Why use the word good? (Lk 18:19-18:19)

“Jesus said to him.

‘Why do you call me

Good?

No one is good

But God alone.’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν; οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ Θεός.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to him (εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  Why did he call Jesus good (Τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν), since no one was good except God alone (οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ Θεός)?  This response of Jesus can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:18-19, and Matthew, chapter 19:17, but slightly different, since Luke and Mark are closer to each other, almost word for word.  They both had this man call Jesus the good teacher.  Mark said that Jesus responded to him (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ) by asking a question.  Why did he call Jesus good (Τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν)?  No one person was good (οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς).  God alone was good (εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ Θεός).  In this response, Jesus appears to distance himself from the good God.  Matthew did not mention that there was only one good one, God, as in Luke and in Mark, since this man was only looking for a good deed.  Jesus responded (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ) to this question by asking a question.  Why did he ask about good (Τί με ἐρωτᾷς περὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ), since there was only one good one (εἷς ἐστιν ὁ ἀγαθός)?  Then Jesus gave the classic answer for those who wanted to enter eternal life (εἰ δὲ θέλεις εἰς τὴν ζωὴν εἰσελθεῖν).  He should keep the commandments or laws (τήρει τὰς ἐντολάς), since there had been a question about what good deed he could do.  Jesus’ response was the commandments.  Do you follow the commandments of God?

Ten lepers (Lk 17:12-17:12)

“As Jesus

Entered a village,

Ten lepers

Approached him.

They kept

Their distance.”

 

καὶ εἰσερχομένου αὐτοῦ εἴς τινα κώμην ἀπήντησαν δέκα λεπροὶ ἄνδρες, οἳ ἔστησαν πόρρωθεν

 

Only Luke has this story about the curing of the ten lepers, although Luke had Jesus cure a leper earlier in chapter 5:12-16, that can be found in the other synoptics, Matthew, chapter 8:1-4, and Mark, chapter 1:40-45.  Luke indicated that Jesus entered a village (καὶ εἰσερχομένου αὐτοῦ εἴς τινα κώμην), where 10 lepers approached or met him (ἀπήντησαν δέκα λεπροὶ ἄνδρες).  However, these lepers kept their distance (οἳ ἔστησαν πόρρωθεν).  Leprosy was some kind of skin disease that was usually found among poor people.  Today, there are about 2,000,000 people with leprosy or Hansen’s disease, mostly in India, Indonesia, and Brazil.  The Greek word “λέπρας” used here is a broader definition of leprosy than just Hansen’s disease.  Leprosy was a Jewish religious problem also.  What to do about it was clearly defined in Leviticus, chapters 13-14.  Leprosy in the wide sense was considered unclean and had religious connotations, since only a priest could declare a person clean, with a distinct ritual for cleansing the leper.  As a leper, they were considered unclean and not fit to live in normal communal life.  Thus, there were spiritual, physical, social, and religious implications with being a leper.  Here there were 10 lepers in this village, so that they might have been a small leper colony.  They approached Jesus, but kept their appropriate distance from him, since they were quarantined from being with other non-leper people.  Have you ever met a leper?

The demoniac does not want Jesus to torment him (Lk 8:28-8:28)

“When he saw Jesus,

The demoniac cried out.

He fell down

Before him.

He shouted

At the top of his voice,

‘What have you

To do with me?

Jesus!

Son of the Most-High God!

I beg you!

Do not torment me!’”

 

ἰδὼν δὲ τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἀνακράξας προσέπεσεν αὐτῷ καὶ φωνῇ μεγάλῃ εἶπεν Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, Ἰησοῦ Υἱὲ τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ Ὑψίστου; δέομαί σου, μή με βασανίσῃς.

 

Luke said that when this possessed man saw Jesus (ἰδὼν δὲ τὸν Ἰησοῦν), he cried out (ἀνακράξας).  He fell down before him (προσέπεσεν αὐτῷ).  He shouted at the top of his loud voice (καὶ φωνῇ μεγάλῃ εἶπεν).  He wanted to know what Jesus had to do with him (Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί).  He called Jesus (Ἰησοῦ) the Son of the Most-High God (Υἱὲ τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ Ὑψίστου).  He begged Jesus (δέομαί σου) not to torment him (μή με βασανίσῃς).  All three synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 8:29, Mark, chapter 5:6-7, and Luke here, have this demoniac speak to Jesus in somewhat similar words.  Matthew had 2 demoniacs, but Mark and Luke had only one, and are closer to each other in this incident.  Mark said that when this demoniac saw Jesus from a distance, he bowed down before him and worshipped him.  He cried or shouted out with a loud voice.  He wanted to know why Jesus had anything to do with him.  Then he called Jesus, the Son of God the Most-High.  He asked, swearing by God, that Jesus not torment him.  Matthew had these 2 demoniacs speak to Jesus in somewhat similar words.  They cried or shouted out.  They wanted to know why the Son of God had come to torment them, since the time of the final judgment day had not yet arrived.  All three gospel writers have the demonic person or persons recognize that Jesus was the Son of God, not just another faith healer.  They maintained that the time of their torment or the end times had not yet arrived.  Thus, these evil spirits were able to recognize Jesus as the Son of God, just as they had earlier in Mark.  Can evil people speak the truth at times?

The women followers (Mk 15:40-15:40)

“There were also women

Looking on

From a distance.

Among them were

Mary Magdalene,

Mary,

The mother

Of James the younger,

And of Joseph,

And Salome.”

