The Psalms (Lk 20:42-20:42)

“David himself

Says

In the Book of Psalms.

‘The Lord said

To my Lord.

Sit at my right hand!’”

 

αὐτὸς γὰρ Δαυεὶδ λέγει ἐν βίβλῳ ψαλμῶν Εἶπεν Κύριος τῷ Κυρίῳ μου Κάθου ἐκ δεξιῶν μου

 

Luke had Jesus continue by saying that David himself said that (αὐτὸς γὰρ Δαυεὶδ λέγει) in the Book of Psalms (ἐν βίβλῳ ψαλμῶν) that the Lord said to my Lord (Εἶπεν Κύριος τῷ Κυρίῳ μου) to sit at my right hand (Κάθου ἐκ δεξιῶν μου).  Here is an explicit reference to the Book of the Psalms with the assumption that King David (1000 BCE) had written this psalm.  Thus, citing Psalm 110 was like citing David himself.  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 22:43-44, and Mark, chapter 12:36.  Mark used Psalm 110:1 as the basis of this question about David and the Messiah Christ.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that David himself (αὐτὸς Δαυεὶδ εἶπεν), inspired by the Holy Spirit (ἐν τῷ Πνεύματι τῷ Ἁγίῳ), spoke about the “Lord (Κύριος).”  In Psalm 110:1, David said that the Lord said to his Lord to sit at his right hand (Εἶπεν Κύριος τῷ Κυρίῳ μου Κάθου ἐκ δεξιῶν μου).  Matthew indicated that Jesus asked them what did David mean when, inspired by the Spirit, he called the future Messiah, a son of David, “Lord” (Πῶς οὖν Δαυεὶδ ἐν Πνεύματι καλεῖ αὐτὸν Κύριον λέγω).  Jesus then cited Psalm 110:1, where David said that the Lord said to his Lord to sit at his right hand (Εἶπεν Κύριος τῷ Κυρίῳ μου Κάθου ἐκ δεξιῶν μου).  Thus, there was an attempt to give Davidic authority to this biblical saying.  Do you like the psalms?

They spread garments (Lk 19:36-19:36)

“As Jesus rode along,

People kept spreading

Their cloaks

On the road.”

 

πορευομένου δὲ αὐτοῦ ὑπεστρώννυον τὰ ἱμάτια ἑαυτῶν ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ.

 

Luke said that as Jesus rode (πορευομένου δὲ αὐτοῦ) along the road on this colt, people kept spreading their cloaks (ὑπεστρώννυον τὰ ἱμάτια ἑαυτῶν) on the road (ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ).  Once again, the word ὑπεστρώννυον, that means to spread under, was unique to Luke, and not found elsewhere in the Greek biblical literature.  However, both Matthew, chapter 21:8, and Mark, chapter 11:8 were more similar to each other than to Luke.  They added the idea of branches on the road that was not here in LukeMark said that many people (καὶ πολλοὶ) spread out their outer garments, cloaks, or coats on the road (τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτῶν ἔστρωσαν εἰς τὴν ὁδόν).  Meanwhile, others were cutting down leafy branches from the surrounding fields (ἄλλοι δὲ στιβάδας, κόψαντες ἐκ τῶν ἀγρῶν), also spreading out these branches on the road.   Matthew emphasized the large crowds.  He said that a very large crowd of people (ὁ δὲ πλεῖστος ὄχλος) spread out their outer garments or coats on the road (ἔστρωσαν ἑαυτῶν τὰ ἱμάτια ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ,).  Meanwhile, others were cutting down branches from the surrounding trees (ἄλλοι δὲ ἔκοπτον κλάδους ἀπὸ τῶν δένδρων).  They also spread out these branches on the road (καὶ ἐστρώννυον ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ).  This idea of laying garments on the road can be found in 2 Kings, chapter 9:13, to protect the feet of the king.  Clearly, this was an attempt to connect Jesus with the Davidic kingship.  Was Jesus to be the new king of Israel as a son of David?  This event has become the basis for the great Palm Sunday celebration, the triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem.  Actually, only John, chapter 12:13, called these palm branches.  Do you like the palms on Palm Sunday?

The voice from heaven (Lk 3:22-3:22)

“A voice

Came from heaven.

‘You are my Son!

The Beloved!

I am well pleased

With you!’”

 

καὶ φωνὴν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ γενέσθαι Σὺ εἶ ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα.

 

As in Mark, chapter 1:11, Luke, had a voice from heaven address Jesus directly.  In Matthew, chapter 3:17, this voice from the heavens did not address Jesus personally, while John, chapter 1, did not have any mention of a voice from heaven at all after the baptism of Jesus.  The idea of a heavenly voice had a very strong tradition in the Hebrew Bible, especially among the prophets.  Luke said that this voice came from heaven (καὶ φωνὴν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ γενέσθαι).  It said that Jesus was his beloved son (Σὺ εἶ ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός).  He, the heavenly Father was well pleased with him (ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα).  All this was in the second person singular.  God the Father said that Jesus was his most beloved son in whom he was well pleased.  The gospel writers did not clarify whether others saw and heard these things.  In fact, this saying and incident after the baptism of Jesus might have been the basis for a Subordinationschristologie that Jesus the Son was somehow subordinate to the Father.  According to this adoption theory, God the Father had to send his Spirit to anoint and empower Jesus in this concrete event, before he could begin his public ministry.  This adoptionism theory, and the Christological disputes of the later 4th century CE, led to the diminution of this baptismal event within later patristic and medieval theological circles.  Nevertheless, the baptism of Jesus has become the starting point for any theological reflection about early Christian initiation practices.  It is not clear whether all the primitive Christian communities linked the baptism of Jesus with the baptism of the new followers of Christ, despite the fact that many post-apostolic Christians did so.

