope.

“Come, make for us gods.” 

“Come, make for us those who will go before us.”
“As for the one who brought us up from Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”

This first verse illuminates the two central issues of this Bible story: first, the people have anchored their faith to Moses, and not to God. This point is easy to recognize: in Exodus 3:8 and 17, God specifically claims that it will be by divine action that the people will be brought out of Egypt. In Exodus 13:3, Moses specifically tells the people that they were brought out of Egypt by  divine action. And yet, by Exodus 17:3, the people have completely lost sight of God’s presence in their salvation. They are dying of thirst in the wilderness. They are scared. In their fear, they turn to their embodied representative of God (Moses) and say, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” (see also Exodus 14:11). 

Preachers will note that fear is the basis of the people’s dire misunderstanding at this moment. The second central issue of the story stems from the people’s fear as well. In their fear, the people have not only mistaken who has saved them, but they have misunderstood that very salvation. This point is visible in Hebrew, but less obvious in English translations. It involves two Hebrew verbs: alah, “to go up,” and yatza, “to go out.” Both verbs are used by God to describe the exodus event. Alah suggests a movement from one place (Egypt) to another, namely, a place where the people can freely serve and worship God. In some places, yatza functions synonymously with alah, describing a simple movement out of Egypt: “The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out (yatza) from among them” (Exodus 7:5). Yatza, however, also functions as a technical term in the book of Exodus. Exodus 21 describes in detail the protocol for when a slave leaves or goes out (yatza) from their bondage. In this way, yatza is explicitly linked not only to the movement from one place to another, but to the movement out of a position of bondage to one of freedom. Yatza describes liberation from slavery. God uses yatza several times in just this way, describing the liberative aspect of the exodus act. Most notably, yatza occurs in this function in the Exodus version of the Ten Commandments: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out (yatza) of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:2; see also Exodus 6:6, 7, 13:3, 14).

Here, however, is the crux of the issue: when describing the exodus act, the people never refer to their liberation. In their descriptions of the exodus, the only fact that takes precedence is how they were brought out of Egypt to another place. Never do they mention slavery (Exodus 14:11; 16:3; 17:3; 32:1). Never do they mention their freedom. The people fixate on the fact that they seem to have been brought from one frightening place to one that is even worse. They completely lose sight of the fact that God brought them out of bondage to slavery.

Fear has short-circuited the people’s senses. Yes, they were awestruck by the rumble of God’s voice on the mountain. But it seems in today’s text that they have spent too long festering in their fears. Dwelling in fear causes the people to lose touch with their bodies. Losing touch with their embodied reality causes them to lose touch with their God.

Wise preachers will avoid the easy pitfall of making light of the people’s predicament. The Sinai wilderness is no joke. Dying of thirst in the desert is a constant possibility. Dying of hunger might take longer, but it would be just as deadly. Either possibility is very real, especially if the only one who seems to know how to lead them through the wilderness has disappeared into an inferno. Death in the desert would not be a pretty process. The healthy adults would have to sit and watch as the children, the elderly, and the sick died first. Fear may be confusing their senses, but the fear is not itself unwarranted.

Wise preachers will also avoid emphasizing a metaphorical understanding of slavery in this text and ignoring its real, lived reality. Modern descendants of slaves continue to pay the price of an institution that baked its evils into the groundwork of many societies. An emphasis on metaphorical slavery that ignores the real history of slavery in your respective country does a disservice both to preacher and congregation.

Instead of condemning the people for losing heart at the first sign of trouble, preachers would do well to be empathetic with their very real fear while also noticing what that fear provokes. In moments of triumph, the people clearly point to God and God’s saving action (think Miriam and all of the women in Exodus 15). When fear overwhelms them, their senses get muddled and they can no longer sense their Savior, remember what their Savior has done, nor experience what their Savior is calling them to do. Is there a similar process taking place in your congregation today? How might you as a preacher empathize with your folks’ very real fears while also speaking the truth of what that fear is doing in their lives?

