The seeds among the thorns choked (Lk 8:14-8:14)

“As for what fell

Among the thorns,

They are the ones

Who hear.

But as they go

On their way,

They are choked

By the cares,

By the riches,

And by the pleasures

Of life.

Their fruit

Does not mature.”

 

τὸ δὲ εἰς τὰς ἀκάνθας πεσόν, οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ ἀκούσαντες, καὶ ὑπὸ μεριμνῶν καὶ πλούτου καὶ ἡδονῶν τοῦ βίου πορευόμενοι συνπνίγονται καὶ οὐ τελεσφοροῦσιν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that those seeds that fell among the thorns (τὸ δὲ εἰς τὰς ἀκάνθας πεσόν) were like the ones who hear the word (οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ ἀκούσαντες), but as they go on their way (πορευόμενοι), they are choked or crowded out (συνπνίγονται) by the cares (καὶ ὑπὸ μεριμνῶν), the riches (καὶ πλούτου), and the pleasures of life (καὶ ἡδονῶν τοῦ βίου).  Their fruit does not mature (καὶ οὐ τελεσφοροῦσιν).  This explanation about the seeds among the thorns can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:18-19, Matthew, chapter 13:22, and here, with Matthew closer to Mark.  Both Matthew and Mark said that the seeds sown among the thorns were the ones who heard the words of the kingdom, but the cares and anxiety of this present age, as well as the allure or deceit of material wealth, choked or crowded out the words.  Thus, it yielded nothing, because it was barren.  The thorns were the cares about physical riches that choked off the growth of the seeds or the words of the kingdom.  There had to be good circumstances or pre-depositions to hearing and understanding for the word or the seed to be effective.  There had to be follow up or acting out on the word for it to mature into a full mature faith belief in Jesus Christ.  Have the seeds of the word of God matured in you?

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Blessed are the poor (Lk 6:20-6:20)

“Then Jesus

Looked up

At his disciples.

He said.

‘Blessed are you

Who are poor!

Yours is

The kingdom of God.”

 

Καὶ αὐτὸς ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ εἰς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ ἔλεγεν Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοί, ὅτι ὑμετέρα ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

Luke said that Jesus looked up at his disciples (Καὶ αὐτὸς ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ εἰς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ).  He said (ἔλεγεν) that the poor are blessed or happy (Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοί), using the second person plural.  Their reward would be the kingdom of God (ὅτι ὑμετέρα ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ).  This sermon on the plain is somewhat similar to the sermon on the mount in Matthew, chapters 5-7.  Most people speak about the 8 beatitudes of Jesus on the mountain, since they feature the key points of Jesus’ preaching that was founded on the Hebrew Scriptures.  What does “blessed (Μακάριοι)” mean?  This Greek word Μακάριοι appeared over 68 times in the Greek Septuagint Old Testament, especially in the Psalms.  God will bless these people, so that they will be the fortunate ones, the happy ones, the wise ones.  There are echoes of Psalm 32, where the happy and blessed ones are those who have had their sins forgiven, since they have no deceit in their hearts.  The blessed people are the poor, the hungry, the mourners, and those being persecuted.  Number one is the poor.  However, right off the bat, there is a difference with Matthew. chapter 5:3, who used the term the “poor in spirit (οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι).”  What did Matthew mean by this “poor in spirit” or spiritual poverty?  There is a whole Judaic tradition about the oppressed poor and the humble of the land, as in the prophets Isaiah, chapter 61:1 and 66:2, and Zephaniah, chapter 2:3, but that was not spiritual poverty.  Perhaps, this was more like the lack of concern for material things, whether you are actually poor or not.  For Luke, it was black or white, poor or not.  The 2nd major difference was the reward.  Matthew talked about what they would possess, the kingdom of the heavens (ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν), while Luke said it was the kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ), plain and simple.

Evil comes from the human heart (Mk 7:21-7:23)

“It is from within,

From the human heart,

That evil intentions come.

Fornication,

Theft,

Murder,

Adultery,

Avarice,

Wickedness,

Deceit,

Licentiousness,

Envy,

Slander,

Pride,

And folly,

All these evil things

Come from within.

They defile a person.”

 

ἔσωθεν γὰρ ἐκ τῆς καρδίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων οἱ διαλογισμοὶ οἱ κακοὶ ἐκπορεύονται, πορνεῖαι, κλοπαί, φόνοι,

μοιχεῖαι, πλεονεξίαι, πονηρίαι, δόλος, ἀσέλγεια, ὀφθαλμὸς πονηρός, βλασφημία, ὑπερηφανία, ἀφροσύνη·

πάντα ταῦτα τὰ πονηρὰ ἔσωθεν ἐκπορεύεται καὶ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον.

