Jesus has compassion on the crowds (Mt 15:32-15:32)

“Then Jesus called

His disciples to him.

He said.

‘I have compassion

For the crowd.

They have been with me

Now three days.

They have nothing to eat.

I do not want

To send them away hungry.

Otherwise,

They might faint

On the way.’”

 

Ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς προσκαλεσάμενος τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ εἶπεν Σπλαγχνίζομαι ἐπὶ τὸν ὄχλον, ὅτι ἤδη ἡμέραι τρεῖς προσμένουσίν μοι καὶ οὐκ ἔχουσιν τί φάγωσιν· καὶ ἀπολῦσαι αὐτοὺς νήστεις οὐ θέλω, μή ποτε ἐκλυθῶσιν ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ.

 

Mark, chapter 8:1-3, has a similar statement about compassion.  This is much like the earlier feeding of the 5,000 in Matthew, 14:15-16 that can be found in all 4 gospels.   Once again, there is a discussion between Jesus and his disciples.  He called his disciples to him (Ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς προσκαλεσάμενος τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ).  He told them that he had compassion on the crowd (εἶπεν Σπλαγχνίζομαι ἐπὶ τὸν ὄχλον), since they had been with him for 3 days (ὅτι ἤδη ἡμέραι τρεῖς προσμένουσίν μοι), without anything to eat (καὶ οὐκ ἔχουσιν τί φάγωσιν).  He did not want to send them away hungry (καὶ ἀπολῦσαι αὐτοὺς νήστεις οὐ θέλω), because they might faint on their way home (μή ποτε ἐκλυθῶσιν ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ).  Jesus was seriously concerned about the wellbeing of this large crowd of people who had been with him for a couple of days.

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The mouth speaks from the heart (Mt 15:18-15:20)

“But what comes out

Of the mouth

Proceeds from the heart.

This is what defiles a man.

Out of the heart

Come

Evil thoughts,

Murder,

Adultery,

Fornication,

Theft,

False witness,

And slander.

These are what

Defile a man.

But to eat

With unwashed hands

Does not defile a man.”

 

τὰ δὲ ἐκπορευόμενα ἐκ τοῦ στόματος ἐκ τῆς καρδίας ἐξέρχεται, κἀκεῖνα κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον.

ἐκ γὰρ τῆς καρδίας ἐξέρχονται διαλογισμοὶ πονηροί, φόνοι, μοιχεῖαι, πορνεῖαι, κλοπαί, ψευδομαρτυρίαι, βλασφημίαι.

ταῦτά ἐστιν τὰ κοινοῦντα τὸν ἄνθρωπον· τὸ δὲ ἀνίπτοις χερσὶν φαγεῖν οὐ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον.

 

There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 6:20-23.  Jesus indicated that the true defilement was what came out of a person’s mouth, not what went into it.  He clearly explained defilement.  What came out of the mouth (τὰ δὲ ἐκπορευόμενα ἐκ τοῦ στόματος) proceeded from the heart (ἐκ τῆς καρδίας ἐξέρχεται).  That is what defiled a man (κἀκεῖνα κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον).  Out of the heart came (ἐκ γὰρ τῆς καρδίας ἐξέρχονται) such things as evil or wicked thoughts, plots or deliberations (διαλογισμοὶ πονηροί), murders or killings (φόνοι), adulteries (μοιχεῖαι), sexual immoralities, fornication or pornography (πορνεῖαι), theft (κλοπαί), false witness or false testimony (ψευδομαρτυρίαι), and slander, abusive language, or blasphemy (βλασφημίαι).  These were the things that defiled a man or person (ταῦτά ἐστιν τὰ κοινοῦντα τὸν ἄνθρωπον).  You can clearly see what Jesus, his disciples, and the early Christian community considered as sins or defilements that made a person unclean.  But to eat with unwashed hands did not defile a man (δὲ ἀνίπτοις χερσὶν φαγεῖν οὐ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον) or make him unclean.  Notice that there is no mention of any unclean foods as in Mark.  Perhaps the Jewish Christians around Matthew still held to Jewish dietary laws.

They only have five loaves and two fish (Mt 14:17-14:17)

“They replied.

‘We have nothing here.

We only have

Five loaves

And two fish.’”

 

οἱ δὲ λέγουσιν αὐτῷ Οὐκ ἔχομεν ὧδε εἰ μὴ πέντε ἄρτους καὶ δύο ἰχθύας.

 

This description of their food is recorded in all four gospels, Mark, chapter 6:38, Luke, chapter 9:13, and John, chapter 6:9, plus here.  The disciples replied to Jesus (οἱ δὲ λέγουσιν αὐτῷ) that they had practically no food to eat (Οὐκ ἔχομεν ὧδε).  They only had five loaves of bread (εἰ μὴ πέντε ἄρτους) and two fish (καὶ δύο ἰχθύας).

The disciples complain about the crowds (Mt 14:15-14:15)

“When it was evening,

The disciples came to him.

They said.

‘This is a deserted place.

The hour is now late.

Send the crowds away

So that they may

Go into the villages.

They can buy food

For themselves’”

 

ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης προσῆλθον αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ λέγοντες Ἔρημός ἐστιν ὁ τόπος καὶ ἡ ὥρα ἤδη παρῆλθεν· ἀπόλυσον οὖν τοὺς ὄχλους, ἵνα ἀπελθόντες εἰς τὰς κώμας ἀγοράσωσιν ἑαυτοῖς βρώματα.

