The good news about a son (Lk 1:13-1:13)

“Your prayer

Has been heard.

Your wife,

Elizabeth,

Will bear you

A son.

You will name him

John.”

 

διότι εἰσηκούσθη ἡ δέησίς σου, καὶ ἡ γυνή σου Ἐλεισάβετ γεννήσει υἱόν σοι, καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰωάνην·

 

Luke then has this good news for Zechariah.  The heart of this message was that he was going to have a son.  This angel said that his prayer, supplication, or entreaty had been heard (διότι εἰσηκούσθη ἡ δέησίς σου).  His wife Elizabeth would bear him son (αὶ ἡ γυνή σου Ἐλεισάβετ γεννήσει υἱόν σοι).  He was to name or call him John (καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰωάνην).  This was a nice simple message, nothing complicated.  God was going to grant this barren old couple a son who should be called John.

Jesus has risen (Mk 16:6-16:6)

“However,

This man said to them.

‘Do not be alarmed!

You are looking for

Jesus of Nazareth,

Who was crucified.

He has been raised!

He is not here!

Look!

There is the place

Where they laid him.”

 

ὁ δὲ λέγει αὐταῖς Μὴ ἐκθαμβεῖσθε· Ἰησοῦν ζητεῖτε τὸν Ναζαρηνὸν τὸν ἐσταυρωμένον· ἠγέρθη, οὐκ ἔστιν ὧδε· ἴδε ὁ τόπος ὅπου ἔθηκαν αὐτόν.

 

This text is similar to Matthew, chapter 28:5-6, where the angel told the women not to be alarmed because Jesus, the crucified one, had risen from the dead.  Luke, chapter 24:5-8, had the 2 men deliver a long soliloquy about Jesus and the resurrection.  John, chapter 20:13-14, had the 2 men turn into Jesus.  Mark remarked that this man with the white clothes said to the 3 women (ὁ δὲ λέγει αὐταῖς) that they were not to be afraid or amazed (Μὴ ἐκθαμβεῖσθε).  He knew that they were looking for or seeking Jesus of Nazareth (Ἰησοῦν ζητεῖτε τὸν Ναζαρηνὸν), who had been crucified (τὸν ἐσταυρωμένον).  He told them that Jesus had risen (ἠγέρθη).  He was not there (οὐκ ἔστιν ὧδε).  This man told them to look (ἴδε) and see the place where Jesus had been laid out in the tomb (ὁ τόπος ὅπου ἔθηκαν αὐτόν).

A young man dressed in white (Mk 16:5-16:5)

“As they entered the tomb,

They saw a young man,

Wearing a white robe.

He was sitting

On the right side.

They were amazed.”

 

καὶ εἰσελθοῦσαι εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον εἶδον νεανίσκον καθήμενον ἐν τοῖς δεξιοῖς περιβεβλημένον στολὴν λευκήν, καὶ ἐξεθαμβήθησαν.

 

Matthew, chapter 28:2-7, is the only gospel story to explicitly describe the actions and the angel at the tomb.  In Luke, chapter 24:4-7, there were 2 men in dazzling clothes standing in the tomb, who explained everything.  John, chapter 20:11-13, had 2 angels talk to Mary Magdalene in the tomb.  Here Mark said that as the 3 women entered the tomb (καὶ εἰσελθοῦσαι εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον), they saw a young man (εἶδον νεανίσκον) sitting on the right side in the tomb (καθήμενον ἐν τοῖς δεξιοῖς).  He was wearing a white robe (περιβεβλημένον στολὴν λευκήν).  Thus, these 3 women were astonished or greatly amazed (καὶ ἐξεθαμβήθησαν) at what they saw.  Where was the body of Jesus?

Conclusion: Passion, Resurrection and Great Commission

 

This gospel concluded with the events of the last week of Jesus, a main preoccupation of all four gospels.  Jesus had entered Jerusalem in triumph.  He held a last supper and prayed to be spared.  He was betrayed by Judas.  Then he was tried by the Jewish leaders and before The roman governor Pontius Pilate.  Jesus was crucified as king of the Jews and mocked by all.  At his death, there was an earthquake, when the veil of the Temple was cut in two, and the saints rose from their tombs.  Mary Magdalene and the other women discovered the empty tomb.  Jesus told them to tell the disciples to meet him in Galilee.

