Curing people (Lk 7:21-7:21)

“Jesus had just then

Cured many people

Of diseases,

Of severe afflictions,

And of evil spirits.

He had given sight

To many

Who were blind.”

 

ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ ἐθεράπευσεν πολλοὺς ἀπὸ νόσων καὶ μαστίγων καὶ πνευμάτων πονηρῶν, καὶ τυφλοῖς πολλοῖς ἐχαρίσατο βλέπειν.

 

Luke has an introductory comment that was not in Matthew, before he gave the response of Jesus.  Luke stated that at that very hour (ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ), Jesus had just then cured or healed many people (ἐθεράπευσεν πολλοὺς) of diseases (ἀπὸ νόσων), of severe afflictions (καὶ μαστίγων), and of evil spirits (καὶ πνευμάτων πονηρῶν).  He had given sight to many blind people (καὶ τυφλοῖς πολλοῖς ἐχαρίσατο βλέπειν).  In other words, Jesus was a miracle worker.  Have you ever seen a miracle worker?

 

The disciple and the teacher (Lk 6:40-6:40)

“A disciple

Is not above

His teacher.

But everyone

Who is fully qualified

Will be

Like his teacher.”

 

οὐκ ἔστιν μαθητὴς ὑπὲρ τὸν διδάσκαλον· κατηρτισμένος δὲ πᾶς ἔσται ὡς ὁ διδάσκαλος αὐτοῦ.

 

Something similar can be found in Matthew, chapter 10:24-25.  Obviously, no disciple is greater than his teacher.  The student or disciple of the teacher should become like his teacher.  However, Matthew also spoke about a servant or slave, who should be like his master or lord.  Then he went into the problem of Beelzebul and evil spirits.  Luke was more honed in on the teacher and disciple aspect.  The followers of Jesus were disciples of Jesus, their teacher or rabbi.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that a disciple is not (οὐκ ἔστιν μαθητὴς) above his teacher (ὑπὲρ τὸν διδάσκαλον).  However, everyone who was fully qualified would be (κατηρτισμένος δὲ πᾶς ἔσται) like his teacher (ὡς ὁ διδάσκαλος αὐτοῦ).  Jesus had the expectation that his fully trained disciples would be like him.  Do you know of any student better than his or her teacher?

 

The signs of the believers (Mk 16:17-16:17)

“These signs

Will accompany

Those who believe.

By using my name,

They will cast out demons.

They will speak

In new tongues.”

 

σημεῖα δὲ τοῖς πιστεύσασιν ταῦτα παρακολουθήσει, ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου δαιμόνια ἐκβαλοῦσιν, γλώσσαις λαλήσουσιν καιναῖς,

 

Only this long Mark addition has these comments about what the disciples of Jesus would be able to do.  This addition to Mark indicated that Jesus said that these signs (σημεῖα) would accompany (παρακολουθήσει) those who believed (δὲ τοῖς πιστεύσασιν ταῦτα) in the name of Jesus (ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου).  They would be able to cast out demons (δαιμόνια ἐκβαλοῦσιν,).  They would also be able to speak in new tongues (γλώσσαις λαλήσουσιν καιναῖς).  Certainly, the early Christians believed that these actions would be important among the followers of Jesus.  They would be able to cast out evil spirits and speak in tongues.

Jesus sends out the apostles (Mk 6:7-6:7)

“Jesus called

The twelve.

He began

To send them out

Two by two.

He gave them authority

Over the unclean spirits.”

 

Καὶ προσκαλεῖται τοὺς δώδεκα, καὶ ἤρξατο αὐτοὺς ἀποστέλλειν δύο, καὶ ἐδίδου αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τῶν πνευμάτων τῶν ἀκαθάρτων,

 

This section about the authority and mission of the 12 disciples or apostles is similar to Matthew, chapter 10:1 and Luke, chapter 9:1.  Mark said that Jesus summoned or called (Καὶ προσκαλεῖται) his 12 apostles (τοὺς δώδεκα).  He began to send them out two by two (καὶ ἤρξατο αὐτοὺς ἀποστέλλειν δύο δύο).  He gave them authority over unclean or impure spirits (καὶ ἐδίδου αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τῶν πνευμάτων τῶν ἀκαθάρτων).  Thus, they could cast out or banish these evil spirits or demons, but there was no mention of curing diseases, illnesses, sicknesses, or weakness, just casting out the evil spirits that might have been the cause of their illnesses.  Jesus was giving his own power or authority to cast out evil spirits to these 12 apostles.  This was a big deal.  The number 12 corresponded to the number of sons of Jacob or the 12 tribes of Israel.  Jesus thus established these 12 apostles to carry on his work in casting out evil spirits.

