Disciples plucking grain (Mk 2:23-2:23)

“One sabbath,

Jesus was going through

The grain fields.

As they made their way,

His disciples

Began to pluck

Heads of grain.”

 

Καὶ ἐγένετο αὐτὸν ἐν τοῖς σάββασιν παραπορεύεσθαι διὰ τῶν σπορίμων, καὶ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἤρξαντο ὁδὸν ποιεῖν τίλλοντες τοὺς στάχυας.

 

Matthew, chapter 12:1, as well as Luke, chapter 6:1, are similar to Mark.  In Matthew and Luke, the disciples were also eating the grain, but that is not explicitly mentioned here.  Mark said that Jesus was going through the grain fields on the Sabbath (Καὶ ἐγένετο αὐτὸν ἐν τοῖς σάββασιν παραπορεύεσθαι 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, so that they may have copied it from Mark.  Jesus’ disciples (καὶ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ) made their way through the field (ἤρξαντο ὁδὸν).  They began to pluck the heads of the grain in the field (ποιεῖν τίλλοντες τοὺς στάχυας).  This is a unique word “τίλλοντες, plucking” that only appears in the New Testament literature in this story by the three synoptics.  Once again, Mark may have the source for this word.  This set up the problem of plucking grain on the Sabbath.

The meal with the tax collectors (Mk 2:15-2:15)

“And as he sat

At dinner

In Levi’s house,

Many tax collectors

And sinners

Were also sitting

With Jesus

And his disciples.

There were many

Who followed him.”

 

Καὶ γίνεται κατακεῖσθαι αὐτὸν ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ αὐτοῦ, καὶ πολλοὶ τελῶναι καὶ ἁμαρτωλοὶ συνανέκειντο τῷ Ἰησοῦ καὶ τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ, ἦσαν γὰρ πολλοὶ καὶ ἠκολούθουν αὐτῷ.

 

Luke, chapter 5:29, and Matthew, chapter 9:10, are similar to Mark, so that Mark might be the source of this event.  Here and in Luke, it was explicitly mentioned that Jesus was having a meal in the house of Levi (Καὶ γίνεται κατακεῖσθαι αὐτὸν ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ αὐτοῦ).  As Levi was a tax collector, other tax collectors (καὶ πολλοὶ τελῶναι) were there also.  Was this a farewell meal for Levi as he was about to set out as a disciple of Jesus?  Jesus sat or reclined at the dining table in this house.  However, besides the tax collectors, a lot of sinners came to sit down or recline (καὶ ἁμαρτωλοὶ συνανέκειντο) with Jesus and his disciples (τῷ Ἰησοῦ καὶ τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ).  The tax collectors were collecting money or tolls for the Roman Empire, so that they could hardly be called model Jewish citizens.  The sinners (ἁμαρτωλοὶ), on the other hand, could either be non-Jewish gentiles or other public immoral Jewish men, who were unclean.  In general, tax collectors and sinners were lumped together, since neither cared much for following the Jewish law, unlike the Pharisees.  However, many people were already followers of Jesus (ἦσαν γὰρ πολλοὶ καὶ ἠκολούθουν αὐτῷ).  How were these followers different from his disciples?

Jesus sees James and John (Mk 1:19-1:19)

“As Jesus went

A little farther,

He saw James,

The son of Zebedee,

And his brother,

John.

They were

In their boat

Mending their nets.”

 

Καὶ προβὰς ὀλίγον εἶδεν Ἰάκωβον τὸν τοῦ Ζεβεδαίου καὶ Ἰωάνην τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ, καὶ αὐτοὺς ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ καταρτίζοντας τὰ δίκτυα,

 

Once again Mark and Matthew, chapter 4:20, are almost word for word.  Mark introduced two new disciples, John and James, the fisherman sons of Zebedee.  Zebedee might have been successful since he was explicitly mentioned and he seemed to own a boat.  Jesus apparently had just left Simon Peter and Andrew a short distance away (Καὶ προβὰς ὀλίγον).  Once again, Jesus saw two other fishermen brothers (εἶδεν Ἰάκωβον τὸν τοῦ Ζεβεδαίου καὶ Ἰωάνην τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ).  These two brothers, the sons of Zebedee, James and John, were in a boat (καὶ αὐτοὺς ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ) mending the fishing nets (καταρτίζοντας τὰ δίκτυα), not casting them out to sea.  Luke, chapter 5:10, indicated that these two sons of Zebedee were partners with Simon, so that they may have shared a boat or boats.

