The mustard seed (Lk 13:19-13:19)

“The kingdom of God

Is like

A mustard seed

That someone took.

He sowed it

In his garden.

It grew.

It became a tree.

The birds of the air

Made nests

In its branches.”

 

ὁμοία ἐστὶν κόκκῳ σινάπεως, ὃν λαβὼν ἄνθρωπος ἔβαλεν εἰς κῆπον ἑαυτοῦ, καὶ ηὔξησεν καὶ ἐγένετο εἰς δένδρον, καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατεσκήνωσεν ἐν τοῖς κλάδοις αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the kingdom of God was like a mustard seed (ὁμοία ἐστὶν κόκκῳ σινάπεως) that someone took (ὃν λαβὼν ἄνθρωπος) and sowed in his garden (ἔβαλεν εἰς κῆπον ἑαυτοῦ).  Then it grew (καὶ ηὔξησεν) and became a tree (καὶ ἐγένετο εἰς δένδρον).  The birds of the air (καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ) made nests (κατεσκήνωσεν) in its branches (ἐν τοῖς κλάδοις αὐτοῦ).  Luke did not explicitly say that this mustard seed was the smallest seed, but implied it symbolically.  However, this seed could grow to become a tree or shrub where birds could nest.  There was no explanation of this parable, except the clear indication that the kingdom of God might start out small but would grow to hold many people.  This parable of the mustard seed can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 13:31-32, and Mark, chapter 4:31-32, plus here.  Jesus, via Mark, said that the kingdom of God was like a mustard seed or a grain of mustard.  When planted in the ground, it is the smallest of all seeds on earth.  But when it has grown after being planted, it becomes greater than all the garden plants or shrubs.  It then produced great branches.  Thus, the birds of the air would be able to come and perch or build nests in the shade of its branches.  What started out small can become quite large.  Jesus, via Matthew, explicitly presented them with another short parable.  He said that the kingdom of heaven, not the kingdom of God, was like a mustard seed.  A man planted this seed in his field.  When planted, it was the smallest of all seeds.  But when it was grown, it was the greatest of garden plants or shrubs.  It then became a tree.  Thus, the birds of the air could come and perch or build nests in its branches.  What started out small can become quite large. Do you know something small that became large?

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Heal the daughter of Abraham (Lk 13:16-13:16)

“Ought not this woman,

A daughter of Abraham,

Whom Satan bound

For eighteen years,

Be set free

From this bondage

On the Sabbath day?”

 

ταύτην δὲ θυγατέρα Ἀβραὰμ οὖσαν, ἣν ἔδησεν ὁ Σατανᾶς ἰδοὺ δέκα καὶ ὀκτὼ ἔτη, οὐκ ἔδει λυθῆναι ἀπὸ τοῦ δεσμοῦ τούτου τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ σαββάτου;

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said that this daughter of Abraham (ταύτην δὲ θυγατέρα Ἀβραὰμ), whom Satan had bound up (οὖσαν, ἣν ἔδησεν ὁ Σατανᾶς ἰδοὺ) for 18 years (δέκα καὶ ὀκτὼ ἔτη), ought to be set free from this bondage (οὐκ ἔδει λυθῆναι ἀπὸ τοῦ δεσμοῦ τούτου) on the Sabbath day (τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ σαββάτου).  Jesus wondered why this daughter of Abraham, a Jewish woman, should not be freed from her 18-year long Satan bondage on the Sabbath.  In other words, her infirmity was explicitly due to her Satanic possession.  Do you know anyone who has suffered from the same disease for 18 years?

Jesus blessed the loaves and fishes (Lk 9:16-9:16)

“Taking

The five loaves

And the two fish,

Jesus looked up

To heaven.

He blessed them.

He broke them.

He gave them

To the disciples

To set before

The crowd.”

 

λαβὼν δὲ τοὺς πέντε ἄρτους καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας, ἀναβλέψας εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν εὐλόγησεν αὐτοὺς καὶ κατέκλασεν, καὶ ἐδίδου τοῖς μαθηταῖς παραθεῖναι τῷ ὄχλῳ.

