Follow me (Lk 9:23-9:23)

“Then Jesus said

To them all.

‘If anyone

Wants to become

My followers,

Let them deny themselves!

Let them

Take up

Their cross daily!

Let them

Follow me!’”

 

Ἔλεγεν δὲ πρὸς πάντας Εἴ τις θέλει ὀπίσω μου ἔρχεσθαι, ἀρνησάσθω ἑαυτὸν καὶ ἀράτω τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ καθ’ ἡμέραν, καὶ ἀκολουθείτω μοι.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to all of them (Ἔλεγεν δὲ πρὸς πάντα) that if anyone wanted to become his followers (Εἴ τις θέλει ὀπίσω μου ἔρχεσθαι), they would have to deny or repudiate themselves (ἀρνησάσθω ἑαυτὸν).  They would have to take up their daily cross (καὶ ἀράτω τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ καθ’ ἡμέραν) to follow Jesus (καὶ ἀκολουθείτω μοι).  Jesus told his disciples and the crowd that followed him that they would have to deny themselves if they wanted to follow him.  Something similar can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 16:24, Mark, chapter 8:34, and here, almost word for word.  Mark said that Jesus called his disciples and the whole crowd of people.  He said to them that if anyone desired or wanted to become his follower or come after him, they would have to deny or repudiate themselves.  They would have to take up their cross, but not on a daily basis, in order to accompany him or follow him.  Following Jesus was not going to be easy.  There would be difficulties and a danger in this personal decision to follow Jesus.  Matthew said that Jesus told his disciples, with no mention of a crowd, that if anyone desired or wanted to become a follower of Jesus or come after him, they would have to deny or repudiate themselves.  They would have to take up their crosses, but no mention of a daily crosses, in order to accompany him or follow him.  Following Jesus was not going to be easy.  Are you willing to take up your daily cross for Jesus?

Love your enemies! (Lk 6:35-6:35)

“But love your enemies!

Do good!

Lend!

Expect nothing

In return!

Your reward

Will be great!

You will be

Children

Of the Most-High!”

 

πλὴν ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν καὶ ἀγαθοποιεῖτε καὶ δανίζετε μηδὲν ἀπελπίζοντες· καὶ ἔσται ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολύς, καὶ ἔσεσθε υἱοὶ Ὑψίστου,

 

Matthew, chapter 5:44 was more forceful when Jesus said that they were to love their enemies (ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν) and even pray for those who were persecuting them.  Here Luke indicated that Jesus said that they were to love their enemies (πλὴν ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν), as in Matthew.  However, they were to do good (καὶ ἀγαθοποιεῖτε).  They were expected to lend to others (καὶ δανίζετε), expecting nothing in return (μηδὲν ἀπελπίζοντες).  This was based on Exodus, chapter 22:25 that if they lent money, they should not charge interest to the poor.  Leviticus, chapter 25:27, said that if any of their relatives fall into difficulties and become dependent on them, they should support them as though they were resident aliens.  They were not to take interest or profit from them while they are living and eating in their house.  Yahweh would provide.  Their reward would be great (καὶ ἔσται ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολύς) because they would be children of the Most-High God (καὶ ἔσεσθε υἱοὶ Ὑψίστου).  Have you ever lent money to relatives?

You will always have poor people (Mk 14:7-14:7)

“You will always

Have the poor

With you.

You can show

Kindness to them

Whenever you wish.

But you will not always

Have me.”

 

πάντοτε γὰρ τοὺς πτωχοὺς ἔχετε μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν, καὶ ὅταν θέλητε δύνασθε αὐτοῖς εὖ ποιῆσαι, ἐμὲ δὲ οὐ πάντοτε ἔχετε.

 

This is almost word for word in Mathew, chapter 26:11, and somewhat similar to John, chapter 12:8.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that they would always have poor people with them (πάντοτε γὰρ τοὺς πτωχοὺς ἔχετε μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν).  In other words, there would be no immediate solution to the difficulties of poverty that has persisted for over 2,000 years.  Mark also indicated that Jesus added that they were able to do kind or good acts to the poor whenever they wished or wanted (καὶ ὅταν θέλητε δύνασθε αὐτοῖς εὖ ποιῆσαι).  However, Jesus reminded them in the first person singular that they would not always have him (ἐμὲ δὲ οὐ πάντοτε ἔχετε).

 

Take up your cross (Mk 8:34-8:34)

“Jesus called

The crowd,

With his disciples.

He said to them.

‘If anyone

Wants to become

My followers,

Let them

Deny themselves!

Take up their cross!

Follow me!’”

 

Καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος τὸν ὄχλον σὺν τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Εἴ τις θέλει ὀπίσω μου ἐλθεῖν, ἀπαρνησάσθω ἑαυτὸν καὶ ἀράτω τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἀκολουθείτω μοι.

 

Jesus told his disciples and the crowd that followed him that they would have to deny themselves if they wanted to follow him.  Something similar can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 16:24, Luke, chapter 9:23, and here, almost word for word.  Mark said that Jesus called his disciples and the whole crowd of people (Καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος τὸν ὄχλον σὺν τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ).  He said to them (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that if anyone desired or wanted to become his follower or come after him (Εἴ τις θέλει ὀπίσω μου ἐλθεῖν), they would have to deny themselves (ἀπαρνησάσθω ἑαυτὸν).  They would have to take up their cross (καὶ ἀράτω τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ) in order to accompany him or follow him (καὶ ἀκολουθείτω μοι).  Following Jesus was not going to be easy.  There would be difficulties and a danger in this personal decision to follow Jesus.

Protestant Reformation

The Augustinian priest, Martin Luther (1483-1546) was one of the first to point out that Scripture alone, without the Church interpretation was enough.  With the invention of the printing press in the late 15th century and the growth of the new vernacular languages, printing and translating the Bible was an important element in the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century.  Sermons on Bible readings took on a new importance.  The printed Bible book also became an icon.  There were immediate difficulties within this reform movement over the question of the clear meaning of Scripture.  Each group and even each individual within the group began to interpret Scripture as they saw fit.

Prayer of thanksgiving (Isa 38:16-38:20)

“O Lord!

By these things

People live.

In all these is

The life of my spirit.

Restore me to health!

Make me live!

Surely it was for my welfare

That I had great bitterness.

But you held back my life

From the pit of destruction.

You have cast all my sins

Behind your back.

Sheol cannot thank you.

Death cannot praise you.

Those who go down to the pit

Cannot hope for your faithfulness.

The living,

The living,

They thank you,

As I do this day.

The father makes known to the children

Your faithfulness.

Yahweh will save me.

We will sing to stringed instruments

All the days of our lives,

At the house of Yahweh.”

Second Isaiah has King Hezekiah happy that his ordeal is over. However, he recognized that these difficulties are part of life. Once restored to health and life, he realizes that these things happened for his own good, even if he was a little bitter. Yahweh had his back, so that he never met the pit of destruction. All his sins were forgotten. Sheol and death were not able to grab him because there he would not have been able to praise or give thanks to Yahweh. There they lose all hope and faithfulness. However, it is the living ones who give praise and thanksgiving to Yahweh, as he did this day. Children learn from their fathers about faithfulness, so too Yahweh has saved him. Thus he and his friends will sing with stringed instruments at the house of Yahweh all the days of their lives.