What should I do with Jesus? (Mk 15:12-15:12)

“Pilate spoke

To them again.

‘Then what do

You wish me

To do

With the man

You call

The King of the Jews?’”

 

ὁ δὲ Πειλᾶτος πάλιν ἀποκριθεὶς ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς Τί οὖν ποιήσω ὃν λέγετε τὸν Βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων;

 

Something similar to this dialogue between Pilate and the crowd can be found in Matthew, chapter 27:22.  Mark said that Pilate again asked the crowd (ὁ δὲ Πειλᾶτος πάλιν ἀποκριθεὶς ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς) what did they want him to do with the man called the King of the Jews (Τί οὖν ποιήσω ὃν λέγετε τὸν Βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων).  Pilate seemed very concerned about this Jewish crowd and its wishes.  Where do you stand?

Sell what you have (Mk 10:21-10:21)

“Jesus looking

At the man,

Loved him.

Jesus said to him.

‘You lack one thing!

Go!

Sell what you have!

Give the money

To the poor!

You will have treasure

In heaven!

Then come!

Follow me!’”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἐμβλέψας αὐτῷ ἠγάπησεν αὐτὸν καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ἕν σε ὑστερεῖ· ὕπαγε, ὅσα ἔχεις πώλησον καὶ δὸς τοῖς πτωχοῖς, καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν οὐρανῷ, καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι.

 

This call to perfection can be found in Matthew, chapter 19:21, and Luke, chapter 18:22, but slightly different.  Mark said that Jesus looked at this man (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἐμβλέψας αὐτῷ) and loved him (ἠγάπησεν αὐτὸν).  He said to this man (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that he lacked one thing or he fell short in one area (Ἕν σε ὑστερεῖ).  This man would have to go (ὕπαγε) and sell his possessions or whatever he had (ὅσα ἔχεις πώλησον).  Then he should give this money or the proceeds to the poor or destitute people (καὶ δὸς πτωχοῖς).  He no longer would have earthly wealth, but he would then have a treasure in heaven (καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν οὐρανῷ).  Finally, he could become a follower or accompany Jesus (καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι).  Like many of the sayings in Mark, Jesus had very high standards and difficult demands.  There was no equivocation.

God alone is good (Mk 10:18-10:18)

“Jesus said to him.

‘Why do you

Call me good?

No one is good

But God alone.’”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ Τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν; οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ Θεός.

 

This response of Jesus can be found in Matthew, chapter 19:17, and Luke, chapter 18:19, but slightly different, since Luke and Mark are closer to each other.  They both had this man call Jesus the good teacher.  Mark said that Jesus responded to him (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ) by asking a question.  Why did he call Jesus good (Τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν), not a good deed as in Matthew?  No one person was good (οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς).  God alone was good (εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ Θεός).  Matthew did not mention that there was only one good one, God as in Luke and here in Mark.  Jesus appears to distance himself from the good God.

Physicians go to the sick people (Mk 2:17-2:17)

“When Jesus heard this,

He said to them.

‘Those who are well

Have no need

Of a physician.

But those who are sick

Do need a physician.

I have come

To call

Not the righteous,

But sinners.’”

 

καὶ ἀκούσας ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγει αὐτοῖς Οὐ χρείαν ἔχουσιν οἱ ἰσχύοντες ἰατροῦ ἀλλ’ οἱ κακῶς ἔχοντες· οὐκ ἦλθον καλέσαι δικαίους ἀλλὰ ἁμαρτωλούς.

 

Luke, chapter 5:31-32, and Matthew, chapter 9:12-13, are almost word for word similar to Mark, so that Mark might be the source of this saying.  Mark said that Jesus heard (καὶ ἀκούσας ὁ Ἰησοῦς) what the Pharisees were saying to his disciples.  He responded to them (λέγει αὐτοῖς) that the well people or strong ones do not need (Οὐ χρείαν ἔχουσιν οἱ ἰσχύοντες) a physician or medical doctor (ἰατροῦ), but the sick do (ἀλλ’ οἱ κακῶς ἔχοντες).  As Pope Francis likes to say, the Church is a mobile ambulance, not a hospital waiting for people to come in.  Jesus had come not to call the people who were righteous already (οὐκ ἦλθον καλέσαι δικαίους), but to call the sinners (ἀλλὰ ἁμαρτωλούς).

No fathers or masters (Mt 23:9-23:10)

“Call no one

Your father on earth!

You have one Father!

The one in heaven!

Nor are you

To be called instructors!

You have one instructor!

The Messiah Christ!”

 

καὶ πατέρα μὴ καλέσητε ὑμῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς· εἷς γάρ ἐστιν ὑμῶν ὁ Πατὴρ ὁ οὐράνιος.

μηδὲ κληθῆτε καθηγηταί, ὅτι καθηγητὴς ὑμῶν ἐστιν εἷς ὁ Χριστός.

 

This is unique to Matthew.  Jesus, via Matthew, seems to aim these remarks directly at his disciples, not the large crowds.  He seemed to warn his followers not to take on religious or scholastic leadership terms.  Thus, Christian leaders should be careful of when they are looking for some kind of religious respect.  He told them to call no one on earth their father (καὶ πατέρα μὴ καλέσητε ὑμῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς).  They only had one Father who was in heaven (εἷς γάρ ἐστιν ὑμῶν ὁ Πατὴρ ὁ οὐράνιος).  The Aramaic term “Abba” was a respectful term for father.  They should not call themselves instructors, teachers, or guides (μηδὲ κληθῆτε καθηγηταί), since there was only one instructor, teacher, or guide (ὅτι καθηγητὴς ὑμῶν ἐστιν εἷς), the Messiah Christ (ὁ Χριστός).  Is Jesus talking about himself?  If that is so, then this represents one of few times that Jesus referred to himself as the Messiah Christ.

