“As Jesus rode along,
People kept spreading
On the road.”
πορευομένου δὲ αὐτοῦ ὑπεστρώννυον τὰ ἱμάτια ἑαυτῶν ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ.
Luke said that as Jesus rode (πορευομένου δὲ αὐτοῦ) along the road on this colt, people kept spreading their cloaks (ὑπεστρώννυον τὰ ἱμάτια ἑαυτῶν) on the road (ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ). Once again, the word ὑπεστρώννυον, that means to spread under, was unique to Luke, and not found elsewhere in the Greek biblical literature. However, both Matthew, chapter 21:8, and Mark, chapter 11:8 were more similar to each other than to Luke. They added the idea of branches on the road that was not here in Luke. Mark said that many people (καὶ πολλοὶ) spread out their outer garments, cloaks, or coats on the road (τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτῶν ἔστρωσαν εἰς τὴν ὁδόν). Meanwhile, others were cutting down leafy branches from the surrounding fields (ἄλλοι δὲ στιβάδας, κόψαντες ἐκ τῶν ἀγρῶν), also spreading out these branches on the road. Matthew emphasized the large crowds. He said that a very large crowd of people (ὁ δὲ πλεῖστος ὄχλος) spread out their outer garments or coats on the road (ἔστρωσαν ἑαυτῶν τὰ ἱμάτια ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ,). Meanwhile, others were cutting down branches from the surrounding trees (ἄλλοι δὲ ἔκοπτον κλάδους ἀπὸ τῶν δένδρων). They also spread out these branches on the road (καὶ ἐστρώννυον ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ). This idea of laying garments on the road can be found in 2 Kings, chapter 9:13, to protect the feet of the king. Clearly, this was an attempt to connect Jesus with the Davidic kingship. Was Jesus to be the new king of Israel as a son of David? This event has become the basis for the great Palm Sunday celebration, the triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. Actually, only John, chapter 12:13, called these palm branches. Do you like the palms on Palm Sunday?
“The slave said.
What you have ordered
Has been done.
But there is still room.’”
καὶ εἶπεν ὁ δοῦλος Κύριε, γέγονεν ὃ ἐπέταξας, καὶ ἔτι τόπος ἐστίν.
Only Luke had Jesus remark that this slave said (καὶ εἶπεν ὁ δοῦλος) to his master, calling him lord (Κύριε), that he had done what he had asked or commanded (γέγονεν ὃ ἐπέταξας). He had invited the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame, but there was still room (καὶ ἔτι τόπος ἐστίν). There is nothing like this in Matthew. Have you ever gone to an event that was not full?
And his companions
Were weighed down
But since they
Had stayed awake,
They saw his glory
And the two men
Who stood with him.”
ὁ δὲ Πέτρος καὶ οἱ σὺν αὐτῷ ἦσαν βεβαρημένοι ὕπνῳ· διαγρηγορήσαντες δὲ εἶδαν τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ καὶ τοὺς δύο ἄνδρας τοὺς συνεστῶτας αὐτῷ.
Luke uniquely said that Peter (ὁ δὲ Πέτρος) and his 2 companions (καὶ οἱ σὺν αὐτῷ) were weighed down with sleep (ἦσαν βεβαρημένοι ὕπνῳ). However, since they had stayed fully awake (διαγρηγορήσαντες), they saw the glory of Jesus (δὲ εἶδαν τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ) and the 2 men (καὶ τοὺς δύο ἄνδρας) who stood with him (τοὺς συνεστῶτας αὐτῷ). This is another unique statement by Luke about Peter during the transfiguration, since the other synoptics did not mention this. Peter with his 2 companions were almost asleep, like they did later in the Garden of Gethsemane. However, Peter, James, and John stayed awake long enough to catch a glimpse of the glory of the transfigured Jesus, Moses, and Elijah, as they watched them talk together. There was no indication what language was being spoken, but the assumption might be that it was Hebrew or Aramaic. Have you ever fallen asleep so that you missed an important event?
Spread their garments
On the road.
That they had cut
In the fields.”
καὶ πολλοὶ τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτῶν ἔστρωσαν εἰς τὴν ὁδόν, ἄλλοι δὲ στιβάδας, κόψαντες ἐκ τῶν ἀγρῶν.
Both Matthew, chapter 21:8, and Luke, chapter 19:36, are similar but with slight differences. Mark said that instead of crowds, it was many people (καὶ πολλοὶ) that spread out their outer garments, cloaks, or coats on the road (τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτῶν ἔστρωσαν εἰς τὴν ὁδόν). Meanwhile, others were cutting down leafy branches from the surrounding fields (ἄλλοι δὲ στιβάδας, κόψαντες ἐκ τῶν ἀγρῶν), also spreading out these branches on the road. This event has become the great Palm Sunday celebration, the triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. Actually, only John, chapter 12:13, called these palm branches. This idea of laying garments on the road can be found in 2 Kings, chapter 9:13, to protect the feet of the king. Clearly, this was an attempt to connect Jesus with the Davidic kingship. Was Jesus to be the new king of Israel as a son of David?
