Preaching and healing (Lk 9:6-9:6)

“The twelve apostles

Departed.

They passed

Through the villages,

Bringing the good news

And curing diseases

Everywhere.”

 

ἐξερχόμενοι δὲ διήρχοντο κατὰ τὰς κώμας εὐαγγελιζόμενοι καὶ θεραπεύοντες πανταχοῦ.

 

Luke said that the 12 apostles departed (ἐξερχόμενοι δὲ).  They passed through the various villages (διήρχοντο κατὰ τὰς κώμας), bringing the good news or evangelizing (εὐαγγελιζόμενοι) and curing diseases everywhere (καὶ θεραπεύοντες πανταχοῦ).  There was something similar in Mark, chapter 6:13, but not in Matthew, where these 12 apostles carried out the dual functions of casting out demons and healing people.  Mark always put a lot of emphasis on casting out these demons.  But they also anointed many sick with oil that cured them, since oil was considered a basic healing element in the ancient world.  Mark never mentioned preaching, but it was part of Jesus’ message, as indicated by Luke.  What do you think the role of a Christian missionary should be?

The citation from Isaiah (Lk 4:18-4:19)

“The Spirit of the Lord

Is upon me.

Because

He has anointed me

To bring good news

To the poor.

He has sent me

To proclaim release

To the captives.

He has sent me

To give recovery

Of sight

To the blind.

He has sent me

To let the oppressed

Go free.

He has sent me

To proclaim the year

Of the Lord’s favor.’”

 

Πνεῦμα Κυρίου ἐπ’ ἐμέ, οὗ εἵνεκεν ἔχρισέν με εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῖς, ἀπέσταλκέν με κηρῦξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν, ἀποστεῖλαι τεθραυσμένους ἐν ἀφέσει,

κηρῦξαι ἐνιαυτὸν Κυρίου δεκτόν.

 

This is unique to Luke, who used this citation from Isaiah, chapter 61:1.  Jesus read or said that the Spirit of the Lord was upon him (Πνεῦμα Κυρίου ἐπ’ ἐμέ), because God had anointed him (ὗ εἵνεκεν ἔχρισέν με) to bring good news to the poor or oppressed (εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῖς).  Some Orthodox texts have the healing of the brokenhearted (συντετριμμένους τὴν καρδίαν) also.  God has sent him (ἀπέσταλκέν με) to proclaim the release to the captives (κηρῦξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν).  He has sent him to give recovery or sight to the blind (καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν), although there was no mention of the blind in Isaiah.  He has sent him to let the oppressed go free (ἀποστεῖλαι τεθραυσμένους ἐν ἀφέσει).  He has sent him to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (κηρῦξαι ἐνιαυτὸν Κυρίου δεκτόν), which is exactly the same as Isaiah, chapter 61:2.  The Spirit of Yahweh was upon him, who had been anointed, either like a priestly or a royal anointing.  However, the primary mission was not cultic, but rather social in nature, what we might call social justice.  Having been called by the Spirit and anointed by Yahweh, he was sent out with a simple generic mission.  Bring good news to the oppressed.  This good news concept was later adapted by the early followers of Jesus who talked about the good news of the gospel.  This basic mission included binding up the broken hearted and freeing prisoners.  This servant or prophet was sent out to proclaim a year of Yahweh’s favor.

Cast out demons (Mk 6:13-6:13)

“The twelve cast out

Many demons.

They anointed

Many sick people

With oil.

They cured them.”

 

καὶ δαιμόνια πολλὰ ἐξέβαλλον, καὶ ἤλειφον ἐλαίῳ πολλοὺς ἀρρώστους καὶ ἐθεράπευον.

 

There is something similar in Luke, chapter 9:6.  These 12 apostles carried out the dual functions of casting out demons and healing people.  Mark always put a lot of emphasis on casting out many demons (καὶ δαιμόνια πολλὰ ἐξέβαλλον).  But they also anointed many sick with oil (καὶ ἤλειφον ἐλαίῳ πολλοὺς ἀρρώστους) that cured them (καὶ ἐθεράπευον).  Oil was considered a basic healing element in the ancient world.

Jesus’ baptism (Mt 3:16-3:16)

“When Jesus had been baptized,

Just as he came up

From the water,

Suddenly,

The heavens were opened

To him.

He saw

The Spirit of God

Descending

Like a dove,

Alighting on him.”