There was a plot to kill Jesus.  Jesus spoke to his disciples and gave his fourth prediction about the death of the Son of Man.  Then the chief priests and the elders gathered to plot the arrest of Jesus.  However, before that, there was an anointing by the unnamed women in Bethany as she poured oil on Jesus.  Others wanted to know why she was wasting oil.  Jesus said that she had done a good thing by anointing him for burial.  Thus, she would be remembered.  Meanwhile, Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

Then they made the preparations for the Passover.  Where would the Passover be?  There was a house for the Passover meal, as the disciples prepared for the Passover evening meal.  Jesus announced the betrayal.  Who would betray Jesus?  This betrayer would be cursed, as Judas spoke out.  At the Last Supper Eucharist, Jesus said that this was his body and blood with eschatological implications.

They went to the Mount of Olives.  Jesus predicted that the apostles would scatter.  He was going to go to Galilee.  Peter said that he would never desert Jesus.  Then Jesus warned Peter about his desertion, but Peter was adamant that he would never deny Jesus.

They went to Gethsemane as Jesus took his three favorite apostles.  He prayed to his Father while these apostles slept.  There was a second prayer of Jesus, as he came a second time to the sleeping apostles.  He prayed a third time.  Then Jesus woke them up.

Judas arrived and kissed Jesus, as they then seized Jesus.  Someone cut off the ear of the high priest’s slave.  However, Jesus told them to put their swords away as the disciples fled.

Jesus went before Caiaphas the high priest, while Peter followed Jesus to the courtyard of the high priest.  They were looking for false testimony.  Finally, two witnesses came forward.  The high priest spoke and Jesus responded.  He called the words of Jesus blasphemy, as they mocked Jesus.  Peter’s denied Jesus three time and then he remembered Jesus’ words.

The elders and Pharisees planned to kill Jesus.  They would deliver Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor.  Meanwhile, Judas repented, but he hung himself.  He returned the pieces of silver to the Temple, but it was used to purchase a graveyard called the Field of Blood to fulfill a prophecy of Jeremiah.

Jesus went before Pilate as he asked him if he was the king of the Jews?  However, Jesus did not respond.  The governor was going to release one prisoner at the festival time.  However, the people wanted the prisoner Barabbas rather than Jesus.  Pilate got a warning from his wife.  Nevertheless, the crowd wanted to crucify Jesus.  Pilate claimed that he was innocent of his blood but the crowds said that his blood be on us.  Barabbas was then released.  Jesus went to the governor’s head quarters where the Roman soldiers mocked him.

They prepared Jesus for the crucifixion.  They got Simon of Cyrene to help with the cross as they went to Golgotha.  They divided his garments and wrote on the cross Jesus, King of the Jews.  There were two robbers who derided and and taunted Jesus, just like the Jewish religious leaders had mocked Jesus.

Darkness fell over the land as Jesus died.  The cry of Jesus was interpreted as a call to Elijah.  They gave him sour wine to drink.  Would Elijah save Jesus?  When Jesus died, the Temple curtain was torn in two.  Tombs opened and the dead rose and appeared in Jerusalem.  He truly was  the Son of God.

There were women from Galilee, especially the women called Mary.  Joseph of Arimathea got the body of Jesus and put it in his tomb as the women called Mary were vigilant.  Meanwhile, there was a gathering with Pilate, since the Jewish religious leaders wanted to have the tomb secure.  Thus, a custodial guard was set up at the tomb.

The two Marys visited the tomb, where there was another earthquake with an angel at the tomb.  The guards were afraid, but the angel speaks to the women to tell them to let the disciples know what happened.  The women left the tomb and Jesus appeared to them.  Meanwhile, the guards told the chief priests in Jerusalem what had happened.  These religious leaders paid the guards to tell everyone that someone stole the body of Jesus while they were sleeping.  Thus, this stolen body story spread.

After the resurrection, the remaining eleven disciples returned to an unnamed mountain in Galilee.  There the post-resurrection Jesus gave them authority in heaven and on earth with his great commission:  They were to make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them with a Trinitarian formula.  They were to follow his commandments because Jesus would be with them until the end of time.

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.

Old Testament scriptural quotation about John (Mt 11:10-11:10)

“This is the one

About whom

It is written.

‘See!

I am sending

My messenger

Ahead of you.

He will prepare

Your way

Before you.’”

 

οὗτός ἐστιν περὶ οὗ γέγραπται Ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω τὸν ἄγγελόν μου πρὸ προσώπου σου, ὃς κατασκευάσει τὴν ὁδόν σου ἔμπροσθέν σου.

