Was near Jerusalem,
About two miles away.”
ἦν δὲ Βηθανία ἐγγὺς τῶν Ἱεροσολύμων ὡς ἀπὸ σταδίων
uniquely indicated that Bethany (ἦν δὲ Βηθανία) was near Jerusalem (ἐγγὺς τῶν
Ἱεροσολύμων), about 15 stadia away (ὡς ἀπὸ σταδίων δεκαπέντε), about two miles away. A stadium was about 200 yards, based on the
standard race track. Thus, a mile was
about 800 stadia. John wanted to clearly
indicate that Bethany was very close to Jerusalem, where Jesus had some
problems before. Are there some places that
you try to avoid because of past bad experiences?
At the place
The Mount of Olives,
Two of the disciples.”
Καὶ ἐγένετο ὡς ἤγγισεν εἰς Βηθφαγὴ καὶ Βηθανίαν πρὸς τὸ ὄρος τὸ καλούμενον Ἐλαιῶν, ἀπέστειλεν δύο τῶν μαθητῶν
Luke said that Jesus drew near to Bethphage (Καὶ ἐγένετο ὡς ἤγγισεν εἰς Βηθφαγὴ), a village on the way from Jericho to Jerusalem, and Bethany (καὶ Βηθανίαν), about a mile and a half east of Jerusalem, near the place called the Mount of Olives (πρὸς τὸ ὄρος τὸ καλούμενον Ἐλαιῶν), overlooking the Kidron Valley. Jesus sent out 2 of his disciples (ἀπέστειλεν δύο τῶν μαθητῶν). Both Matthew, chapter 21:1, and Mark, chapter 11:1, are almost word for word to what is here. Mark said that when they were approaching near to Jerusalem (Καὶ ὅτε ἐγγίζουσιν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα), Jesus then sent out 2 disciples (ἀποστέλλει δύο τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ). They were at Bethphage (εἰς Βηθφαγὴ) and Bethany (καὶ Βηθανίαν), near the Mount of Olives (πρὸς τὸ ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαιῶν), not far from Jerusalem. Matthew said that when they got near to Jerusalem (Καὶ ὅτε ἤγγισαν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα), Jesus then sent out 2 disciples (τότε Ἰησοῦς ἀπέστειλεν δύο μαθητὰς). They were at Bethphage (καὶ ἦλθον εἰς Βηθφαγὴ), near the Mount of Olives (εἰς τὸ ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαιῶν). Matthew did not mention Bethany. John had nothing about this at all. Have you ever been to Jerusalem?
“At his gate,
Lay a poor man
Covered with sores.”
πτωχὸς δέ τις ὀνόματι Λάζαρος ἐβέβλητο πρὸς τὸν πυλῶνα αὐτοῦ εἱλκωμένος
This parable story about the poor man Lazarus and an unnamed rich man is only found in Luke, not in the other gospels. Luke indicated that Jesus said that a certain poor beggar (πτωχὸς δέ τις) lay at the gate of this rich man (ἐβέβλητο πρὸς τὸν πυλῶνα αὐτοῦ). He was named Lazarus (ὀνόματι Λάζαρος) and was covered with sores (εἱλκωμένος). Once again, Luke is the only one in all the biblical literature to use this Greek word εἱλκωμένος that means to wound, to ulcerate, or to suffer from sores. It was also unusual to give a name to this poor person, since most of the Jesus parables usually had unnamed people. The rich man was unnamed. Was this Lazarus connected to the brother of Martha and Mary in John, chapter 11? From this story, we know that Lazarus was poor and had many sores. There was no attempt to line him up with the women of Bethany, Martha and Mary. Do you personally know a poor person?
“Now as they went
On their way,
A certain village.
Into her house.”
Ἐν δὲ τῷ πορεύεσθαι αὐτοὺς αὐτὸς εἰσῆλθεν εἰς κώμην τινά· γυνὴ δέ τις ὀνόματι Μάρθα ὑπεδέξατο αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν.