Rabbi (Mt 23:7-23:8)

“The Pharisees

And Scribes

Love to be greeted

With respect

In the marketplaces.

They loved

To have people

Call them rabbi.

But you are not

To be called rabbi.

You have one teacher.

You are all student brothers.”

 

καὶ τοὺς ἀσπασμοὺς ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς καὶ καλεῖσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων Ῥαββεί.

ὑμεῖς δὲ μὴ κληθῆτε Ῥαββεί· εἷς γάρ ἐστιν ὑμῶν ὁ διδάσκαλος, πάντες δὲ ὑμεῖς ἀδελφοί ἐστε.

 

There is unique to Matthew.  Rabbi is a derogatory term for Matthew, rather than a term of respect as it was and is among the Jewish people.  Jesus said that the Pharisees and Scribes loved to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces (καὶ τοὺς ἀσπασμοὺς ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς).  They loved to have people call them rabbi (καὶ καλεῖσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων Ῥαββεί), since this was an Aramaic term that generally meant great teacher or master.  Jesus was often called a teacher by Matthew, but not a rabbi.  Jesus warned them not to call anyone rabbi (ὑμεῖς δὲ μὴ κληθῆτε Ῥαββεί).  They only had one teacher (εἷς γάρ ἐστιν ὑμῶν ὁ διδάσκαλος), implying himself, Jesus, since all of them were brother students (πάντες δὲ ὑμεῖς ἀδελφοί ἐστε) learning from Jesus.  Matthew once again indicated his distaste for the Pharisees who called themselves rabbis.

Invited guests refuse to come to the wedding banquet (Mt 22:3-22:3)

“The king sent

His slaves

To call those

Who had been invited

To the wedding banquet.

But they would not come.”

 

καὶ ἀπέστειλεν τοὺς δούλους αὐτοῦ καλέσαι τοὺς κεκλημένους εἰς τοὺς γάμους, καὶ οὐκ ἤθελον ἐλθεῖν.

 

This is somewhat similar to Luke, chapter 14:17.  Jesus continued with this parable.  The king sent his slaves (καὶ ἀπέστειλεν τοὺς δούλους αὐτοῦ) to call the invited guests (καλέσαι τοὺς κεκλημένους) to the wedding feast or banquet (εἰς τοὺς γάμους).  However, they would not come or did not wish to come (καὶ οὐκ ἤθελον ἐλθεῖν).  Now, this was a problem.  They have refused an invitation to the wedding banquet of God, the Father, the king.  He had sent his slaves, the prophets or the apostles, to call them, but they still did not want to come to the wedding feast.

Give up your possessions (Mt 19:21-19:21)

“Jesus said to him.

‘If you wish

To be perfect,

Go!

Sell your possessions!

Give the money

To the poor!

You will have treasure

In heaven.

Come!

Follow me!’”

 

ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Εἰ θέλεις τέλειος εἶναι, ὕπαγε πώλησόν σου τὰ ὑπάρχοντα καὶ δὸς πτωχοῖς, καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν οὐρανοῖς, καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι.

 

This call to perfection can be found in Mark, chapter 10:21, and Luke, chapter 18:22, but slightly different.  Jesus issued his ultimatum (ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς) on how to be perfect or complete (Εἰ θέλεις τέλειος εἶναι).  The young man would have to sell his possessions (ὕπαγε πώλησόν σου τὰ ὑπάρχοντα).  Then he would have to give the money proceeds to the poor or destitute people (καὶ δὸς πτωχοῖς).  He no longer would have earthly wealth, but he would then have a treasure in heaven (καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν οὐρανοῖς).  Finally, he could become a follower or accompany Jesus (καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι).  Like many of the sayings in Matthew, Jesus has very high standard and difficult demands.  There was no equivocation.

 

The brood of vipers (Mt 12:34-12:34)

“You brood of vipers!

How can you speak

Good things,

When you are evil?

Out of the abundance

Of the heart,

The mouth speaks.”

 

γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν, πῶς δύνασθε ἀγαθὰ λαλεῖν πονηροὶ ὄντες; ἐκ γὰρ τοῦ περισσεύματος τῆς καρδίας τὸ στόμα λαλεῖ.

 

This saying seems to be unique to Matthew.  Earlier in this work, he had John the Baptist call the Pharisees and Sadducees a blood of vipers or snakes in chapter 3:7.  In chapter 23:33, once again he referred to the Scribes and Pharisees as vipers or snakes.  Was he referring to the Pharisees here?  Jesus addressed these people as a brood or offspring of vipers or snakes (γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν).  How could they speak good things (πῶς δύνασθε ἀγαθὰ λαλεῖν), when they were evil (πονηροὶ ὄντες)?  Their mouths spoke (τὸ στόμα λαλεῖ) out of the abundance or overflow of their hearts (ἐκ γὰρ τοῦ περισσεύματος τῆς καρδίας).  They could not fool anyone.  Their evil hearts showed up in their speech, even if they tried to be good.

The conversion of other people (Zeph 3:9-3:10)

“At that time,

I will change

The speech of the people

To a pure speech.

All of them

May call

On the name of Yahweh.

They will serve him

With one accord.

From beyond the rivers

Of Ethiopia,

My suppliants,

My scattered ones,

Shall bring my offering.”

Yahweh, via Zephaniah, seems to indicate that there will be a universal conversion to Yahweh.  He was going to change the varieties of speech into one pure language, so that all would call upon the name of Yahweh and serve him together.  This was a very utopian ideal.  All his scattered people would come from beyond the Ethiopian rivers to bring offerings to him.