What follows are the readings for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, July 29, 2018.
These are for Year B in the three-year Lectionary cycle.
There are two sets of first readings, each with an accompanying Psalm from which the celebrant can choose. I have given the second selection blue subheadings below. Emphases mine throughout.
While David sent his troops out to battle against the Ammonites, he remained in Jerusalem in the lap of luxury. This idleness brought him into serious sin through sleeping with Uriah the Hittite’s wife Bathsheba. She became pregnant. Uriah returned at David’s request. David encouraged Uriah to go home to Bathsheba, so that it would appear that he had impregnated her. Uriah, being loyal to God and to his mission, refused to go. David got Uriah drunk, but, still, he refused to go home. David sent Uriah to deliver a letter to Joab, leading the battle against the Ammonites, to put Uriah in the front line so that he would be killed. Otherwise, in time, Uriah would have figured out the David was the father of Bathsheba’s child. Uriah’s death is recorded later in the chapter.
Adultery is dangerous business.
2 Samuel 11:1-15
11:1 In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him; they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.
11:2 It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful.
11:3 David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, “This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”
11:4 So David sent messengers to get her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself after her period.) Then she returned to her house.
11:5 The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”
11:6 So David sent word to Joab, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David.
11:7 When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the people fared, and how the war was going.
11:8 Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house, and wash your feet.” Uriah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a present from the king.
11:9 But Uriah slept at the entrance of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house.
11:10 When they told David, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “You have just come from a journey. Why did you not go down to your house?”
11:11 Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah remain in booths; and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do such a thing.”
11:12 Then David said to Uriah, “Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day. On the next day,
11:13 David invited him to eat and drink in his presence and made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.
11:14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah.
11:15 In the letter he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, so that he may be struck down and die.”
The Psalm warns against foolishness in denying God and also warns against sin. However, God will deliver the righteous.
14:1 Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is no one who does good.
14:2 The LORD looks down from heaven on humankind to see if there are any who are wise, who seek after God.
14:3 They have all gone astray, they are all alike perverse; there is no one who does good, no, not one.
14:4 Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call upon the LORD?
14:5 There they shall be in great terror, for God is with the company of the righteous.
14:6 You would confound the plans of the poor, but the LORD is their refuge.
14:7 O that deliverance for Israel would come from Zion! When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people, Jacob will rejoice; Israel will be glad.
This reading goes well with today’s Gospel account of the Feeding of the Five Thousand.
Elisha had served three kings and done the Lord’s work during a time of divine judgement through famine. The Lord worked through Elisha to keep the people fed during this time. The verses preceding the passage below describe how the prophet made contaminated food clean by adding grain. Today’s passage describes how he was able to feed 100 people on small amounts of food — the first fruits of the harvest, meant for the ritual offering — with the result that all felt they had consumed an entire meal, even though there were leftovers, as the Lord had ordained.
This is analogous to Christ’s miracle of multiplying loaves and fishes. It also presages the spiritual nourishment we have through Christ Jesus.
2 Kings 4:42-44
4:42 A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing food from the first fruits to the man of God: twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. Elisha said, “Give it to the people and let them eat.”
4:43 But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred people?” So he repeated, “Give it to the people and let them eat, for thus says the LORD, ‘They shall eat and have some left.'”
4:44 He set it before them, they ate, and had some left, according to the word of the LORD.
The accompanying Psalm points to God satisfying the needs of His creation through His infinite mercy.
145:10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your faithful shall bless you.
145:11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and tell of your power,
145:12 to make known to all people your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
145:13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. The LORD is faithful in all his words, and gracious in all his deeds.
145:14 The LORD upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down.
145:15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.
145:16 You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing.
145:17 The LORD is just in all his ways, and kind in all his doings.
145:18 The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
Readings continue from Paul’s letters to the Ephesians. Here, Paul ends with a prayer to God to keep the Christians in Ephesus strong in their faith in His Son Jesus Christ.
Older translations of verse 14 make this relationship clear, which would have been Paul’s objective for the Ephesians:
14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
3:14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
3:15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.
3:16 I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit,
3:17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.
3:18 I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
3:19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
3:20 Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine,
3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
The Gospel readings switch from Mark to John. This is John’s account of the Feeding of the Five Thousand, which is Christ’s miraculous fulfilment of what God demonstrated through Elisha in the reading from 2 Kings above and the aforementioned verses from Psalm 145.
6:1 After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias.
6:2 A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick.
6:3 Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples.
6:4 Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near.
6:5 When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?”
6:6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do.
6:7 Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.”
6:8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him,
6:9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?”
6:10 Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all.
6:11 Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.
6:12 When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.”
6:13 So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets.
6:14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.”
6:15 When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
6:16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea,
6:17 got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.
6:18 The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing.
6:19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified.
6:20 But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”
6:21 Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land toward which they were going.
This is what happened next, but not many Christians know how Jesus rebuked the people who had followed Him to Capernaum for wanting another miraculous meal. Instead, He referred to Himself as ‘living bread’. He lost many disciples that day (John 6:66) and also mentioned that one of the Twelve would betray Him (John 6:70-71).