Peace to this house (Lk 10:5-10:5)

“Whatever house

You enter,

First say.

‘Peace be to this house!’”

 

εἰς ἣν δ’ ἂν εἰσέλθητε οἰκίαν, πρῶτον λέγετε Εἰρήνη τῷ οἴκῳ τούτῳ.

 

Luke said that Jesus told the 70 disciples that whatever house they entered (εἰς ἣν δ’ ἂν εἰσέλθητε οἰκίαν), they were first to say (πρῶτον λέγετε) “Peace be to this house (Εἰρήνη τῷ οἴκῳ τούτῳ)”.  The early followers of Jesus were to bring peace not strife, but this was a standard greeting anyway.  Matthew, 10:12 had Jesus give these same simple instructions to the 12 apostles.  As they went into a house, they were to greet or pay respects to the people in the house.  This was only common sense.  You had to respect, greet, and bring peace to the people in whose house you entered.  How do you greet people?

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The gospel preaching of John (Lk 3:18-3:18)

“Thus,

With many other exhortations,

John proclaimed

The good news gospel

To the people.”

 

Πολλὰ μὲν οὖν καὶ ἕτερα παρακαλῶν εὐηγγελίζετο τὸν λαόν·

 

Only Luke has this explanation that John the Baptist with many other exhortations (Πολλὰ μὲν οὖν καὶ ἕτερα παρακαλῶν), other than those recounted here, proclaimed the good news to the people (εὐηγγελίζετο τὸν λαόν).  Was this the same good news or gospel (εὐηγγελίζετο) that Jesus would later preach?  Luke was the only one among the other gospel writers who linked John and Jesus as relatives in chapter 1:36.  John’s mother, Elizabeth, and Jesus’ mother, Mary, were relatives of some sort, thus making their children relatives or cousins also.  They could be compared in some ways to Aaron and Moses or the later Peter and Paul.  One was superior to the other, but the other played an indispensable role.  John the Baptist was a Jewish itinerant preacher in the early first century CE.  He used baptism, some kind of dipping in water, as the central symbol or sacrament of his messianic movement.  Thus, he became known as the one who baptizes, the Baptizer, John the Baptist.  This John certainly had a relationship with Jesus, but the exact relationship between John and Jesus is also problematic.  They may have originally been co-workers.  However, they separated as Jesus went along a different route.  However, the shadow of John the Baptist appeared again and again in the biblical stories about Jesus and his apostles.  Some believe that Jesus may have been an early follower or disciple of John, but the textual indications are that John saw himself as clearly subservient to Jesus.  Some of Jesus’ early followers had previously been followers of John, such as the apostle Andrew, the brother of Simon, in John, chapter 1:40, and in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 19:2-6.  There may have been also some contact between John the Baptist and the Qumran-Essene community, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.  John might have been associated with them or part of their community for a while.  Thus, John the Baptist has been revered as a prophet and a Christian saint throughout the centuries.

Baptism with the Holy Spirit (Lk 3:16-3:16)

“He will baptize you

With the Holy Spirit

And fire.”

 

αὐτὸς ὑμᾶς βαπτίσει ἐν Πνεύματι Ἁγίῳ καὶ πυρί

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 3:11, Mark, chapter 1:8, and John, chapter 1:33.  Luke indicated that John said that this mightier one to come was going to baptize them with the Holy Spirit (αὐτὸς ὑμᾶς βαπτίσει ἐν Πνεύματι Ἁγίῳ) and fire (καὶ πυρί).  Matthew and Luke, mentioned fire with the Holy Spirit, but Mark did not.  The role of the Holy Spirit seemed important because he was going to use purifying fire in the baptismal washing.  There was a clear difference between the baptism of John with water for repentance and that of the later Christians with or in the Holy Spirit.  Perhaps there was some doubt among the early followers of Jesus about the role of baptism.

The third temptation (Mt 4:8-4:9)

“Again,

The devil took Jesus

To a very high mountain.

He showed him

All the kingdoms

Of the world

With all their splendor.

He said to him.

‘All these,

I will give you,

If you will fall down,

And worship me.’”

 

Πάλιν παραλαμβάνει αὐτὸν ὁ διάβολος εἰς ὄρος ὑψηλὸν λίαν, καὶ δείκνυσιν αὐτῷ πάσας τὰς βασιλείας τοῦ κόσμου καὶ τὴν δόξαν αὐτῶν,

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ταῦτά σοι πάντα δώσω, ἐὰν πεσὼν προσκυνήσῃς μοι.

