Children and the kingdom of God (Lk 18:16-18:16)

“But Jesus

Called the disciples.

He said.

‘Let the little children

Come to me!

Do not stop them!

It is to such

As these

That the kingdom of God

Belongs.’”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς προσεκαλέσατο αὐτὰ λέγων Ἄφετε τὰ παιδία ἔρχεσθαι πρός με καὶ μὴ κωλύετε αὐτά· τῶν γὰρ τοιούτων ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ

 

Luke indicated that Jesus called his disciples (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς προσεκαλέσατο αὐτὰ).  He told them to let the little children come to him (λέγων Ἄφετε τὰ παιδία ἔρχεσθαι πρός με).  They were not to stop them (καὶ μὴ κωλύετε αὐτά), since the kingdom of God belonged to them (τῶν γὰρ τοιούτων ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ).  This story about Jesus and the little children can be found in Mark, chapter 10:14-16, and Matthew, chapter 19:14, but slightly different.  Mark said that Jesus saw what was going on (ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  He was indignant or angry with his disciples (ἠγανάκτησεν).  Once again, there was a little dispute between Jesus and his disciples.  He said to them (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) to let the little children come to him (Ἄφετε τὰ παιδία ἔρχεσθαι πρός με).  They were not to stop or hinder them (μὴ κωλύετε αὐτά).  They belonged to the kingdom of heaven (τῶν γὰρ τοιούτων ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Matthew indicated that Jesus said (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν) to his disciples that the little children should not be forbidden to come to him (Ἄφετε τὰ παιδία καὶ μὴ κωλύετε αὐτὰ ἐλθεῖν πρός με).  They belonged to the kingdom of heaven (τῶν γὰρ τοιούτων ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν).  Once again, there was a difference between Mark with the “kingdom of God” and Matthew with the “kingdom of heaven.”  Then Matthew indicated that Jesus laid his hands on them (καὶ ἐπιθεὶς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτοῖς) before he traveled from there on his way (ἐπορεύθη ἐκεῖθεν).  This was not in the Mark or Luke.  Thus, Jesus favored the little children.  There was no mention of infants in any of these gospel stories, except for Luke at the beginning.  Do you think that priests and ministers should bless little children?

 

The Samaritan (Lk 10:33-10:33)

“But a Samaritan,

While traveling,

Came near him.

When he saw him,

He was moved

With pity.”

 

Σαμαρείτης δέ τις ὁδεύων ἦλθεν κατ’ αὐτὸν καὶ ἰδὼν ἐσπλαγχνίσθη,

 

Luke continued his unique story.  Jesus said that a Samaritan (Σαμαρείτης), while traveling (δέ τις ὁδεύων), came near to this wounded man (ἦλθεν κατ’ αὐτὸν).  When he saw him (καὶ ἰδὼν), he was moved with pity (ἐσπλαγχνίσθη).  Who then is this Samaritan?  Samaritans lived in Samaria, between Judea and Galilee.  This was the territory that had been formerly assigned to Ephraim and Manasseh.  The Samaritans were part of the former Northern Kingdom of Israel with the city of Samaria as their capital city, after the death of Solomon.  There was an example of kindness by the northern tribes in 2 Chronicles, chapter 28:12-15, but that was long before the bitterness set in between Samaria and Judea.  Over time, since the 8th century BCE, they had become a distinct ethnic group that was in dispute with the Judean Jews, since the territory of Samaria was between Judea and Galilee.  They became bitter enemies with the Jews of Judea in particular.  Luke showed Jesus interacting with the Samaritans more than any of the other gospel writers.  Luke had uniquely mentioned that Jesus had gone into some Samaritan villages in chapter 9:52-56.  It might even be questioned, why would this Samaritan be on the road between Jericho and Jerusalem?  Nevertheless, this unnamed Samaritan like the unnamed priest and Levite, came on the scene.  Unlike the other two prominent Jewish religious leaders, this Samaritan was moved with pity.  Samaritans were the underclass among the Judeans.  They worshiped a false Jewish God with their Samaritan Torah at the destroyed Mount Gerizim.  They were not at the top of Jewish society, quite the opposite.  Can someone at the bottom of a society do anything good?

Samaritan village (Lk 9:52-9:52)

“Jesus sent messengers

Ahead of him.

On their way,

They entered

A village

Of the Samaritans,

To make things

Ready for him.”