They repeated the story (Mk 5:16-5:16)

“Those who had seen

What had happened

To the demoniac

And to the swine,

Reported it.”

 

καὶ διηγήσαντο αὐτοῖς οἱ ἰδόντες πῶς ἐγένετο τῷ δαιμονιζομένῳ καὶ περὶ τῶν χοίρων.

 

There is something similar in Luke, chapter 8:36, while there is nothing like this in MatthewMark said that those who had seen what had happened (οἱ ἰδόντες πῶς ἐγένετο) to this demoniac, the one possessed by the devils or evil spirits (ῷ δαιμονιζομένῳ) told everyone.  They reported, described, or related it to other people (καὶ διηγήσαντο αὐτοῖς) how the swine or the pigs (καὶ περὶ τῶν χοίρων) ran into the sea.  There was nothing secret about this transfer of evil spirits from a human to a herd of pigs.

The demoniac was cured (Mk 5:15-5:15)

“The people came

To Jesus.

They saw

The demoniac

Sitting there,

Clothed,

And in his right mind.

This was

The very man

Who had

The legion

Of evil spirits.

They were afraid.”

 

καὶ ἔρχονται πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν, καὶ θεωροῦσιν τὸν δαιμονιζόμενον καθήμενον ἱματισμένον καὶ σωφρονοῦντα, τὸν ἐσχηκότα τὸν λεγιῶνα, καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν.

 

There is something similar in Luke, chapter 8:35, while there is nothing like this in MatthewMark said that the people came to Jesus (καὶ ἔρχονται πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν).  They saw the demoniac sitting there (καὶ θεωροῦσιν τὸν δαιμονιζόμενον καθήμενον), clothed (ἱματισμένον), and in his right mind or sober minded (καὶ σωφρονοῦντα).  This was the very violent man, who had the legion or thousands of evil spirits (τὸν ἐσχηκότα τὸν λεγιῶνα).  However, they were afraid (καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν), because of all that happened.

 

The unclean spirits enter the swine (Mk 5:13-5:13)

“Thus,

Jesus gave them

Permission.

The unclean spirits

Came out.

They entered

The swine.

The herd,

Numbering about two thousand,

Rushed down

The steep bank

Into the sea.

They were drowned

In the sea.”

 

καὶ ἐπέτρεψεν αὐτοῖς. καὶ ἐξελθόντα τὰ πνεύματα τὰ ἀκάθαρτα εἰσῆλθον εἰς τοὺς χοίρους, καὶ ὥρμησεν ἡ ἀγέλη κατὰ τοῦ κρημνοῦ εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, ὡς δισχίλιοι, καὶ ἐπνίγοντο ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ.

 

All three synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 8:32 and Luke, chapter 8:32-33, and Mark here, have Jesus cast out the demons into the herd of pigs nearby, with slight nuances in each story.  Jesus then accommodated or allowed what these evil spirits had wanted (καὶ ἐπέτρεψεν αὐτοῖς).  Then the unclean spirits demons left the demoniac (καὶ ἐξελθόντα τὰ πνεύματα τὰ ἀκάθαρτα).  They entered the herd of pigs (εἰσῆλθον εἰς τοὺς χοίρους).  This herd then rushed down a steep bank into the sea (καὶ ὥρμησεν ἡ ἀγέλη κατὰ τοῦ κρημνοῦ εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν).  Mark was the only synoptic to mention the number of pigs, 2,000 (ὡς δισχίλιοι), who were drowned or died in the sea (καὶ ἐπνίγοντο ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ).  There is one problem, pigs can swim, so that some might have survived.  Perhaps the unfamiliarity of these Jewish authors with pigs may have led to this harsh ending.  Anyway, the 2,000-pig herd with the unclean spirits ran into the sea off a steep bank and perished.

Jesus wants to know his name (Mk 5:9-5 9)

“Then Jesus asked him.

‘What is your name?’

He replied.

‘My name is Legion!

We are many!’”

 

καὶ ἐπηρώτα αὐτόν Τί ὄνομά σοι; καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Λεγιὼν ὄνομά μοι, ὅτι πολλοί ἐσμεν.

