People listen to Jesus (Lk 5:15-5:15)

“But now,

More than ever,

The word

About Jesus

Spread abroad.

Many crowds

Would gather

To hear him.

He cured many

Of their diseases.”

 

διήρχετο δὲ μᾶλλον ὁ λόγος περὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ συνήρχοντο ὄχλοι πολλοὶ ἀκούειν καὶ θεραπεύεσθαι ἀπὸ τῶν ἀσθενειῶν αὐτῶν

 

This is more or less a unique saying of Luke, who said that now, more than ever, the word or report about Jesus spread abroad (διήρχετο δὲ μᾶλλον ὁ λόγος περὶ αὐτοῦ,).  Many large crowds would gather to hear him (καὶ συνήρχοντο ὄχλοι πολλοὶ ἀκούειν).  Then he cured many people of their diseases (αὶ θεραπεύεσθαι ἀπὸ τῶν ἀσθενειῶν αὐτῶν).  There is nothing like this in MatthewMark, chapter 1:45, on the other hand, said that after this cleansed leper went away, he began to proclaim what had happened to him.  Then the news about his cleansing spread around, so that Jesus was no longer able to openly enter into a city or town.  He had to stay out in the solitary deserted countryside.  Nevertheless, the people came to him from all around the area or from various quarters.  The cleansed leper did not keep quiet, so that this led to more consternation for Jesus.  Luke was not that explicit, but hinted at it.

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Jesus said they needed to pray (Mk 9:29-9:29)

“Jesus said

To his disciples.

‘This kind

Can come out

Only through prayer.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Τοῦτο τὸ γένος ἐν οὐδενὶ δύναται ἐξελθεῖν εἰ μὴ ἐν προσευχῇ.

 

Mark added the need for prayer.  There is no emphasis on faith as in Matthew, chapter 17:20, where Jesus talked about faith and the mustard seed.  Here the emphasis is on prayer.  Mark indicated that Jesus said to his disciples (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that this kind of evil spirit could only be expelled (Τοῦτο τὸ γένος ἐν οὐδενὶ δύναται ἐξελθεῖν) through prayer (εἰ μὴ ἐν προσευχῇ).  Prayer might imply faith, but it is not explicit here.

The seeds are the word of God (Mk 4:14-4:14)

“The sower

Sows

The word.”

 

ὁ σπείρων τὸν λόγον σπείρει.

 

Mark said the seeds were the word (ὁ σπείρων τὸν λόγον), without any further clarification.  Matthew, chapter 13:19 was more explicit with the seeds as the word of the kingdom (τὸν λόγον τῆς βασιλείας).  Luke, chapter 8:11, was ever more specific when he explicitly said that seed was the word of God (τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Mark said that the sower (ὁ σπείρων), either Jesus or his apostles, was sowing the word (τὸν λόγον σπείρει), the word of the kingdom, or the word of God into good ground, so that it might bear fruit.

Joseph goes to Galilee (Mt 2:22-2:22)

“But when Joseph heard

That Archelaus

Was ruling over Judea,

In place of his father,

King Herod,

He was afraid

To go there.

After being warned

In a dream,

He went away

To the district of Galilee.”

 

ἀκούσας δὲ ὅτι Ἀρχέλαος βασιλεύει τῆς Ἰουδαίας ἀντὶ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ Ἡρῴδου ἐφοβήθη ἐκεῖ ἀπελθεῖν· χρηματισθεὶς δὲ κατ’ ὄναρ ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὰ μέρη τῆς Γαλιλαίας

 

Once again, Joseph was warned in a dream (χρηματισθεὶς δὲ κατ’ ὄναρ), without the explicit mention of the angel of the Lord. Joseph found out that the son of King Herod (ἀντὶ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ Ἡρῴδου), Archelaus, (23 BCE-16 CE) was now in charge in Judea (ἀκούσας δὲ ὅτι Ἀρχέλαος βασιλεύει τῆς Ἰουδαίας). He was afraid to go back there (ἐφοβήθη ἐκεῖ ἀπελθεῖν) to Judea, since maybe King Herod’s son would be after his child just like his father. Actually, Herod Archelaus only lasted about 10 years before the Romans took the title away from him in 6 CE. Thus, Joseph decided to withdraw to the district of Galilee (ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὰ μέρη τῆς Γαλιλαίας), without explicitly being told to do so. Galilee was a rocky terrain region in northern Israel. Originally, it was part of the tribal regions of Naphtali, Dan, and Asher, but later it was part of the northern kingdom of Israel, with a Phoenician presence and influence. In the Roman times, Galilee was clearly separate from Judea. Many of the events in the life of Jesus would take place there, even though Herod Antipas, the other son of King Herod, ruled Galilee from 4 BCE-39 CE.

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.

Attitudes toward God

We all have a belief attitude to this great mysterious, even if not articulated.  This attitude may be implicit or explicit.  Thus, it can be a subconscious belief or a practical disbelief in God.  How do we describe these various belief attitudes?  Do we have a positive or negative view of God?  Do we any view of God?  Do we not even care about the question?

The law of the new Temple (Ezek 43:11-43:12)

“When they are ashamed

Of all that they had done,

Make known to them

The plan of the temple.

Let them know

Its arrangement,

Its exits,

Its entrances,

Its whole form!

Make known

To them

All its ordinances,

Its entire plan,

All its laws!

Write it down

In their sight!

Thus,

They may observe,

They may follow,

The entire plan

With all its ordinances.

This is the law

Of the temple.

The whole territory

On the top

Of the mountain,

All around,

Shall be most holy!

This is the law

Of the temple.”

Yahweh was very explicit to Ezekiel. He was to lay down the basics for the new Temple, just like Moses with his Mosaic laws. This was to be the law of the new Temple for the post-exilic Israelites. Once the Israelites had accepted their shame for all that they had done, Ezekiel was to let them know about this divine plan for the new temple. He was to tell them about its arrangements, exits, entrances, with its whole form. They were to know its ordinances, as well as the entire plan, including its laws. Ezekiel was to write it down in the sight of these Israelites, since there should not be any ambiguity. They were to observe and follow the entire plan with all its ordinances. This was to be the law for the new Temple. The whole territory on the top of the mountain with the territory all around it would be most holy. They were not to forget that this was the law of the temple.