The crushing stone (Lk 20:18-20:18)

“Everyone who falls

On that stone

Will be broken

To pieces.

It will crush anyone

On whom it falls.”

 

πᾶς ὁ πεσὼν ἐπ’ ἐκεῖνον τὸν λίθον συνθλασθήσεται· ἐφ’ ὃν δ’ ἂν πέσῃ, λικμήσει αὐτόν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that anyone who fell on that cornerstone (πᾶς ὁ πεσὼν ἐπ’ ἐκεῖνον τὸν λίθον) would be broken or shattered into pieces (συνθλασθήσεται).  This cornerstone would crush or grind anyone into powder (λικμήσει αὐτόν) on whom it fell (ἐφ’ ὃν δ’ ἂν πέσῃ).  This is exactly the same in some manuscripts of Matthew 21:44.  However, there is nothing like this in MarkMatthew indicated that Jesus came back to his cornerstone idea.  If anyone fell on this key stone (καὶ ὁ πεσὼν ἐπὶ τὸν λίθον), they would be broken or shattered into pieces (τοῦτον συνθλασθήσεται).  If this corner stone fell on anyone (ἐφ’ ὃν δ’ ἂν πέσῃ), it would crush and grind them into powder (λικμήσει αὐτόν).  You had to be careful with this cornerstone, Jesus.  Have you ever noticed cornerstones in public buildings?

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Divided kingdom (Lk 11:17-11:17)

“But Jesus knew

What they were thinking.

He said to them.

‘Every kingdom

Divided against itself

Becomes desolate.

One house falls

On another house.”

 

αὐτὸς δὲ εἰδὼς αὐτῶν τὰ διανοήματα εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Πᾶσα βασιλεία ἐφ’ ἑαυτὴν διαμερισθεῖσα ἐρημοῦται, καὶ οἶκος ἐπὶ οἶκον πίπτει.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus knew what they were thinking (αὐτὸς δὲ εἰδὼς αὐτῶν τὰ διανοήματα).  He said to them (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that every kingdom (Πᾶσα βασιλεία) divided against itself (ἐφ’ ἑαυτὴν διαμερισθεῖσα) becomes desolate (ἐρημοῦται).  One house falls against another house (καὶ οἶκος ἐπὶ οἶκον πίπτει).  There were similar statements in Mark, chapter 3:24-25, and Matthew, chapter 12:25.  Mark indicated that Jesus responded to the Scribes with his house divided remarks.  Jesus said to them that if a kingdom was divided against itself, that kingdom would not be able to stand.  If a house was divided against itself that house would not be able to endure.  This was one of President Abraham Lincoln’s (1809-1865) favorite biblical passages about slavery.  Matthew said that Jesus knew what the inner thoughts of the Pharisees were, so that he said to them that every kingdom divided against itself would be destroyed.  No city or house divided against itself could endure for a long time.  This was a very strong argument against Jesus and Beelzebul working together.  What do you think the relationship of Jesus to the devil is?

The falling cornerstone (Mt 21:44-21:44)

“The one who falls

On this stone

Will be broken

To pieces.

It will crush anyone

On whom it falls.”

 

καὶ ὁ πεσὼν ἐπὶ τὸν λίθον τοῦτον συνθλασθήσεται· ἐφ’ ὃν δ’ ἂν πέσῃ, λικμήσει αὐτόν

 

This is exactly the same in Luke 20:18, but it is missing in many manuscripts of Matthew.  Jesus came back to his cornerstone idea.  If anyone fell on this key stone (καὶ ὁ πεσὼν ἐπὶ τὸν λίθον), they would be broken or shattered into pieces (τοῦτον συνθλασθήσεται).  If this stone fell on anyone (ἐφ’ ὃν δ’ ἂν πέσῃ), it would crush and grind them into powder (λικμήσει αὐτόν).  You had to be careful with this cornerstone.

The disciples could not heal the epileptic (Mt 17:15-17:16)

“The kneeling man said.

‘Lord!

Have mercy on my son!

He is an epileptic!

He suffers terribly!

He often falls

Into the fire.

He often falls

Into the water.

I brought him

To your disciples.

But they were not able

To cure him.’”

 

καὶ λέγων Κύριε, ἐλέησόν μου τὸν υἱόν, ὅτι σεληνιάζεται καὶ κακῶς ἔχει· πολλάκις γὰρ πίπτει εἰς τὸ πῦρ καὶ πολλάκις εἰς τὸ ὕδωρ.