Luke uniquely among the synoptics has this story of Martha and Mary. However, John, chapters 11 and 12 have these two, Martha and Mary, as sisters to Lazarus in Bethany. Here the story is just between the two sisters and their different roles. Luke said that as they went on their way (Ἐν δὲ τῷ πορεύεσθαι αὐτοὺς), Jesus entered a certain unnamed village (εἰσῆλθεν εἰς κώμην τινά). There a woman named Martha (γυνὴ δέ τις ὀνόματι Μάρθα) welcomed him (ὑπεδέξατο αὐτὸν) into her house (εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν). There was no indication if any of his disciples or apostles went with him into the house. Could this unnamed village be Bethany? Are you afraid to mention the name of your town?
“Jesus spoke up.
He said to him.
I have something
To say to you.’
καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν Σίμων, ἔχω σοί τι εἰπεῖν. ὁ δέ Διδάσκαλε, εἰπέ, φησίν.
Luke uniquely said that Jesus responded (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς) to this Pharisee. He called him Simon (εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν Σίμων). He said he had something to say to him (ἔχω σοί τι εἰπεῖν). This Simon responded respectfully, calling him teacher (ὁ δέ Διδάσκαλε), and asking him to speak (εἰπέ, φησίν). Who is this Simon the Pharisee? He was not mentioned in the other canonical gospels. There are similarities between this Simon the Pharisee and the Simon the leper mentioned in Matthew, chapter 26:6, and Mark, chapter 14:3, but those occasions were later in Bethany. The identity of that Simon the leper is also unknown. However, it could have been someone whom Jesus had cured from leprosy, who became his disciple. Nevertheless, this was a very respectful conversation here between Simon and Jesus. Are you respectful in your conversations?
Who was a sinner
In that town,
In the Pharisee’s house.
An alabaster bottle
Of Myron ointment.”
καὶ ἰδοὺ γυνὴ ἥτις ἦν ἐν τῇ πόλει ἁμαρτωλός, καὶ ἐπιγνοῦσα ὅτι κατάκειται ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ τοῦ Φαρισαίου, κομίσασα ἀλάβαστρον μύρου
Luke said that a woman who was a sinner (καὶ ἰδοὺ γυνὴ…ἁμαρτωλός) in that town (ἦν ἐν τῇ πόλει) learned or knew (καὶ ἐπιγνοῦσα) that Jesus was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house (ὅτι κατάκειται ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ τοῦ Φαρισαίου). She brought an alabaster bottle of oil, ointment, or Myron (κομίσασα ἀλάβαστρον μύρου). Her specific sin was not mentioned here, but she might have been a prostitute, since she was publically known in the town as a sinner by many of those there at this dinner party. However, she brought an elegant alabaster bottle of oil or Myron. There was a similar story with a sinning woman coming with a jar of oil in Matthew, chapter 26:6, Mark, chapter 14:3, and John, chapter 12:1, but within a different context, at Bethany and nearly right before the crucifixion of Jesus. John identified this woman as Mary, the sister of Lazarus. Some have identified this sinning woman as Mary Magdalene. Here Jesus was at the house of a Pharisee, when this woman also brought an alabaster oil bottle. Do you know any sinning women?
“A certain young man
Was following Jesus.
He was wearing
But a linen cloth.
They caught hold
But he left
The linen cloth.
He ran off naked.”
Καὶ νεανίσκος τις συνηκολούθει αὐτῷ περιβεβλημένος σινδόνα ἐπὶ γυμνοῦ, καὶ κρατοῦσιν αὐτόν·
ὁ δὲ καταλιπὼν τὴν σινδόνα γυμνὸς ἔφυγεν.
