Peace or the sword (Mt 10:34-10:34)

“Do not think

That I have come

To bring peace

To the earth.

I have not come

To bring peace,

But a sword.”

 

Μὴ νομίσητε ὅτι ἦλθον βαλεῖν εἰρήνην ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν· οὐκ ἦλθον βαλεῖν εἰρήνην ἀλλὰ μάχαιραν.

 

This verse of Matthew is similar to Luke, chapter 12:51, indicating a Q source.  Luke said that Jesus had come to bring division, not a sword, like here.  Jesus was a disrupter.  They should not think (Μὴ νομίσητε) that Jesus has come to bring peace on earth (ὅτι ἦλθον βαλεῖν εἰρήνην ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν).  He has not come to bring peace (οὐκ ἦλθον βαλεῖν εἰρήνην), but quite the opposite, to bring the sword (ἀλλὰ μάχαιραν), much like the Old Testament Hebrew prophets, especially Ezekiel, chapter 38:21.  The sword meant war not peace.  Jesus was not a peacemaker, but a sign of contraction.

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Jesus is homeless (Mt 8:20-8:20)

“Jesus said to him.

‘Foxes have holes.

Birds of the air

Have nests.

But the Son of Man

Has nowhere

To lay his head.’”

 

καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Αἱ ἀλώπεκες φωλεοὺς ἔχουσιν καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνώσεις, ὁ δὲ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἔχει ποῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν κλίνῃ.

 

This saying of Jesus is exactly the same in Luke, chapter 9:58, indicating a possible Q source.  Jesus responded to this scribe (καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς) by telling him that he was homeless.  Foxes had foxholes (Αἱ ἀλώπεκες φωλεοὺς ἔχουσιν).  Birds of the air had nests (καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνώσεις).  However, the Son of Man (ὁ δὲ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) had nowhere to put his head (οὐκ ἔχει ποῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν κλίνῃ).  This is the first instance of Matthew having Jesus say that he was the “Son of Man” (Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου), since this might be based on the Book of Daniel, chapter 7:13.  Daniel also saw in his night vision that the “son of man” was coming from heaven.  This Son of Man went to the Ancient One and presented himself to God.  However, he was given dominion, glory and kingship over all people, nations, and languages.  Everyone would serve him, since his kingdom would last forever, and never be destroyed.  This has been often interpreted as the coming of the Messiah, the savior.  Jesus and his disciples used this term.  However, in the Book of Ezekiel, Yahweh used this term for Ezekiel.  So that, the “Son of Man” may also mean that Jesus was trying to point out his humanity, like everyone else.

False prophets (Mt 7:15-7:15)

“Beware of false prophets!

They come to you

In sheep’s clothing.

But inwardly they are

Ravenous wolves.”

 

Προσέχετε ἀπὸ τῶν ψευδοπροφητῶν, οἵτινες ἔρχονται πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐν ἐνδύμασιν προβάτων ἔσωθεν δέ εἰσιν λύκοι ἅρπαγες.

 

Another great Old Testament theme was the warning against false prophets, as can be found in Jeremiah, chapters 5:6, 5:31, and 6:12-15, Ezekiel, chapter 22:27-28, Zechariah, chapter 13:2, and Micah, chapter 3:5-8.  Mark, chapter 13:22 had a similar warning from Jesus.  The followers of Jesus should be on guard, should pay attention, and be aware (Προσέχετε) of these false or pseudo prophets (ἀπὸ τῶν ψευδοπροφητῶν).  They come to them with their sheep’s clothing (οἵτινες ἔρχονται πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐν ἐνδύμασιν προβάτων), but inwardly they are ravenous wolves (ἔσωθεν δέ εἰσιν λύκοι ἅρπαγες).  These false prophets look like meek sheep, but they are really like veracious wolves.

Jesus’ baptism (Mt 3:16-3:16)

“When Jesus had been baptized,

Just as he came up

From the water,

Suddenly,

The heavens were opened

To him.

He saw

The Spirit of God

Descending

Like a dove,

Alighting on him.”

