They are the blessed ones (Mt 13:16-13:17)

“But blessed are your eyes!

They see!

Blessed are your ears!

They hear!

Truly I say to you!

Many prophets

And righteous people

Longed to see

What you see.

But they did not see it.

They longed to hear

What you hear.

But they did not hear it.”

 

ὑμῶν δὲ μακάριοι οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ ὅτι βλέπουσιν, καὶ τὰ ὦτα ὑμῶν ὅτι ἀκούουσιν.

ἀμὴν γὰρ λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πολλοὶ προφῆται καὶ δίκαιοι ἐπεθύμησαν ἰδεῖν ἃ βλέπετε καὶ οὐκ εἶδαν, καὶ ἀκοῦσαι ἃ ἀκούετε καὶ οὐκ ἤκουσαν.

 

This saying about the blessed ones can also be found almost word for word in Luke, chapter 10:23-24, indicating a Q source.  Jesus’ disciples have heard and seen what other prophets and righteous ones had wanted to see and hear, but never did.  His disciples were the blessed or happy ones (ὑμῶν δὲ μακάριοι).  Blessed are their eyes because they see (οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ ὅτι βλέπουσιν)!  Blessed are their ears because they hear (καὶ τὰ ὦτα ὑμῶν ὅτι ἀκούουσιν)!  Jesus issued a solemn declaration (ἀμὴν γὰρ λέγω ὑμῖν).  Many prophets and righteous people had set their hearts on or longed for (ὅτι πολλοὶ προφῆται καὶ δίκαιοι ἐπεθύμησαν) what they had seen (ἰδεῖν ἃ βλέπετε) and heard (καὶ ἀκοῦσαι ἃ ἀκούετε), but they never saw them (καὶ οὐκ εἶδαν) or heard them (καὶ οὐκ ἤκουσαν) like they have.  The disciples of Jesus should realize how fortunate they are to be with Jesus.  Many people were less fortunate than them.

The prophecy of Isaiah (Mt 13:14-13:15)

“With them indeed is fulfilled

The prophecy of Isaiah

That says.

‘You will indeed listen,

But never understand!

You will indeed see,

but never perceive!

This people’s heart

Has grown dull.

Their ears are

Hard of hearing.

They have shut their eyes,

So that they might not look

With their eyes.

So that they do not listen

With their ears.

So that they do not understand

With their hearts.

They should return.

I would heal them.’”

 

καὶ ἀναπληροῦται αὐτοῖς ἡ προφητεία Ἡσαΐου ἡ λέγουσα Ἀκοῇ ἀκούσετε καὶ οὐ μὴ συνῆτε, καὶ βλέποντες βλέψετε καὶ οὐ μὴ ἴδητε.

ἐπαχύνθη γὰρ ἡ καρδία τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου, καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν βαρέως ἤκουσαν, καὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν ἐκάμμυσαν· μή ποτε ἴδωσιν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν ἀκούσωσιν καὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ συνῶσιν καὶ ἐπιστρέψωσιν, καὶ ἰάσομαι αὐτούς.

 

This prophecy of Isaiah is based on chapter 6:9-10, where Isaiah told the people that they were listening without comprehending.  They were looking without understanding.  Their hearts were dull.  Their eyes and ears were closed.  He wanted them not to look with their own eyes, but he wanted them to turn to Yahweh, so that they would be healed.  Only Matthew, among the synoptics, saw the fulfillment of this Isaiah prophecy in Jesus (καὶ ἀναπληροῦται αὐτοῖς ἡ προφητεία Ἡσαΐου ἡ λέγουσα).  They would listen and hear, but not understand (Ἀκοῇ ἀκούσετε καὶ οὐ μὴ συνῆτε).  They would see, but not perceive (καὶ βλέποντες βλέψετε καὶ οὐ μὴ ἴδητε).  Their hearts had grown dull or unfeeling (ἐπαχύνθη γὰρ ἡ καρδία τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου).  Their ears were hard of hearing, as they could barely hear (καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν βαρέως ἤκουσαν).  They have shut their eyes (καὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν ἐκάμμυσαν), so that they might not see with their eyes (μή ποτε ἴδωσιν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς).  Thus, they did not hear with their ears (καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν ἀκούσωσιν).  Thus, they did not understand with their hearts (καὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ συνῶσιν).  They should return (καὶ ἐπιστρέψωσιν).  Yahweh or now Jesus would heal them (καὶ ἰάσομαι αὐτούς).

Jesus explained why he used parables (Mt 13:11-13:13)

“Jesus answered them.

