The seven brothers and the one wife died (Mk 12:22-12:22)

None of the seven brothers

Left any children.

Last of all,

The woman herself died.”

 

καὶ οἱ ἑπτὰ οὐκ ἀφῆκαν σπέρμα. ἔσχατον πάντων καὶ ἡ γυνὴ ἀπέθανεν.

 

This story about the death of the woman who had married 7 brothers can be found in Matthew, chapter 22:26-27, and in Luke, chapter 20:31-32, but there was no explicit mention of them being childless as in MatthewMark said that none of the 7 brothers had any children or offspring (καὶ οἱ ἑπτὰ οὐκ ἀφῆκαν σπέρμα).  Finally, last of all, this woman widow herself died (ἔσχατον πάντων καὶ ἡ γυνὴ ἀπέθανεν).  This was a nice simple but very improbable story.

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Second and third brothers (Mk 12:21-12:21)

“The second brother

Married the widow.

Then he died.

He left no children.

The third brother

Did likewise.”

 

καὶ ὁ δεύτερος ἔλαβεν αὐτήν, καὶ ἀπέθανεν μὴ καταλιπὼν σπέρμα· καὶ ὁ τρίτος ὡσαύτως·

 

This story about the woman who married 7 brothers can be found in Matthew, chapter 22:26, and in Luke, chapter 20:31, almost word for word.  Mark said that the 2nd brother married the widow of the 1st brother or took her as his wife (καὶ ὁ δεύτερος ἔλαβεν αὐτήν).  Then he died (καὶ ἀπέθανεν) with no children or offspring (μὴ καταλιπὼν σπέρμα·), so that the 3rd brother did the same as the 2nd brother (καὶ ὁ τρίτος ὡσαύτως).  Thus, the same thing happened to the 2nd and 3rd brothers as happened to the 1st brother.  They all died childless after marrying the same woman.  There is a pattern here.

Seven brothers (Mk 12:20-12:20)

“There were seven brothers.

The first one married.

When he died,

He left no children.

 

ἑπτὰ ἀδελφοὶ ἦσαν· καὶ ὁ πρῶτος ἔλαβεν γυναῖκα, καὶ ἀποθνῄσκων οὐκ ἀφῆκεν σπέρμα·

 

This story about the woman and 7 brothers can be found in Matthew, chapter 22:25, and in Luke, chapter 20:29, almost word for word.  Thus, this story was fairly well known.  There were 7 brothers (ἑπτὰ ἀδελφοὶ ἦσαν).  The first one married or took a wife (καὶ ὁ πρῶτος ἔλαβεν γυναῖκα).  Then he died (καὶ ἀποθνῄσκων).  He was childless, since he had no seed descendants or offspring (οὐκ ἀφῆκεν σπέρμα).

The request of Jairus (Mk 5:23-5:23)

“Jairus begged Jesus

Repeatedly.

‘My little daughter

Is at the point of death.

Come!

Lay your hands

On her!

Thus,

She may be made well,

And live.’”

 

καὶ παρακαλεῖ αὐτὸν πολλὰ λέγων ὅτι Τὸ θυγάτριόν μου ἐσχάτως ἔχει, ἵνα ἐλθὼν ἐπιθῇς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῇ, ἵνα σωθῇ καὶ ζήσῃ.

 

This episode about the request from synagogue leader about his daughter can be found in Matthew, chapter 9:18, but there this leader said that his daughter had just died.  Luke, chapter 8:42, mentioned that Jairus’ daughter was 12 years old, but dying.  Mark, said that she was very sick, not dead.  Jairus, the synagogue leader, begged or beseeched Jesus very much (καὶ παρακαλεῖ αὐτὸν πολλὰ).  He said that his little daughter was near the end of her life (λέγων ὅτι Τὸ θυγάτριόν μου ἐσχάτως ἔχει).  He wanted Jesus to come and lay his hands on her (ἵνα ἐλθὼν ἐπιθῇς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῇ).  Then she would be cured (ἵνα σωθῇ) and live (καὶ ζήσῃ).  This synagogue leader had a great belief in Jesus.

The unclean spirits enter the swine (Mk 5:13-5:13)

“Thus,

Jesus gave them

Permission.

The unclean spirits

Came out.

They entered

The swine.

The herd,

Numbering about two thousand,

Rushed down

The steep bank

Into the sea.

They were drowned

In the sea.”