 

This is similar to Luke, chapter 8:30.  This is the famous question and answer that has taken on a life of its own in many apocalyptic works about evil spirits.  Mark indicated that Jesus asked, questioned, or interrogated this unclean spirit (καὶ ἐπηρώτα αὐτόν), what his name was (Τί ὄνομά σοι)?  This was common in most expulsions of evil spirits to know the name of the one being expelled in order to control them.  The unclean spirit responded to Jesus (καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ) that his name was “Legion (Λεγιὼν ὄνομά μοι),” a Latin term.  A Roman legion would have been about 6,000 men.  Thus, the unclean spirit was responding that there were many unclean spirits (ὅτι πολλοί ἐσμεν), perhaps as many as 6,000.

Jesus appointed twelve apostles (Mk 3:14-3:15)

“Jesus appointed twelve.

They were to be with him.

He called them apostles.

He sent them out

To preach.

They would have authority

To cast out demons.”

 

καὶ ἐποίησεν δώδεκα ἵνα ὦσιν μετ’ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἀποστόλους ὠνόμασεν καὶ ἵνα ἀποστέλλῃ αὐτοὺς κηρύσσειν

καὶ ἔχειν ἐξουσίαν ἐκβάλλειν τὰ δαιμόνια·

 

Mark explicitly indicated what the role of these special 12 apostles should be.  Quite often they are called the “12” instead of “the apostles”.  They had a dual function as apostles, since they were to preach and cast out demons.  Mark said that Jesus appointed 12 of his disciples (καὶ ἐποίησεν δώδεκα) to be with him, called apostles (καὶ ἀποστόλους ὠνόμασεν).  He sent them out to preach (καὶ ἵνα ἀποστέλλῃ αὐτοὺς κηρύσσειν).  They would have authority to cast out demons (καὶ ἔχειν ἐξουσίαν ἐκβάλλειν τὰ δαιμόνια).  In other words, Jesus was giving his own power or authority to cast out evil spirits to these 12 disciples or apostles.  This would be referred to later as the apostolic authority.  Matthew, chapter 10:1, also said that they had the authority to heal people also.  This was a big deal.  The number 12 corresponded to the number of sons of Jacob or the 12 tribes of Israel.    Jesus thus established these 12 disciples as apostles to carry on his work of preaching and casting out or exorcising evil spirits.

The man with the unclean spirit (Mk 1:23-1:24)

“Just then,

There was,

In their synagogue,

A man

With an unclean spirit.

He cried out.

‘What have you

To do with us?

Jesus of Nazareth!

Have you come

To destroy us?

I know

Who you are!

The Holy One of God!’”

 

Καὶ εὐθὺς ἦν ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ αὐτῶν ἄνθρωπος ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ, καὶ ἀνέκραξεν

λέγων Τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί, Ἰησοῦ Ναζαρηνέ; ἦλθες ἀπολέσαι ἡμᾶς. οἶδά σε τίς εἶ, ὁ Ἅγιος τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

Matthew, chapter 8:29, has something similar, but it was not in a Capernaum synagogue, but in Gadarenes and it was 2 demonic spirits, not one as here.  Mark, chapter 5:7, as well as Luke, chapter 8;28 had these demoniacs speak to Jesus with somewhat similar words.  However, this is closer to Luke, chapter 4:33, where it is almost word for word.  Here Mark and Luke said that just then in their synagogue, (Καὶ εὐθὺς ἦν ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ αὐτῶν) a man with an unclean spirit (ἄνθρωπος ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ,) cried out or shouted out to Jesus (καὶ ἀνέκραξεν).  He asked Jesus of Nazareth (Ἰησοῦ Ναζαρηνέ) what he had to do with them (λέγων Τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί).  Had Jesus come to destroy or kill them (ἦλθες ἀπολέσαι ἡμᾶς)?  He said that he knew who he was (οἶδά σε τίς εἶ), the Holy One of God (ὁ Ἅγιος τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Matthew had them say that Jesus had come to torment them, not destroy them, since the time of the final judgment day had not arrived.  This unclean spirit world was alive and active in first century Israelite culture.  The term “Holy One of God” had been applied to the prophet Elisha in 2 Kings, chapter 4:9, as another name for a prophet, which was not as strong as the “Son of God,” a more powerful term.  Thus, the evil spirits were able to recognize Jesus of Nazareth as a special person.