Alternate First Reading

Commentary on Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28

Steed Davidson

Older millennials and people from other generations living in the United States associate September 11th with the tragic loss of over two thousand lives in New York City at the turn of the century. The trauma of the day itself easily evolved into several other national traumas of war and the aftermath of war. The national rituals of the day try to fix this single day as a superlative memory that determines matters of security, defense, immigration, and even economic policy. As chapter 4 of Jeremiah so aptly points out, “disaster overtakes disaster” (Jeremiah 4:20), and the competition for “the worst day” makes little sense within the course of human existence. Each generation doesn’t simply get the chance to revel in its own trauma. Traumas become more complex and more frequent, crossing generations like songs that defy neat genre categorization.

Readers may feel confused when reading Jeremiah. They will never miss, though, the evident pain in the book. This lection, though, omits some of the pain on display in the chapter (see Jeremiah 4:19-21). Nonetheless, the selected verses are full of anguish, though not the searing personal touches present in other verses (Jeremiah 4:19). The remembrances of national trauma provide a context within which to read these verses from Jeremiah. Kathleen O’Connor’s Jeremiah: Pain and Promise1 explores how national pain shapes the book of Jeremiah and the challenge to interpret its traumatic experiences in meaningful ways.

Preachers need to contend with the verse selection for this lection. Whether a discernable logic can be detected should not be a central focus. Instead, preachers should aim to bring their own meaning-making to the forced association of these two sections of the chapter. Recalling that the book of Jeremiah itself makes unexpected turns that bring together strange passages through an unclear logic will help preachers deal with what is before them rather than trying to uncover an “intention.” 

The first section of the lection, verses 11-12, predict destruction from a hot dry wind with the capacity to create dust storms of strong intensity. Presumably, the second part of verse 12 indicates that the wind represents divine judgment. The second portion of the lection sustains the focus on nature through a series of unfolding acts of uncreating. Desolation and emptiness take the place of what was a full creation. Among the verses skipped over in the chapter are those that predict destruction at the hand of human actors in the form of enemy armies (Jeremiah 4:13-18). Leaving out these verses can sharpen the false divide between natural disasters and those caused by human actions. The notion of a natural disaster misunderstands how nature functions. Storms, earthquakes, winds, rains, et cetera, ensure earth’s equilibrium and sustain its continued creativity. Quite often, these occurrences result in the loss of human life and physical structures when human civilization pays no attention to nature and its natural processes. These verses put humans in the middle of the convulsions of nature. Whether causal agents or not, humans will be harmed when the earth is threatened.

The generation born in the 21st century in the U.S. concentrates more on the precarity of human life on the planet caused by human action. For them the tragedy of 9/11 seems like history that bears little connection to the more pressing ecological threats. Preachers can avoid the bias towards older people which marks much of US politics and awards more financial benefits to older people that it does to the young. The concerns of the young for a liveable planet can easily be the guiding voice in the passage that gives the reader the upfront view of the undoing of creation (Jeremiah 4: 23-26). 

The lection turns on a verse that has nothing to do with nature and everything to do with humans. The comment on the abject state of human nature appears out of nowhere in this chopped up passage. In the whole passage the verse makes better sense as a conclusion after verse 18. In that position, it concludes the indictment that the people are responsible for the attack upon them. Read after verse 21, then it serves as a pathos filled outburst for a hapless people who could only run into error. In this lection, verse 22 performs a connecting function that places a reflection upon humanity in the midst of nature gone wild. The verse either blames humans for the things that go wrong or serves as an epitaph on humanity’s demise. This ambiguity invites interpretation that makes a connection between humans and nature.

