Table Talk

Table Talk is a free weekly devotional that provides writings for use as a bulletin insert for congregations and for use in family devotions. It follows the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) used by SOLA Publishing. ILT makes it available every week, free of charge, on our Resources page and by email subscription. Table Talk's message delivers God's devotion to you, his wayward people, through his Son Jesus Christ.

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Monday Morsels

Tenth Sunday After Pentecost

August 1, 2021

We continue in the aftermath of the feeding of the five thousand, this time from the gospel of John rather than the gospel of Mark. As we continue, remember that the disciples’ hearts are hardened, and they don’t understand, and the people covet what Jesus can give them: bread and healing. The crowd pretends to be all befuddled asking Jesus, “When did you come here?” (vs. 25), as if they were seeking him for himself. Jesus, however, discerns the true purpose of their hearts: the crowd wants him... seeks after him... simply because he can feed them (vs. 26). Jesus warns them against the short sightedness  . . .

Ninth Sunday After Pentecost

July 25, 2021

Our text continues in the immediate aftermath of the feeding of the five thousand. That quiet miracle which no one, not even the disciples, realized until it was over. Even in realizing it was a miracle, they could not understand. The people might not have been able to understand it, but they knew its importance. They coveted its effect. The crowd had been enthralled as it listened to the voice of its shepherd. Somehow that shepherd had provided bread and fish sufficient to feed every one of them. This shepherd possessed not only authority but divine power . . .

Eighth Sunday After Pentecost

July 18, 2021

An incredibly quiet miracle here, almost surreptitiously thrust upon the people as they hungered there on the hillside. Jesus had earlier noted that they appeared as sheep without a shepherd; he felt for them. The crowd, as Jesus taught them, began to hear the voice of their shepherd (Jn. 10:27) and they stayed until a late hour. The issue of their hunger arose. The disciples wanted to send them away, but Jesus dismissed that idea with his command, “You give them something to eat.” The disciples, followers of this itinerant rabbi Jesus, had little or no money to feed a crowd of that size. They had no means of purchasing bread. Jesus, though, turns them to see . . . 

Seventh Sunday After Pentecost

July 11, 2021

The populace speculated regarding Jesus’ true identity: …was he John the Baptist? …was he Elijah the prophet? …was he another prophet of old? Speculation ran rampant. Even Herod chimed in with an official royal opinion. Herod declared Jesus to be John the Baptist risen from the dead. Herod had maintained a perplexing relationship with this baptizing preacher. On the one hand, Herod heard John’s accusation . . . 

Sixth Sunday After Pentecost

July 4, 2021

Jesus began to teach in the synagogue at Nazareth. Here he was the hometown boy made good, the talk of the countryside, rumors of his healing abilities abounded, and he knew his Torah! You’d have thought the residents of Nazareth would have been proud that a son of their community garnered so much honor and notoriety. But, alas, that wasn’t to be the case. “Many who heard him were astonished…” (vs. 2).

Fifth Sunday After Pentecost

June 27, 2021

The lectionary has provided several weeks of people bewildered, perplexed, and confused at Jesus and his words.  In this text, you must listen closely to hear the confusion.  The lengthy pericope is set in the context of Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue pleading to Jesus to save the life of his dying daughter.  He presents the first confusion.  Rather than claiming the authority of Jesus’ Word, he asks for the laying of hands—a tactile event—for the healing of his daughter (vs. 23).

Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

June 20, 2021

Hear the bewilderment in the disciples’ voices. This time the bewilderment is not over Jesus’ words but over his identity. Jesus spoke with such authority that even the wind and the sea obeyed him. He exercised the authority of the Lord of Creation.

Third Sunday After Pentecost

June 13, 2021

Jesus spoke parables to them.  He disguised the Word of God in parables so the people could stand hearing it.  And even though he provided explanations to the disciples, they, too, remained uncomprehending (Mk. 16:11).  We continue to explore the theme of bewilderment and incomprehension. 

Second Sunday After Pentecost

June 6, 2021

Just as Nicodemus was bewildered and confused in last week’s gospel (Jn. 3:1-17), so too does confusion abound in our text today. The crowd that has gathered around Jesus’ home is saying he’s “out of his mind.” Jesus’ family tries to protect him by seizing him and taking him away from the crowd’s threats. The scribes from Jerusalem say Jesus’ problem is demon possession. The crowds, Jesus’ family, and the scribes all find it impossible to believe Jesus’ preaching: “…all sins will be forgiven the children of man…” (vs. 28). Jesus goes on, naming an exception, the unforgivable sin (vs. 29) and rejecting his family’s claim upon him (vs. 33).

Holy Trinity Sunday

May 30, 2021

Nicodemus’ question betrays his bewilderment at these “heavenly things” (vs. 12). Just as Nicodemus has been bewildered by these heavenly things, so too he is bewildered by the new birth into the kingdom of God (vs. 4). Nicodemus’ bewilderment places him in quite a company: there is Mary confronted by the angel Gabriel who relates to her the heavenly things soon to come to earth through her. She too responds, “How will this be?” (Lk. 1:34). There is Jesus, perplexed at Nicodemus’ bewilderment over earthly things (vs. 12). There are the Jews confronted by Jesus in their lack of faith: “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (Jn. 5:44). There are the bewildered Jews puzzled by Jesus’ insistence that they must eat his flesh, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat” (Jn. 6:52)? There is Thomas, one of the Twelve, expressing the disciples’ bewilderment: “How can we know the way” (Jn. 14:5)?

The Day of Pentecost

May 24, 2021

What a funny way for the Helper to begin his work among you… you who are numbered among the sinners in this world. Oh, you may have thought you knew something about sin and how to avoid it… you may have thought you knew something about righteousness and how to obtain it… you may have thought that you knew something about judgment and how to escape it… but the first thing the Helper is going to do is say to you, “You’re wrong!”

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