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 15:19-20.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that it is from within the heart of a person (ἔσωθεν γὰρ ἐκ τῆς καρδίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων) that evil or wicked thoughts come forth spreading out (οἱ διαλογισμοὶ οἱ κακοὶ ἐκπορεύονται).  This included such evil things as fornication or pornography (πορνεῖαι), theft (κλοπαί), murders or killings (φόνοι), adulteries (μοιχεῖαι), avarice (πλεονεξίαι), wickedness (πονηρίαι), deceit (δόλος), licentiousness or wanton sensuality (ἀσέλγεια,), envy or the evil eye (ὀφθαλμὸς πονηρός), slander, abusive language, or blasphemy (βλασφημία), pride (ὑπερηφανία), and folly or foolishness (ἀφροσύνη).  This list in Mark was longer and different than the list in Matthew.  All these evil things came from within (πάντα ταῦτα τὰ πονηρὰ ἔσωθεν).  They come forth from the person (ἐκπορεύεται).  They are the things that defile a person (καὶ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον).  You can clearly see what Jesus, his disciples, and the early Christian community considered as sins or defilements that made a person unclean or defiled.

Explanation of the seeds among the thorns (Mk 4:18-4:19)

“Others are the seeds

Sown among thorns.

They are those

Who hear the word,

But the cares

Of the world,

The lure of wealth,

And the desire

For other things

Come in.

They choke the word.

It yields nothing.”

 

καὶ ἄλλοι εἰσὶν οἱ εἰς τὰς ἀκάνθας σπειρόμενοι· οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ τὸν λόγον ἀκούσαντες

καὶ αἱ μέριμναι τοῦ αἰῶνος καὶ ἡ ἀπάτη τοῦ πλούτου καὶ αἱ περὶ τὰ λοιπὰ ἐπιθυμίαι εἰσπορευόμεναι συνπνίγουσιν τὸν λόγον, καὶ ἄκαρπος γίνεται.

 

This explanation about the seeds among the thorns can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels.  Matthew, chapter 13:22, and Luke, chapter 8:14, have this saying in an abbreviated fashion.  Mark explained that Jesus said that these seeds sown among the thorns (καὶ ἄλλοι εἰσὶν οἱ εἰς τὰς ἀκάνθας σπειρόμενοι) were the ones who heard the word (οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ τὸν λόγον ἀκούσαντες).  However, the cares and anxiety of this present world or times (καὶ ἡ μέριμνα τοῦ αἰῶνος), as well as the allure or deceit of material wealth (καὶ ἡ ἀπάτη τοῦ πλούτου), along with the various desires for other things (καὶ αἱ περὶ τὰ λοιπὰ ἐπιθυμίαι εἰσπορευόμεναι) choked or crowded out the word (συνπνίγουσιν τὸν λόγον).  Thus, it yielded nothing (καὶ ἄκαρπος γίνεται).  The thorns were the everyday cares about physical riches and various pleasures that choked off the growth of the seeds or the word.  There had to be good circumstances or pre-depositions to hearing and understanding for the word or the seed to be effective.

The first beatitude about poverty (Mt 5:3-5:3)

“Blessed are

The poor in spirit!

Theirs is

The kingdom of heaven.”

 

Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι, ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.

 

Most people speak about the 8 beatitudes of Jesus on the mountain.  They are also found in Luke, chapter 6:20, since they feature the key points of Jesus’ preaching that was founded on the Hebrew Scriptures.  What does “blessed (Μακάριοι)” mean?  This Greek word Μακάριοι appears over 68 times in the Greek Septuagint Old Testament, especially in the Psalms.  God will bless these people, so that they will be the fortunate ones, the happy ones, the wise ones.  There are echoes of Psalm 32, where the happy and blessed ones are those who have had their sins forgiven, since they have no deceit in their hearts.  The blessed people are the poor, the hungry, the mourners, and those being persecuted.  Number one is the poor.  However, right off the bat, there is a difference with Luke, chapter 6:20, who simply said blessed are the poor (Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ) without any modification, since he did not mention the “poor in spirit (οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι),” as Matthew indicated here.  What does Matthew mean by this “poor in spirit” or spiritual poverty?  There is a whole Judaic tradition about the oppressed poor and the humble of the land, as in prophets Isaiah, chapter 61:1 and 66:2, and Zephaniah, chapter 2:3, but that was not spiritual poverty.  Perhaps, this is more like the lack of concern for material things, whether you are actually poor or not.  For Luke, it was black or white, poor or not.  The 2nd major difference was the reward.  Matthew continued to talk about what they would possess, the kingdom of the heavens (ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν), while Luke said it was the kingdom of God, plain and simple.

Judah was still faithful (Hos 11:12-11:12)

“Ephraim

Has surrounded me

With lies.

The house of Israel

Has surrounded me

With deceit.

But Judah

Still walks

With God.

He is faithful

To the Holy One.”

Although the territory of Ephraim and the northern kingdom of Israel had surrounded Yahweh with lies and deceit, Judah still walked with God. Judah had remained faithful to the Holy One, Yahweh.

The king finds the rations gone (Dan 14:16-14:18)

“Early in the morning,

The king arose.

He came

With Daniel.

The king said.

‘Are the seals unbroken?

Daniel!’

He answered.

‘They are unbroken.’

O king!’

As soon as the doors

were opened,

The king looked

At the table.

He shouted

In a loud voice.

‘You are great!

O Bel!

In you

There is no deceit

At all!’”

The next morning, both the king and Daniel got up early and went to the temple. The king wanted to know if the seals had been broken. Daniel responded that the seals were still intact. Then they opened the doors to the temple. The king then went to the table where the food had been set up. Then, he shouted out that there was no deceit in the god Bel, because all the food was gone.