Jeremiah 4:22 in content and form describes the binds that trap humanity. Ignorant and reckless, immature and prone to wickedness, humans simply cannot help themselves, much less save the world from destruction. In the Hebrew, stupidity takes pride of place as the first major word of the sentence. This sets up a mirrored relationship within the verse that gives it the definite feel of Hebrew poetry. If stupidity opens the verse, then its parallel opposite is “children,” strengthened by the word’s invocations of the recklessness of youth. The inclusion of the word “know” and its quick negation emphasizes the absence of the required cognitive development and skills to make correct choices. No sooner has the term for intellectual reasoning been introduced (“understanding” nḇônim), then its negation quickly snatches back its positive parallel “wisdom” (ḵāmim) with the declaration that these superlative wise skills amount only to wickedness. The final phrase of the verse shuts the door with the repetition of the lack of knowledge to do good. The deeply pessimistic view of the verse within this chapter casts doubt upon whether the punitive judgments on the scale imagined will ever achieve any improvements. 

The book of Jeremiah gives voice to aspects of divine frustration with humanity without resolving the inherent contradictions in these sentiments. Interpreters of the lection, left without some of the supporting props in the chapter, must fill in these gaps with thoughtful reflections. No doubt, theologies of human nature may easily fill the space. Preachers should resist these, especially the ones that provide overly simplistic understanding of the complexities of human nature. This verse leaves readers struggling with the idea of whether humans can change or not. That struggle may be worth it, if only to reduce the preening overconfidence in human ingenuity in a technological age. Assurances of good intention should invite the type of skepticism that slows down quick fixes.

From the deep pessimism of verse 22, the reader is invited to witness the undoing of creation. The invitation to the front row seat can seem as bewildering as watching images of deep space from the James Webb telescope. The view is fascinating, the scenes are spectacular but the full implications of the images are yet to be revealed. The poetry of verses 23-26 resembles the creation story of Genesis 1. This form of mimicry produces mockery and menace instead of flattery. The verses follow the systematic pattern of looking and having the gaze rewarded (“look” hinnē̂) with an unpleasant experience. In verse 23 the sight is of the chaos from which creation emerged: “waste and void” (ṯōhû wāḇōhû). Then the removal of the sources of light plunges creation into darkness. While in verse 24 the earth as a landmass remains, though subject to violent convulsions, living creatureshumans and birdsare nowhere to be found. With no humans to tend to the fields or sustain the markers of human civilization, cultivated land and built cities become ruins in verse 25. At the end of this dystopian road tour, the prophet credits God with uncreation. Make no mistake that the God who creates also uncreates, as Genesis 6 indicates.

Preaching in times of precarity of human life on earth requires a robust theology. This theology appropriately names human failure, the greed still bent on extraction, the political inaction that stymies change, as well as the evident solutions to the pressing problems that face the world. That theology does not allow for humans to save the world. The uncomfortable theology of this chapter, presents the God whose anger leads to withdrawing the elements that hold creation together. In this picture we see the God who brings creation to the edge without a full destruction (Jeremiah 4:27). 

To sort through contradictions of vengeance and grace in this theology takes more time than is needed to remind hearers that God holds creation as much as God requires change from humans in the way they move through creation. All the knots of ancient theology may not be unraveled sufficiently in a sermon. The central element that holds the tangled mass of rope together lies in the God whose actions result in the pain and promise of creation. That the thread exists provides meaning in times of trauma. Preaching in the midst of the traumas of past and pending national tragedy requires a sophisticated weaving of a God powerful enough to demand change and soft enough to weep alongside those who suffer.


  1.  O’Connor, Kathleen. Jeremiah: Pain and Promise. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2011.


Commentary on Psalm 51:1-10

Rolf Jacobson

Liturgical context can make all the difference in how a biblical texts sounds, in how it is interpreted, and in how it may be preached.1

It is quite common for Psalm 51 to be read or sung on Ash Wednesday, when the liturgical context is obviously about a very somber aspect of repentance.

How different the text sounds in September—toward the end of the Pentecost season and at the start of the church’s program year in North America—as a psalm paired both with the story of God turning away (relenting) from punishing the Israelites for forging the golden calf (Exodus 32) and also with the stories of the lost sheep and the lost coin. Here, the emphasis is on the joy that comes with repentance and forgiveness.

