Proclaim Jesus in your home area (Lk 8:39-8:39)

“Jesus said.

‘Return to your home!

Declare

How much

God has done

For you!’

Thus,

He went away,

Proclaiming

Throughout the whole city

How much

Jesus had done

For him.”

 

Ὑπόστρεφε εἰς τὸν οἶκόν σου, καὶ διηγοῦ ὅσα σοι ἐποίησεν ὁ Θεός. καὶ ἀπῆλθεν καθ’ ὅλην τὴν πόλιν κηρύσσων ὅσα ἐποίησεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus told the former demoniac to return to his home (Ὑπόστρεφε εἰς τὸν οἶκόν σου).  There he was to declare how much God had done for him (καὶ διηγοῦ ὅσα σοι ἐποίησεν ὁ Θεός).  Thus, he went away (καὶ ἀπῆλθεν), proclaiming throughout the whole city (καθ’ ὅλην τὴν πόλιν κηρύσσων) how much Jesus had done for him (ὅσα ἐποίησεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  There is something similar in Mark, chapter 5:19-20, while there is nothing like this in MatthewMark said that Jesus refused this former demoniac’s request.  Jesus would not permit him to go with them.  However, Jesus told him to go to his own home.  There he was to preach, announce, or tell others how much the Lord (ὁ Κύριός) had done for him with his great mercy.  This former demoniac went away.  He then began to preach or proclaim in the Decapolis area how much Jesus had done for him.  Thus, everyone there was amazed or marveled at this.  The Decapolis territory was a group of 10 gentile non-Jewish cities on the east bank of the Jordan River in present day Jordan and Syria that included the towns of Gerasa, Scythopolis, Hippos, Gadara, Pella, Philadelphia, Capitolias, Canatha, Raphana, and Damascus.  Thus, this cured demoniac was the first Christian apostle to the gentiles, a foreign missionary rather than a close disciple or apostle.  Would you rather be a missionary for Jesus or one who followed him closely?

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The historical setting (Lk 3:1-3:1)

“In the fifteenth year,

Of the reign

Of Emperor Tiberius,

Pontius Pilate was

Governor of Judea.

Herod was the ruler

Of Galilee.

His brother Philip

Was the ruler

Of the region

Of Ituraea,

And Trachonitis.

Lysanias was the ruler

Of Abilene.”

 

Ἐν ἔτει δὲ πεντεκαιδεκάτῳ τῆς ἡγεμονίας Τιβερίου Καίσαρος καὶ τετρααρχοῦντος τῆς Γαλιλαίας Ἡρῴδου, Φιλίππου δὲ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ αὐτοῦ τετρααρχοῦντος τῆς Ἰτουραίας καὶ Τραχωνίτιδος χώρας, καὶ Λυσανίου τῆς Ἀβιληνῆς τετρααρχοῦντος,

 

Luke tried to set the public activities of John and Jesus within a larger historical context.  Thus, here he said that it was the 15th year of the reign of the Roman Emperor Tiberius (Ἐν ἔτει δὲ πεντεκαιδεκάτῳ τῆς ἡγεμονίας Τιβερίου Καίσαρος).  Pontius Pilate was the Governor of Judea (Ἐν ἔτει δὲ πεντεκαιδεκάτῳ τῆς ἡγεμονίας Τιβερίου Καίσαρος).  Herod was the tetrarch ruler of Galilee (καὶ τετρααρχοῦντος τῆς Γαλιλαίας Ἡρῴδου,).  Herod’s brother Philip was the tetrarch ruler of Ituraea and Trachonitis (Φιλίππου δὲ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ αὐτοῦ τετρααρχοῦντος τῆς Ἰτουραίας καὶ Τραχωνίτιδος χώρας), while Lysanias was the tetrarch ruler of Abilene (καὶ Λυσανίου τῆς Ἀβιληνῆς τετρααρχοῦντος).  Who and what is this all about?  Tiberius was the Roman Emperor from 14-37 CE.  15 years into his rule would be the year 29 CE.  Pontius Pilate was the Governor of Judea, but also Samaria to the north, and Idumea to the south, from 26-36 CE, so that this time frame is consistent.  Herod Antipas and Philip were the sons of Herod the Great (37-4 BC).  Herod Antipas ruled as tetrarch of northern Galilee and Perea that was east of the Jordan River from 4 BCE-39 CE.  His brother Philip ruled Ituraea and Trachonitis that were north of Galilee from 4 BCE-34 CE.  Finally, some unknown leader named Lysanias ruled as the tetrarch of Abilene that was north of Damascus, but included Lebanon.  Thus, these were all the rulers of the area where John and Jesus might have traveled within this time frame

Decapolis (Mk 7:31-7:31)

“Then Jesus returned

From the region of Tyre.

He went by way

Of Sidon

Towards the Sea of Galilee,

In the region

Of the Decapolis.”

 

Καὶ πάλιν ἐξελθὼν ἐκ τῶν ὁρίων Τύρου ἦλθεν διὰ Σιδῶνος εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν τῆς Γαλιλαίας ἀνὰ μέσον τῶν ὁρίων Δεκαπόλεως.

 

Matthew, chapter 15:29, has a more summary explanation of this travel.  Instead of going to Sidon, Jesus went straight back to the Sea of Galilee.  Also, there is no mention of Jesus going up a mountain here.  Mark said that Jesus returned from the region of Tyre (Καὶ πάλιν ἐξελθὼν ἐκ τῶν ὁρίων Τύρου) by way of the coastal city of Sidon (ἦλθεν διὰ Σιδῶνος) that was further north.  Then he went towards the Sea of Galilee (εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν τῆς Γαλιλαίας).  However, he went through the middle of the Decapolis region (ἀνὰ μέσον τῶν ὁρίων Δεκαπόλεως), where he had been earlier in Mark, chapter 5:20.  The Decapolis territory was a group of 10 gentile non-Jewish cities north and east of the Jordan River in present day Jordan and Syria that included the towns of Gerasa, Scythopolis, Hippos, Gadara, Pella, Philadelphia, Capitolias, Canatha, Raphana, and Damascus.  Clearly, Jesus had gone through these gentile, non-Jewish areas.

