Another parable (Lk 18:9-18:9)

“Jesus also told

This parable

To some people

Who trusted in themselves.

They believed that

They were righteous.

They regarded others

With contempt.”

 

Εἶπεν δὲ καὶ πρός τινας τοὺς πεποιθότας ἐφ’ ἑαυτοῖς ὅτι εἰσὶν δίκαιοι καὶ ἐξουθενοῦντας τοὺς λοιποὺς τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην.

 

Luke has Jesus tell another parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector that is only found in this gospel.  Luke indicated that Jesus said (Εἶπεν δὲ) that some people trusted in themselves (Εἶπεν δὲ καὶ πρός τινας τοὺς πεποιθότας ἐφ’ ἑαυτοῖς) that they were righteous (ὅτι εἰσὶν δίκαιοι).  They regarded or despised others with contempt (καὶ ἐξουθενοῦντας τοὺς λοιποὺς).  Thus, here was this parable (τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην) for them.  Jesus explicitly called this a parable that was meant for these self-righteous people who trusted in themselves.  At the same time, they looked down on others.  Do you look down on others?

The Son of Man must suffer (Mk 9:12-9:12)

“How then is it written

About the Son of man?

He is to go through

Many sufferings.

He will be treated

With contempt.”

 

καὶ πῶς γέγραπται ἐπὶ τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, ἵνα πολλὰ πάθῃ καὶ ἐξουδενηθῇ;

 

This verse about the future sufferings of the Son of Man is unique to Mark.  Jesus said that it was written (καὶ πῶς γέγραπται) that the Son of man (ἐπὶ τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) would go through many great sufferings (ἵνα πολλὰ πάθῃ).  He would be despised or treated with contempt (καὶ ἐξουδενηθῇ).  Obviously, the Son of Man seemed to be tied in some way with Elijah.

A prophet without honor (Mk 6:4-6:4)

“Then Jesus said

To them.

‘Prophets are not

Without honor,

Except in their hometown,

Among their own relatives,

And in their own house.’”

 

καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι Οὐκ ἔστιν προφήτης ἄτιμος εἰ μὴ ἐν τῇ πατρίδι αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν τοῖς συγγενεῦσιν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ αὐτοῦ.

 

This saying about no honor for prophets in their hometown can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 13:57, and Luke, chapter 4:24, and here.  Mark said that Jesus told them (καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς) that prophets are not without honor or not despised (ὅτι Οὐκ ἔστιν προφήτης ἄτιμος), except in their own country (εἰ μὴ ἐν τῇ πατρίδι αὐτοῦ), among their own relatives (καὶ ἐν τοῖς συγγενεῦσιν αὐτοῦ), and in their own house (καὶ ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ αὐτοῦ).  They would be not honored among their own hometown, relatives, and in their own house.  It is always more difficult in your own home town.  This was common among the Old Testament prophets, especially the Israelite prophets Jeremiah and Amos.

 

A prophet without honor in his own country (Mt 13:57-13:58)

“They took offense

At Jesus.

But He said to them.

‘Prophets are not without honor

Except in their own country

And in their own house.’

Jesus did not do

Many deeds of powers there,

Because of their unbelief.”

 

καὶ ἐσκανδαλίζοντο ἐν αὐτῷ. ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Οὐκ ἔστιν προφήτης ἄτιμος εἰ μὴ ἐν τῇ πατρίδι καὶ ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ αὐτοῦ.

καὶ οὐκ ἐποίησεν ἐκεῖ δυνάμεις πολλὰς διὰ τὴν ἀπιστίαν αὐτῶν.

 

This saying about no honor for prophets in their hometown can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 6:4-6, and Luke, chapter 4:23-30, but in a more elaborate way.  Matthew said that Jesus had offended them (καὶ ἐσκανδαλίζοντο ἐν αὐτῷ).  However, Jesus said to them (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that prophets are not without honor or not despised (Οὐκ ἔστιν προφήτης ἄτιμος), except in their own country (εἰ μὴ ἐν τῇ πατρίδι) and in their own house (καὶ ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ αὐτοῦ).  Jesus did not do many miracles there (καὶ οὐκ ἐποίησεν ἐκεῖ δυνάμεις πολλὰς), because of their unbelief (διὰ τὴν ἀπιστίαν αὐτῶν.).  It is always more difficult in your own home town.  The Israelite prophets Jeremiah and Amos were also rejected by their own people.