‘To you,

It has been given

To know the secret mysteries

Of the kingdom of heaven.

But to them,

It has not been given.

To those who have,

More will be given.

They will have an abundance.

But from those who have nothing,

Even what they have

Will be taken away.

The reason that I speak to them

In parables is that

Seeing,

They do not perceive.

Hearing,

They do not listen.

They do not understand.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν ὅτι Ὑμῖν δέδοται γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν, ἐκείνοις δὲ οὐ δέδοται.

ὅστις γὰρ ἔχει, δοθήσεται αὐτῷ καὶ περισσευθήσεται· ὅστις δὲ οὐκ ἔχει, καὶ ὃ ἔχει ἀρθήσεται ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ.

διὰ τοῦτο ἐν παραβολαῖς αὐτοῖς λαλῶ, ὅτι βλέποντες οὐ βλέπουσιν καὶ ἀκούοντες οὐκ ἀκούουσιν οὐδὲ συνίουσιν.

 

This response of Jesus about the meaning of parable can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:11-12, and Luke, chapter 8:10.  Matthew is closer to Mark here.  Jesus answered them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν).  He told them they had been given the knowledge of the secret mysteries about the kingdom of heaven (ὅτι Ὑμῖν δέδοται γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν).  However, this was not granted to others (ἐκείνοις δὲ οὐ δέδοται).  Those who had more knowledge, even more abundant knowledge would be given to them (ὅστις γὰρ ἔχει, δοθήσεται αὐτῷ καὶ περισσευθήσεται).  However, those who had nothing, (ὅστις δὲ οὐκ ἔχει), even what little they had would be taken away (καὶ ὃ ἔχει ἀρθήσεται ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ).  The reason that Jesus spoke in parables (διὰ τοῦτο ἐν παραβολαῖς αὐτοῖς λαλῶ), was that some people see, but do not perceive what they see (ὅτι βλέποντες οὐ βλέπουσιν).  Some people hear but do not listen or understand what they hear (καὶ ἀκούοντες οὐκ ἀκούουσιν οὐδὲ συνίουσιν).  This is almost like a gnostic interpretation of knowledge, where only the elite have a true secret knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom.

Why do you speak in parables? (Mt 13:10-13:10)

“Then the disciples came.

They said to Jesus.

‘Why do you speak

To them in parables?’”

 

Καὶ προσελθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ Διὰ τί ἐν παραβολαῖς λαλεῖς αὐτοῖς;

 

This question to Jesus can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:10, and Luke, chapter 8:9.  The disciples came to Jesus (Καὶ προσελθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ).  They wanted to know why Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables (εἶπαν αὐτῷ Διὰ τί ἐν παραβολαῖς λαλεῖς αὐτοῖς).  The disciples were confused about the use of parables.

The seeds in good soil (Mt 13:8-13:9)

“Other seeds fell on good soil.

They brought forth grain.

Some was a hundredfold.

Some was sixtyfold.

Some was thirtyfold.

Let anyone with ears,

Listen!”

 

ἄλλα δὲ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν τὴν καλὴν καὶ ἐδίδου καρπόν, ὃ μὲν ἑκατὸν ὃ δὲ ἑξήκοντα ὃ δὲ τριάκοντα.

ὁ ἔχων ὦτα ἀκουέτω.

 

This good seed parable can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:8-9, and Luke, chapter 8:8, with Matthew closer to Mark.  There is a happy ending to this parable with the seeds that fell on good soil.  Then there is the warning at the end.  Other seeds fell on good soil (ἄλλα δὲ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν τὴν καλὴν).  They brought forth grain (καὶ ἐδίδου καρπόν).  Some yielded a hundredfold (ὃ μὲν ἑκατὸν), others sixtyfold (ὃ δὲ ἑξήκοντα) and still others thirtyfold (ὃ δὲ τριάκοντα).  Luke only listed 100 and never mentioned 60 or 30.  Jesus told them that anyone with ears should listen (ὁ ἔχων ὦτα ἀκουέτω) to this parable.

The parable of the sower with lost seeds (Mt 13:3-13:7)

“A sower went out to sow.

As he sowed,

Some seeds fell on the path.

The birds came.

They ate them up.

Other seeds fell on rocky ground.

Where they did not have much soil.

They sprang up quickly,

As they had no depth of soil.

When the sun rose,

They were scorched.

As they had no roots,

They withered away.

Other seeds fell upon thorns.

The thorns grew up.

They choked them.”

