The scribes think that this is blasphemy (Mk 2:6-2:7)

“Some of the Scribes

Were sitting there.

They questioned

In their hearts.

‘Why does this man

Speak thus?

It is blasphemy!

Who can forgive sins

But God alone?’”

 

ἦσαν δέ τινες τῶν γραμματέων ἐκεῖ καθήμενοι καὶ διαλογιζόμενοι ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις αὐτῶν

Τί οὗτος οὕτως λαλεῖ; βλασφημεῖ· τίς δύναται ἀφιέναι ἁμαρτίας εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ Θεός

 

Luke, chapter 5:21, and Matthew, chapter 9:3, are similar to Mark, so that Mark might be the source of this saying about the Scribes and blasphemy.  Some of these Scribes were sitting there in this crowded room (ἦσαν δέ τινες τῶν γραμματέων ἐκεῖ καθήμενοι).  They were reasoning or questioning in their hearts, but not to others (καὶ διαλογιζόμενοι ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις αὐτῶν).  These Scribes were the religious experts who determined the traditions to be followed as interpreters of the law in this generally uneducated society.  They were professional copiers of manuscript documents, although they had a wider role in Jewish culture.  They might have been the fore-runners of the rabbinic class that was developing at that time.  They wondered why Jesus was talking this way (Τί οὗτος οὕτως λαλεῖ), since it appeared to be blasphemy (βλασφημεῖ).  Blasphemers used scurrilous or irreverent language about God.  How is Jesus able to forgive sins (τίς δύναται ἀφιέναι ἁμαρτίας), since only God can forgive sins (εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ Θεός)?  This seems like a legitimate question.

Advertisements

Jesus taught with authority (Mk 1:22-1:22)

“They were astonished

At his teaching.

He taught them

As one having authority,

Not as the Scribes.”

 

καὶ ἐξεπλήσσοντο ἐπὶ τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ· ἦν γὰρ διδάσκων αὐτοὺς ὡς ἐξουσίαν ἔχων, καὶ οὐχ ὡς οἱ γραμματεῖς.

 

There is something similar to this in Luke, chapter 4:32, and Matthew, chapter 7:29, where Jesus was teaching with authority.  The people of this Capernaum synagogue were astonished or amazed at his teaching (καὶ ἐξεπλήσσοντο ἐπὶ τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ), since he taught them as if he had authority (ἦν γὰρ διδάσκων αὐτοὺς ὡς ἐξουσίαν ἔχων), not like the Scribes (καὶ οὐχ ὡς οἱ γραμματεῖς αὐτῶν).  What was this authority that Jesus had?  He was not like one of these Scribes, who were religious experts who determined the traditions to be followed.  They were professional copiers of manuscript documents, although they had a wider role in Jewish society.  They might have been the forerunners of the rabbinic class that was developing at that time.  Jesus taught on his own authority without referring to tradition.  He was amazing.

The Early Growth of Christianity

Under the leadership of the apostles Peter and Paul, who both died around the year 64 CE, the early Christian community grew from Jerusalem to Rome, from a Palestinian Jewish sect to a more universal group that included Gentile non-Jewish people, all around the Mediterranean area.  The travels of Paul as found in the Acts of the Apostles and his letters give a glimpse into what was happening back then.  The followers of Jesus Christ began to differentiate themselves from the Rabbinic Judaism that was developing at the same time.

Fear of the Lord (Sir 40:26-40:27)

“Riches build up confidence.

Strength builds up confidence.

But the fear of the Lord is

Better than either.

There is no want

In the fear of the Lord.

With it,

There is no need

To seek for help.

The fear of the Lord is

Like a garden of blessings.

It covers a person

Better than any glory.”

Once again, Sirach continues with his comparisons. However, this time, the best is the fear of the Lord. Riches and strength might make you feel confident. Yet the fear of the Lord is better than money and power in developing your self-confidence. When you fear the Lord, you will not have any need to seek help from anyone or anything. The fear of the Lord is like a garden of blessings that covers you better than any glory can.