“As Jesus was walking along,
He saw Levi,
The son of Alphaeus,
At the tax booth.
He said to him.
He got up.
He followed him.”
καὶ παράγων εἶδεν Λευεὶν τὸν τοῦ Ἀλφαίου καθήμενον ἐπὶ τὸ τελώνιον, καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Ἀκολούθει μοι. καὶ ἀναστὰς ἠκολούθησεν αὐτῷ
Luke, chapter 5:27-28, and Matthew, chapter 9:9, are similar to Mark, so that Mark might be the source of this event. However, there are some significant differences. Matthew called this man Matthew instead of Levi, his Jewish name. Luke followed Mark in calling him Levi. Matthew and Luke did not mention his father, but Mark did. It is strange that Matthew did not mention the name of his father. Jesus was walking along (καὶ παράγων), when he saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus (εἶδεν Λευεὶν τὸν τοῦ Ἀλφαίου), sitting in his tax office, toll booth, or tax booth (καθήμενον ἐπὶ τὸ τελώνιον). Jesus simply said to him (καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ) to follow him (Ἀκολούθει μοι). Then Levi got up and followed him (καὶ ἀναστὰς ἠκολούθησεν αὐτῷ) without any need to explain why or how he was doing this. At this point in the gospel of Mark, as in the other gospels, Levi was the 5th named apostle after the brothers Simon Peter and Andrew, and the brothers James and John.
“Then he took a cup.
After giving thanks,
He gave it
‘Drink from it!
All of you!
This is my blood
Of the covenant,
Which is poured out
For the forgiveness of sins.”
καὶ λαβὼν ποτήριον καὶ εὐχαριστήσας ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς λέγων Πίετε ἐξ αὐτοῦ πάντες·
τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν τὸ αἷμά μου τῆς διαθήκης τὸ περὶ πολλῶν ἐκχυννόμενον εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν.
This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 14:23-24, and similar in Luke, chapter 22:17, but preceding the blessing of the bread. John, chapter 13:53-58, has Jesus preaching about eating and drinking the body and blood of the Son of Man. Matthew and Mark agree that Jesus took a drinking cup (καὶ λαβὼν ποτήριον), assuming this cup was filled with wine. After giving thanks (καὶ εὐχαριστήσας), Jesus gave them this drinking cup (ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς). He told all of them to drink from this cup (λέγων Πίετε ἐξ αὐτοῦ πάντες). He said that this was his blood of the covenant (τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν τὸ αἷμά μου τῆς διαθήκης), that was to be poured out for many people (τὸ περὶ πολλῶν ἐκχυννόμενον) in order to forgive sins (εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν). The blessing of the wine had a more elaborate narrative than the bread. However, both would become part of the new developing Christian Eucharistic worship service. Thus, the Greek word “εὐχαριστήσας (giving thanks)” became the name of the Last Supper Eucharist remembrance event.
Christian sacraments have the power to enact what they symbolize. These are outward signs instituted by Christ to be efficacious, to do what they symbolize. The power of a ritual is more than the actual physical baptismal or sharing of the bread and wine event. We remember and enact the experience of Jesus Christ. This is not magic. We do not need to be like a sports fan (fanatic) at a sporting event that goes crazy into the event. Yet our involvement demands an expressing and deepening of the sense and experience of the mystery of God, as expressed in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the sacrament of God. His Christian Church is the sacrament of Jesus. The individual Christian sacraments are the expression of Jesus and his Christian community. The sacramental symbols of the Christian churches effect what they symbolize. They do what they say they are doing in a special graced filled moment.
“Then King Nebuchadnezzar
All the officials
Of the provinces
They were to come
To the dedication
Of the statue
That King Nebuchadnezzar
Had set up.”
As was the usual ancient Middle Eastern costume, King Nebuchadnezzar wanted to have a big inauguration party for the dedication of his new statue. He invited all the important officials of the Babylonian provinces to this event, including the satraps, the prefects, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, and the magistrates. Satraps was a Greek term for governors, while prefect was a Latin term for governors. Thus, one can see the later influence of the Greek and Roman empire on this story. The king wanted all these officials to come.
“Some wandered in the desert wastes.
They found no way to an inhabited town.
They were hungry and thirsty.
Their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to Yahweh in their trouble.
He delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way.
They finally reached an inhabited town.
Let them thank Yahweh
For his steadfast love!
Let them thank Yahweh
For his wonderful works to humankind!
He satisfies the thirsty.
He fills the hungry with good things.”
This section points out how Yahweh has helped those wandering Israelites in the desert. I am not sure what particular event this refers to since these wanderers seem to be looking for inhabited towns. This does not seem to be a reference to the 40 years of wandering in the desert, but a smaller group of lost Israelites who were hungry and thirsty. Their souls were fainting. In their distress they called out to Yahweh. Yahweh heard them. He led them in a straight path to an inhabited town. Thus they have to give thanks again to Yahweh for his steadfast love and the all the works that he has done for all humans. He has satisfied the thirsty. He has filled the hungry with good food.