 

καὶ ἐπέτρεψεν αὐτοῖς. καὶ ἐξελθόντα τὰ πνεύματα τὰ ἀκάθαρτα εἰσῆλθον εἰς τοὺς χοίρους, καὶ ὥρμησεν ἡ ἀγέλη κατὰ τοῦ κρημνοῦ εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, ὡς δισχίλιοι, καὶ ἐπνίγοντο ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ.

 

All three synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 8:32 and Luke, chapter 8:32-33, and Mark here, have Jesus cast out the demons into the herd of pigs nearby, with slight nuances in each story.  Jesus then accommodated or allowed what these evil spirits had wanted (καὶ ἐπέτρεψεν αὐτοῖς).  Then the unclean spirits demons left the demoniac (καὶ ἐξελθόντα τὰ πνεύματα τὰ ἀκάθαρτα).  They entered the herd of pigs (εἰσῆλθον εἰς τοὺς χοίρους).  This herd then rushed down a steep bank into the sea (καὶ ὥρμησεν ἡ ἀγέλη κατὰ τοῦ κρημνοῦ εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν).  Mark was the only synoptic to mention the number of pigs, 2,000 (ὡς δισχίλιοι), who were drowned or died in the sea (καὶ ἐπνίγοντο ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ).  There is one problem, pigs can swim, so that some might have survived.  Perhaps the unfamiliarity of these Jewish authors with pigs may have led to this harsh ending.  Anyway, the 2,000-pig herd with the unclean spirits ran into the sea off a steep bank and perished.

Conclusion: Passion, Resurrection and Great Commission

 

This gospel concluded with the events of the last week of Jesus, a main preoccupation of all four gospels.  Jesus had entered Jerusalem in triumph.  He held a last supper and prayed to be spared.  He was betrayed by Judas.  Then he was tried by the Jewish leaders and before The roman governor Pontius Pilate.  Jesus was crucified as king of the Jews and mocked by all.  At his death, there was an earthquake, when the veil of the Temple was cut in two, and the saints rose from their tombs.  Mary Magdalene and the other women discovered the empty tomb.  Jesus told them to tell the disciples to meet him in Galilee.

There was a plot to kill Jesus.  Jesus spoke to his disciples and gave his fourth prediction about the death of the Son of Man.  Then the chief priests and the elders gathered to plot the arrest of Jesus.  However, before that, there was an anointing by the unnamed women in Bethany as she poured oil on Jesus.  Others wanted to know why she was wasting oil.  Jesus said that she had done a good thing by anointing him for burial.  Thus, she would be remembered.  Meanwhile, Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

Then they made the preparations for the Passover.  Where would the Passover be?  There was a house for the Passover meal, as the disciples prepared for the Passover evening meal.  Jesus announced the betrayal.  Who would betray Jesus?  This betrayer would be cursed, as Judas spoke out.  At the Last Supper Eucharist, Jesus said that this was his body and blood with eschatological implications.

They went to the Mount of Olives.  Jesus predicted that the apostles would scatter.  He was going to go to Galilee.  Peter said that he would never desert Jesus.  Then Jesus warned Peter about his desertion, but Peter was adamant that he would never deny Jesus.

They went to Gethsemane as Jesus took his three favorite apostles.  He prayed to his Father while these apostles slept.  There was a second prayer of Jesus, as he came a second time to the sleeping apostles.  He prayed a third time.  Then Jesus woke them up.

Judas arrived and kissed Jesus, as they then seized Jesus.  Someone cut off the ear of the high priest’s slave.  However, Jesus told them to put their swords away as the disciples fled.

Jesus went before Caiaphas the high priest, while Peter followed Jesus to the courtyard of the high priest.  They were looking for false testimony.  Finally, two witnesses came forward.  The high priest spoke and Jesus responded.  He called the words of Jesus blasphemy, as they mocked Jesus.  Peter’s denied Jesus three time and then he remembered Jesus’ words.

The elders and Pharisees planned to kill Jesus.  They would deliver Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor.  Meanwhile, Judas repented, but he hung himself.  He returned the pieces of silver to the Temple, but it was used to purchase a graveyard called the Field of Blood to fulfill a prophecy of Jeremiah.

Jesus went before Pilate as he asked him if he was the king of the Jews?  However, Jesus did not respond.  The governor was going to release one prisoner at the festival time.  However, the people wanted the prisoner Barabbas rather than Jesus.  Pilate got a warning from his wife.  Nevertheless, the crowd wanted to crucify Jesus.  Pilate claimed that he was innocent of his blood but the crowds said that his blood be on us.  Barabbas was then released.  Jesus went to the governor’s head quarters where the Roman soldiers mocked him.