καὶ προσήνεγκα αὐτὸν τοῖς μαθηταῖς σου, καὶ οὐκ ἠδυνήθησαν αὐτὸν θεραπεῦσαι.

 

The story of the man with the incurable epileptic son can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 9:17-18, Luke, chapter 9:38-40, and here in Matthew, but there are minor differences in all 3 accounts.  Here it is the kneeling man, and not someone from the crowd who yells out to Jesus.  He addressed Jesus as the Lord (καὶ λέγων Κύριε).  He wanted Jesus to have mercy on his son (ἐλέησόν μου τὸν υἱόν), who was an epileptic (ὅτι σεληνιάζεται).  Epileptics were often considered to be possessed by the devil.  Even today, we are still unsure of the exact cause of epilepsy seizures.  This man’s son suffered very badly (καὶ κακῶς ἔχει).  He often fell into a fire (πολλάκις γὰρ πίπτει εἰς τὸ πῦρ) and into water (καὶ πολλάκις εἰς τὸ ὕδωρ).  Then there is the kicker that he had asked Jesus’s disciples to cure his son (καὶ προσήνεγκα αὐτὸν τοῖς μαθηταῖς σου), but they were not able to cure him (καὶ οὐκ ἠδυνήθησαν αὐτὸν θεραπεῦσαι).  Why were the disciples of Jesus unable to cure his son?

Jesus compares sheep to human beings (Mt 12:11-12:12)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Suppose one of you

Has only one sheep.

If it falls into a pit

On the Sabbath,

Will you not lay hold of it?

Will you not lift it out?

How much more valuable

Is a human being

Than a sheep!

Thus,

It is lawful to do good

On the Sabbath.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Τίς ἔσται ἐξ ὑμῶν ἄνθρωπος ὃς ἕξει πρόβατον ἕν, καὶ ἐὰν ἐμπέσῃ τοῦτο τοῖς σάββασιν εἰς βόθυνον, C

πόσῳ οὖν διαφέρει ἄνθρωπος προβάτου. ὥστε ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν καλῶς ποιεῖν.

 

Matthew has Jesus respond to the Pharisees with his own example about sheep and humans.  This is somewhat similar to Mark, chapter 3:3-4, and Luke, chapter 6:8-9, but Matthew was the only one who compared sheep to humans.  Jesus posed a question to the Pharisees (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς).  Suppose a man had only one sheep (Τίς ἔσται ἐξ ὑμῶν ἄνθρωπος ὃς ἕξει πρόβατον ἕν).  Suppose this one sheep fell into a pit or a ditch on the Sabbath (καὶ ἐὰν ἐμπέσῃ τοῦτο τοῖς σάββασιν εἰς βόθυνον).  Would this man not grab it and lift it out of the pit (καὶ ἐὰν ἐμπέσῃ τοῦτο τοῖς σάββασιν εἰς βόθυνον)?  Just think, how much more valuable are human being when compared to a sheep (πόσῳ οὖν διαφέρει ἄνθρωπος προβάτου)!  Thus, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath (ὥστε ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν καλῶς ποιεῖν).  If you help sheep on the Sabbath, surely you can help humans on the Sabbath.

The good wife (Sir 26:1-26:4)

“Happy is the husband

Of a good wife.

The number of his days

Will be doubled.

A loyal wife brings joy

To her husband.

He will complete

His years in peace.

A good wife is

A great blessing.

She will be granted

Among the blessings

Of the man who fears the Lord.

Whether rich or poor,

His heart is content.

At all times,

His face is cheerful.”

Now we see the opposite, the good wife.   Sirach says that a husband will be happy if he has a good loyal wife. She will bring joy to her husband. He will live twice as long, and complete his years in peace. This good wife is a great blessing, especially for those who fear the Lord. Whether rich or poor, he will be content at all times with the cheerful face of his good wife. It seems that the burden of any marriage falls on the wife rather than the husband.

The uncertainty of life (Eccl 11:1-11:3)

“Send out your bread upon the waters.

After many days

You will get it back.

Divide your means seven ways,

Or even eight.

You do not know

What disaster may happen on earth.

When clouds are full,

They empty rain on the earth.

Whether a tree falls to the south

Or to the north,

In the place where the tree falls,

There it will lie.”

Qoheleth reminds us of the uncertainty of life itself. He wanted people to put their bread on the waters. He wanted people to take chances because it might return to them with some kind of profit. You should not keep all your eggs in one basket. You should spread out your resources into 7 or 8 places. You never know when some disaster might hit. The clouds could send rain. When a tree falls, no matter in what direction, it will lie there where it fell.