The crushing stone (Lk 20:18-20:18)

“Everyone who falls

On that stone

Will be broken

To pieces.

It will crush anyone

On whom it falls.”

 

πᾶς ὁ πεσὼν ἐπ’ ἐκεῖνον τὸν λίθον συνθλασθήσεται· ἐφ’ ὃν δ’ ἂν πέσῃ, λικμήσει αὐτόν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that anyone who fell on that cornerstone (πᾶς ὁ πεσὼν ἐπ’ ἐκεῖνον τὸν λίθον) would be broken or shattered into pieces (συνθλασθήσεται).  This cornerstone would crush or grind anyone into powder (λικμήσει αὐτόν) on whom it fell (ἐφ’ ὃν δ’ ἂν πέσῃ).  This is exactly the same in some manuscripts of Matthew 21:44.  However, there is nothing like this in MarkMatthew indicated that Jesus came back to his cornerstone idea.  If anyone fell on this key stone (καὶ ὁ πεσὼν ἐπὶ τὸν λίθον), they would be broken or shattered into pieces (τοῦτον συνθλασθήσεται).  If this corner stone fell on anyone (ἐφ’ ὃν δ’ ἂν πέσῃ), it would crush and grind them into powder (λικμήσει αὐτόν).  You had to be careful with this cornerstone, Jesus.  Have you ever noticed cornerstones in public buildings?

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Old Anna lived in the Temple (Lk 2:37-2:37)

“Then Anna lived

As a widow

To the age of eighty-four.

She never left

The Temple.

She worshiped there

With fasting

And prayer,

Night and day.”

 

καὶ αὐτὴ χήρα ἕως ἐτῶν ὀγδοήκοντα τεσσάρων, ἣ οὐκ ἀφίστατο τοῦ ἱεροῦ νηστείαις καὶ δεήσεσιν λατρεύουσα νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν.

 

Next Luke spoke about how this old female prophet, Anna was a widow, living in the Temple, worshiping and fasting day and night.  Thus, she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four (καὶ αὐτὴ χήρα ἕως ἐτῶν ὀγδοήκοντα τεσσάρων).  She never left the Temple (ἣ οὐκ ἀφίστατο τοῦ ἱεροῦ).  She worshiped or served there with fasting and prayer (νηστείαις καὶ δεήσεσιν λατρεύουσα), night and day (νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν).  She was a very devout old Jewish lady.  Once again, Luke indicated that she was a widow that did not remarry, but dedicated herself to the Temple worship.

The birthday of Herod (Mk 6:21-6:21)

“But an opportunity came

When Herod,

On his birthday,

Gave a banquet

For his noble courtiers,

His military officers,

And the prominent leaders

Of Galilee.”

 

Καὶ γενομένης ἡμέρας εὐκαίρου ὅτε Ἡρῴδης τοῖς γενεσίοις αὐτοῦ δεῖπνον ἐποίησεν τοῖς μεγιστᾶσιν αὐτοῦ καὶ τοῖς χιλιάρχοις καὶ τοῖς πρώτοις τῆς Γαλιλαίας,

 

Mark has a long descriptive story about this birthday party of Herod.  Matthew, chapter 14:6-12, has a more summary statement about this party, while Luke made no mention of it.  Mark explained about the guests at this birthday party.  He said that an opportunity arose for a festival day (Καὶ γενομένης ἡμέρας εὐκαίρου) on the celebration of King Herod’s birthday (ὅτε Ἡρῴδης τοῖς γενεσίοις αὐτοῦ).  King Herod gave a banquet dinner (δεῖπνον ἐποίησεν) for his courtiers or noblemen (τοῖς μεγιστᾶσιν αὐτοῦ), his military officers or captains (καὶ τοῖς χιλιάρχοις), and the other prominent leaders of Galilee (καὶ τοῖς πρώτοις τῆς Γαλιλαίας).  Anybody who was of any importance in Galilee would have been there, since Herod was the tetrarch or so-called king of Galilee, under Roman rule.

Prologue

This Gospel of Matthew has a prologue with five parts that echo the book of Genesis.  First, there was the genealogy of Jesus via Joseph that began with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Then this genealogy went through the twin sons of Judah and the descendants of Perez.  Then it went from Ruth to King David.  Then there was the kings of Judah from Solomon to the gap and up to and including the Babylonian captivity.  Finally, there were the unknown names in this genealogy that led up to Joseph and his father.  Matthew then explained the genealogy of Jesus, since there were differences of this genealogy with that of the Gospel of Luke.

The second part of this prologue was the virgin birth of Jesus.  First of all, there was the conception of Jesus from Joseph’s point of view, not Mary’s.  Joseph wanted to divorce Mary for being pregnant until an angel in a dream told him that Jesus would be a special child that fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah.  After waking up from his dream, there was the virgin birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.

The third part of this prologue was the visit of the Magi.  They brought their questions to Herod the Judean Roman king, who was annoyed and frightened.  He found out that Bethlehem was described by the prophet Micah as the place where the Messiah would be born.  Herod summoned the Magi and sent them to Bethlehem.  The Magi followed the star and found Mary with the child at the so-called Epiphany.  However, they went home another route so that they did not go back to King Herod.

The fourth part was the flight into Egypt, as Joseph had another dream.  They went to Egypt to fulfill another prophecy that the Messiah would come out of Egypt.  Meanwhile, King Herod killed all the under two-year old boys in the Bethlehem area as the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jeremiah.

Finally, the fifth part of the prologue was the return of Jesus to Nazareth when Joseph had a third dream.  He was told to return to Israel, or more specifically to Galilee in a place called Nazareth.  Thus, this prologue gave the unique perspective of Joseph.

The idea of an attack (Ezek 38:14-38:14)

“Therefore,

Son of man!

Prophesy!

Say to Gog!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘On that day,

When my people Israel

Are living securely,

You will rouse yourself.’”

Yahweh once again wanted Ezekiel to prophesize to Gog, but I am not sure how Ezekiel and Gog would connect. When the Israelites had returned to live securely on their land, Gog should rouse himself to plan an attack on them. It seemed like Yahweh wanted Gog to attack Israel.

The end of Jerusalem’s lewdness in Egypt (Ezek 23:27-23:28)

“‘So I will put an end

To your lewdness.

I will put an end

To your prostitution activities

That you brought

From the land of Egypt.

You shall not long for them.

You shall not remember

Egypt anymore.’

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I will deliver you

Into the hands

Of those whom you hate.

I will deliver you

Into the hands

Of those from whom

You turned in disgust.’”

Yahweh was going to put an end to the prostitution activities and lewdness of Jerusalem that she had brought from Egypt. Jerusalem had longed for and remembered her youth in Egypt. Yahweh was now going to deliver Jerusalem into the hands of those who had hated her. He was going to give her over to those former lovers from whom she had turned away from in disgust.