 

Luke said that Jesus took (λαβὼν) the 5 loaves (δὲ τοὺς πέντε ἄρτους) and the 2 fish (καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας).  He looked up to heaven (ἀναβλέψας εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν).  He blessed them (εὐλόγησεν αὐτοὺς).  He broke them (καὶ κατέκλασεν).  He gave them to his disciples (αὶ ἐδίδου τοῖς μαθηταῖς) to set before the crowd (παραθεῖναι τῷ ὄχλῳ).  This is the only blessing miracle that is recorded in all four gospels, Matthew, chapter 14:18-19, Mark, chapter 6:41, and John, chapter 6:12, plus here.  The blessing of the bread and the fish was exactly the same in all the synoptic gospels, but merely summarized in John.  This feeding of a large group of people harkens back to the Exodus story, chapter 16:1-36, about the manna and the quails in the wilderness.  Yet the blessing itself has almost a foretaste of the Eucharistic Last Supper of Jesus, when Jesus blessed and broke the bread.  Mark said that Jesus took the 5 loaves and the 2 fish.  He looked up to heaven.  He blessed them.  Then he broke up the loaves of bread into pieces.  He gave the loaves of bread to his disciples.  They, in turn, set the broken pieces of bread or served them to the crowd.  Jesus also divided or shared the 2 fish among them all, something that Luke did not mention explicitly.  Matthew indicated that Jesus told his disciples to bring him the food, the 5 loaves of bread and the 2 fish.  Then he ordered or directed the crowd to sit down on the grass.  He took the 5 loaves and the 2 fish.  He looked up to heaven.  He blessed them.  Then he broke the loaves of bread and the fishes into pieces.  He gave the loaves of bread to his disciples.  They, in turn, gave them to the crowd.  This almost sounds like a large later distribution of Holy Communion.  Have you ever been to a large communion service?

Unlawful on the Sabbath (Lk 6:2-6:2)

“But some of the Pharisees

Said.

‘Why are you doing

What is not lawful

To do on the Sabbath?’”

 

τινὲς δὲ τῶν Φαρισαίων εἶπαν Τί ποιεῖτε ὃ οὐκ ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν;

 

As per usual, the Pharisees pop up to complain and question the disciples of Jesus.  Luke said that some of the Pharisees said (τινὲς δὲ τῶν Φαρισαίων εἶπαν) that what the disciples of Jesus were doing was not lawful to do on the Sabbath (Τί ποιεῖτε ὃ οὐκ ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν).  They posed it as a question.  Matthew, chapter 12:2, and Mark, chapter 2:24, are similar to Luke, so that Mark may be the source of this incident.  Matthew said that Pharisees saw the disciples of Jesus plucking the grain on the Sabbath.  Deuteronomy, chapter 25:24-25, stated that it was okay to pluck the ears with your hand, but you could not put a sickle to your neighbor’s standing grain or carry it away in a container.  However, Exodus, chapter 34:21, explicitly said that you could not harvest grain on the Sabbath, but did not mention any hand picking.  Thus, the Pharisees said to Jesus that his disciples were doing unlawful things on the Sabbath by plucking the grain   Notice that Jesus was not doing this, only his disciples were.

Pharisees come to Jesus (Lk 5:17-5:17)

“One day,

While Jesus

Was teaching,

Pharisees

And teachers of the law

Were sitting nearby.

They had come

From every village

Of Galilee,

Judea,

And Jerusalem.

The power

Of the Lord

Was with Jesus

To heal.”

 

Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν μιᾷ τῶν ἡμερῶν καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν διδάσκων, καὶ ἦσαν καθήμενοι Φαρισαῖοι καὶ νομοδιδάσκαλοι οἳ ἦσαν ἐληλυθότες ἐκ πάσης κώμης τῆς Γαλιλαίας καὶ Ἰουδαίας καὶ Ἱερουσαλήμ· καὶ δύναμις Κυρίου ἦν εἰς τὸ ἰᾶσθαι αὐτόν.

