Do not tell anyone except the priest (Mk 1:43-1:44)

“Jesus

Sternly warned him.

He sent him away

At once.

He said to him.

‘See!

Say nothing

To anyone!

But go!

Show yourself

To the priest!

Offer

For your cleansing

What Moses commanded,

As a testimony to them.’”

 

καὶ ἐμβριμησάμενος αὐτῷ εὐθὺς ἐξέβαλεν αὐτόν,

καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Ὅρα μηδενὶ μηδὲν εἴπῃς, ἀλλὰ ὕπαγε σεαυτὸν δεῖξον τῷ ἱερεῖ καὶ προσένεγκε περὶ τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ σου ἃ προσέταξεν Μωϋσῆς εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς.

 

Luke, chapter 5:14, and Matthew, chapter 8:4, are almost word for word like Mark, so that Mark might be the source of this admonition saying.  Mark said that Jesus sternly warned the cleansed leper (καὶ ἐμβριμησάμενος αὐτῷ) before the leper was sent him away immediately (εὐθὺς ἐξέβαλεν αὐτόν).  Jesus told the leper (καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ) not to say anything to anyone (Ὅρα μηδενὶ μηδὲν εἴπῃς).  This is often referred to as the messianic secret because Jesus did not want anyone to know about his power.  Instead, the leper was to show himself to the priest (ἀλλὰ ὕπαγε σεαυτὸν δεῖξον τῷ ἱερεῖ,), as recommended in Leviticus, chapter 14:2-9.  He should make the offering (καὶ προσένεγκε) for his cleansing (περὶ τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ σου) as outlined in Leviticus, since this is what Moses had commanded (ἃ προσέταξεν Μωϋσῆς) in the Torah.  He wanted this cleansed leper to show himself as a witness or testimony to the priests (εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς).

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The voice from the cloud (Mt 17:5-17:5)

“While Peter

Was still speaking,

Suddenly,

A bright cloud

Overshadowed them.

A voice from the cloud said.

‘This is my beloved Son.

I am well pleased

With him.

Listen to him!’

 

ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος, ἰδοὺ νεφέλη φωτεινὴ ἐπεσκίασεν αὐτούς, καὶ ἰδοὺ φωνὴ ἐκ τῆς νεφέλης λέγουσα Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ἐν ᾧ εὐδόκησα· ἀκούετε αὐτοῦ.

 

The voice from the cloud can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 9:7, Luke, chapter 9:34-35, and here in Matthew, but there are minor differences in all 3 accounts.  The wording of the voice from the clouds sounds almost exactly like the voice from heaven in chapter 3:17, after the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John the Baptist.  Instead of heaven there, it is a bright cloud here.  This voice did not address Jesus personally.  However, the idea of a heavenly voice had a very strong tradition in the Jewish writings of the Hebrew Bible, especially among the prophets.  The Baptism of Jesus, like the transfiguration here, has become the starting point for any theological reflection about early Christian Christology.  While Peter was still speaking (ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος), suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them (ἰδοὺ νεφέλη φωτεινὴ ἐπεσκίασεν αὐτούς).  This voice from the cloud (καὶ ἰδοὺ φωνὴ ἐκ τῆς νεφέλης) said that Jesus was his most beloved Son (λέγουσα Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός), in whom he was well pleased (ἐν ᾧ εὐδόκησα).  However, here there is the further admonition to listen to him (ἀκούετε αὐτοῦ).  Matthew has a clear connection between the Baptism of Jesus and his transfiguration.  Both times, the Father as the voice from heaven or the clouds pronounced that Jesus was his beloved Son in whom he was well pleased

Wise simple sheep (Mt 10:16-10:16)

“See!

I am sending you out

As sheep

Into the midst of wolves.

So be wise

As serpents!

Be innocent

As doves.”

 

Ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω ὑμᾶς ὡς πρόβατα ἐν μέσῳ λύκων· γίνεσθε οὖν φρόνιμοι ὡς οἱ ὄφεις καὶ ἀκέραιοι ὡς αἱ περιστεραί.

