Tuesday, December 8, 2015
This passage is found in the RCL, Advent 3, Year C (Most recently Dec 13, 2015).
Summary: It almost seems ironic to the Lutheran preacher that Luke refers to John "evangelizing"; here for it seems all law. However, this is a great Lutheran sermon. It fully offers the listener God's law, both instrumentally (vocation) but also theologically (terror that leads us to Christ). Furthermore, it defines the role of the church: God's gathering of baptized sinners, where he justifies them (cleanses) and sanctifies them (puts them to use). Basically, Martin Luther must have written this chapter. Haha!!
Okay, a more subtle commentary -- sanctification requires sifting. Does the church sift us or has life already sifted us?!
προσδοκαω ("wait" or "expect"; 3:15) A great Advent words! Interestingly, Luke uses this word a whole bunch (6x in Luke; 4x in Acts), far more often than anyone else. In this case though, the people are not waiting for Jesus, per se, but rather the Messiah, and wondering whether John would be it. Perhaps a reminder and a challenge -- what are we waiting for?
καρδιας ("heart"; 3:15) The people wondered "in their hearts." In Luke's Gospel, the hearts is the place where thought occurs, much like Hebrew!
ειη ("to be"; 3:15) The word here for "is" is in the optative mood, a rare usage indeed. Gotta give it to Luke -- using Hebrew thought with advanced Greek!
αλων ("threshing floor") and συναγω ("gather"; 3:17) God gathers in the wheat to do something good with it. It was beaten, yes, but this had a purpose -- make the grain productive for wheat. This is sanctification. God taking away our crap so that we can be useful for our neighbor.
διακαθαιρω ("cleanse"; 3:17). This word's cousin καθαιρω is more familiar -- Catherize! The job of the church is to cleanse us.
Grammar Review: Super easy participle:
μελλοθσηας: The "coming" wrath. This is a verb function as an adjective. Easy as pie. Remember, not all participles are hard! Many have direct and easy ways to translate them into English. In this case, you just have to identify it as an adjectival participle (how? It has the word "the" in front of it and it describes the word immediately following it).