 

This 3rd and final temptation was the 2nd temptation in Luke, chapter 4:5-8. The wording is the same, indicating a shared common source, perhaps Q. This time, the devil took Jesus to an exceeding high mountain (Πάλιν παραλαμβάνει αὐτὸν ὁ διάβολος εἰς ὄρος ὑψηλὸν λίαν). He then showed him all the great kingdoms of the world with all their splendor and glory (καὶ δείκνυσιν αὐτῷ πάσας τὰς βασιλείας τοῦ κόσμου καὶ τὴν δόξαν αὐτῶν). Then he asked Jesus to worship him. If Jesus fell down and worshipped him (ἐὰν πεσὼν προσκυνήσῃς μοι), the devil would then give all these kingdoms with their glory to him (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ταῦτά σοι πάντα δώσω). Somehow this devil thought that he was in control of all the nations in the world. Perhaps the early followers of Jesus thought that the world outside Jerusalem was under the power of the devil. For many Christians, this seemed like a stupid temptation since God, the Father and his Son, already controlled the world.

John the Baptist (Mt 3:1-3:1)

“In those days,

John the Baptist

Appeared

In the wilderness

Of Judea,

Preaching.”

 

Ἐν δὲ ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις παραγίνεται Ἰωάνης ὁ βαπτιστὴς κηρύσσων ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ τῆς Ἰουδαίας,

 

Matthew now switched to more common material about Jesus and his life. John the Baptist is mentioned in all four canonical gospels. In fact, if anything, Matthew seemed to be following Mark, chapter 1:4, since Mark began his gospel with this story. Matthew began this episode with his trademark transitional phrase, “In those days it happened (Ἐν δὲ ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις).” John the Baptizer (Ἰωάνης ὁ βαπτιστὴς) came preaching (παραγίνεται…κηρύσσων) in the wilderness or desert in Judea (ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ τῆς Ἰουδαίας). This wilderness was southeast of Jerusalem and west of the Dead Sea. Apparently, John the Baptist was a Jewish itinerant preacher in the early first century CE. He used baptism, some kind of dipping in water, as the central symbol or sacrament of his messianic movement. Thus, he became known as the one who baptizes, the Baptizer, John the Baptist. He certainly had a relationship with Jesus, but the exact relationship between John and Jesus is also problematic. According to the Gospel of Luke, chapter 1:36, John’s mother and Jesus’ mother were relatives of some sort. Both John and Jesus may have originally been co-workers. However, they separated as Jesus went along a different route. However, the shadow of John the Baptist appeared again and again in the biblical stories about Jesus and his apostles. Some believe that Jesus may have been a follower or disciple of John, but the textual indications are that John saw himself as subservient to Jesus. Some of Jesus’ early followers had previously been followers of John, as in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 19:2-6. There may have been some contact between John the Baptist and the Qumran-Essene community, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Thus, John might have been associated with them or part of their community for a while. John the Baptist died by beheading, as explained later in this gospel, chapter 14:10. Thus, John the Baptist has been revered as a prophet and a Christian saint throughout the centuries.

Title

“The Gospel according to Mathew”

 

Τὸ κατὰ Ματθαῖον εὐαγγέλιον

 

What is a gospel?  Who is Matthew?  The English term gospel comes from the Old English ‘godspel.’  There was a musical play with the name “Godspell” that opened on Broadway in 1971.  Like the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον, gospel means good news or good tidings.  This term originally meant the Christian message itself.  However, in the second century, it came to be used for the books where this message was set out.  Thus, the gospels became known as written accounts of the career and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.  This Gospel of Matthew is anonymous, since there is no explicit mention of a named author within the text itself.  This title (Τὸ κατὰ Ματθαῖον εὐαγγέλιον), however was added some time in the second century, perhaps with Papias of Hierapolis (100–140 CE), an early bishop and apostolic father.  The apostle Matthew was among the early followers and apostles of Jesus.  He was a first century Galilean, the son of Alpheus.  As a tax collector he would have been literate in Aramaic and Greek.  His fellow Jews would have despised him because he was seen as collaborating with the Roman occupation force.  What we do know for certain is that the author of this gospel was probably a traditional male Jew, familiar with the technical and legal aspects of Hebrew Scripture.  He wrote in a polished Semitic synagogue Greek style.  Most scholars hold that the Gospel of Matthew was a product of the last quarter of the 1st century, a work of the second generation of Christians, probably sometime between 70-110 CE, or more precisely between 80-90 CE.  The defining event for this community was the Roman destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 CE, during the Jewish–Roman War of 66–73 CE.  The author of this Gospel of Matthew wrote for a community of Greek-speaking Jewish Christians probably located in Syria, just north of Galilee.  Antioch was the largest city in Roman Syria and the third-largest city in the Roman Empire, after Rome and Alexandria.  This is where the term “Christian” was first used.  Thus, it would seem like an appropriate place for Jewish Christians in the second half of the first century.   For practical traditional purposes, I will use the name Matthew as the author of this gospel.

Bible Model

The Gospel message is an interpretation of Jesus.  Jesus did not write anything.  We have his oral preaching about the Kingdom of God that was written and interpreted by his followers.  Was Jesus just a historical peasant revolutionary?  No, the Jesus of the inspired New Testament is the Pauline Risen Christ.  Paul never met the historical Jesus, Jesus was number one for him.  The biblical language is a confessional language, a love language.  For the early followers of Christianity, as represented in the New Testament, clearly Jesus was unique for them.  They were positive about Jesus.