In the first two stories that Jesus tells in Luke 15—the stories of the lost sheep and the lost coin—there is no emphasis on repentance. Indeed, neither the sheep nor the coin can repent in any moral or spiritual sense. The emphasis is rather on the tenacity of the searching shepherd and woman. And the emphasis is on the joy that the shepherd, the woman, and the company “in heaven” experience. The shepherd says to his friends, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the sheep that was lost.” The woman says to her friends and neighbors, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.” And Jesus declares, “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance”; and again, “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

The stories do indeed have an element of repentance, because Jesus tells the stories to Pharisees and scribes who grumble because Jesus is eating with “sinners and tax collectors.” But the emphasis in this liturgical context is about the joy that comes with repentance, forgiveness, and the reconciliation that follows.

In this context, Psalm 51 is to be interpreted as a liturgical text that facilitates reconciliation and joyful reunion between a sinner (sinners) and God. The sinner—David, you, me, us—pleads for forgiveness not on the basis of the sincerity of the repentance or the promise to amend one’s life. Rather, the plea for forgiveness is based solely on the penitent’s awareness of the reality of the sin and on the character of God.

The penitent is aware of the reality of sin:

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
and blameless when you pass judgment.
Indeed, I was born guilty,
a sinner when my mother conceived me (verses 3-5).

Awareness of sin can come through many different ways. In David’s case, awareness came as the prophet Nathan proclaimed it to him through his parable and his condemnation, “You are the man.” For many of us, awareness of our sin comes through the teaching of the church and personal reflection on our own shortcomings and sins. Awareness of sin can come through hearing the stories of those whom we have sinned against—either directly or indirectly, through systems of sin and oppression. Such awareness is crucial to the process of repentance and forgiveness and reconciliation. Traditionally, preaching “the law” (in its second use) has been an important part of Christian preaching. The preacher announces and explicates the law in order to bring about awareness of sin—so that repentance and reconciliation can follow.

The plea for forgiveness—it is important to note—is based solely on the character of God. Note the added emphasis:

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions (verses 1-2).

The very character of God according to the creedal-like formulas in Exodus 34 and other passages is that God is:

The LORD, the LORD,
a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger,
and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,
keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation,
forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin (verses 6-7).

We approach God and dare to ask for forgiveness not because we deserve it, not because we will do better next time, not because we are truly sincere, not because of anything about us or what we do. We approach God and dare ask for forgiveness because of who God is. Because we dare to believe and hope and cast our entire future on the trust that God is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.”

And God’s mercy, when it comes, washes us in an ocean of forgiveness that makes us clean, that gives us truth in our inner beings, that blots out sins, and most importantly that brings “joy and gladness.” Repentance is not simply somber or about rolling around in misery. It is about the joy of reunion, the gladness of reconciliation, and the celebration of new life. The new and right spirit that the Lord bestows on us is about joy in God’s presence. And if you add two more verses to the psalm reading this week, it is about the joy of salvation itself:

Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit (verses 11-12).

In the Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—there is mercy and forgiveness for all. And where there is forgiveness there is reconciliation. And where there is forgiveness and reconciliation, there is joy in God’s presence.


  1. Commentary first published on this site on Sept. 15, 2019.

Second Reading

Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:12-17

Sunggu Yang

Most biblical scholars agree that 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus are one unit written and circulated around the same time period, probably in 98-117 A.D. They are written to address post-Pauline problems brought by false teachers (1 Timothy 1:3), in the missional churches very likely in Asian Minor.1  Thus, as we will now read, study, and preach four passages from 1 and 2 Timothy for this week and the next three weeks, it is important to remember that the author of these letters has in mind those who have dissenting views about such Christian doctrines, (especially from the gnostic perspective) as resurrection, marriage, the role of women, and the church order. It is also good to recognize that in general the author encourages readers to adapt to (sound) prevailing social structure, expectations, and regulations, rather than disrupt them (as false teachers might have taught), which reflects that the early church at this point was being part of a social rubric beyond being perceived as a social disturber of the earlier time.  

