The millstone on the neck (Lk 17:2-17:2)

“It would be better

For you

If a millstone

Were hung

Around your neck.

Then you would be

Thrown

Into the sea.

Rather than cause

One of these little ones

To stumble.”

 

λυσιτελεῖ αὐτῷ εἰ λίθος μυλικὸς περίκειται περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ καὶ ἔρριπται εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, ἢ ἵνα σκανδαλίσῃ τῶν μικρῶν τούτων ἕνα.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that it would be better for anyone (λυσιτελεῖ αὐτῷ) if a stone from a mill (εἰ λίθος μυλικὸς) were hung around their neck (περίκειται περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ).  Luke alone used the term μυλικὸς meaning mill.  They should be thrown into the sea (καὶ ἔρριπται εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν), rather than cause one of these little ones to stumble (ἢ ἵνα σκανδαλίσῃ τῶν μικρῶν τούτων ἕνα).  This saying about causing little believing children to sin or stumble can also be found in Mark, chapter 9:42, and Matthew, chapter 18:6, with some minor changes, with Matthew closer to MarkMatthew indicated that Jesus said that if anyone of them caused these little ones, who believed in him, to stumble, to sin, or be scandalized (ὃς δ’ ἂν σκανδαλίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων τῶν πιστευόντων εἰς ἐμέ), it would be better for them to fasten a great heavy millstone around their necks (συμφέρει αὐτῷ ἵνα κρεμασθῇ μύλος ὀνικὸς περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ) and thus sink and be drowned in the deep sea (καὶ καταποντισθῇ ἐν τῷ πελάγει τῆς θαλάσσης).  Mark indicated that Jesus said that if anyone of them caused these little ones, who believed in him, to be scandalized or stumble (Καὶ ὃς δ’ ἂν σκανδαλίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων τῶν πιστευόντων), it would be better for them (καλόν ἐστιν αὐτῷ μᾶλλον) to fasten a great heavy millstone around their necks (εἰ περίκειται μύλος ὀνικὸς περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ).  They should be thrown or cast into the deep sea (καὶ βέβληται εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν).  Causing the believing little children to sin meant it was better for that person to die in deep water with a heavy millstone around their neck.  This millstone was a stone for grinding various grains.  Luke never mentioned that they were believing little ones, just little ones.  Have you ever caused little children to sin?

Fire on earth (Lk 12:49-12:49)

“I came

To bring fire

To the earth.

How I wish

That it was

Already kindled!”

 

Πῦρ ἦλθον βαλεῖν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν, καὶ τί θέλω εἰ ἤδη ἀνήφθη.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said that he came to bring or cast fire or judgment (Πῦρ ἦλθον βαλεῖν) to the earth (ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν).  Jesus wished (καὶ τί θέλω) that this fire had already started or kindled (εἰ ἤδη ἀνήφθη).  It appeared that Jesus wanted the judgment day to come sooner.  He wanted the judgment of fire to come quickly.  Fire was also a symbol of the Holy Spirit, purification, or presence of his love.  Jesus wanted things to get going.  Are you anxious about things to start?

Watch out for Gehenna! (Lk 12:5-12:5)

“But I will warn you

Whom to fear.

Fear him who,

After he has killed you,

Has authority

To cast you

Into Gehenna!

Yes!

I tell you!

Fear him!”

 

ὑποδείξω δὲ ὑμῖν τίνα φοβηθῆτε· φοβήθητε τὸν μετὰ τὸ ἀποκτεῖναι ἔχοντα ἐξουσίαν ἐμβαλεῖν εἰς τὴν γέενναν. ναί, λέγω ὑμῖν, τοῦτον φοβήθητε.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that he would show them whom they ought to fear (ὑποδείξω δὲ ὑμῖν τίνα φοβηθῆτε).  They were to fear those (φοβήθητε), who after killing them (τὸν μετὰ τὸ ἀποκτεῖναι), had the authority or power (ἔχοντα ἐξουσίαν) to cast them into hell or Gehenna (ἐμβαλεῖν εἰς τὴν γέενναν).  Then with a solemn declaration (ναί, λέγω ὑμῖν), he said that those were the people they ought to fear (τοῦτον φοβήθητε).  This is similar to Matthew, chapter 10:28, indicating a Q source.  Jesus, via Matthew, warned his followers that they should fear or be afraid (φοβεῖσθε δὲ μᾶλλον) of the people who can destroy both their soul and their body (τὸν δυνάμενον καὶ ψυχὴν καὶ σῶμα ἀπολέσαι) by sending them to hell or Gehenna (ἐν γεέννῃ).  Both Luke and Matthew used this Greek word for hell, “γεέννῃ,” or the English Gehenna that was based on the Hebrew word Gehinnom that was the name of the valley south of Jerusalem where burning child sacrifices would take place.  However, only Matthew, not Luke, talked about the soul, ψυχὴν.  Are you worried about going to hell?