They prepared Jesus for the crucifixion.  They got Simon of Cyrene to help with the cross as they went to Golgotha.  They divided his garments and wrote on the cross Jesus, King of the Jews.  There were two robbers who derided and and taunted Jesus, just like the Jewish religious leaders had mocked Jesus.

Darkness fell over the land as Jesus died.  The cry of Jesus was interpreted as a call to Elijah.  They gave him sour wine to drink.  Would Elijah save Jesus?  When Jesus died, the Temple curtain was torn in two.  Tombs opened and the dead rose and appeared in Jerusalem.  He truly was  the Son of God.

There were women from Galilee, especially the women called Mary.  Joseph of Arimathea got the body of Jesus and put it in his tomb as the women called Mary were vigilant.  Meanwhile, there was a gathering with Pilate, since the Jewish religious leaders wanted to have the tomb secure.  Thus, a custodial guard was set up at the tomb.

The two Marys visited the tomb, where there was another earthquake with an angel at the tomb.  The guards were afraid, but the angel speaks to the women to tell them to let the disciples know what happened.  The women left the tomb and Jesus appeared to them.  Meanwhile, the guards told the chief priests in Jerusalem what had happened.  These religious leaders paid the guards to tell everyone that someone stole the body of Jesus while they were sleeping.  Thus, this stolen body story spread.

After the resurrection, the remaining eleven disciples returned to an unnamed mountain in Galilee.  There the post-resurrection Jesus gave them authority in heaven and on earth with his great commission:  They were to make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them with a Trinitarian formula.  They were to follow his commandments because Jesus would be with them until the end of time.

Third narrative

This third narrative centered around a variety of miracles and various comments to his disciples.  Jesus cured the leper before great crowds, but then told him to keep it a secret.  Then he cured the centurion’s paralyzed servant at Capernaum.  This Roman soldier understood the role of authority since he had faith.  Jesus chastised the failure of the sons of Abraham but healed the Roman centurion’s servant.

Jesus also cured other sick and possessed people, including Peter’s mother-in-law.  He thus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah.  He had some scribe followers, even though Jesus was homeless.  Was the death of a father enough to disrupt a disciple?  During a stormy boat ride, they woke up Jesus.  Thus, he responded by showing them his power by calming the storm.

Jesus cured the two possessed demoniacs who were calling out to him as the Son of God.  These demons wanted to be pigs, so that they died in the sea, jumping off a cliff.  However, the herdsmen in the city were upset so that the people asked Jesus to leave.

Jesus then went home and cured a paralytic.  Did Jesus blaspheme?  What was the difference between sin and sickness?  The people were amazed at his powers.  Jesus then called Matthew, the tax collector.  Jesus hung out with these tax collectors and sinners, so that the Pharisees complained.  Jesus responded by asking if well people needed doctors?  Then there was a citation from Hosea about mercy.

The Pharisees wanted to know why his disciples were not fasting, but the disciples of John the Baptist were.  Jesus explained that there would be no fasting while he, the bridegroom, was present.  You did not use old cloth to mend clothes or put new wine in old wineskins.

Then Jesus cured the woman with hemorrhages, because she was a woman of faith.  Then he cured the dead girl who was only sleeping.  He cured the two blind men because they were believers also.  He cured the mute person so that he could speak again.  The Pharisees questioned the power of Jesus.  However, Jesus had compassion for the sheep because there would be a need for many laborers at the harvest time.

Then Jesus began his apostolic talk to his disciples, in particular about the authority of the twelve disciples, with four major apostles.  Matthew then listed the twelve apostles that would be sent to the Jews and what their work was.  Jesus told them what to bring with them and where to stay.  He told them how to enter a house.  Those unhospitable towns who did not accept them would be punished.  These apostles should be like wise simple sheep.  When they would be persecuted, the Holy Spirit would speak through them.  They would be involved in family disputes and hated.  Both the teacher and his disciples would suffer, but they should not be afraid.  They should proclaim the message.  They were to worry about their souls, since they had more value than sparrows.  They should acknowledge Jesus whether in peace or with the sword.  Who was worthy of Jesus?  You had to pick up your cross and lose your life to find it.  Receive Jesus and be a prophet as the righteous disciple of Jesus.