Title

“The Gospel according to Mathew”

 

Τὸ κατὰ Ματθαῖον εὐαγγέλιον

 

What is a gospel?  Who is Matthew?  The English term gospel comes from the Old English ‘godspel.’  There was a musical play with the name “Godspell” that opened on Broadway in 1971.  Like the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον, gospel means good news or good tidings.  This term originally meant the Christian message itself.  However, in the second century, it came to be used for the books where this message was set out.  Thus, the gospels became known as written accounts of the career and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.  This Gospel of Matthew is anonymous, since there is no explicit mention of a named author within the text itself.  This title (Τὸ κατὰ Ματθαῖον εὐαγγέλιον), however was added some time in the second century, perhaps with Papias of Hierapolis (100–140 CE), an early bishop and apostolic father.  The apostle Matthew was among the early followers and apostles of Jesus.  He was a first century Galilean, the son of Alpheus.  As a tax collector he would have been literate in Aramaic and Greek.  His fellow Jews would have despised him because he was seen as collaborating with the Roman occupation force.  What we do know for certain is that the author of this gospel was probably a traditional male Jew, familiar with the technical and legal aspects of Hebrew Scripture.  He wrote in a polished Semitic synagogue Greek style.  Most scholars hold that the Gospel of Matthew was a product of the last quarter of the 1st century, a work of the second generation of Christians, probably sometime between 70-110 CE, or more precisely between 80-90 CE.  The defining event for this community was the Roman destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 CE, during the Jewish–Roman War of 66–73 CE.  The author of this Gospel of Matthew wrote for a community of Greek-speaking Jewish Christians probably located in Syria, just north of Galilee.  Antioch was the largest city in Roman Syria and the third-largest city in the Roman Empire, after Rome and Alexandria.  This is where the term “Christian” was first used.  Thus, it would seem like an appropriate place for Jewish Christians in the second half of the first century.   For practical traditional purposes, I will use the name Matthew as the author of this gospel.

The polluted food (Mal 1:7-1:8)

“Yahweh said.

‘By offering polluted food

Upon my altar.

You say.

‘How have we polluted it?’

‘By thinking

That Yahweh’s table

May be despised.

When you offer blind animals

In sacrifice,

Is that not wrong?

When you offer those

That are lame

Or sick,

Is that not wrong?

Try presenting that

To your governor!

Will he be pleased

With you?

Will he show you favor?’

Says Yahweh of hosts.”

Yahweh was upset at these priests.  They had offered up polluted food on the altar of Yahweh.  These priests wanted to know how they had polluted the food.  Yahweh responded that they had despised him by offering up blind, lame, and sick animals instead of healthy and sound animals.  They had done Yahweh wrong.  Would they present these kinds of wounded animals to their governor?  Would he be pleased with them?  Would he show them favors?  Thus, they have despised Yahweh by offering these kinds of wounded, unfit, or unclean animals.

Zerubbabel will lay the foundation of the Temple (Zech 4:8-4:10)

“Moreover,

The word of Yahweh

Came to me,

Saying.

‘The hands of Zerubbabel

Have laid the foundation

Of this house.

His hands

Shall also complete it.

Then you will know

That Yahweh of hosts

Has sent me to you.

Whoever has despised

The day of small things

Shall rejoice.

They shall see the plummet

in the hand of Zerubbabel.’”

Yahweh came directly to Zechariah.  He told him that Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, would lay the foundation for the house of Yahweh with his own hands.  Then Zerubbabel would complete the Temple also.  Thus, they would know that Yahweh of hosts had sent him to them.  Those that despised the little things would rejoice when they would see the plummet or the measuring line in Governor Zerubbabel’s hands.