The excuse of new property (Lk 14:18-14:18)

“But they all alike

Began

To make excuses.

The first said to him.

‘I have bought

A piece of land.

I must go out

To see it.

Please!

Accept my regrets!”

 

καὶ ἤρξαντο ἀπὸ μιᾶς πάντες παραιτεῖσθαι. ὁ πρῶτος εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ἀγρὸν ἠγόρασα, καὶ ἔχω ἀνάγκην ἐξελθὼν ἰδεῖν αὐτόν· ἐρωτῶ σε, ἔχε με παρῃτημένον.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that they all began to make excuses, to excuse themselves (καὶ ἤρξαντο ἀπὸ μιᾶς πάντες παραιτεῖσθαι).  The first one said to the slave (ὁ πρῶτος εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that he had just bought a piece of land (Ἀγρὸν ἠγόρασα).  Thus, he had to go out to see it (καὶ ἔχω ἀνάγκην ἐξελθὼν ἰδεῖν αὐτόν).  Therefore, he politely (ἐρωτῶ σε) wanted to be excused from going to the banquet (ἔχε με παρῃτημένον).  Matthew, chapter 22:3-5, said that they would not come or did not wish to come (καὶ οὐκ ἤθελον ἐλθεῖν), without giving excuses.  Now, this was a problem.  They have refused an invitation to the wedding banquet of God, the Father, the king.  He had sent his slaves, the prophets or the apostles, to call them, but they still did not want to come to the wedding feast.  In fact, Matthew said that the invitees made light of these inviting slaves.  They disregarded or disrespected (οἱ δὲ ἀμελήσαντες) the invitation.  They simply went on with their daily lives.  They went (ἀπῆλθον) either to their own farm field (ὃς μὲν εἰς τὸν ἴδιον ἀγρόν), or to their trading business (ὃς δὲ ἐπὶ τὴν ἐμπορίαν αὐτοῦ).  They were too busy to go to a wedding feast.  Have you ever been too busy to go to a wedding reception?

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Jesus found them asleep again (Mk 14:40-14:40)

“Once more,

Jesus came.

He found them

Sleeping.

Their eyes

Were very heavy.

They did not know

What to say to him.”

 

καὶ πάλιν ἐλθὼν εὗρεν αὐτοὺς καθεύδοντας, ἦσαν γὰρ αὐτῶν οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ καταβαρυνόμενοι, καὶ οὐκ ᾔδεισαν τί ἀποκριθῶσιν αὐτῷ.

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 26:43, but there is an addition about the apostles being embarrassed and not able to say anything here.  In Luke, chapter 22, and John, chapter 22, there is nothing more about these 2nd and 3rd visits of Jesus.  Mark recounted that Jesus again came (καὶ πάλιν ἐλθὼν) and this time he again found his 3 disciples sleeping (εὗρεν αὐτοὺς καθεύδοντας), because their eyes were heavy or overburdened (ἦσαν γὰρ αὐτῶν οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ καταβαρυνόμενοι).  This was the 2nd time that he found his 3 trusted apostles sleeping.  There were no excuses, except that they were tired.  They did not know what to answer to Jesus (καὶ οὐκ ᾔδεισαν τί ἀποκριθῶσιν αὐτῷ).  They had failed to stay awake and be vigilant, pure and simple.

The second time the apostles were sleeping (Mt 26:43-26:43)

“Again,

Jesus came.

He found them

Sleeping.

Their eyes

Were heavy.”

 

καὶ ἐλθὼν πάλιν εὗρεν αὐτοὺς καθεύδοντας, ἦσαν γὰρ αὐτῶν οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ βεβαρημένοι.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 14:40, but there is an addition about the apostles being embarrassed and not able to say anything.  In Luke, chapter 22, and John, chapter 22, there is nothing more about these 2nd and 3rd visits of Jesus.  Matthew and Mark recount that Jesus again came (καὶ ἐλθὼν πάλιν) and found his 3 disciples sleeping (εὗρεν αὐτοὺς καθεύδοντας), because their eyes were heavy or overburdened (ἦσαν γὰρ αὐτῶν οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ βεβαρημένοι).  This was the 2nd time that he found his 3 trusted disciples sleeping.  There were no excuses, except that they were tired.  They had failed to stay awake and be vigilant.

 

The combatants prepare for war (Deut 20:1-20:9)

“When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots, an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them. Yahweh your God is with you. He brought you up from the land of Egypt. Before you engage in battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the troops. He shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel! Today you are drawing near to do battle against your enemies. Do not your lose heart, or be afraid, or panic, or be in dread of them. Yahweh your God goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to give you victory.’’’

There is something similar in Exodus, chapters 33 and 34, about the holy war for Yahweh. Do not be afraid of your strong enemies. The priest has a famous prayer, ‘Hear, O Israel!’ that reminds the warriors that Yahweh is with them to give them victory.

“Then the officers shall address the troops, saying, ‘Has anyone built a new house but not dedicated it? He should go back to his house, for he might die in the battle and another dedicate it. Has anyone planted a vineyard but not yet enjoyed its fruit? He should go back to his house, for he might die in the battle and another be the first to enjoy its fruit. Has anyone become engaged to a woman but not yet married her? He should go back to his house, for he might die in the battle and another person marry her.’ The officers shall continue to address the troops, saying, ‘Is anyone afraid or disheartened? He should go back to his house, for he might cause the heart of his comrades to melt like his own.’ When the officers have finished addressing the troops, then the commanders shall take charge of them.”

There is no room for cowards when the battle is about to start. The officers should address the troops. If anyone is worried about their new house, their new vineyard, or their new wife, go on back home. If you are afraid, go home so that your fear may not spread to others.