The father embraces the son (Lk 15:20-15:20)

“Thus,

The prodigal son

Set off.

He went

To his father.

But while he was

Still far off,

His father saw him.

He was filled

With compassion.

He ran to him.

He put his arms

Around him.

He kissed him.”

 

καὶ ἀναστὰς ἦλθεν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα ἑαυτοῦ. ἔτι δὲ αὐτοῦ μακρὰν ἀπέχοντος εἶδεν αὐτὸν ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐσπλαγχνίσθη, καὶ δραμὼν ἐπέπεσεν ἐπὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ καὶ κατεφίλησεν αὐτόν.

 

This long parable story about the prodigal son can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that this prodigal son set off to go to his father (καὶ ἀναστὰς ἦλθεν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα ἑαυτοῦ).  While he was still far away (ἔτι δὲ αὐτοῦ μακρὰν ἀπέχοντος), his father saw him (εἶδεν αὐτὸν ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ).  He was filled with compassion (καὶ ἐσπλαγχνίσθη).  He ran to him (καὶ δραμὼν).  He put his arms around him or fell upon his neck (ἐπέπεσεν ἐπὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ) and he kissed him (καὶ κατεφίλησεν αὐτόν).  In case there was any doubt, the father was going to accept the prodigal sinning son without any conditions.  There was not even an “I’m sorry!” from the son.  This compassionate father ran out to embrace him before he even got close to their house.  Obviously, he was out in the fields working.  Do you feel closer to the wasteful repentant prodigal son or the compassionate forgiving father?

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Late in the day (Lk 9:12-9:12)

“The day was growing

To a close.

The twelve came

To Jesus.

They said.

‘Send the crowd away!

Thus,

They may go

Into the surrounding villages

And the countryside

To lodge

And get provisions.

We are here

In a deserted lonely place.’”

 

Ἡ δὲ ἡμέρα ἤρξατο κλίνειν· προσελθόντες δὲ οἱ δώδεκα εἶπαν αὐτῷ Ἀπόλυσον τὸν ὄχλον, ἵνα πορευθέντες εἰς τὰς κύκλῳ κώμας καὶ ἀγροὺς καταλύσωσιν καὶ εὕρωσιν ἐπισιτισμόν, ὅτι ὧδε ἐν ἐρήμῳ τόπῳ ἐσμέν.

 

Luke said that when the day was growing to a close (Ἡ δὲ ἡμέρα ἤρξατο κλίνειν), the twelve apostles came to Jesus (προσελθόντες δὲ οἱ δώδεκα).  They said to him (ἶπαν αὐτῷ) to send the crowd away (Ἀπόλυσον τὸν ὄχλον), so that they might go into the surrounding villages and the countryside (ἵνα πορευθέντες εἰς τὰς κύκλῳ κώμας καὶ ἀγροὺς) to find lodging and provisions (καταλύσωσιν καὶ εὕρωσιν ἐπισιτισμόν).  They said that they were in a deserted lonely place (ὅτι ὧδε ἐν ἐρήμῳ τόπῳ ἐσμέν).  There were similar indications about this crowd needing to eat in Matthew, chapter 14:15, and Mark, chapter 6:35-36.  Mark said that the disciples wanted to send the crowds home.  After all, there were no fast food places to get something to eat.  However, there were some places in the nearby villages where you could buy some food.  Mark said that when it grew late, Jesus’ disciples came to him.  They told him that they were in a deserted place.  They wanted to send the crowds away, so that they could go into the surrounding region and nearby villages to buy food for themselves.  This seemed like a good or reasonable plan.  Matthew also said that the disciples wanted to send the crowds home.  When it was evening, the disciples came to Jesus.  They told him that there were in a deserted place at a late hour.  They wanted to send the crowds away so that they could go into the nearby villages to buy food for themselves.  Have you ever been in a large crowd without food?

The slave of the Lord (Lk 1:38-1:38)

“Then Mary said.

‘Here am I!

The slave

Of the Lord!

Let it be

With me

According to your word!’

Then the angel

Departed from her.”

 

εἶπεν δὲ Μαριάμ Ἰδοὺ ἡ δούλη Κυρίου· γένοιτό μοι κατὰ τὸ ῥῆμά σου. καὶ ἀπῆλθεν ἀπ’ αὐτῆς ὁ ἄγγελος.

 

Luke brought this conversation between the Angel Gabriel and Mary to a close.  She fully agreed with the plan, so the angel left.  Luke indicated that Mary said (εἶπεν δὲ Μαριάμ) that she was a slave of the Lord (Ἰδοὺ ἡ δούλη Κυρίου).  Most translations prefer the softer “servant” or “handmaid” rather than “slave,” but the Greek word “ἡ δούλη” indicates a female slave.  Mary wanted everything to be done to her just as the angel of God had said (γένοιτό μοι κατὰ τὸ ῥῆμά σου).  With that, the Angel Gabriel flew off or left her (καὶ ἀπῆλθεν ἀπ’ αὐτῆς ὁ ἄγγελος), because he had accomplished his mission.  The stage was set for the birth of John and Jesus.

Forgive others (Mk 11:25-11:25)

“Whenever you stand

Praying,

Forgive,

If you have anything

Against anyone!

Thus,

Your Father

In heaven

May also forgive you

Your trespasses.”

 

καὶ ὅταν στήκετε προσευχόμενοι, ἀφίετε εἴ τι ἔχετε κατά τινος, ἵνα καὶ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς ἀφῇ ὑμῖν τὰ παραπτώματα ὑμῶν.