This story is unique to Mark, so that much speculation has centered around whether this was Mark himself of someone he knew. Anyway, the other gospel writers never mentioned this naked man. Was he a follower of Jesus from nearby Bethany or a vagrant? We do no not know. Mark thought it was important enough to write about it. He said that a certain young man was following Jesus (αὶ νεανίσκος τις συνηκολούθει αὐτῷ), perhaps indicating a follower of Jesus. He was wearing nothing but a linen cloth on his naked body (περιβεβλημένος σινδόνα ἐπὶ γυμνοῦ). They, the crowd that came to arrest Jesus, caught hold of him or seized him just like Jesus (καὶ κρατοῦσιν αὐτόν). However, he left his linen cloth behind (ὁ δὲ καταλιπὼν τὴν σινδόνα), as he ran off naked into the night (γυμνὸς ἔφυγεν). Apparently, no one followed him.
In the house of Simon,
As he sat
At the table,
A woman came
With an alabaster jar
Of very costly
She broke open
On his head.”
Καὶ ὄντος αὐτοῦ ἐν Βηθανίᾳ ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ Σίμωνος τοῦ λεπροῦ, κατακειμένου αὐτοῦ ἦλθεν γυνὴ ἔχουσα ἀλάβαστρον μύρου νάρδου πιστικῆς πολυτελοῦς· συντρίψασα τὴν ἀλάβαστρον κατέχεεν αὐτοῦ τῆς κεφαλῆς
This is similar to Matthew, chapter 26:6-7, and somewhat similar to John, chapter 12:1-3, where Jesus was in Bethany, but at the house of Lazarus and his two sisters, Martha and Mary, 6 days before the Passover. John identified this woman as Mary, the sister of Lazarus. Mark also said that Jesus was in Bethany (Καὶ ὄντος αὐτοῦ ἐν Βηθανίᾳ), a town about a mile and a half east of Jerusalem, but in the house of Simon the leper (ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ Σίμωνος τοῦ λεπροῦ). The identity of this Simon the leper is unknown. However, it could have been someone whom Jesus had cured from leprosy, who became his disciple. The people of Bethany may have favored Jesus because of the Lazarus event. There was also a story of a woman anointing Jesus in Luke, chapter 7:36-50, but within a different context. Jesus was at the house of a Pharisee, when this woman also brought an alabaster jar to anoint the feet of Jesus. Mark continued that Jesus was reclining at table (κατακειμένου), when an unnamed woman came or approached Jesus (ἦλθεν γυνὴ) with an alabaster jar full of very expensive imported Indian nard ointment (ἔχουσα ἀλάβαστρον μύρου νάρδου πιστικῆς πολυτελοῦς). This was anointing oil or as later Christians would call it holy oil, “Myron (μύρου).” She broke the alabaster jar of ointment (συντρίψασα τὴν ἀλάβαστρον). Then she then poured it on his head (κατέχεεν αὐτοῦ τῆς κεφαλῆς). This may appear a little unusual, but this oil might be a foretaste of the prophetic, royal, or priestly anointing of Jesus as prophet, king, and priest. In the ancient biblical stories, kings were anointed on the head.
“When evening came.
And his disciples
Of the city.”
Καὶ ὅταν ὀψὲ ἐγένετο, ἐξεπορεύοντο ἔξω τῆς πόλεως.
This is a unique saying of Mark, but not inconsistent with the other gospel stories. When evening came (Καὶ ὅταν ὀψὲ ἐγένετο), Jesus and his disciples went out of the city (ἐξεπορεύοντο ἔξω τῆς πόλεως). Notice that they left Jerusalem at night, probably going to Bethany, which was not far away and where they felt safe.
“On the following day,
When they came
Jesus was hungry.”
Καὶ τῇ ἐπαύριον ἐξελθόντων αὐτῶν ἀπὸ Βηθανίας ἐπείνασεν.
This story about Jesus being hungry in the morning can also be found in Matthew, chapter 21:18. On the following day, the next day (Καὶ τῇ ἐπαύριον), when Jesus and his disciples came from Bethany (ἐξελθόντων αὐτῶν ἀπὸ Βηθανίας), he was hungry (ἐπείνασεν). This simple statement starts an intriguing story, but also shows an interesting human trait of Jesus. Like many other humans, he was hungry in the morning.