 

There is something similar in Luke, 10:3, perhaps indicating a Q source.  This is another admonition to his apostles.  Jesus was going to send them out (Ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω ὑμᾶς) like sheep in the middle of wolves (ὡς πρόβατα ἐν μέσῳ λύκων).  Thus, they had to be as wise, intelligent, shrewd, or sensible as serpents (γίνεσθε οὖν φρόνιμοι ὡς οἱ ὄφεις).  They had to be as innocent, simple, unsophisticated, sincere, or blameless, as doves (καὶ ἀκέραιοι ὡς αἱ περιστεραί).  This was a tall order with this dichotomous speech.

Secrecy (Mt 8:4-8:4)

“Then Jesus said

To the leper.

‘See that you say nothing

To any one!

But go!

Show yourself

To the priest!

Offer the gift

That Moses commanded,

As a testimony to them.’”

 

καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Ὅρα μηδενὶ εἴπῃς, ἀλλὰ ὕπαγε σεαυτὸν δεῖξον τῷ ἱερεῖ, καὶ προσένεγκον τὸ δῶρον ὃ προσέταξεν Μωϋσῆς εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς.

 

This admonition to the leper can be found in Luke, chapter 5:14, and Mark, chapter 1:41-42, perhaps indicating Mark as the source.  Jesus told the leper (καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς) not to say anything (Ὅρα μηδενὶ εἴπῃς), often referred to as the messianic secret.  Jesus did not want anyone to know about his power.  Instead the leper was to show himself to the priest (ἀλλὰ ὕπαγε σεαυτὸν δεῖξον τῷ ἱερεῖ,), as recommended in Leviticus, chapter 14:2-9.  He should offer the gifts (καὶ προσένεγκον τὸ δῶρον) as outlined in Leviticus, since this is what Moses had commanded (ὃ προσέταξεν Μωϋσῆς) in the Torah.  He wanted this cleansed leper to show himself as a witness or testimony to the priests (εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς).

Prayer

A Christian is not without contact with God.  Prayer in its various forms is the normal contact with the transcendent reality, whatever name we place on it.  The ceremony of all religions is the point of contact with the divine.  Prayer can and should be both personal and public.  Thus, the Christian never forgets the admonition to pray always.  He or she remembers the great prayer that Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father who art in heaven.”  The importance of prayer is like good communication.  Take time to pray.  Develop a personal prayer life.  Faith without prayer is impossible.  Request, give honor, praise, thank, listen, and share verbal and non-verbal prayer.  Prayer is the breath of the Christian spiritual life.  If we stop praying, it is like as if we stop breathing.  Your spiritual life will die without prayer.

The house of Israel idol worshippers (Ezek 20:39-20:39)

“As for you!

O house of Israel!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Go serve your idols!

Every one of you!

Now and hereafter!

If you will not listen

To me.

But you shall not

Profane

My holy name

With your gifts,

With your idols.”

Yahweh was clear in his admonition to the house of Israel. If they wanted to serve their idols, they were free to go ahead and do so. However, if they did that, they were not listening to Yahweh. They were profaning his holy name. Yahweh was not going to receive their gifts or their idols because they were a profanation to Yahweh.

A new victory song (Isa 42:10-42:13)

“Sing to Yahweh a new song!

Sing of his praise

From the ends of the earth!

Let the sea roar!

Let all that fills it roar!

Let the coastlands roar!

Let their inhabitants roar!

Let the desert lift up its voice!

Let its towns lift up their voice!

Let the villages that Kedar inhabits

Lift up their voice!

Let the inhabitants of Sela sing for joy!

Let them shout

From the top of the mountains!      

Let them give glory to Yahweh!

Let them declare his praise in the coastlands!

Yahweh goes forth

Like a soldier.

Like a warrior,

He stirs up his fury.

He cries out!

He shouts aloud!

He shows himself mighty

Against his foes.”

This section of Second Isaiah is like a hymn, a song, a psalm, a new victory chant to a victorious Yahweh, instead of an admonition directly from him as in the preceding section. They were to sing a new song to Yahweh praising him from the ends of the earth. The seas and everything in it should roar. The coastline with its inhabitants should roar praise for Yahweh. The desert and its towns should roar with praise for Yahweh. Even the Kedar Arab tribe and its villages should lift up their voices. Sela, the capital of Edom, and its inhabitants should also sing for joy. They should all shout from the mountain tops to give glory to the Lord, so that even the coastlands can hear it. The soldier Yahweh was a great furious warrior who cried out and shouted aloud as he showed his might against his enemies. This clearly was a military victory chant because of mighty Yahweh.