 

βαπτισθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εὐθὺς ἀνέβη ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕδατος· καὶ ἰδοὺ ἠνεῴχθησαν οἱ οὐρανοί, καὶ εἶδεν Πνεῦμα Θεοῦ καταβαῖνον ὡσεὶ περιστερὰν ἐρχόμενον ἐπ’ αὐτόν·

 

The four gospel stories show what happend to Jesus after he had been baptized (βαπτισθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  As Jesus immediately emerged from the water (εὐθὺς ἀνέβη ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕδατος), the heavens opened up or broke open to him (καὶ ἰδοὺ ἠνεῴχθησαν οἱ οὐρανοί), a theme found among the prophets Isaiah, chapter 63:19, and Ezekiel, chapter 1:1.  Thus, Matthew made another connection with the Hebrew prophets.  Jesus saw the Holy Spirit of God (καὶ εἶδεν Πνεῦμα Θεοῦ) descend on him (καταβαῖνον ἐρχόμενον ἐπ’ αὐτόν) like a dove (ὡσεὶ περιστερὰν).  As Jesus came up from the water, not during the baptism itself, the Holy Spirit, as a dove, came to stay on Jesus.  Just as the dove after the great flood in Genesis, chapter 8:8-12, heralded a new age, so too Jesus would preach the good news in this new age.  With his prophetic vocation, Jesus was anointed with power to begin his public ministry of healing and exorcising.  The later concept of the anointing of Jesus with the Spirit referred to this action of the dove, after his baptism in the Jordan.  There was a clear distinction between the baptism of Jesus himself, and the specific dove bestowal of the Spirit that followed.  Despite the fact that there was no indication of any real anointing in any of these baptismal accounts of Jesus, the coming of the Spirit, in the form of a dove, was considered a symbolic anointing of Jesus within the Judaic prophetic line.  This incident functioned as the basis for an understanding of Jesus’ metaphorical anointing as “the anointed one,” “Christ.”  This symbolic metaphorical anointing action gathered many of the Hebrew bible strands of a messianic king, a sacerdotal high priest, a servant, and a prophet into this one event.   Within this process, the messianic time began with a pre-figuration of what was going to take place at the later Pentecost event, when the fullness of the Spirit came to all the followers of Jesus.

The woeful bad situation in Israel (Am 6:4-6:7)

“Woe to those

Who lie on beds

Of ivory!

Woe to those

Who lounge

On their couches!

Woe to those

Who eat lambs

From the flock!

Woe to those

Who eat calves

From the stall!

Woe to those

Who sing idle songs

To the sound of the harp!

Like David,

They improvise

On instruments of music.

Woe to those

Who drink wine

From bowls!

Woe to those

Who anoint themselves

With the finest oils!

But they are not grieved

Over the ruin of Joseph!

Therefore,

They shall now be

The first of those

Who go into exile.

The revelry

Of the loungers

Shall pass away.”

Yahweh, via Amos, pointed out the woeful bad situation in Israel. Those lying on beds of ivory, lounges, or couches would be cursed. Those eating lambs or calves would also be cursed. Even those who sang idle songs on the harp or other improvised instruments would also be cursed. Those who drank wine from bowls or anointed themselves with fine oil would also be cursed. They would not grieve for the ruin of Joseph, that is Israel. Now all these who were lounging around will be the first to be sent into exile. All of these pleasures among the overconfident people in Israel would pass away.

Daniel was mourning (Dan 10:2-10:3)

“In those days,

I,

Daniel,

Had been mourning

For three weeks.

I had eaten

No rich food.

I had eaten

No meat.

No wine

Had entered

My mouth.

I had not anointed myself

At all,

For the full three weeks.”

Daniel, once again, assumed the first-person singular to talk about this vision.   He had been in mourning for 3 weeks, but there is no indication on why he was mourning. Nevertheless, he had not eaten any rich food or meat. He had not taken any wine. Finally, he had not anointed or cleaned himself for the full 3 weeks.

Taking care of Jerusalem (Ezek 16:9-16:10)

“Then I bathed you

With water.

I washed off

The blood from you.

I anointed you

With oil.

I clothed you also

With embroidered cloth.

I gave you sandals

Of fine leather.

I bound you

In fine linen.

I covered you

With a rich fabric.”

Yahweh continued to take care of this young girl Jerusalem. He gave her a bath. He washed off her blood. He anointed her with fine oil. He clothed her with hand crafted clothes. He gave her leather sandals for her feet. He gave her linen and rich fabric clothes to wear. She seemed to get only the best available items and care.