 

καὶ ἀπέστειλεν ἀγγέλους πρὸ προσώπου αὐτοῦ. καὶ πορευθέντες εἰσῆλθον εἰς κώμην Σαμαρειτῶν, ὥστε ἑτοιμάσαι αὐτῷ·

 

Luke uniquely had this story about the Samaritan villages, since Mark and Matthew had Jesus not go into Samaria, but pass over to the other side of the Jordan on the east bank of the Jordan River.  Luke said that Jesus sent messengers (καὶ ἀπέστειλεν ἀγγέλους) ahead of him or before his face (πρὸ προσώπου αὐτοῦ), that would have been normal for a traveling large group.  On their way (καὶ πορευθέντες), they entered (εἰσῆλθον) a village of the Samaritans (εἰς κώμην Σαμαρειτῶν), to make things ready for Jesus (ὥστε ἑτοιμάσαι αὐτῷ).  The Samaritans were part of the former northern kingdom of Israel with Samaria their capital.  However, over time, since the 8th century BCE, they had become a distinct ethnic group that was in dispute with the Judean Jews, since the territory of Samaria was between Judea and Galilee.  Luke, like here, showed Jesus interacting with the Samaritans more than any of the other gospel writers.  Have you ever told people that you were just passing by on your way to some place else?

The inscription on the cross (Mk 15:26-15:26)

“The inscription

Of the charge

Against him

Read.

‘The King of the Jews.’”

 

καὶ ἦν ἡ ἐπιγρὴ τῆς αἰτίας αὐτοῦ ἐπιγεγραμμένη Ο ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΤΩΝ ΙΟΥΔΑΙΩΝ.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 27:37, but the inscription had the name of Jesus on it also there.  In Luke, chapter 23:38, it was the same as here in MarkJohn, chapter 19:19-22, has a dialogue with Pilate and the Jewish leaders about the appropriateness of this inscription, whether it should have said that he claimed to be the King of the Jews, not that he was the King of the Jews.  Mark simply stated that this was the inscription charge or accusation written against Jesus (καὶ ἦν ἡ ἐπιγρὴ τῆς αἰτίας αὐτοῦ ἐπιγεγραμμένη).  The written charge was “The King of the Jews (Ο ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΤΩΝ ΙΟΥΔΑΙΩΝ).” Clearly, this was the Roman charge against Jesus, insurrection, since he claimed to be the King of the Jews against the Roman rule.  There is some dispute whether this title was in Greek or Latin.  John, chapter 19:19-20, said that the inscription was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.  In the Catholic tradition the Latin title abbreviation was INRI for Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Iudaeorvm that can be found on many crucifixes.

Gentile tyrannical leadership (Mk 10:42-10:42)

“Jesus called them.

He said to them.

‘You know

That among the gentiles

Those whom

They recognize

As their rulers,

Lord it over them.

Their great ones

Are tyrants

Over them.”

 

καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος αὐτοὺς ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγει αὐτοῖς Οἴδατε ὅτι οἱ δοκοῦντες ἄρχειν τῶν ἐθνῶν κατακυριεύουσιν αὐτῶν καὶ οἱ μεγάλοι αὐτῶν κατεξουσιάζουσιν αὐτῶν.

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 20:25, almost word for word, and Luke 22:25, but slightly different.  Mark said that Jesus called his 12 apostolic leaders to himself (καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος αὐτοὺς ὁ Ἰησοῦς) because of this dispute among them.  He said to them (λέγει αὐτοῖς) that they knew that among the recognized gentile rulers (Οἴδατε ὅτι οἱ δοκοῦντες ἄρχειν τῶν ἐθνῶν), the Romans and the Greeks, they lorded it over their people (κατακυριεύουσιν αὐτῶν).  Their great men acted like tyrants, exercising authority (καὶ οἱ μεγάλοι αὐτῶν κατεξουσιάζουσιν αὐτῶν).  Jesus explained that this autocratic power system, sometimes dictatorial, within the Roman Empire system was the way of the world.

 

Let the children come (Mk 10:14-10:14)

“But when Jesus

Saw this,

He was indignant.

He said to them.

‘Let the children

Come to me!

Do not stop them!

It is to such

As these

That the kingdom of God

Belongs.”

 

ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἠγανάκτησεν καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἄφετε τὰ παιδία ἔρχεσθαι πρός με, μὴ κωλύετε αὐτά· τῶν γὰρ τοιούτων ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

This story about Jesus wanting the little children to come to him can be found in Matthew, chapter 19:14, and Luke, chapter 18:16, but slightly different.  Mark said that Jesus saw what was going on (ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  He was indignant or angry with his disciples (ἠγανάκτησεν).  Once again, there was a little dispute between Jesus and his disciples.  He said to them (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) to let the little children come to him (Ἄφετε τὰ παιδία ἔρχεσθαι πρός με).  They were not to stop or hinder them (μὴ κωλύετε αὐτά).  They belonged to the kingdom of heaven (τῶν γὰρ τοιούτων ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Once again, there was a difference between Mark with the “kingdom of God” and Matthew with the “kingdom of heaven.”

Intellectual attacks on the Bible

Until the 18th century, there never was any question about the historical validity of the Bible.  Both Protestants and Catholics took it for granted that whatever the Bible said happened, actually happened.  The only dispute was as to the meaning and significance of the stories.  A new historical skepticism from the French Enlightenment and the German Rationalism began to question whether the events as described in the Bible ever took place.  First there were questions about events in the Old Testament, about Adam and Eve, Abraham, and Moses.  Then in the 19th century, the problem of Jesus and his miracles came into question.