No fathers or masters (Mt 23:9-23:10)

“Call no one

Your father on earth!

You have one Father!

The one in heaven!

Nor are you

To be called instructors!

You have one instructor!

The Messiah Christ!”

 

καὶ πατέρα μὴ καλέσητε ὑμῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς· εἷς γάρ ἐστιν ὑμῶν ὁ Πατὴρ ὁ οὐράνιος.

μηδὲ κληθῆτε καθηγηταί, ὅτι καθηγητὴς ὑμῶν ἐστιν εἷς ὁ Χριστός.

 

This is unique to Matthew.  Jesus, via Matthew, seems to aim these remarks directly at his disciples, not the large crowds.  He seemed to warn his followers not to take on religious or scholastic leadership terms.  Thus, Christian leaders should be careful of when they are looking for some kind of religious respect.  He told them to call no one on earth their father (καὶ πατέρα μὴ καλέσητε ὑμῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς).  They only had one Father who was in heaven (εἷς γάρ ἐστιν ὑμῶν ὁ Πατὴρ ὁ οὐράνιος).  The Aramaic term “Abba” was a respectful term for father.  They should not call themselves instructors, teachers, or guides (μηδὲ κληθῆτε καθηγηταί), since there was only one instructor, teacher, or guide (ὅτι καθηγητὴς ὑμῶν ἐστιν εἷς), the Messiah Christ (ὁ Χριστός).  Is Jesus talking about himself?  If that is so, then this represents one of few times that Jesus referred to himself as the Messiah Christ.

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Which commandments? (Mt 19:18-19:19)

“He said to Jesus.

‘Which ones?’

Jesus said.

‘You shall not murder!

You shall not commit adultery!

You shall not steal!

You shall not bear false witness!

Honor your father!

Honor your mother!

Also,

You shall love your neighbor

As yourself!’”

 

λέγει αὐτῷ Ποίας; ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔφη Τὸ Οὐ φονεύσεις, Οὐ μοιχεύσεις, Οὐ κλέψεις, Οὐ ψευδομαρτυρήσεις,

Τίμα τὸν πατέρα καὶ τὴν μητέρα, καὶ Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν.

 

Jesus, via Matthew, indicated which commandments he wanted this man to keep.  This can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:19, and Luke, chapter 18:20, but slightly different, without the reminder to love your neighbor.  There also was no question about which commandments.  Here this person asked Jesus which commandments (λέγει αὐτῷ Ποίας;).  Jesus responded to him (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔφη) directly citing which commandments.  You shall not kill or murder (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔφη)!  You shall not commit adultery (Οὐ μοιχεύσεις)!  You shall not steal (Οὐ κλέψεις)!  You shall not bear false witness (Οὐ ψευδομαρτυρήσεις)!  Honor your father (Τίμα τὸν πατέρα)!  Honor your mother (καὶ τὴν μητέρα)!  All of these are from the Ten Commandments in Exodus, chapter 20:12-16, and Deuteronomy, chapter 5:16-20.  However, Matthew added something not in the other two gospel stories.  This man was to love or esteem his neighbor as himself, that was from Leviticus, chapter 19:18.

 

No fasting with the bridegroom present (Mt 9:15-9:15)

“Jesus said to them.

‘The wedding guests

Cannot mourn

As long as

The bridegroom

Is with them.

The days will come,

When the bridegroom

Is taken away

From them,

Then they will fast.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς Μὴ δύνανται οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ νυμφῶνος πενθεῖν ἐφ’ ὅσον μετ’ αὐτῶν ἐστιν ὁ νυμφίος; ἐλεύσονται δὲ ἡμέραι ὅταν ἀπαρθῇ ἀπ’ αὐτῶν ὁ νυμφίος, καὶ τότε νηστεύσουσιν.

