The value of sparrows (Mt 10:29-10:31)

“Are not two sparrows

Sold for a penny?

Yet not one of them

Will fall to the ground

Without your Father’s will.

But even the hairs

Of your head

Are all numbered.

Do not be afraid!

You are of more value

Than many sparrows.”

 

οὐχὶ δύο στρουθία ἀσσαρίου πωλεῖται; καὶ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν οὐ πεσεῖται ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ἄνευ τοῦ Πατρὸς ὑμῶν.

ὑμῶν δὲ καὶ αἱ τρίχες τῆς κεφαλῆς πᾶσαι ἠριθμημέναι εἰσίν.

μὴ οὖν φοβεῖσθε· πολλῶν στρουθίων διαφέρετε ὑμεῖς.

 

This verse of Matthew is similar to Luke, chapter 12:6-7, indicating a Q source.  Jesus, via Matthew, compared human life to 2 sparrows.  He asked whether 2 sparrows (οὐχὶ δύο στρουθία) that sold for a penny or a Greek “assarion” (ἀσσαρίου πωλεῖται), worth about 2 cents. were more valuable than humans.  Not one of these sparrows would fall to the ground without the heavenly Father (καὶ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν οὐ πεσεῖται ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ἄνευ τοῦ Πατρὸς ὑμῶν).  God, the Father, could number all the hairs on their head (μῶν δὲ καὶ αἱ τρίχες τῆς κεφαλῆς πᾶσαι ἠριθμημέναι εἰσίν.).  They should not be afraid (μὴ οὖν φοβεῖσθε), because they are more valuable that many sparrows (πολλῶν στρουθίων διαφέρετε ὑμεῖς).  If God the Father cares for these insignificant birds, how much more is he concerned about humans.  There was a continual theme about not being afraid.

Worry about your soul (Mt 10:28-10:28)

“Do not fear

Those who kill the body,

But cannot kill the soul.

Rather fear him

Who can destroy

Both soul

And body in hell.”

 

καὶ μὴ φοβεῖσθε ἀπὸ τῶν ἀποκτεννόντων τὸ σῶμα, τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν μὴ δυναμένων ἀποκτεῖναι· φοβεῖσθε δὲ μᾶλλον τὸν δυνάμενον καὶ ψυχὴν καὶ σῶμα ἀπολέσαι ἐν γεέννῃ.

 

This verse of Matthew is similar to Luke, chapter 12:4-5, indicating a Q source.  Jesus, via Matthew, warned his followers not to fear or be afraid of (καὶ μὴ φοβεῖσθε) those people who might kill their body (ἀπὸ τῶν ἀποκτεννόντων τὸ σῶμα), but were unable to kill their soul (τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν μὴ δυναμένων ἀποκτεῖναι·).  Rather they should fear or be afraid (φοβεῖσθε δὲ μᾶλλον) of the people who can destroy both their soul and their body (τὸν δυνάμενον καὶ ψυχὴν καὶ σῶμα ἀπολέσαι) by sending them to hell or gehenna (ἐν γεέννῃ).  The Greek word for hell “γεέννῃ” or the English gehenna was based on the Hebrew word Gehinnom that was the name of the valley south of Jerusalem where burning child sacrifices used to take place.

Know them by their fruits (Mt 7:16-7:16)

“You know them

By their fruits.

Are grapes gathered

From thorn bushes?

Are figs gathered

From thistles?”

 

ἀπὸ τῶν καρπῶν αὐτῶν ἐπιγνώσεσθε αὐτούς. μήτι συλλέγουσιν ἀπὸ ἀκανθῶν σταφυλὰς ἢ ἀπὸ τριβόλων σῦκα;

 

This saying of Jesus is somewhat similar to Luke, chapter 6:44-45, perhaps indicating a Q source.  Jesus told his disciples, via Matthew, that they would know or discern people by their fruits (ἀπὸ τῶν καρπῶν αὐτῶν ἐπιγνώσεσθε αὐτούς).  Then he asked the question whether grapes could be gathered from thorn bushes (μήτι συλλέγουσιν ἀπὸ ἀκανθῶν σταφυλὰς) or figs gathered from thistles (ἢ ἀπὸ τριβόλων σῦκα).  Certain kinds of fruits only come from certain kinds of trees.  Thus, you can tell what kind of tree it is by its fruit.

The first part of the Lord’s prayer (Mt 6:9-6:10)

“Pray then in this way!

‘Our Father

In heaven!

Holy be your name!

Let your kingdom come!

Your will be done,

On earth,

As it is in heaven.’”

 

οὕτως οὖν προσεύχεσθε ὑμεῖς Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς· Ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου·

ἐλθάτω ἡ βασιλεία σου· γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς·

 

Matthew, as well as Luke, chapter 11:2-3, both have the “Lord’s Prayer,” “The Our Father,” with only slightly different versions, perhaps indicating a Q source.  The text in Luke is shorter than here, since Matthew has 7 demands of God, one of his favorite numbers.  The first part of the prayer is about the glory of God himself, the Father.  Jesus simply tells them to pray like this (οὕτως οὖν προσεύχεσθε ὑμεῖς).  The Greek word for praying “προσεύχεσθε” means an exchange of wishes.  Jesus opened this prayer with a call to their common “our” Father (Πάτερ ἡμῶν) who is in the heavens (ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς).  The heavenly father was a major theme throughout Matthew.  His name should be holy (Ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου), just as in the Hebrew scriptures where the name of Yahweh was holy, especially Psalm 105:1-5.  His kingdom should come (ἐλθάτω ἡ βασιλεία σου).  His will should be done (γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου) on earth (καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς), just as it is done in heaven (ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ).  Obviously following the will of God, Yahweh, was a common theme of Judaic life.  The followers of Jesus would not be exempt from following the will of their heavenly Father.