Bear the cross (Lk 14:27-14:27)

“Whoever does not carry

His cross

And follow me,

Cannot be my disciple.”

 

ὅστις οὐ βαστάζει τὸν σταυρὸν ἑαυτοῦ καὶ ἔρχεται ὀπίσω μου, οὐ δύναται εἶναί μου μαθητής.

 

Luke then had Jesus utter this famous saying about whoever does not carry his own cross (ὅστις οὐ βαστάζει τὸν σταυρὸν ἑαυτοῦ) and follow after him (καὶ ἔρχεται ὀπίσω μου), cannot be or is not able to be his disciple (οὐ δύναται εἶναί μου μαθητής).  This verse is similar to Matthew, chapter 10:38.  Matthew had Jesus repeat this remark that whoever did not take up his cross (καὶ ὃς οὐ λαμβάνει τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ) and follow after Jesus (καὶ ἀκολουθεῖ ὀπίσω μου,), was not worthy of him (οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος).  Matthew, chapter 16:24, had Jesus tell his disciples (Τότε ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ) that if anyone wanted to become his follower (Εἴ τις θέλει ὀπίσω μου ἐλθεῖν), they would have to deny themselves (ἀπαρνησάσθω ἑαυτὸν).  They would have to take up their cross (καὶ ἀράτω τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ) and follow him (καὶ ἀκολουθείτω μοι).  Mark, chapter 8:34, has the carrying of the cross as a condition of discipleship.  If you did not take up your cross (καὶ ὃς οὐ λαμβάνει τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ) and follow after Jesus (καὶ ἀκολουθεῖ ὀπίσω μου), you were not worthy of Jesus (οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος).  This assumes knowledge of the cross and suffering of Jesus.  To be a follower of Jesus, you had to follow him and take up his cross.  The hanging on the cross was the Roman way of punishment and execution.  After the death and resurrection of Jesus, the cross became a symbol of the death of Jesus.  Are you willing to take up the cross of Jesus?

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Gain the whole world (Lk 9:25-9:25)

“What does it

Profit a man,

If he gains

The whole world,

But loses

Or forfeits himself?”

 

τί γὰρ ὠφελεῖται ἄνθρωπος κερδήσας τὸν κόσμον ὅλον ἑαυτὸν δὲ ἀπολέσας ἢ ζημιωθείς;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus asked what would it profit a man (τί γὰρ ὠφελεῖται ἄνθρωπος), if he gained (κερδήσας) the whole world (τὸν κόσμον ὅλον), but lost, forfeited, or destroyed himself (ἑαυτὸν δὲ ἀπολέσας ἢ ζημιωθείς)?  This famous saying can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 16:26, Mark, chapter 8:36, and here, almost word for word.  Mark indicated that Jesus asked what was the profit or benefit for a person to gain the whole world, if they lost their life or soul?  Jesus asked what would a person give up in exchange for his life or soul?  Matthew also had the question about gaining the whole world.  What is the profit or benefit for a person to gain the whole world, if they lose their life or soul?  What will a person give in exchange for his life or soul?  Give up your life to Jesus, and you will live.  How important is profit or gain in your life?

All food is clean (Mk 7:19-7:19)

“Food enters,

Not the heart

But the stomach.

Then it goes out

Into the sewer.’

Thus,

Jesus declared

All foods clean.”

 

ὅτι οὐκ εἰσπορεύεται αὐτοῦ εἰς τὴν καρδίαν ἀλλ’ εἰς τὴν κοιλίαν, καὶ εἰς τὸν ἀφεδρῶνα ἐκπορεύεται, καθαρίζων πάντα τὰ βρώματα;

 

Mark was extremely descriptive here just as Matthew, chapter 15:17, explained this problem about unclean food.  Mark indicated that Jesus seemed a little upset that they still did not understand what he was telling them about defilement.  Jesus said that any food did not enter the heart (ὅτι οὐκ εἰσπορεύεται αὐτοῦ εἰς τὴν καρδίαν), but the stomach or belly (ἀλλ’ εἰς τὴν κοιλίαν).  From the stomach, it flowed out in a bowel movement that ended up in a sewer, latrine, or dung heap (καὶ εἰς τὸν ἀφεδρῶνα ἐκπορεύεται).  There was a famous saying that it is harder to sell corn after it has been eaten by a pig than before it was eaten.  Whatever went into your mouth would end up in a defecation anyway.  Thus, Jesus declared that all kinds of foods were cleansed or made clean (καθαρίζων πάντα τὰ βρώματα).  This would have been a major rejection of Jewish Torah law and the use of kosher food, since there was a major distinction between clean and unclean foods.  This saying of Mark about no more unclean foods was not in Matthew who was writing to a Jewish Christian audience, but it is here for this gentile Christian audience.  Luke omitted the whole question.