The history of this young man (Mk 9:21-9:22)

“Jesus asked

This father.

‘How long has this

Been happening

To him?’

The father said.

‘From childhood.

It has often cast him

Into a fire

And into water,

To destroy him.

But if you able

To do anything,

Have pity on us!

Help us!’”

 

καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ Πόσος χρόνος ἐστὶν ὡς τοῦτο γέγονεν αὐτῷ; ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ἐκ παιδιόθεν

καὶ πολλάκις καὶ εἰς πῦρ αὐτὸν ἔβαλεν καὶ εἰς ὕδατα ἵνα ἀπολέσῃ αὐτόν· ἀλλ’ εἴ τι δύνῃ, βοήθησον ἡμῖν σπλαγχνισθεὶς ἐφ’ ἡμᾶς.

 

This is unique to Mark.  Jesus asked the father of this boy (καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ Πόσος) how long a time had these convulsions been happening to him (χρόνος ἐστὶν ὡς τοῦτο γέγονεν αὐτῷ)?  The father said that it had been happening since his childhood (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ἐκ παιδιόθεν).  This evil spirit would often cast him both into fire (καὶ πολλάκις καὶ εἰς πῦρ αὐτὸν ἔβαλεν) and water (καὶ εἰς ὕδατα), as Matthew had mentioned, in order to destroy him (ἵνα ἀπολέσῃ αὐτόν).  Then the father asked Jesus, if he was able to do anything to help him and his son (ἀλλ’ εἴ τι δύνῃ βοήθησον ἡμῖν)?  He wanted Jesus to have pity and compassion on him and his son (σπλαγχνισθεὶς ἐφ’ ἡμᾶς).

The children’s bread (Mk 7:27-7:27)

“Jesus said to her.

‘Let the children

Be fed first!

It is not fair

To take the children’s bread

And throw it

To the dogs.’”

 

καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτῇ Ἄφες πρῶτον χορτασθῆναι τὰ τέκνα· οὐ γάρ ἐστιν καλόν λαβεῖν τὸν ἄρτον τῶν τέκνων καὶ τοῖς κυναρίοις βαλεῖν.

 

This time Jesus answered her like in Matthew, chapter 15:26.  Mark said that Jesus responded to her (καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτῇ) that the children had to be feed or satisfied first (Ἄφες πρῶτον χορτασθῆναι τὰ τέκνα).  It was not right or fair (οὐ γάρ ἔστιν καλὸν) to take the children’s food or bread (λαβεῖν τὸν ἄρτον τῶν τέκνων) and feed it, throw it, or cast it to the unclean dogs (καὶ τοῖς κυναρίοις βαλεῖν).  His food was for the children of Israel, not for the gentile dogs.

 

The woman was a gentile (Mk 7:26-7:26)

“Now the woman

Was a gentile,

Of Syrophoenician origin.

She begged him

To cast

The demon

Out of her daughter.”

 

ἡ δὲ γυνὴ ἦν Ἑλληνίς, Συροφοινίκισσα τῷ γένει· καὶ ἠρώτα αὐτὸν ἵνα τὸ δαιμόνιον ἐκβάλῃ ἐκ τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτῆς.

 

Matthew, chapter 15:22, has something similar.  This woman was a gentile Canaanite woman (ἡ δὲ γυνὴ ἦν Ἑλληνίς), of Syrophoenician origin (Συροφοινίκισσα τῷ γένει), that is in the area of Syria and Phoenicia.  Matthew never mentioned the area she was from.  The Canaanites, who worshiped Baal, were still the enemies of the Jewish people.  This Canaanite woman kept begging Jesus (καὶ ἠρώτα αὐτὸν) to cast out the demon from her daughter (ἵνα τὸ δαιμόνιον ἐκβάλῃ ἐκ τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτῆς), since her daughter was possessed by an evil spirit.

Jesus said he could not feed the dogs (Mt 15:26-15:26)

“Jesus answered.

‘It is not fair

To take the children’s food

And throw it to the dogs.’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Οὐκ ἔστιν καλὸν λαβεῖν τὸν ἄρτον τῶν τέκνων καὶ βαλεῖν τοῖς κυναρίοις.

 

This time Jesus answered her like in Mark, chapter 7:27.  Jesus responded (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν) that it was not right or fair (Οὐκ ἔστιν καλὸν) to take the children’s food or bread (λαβεῖν τὸν ἄρτον τῶν τέκνων) and feed it, throw it, or cast it to the unclean dogs (καὶ βαλεῖν τοῖς κυναρίοις).  His food was for the children of Israel.