MARKHAM LUTHERAN CHURCH - Baptized to serve.
Background On the Lessons for February 25, 2018, The 2nd Sunday in Lent

The Book of Genesis

The book of Genesis was compiled from oral and written traditions probably brought together during the time of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. Later parts may have been written down after the fall of Judah during the Babylonian exile (the promise of God to Abraham, joined with the stories about Jacob and Joseph, for instance, which would have given hope to the Jewish captives).  It wasn't until the Greco-Roman period when Genesis and the other writings of the Pentateuch began to be attributed to Moses, one of the major figures in the stories of these writings. This reflects the custom among the Greeks of identifying authorship, which they believed conferred more authority and prestige on a work.  Genesis combines old writings about creation and the flood with later priestly writings which relate Israel's experience of and relationship with God through the centuries.  

The Book of Romans

Paul wrote his letter to the Romans in about 56-57 C.E. Jewish-Christians were the leaders of the early church throughout the empire, including Rome. The emperor Claudius tolerated other religions, and could even be said to have treated the Jews generously; however, he hated proselytizing. In 49 C.E., he expelled all Jews, including Jewish-Christians, from Rome because some Jews were causing disturbances in the city at the instigation of "Chrestus". Many scholars believe that this refers to the efforts of the Jewish-Christians, inspired by their faith in the risen Christ, to convert others. By the time Jews were allowed to return to Rome, the Gentile-Christians had taken over leadership of the Roman church. Tensions arose between the two groups of believers, prompting Paul's letter. Throughout Romans, Paul appeals to his readers to embrace holy living, especially admonishing his Gentile-Christian readers, who were tempted to look down on their persecuted Jewish-Christian brethren, that they were all brothers and sisters in Christ and belonged to the Lord. 

The Gospel According to St. Mark

The book of Mark is attributed to Mark, the companion of Peter and Paul. It seems to have been written for Christians living in the Roman Empire, but outside of Palestine.  It was probably written in the mid to late 60s C.E.  There must have been many stories being told about Jesus from the time of his death in the 30s C.E. Mark was the first to collect them and write them in what he called "the good news," or gospel, "of Jesus Christ, the Son of God."  It is the only book in the Bible that refers to itself as a "gospel."  It is a story of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection and is structured around his baptism, transfiguration, and crucifixion. It is meant to strengthen faith in Jesus and make disciples.    

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