The living God of their ancestors (Mt 22:31-22:32)

“As for the resurrection

Of the dead,

Have you not read

What was said to you

By God?

‘I am the God of Abraham.

I am the God of Isaac.

I am the God of Jacob.’

He is God.

Not of the dead,

But of the living.”

 

περὶ δὲ τῆς ἀναστάσεως τῶν νεκρῶν οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε τὸ ῥηθὲν ὑμῖν ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ λέγοντος

Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ Θεὸς Ἀβραὰμ καὶ ὁ Θεὸς Ἰσαὰκ καὶ ὁ Θεὸς Ἰακώβ; οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ Θεὸς νεκρῶν ἀλλὰ ζώντων.

 

Jesus continued his explanation that can also be found in Mark, chapter 12:26-27, and Luke, chapter 20:37-38.  They both refer to Moses at the burning bush, a mysterious theophany that overwhelmed Moses, but is not explicitly mentioned here.  However, this was implied by the comment about God based on Exodus, chapter 3:6.  As for the resurrection of the dead (περὶ δὲ τῆς ἀναστάσεως τῶν νεκρῶν), Jesus reminded the Sadducees that they had not read the correct sayings of God (οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε τὸ ῥηθὲν ὑμῖν ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ λέγοντος).  He then referenced the saying of Yahweh to Moses at the burning bush, that he was God of Abraham (Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ Θεὸς Ἀβραὰμ), the God of Isaac (καὶ ὁ Θεὸς Ἰσαὰκ), and the God of Jacob (καὶ ὁ Θεὸς Ἰακώβ).  Jesus ended by saying that Yahweh, the Father, was the God of the living (ἀλλὰ ζώντων), not the dead (οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ Θεὸς νεκρῶν).

The family of Jesus (Mt 13:55-13:56)

“Is not this the carpenter’s son?

Is not his mother

Called Mary?

Are not his brothers

James,

Joseph,

Simon,

And Judas?

Are not all his sisters with us?

Where then did he

Get all this?’”

 

οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τοῦ τέκτονος υἱός; οὐχ ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ λέγεται Μαριὰμ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ Ἰάκωβος καὶ Ἰωσὴφ καὶ Σίμων καὶ Ἰούδας;

καὶ αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ οὐχὶ πᾶσαι πρὸς ἡμᾶς εἰσιν; πόθεν οὖν τούτῳ ταῦτα πάντα;

 

This story about the relatives of Jesus can be found in Mark, chapter 6:3.  The local people asked, was he not this carpenter’s son (οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τοῦ τέκτονος υἱός)?  Matthew did not use the carpenter’s name, when in the prologue Joseph played a major role.  A carpenter could also mean a builder or artisan.  However, Matthew explicitly mentioned the name of Jesus’ mother, Mary, who played a minor role in the prologue.  Was not his mother called Mary (οὐχ ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ λέγεται Μαριὰμ)?  Were not his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ Ἰάκωβος καὶ Ἰωσὴφ καὶ Σίμων καὶ Ἰούδας)?  Were not all his sisters there with them also (καὶ αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ οὐχὶ πᾶσαι πρὸς ἡμᾶς εἰσιν)?  Where then did he get all this  knowledge and power (πόθεν οὖν τούτῳ ταῦτα πάντα)?  Once again there is the question of the brothers and sisters of Jesus as mentioned earlier in chapter 12:46. These brothers and sisters could be biological brothers or sisters, half-brothers and half-sisters from a first marriage of Joseph, or kissing cousins or other close cousins of the family.  The Hebrew and Aramaic language did not have a distinctive word for cousins, so that the word “brother” and “sister” was often used to mean more than a biological brother.  Just as today, people sometimes refers to others as brothers or sisters, when there is no biological link.  Half-brothers often refer to themselves as brothers or sisters today also.  The traditional belief of Christians, even though the Reformation period, has been that Mary was a virgin, so that Jesus was her only son.  However, the Greek language did have a word for cousins.  Here there are explicit names for the brothers of Jesus, James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, who may have been leaders in the early Christian community but were never mentioned as disciples.  They clearly were relatives of Jesus, exactly how is not clear

