Commentaries Written by Leonard Vander Zee

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Psalm 132:1-18 Sermon Commentary

Proper 29B

Digging into the Text: Psalm 132 is the longest of the Psalms of Ascent, and bears little resemblance the the themes and forms of the other Psalms in this collection.  Many scholars think the Psalms of Ascent were used by Israel especially for the pilgrimage feasts (Passover and Pentecost) for which large numbers of pilgrims…

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John 18:33-37 Sermon Commentary

Proper 29B

Digging into the Text: It’s interesting that this year Christ the King Sunday comes just a few weeks after a very divisive American election.  Actually, as of this writing, it’s not even over yet, as recounts continue in closely fought races.  On top of that, the Gospel for this year is a tense conversation between…

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Psalm 16 Sermon Commentary

Proper 28B

Commentaries. Sometimes they are a wonderful help to the preacher, sometimes they are a hindrance. I looked through a few commentaries on this Psalm, and came away somewhat more confused than when I started. Commentaries often try to figure out the background of the Psalm in question. Who was the author? What was the occasion?…

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Mark 13:1-8 Sermon Commentary

Proper 28B

Digging into the Text: We have just gone through a tumultuous election campaign in which one of the candidates banked on the theme of fear. He wanted us to see that our country is going to hell in a handbasket, and he was the one who will save us. Most of us have had enough…

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Psalm 127 Sermon Commentary

Proper 27B

Digging into the Text: Just offhand, I thought that the title of a sermon on Psalm 127 might be “The Cure for insomnia,” inspired by that delightful line: “the Lord gives his beloved sleep.” Of course, that’s a gross reduction of the breadth of the Psalm, but it does point to its multi-level meaning. One…

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Hebrews 9:24-28 [10:11-18] Sermon Commentary

Proper 27B

Digging Into the Text: I imagine that by this time, you preachers out there might be getting a little burned out with Hebrews and its priests and sacrifices and temples, and worried the congregation may feel the same way. Some commentators think that Hebrews is not so much an epistle in the usual sense, but…

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Psalm 146 Sermon Commentary

Proper 26B

Digging Into the Text: Psalm 146 marks the beginning of the last “Book” in the Psalms, four psalms that close the Psalter with a rising chorus of praise. Each one begins and ends with the word Hallellu Jah, “Praise the Lord [Jahweh].” Since the Psalms constantly admonish us to praise the Lord, it may seem…

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Mark 12:28-34 Sermon Commentary

Proper 26B

Digging into the Text: The first thing I noticed about this text is that this is that while all the other encounters Jesus has with the Scribes and Pharisees, the Jewish leaders, are adversarial, this one is positive. This particular Scribe had been listening to Jesus discuss theology with the Jewish leaders, and he was…

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Psalm 34:1-8 (19-22) Sermon Commentary

Proper 25B

Digging Into the Text: 1). The first thing to notice about this Psalm is that it is an acrostic. The poet/Psalmist not only takes on the usual formal patterns of Hebrew poetry such as parallelism, but adds the even more demanding form of the acrostic. It is analogous to the modern poet adopting the form…

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Mark 10:46-52 Sermon Commentary

Proper 25B

Digging into the Text: Where are we? That’s always a good question to ask concerning a Gospel passage, and it’s particularly appropriate for this episode. The healing of Bar Timaeus comes as the climax to the entire first half of Mark, and at the completion of Jesus final trek to Jerusalem. The very next event…

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