 

βαπτισθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εὐθὺς ἀνέβη ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕδατος· καὶ ἰδοὺ ἠνεῴχθησαν οἱ οὐρανοί, καὶ εἶδεν Πνεῦμα Θεοῦ καταβαῖνον ὡσεὶ περιστερὰν ἐρχόμενον ἐπ’ αὐτόν·

 

The four gospel stories show what happend to Jesus after he had been baptized (βαπτισθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  As Jesus immediately emerged from the water (εὐθὺς ἀνέβη ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕδατος), the heavens opened up or broke open to him (καὶ ἰδοὺ ἠνεῴχθησαν οἱ οὐρανοί), a theme found among the prophets Isaiah, chapter 63:19, and Ezekiel, chapter 1:1.  Thus, Matthew made another connection with the Hebrew prophets.  Jesus saw the Holy Spirit of God (καὶ εἶδεν Πνεῦμα Θεοῦ) descend on him (καταβαῖνον ἐρχόμενον ἐπ’ αὐτόν) like a dove (ὡσεὶ περιστερὰν).  As Jesus came up from the water, not during the baptism itself, the Holy Spirit, as a dove, came to stay on Jesus.  Just as the dove after the great flood in Genesis, chapter 8:8-12, heralded a new age, so too Jesus would preach the good news in this new age.  With his prophetic vocation, Jesus was anointed with power to begin his public ministry of healing and exorcising.  The later concept of the anointing of Jesus with the Spirit referred to this action of the dove, after his baptism in the Jordan.  There was a clear distinction between the baptism of Jesus himself, and the specific dove bestowal of the Spirit that followed.  Despite the fact that there was no indication of any real anointing in any of these baptismal accounts of Jesus, the coming of the Spirit, in the form of a dove, was considered a symbolic anointing of Jesus within the Judaic prophetic line.  This incident functioned as the basis for an understanding of Jesus’ metaphorical anointing as “the anointed one,” “Christ.”  This symbolic metaphorical anointing action gathered many of the Hebrew bible strands of a messianic king, a sacerdotal high priest, a servant, and a prophet into this one event.   Within this process, the messianic time began with a pre-figuration of what was going to take place at the later Pentecost event, when the fullness of the Spirit came to all the followers of Jesus.

The three major later prophets

The later prophets are what we normally think of as prophets.  They stood out against authority and asked people to reform their ways to that of Yahweh, their God.  They were writing prophets, as opposed to the early prophets who did not write, but were written about.  These later prophets are normally divided into the three major prophets and the twelve Minor Prophets.  There were three famous major writing prophets whose works are very long.  Isaiah lived in the 8th century BCE, but his work was not finished until around the 6th century BCE.  On the other hand, Jeremiah and Ezekiel were 6th century BCE prophetic writers around the time of the Babylonian Exile.

Jonah runs away to Tarshish (Jon 1:3-1:3)

“But Jonah set out

To flee

To Tarshish,

From the presence

Of Yahweh.

He went down

To Joppa.

There he found a ship

Going to Tarshish.

He paid the fare.

He went on board,

To go with them

To Tarshish.

He wanted to get away

From the presence

Of Yahweh.”

Unlike all the other prophets, Jonah refused his mission.  He decided to run away to Tarshish, probably in Spain, as far away as he could get from Yahweh and Israel at that time.  Most of the ancient people considered it to be the end of the world.  Tarshish was often mentioned in the biblical literature as a rich ship building area, as in Isaiah, chapter 23 and Ezekiel, chapter 27.  Jonah went to Joppa, a seacoast town on the Mediterranean Sea.  There, he had enough money to purchase a fare to board a ship headed for Tarshish.  He really wanted to get away from the presence of Yahweh, as far as he could go.

Oracle of Yahweh (Ob 1:1-1:1)

“Thus says Yahweh

Concerning Edom.

We have heard a report

From Yahweh.

A messenger has been sent

Among my nations.

‘Rise up!

Let us rise against it

For battle.’”

The Israelites had a long history with Edom because they believed that Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, had founded this country.  The Book of Genesis listed the kings of Edom in chapter 36.  The country of Edom was south of the Dead Sea, south of Moab and south of Judah.  It eventually stopped being a country with most of the people drifting into southern Judah.  Many of the prophets had spoken against the Edomites, including Jeremiah, chapter 49, Isaiah, chapter 34, Ezekiel, chapter 25, Amos, chapter 1, and Joel, chapter 3.  This was a report from Yahweh, since he had sent his messengers to the various countries.  They were to rise up and get ready for the battle.