Old Testament scriptural quotation about John (Mt 11:10-11:10)

“This is the one

About whom

It is written.

‘See!

I am sending

My messenger

Ahead of you.

He will prepare

Your way

Before you.’”

 

οὗτός ἐστιν περὶ οὗ γέγραπται Ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω τὸν ἄγγελόν μου πρὸ προσώπου σου, ὃς κατασκευάσει τὴν ὁδόν σου ἔμπροσθέν σου.

 

This written passage about John (οὗτός ἐστιν περὶ οὗ γέγραπται) is from the prophet Malachi, chapter 3:1, although not explicitly mentioned here.  This saying about John the Baptist can be found word for word in Luke, chapter 7:27.  Thus, this may have been a Q source about John, like many of the other passages about John.  Actually, Mark, chapter 1:2, had part of this saying as the beginning of his gospel when he introduced John.  In Malachi, Yahweh was going to send his messenger or angel before him or his face (Ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω τὸν ἄγγελόν μου πρὸ προσώπου σου) to prepare the way for him (ὃς κατασκευάσει τὴν ὁδόν σου ἔμπροσθέν σου).  Originally, Yahweh would re-enter into his Temple, because the messenger of the delightful covenant had prepared things for him.  There is no mention of the Temple here.  John was clearly inferior to Jesus, since he was there to prepare the way for Jesus as his messenger, much like an angel of God.

The list of other twelve apostles (Mt 10:3-10:4)

“They were

Philip,

Bartholomew,

Thomas,

Matthew,

The tax collector,

James,

Son of Alphaeus,

Thaddaeus,

Simon the Cananaean,

Judas Iscariot,

The one who betrayed him.”

 

Φίλιππος καὶ Βαρθολομαῖος, Θωμᾶς καὶ Μαθθαῖος ὁ τελώνης, Ἰάκωβος ὁ τοῦ Ἁλφαίου καὶ Θαδδαῖος,

Σίμων ὁ Καναναῖος καὶ Ἰούδας ὁ Ἰσκαριώτης ὁ καὶ παραδοὺς αὐτόν.

 

This section about naming the 12 apostles is similar to Mark, chapter 3:16-19 and Luke, chapter 6:13-16.  This list can also be compared to the list in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 1:13.  Except for Matthew, the tax collector (καὶ Μαθθαῖος ὁ τελώνης), Matthew had never explicitly mentioned the next 7 apostles by name.  They were Philip (Φίλιππος), Bartholomew (καὶ Βαρθολομαῖος), Thomas (Θωμᾶς), James, the son of Alphaeus (Ἰάκωβος ὁ τοῦ Ἁλφαίου), Thaddaeus (καὶ Θαδδαῖος), Simon the Cananaean (Σίμων ὁ Καναναῖος), and the traitor Judas Iscariot (καὶ Ἰούδας ὁ Ἰσκαριώτης ὁ καὶ παραδοὺς αὐτόν).  Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot are on all four lists of apostles.  However, Thaddeus is only listed by Matthew and Mark, while Luke and the Acts listed him as Jude or Judas, the son of James, not Thaddeus.  Are these two-different people or just two different names?  Is this Jude Thaddeus like Simon Peter and Levi Matthew?  Did he have a Jewish and a Greek name?