 

This written passage about John (οὗτός ἐστιν περὶ οὗ γέγραπται) is from the prophet Malachi, chapter 3:1, although not explicitly mentioned here.  This saying about John the Baptist can be found word for word in Luke, chapter 7:27.  Thus, this may have been a Q source about John, like many of the other passages about John.  Actually, Mark, chapter 1:2, had part of this saying as the beginning of his gospel when he introduced John.  In Malachi, Yahweh was going to send his messenger or angel before him or his face (Ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω τὸν ἄγγελόν μου πρὸ προσώπου σου) to prepare the way for him (ὃς κατασκευάσει τὴν ὁδόν σου ἔμπροσθέν σου).  Originally, Yahweh would re-enter into his Temple, because the messenger of the delightful covenant had prepared things for him.  There is no mention of the Temple here.  John was clearly inferior to Jesus, since he was there to prepare the way for Jesus as his messenger, much like an angel of God.

The unique perspective of Joseph

The Gospel of Matthew presented the infancy story of Jesus from the perspective of Joseph, unlike the Gospel of Luke that presented the same story from the perspective of Mary. What do they have in common and what is unique. Mary and the child Jesus play a secondary role in this narration, since it was all about Joseph, the son of Jacob, the father of the child. There were certain things in common with the Luke story. Both Joseph and Mary were troubled by this pregnancy. Both had an angel come and explain that the child was from the Holy Spirit. Both were told that the name of the child would be Jesus. In both stories, the child is born in Bethlehem. Beyond that, there were some unique things to the story of Joseph in Matthew. He almost divorced Mary. He had a number of angelic dreams. He was told to go to Egypt, which he did. He then returned to Israel and settled in Nazareth in Galilee. In between, there was the strange story of King Herod and the magi. Matthew used 5 different Old Testament Hebrew prophecies to show that Jesus was truly within the Jewish prophetic tradition. Clearly, in these two opening chapters, Matthew was a Jewish scripture scholar with his use of 1 Chronicles in the genealogy and the various prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Micah, and Judges. Whatever sources he used for this unique perspective on the birth of Jesus, they were clearly Jewish based. Joseph was a righteous Jewish man. After this presentation, Joseph seemed to drift off the center stage in the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth.

Patrolling the earth (Zech 6:7-6:8)

“When the steeds came out,

They were impatient

To patrol the earth.

He said.

‘Go!

Patrol the earth!’

Thus,

They patrolled the earth.

Then he cried to me.

‘Look!

Those who go toward the north country

Have set the Spirit of Yahweh

At rest

In the north country.’”

The horses were impatient to get going to patrol the earth.  The angel told them to patrol the earth.  Thus, they went on their way, patrolling the whole world in every direction.  Then this angel told Zechariah that the black horses with their chariot going north had the Spirit of Yahweh, the Holy Spirit, so that they were going to bring rest to the north country.

The two women and the wicked basket (Zech 5:9-5:11)

“Then I looked up.

I saw two women

Coming forward.

The wind

Was in their wings.

They had wings

Like the wings

Of a stork.

They lifted up the basket

Between the earth

And the heavens.

Then I said to the angel

Who talked with me.

‘Where are they taking

The basket?’

He said to me.

‘To the land of Shinar,

To build a house for it.

When this is prepared,

They will set the basket

Down there on its base.’”

Next two-winged women came forward, with wings like a stork.  They took the basket into the sky with the wicked woman in it.  Zechariah wanted to know where they were taking the basket.  The angel who had been talking with Zechariah said that they were taking the basket to the land of Shinar, another name for Babylon.  There they were going to build a house or a temple and put this basket of wickedness in the middle of the temple on a base set up there.  In other words, this wicked basket was going to become a Babylonian idol.

The vision of the woman in the basket (Zech 5:5-5:7)

“Then the angel

Who talked with me

Came forward.

He said to me.

‘Look up!

See what this is

That is coming out.’

I said.

‘What is it?’

He said.

‘This is a basket coming out.

Then he said.

‘This is their iniquity

In all the land.’

Then a leaden cover

Was lifted.

There was a woman

Sitting in the basket.”

Next this angel revealed the 7th vision to Zechariah.  He told Zechariah to look up.  He asked him what he saw.  Zechariah responded that he saw a basket coming towards him.  The angel explained that the basket was full of iniquity from the whole land.  Then the lead cover of the basket was lifted to show a woman sitting in this basket, as if iniquity came from women.