Given the aforementioned background of the letters, it is interesting that the author begins 1 Timothy with such a humble account as today’s passage. It seems that before refuting false teachers and misguided doctrines, he wants to show that he is not actually worthy of doing the task and that even he used to be one of those who “acted ignorantly” and persecuted the church (1 Timothy 1:13), which well reflects Paul’s actions as recorded in Acts 8. Thus, the author seems to want to state that he is refuting false teachers not out of hatred or indignation, but out of gratitude and sympathy (it is like “those false teachers deserve a second chance and the same abundant grace of the Lord!”). 

For this week’s sermon preparation, it would be very helpful to ponder deeply over implications of Paul’s conversion into the Christian faith, which is a main thrust of the given passage. Among others, Paul’s conversion or being saved from sin (1 Timothy 1:15) seems to have strong social connotations beyond individual salvation. In a critical sense, Paul’s former life (again, appearing in Acts 2) seems to be a representation par excellence of bigger societal problems. Briefly, his former life would represent: 1) massive social entities that despise and destroy sound humanity through their unrelenting violence, 2) intolerant, privileged social structures that discriminate and persecute other neighbors and citizens having different religious beliefs, and 3) represent social entities that monopolize all political powers and economic resources over the poor and the marginalized in their communities. Recall that the early Christians Paul once persecuted and imprisoned were mostly living in their society’s invisible margins and corners; most of them had no palpable political, economic, social powers or status. In short, Paul’s conversion narrative in this passage seems to indicate a person’s salvation is highly a social matter, and vice versa. 

This dual meaning of salvation may well align with the rest of 1 Timothy, in particular, regarding false teachers. If we follow the train of thought, we could easily imagine the author thinking that false teachers are not only hindering one’s individual salvation, but also that there is a great danger that they will generate social disorder or disruption by their mistaken teaching about God, society, and salvation, in stark contradiction of the post-Pauline church’s social adaptation. 

Additionally, in terms of this passage’s social implications, it should be good to notice that whole-sale social adaptation does not seem to be an ultimate goal of the post-Pauline church even though it must have sought the social harmony and peace. Instead, verse 17’s bold socio-religious statement demonstrates the church’s ultimate vision for the world, “To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever”. Still living under the seizure of the Roman Empire—that asserted human Caesar as the only Lord over the empire and the only living son of the Roman deities, in tandem with worshiping many other deified idols, the author wants to recognize Jesus Christ as the true King and the only God. What a counter-societal, courageous proclamation!

As a sermon illustration, the story of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission would serve well. It functioned as a court-like restorative justice body. Assembled in South Africa in 1996 after the end of apartheid and led by such figures as Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu the commission basically worked this way: The commission invited victims and witnesses of the hideous crimes that happened during apartheid (for example, rape, murder, abduction, arson attack, child abuse, racist attack, et cetera) to share their experiences. Then, the perpetrators of violence would give their own testimony and seek amnesty from both civil and criminal prosecution. 

Even though the commission’s work had certain limitations and received criticisms, it well exemplifies individual restorations, societal implications, and vice versa, just like in Paul’s case. In addition, the end of apartheid itself is a fine example of critical social adaptation versus whole-sale adaptation. Christian figures like Tutu were not passive yielders to the dominant social powers under apartheid, but proclaimers of God’s kingship over society and realizers of God’s kingdom here on earth, which they must have believed would bring true harmony and peace in communities. 

Finally, with this given passage at hand, preachers might want to point out false teachings and social orders that contradict sound Christian teachings and social aspirations (like Dr. King’s “Dream”) happening in today’s world. Of course, more on this subject will follow for the next three weeks, but still quick mentions of it would serve well as a heads-up or a good orientation for what is coming with more details.


  1.  The Harper Collins Study Bible, Fully Revised and Updated (2006), 2015.