 

This saying about forgiveness seems similar to Matthew, chapter 6:14, that came right after the “Our Father” prayer.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that whenever they would stand and pray (καὶ ὅταν στήκετε προσευχόμενοι), they should forgive (ἀφίετε) others, especially if they have anything against anyone (εἴ τι ἔχετε κατά τινος).  Then their heavenly Father would forgive them (ἵνα καὶ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς ἀφῇ ὑμῖν) for their missteps or trespasses (τὰ παραπτώματα ὑμῶν).  What are these trespasses?  The Greek word “τὰ παραπτώματα” means to fall away after being close, a lapse, a deviation from the truth, an error, a slip up, relatively unconscious, or non-deliberate.  Apparently, this was not a serious offense, something like daily implied insensitive insults.  However, they still had to forgive these trespasses of others to be forgiven by the heavenly father.  You can see how the idea of trespasses came to be so important in the “Our Father,” “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Jesus’ mother and brothers come to him (Mk 3:31-3:31)

“Then his mother

And his brothers

Came.

They were

Standing outside.

They sent to him.

They called him.”

 

Καὶ ἔρχονται ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἔξω στήκοντες ἀπέστειλαν πρὸς αὐτὸν καλοῦντες αὐτόν.

 

Luke, chapter 8:19, and Matthew, chapter 12:46, have something similar.  Mark said that his mother and brothers came (Καὶ ἔρχονται ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ), but apparently, they could not reach him because of the crowd.  They were standing outside (καὶ ἔξω στήκοντες).  They sent for him (ἀπέστειλαν πρὸς αὐτὸν).  They called Jesus (καλοῦντες αὐτόν).  This brings up all kinds of questions.  Who were these unnamed brothers?  To what extent was Jesus estranged from his family?  Jesus had been close to John the Baptist and his early apostles Peter, Andrew, John, James and Matthew.  These brothers could be biological brothers, half-brothers from a first marriage of Joseph, or cousin relatives.  The Hebrew and Aramaic language did not have a distinctive word for cousins, so that the word “brother” was often used to mean more than a biological brother.  However, the Greek language did have a word for cousins.  Just as today, people sometimes refer to others as brothers or sisters, when there is no biological link.  The traditional belief of Christians, even through the Reformation period, had been that Mary was a virgin, so that Jesus was her only divine son.  Thus, here the unnamed mother and the unnamed brothers of Jesus were outside wanting to speak to Jesus.  They clearly were relatives of Jesus, but exactly how close a relative is not clear.

The call of Elijah (Mt 27:47-27:47)

“When some of the bystanders

Heard Jesus,

They said.

‘This man

Is calling Elijah.’”

 

τινὲς δὲ τῶν ἐκεῖ ἑστηκότων ἀκούσαντες ἔλεγον ὅτι Ἡλείαν φωνεῖ οὗτος.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:35.  However this episode was not in Luke, chapter 23, or John, chapter 19.  Matthew said that some of the bystanders heard the cry of Jesus on the cross (τινὲς δὲ τῶν ἐκεῖ ἑστηκότων ἀκούσαντες).  They said that Jesus was calling for Elijah (ἔλεγον ὅτι Ἡλείαν φωνεῖ οὗτος).  Elijah often came to help the good people who were in need.  The name “Eli jah” was close to “Eli,” so that some people might have mistakenly thought that Jesus was crying for help from the ancient Israelite prophet Elijah.  Elijah was also a forerunner of the messianic times as was the case of John the Baptist.

Jesus’ mother and brothers (Mt 12:46-12:47)

“While Jesus was still speaking

To the people,

His mother

And his brothers

Were standing outside.

They wanted to speak to him.

Someone told him.

‘Look!

Your mother

And your brothers

Are standing outside

Wanting to speak with you.’”

 

Ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος τοῖς ὄχλοις ἰδοὺ ἡ μήτηρ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ εἱστήκεισαν ἔξω ζητοῦντες αὐτῷ λαλῆσαι.

εἶπεν δέ τις αὐτῷ Ἰδοὺ ἡ μήτηρ σου καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί σου ἔξω ἑστήκασιν ζητοῦντές σοι λαλῆσαι.

 

Luke, chapter 8:19-20, and Mark, chapter 3:31-32, have something similar.  While Jesus was still speaking to the crowds of people (Ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος τοῖς ὄχλοις), his mother and brothers were standing outside (ἰδοὺ ἡ μήτηρ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ εἱστήκεισαν ἔξω).  They wanted to speak to him (ζητοῦντες αὐτῷ λαλῆσαι).  Someone then told him (εἶπεν δέ τις αὐτῷ) that his mother and brothers were outside (Ἰδοὺ ἡ μήτηρ σου καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί σου ἔξω) wanting to talk to him (ἑστήκασιν ζητοῦντές σοι λαλῆσαι).  This brings up all kinds of questions.  Were they not allowed to come into where he was talking?  Who are these brothers?  To what extent was Jesus estranged from his family?  According to Matthew, Jesus has been close to John the Baptist and his early apostles Peter, Andrew, John, James and Matthew.  These brothers could be biological brothers, half-brothers from a first marriage of Joseph, or relative cousins.  The Hebrew and Aramaic language did not have a distinctive word for cousins, so that the word “brother” was often used to mean more than a biological brother.  Just as today, people sometimes refers to others as brothers or sisters, when there is no biological link.  Half-brothers often refer to themselves as brothers or sisters today also.  The traditional belief of Christians, even though the Reformation period, has been that Mary was a virgin, so that Jesus was her only son.  However, the Greek language did have a word for cousins.  In Mark, chapter 6:3, and Matthew, chapter 13:55–56, there are explicit names for the brothers of Jesus.  Thus, here the unnamed mother and unnamed brothers of Jesus was outside wanting to speak to Jesus.  They clearly were relatives of Jesus, exactly how close a relative is not clear.