The bridegroom is here (Lk 5:34-5:34)

“Jesus said to them.

‘You cannot make

Wedding guests fast

While the bridegroom

Is with them.

Can you?’”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς Μὴ δύνασθε τοὺς υἱοὺς τοῦ νυμφῶνος, ἐν ᾧ ὁ νυμφίος μετ’ αὐτῶν ἐστιν, ποιῆσαι νηστεῦσαι;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus asked them with a question (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς).  Would they ask the sons of the bridal chamber (Μὴ δύνασθε τοὺς υἱοὺς τοῦ νυμφῶνος,), the wedding guests, to fast (ποιῆσαι νηστεῦσαι), as long as the bridegroom was with them (ἐν ᾧ ὁ νυμφίος μετ’ αὐτῶν ἐστιν)?  Mark, chapter 2:20, and Matthew, chapter 9:15, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this saying of Jesus.  Mark indicated that Jesus directly responded to the disciples of John, as he compared himself to a bridegroom.  Thus, the wedding guests were not able to mourn, while the bridegroom, Jesus, was with them.  Fasting was often associated with distress and mourning.  As long as Jesus, the bridegroom, was around them, they were not able or could not fast, because this was a time of joy and good news, not fasting.

Make this stone into bread (Lk 4:3-4:3)

“The devil

Said to Jesus.

‘If you are

The Son of God,

Command this stone

To become

A loaf of bread!’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ διάβολος Εἰ Υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ Θεοῦ, εἰπὲ τῷ λίθῳ τούτῳ ἵνα γένηται ἄρτος.

 

Once again, this is the same as Matthew, chapter 4:3, nearly word for word.  Luke said that this devil spoke to Jesus (εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ διάβολος) after he had endured this 40 day fast.  Jesus was really hungry at this time.  Then this devil taunted Jesus by telling him that if he was truly the son of God (Εἰ Υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ Θεοῦ), he could just say the word and make a stone turn into a loaf of bread (εἰπὲ τῷ λίθῳ τούτῳ ἵνα γένηται ἄρτος).  Then Jesus could eat this loaf of bread and take away his hunger.  This terminology of the “Son of God” indicated a special relationship with God.  Matthew called this devil, the tempter.

No fasting while the bridegroom was present (Mk 2:19-2:19)

“Jesus said to them.

‘The wedding guests

Cannot fast

While the bridegroom

Is with them.

Can they?

As long as they have

The bridegroom

With them,

They cannot fast.”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς Μὴ δύνανται οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ νυμφῶνος ἐν ᾧ ὁ νυμφίος μετ’ αὐτῶν ἐστιν νηστεύειν; ὅσον χρόνον ἔχουσιν τὸν νυμφίον μετ’ αὐτῶν, οὐ δύνανται νηστεύειν.

 

Luke, chapter 5:34, and Matthew, chapter 9:15, are similar to Mark, so that Mark might be the source of this saying of Jesus.  Matthew also spoke about mourning, since fasting was associated with distress.  Mark indicated that Jesus spoke directly in response to the disciples of John (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  He compared himself to a bridegroom (ὁ νυμφίος).  The wedding guests or the sons of the bride chamber were not able to mourn (Μὴ δύνανται οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ νυμφῶνος…νηστεύειν), while the bridegroom, Jesus, was with them (ἐν ᾧ ὁ νυμφίος μετ’ αὐτῶν ἐστιν).  As long as Jesus, the bridegroom, was around them, they were not able or could not fast (ὅσον χρόνον ἔχουσιν τὸν νυμφίον μετ’ αὐτῶν, οὐ δύναντα νηστεύειν).  This was a time of joy and good news, not fasting.

Second narrative

This second narrative centered around the Sermon on the Mount and the famous so-called Beatitudes.  The first beatitude was about poverty, while the second beatitude was about mourning.  The third beatitude was about the meek or the humble.  The fourth beatitude was about righteousness.  The fifth beatitude was on mercy, while the sixth beatitude was about the pure of heart.  The seventh beatitude was on peacemakers, while the eighth beatitude was on persecution.  There was a grand blessing for the persecuted Christians, who were the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  They had to value and become the lighted lamp.

Next came the law and the prophets.  The law with all its commandments remained.  The righteous ones would not murder, nor would they get angry with insults.  They would offer their gifts at the Temple.  They would pay their debts and not commit adultery.  Jesus warned against the sinning eye and the sinning right hand.  He favored the traditional divorce stance, but warned about marrying a divorced woman.  They should not bear false witness, nor swear at all, since they should have a simple speech.  No longer was it an eye for an eye, but rather turn the other cheek with unusual kindness.  They were to love their enemies and their heavenly Father with a perfect love.

The followers of Jesus should fast and pray.  We should have piety with almsgiving.  Our charity and prayer should be secret with short prayers.  Thus, there was the famous “Our Father” prayer.  The first part of the Lord’s prayer was about God the Father.  The second part of the Lord’s prayer was about our human problems.  We should seek forgiveness and fast in secret.  We should not want earthly treasures, but heavenly treasures.  We need to have a healthy eye because we cannot serve two masters.

