Possible and impossible things (Lk 18:27-18:27)

“But Jesus replied.

‘What is impossible

For mortals

Is possible

With God.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Τὰ ἀδύνατα παρὰ ἀνθρώποις δυνατὰ παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ ἐστιν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said or replied (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν) that what was impossible for mortal men (Τὰ ἀδύνατα παρὰ ἀνθρώποις) was possible with God (δυνατὰ παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ ἐστιν).  This saying about the power of God and the impotence of humans can be found in Mark, chapter 10:27, and Matthew, chapter 19:26, but slightly different, although Mark and Matthew were similar.  Mark said that Jesus looked at them (ἐμβλέψας αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  Then he told them (λέγει) that this would be impossible for mortal men (Παρὰ ἀνθρώποις ἀδύνατον), but not with God (ἀλλ’ οὐ παρὰ Θεῷ).  All things are possible with God (πάντα γὰρ δυνατὰ παρὰ τῷ θεῷ), since he could do everything.  In Matthew, Jesus looked at them (ἐμβλέψας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς) and told them (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that this would be impossible for mortal men (Παρὰ ἀνθρώποις τοῦτο ἀδύνατόν ἐστιν), but with God, all things were possible (παρὰ δὲ Θεῷ πάντα δυνατά), since he could do everything.  This could be an allusion to Genesis, chapter 18:14, when Sarah laughed when she was told she was going to have a son or the prophet Jeremiah, chapter 32:17, when he was talking about creation.  What humans are not able to do, God is able to do.  Does God save wealthy people?

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Great tribulation (Mk 13:19-13:19)

“In those days,

There will be suffering,

Such as has not been

From the beginning

Of the creation

That God created

Until now,

And never will be.”

 

ἔσονται γὰρ αἱ ἡμέραι ἐκεῖναι θλῖψις, οἵα οὐ γέγονεν τοιαύτη ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως ἣν ἔκτισεν ὁ Θεὸς ἕως τοῦ νῦν καὶ οὐ μὴ γένηται.

 

There is something similar, almost word for word, in Matthew, chapter 24:21, but not in Luke.  This wording has a hint of Daniel, chapter 12:1 and Joel, chapter 2:2, who talked about the Day of Yahweh.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that at the end times, in those days (ἔσονται γὰρ αἱ ἡμέραι), there will be such suffering or tribulation (ἐκεῖναι θλῖψις) that no one has ever seen anything like it since the beginning of the world that God created until now (οἵα οὐ γέγονεν τοιαύτη ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως ἣν ἔκτισεν ὁ Θεὸς ἕως τοῦ νῦν).  In fact, there never will be any kind of suffering like this at any time (καὶ οὐ μὴ γένηται).  This was going to be bad, nothing like it had ever happened before.  This would be the unique end times.

 

With God all things are possible (Mk 10:27-10:27)

“Jesus looked at them.

He said.

‘For mortals,

It is impossible,

But not for God.

All things are possible

For God.’”

 

ἐμβλέψας αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγει Παρὰ ἀνθρώποις ἀδύνατον, ἀλλ’ οὐ παρὰ θεῷ· πάντα γὰρ δυνατὰ παρὰ τῷ θεῷ.

 

This saying about the power of God and the impotence of humans can be found in Matthew, chapter 19:26, and Luke, chapter 18:27, but slightly different.  Mark said that Jesus looked at them (ἐμβλέψας αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  Then he told them (λέγει) that this would be impossible for mortal men (Παρὰ ἀνθρώποις ἀδύνατον), but not with God (ἀλλ’ οὐ παρὰ Θεῷ).  All things were possible with God (πάντα γὰρ δυνατὰ παρὰ τῷ θεῷ), since he could do everything.  This could be an allusion to Genesis, chapter 18:14, when Sarah laughed when she was told she was going to have a son or the prophet Jeremiah, chapter 32:17, when he was talking about creation.  What humans were not able to do, God was able to do because he was an all-powerful God.

Male and female become one flesh (Mk 10:6-10:8)

“But from the beginning

Of creation,

‘God made them

Male

And female.

For this reason,

A man shall leave

His father

And his mother.

He shall be joined

To his wife.

The two shall become

One flesh.’

Thus,

They are no longer two,

But one flesh.”

 

ἀπὸ δὲ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτούς·

ἕνεκεν τούτου καταλείψει ἄνθρωπος τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ τὴν μητέρα,

καὶ ἔσονται οἱ δύο εἰς σάρκα μίαν· ὥστε οὐκέτι εἰσὶν δύο ἀλλὰ μία σάρξ.

 

This saying of Jesus that points to the importance and indissolubility of marriage can also be found in Matthew, chapter 19:4-6.  Mark indicates that Jesus used the creation story of Genesis, chapters 1:27 and 2:24, to emphasize his point.  He noted that from the beginning of creation (ἀπὸ δὲ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως) God had made humans male and female (ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτοὺς).  At the pinnacle of creation, God created humans in his image, as both men and women were created equal in God’s image.  Jesus continued that a man leaves his father and mother (ἕνεκεν τούτου καταλείψει ἄνθρωπος τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ τὴν μητέρα).  Some Orthodox texts have the phrase about being joined to his wife (καὶ προσκολληθήσεται πρὸς τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ).  The two of them then will become one flesh (καὶ ἔσονται οἱ δύο εἰς σάρκα μίαν), so that they are no longer two but one flesh (ὥστε οὐκέτι εἰσὶν δύο ἀλλὰ μία σὰρξ).  Obviously, this has become part of many marriage ceremonial rituals.

All things are possible with God (Mt 19:26-19:26)

“But Jesus looked

At them.

He said to them.

‘For men,

This is impossible.

But with God,

All things are possible.’”

 

ἐμβλέψας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Παρὰ ἀνθρώποις τοῦτο ἀδύνατόν ἐστιν, παρὰ δὲ Θεῷ πάντα δυνατά.

 

This saying about the power of God and the impotence of humans can be found in Mark, chapter 10:27, word for word, and Luke, chapter 18:27, but slightly different.  Jesus looked at them (ἐμβλέψας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς) and told them (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that this would be impossible for mortal men (Παρὰ ἀνθρώποις τοῦτο ἀδύνατόν ἐστιν), but with God, all things were possible (παρὰ δὲ Θεῷ πάντα δυνατά), since he could do everything.  This could be an allusion to Genesis, chapter 18:14, when Sarah laughed when she was told she was going to have a son or Jeremiah, chapter 32:17, when he was talking about creation.  What humans were not able to do, God was able to do.

The Redemption Context

African Christians put emphasis on creation and deliverance from hardship, while European Christians put emphasis on sin and salvation.  These differences show up in death rituals and funerals.  The early Church suffered political persecution.  Freedom from slavery saw redemption as the main form of freedom.  The early Medieval Church (4th-11th centuries) was more concerned about freedom from the power of the devil after Augustine had emphasized the concept of original sin.  The early Scholastic theologians like Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) put less emphasis on the ransom from the devil.  Adam had disobeyed and dishonored God.  Christ has saved us by being the second Adam, the so-called satisfaction theory.  Order and honor were more important.  The Third world today sees redemption as something else.  Christian redemption is the same reality, but there are different interpretations of what it means to be redeemed.

The Christian Code of Love

The gospel code of love and the beatitudes are prevalent.  The Jewish Hebrew Ten Commandments remain as the basic tenets of most Christian Churches.  However, nearly every Christian Church has laws or directives that are specific to their denomination or to their particular local Church.  Creation is good, and man is responsible for the earth, so that there is a need for justice and love.