The peaceful reign of Yahweh (Mic 4:3-4:3)

“He shall judge

Between many people.

He shall arbitrate

Between strong nations far away.

They shall beat their swords

Into plowshares.

They shall turn their spears

Into pruning hooks.

Nation shall not lift up

Its sword

Against another nation.

Neither shall they learn

War anymore.”

This was a vision of a time of perpetual peace that is often cited by pacifists, exactly the same as an oracle in Isaiah, chapter 2, word for word.  Yahweh would arbitrate and judge all nations.  Then there is the famous saying that they would beat their swords into plows.  They would turn their spears into pruning hooks.  No one would lift a sword against anyone else.  People would forget how to wage war since no one would learn how to do it.  This is the utopian theocratic peace that has Jerusalem rule the world through Yahweh.  It has never happened and probably will not.

The Spirit of Yahweh and speechless Ezekiel (Ezek 3:24-3:27)

“But the Spirit

Entered into me.

He set me on my feet.

He spoke with me.

He said to me.

‘Go!

Shut yourself

Inside your house!

As for you,

Son of man,

Cords will be placed

On you.

You shall be bound

With them.

Thus you cannot go out

Among the people.

I will make your tongue

Cling to the roof

Of your mouth.

Thus you shall be

Speechless.

You will be unable

To reprove them.

They are a rebellious house.

But when I speak

With you,

I will open your mouth.

You shall say to them,

‘Thus says Yahweh God!

Let those who will hear,

Hear!

Let those who refuse to hear,

Refuse!

They are a rebellious house.’”

This is one of the few times that the Spirit of Yahweh or the Holy Spirit actually speaks to someone. This Holy Spirit entered into Ezekiel. He put him on his feet and spoke to him. He told Ezekiel, the son of man, to lock himself inside of his house. It is not clear where this house came from. Cords were going to be placed binding up Ezekiel, so that he could not go among the people. Then this Spirit was going to make Ezekiel’s tongue stick to the roof of his mouth, so that he would be speechless and unable to reprove this rebellious house. When Ezekiel would be allowed to speak later, he was to say the famous saying, ‘Thus says Yahweh God!’ Anyone who wanted to hear could hear. Or they could refuse to hear. After all, he was going to speak to this rebellious house who might not want to listen.

The call of Yahweh (Isa 22:12-22:14)

“In that day,

Yahweh,

God of hosts,

Called for weeping.

He called for mourning.

He called for baldness.

He called for putting on sackcloth.

But instead

There was joy.

There was festivity.

They killed oxen.

They slaughtered sheep.

They were eating meat.

They were drinking wine.

‘Let us eat!

Let us drink!

For tomorrow we die!’

Yahweh of hosts

Has revealed himself

In my ears.

‘Surely

This iniquity

Will not be forgiven you

Until you die.’

Says Yahweh,

God of hosts.”

On that day, Yahweh called on his people to weep and mourn. He wanted them to shave their heads and put on sackcloth because of the impending disaster. Instead, the people of Jerusalem decided to have a joyous festival. They killed oxen and sheep for their celebration, as they drank wine and ate meat. Then we have the famous saying that has endured through time. They cried out, “Let us eat and drink because tomorrow we die.” Yahweh of hosts was not pleased at this response. In fact, he told Isaiah explicitly that their iniquity would not be forgiven as long as they lived.

Perpetual peace from Jerusalem (Isa 2:2-2:4)

“In days to come

The mountain of Yahweh’s house

Shall be established

As the highest of the mountains.

It shall be raised above the hills.

All the nations shall stream to it.

Many people shall come.

They shall say.

‘Come!

Let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh!

Let us go to the house of the God of Jacob!

Thus he may teach us his ways.

Thus we may walk in his paths.’

Out of Zion

Shall go forth instruction.

The word of Yahweh

Comes from Jerusalem.

He shall judge

Between the nations.

He shall arbitrate for many people.

They shall beat their swords into plowshares.

They shall turn their spears into pruning hooks.

A nation shall not lift up its sword

Against another nation.

Neither shall they learn war anymore.”

Isaiah has a vision of a time of perpetual peace that is often cited by pacifists. However, it comes from Yahweh. The Lord’s house will be on the highest mountain above the hills at Zion in Jerusalem. All the nations of the world would come to the God of the house of Jacob, so that they could learn the ways and paths of Yahweh, the Lord God. Yahweh would arbitrate and judge all nations. Then there is the famous saying that they would beat their swords into plows. They would turn their spears into pruning hooks. No one would lift a sword against anyone else. People would forget how to wage war since no one would learn it. This is the utopian theocratic peace that has Jerusalem rule the world through Yahweh. It has never happened and probably will not.