 

Ἰδοὺ ἐξῆλθεν ὁ σπείρων τοῦ σπείρειν.

καὶ ἐν τῷ σπείρειν αὐτὸν ἃ μὲν ἔπεσεν παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν, καὶ ἐλθόντα τὰ πετεινὰ κατέφαγεν αὐτά.

ἄλλα δὲ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὰ πετρώδη ὅπου οὐκ εἶχεν γῆν πολλήν, καὶ εὐθέως ἐξανέτειλεν διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν βάθος γῆς,

ἡλίου δὲ ἀνατείλαντος ἐκαυματίσθη καὶ διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν ῥίζαν ἐξηράνθη.

ἄλλα δὲ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὰς ἀκάνθας, καὶ ἀνέβησαν αἱ ἄκανθαι καὶ ἀπέπνιξαν αὐτά.

 

This sower parable can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:3-7, and Luke, chapter 8:5-7, with Matthew closer to Mark.  The farmer or sower went out to sow his seeds (Ἰδοὺ ἐξῆλθεν ὁ σπείρων τοῦ σπείρειν).  This first section is about the unsuccessful seeds.  The first group of seeds fell on the walking path or road (καὶ ἐν τῷ σπείρειν αὐτὸν ἃ μὲν ἔπεσεν παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν), so that the birds came and ate them up or devoured them (καὶ ἐλθόντα τὰ πετεινὰ κατέφαγεν αὐτά).  The second group of seeds fell on rocky ground (ἄλλα δὲ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὰ πετρώδη).  They did not have much soil (ὅπου οὐκ εἶχεν γῆν πολλήν).  They sprang up quickly, even though they did not have much soil depth (καὶ εὐθέως ἐξανέτειλεν διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν βάθος γῆς).  However, they were scorched and withered under the sun (ἡλίου δὲ ἀνατείλαντος ἐκαυματίσθη) because they did not have good roots (καὶ διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν ῥίζαν ἐξηράνθη).  The final group of unsuccessful seeds fell among the thorns (ἄλλα δὲ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὰς ἀκάνθας) where they were chocked by the growing thorns (καὶ ἀνέβησαν αἱ ἄκανθαι καὶ ἀπέπνιξαν αὐτά).

The parables (Mt 13:3-13:3)

“Jesus told them

Many things

In parable sayings.”

 

αὶ ἐλάλησεν αὐτοῖς πολλὰ ἐν παραβολαῖς λέγων.

 

A similar statement can be found in Mark, chapter 4:2.  This is the beginning of the parable section in Matthew.  Jesus told them many things in parables (αὶ ἐλάλησεν αὐτοῖς πολλὰ ἐν παραβολαῖς λέγων).  Parables were one of the many literary forms in the biblical literature.  These parables of Jesus can be found in all the synoptic gospels since they represent about 1/3 of Jesus’ teachings.  These simple and memorable stories conveyed important messages, central to the teachings of Jesus.  Many of Jesus’s parables refer to simple everyday events.  The word “parable” can also refer to a riddle, as it was used in the Old Testament.  The use of parables was a natural teaching method that fit into the tradition of the time of Jesus.  Matthew has 23 parables of which 11 are unique.  There are 2 unique parables in Mark and 18 unique parables in LukeMatthew and Luke share 4 parables, while Matthew, Mark and Luke share 6 parables.  Many of these parables have been subjects of art and literature, especially during the Middle Ages.

Jesus siting in a boat by the sea (Mt 13:1-13:2)

“That same day,

Jesus went out

Of the house.

He sat beside the sea.

Such great crowds

Gathered around him,

That he got into a boat.

He sat there.

Meanwhile,

The whole crowd stood

On the beach.”

 

Ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ ἐξελθὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τῆς οἰκίας ἐκάθητο παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν

καὶ συνήχθησαν πρὸς αὐτὸν ὄχλοι πολλοί, ὥστε αὐτὸν εἰς πλοῖον ἐμβάντα καθῆσθαι, καὶ πᾶς ὁ ὄχλος ἐπὶ τὸν αἰγιαλὸν εἱστήκει.

 

A similar statement can be found in Mark, chapter 4:1.  This seems to be a transition statement.  It was the same day (Ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ), but Jesus left his house (ἐξελθὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τῆς οἰκίας) and sat beside the Sea of Galilee (ἐκάθητο παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν).  Such great crowds gathered or assembled around him (καὶ συνήχθησαν πρὸς αὐτὸν ὄχλοι πολλοί), so that Jesus got into a boat (ὥστε αὐτὸν εἰς πλοῖον ἐμβάντα).  He then sat there in the boat (καθῆσθαι), while the whole crowd stood on the beach shore (καὶ πᾶς ὁ ὄχλος ἐπὶ τὸν αἰγιαλὸν εἱστήκει).  Jesus was no longer talking to just his apostles since this was a whole crowd of people.