The new Jesus missionary in Decapolis (Mk 5:20-5:20)

“The former demoniac

Went away.

He began to proclaim

In the Decapolis towns

How much Jesus

Had done for him.

Everyone was amazed.”

 

καὶ ἀπῆλθεν καὶ ἤρξατο κηρύσσειν ἐν τῇ Δεκαπόλει ὅσα ἐποίησεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς, καὶ πάντες ἐθαύμαζον.

 

There is something similar in Luke, chapter 8:39, while there is nothing like this in MatthewMark said that the former demoniac went away (καὶ ἀπῆλθεν).  He then began to preach or proclaim (καὶ ἤρξατο κηρύσσειν) in the Decapolis area (ἐν τῇ Δεκαπόλει) how much Jesus had done for him (ὅσα ἐποίησεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  Thus, everyone there was amazed or marveled at this (καὶ πάντες ἐθαύμαζον).  The Decapolis territory was a group of 10 gentile non-Jewish cities on the east bank of the Jordan River in present day Jordan and Syria that included the towns of Gerasa, Scythopolis, Hippos, Gadara, Pella, Philadelphia, Capitolias, Canatha, Raphana, and Damascus.  Thus, this cured demoniac was the first Christian apostle to the gentiles.

Great crowds (Mt 4:25-4:25)

“Great crowds

Followed Jesus

From Galilee,

From the Decapolis,

From Jerusalem,

From Judea,

And from beyond the Jordan.”

 

καὶ ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ ὄχλοι πολλοὶ ἀπὸ τῆς Γαλιλαίας καὶ Δεκαπόλεως καὶ Ἱεροσολύμων καὶ Ἰουδαίας καὶ πέραν τοῦ Ἰορδάνου.

 

Matthew finished off this unique section by talking about the huge crowds that followed Jesus in Galilee (καὶ ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ ὄχλοι πολλοὶ ἀπὸ τῆς Γαλιλαίας).  However, he added something that had not been talked about.  Matthew said that the people from Decapolis (Δεκαπόλεως), Jerusalem (καὶ Ἱεροσολύμων), Judea (καὶ Ἰουδαίας), and from beyond on the east bank of the Jordan River (καὶ πέραν τοῦ Ἰορδάνου) were following Jesus.  So far, Jesus has not done anything there.  Decapolis was an area of 10 cities or towns east of Galilee, with 9 of these cities on the east side of the Jordan River that included Damascus.  So that the news about Jesus may have spread there, as well on the east side of the Jordan.  However, the mention of Jerusalem and Judea, which were way south, at least 100 miles away, seems like a stretch.

Famous faith healer in Syria (Mt 4:24-4:24)

“So,

Jesus’ fame spread

Throughout all Syria.

They brought to him

All the sick.

This included

Those afflicted

With various diseases,

And with oppressive pains.

It also included

Demoniacs,

Epileptics,

And paralytics.

He cured them.”

 

καὶ ἀπῆλθεν ἡ ἀκοὴ αὐτοῦ εἰς ὅλην τὴν Συρίαν· καὶ προσήνεγκαν αὐτῷ πάντας τοὺς κακῶς ἔχοντας ποικίλαις νόσοις καὶ βασάνοις συνεχομένους, δαιμονιζομένους καὶ σεληνιαζομένους καὶ παραλυτικούς, καὶ ἐθεράπευσεν αὐτούς.

 

Once again, Matthew has some unique information about the fame or the news of Jesus that had spread all over Syria (καὶ ἀπῆλθεν ἡ ἀκοὴ αὐτοῦ εἰς ὅλην τὴν Συρίαν) that was not in the other gospel stories.  This was not impossible since Syria was just north of Galilee and actually Damascus was closer to the Sea of Galilee than Jerusalem.  Besides, there was a large Jewish population in Syria also.  Perhaps this Gospel of Matthew came from Syria.  However, the key element was the healing power of Jesus that also was very strong in the Gospel of Mark.  Here in Matthew, Jesus is the faith healer per excellence.  They brought all kinds of sick people to Jesus (καὶ προσήνεγκαν αὐτῷ πάντας τοὺς κακῶς).  This included people with various diseases and oppressive pains (ἔχοντας ποικίλαις νόσοις καὶ βασάνοις συνεχομένους).  There was also demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics (δαιμονιζομένους καὶ σεληνιαζομένους καὶ παραλυτικούς) who came to him.  He cured them all (καὶ ἐθεράπευσεν αὐτούς.).  There was no difference between spiritual and physical illness, so that healing those possessed of the devil was not out of the question.

An oracle against Aram (Zech 9:1-9:2)

“An oracle.

The word of Yahweh is

Against the land of Hadrach.

It will rest upon Damascus.

The capital of Aram,

With Hamath

That borders on Damascus,

As do all the tribes of Israel,

Belong to Yahweh.”

This second part of this book of Zechariah is a series of oracles that presume something like the conquest of Alexander the Great in 333 BCE.  Apparently, Yahweh was on the side of the Greeks in their conquest.  Thus, Yahweh was against Aram, present day Syria, as well as the cities of Hadrach, Hamath, and Damascus, the capital of Aram.  All of these places belonged to Yahweh, just as all the tribes of Israel also belonged to Yahweh.