Eternal life (Lk 10:25-10:25)

“Just then,

A certain lawyer

Stood up

To test Jesus.

He said.

‘Teacher!

What must I do

To inherit eternal life?’”

 

Καὶ ἰδοὺ νομικός τις ἀνέστη ἐκπειράζων αὐτὸν λέγων Διδάσκαλε, τί ποιήσας ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσω;

 

Luke said that just then, a certain lawyer stood up (Καὶ ἰδοὺ νομικός τις ἀνέστη) to test Jesus (ἐκπειράζων αὐτὸν).  He said, calling Jesus a teacher (λέγων Διδάσκαλε), what did he have to do to inherit eternal life (τί ποιήσας ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσω)?  Although there was a question like this in all 3 synoptics, there are nuanced differences.  Matthew, chapter 22:35-36, had a Pharisee lawyer ask the question about the greatest commandment, and not about eternal life.  Mark, chapter 12:28, had a Scribe, not a Pharisee lawyer ask the same question about the greatest commandment.  In Luke, here, there was an unnamed lawyer, probably an expert in the Mosaic law, who wanted to know about how to gain eternal life.  Mark had this unnamed Scribe approach Jesus, because he had heard the disciples discussing, disputing, or arguing with each other.  He saw how Jesus had answered their questions so well.  He was not there to test him, as here in Luke and Matthew, but he did question Jesus.  Matthew had a lawyer, who was a Pharisee, question Jesus to explicitly test him.  This Pharisee lawyer probably was someone skilled in the Mosaic law.  He addressed Jesus in a very respectful tone calling him “Teacher” or rabbi (Διδάσκαλε), like Luke.  He wanted to know which commandment of the law was the greatest, since there were 613 commandments in late Judaism.  Thus, it would seem like a legitimate question with so many commandments or laws.  Luke had the question about eternal life, but the other 2 synoptics questioned Jesus about the most important commandment.  These questions were related, but not the same.  3 different people, with different motives, posed this question.  Do you question people to learn something or to test them?

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A great crowd (Lk 9:37-9:37)

“On the next day,

When they had come down

From the mountain,

A great crowd

Met Jesus.”

 

Ἐγένετο δὲ τῇ ἑξῆς ἡμέρᾳ κατελθόντων αὐτῶν ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄρους συνήντησεν αὐτῷ ὄχλος πολύς

 

Luke said that on the next day (Ἐγένετο δὲ τῇ ἑξῆς ἡμέρᾳ), after the transfiguration, when they had come down from the mountain (κατελθόντων αὐτῶν ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄρους), a great crowd met Jesus (συνήντησεν αὐτῷ ὄχλος πολύς).  Mark, chapter 9:14-15, and Matthew, chapter 17:14 are somewhat similar.  Jesus came to his disciples and saw a great crowd around them.  Mark said that some Scribes were arguing or discussing with them, but there was no indication what they were discussing or arguing about.  As Jesus left his small group of disciples, a large crowd came towards him.  Mark said that suddenly a large crowd saw Jesus, so that they were amazed or overcome with awe, since he was like a celebrity.  They all ran forward to greet him.  Have you ever been in a crowd when a celebrity appeared?

Which commandment is first? (Mk 12:28-12:28)

“One of the Scribes

Came near.

He heard them

Disputing with one another.

Seeing that Jesus

Had answered them well,

He asked him.

“Which commandment

Is the first of all of them?”

 

Καὶ προσελθὼν εἷς τῶν γραμματέων, ἀκούσας αὐτῶν συνζητούντων, εἰδὼς ὅτι καλῶς ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς, ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτόν Ποία ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη πάντων;

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 22:34, but there the question was presented by a Pharisee lawyer, not a Scribe.  In Luke, chapter 10:25, there was an unnamed lawyer who wanted to know how to gain eternal life.  Here, Mark has an unnamed Scribe approach Jesus (Καὶ προσελθὼν εἷς τῶν γραμματέων) because he had heard the disciples discussing, disputing, or arguing with each other (ἀκούσας αὐτῶν συνζητούντων).  He saw how Jesus had answered their questions very well (εἰδὼς ὅτι καλῶς ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς).  He was not there to test him, but he did question Jesus (ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτόν).  He wanted to know which commandment was the first or the greatest (Ποία ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη πάντων), since there were 613 commandments in late Judaism.  Thus, it would seem like a legitimate question with so many commandments or laws.