 

This bridegroom story is almost the same as in Mark, chapter 2:19-20, and Luke, chapter 5:34-35.  Jesus spoke directly in response to the disciples of John (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  He compared himself to a bridegroom (ὁ νυμφίος).  The wedding guests or the sons of the bride chamber were not able to mourn (Μὴ δύνανται οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ νυμφῶνος πενθεῖν), while the bridegroom, Jesus, was with them (ἐφ’ ὅσον μετ’ αὐτῶν ἐστιν ὁ νυμφίος).  However, when the days came when the bridegroom of Jesus was taken away from them (ἐλεύσονται δὲ ἡμέραι ὅταν ἀπαρθῇ ἀπ’ αὐτῶν ὁ νυμφίος,), after his death, then they would fast (καὶ τότε νηστεύσουσιν).  Fasting would come when Jesus was gone.

The call of the first two disciples (Mt 4:19-4:20)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Follow me!

I will make you

Fish for people.’

Immediately,

They left their nets.

They followed him.”

 

καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς Δεῦτε ὀπίσω μου, καὶ ποιήσω ὑμᾶς ἁλεεῖς ἀνθρώπων.

 οἱ δὲ εὐθέως ἀφέντες τὰ δίκτυα ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ.

 

Matthew used Mark, chapter 1:17-18, to indicate that Jesus wanted these two fishermen brothers to follow him.  They were no longer going to fish for sea fish.  Jesus was going to make them fishers of human people (καὶ ποιήσω ὑμᾶς ἁλεεῖς ἀνθρώπων).  This was a like an Israelite prophetic call, since Jesus spoke directly to these two men (καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς).  He issued an invitation, yet a command at the same time.  They were to follow after him (Δεῦτε ὀπίσω μου), no matter what.  They were to be on the hunt for humans, and not fish.  Like, the Hebrew prophets, their response was immediate (οἱ δὲ εὐθέως), without any hesitation.  They left their fishing nets (ἀφέντες τὰ δίκτυα), as they began to follow Jesus (ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ).  Thus, Simon Peter and Andrew, the fishing brothers of Galilee, became the first two disciples of Jesus.

The response of the three men (Dan 3:16-3:18)

“Shadrach,

Meshach,

Abednego,

Answered the king.

‘O King Nebuchadnezzar!

We have no need

To present

A defense

To you

In this matter.

If our God,

Whom we serve,

Is able

To deliver us

From the furnace

Of blazing fire,

As well as out of your hand,

O king!

Let him deliver us!

But if not!

Let it be known to you!

O king!

That we will not serve

Your gods.

We will not worship

The golden statue

That you have set up.’”

The 3 companions of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar clearly and directly. They were not going to present a defense of their actions. If their God was able or not able to get them out of the fiery furnace away from the king, so be it. There was no ambiguity for them. They were not going to serve his gods or worship his golden statue, case closed.

The words of Yahweh in the Temple (Ezek 43:7-43:7)

“He said to me.

‘Son of man!

This is the place

Of my throne.

This is the place

Of the soles

Of my feet.

I will reside

Among the people

Of Israel

Forever!

The house of Israel

Shall no more

Defile

My holy name.

Neither they,

Nor their kings,

By their prostitution,

By the corpses

Of their kings,

At their death,

Defile

My holy name.’”

Yahweh spoke directly to Ezekiel using his normal appellation, son of man. However, rather than an amorphous glorified God, he refers to himself in anthropomorphic terms. Yahweh was going to sit on a throne, like a king. The soles of his feet would walk in this place. He was going to live among his people, not just for a short time but forever. However, there was a caveat. They were not to defile his holy name. Neither the people or their kings should tarnish his sacred name with their prostitution and dead bodies of kings in his Temple.

The living spirit and the dry bones (Ezek 37:5-37:6)

“Thus says Yahweh God

To these bones.

‘I will cause the spirit

To enter you.

You shall live.

I will lay sinews

On you.

I will cause flesh

To come

Upon you.

I will cover you

With skin.

I will put the spirit

In you.

You shall live.

You shall know

That I am Yahweh.’”

The oracle of Yahweh, via Ezekiel, was directly to these bones. Yahweh was going to put the spirit or ruah in them. The three ideas of spirit, breath, or wind were encapsulated in this Hebrew word ruah. This ruah was going to enter these dry bones, so that they would live. Yahweh was also going to put muscles, sinews, flesh, and skin on these dry bones. However, it was the ruah, the Spirit of Yahweh, the breath of Yahweh, or the wind of Yahweh that gave them life. Then, of course, they would know that Yahweh was their God.