The Holy Spirit and Jesus (Lk 3:22-3:22)

“The Holy Spirit

Descended upon Jesus

In a bodily form,

Like a dove.”

 

καὶ καταβῆναι τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον σωματικῷ εἴδει ὡς περιστερὰν ἐπ’ αὐτόν,

 

The role of the Holy Spirit after the baptism of Jesus was very important. Matthew, chapter 3:16, Mark, chapter 1:10, and John, chapter 1:32, are almost the same as here.  Luke said that the Holy Spirit (τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον) descended (καὶ καταβῆναι) upon Jesus (ἐπ’ αὐτόν) in a bodily form (σωματικῷ εἴδει), like a dove (ὡς περιστερὰν).  John did not mention a dove, but he said that John the Baptist saw the Holy Spirit descend and remain on Jesus.  In Matthew and Mark, Jesus saw the Holy Spirit as a dove descend on him.  This all took place after the baptism itself.   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 had the 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 River.  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 to become “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 prayer of Elizabeth (Lk 1:25-1:25)

“Elizabeth said.

‘This is what

The Lord

Has done to me.

He looked on me.

He took away

The disgrace

That I have endured

Among my people.’”

 

λέγουσα

ὅτι Οὕτως μοι πεποίηκεν Κύριος ἐν ἡμέραις αἷς ἐπεῖδεν ἀφελεῖν ὄνειδός μου ἐν ἀνθρώποις.

 

Luke has this prayer of Elizabeth.  She said that the Lord had done this to her (ὅτι Οὕτως μοι πεποίηκεν Κύριος).  Many believed that only God could help people get pregnant, since he controlled the opening and closing of the womb, as indicated in Genesis, chapter 16:2, about Sarah and being barren.  That was the reason that there were so many pagan fertility gods, rites, and rituals, since giving birth was considered to be some kind of magical or divine action.  Also, contemporary political gesturing around reproductive rights has its basis in religious beliefs.  Elizabeth said that in those days (ἐν ἡμέραις), the Lord had looked on her (αἷς ἐπεῖδεν), since he took away her disgrace or reproach (ἀφελεῖν ὄνειδός) that she had endured among her people or other men (ἐν ἀνθρώποις).  Being barren or sterile was considered a punishment from God.  The prime example of a happiness at birth would have been in Genesis, chapter 29:31-30:23, where Rachel finally had a son, Joseph.  Elizabeth understood her pregnancy as a personal vindication or reward for her righteousness.  She did not seem to understand the wider consequences of her pregnancy.

 

David and the psalms (Mk 12:36-12:36)

“David himself,

Inspired

By the Holy Spirit,

Declared.

‘The Lord said

To my Lord.

‘Sit

At my right hand!

Until I put

Your enemies

Under your feet.’”

 

αὐτὸς Δαυεὶδ εἶπεν ἐν τῷ Πνεύματι τῷ Ἁγίῳ Εἶπεν Κύριος τῷ Κυρίῳ μου Κάθου ἐκ δεξιῶν μου ἕως ἂν θῶ τοὺς ἐχθρούς σου ὑποκάτω τῶν ποδῶν σου.

 

There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 22:43-44, and Luke, chapter 20:42-43, almost word for word.  Mark used Psalm 110:1 as the basis of this question about David and the Messiah Christ.  Mark indicated that that Jesus said that David himself (αὐτὸς Δαυεὶδ εἶπεν), inspired by the Holy Spirit (ἐν τῷ Πνεύματι τῷ Ἁγίῳ), spoke about the “Lord (Κύριος).”  In Psalm 110:1, David said that the Lord said to his Lord to sit at his right hand (Εἶπεν Κύριος τῷ Κυρίῳ μου Κάθου ἐκ δεξιῶν μου).  He should sit there until he put all his enemies under his feet (ἕως ἂν θῶ τοὺς ἐχθρούς σου ὑποκάτω τῶν ποδῶν σου).  The assumption was that David had written the psalms, so that citing Psalm 110 was citing David himself.

The Pharisees seek a sign from heaven (Mk 8:11-8:11)

“The Pharisees came.

They began

To argue

With Jesus.

They were asking him

For a sign

From heaven.

They wanted

To test him.”

 

Καὶ ἐξῆλθον οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ ἤρξαντο συνζητεῖν αὐτῷ, ζητοῦντες παρ’ αὐτοῦ σημεῖον ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, πειράζοντες αὐτόν.

 

This seeking of signs was common among the gospel writers, in Luke, chapter 11:16, and especially in Matthew, chapters 12:38 and 16:1-4.  The Pharisees wanted a sign.  There was no mention of the Scribes here, as in Matthew.  These Pharisees were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that became the basis for later Rabbinic Judaism.  They had they own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with the letter of the law above its spirit.  They had a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple.  The Pharisees in the New Testament, often engaged in discussion and disputes with Jesus and his disciples, as here.  Mark said that some of these Pharisees came to Jesus (Καὶ ἐξῆλθον οἱ Φαρισαῖοι).  They began to argue, dispute, or discuss with Jesus (καὶ ἤρξαντο συνζητεῖν αὐτῷ).  They asked him to show them a sign from heaven or a heavenly validation of his work (ζητοῦντες παρ’ αὐτοῦ σημεῖον ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ).  They wanted to test or tempt Jesus (πειράζοντες αὐτόν).  Heavenly signs had been common among the prophets to prove their authenticity.