 

Ἦσαν δὲ καὶ γυναῖκες ἀπὸ μακρόθεν θεωροῦσαι, ἐν αἷς καὶ Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ καὶ Μαρία ἡ Ἰακώβου τοῦ μικροῦ καὶ Ἰωσῆτος μήτηρ καὶ Σαλώμη,

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 27:55-56.  In Luke, chapter 23:49, there was a mention of the women from Galilee, but without their specific names.  In John, chapter 19:25-27, there was a mention of the mother of Jesus, Mary, the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene, as well as a conversation, but no mention of Galilee.  Mark said that some women were also there (Ἦσαν δὲ καὶ γυναῖκες).  They were looking on from a distance (ἀπὸ μακρόθεν θεωροῦσαι), which would have been their normal role.  Mark specifically mentioned Mary Magdalene (ἐν αἷς ἦν Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ), Mary, the mother of James the younger and Joseph (καὶ Μαρία ἡ Ἰακώβου τοῦ μικροῦ καὶ Ἰωσῆτος μήτηρ), as well as Salome (καὶ Σαλώμη).  Was Salome the mother of the sons of Zebedee?  Certainly, there were a lot of women called Mary, since it was the most popular name of Palestinian Jewish women at the time of Jesus.  There probably were 8 different women with the name of Mary in the 61 times that the name Mary was mentioned in the New Testament.  First was (1) Mary, the mother of Jesus, who was not mentioned here.  Next there was (2) Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, who also was not mentioned here.  (3) Mary of Clopas was mentioned in John, but not here.  Then there was Mary Magdalene (4), who was mentioned here.  Finally, there were the more confusing Marys.  (5) Mary, the mother of James the younger and Joseph, who was mentioned here.  (6) Perhaps the mother of the Zebedee brothers was also named Mary or Mary Salome.  Finally (7) Mary, the mother of John Mark was mentioned in Acts, chapter 12:12, while (8) Mary in Rome, was mentioned in Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 16:6.  There was also an English novel by Bruce Marshall (1899-1987) called The Other Mary from 1927, based on the New Testament.

Peter followed Jesus (Mk 14:54-14:54)

“Peter had followed Jesus

At a distance,

Right into the courtyard

Of the high priest.

He was sitting

With the guards.

He was warming himself

At the fire.”

 

καὶ ὁ Πέτρος ἀπὸ μακρόθεν ἠκολούθησεν αὐτῷ ἕως ἔσω εἰς τὴν αὐλὴν τοῦ ἀρχιερέως, καὶ ἦν συνκαθήμενος μετὰ τῶν ὑπηρετῶν καὶ θερμαινόμενος πρὸς τὸ φῶς.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 26:58, and Luke, chapter 22:54-55, but Peter was there to warm himself and not see what was happening.  In John, chapter 18:15-16, Peter was with another disciple, who helped him to get into the courtyard.  Here Mark said that Peter had followed Jesus (καὶ ὁ Πέτρος… ἠκολούθησεν αὐτῷ), but at a distance (ἀπὸ μακρόθεν).  Peter even went as far as right into the courtyard of the high priest (ἕως ἔσω εἰς τὴν αὐλὴν τοῦ ἀρχιερέως).  Then he sat with the guards or servants of the high priest (καὶ ἦν συνκαθήμενος μετὰ τῶν ὑπηρετῶν).  Instead of being there to see what was going to happen to Jesus, as Matthew indicated, Mark said that Peter was there to warm himself (καὶ θερμαινόμενος) at the fire (πρὸς τὸ φῶς) in the courtyard.  Thus, Peter was careless in entering the courtyard and sitting with the servants and guards of the high priest, since this might be a problem for him.

The fig tree (Mk 11:13-11:13)

“Seeing

In the distance,

A fig tree in leaf,

Jesus went to see

Whether perhaps

He could find

Anything on it.

When he came to it,

He found nothing

But leaves.

It was not the season

For figs.”

 

καὶ ἰδὼν συκῆν ἀπὸ μακρόθεν ἔχουσαν φύλλα ἦλθεν εἰ ἄρα τι εὑρήσει ἐν αὐτῇ, καὶ ἐλθὼν ἐπ’ αὐτὴν οὐδὲν εὗρεν εἰ μὴ φύλλα· ὁ γὰρ καιρὸς οὐκ ἦν σύκων.

 

This story about Jesus seeing the fig tree can be found in Matthew, chapter 21:19.  Luke, chapter 13:6-9, also has a parable about a fig tree that would not bear fruit.  The stories in Matthew and Mark are slightly different.  Mark said that Jesus saw a fig tree from a distance (καὶ ἰδὼν συκῆν ἀπὸ μακρόθεν), not by the side of the road, as in Matthew.  This fig tree had leafy branches (ἔχουσαν φύλλα).  Jesus went to see if he could find any fruit on it (ἦλθεν εἰ ἄρα τι εὑρήσει ἐν αὐτῇ).  When he came over to the tree (καὶ ἐλθὼν ἐπ’ αὐτὴν), he found no fruit (οὐδὲν εὗρεν), only leaves (εἰ μὴ φύλλα), the same as Matthew had indicated.  However, here Mark pointed out that it was not the season for figs (ὁ γὰρ καιρὸς οὐκ ἦν σύκων).

 

God alone is good (Mk 10:18-10:18)

“Jesus said to him.

‘Why do you

Call me good?

No one is good

But God alone.’”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ Τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν; οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ Θεός.

 

This response of Jesus can be found in Matthew, chapter 19:17, and Luke, chapter 18:19, but slightly different, since Luke and Mark are closer to each other.  They both had this man call Jesus the good teacher.  Mark said that Jesus responded to him (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ) by asking a question.  Why did he call Jesus good (Τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν), not a good deed as in Matthew?  No one person was good (οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς).  God alone was good (εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ Θεός).  Matthew did not mention that there was only one good one, God as in Luke and here in Mark.  Jesus appears to distance himself from the good God.