Do not be led astray (Lk 21:8-21:8)

“Jesus said.

‘Beware!

Do not be led astray!

Many will come

In my name.

They will say.

‘I am he!’

And

‘The time is near!’

Do not go after them!’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Βλέπετε μὴ πλανηθῆτε· πολλοὶ γὰρ ἐλεύσονται ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματί μου λέγοντες Ἐγώ εἰμι, καί Ὁ καιρὸς ἤγγικεν· μὴ πορευθῆτε ὀπίσω αὐτῶν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν) that they should be aware (Βλέπετε) and not be led astray (ὴ πλανηθῆτε) because many people would come in his name (πολλοὶ γὰρ ἐλεύσονται ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματί μου).  They would say (λέγοντες) that they were Jesus (Ἐγώ εἰμι) and that the end time was near (καί Ὁ καιρὸς ἤγγικεν).  However, they were not to go after them (μὴ πορευθῆτε ὀπίσω αὐτῶν).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 24:4-5, and in Mark, chapter 13:5-6, almost word for word.  Mark said that Jesus began to tell them about people who might lead them astray (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἤρξατο λέγειν αὐτοῖς).  He told them that they should be aware, so that they would not be led astray or be misled (Βλέπετε μή τις ὑμᾶς πλανήσῃ).  They had to be cautious, so as not to be deceived.  Jesus said that many people would come in his name (πολλοὶ ἐλεύσονται ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματί μου) saying that they were the One (λέγοντες ὅτι Ἐγώ εἰμι).  They would try to deceive them by leading them astray (καὶ πολλοὺς πλανήσουσιν).  In Matthew, Jesus warned them against people who might lead them astray (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Βλέπετε μή τις ὑμᾶς πλανήσῃ).  Many people would come in his name (πολλοὶ γὰρ ἐλεύσονται ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματί μου) saying that they were the Messiah Christ (λέγοντες Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ Χριστός).  Matthew explicitly mentioned the Christ, but this was not in the other accounts.  They would say this in order to deceive them and lead them astray (καὶ πολλοὺς πλανήσουσιν).  Apparently, there were many deceptive Jewish messianic leaders who were saying that they were the Christ Messiah.  John the Baptist was an example of a messianic leader in the 1st century CE.  Other political Jewish leaders had messianic ambitions also, especially those who led the revolt against the Romans in the 2nd half of the 1st century.  Jesus was warning against all of them.  Have people tried to deceive you?

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Wrapped in cloth (Lk 19:20-19:20)

“Then another slave

Came.

He said.

‘Lord!

Here is your mina!

I wrapped it up

In a piece of cloth.’”

 

καὶ ὁ ἕτερος ἦλθεν λέγων Κύριε, ἰδοὺ ἡ μνᾶ σου, ἣν εἶχον ἀποκειμένην ἐν σουδαρίῳ·

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that another slave came in (καὶ ὁ ἕτερος ἦλθεν) and said to this lord, nobleman (λέγων Κύριε), that he had saved his mina (ἰδοὺ ἡ μνᾶ σου).  He had wrapped it up in a piece of cloth, a handkerchief or a napkin (ἣν εἶχον ἀποκειμένην ἐν σουδαρίῳ).  Instead of trading with this money, he simply wrapped it up to keep it safe.  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 25:25, perhaps indicating a Q source.  Unlike the first 2 slaves, this third slave did something else with his one talent.  Jesus said this slave who had received one talent came forward to his master (προσελθὼν δὲ καὶ ὁ τὸ ἓν τάλαντον εἰληφὼς).  However, this slave said that he was afraid (καὶ φοβηθεὶς), so he went and hid his talent in the ground (ἀπελθὼν ἔκρυψα τὸ τάλαντόν σου ἐν τῇ γῇ).  Then he seemed happy to return this one talent back to his master.  He said “Look! here it is (ἴδε ἔχεις τὸ σόν)!”  He was glad to be rid of this burden of protecting this money from possible thieves or robbers.  Sometimes people are too cautious, as they fear that they will lose something, as here in this parable story.  Are you too cautious with your money?

Do not be led astray (Mk 13:5-13:5)

“Then Jesus began

To say to them.

‘Beware!

That no one

Leads you astray.’”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἤρξατο λέγειν αὐτοῖς Βλέπετε μή τις ὑμᾶς πλανήσῃ.

 

There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 24:4, and in Luke, chapter 21:8, almost word for word.  Mark said that Jesus began to tell them about people who might lead them astray (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἤρξατο λέγειν αὐτοῖς).  He told them that they should be aware, so that they would not be led astray or be misled (Βλέπετε μή τις ὑμᾶς πλανήσῃ).  They had to be cautious, so as not to be deceived.

Are the gospels biographies?

The gospels belong to the ancient genre of biography.  These ancient biographies were concerned with providing examples for readers to emulate, while preserving and promoting the subject’s reputation and memory.  Thus, they were about kerygma or preaching.  They were not biographies in the modern sense.  The biographies of Jesus are more like apocalyptic history, depicting Jesus as caught up in events near the end of time.  Despite this, scholars are confident that the gospels do provide a good idea of the public career of Jesus.  There is no guarantee that the gospels are precisely historical in our modern sense of history.  These are faith documents, not eyewitness accounts.  Modern scholars are cautious of relying on the gospels uncritically, but nevertheless they do provide a good idea of the public life of Jesus.

Written Greek New Testament

The New Testament was written in Greek, so I must be even more cautious when dealing with the meanings of English or Latin terms derived from the Greek biblical texts.  At the time of the New Testament writings, Alexandria had a larger Jewish population than Jerusalem.  Greek was spoken by more Jews than Hebrew.  How did the early followers of Jesus Christ understand themselves and their symbolic activities?  Why did all these early Jewish followers of Jesus write in Greek, instead of Hebrew?

King Zedekiah will spare Jeremiah (Jer 38:15-38:16)

“Jeremiah said

To King Zedekiah.

‘If I tell you,

You will put me

To death.

Will you not?

If I give you advice,

You will not listen to me!’

Then King Zedekiah

Swore an oath

In secret

To Jeremiah.

‘As Yahweh lives!

He gave us our lives!

I will not put you

To death.

I will not hand you over

To these men

Who seek your life.’”

Jeremiah was cautious with King Zedekiah. He was afraid that he would be put to death. So Jeremiah told the king that if he told him anything, the king would kill him anyway. If he gave him any advice, the king was not going to listen to him, no matter what. However, the king tried to reassure Jeremiah. He swore to the living God Yahweh that he was not going to kill him or turn him over to those who wanted to kill him.

Beware of counselors (Sir 37:7-37:9)

“All counselors praise

The counsel that they give.

But some give counsel

In their own interest.

Be wary of a counselor!

Learn first

What is his interest!

He will take thought

For himself.

He may cast the lot

Against you.

He may tell you.

‘Your way is good.’

Then he may stand aside

To see what happens to you.”

Sirach warns that you should be cautious about consultants. They all think that they are giving you good advice. However, they may be giving you advice that helps them rather than you. After all, they are more interested in themselves than you. They may turn against you. They might say that your idea was good, and then step aside to see what happens.