Monday, July 19, 2021

John 6.1-21 Translations and Notes (RCL9th Sunday after Pentecost Year B )

Mount of Beatitudes and Tabgha from the Sea of Galilee
The lectionary has been following along in Mark but now breaks away to John for the next five Sundays in order to recount the feeding of the 5000 and Jesus walking on water. The reading for 25 July 2021 in the RCL Year B is John 6.1-21.

My notes are not as extensive this week, but you will find some helpful observations. I also include my own translation. Some things I noticed:

  • I am not alone in thinking that John used the Gospel of Mark or at least Mark's sources. Comparing this story of the feeding and walking on water is evidence this is true. The story is much the same but told in John's distinctive style.
  • My notes on vv4-5 indicate, I think, that this feeding story is John's interpretation of what is the last supper in the Synoptic gospels. (Remember in John that the last supper is not a Passover meal.)
  • 6.1-21 are but the beginning of the discussion that will continue through 6.71. The bread becomes a matter of Jesus' body and blood and spirals into a sharp division that ends with Jesus alienating many of his followers. (6.66)
  • The story of Jesus walking on the sea is almost a diversion. Even the Greek quickly passes over it using participles. Unlike the feeding, it is not called a sign or a miracle.

For another 'view' of this reading, check out Steve Thomason's Visual Meditation on John 6

Here are my notes and translation: John 6.1-21 mgvh

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Mark 6.30-34, 53-56Translations and Notes (RCL 8th Sunday after Pentecost Year B)

Sea of Galilee and Plain of Genneserat from the Mount of Beatitudes. Mark 6.30-34 takes place somewhere near here on the left side of the picture by the sea. 6.53 locates Jesus and the disciples at Gennesaret on right (west) side of the sea in this picture.

Mark 6.30-34, 53-56 is the appointed gospel text for the Revised Common Lectionary 8th Sunday after Pentecost Year B which is 18 July 2021. Personally, this makes no sense to me to omit vv35-52, and it requires some explanation how one gets from the scene in vv30-34 to the one in vv53-56. The lectionary omits Jesus' feeding of the 5000 and Jesus walking on the water. Apparently the lectionary committee chose to omit those verses in order to return to John the next Sunday and spend four weeks on the John 6 account of the feeding of the 5000. (As a pastor, I recommend planning your vacation during that time. Who has four good sermons on the Bread of Life? :) )

The good thing, however, is that the appointed text at least includes my favorite verse in the Bible, Mark 6.34. In one of the few instances in Mark's gospel, Jesus is said to have compassion for the people. And how does Jesus show compassion? "And he began to teach them many things." Not curing but teaching! For me, Mark 6.34 is the 'Teacher's Verse' in the Bible. As a teacher, I hope it is compassion I am demonstrating when I teach my students!

As I've been doing, I'm providing a collection of translations along with notes, translation comments, and my own translation. My translation is intended to reflect the oral character of Mark's Greek which also makes it a good version for performance in English. It's part of a larger project I'm working on, Let the Hearer Understand: A Translation and Performance Guide for Hearing the Gospel of Mark.

The notes are only for Mark 6.30-34, 53-56. My translation is for Mark 6-30-56. IMO, it would be worth reading the whole thing as the Gospel.

Monday, July 5, 2021

Mark 6.14-29 Translations and Notes (RCL 7th Sunday after Pentecost Year B)

Machaerus, Jordan: Herod's fortress, traditionally identified as site of John the Baptizer's execution

Mark 6.14-29 is the appointed gospel text for the Revised Common Lectionary 7th Sunday after Pentecost Year B which is 11 July 2021. It describes the beheading of John the Baptizer by Herod Antipas. It hardly seems like "good news," but it does fit into Mark's narrative strategy. I have previously commented on this text at WorkingPreacher here. I also have a friend, Pastor Janet Hunt, who provides an excellent commentary on the text and how it might help us think about racial issues in the United States today. Check it out HERE.

As I have been doing, here are links to my compilations of translations of the passage with my commentary on translation and other issues, and my own translation attending closely to the Greek. As an example, most English versions miss the intentional build up to the girl's request to Herod in 6.25 by starting out, "I want the head of John the Baptist..." Instead, the Greek reserves that detail to the end of the sentence. I imagine the story being told with the narrator speaking slowly and with pauses between phrase: “I want, right away, that you give me, on a platter, the head of John the Baptist.”