The new family (Mt 12:48-12:50)

“But Jesus replied

To the one

Who told him this.

‘Who is my mother?

Who are my brothers?’

Pointing to his disciples,

He said.

‘Here is my mother!

Here are my brothers!

Whoever does the will

Of my Father in heaven

Is my brother.

She is my sister!

She is my mother!’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν τῷ λέγοντι αὐτῷ Τίς ἐστιν ἡ μήτηρ μου, καὶ τίνες εἰσὶν οἱ ἀδελφοί μου;

καὶ ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ εἶπεν Ἰδοὺ ἡ μήτηρ μου καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί μου·

ὅστις γὰρ ἂν ποιήσῃ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς, αὐτός μου ἀδελφὸς καὶ ἀδελφὴ καὶ μήτηρ ἐστίν.

 

Luke, chapter 8:21, and Mark, chapter 3:33-35, have something similar, but Matthew is closer to Mark.  Jesus made a distinction between his biological family and his new spiritual family.  Jesus replied to the person who told him about his relatives (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν τῷ λέγοντι αὐτῷ).  He asked him who his mother was and who his brothers were (Τίς ἐστιν ἡ μήτηρ μου, καὶ τίνες εἰσὶν οἱ ἀδελφοί μου).  He stretched out his hand pointing to his disciples (καὶ ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ).  He said that they were his mother and his brothers (εἶπεν Ἰδοὺ ἡ μήτηρ μου καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί μου).  Anyone who did the will of his Father in heaven (ὅστις γὰρ ἂν ποιήσῃ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς) would be his brother (αὐτός μου ἀδελφὸς), his sister (καὶ ἀδελφὴ), and his mother (καὶ μήτηρ ἐστίν).  No longer was a biological family important, because there was now a new spiritual faith family of Jesus believers.

Jesus’ mother and brothers (Mt 12:46-12:47)

“While Jesus was still speaking

To the people,

His mother

And his brothers

Were standing outside.

They wanted to speak to him.

Someone told him.

‘Look!

Your mother

And your brothers

Are standing outside

Wanting to speak with you.’”

 

Ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος τοῖς ὄχλοις ἰδοὺ ἡ μήτηρ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ εἱστήκεισαν ἔξω ζητοῦντες αὐτῷ λαλῆσαι.

εἶπεν δέ τις αὐτῷ Ἰδοὺ ἡ μήτηρ σου καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί σου ἔξω ἑστήκασιν ζητοῦντές σοι λαλῆσαι.

 

Luke, chapter 8:19-20, and Mark, chapter 3:31-32, have something similar.  While Jesus was still speaking to the crowds of people (Ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος τοῖς ὄχλοις), his mother and brothers were standing outside (ἰδοὺ ἡ μήτηρ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ εἱστήκεισαν ἔξω).  They wanted to speak to him (ζητοῦντες αὐτῷ λαλῆσαι).  Someone then told him (εἶπεν δέ τις αὐτῷ) that his mother and brothers were outside (Ἰδοὺ ἡ μήτηρ σου καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί σου ἔξω) wanting to talk to him (ἑστήκασιν ζητοῦντές σοι λαλῆσαι).  This brings up all kinds of questions.  Were they not allowed to come into where he was talking?  Who are these brothers?  To what extent was Jesus estranged from his family?  According to Matthew, Jesus has been close to John the Baptist and his early apostles Peter, Andrew, John, James and Matthew.  These brothers could be biological brothers, half-brothers from a first marriage of Joseph, or relative cousins.  The Hebrew and Aramaic language did not have a distinctive word for cousins, so that the word “brother” was often used to mean more than a biological brother.  Just as today, people sometimes refers to others as brothers or sisters, when there is no biological link.  Half-brothers often refer to themselves as brothers or sisters today also.  The traditional belief of Christians, even though the Reformation period, has been that Mary was a virgin, so that Jesus was her only son.  However, the Greek language did have a word for cousins.  In Mark, chapter 6:3, and Matthew, chapter 13:55–56, there are explicit names for the brothers of Jesus.  Thus, here the unnamed mother and unnamed brothers of Jesus was outside wanting to speak to Jesus.  They clearly were relatives of Jesus, exactly how close a relative is not clear.