 

Luke said that one day (Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν μιᾷ τῶν ἡμερῶν), while Jesus was teaching (καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν διδάσκων), Pharisees (Φαρισαῖοι) and teachers of the law (καὶ νομοδιδάσκαλοι), perhaps Scribes, were sitting nearby (καὶ ἦσαν καθήμενοι).  Apparently, they had come (οἳ ἦσαν ἐληλυθότες) from every village of Galilee (ἐκ πάσης κώμης τῆς Γαλιλαίας), Judea (καὶ Ἰουδαίας), and Jerusalem (καὶ Ἱερουσαλήμ).  This was a large gathering of Pharisees.  On that day, the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal people (καὶ δύναμις Κυρίου ἦν εἰς τὸ ἰᾶσθαι αὐτόν).  Matthew, chapter 9:1, had Jesus return to his home in Capernaum, after a boat trip on the Sea of Galilee.  Mark, chapter 2:1, said that when Jesus returned to Capernaum, after some days on the road, people heard that he was at home in his house.  Thus, Capernaum, according to Matthew, had become his own home town, while Mark mentioned that he was in his house or home in Capernaum.  Luke did not explicitly mention Capernaum.  However, neither Mark or Matthew mentioned any gathering of Pharisees and Scribes, like Luke did here.

Preaching a baptism of repentance (Lk 3:3-3:3)

“John went

Into all the region

Around the Jordan River.

He was proclaiming

A baptism

Of repentance

For the forgiveness

Of sins.”

 

καὶ ἦλθεν εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν περίχωρον τοῦ Ἰορδάνου κηρύσσων βάπτισμα μετανοίας εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν,

 

This section of Luke is very similar to all the other 4 gospel stories.  Luke explicitly said that John went into all the region around the Jordan River (καὶ ἦλθεν εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν περίχωρον τοῦ Ἰορδάνου).  Mark, chapter 1:4, had the simple statement that John the Baptizer, appeared in the wilderness or desert, without mentioning the Jordan River.  However, Luke was actually closer to Mark, since he used the exact same words about John’s preaching.  He indicated that John was proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (κηρύσσων βάπτισμα μετανοίας εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν).  Matthew, chapter 3:2, said that the preaching message of John was very simple.  They should repent, turn their lives around, with a profound metanoia, a change of their spirit.  The equivalent about repentance, metanoia, or the change of heart can also be found in both Mark and Luke.  Matthew had John say that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, coming near.  The other canonical gospel writers did not use this term “kingdom of heaven.”  John, chapter l:19-29, had a long dialogue with John and the priests and Levites about what he was doing.  How and what John did before or after this preaching in the wilderness did not matter.  He was there proclaiming a baptism of repentance, a life change, or a metanoia, to have sins or faults forgiven or wiped away.

Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene (Mk 16:9-16:9)

“Now when Jesus

Rose early

On the first day

Of the week,

He appeared first

To Mary Magdalene,

From whom

He had cast out

Seven demons.”

 

Ἀναστὰς δὲ πρωῒ πρώτῃ σαββάτου ἐφάνη πρῶτον Μαρίᾳ τῇ Μαγδαληνῇ, παρ’ ἧς ἐκβεβλήκει ἑπτὰ δαιμόνια.

 

Next, we have the longer ending of Mark that contains the appearances or apparitions of the risen Jesus that can be found in the other gospel stories.  This too was an addition to the original ending, but it was in Greek, probably from the late second or early third century.  It was included in the Latin Vulgate and the King James English version of the Bible, so that it is found in most Bibles today.  This particular text is similar to Matthew, chapter 28:9, where Jesus appeared to the women as they were leaving the tomb.  Luke, chapter 24:10, had the women tell the apostles about the resurrection, without Jesus appearing to them.  In John, chapter 20:14-17, Mary Magdalene has a conversation with the risen Jesus.  Clearly Mary Magdalene was involved in these incidents at the tomb.  Here Mark said that the risen Jesus (Ἀναστὰς) first appeared to Mary Magdalene (ἐφάνη πρῶτον Μαρίᾳ τῇ Μαγδαληνῇ,) early on the first day of the week (δὲ πρωῒ πρώτῃ σαββάτου).  In this unique text, it explicitly said that this was the Mary Magdalene that Jesus had cast out 7 demons from (παρ’ ἧς ἐκβεβλήκει ἑπτὰ δαιμόνια).