 

This is an indication about the crowds needing to eat in all four gospels, Mark, chapter 6:35-36, Luke, chapter 9:12-13, and John, chapter 6:5, plus here.  The disciples wanted to send the crowds home.  After all, there were no fast food places to get something to eat.  However, there were some places in the near by villages where you could buy some food.  When it was evening (ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης), the disciples came to Jesus (προσῆλθον αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ).  They told him that there were in a deserted place (λέγοντες Ἔρημός ἐστιν ὁ τόπος).  Besides the hour was late (καὶ ἡ ὥρα ἤδη παρῆλθεν).  They wanted to send the crowds away (ἀπόλυσον οὖν τοὺς ὄχλους) so that they could go into the nearby villages (ἵνα ἀπελθόντες εἰς τὰς κώμας) to buy food for themselves (ἵνα ἀπελθόντες εἰς τὰς κώμας).  This seemed like a good plan.

Eating on the Sabbath (Mt 12:1-12:1)

“At that time,

Jesus went through

The grain fields,

On the sabbath.

His disciples

Were hungry.

They began to pluck

Heads of grain

To eat them.”

 

Ἐν ἐκείνῳ τῷ καιρῷ ἐπορεύθη ὁ Ἰησοῦς τοῖς σάββασιν διὰ τῶν σπορίμων· οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἐπείνασαν καὶ ἤρξαντο τίλλειν στάχυας καὶ ἐσθίειν.

 

Matthew has Jesus with his disciples on the Sabbath day walking in a grain field.  This is similar to Mark, chapter 2:23, at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.  It is also the same as Luke, chapter 6:1.  Once again there is a transition statement of Matthew, “At that time” (Ἐν ἐκείνῳ τῷ καιρῷ).  Jesus was traveling through the grain fields on the Sabbath (ἐπορεύθη ὁ Ἰησοῦς τοῖς σάββασιν διὰ τῶν σπορίμων).  This is the only use of the word “σπορίμων” in all the biblical literature.  All three synoptics use this word that meant a sown field or a grain field.  His disciples were hungry (οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἐπείνασαν).  They began to pluck the heads of the grain in the field (καὶ ἤρξαντο τίλλειν στάχυας).  Once again, this is a unique word “τίλλειν.” “plucking” that only appears in the New Testament literature in this story of the three synoptics.  They then ate these grain heads (καὶ ἐσθίειν).  This sets up the problem of plucking grain on the Sabbath.

What to bring with you (Mt 10:9-10:10)

“Take no gold!

Take no silver!

Take no copper

In your belts!

Take no bag

For your journey!

Do not take

Two tunics!

Do not take

Sandals!

Do not take

A staff!

Laborers deserve

Their food.”

 

Μὴ κτήσησθε χρυσὸν μηδὲ ἄργυρον μηδὲ χαλκὸν εἰς τὰς ζώνας ὑμῶν,

μὴ πήραν εἰς ὁδὸν μηδὲ δύο χιτῶνας μηδὲ ὑποδήματα μηδὲ ῥάβδον· ἄξιος γὰρ ὁ ἐργάτης τῆς τροφῆς αὐτοῦ.

 

Equivalent passages to this can be found in Mark, chapter 6:8-9, and Luke, chapter 9:3.  Jesus told them what they could not bring with them on their mission.  They were not to bring with them any gold (Μὴ κτήσησθε χρυσὸν), silver (μηδὲ ἄργυρον), or copper (μηδὲ χαλκὸν) in their money belts (εἰς τὰς ζώνας ὑμῶν) since they did not need money.  They were not to take any bag or sack for their journey (μὴ πήραν εἰς ὁδὸν).  They were not to take two tunics (μηδὲ δύο χιτῶνας) since one would be enough.  They were not to take any sandals (μηδὲ ὑποδήματα) or a staff (μηδὲ ῥάβδον).  However, these laborers did deserve their food (ἄξιος γὰρ ὁ ἐργάτης τῆς τροφῆς αὐτοῦ).  They did not need any money or material things, but they certainly needed something to eat or nourishment.  This was a very strong demand on these missionaries of Jesus.

The Pharisees complain (Mt 9:11-9:11)

“When the Pharisees

Saw this,

They said

To his disciples.

‘Why does your teacher

Eat

With tax collectors

And sinners?’”

 

καὶ ἰδόντες οἱ Φαρισαῖοι ἔλεγον τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ Διὰ τί μετὰ τῶν τελωνῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν ἐσθίει ὁ διδάσκαλος ὑμῶν;

 

This story about the Pharisees complaining about this dinner party is similar to Mark, chapter 2:16, and Luke, chapter 5:30, but here it is only the Pharisees speaking out, since there is no mention of scribes here, as in the other two stories.  These Pharisees saw this dinner party (καὶ ἰδόντες οἱ Φαρισαῖοι) from the outside.  Then they asked the disciples of Jesus (ἔλεγον τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ), and not Jesus himself, why was Jesus, their teacher (ὁ διδάσκαλος ὑμῶν), eating with tax collectors and sinners (Διὰ τί μετὰ τῶν τελωνῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν ἐσθίει).  The Pharisees were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that became the basis for later Rabbinic Judaism.  They had they own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with the letter of the law above its spirit.  They had a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple.  The Pharisees in the New Testament, engaged in conflicts with Jesus and his disciples, as here.  However, Paul the Apostle may have been a Pharisee before his conversion.  Maybe Jesus and some of his followers were Pharisees, so that these arguments with the Pharisees may have been internal arguments.  Or is this portrait of the Pharisees in the New Testament a caricature, since the late first century Christians were fighting with the emerging Rabbinic Pharisees?