Who was the greatest? (Mk 9:34-9:34)

“But they were silent,

On the way,

They had argued

With one another about

Who was the greatest.”

 

οἱ δὲ ἐσιώπων· πρὸς ἀλλήλους γὰρ διελέχθησαν ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ τίς μείζων.

 

This question about the greatest can also be found in Matthew, chapter 18:1, and Luke, chapter 9:46, with some minor changes.  The disciples of Jesus seemed to be arguing among themselves about who was the greatest.  Instead of coming to Jesus, as in Matthew, Mark had Jesus come to the disciples.  They were silent (οἱ δὲ ἐσιώπων), when Jesus asked them what they were talking about on their travels.  In fact, they had been arguing or discussing among themselves (πρὸς ἀλλήλους γὰρ διελέχθησαν) on the way there (ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ) who was the greatest (τίς μείζων).  Mark never mentioned the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, but just the greatest in general.  The late Muhammad Ali (1942-2016) always proclaimed that he was the greatest, without indicating what he was the greatest at.  They were looking for some sort of status.  After all, they were the important disciples of Jesus.

What was that discussion about? (Mk 9:33-9:33)

“Then they came

To Capernaum.

When he was

In the house,

Jesus asked them.

‘What were you

Arguing about

On the way?’”

 

Καὶ ἦλθον εἰς Καφαρναούμ. Καὶ ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ γενόμενος ἐπηρώτα αὐτούς Τί ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ διελογίζεσθε;

 

This opening question by Jesus is unique to Mark, who said that they came to Capernaum again (Καὶ ἦλθον εἰς Καφαρναούμ).  Mark had mentioned that Capernaum was where he had made his home in chapter 2:1, and where he taught in the synagogue in chapter 1:21.  Apparently, he had a house there, since there was talk about a house in Capernaum as here.  When he was in the house (Καὶ ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ γενόμενος), Jesus asked them (ἐπηρώτα αὐτούς) what they were discussing or arguing about on the way there (Τί ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ διελογίζεσθε).  Jesus knew that they had been talking about something that was a little heated.

What are you discussing? (Mk 9:16-9:16)

“Jesus asked them.

‘What are you

Arguing about

With them?’”

 

καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτούς Τί συνζητεῖτε πρὸς αὑτούς;

 

This is also unique to Mark, who said that Jesus asked or questioned his disciples (καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτούς) about what they were arguing, disputing, or discussing with the Scribes (Τί συνζητεῖτε πρὸς αὑτούς).  However, there was no indication of what they were discussing here.  Perhaps it was about the story to come of why the disciples were not able to cast out the evil spirit.

Who is the greatest? (Mt 18:1-18:1)

“At that time,

The disciples came to Jesus.

They asked.

‘Who is the greatest

In the kingdom of heaven?’”

 

Ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ προσῆλθον οἱ μαθηταὶ τῷ Ἰησοῦ λέγοντες Τίς ἄρα μείζων ἐστὶν ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν;

 

This question about the greatest in heaven can also be found in Mark, chapter 9:34, and Luke, chapter 9:46, with some minor changes.  There the disciples seemed to be arguing among themselves about who would be the greatest in heaven.  Here they came to Jesus with the question.  After the transition phrase, “At that time” (Ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ), these disciples came to Jesus (προσῆλθον οἱ μαθηταὶ τῷ Ἰησοῦ).  They asked him who is the greatest in the kingdom of the heavens (λέγοντες Τίς ἄρα μείζων ἐστὶν ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν)?  They were looking for some sort of status in a gnostic concept of a higher and lower status people.  After all, they were the disciples of Jesus.