We should trust in Providence.  We do not need to worry.  Just look at the birds who do not worry.  The lilies of the field have more beauty than Solomon in all his glory.  Seek the kingdom of heaven first and you will not have to worry about tomorrow.

As far as judgment was concerned, do not judge the speck in the eye of your neighbor.  Be careful with your holy treasures.  Be seekers and give to your sons.  Pray to your heavenly Father and follow the golden rule.  The gate was narrow and there were many false prophets.  Know them by their fruits.  The sound tree has good fruits.  Cut down the bad tree.  Seek the kingdom of heaven.  Stay away from evildoers.  Wise men build on a rock foundation, while the foolish ones build on a sand foundation.  The crowds were astonished at the authority of Jesus.

No fasting with the bridegroom present (Mt 9:15-9:15)

“Jesus said to them.

‘The wedding guests

Cannot mourn

As long as

The bridegroom

Is with them.

The days will come,

When the bridegroom

Is taken away

From them,

Then they will fast.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς Μὴ δύνανται οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ νυμφῶνος πενθεῖν ἐφ’ ὅσον μετ’ αὐτῶν ἐστιν ὁ νυμφίος; ἐλεύσονται δὲ ἡμέραι ὅταν ἀπαρθῇ ἀπ’ αὐτῶν ὁ νυμφίος, καὶ τότε νηστεύσουσιν.

 

This bridegroom story is almost the same as in Mark, chapter 2:19-20, and Luke, chapter 5:34-35.  Jesus spoke directly in response to the disciples of John (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  He compared himself to a bridegroom (ὁ νυμφίος).  The wedding guests or the sons of the bride chamber were not able to mourn (Μὴ δύνανται οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ νυμφῶνος πενθεῖν), while the bridegroom, Jesus, was with them (ἐφ’ ὅσον μετ’ αὐτῶν ἐστιν ὁ νυμφίος).  However, when the days came when the bridegroom of Jesus was taken away from them (ἐλεύσονται δὲ ἡμέραι ὅταν ἀπαρθῇ ἀπ’ αὐτῶν ὁ νυμφίος,), after his death, then they would fast (καὶ τότε νηστεύσουσιν).  Fasting would come when Jesus was gone.

The disciples of John (Mt 9:14-9:14)

“Then the disciples

Of John

Came to Jesus.

Saying.

‘Why do we,

As well as the Pharisees,

Fast?

But your disciples

Do not fast.’”

 

Τότε προσέρχονται αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ Ἰωάνου λέγοντες Διὰ τί ἡμεῖς καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι νηστεύομεν, οἱ δὲ μαθηταί σου οὐ νηστεύουσιν;

 

This response of Jesus is almost the same as in Mark, chapter 2:18, and Luke, chapter 5:33.  The disciples of John the Baptist showed up here as in Mark and Luke, wanting to know why the disciples of Jesus did not fast.  These disciples of John came to Jesus (Τότε προσέρχονται αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ Ἰωάνου) since John was in jail.  They seemed to be on the side of the Pharisees, and not followers of Jesus, as they wondered why they and the Pharisees were often fasting or abstaining from food (λέγοντες Διὰ τί ἡμεῖς καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι νηστεύομεν), while the disciples of Jesus were not fasting (οἱ δὲ μαθηταί σου οὐ νηστεύουσιν).

Fasting (Mt 6:16-6:16)

“When you fast,

Do not look gloomy,

Like the hypocrites!

They disfigure

Their faces

So as to show others

That they are fasting.

Truly,

I say to you!

‘They have received

Their reward.’”

 

Ὅταν δὲ νηστεύητε, μὴ γίνεσθε ὡς οἱ ὑποκριταὶ σκυθρωποί· ἀφανίζουσιν γὰρ τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῶν ὅπως φανῶσιν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις νηστεύοντες· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀπέχουσιν τὸν μισθὸν αὐτῶν.

 

Once again, this saying of Jesus is unique to Matthew.  The phraseology and content are similar to the earlier comments on almsgiving.  When you fast (Ὅταν δὲ νηστεύητε), you should not be like the hypocrites (ὡς οἱ ὑποκριταὶ).  The Greek word “οἱ ὑποκριταὶ” originally meant actors or someone who sought praise, while acting deceitfully.  According to Matthew, these hypocrites were usually the enemies of Jesus.  In this case they looked sad, dismal or gloomy (σκυθρωποί) since they were deliberately disfiguring their faces (ἀφανίζουσιν γὰρ τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῶν).  Thus, other people could see that they were fasting (ὅπως φανῶσιν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις νηστεύοντες).  Some pious Jews would fast twice a week.  Jesus also fasted for 40 days, so his followers could fast also.  As usual, Matthew has Jesus give a solemn saying (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) concluding that these men who sought human approval have already received their reward here on earth (ἀπέχουσιν τὸν μισθὸν αὐτῶν).