The reaction of Jesus’ family (Mk 3:21-3:21)

“When his family

Heard it,

They went out

To restrain Jesus.

People were saying.

‘He has gone

Out of his mind.’”

 

καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ παρ’ αὐτοῦ ἐξῆλθον κρατῆσαι αὐτόν· ἔλεγον γὰρ ὅτι ἐξέστη.

 

This is another unique saying of Mark.  He said that when the family of Jesus, without being specific about which members of this family, heard about the crowds and Jesus (καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ παρ’ αὐτοῦ), they went out to restrain or get hold of him (ἐξῆλθον κρατῆσαι αὐτόν).  People were saying that Jesus had gone out of his mind or was astonishing (ἔλεγον γὰρ ὅτι ἐξέστη).  There is always a fine line between genius and madness.  His family must have felt that Jesus had gone too far.  In general, gospel writers indicate that the relatives and family of Jesus, seem to have misunderstood what his role was.

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The hand of Yahweh (Ezek 3:22-3:23)

“The hand of Yahweh

Was upon me there.

He said to me.

‘Rise up!

Go out

Into the valley!

There I will speak

With you.’

So I rose up.

I went out

Into the valley.

The glory of Yahweh

Stood there,

Like the glory

That I had seen

By the river Chebar.

I fell on my face.”

Ezekiel felt the hand of Yahweh on him. Then Yahweh told him to get up and go into the valley, which would have been the southern Tigris and Euphrates River valley. Yahweh was going to tell him something there. Ezekiel then got up and went into the valley as Yahweh had asked him to do. There the glory of Yahweh appeared to him, just like it had done by the Chebar River earlier in this chapter and in chapter one. Ezekiel then fell on his face out of reverence for the glory of Yahweh. Thus both the hand of Yahweh and the glory of Yahweh represent how God appeared to Ezekiel.

The false pursuits (Bar 3:15-3:19)

“Who has found

Her place?

Who has entered

Her storehouses?

Where are the rulers

Of the nations?

Where are those

Who lorded it over

The animals on earth?

Where are those

Who have made sport

Of the birds of the air?

Where are those

Who hoarded up

Silver with gold

In which people trust ?

Where are those

With no end

To their getting?

Where are those

Who schemed

To get silver?

Where are those

Who are anxious?

There is no trace

Of their works.

They have vanished.

They have gone down

To Hades.

Others have arisen

In their place.”

Baruch talks about the vanity and uselessness of various life pursuits as in wisdom literature. What happens to people who store up treasures in a storehouse? Where are all the rulers of the various nations? Where are all the people who felt superior to animals. Where are the sportsmen who tried to shoot the birds in the air with their arrows? What happened to all those who hoarded up and put their trust in silver and gold? Where are all the people who never had enough? Where are those who schemed to get silver? Where are all the people who were so anxious? Baruch’s response is simple and clear. There is no trace of any of these people and their works. They have vanished and gone to hell, Hades, the Greek word for Sheol, the shadowy underworld that we often call hell. However, there are always others to take their place to do the same thing over and over again.

The reaction to this report (Jer 6:24-6:26)

“We have heard news of them.

Our hands fall helpless.

Anguish has taken hold of us.

We have pain

Like a woman in labor.

Do not go into the field!

Do not walk on the road!

The enemy has a sword.

Terror is on every side.

O daughter of my people!

Put on sackcloth!

Roll in ashes!

Make mourning

Like for an only child!

Make mourning

Like most bitter lamentations.

Suddenly the destroyer

Will come upon us.”

When the Israelites heard the news of this invasion, they felt helpless and anguished. They were pained like a woman in labor. They were told not to go into the fields or on the roads because terror or fear was everywhere. The sword was raised against them. Against all this, Jeremiah wanted these Israelites to put on sackcloth, roll in ashes, and go into mourning, as if they had lost their only child. They should lament because the destroyer would suddenly come upon them.

The prayer of Jeremiah (Jer 5:3-5:3)

“O Yahweh!

Do your eyes not look for truth?

You have struck them.

But they felt no anguish.

You have consumed them,

But they refused to take correction.

They have made their faces

Harder than a rock.

They have refused

To turn back,

To repent.”

Jeremiah offers this prayer to Yahweh. He knows that Yahweh seeks the truth. Even after being struck and punished by Yahweh, they still felt no anguish. They refused to take any corrections. Their faces have become harder than a rock. They have refused to turn and repent.

The reluctant response of Isaiah (Isa 6:5-6:5)

“I said.

‘Woe is me!

I am lost!

I am a man of unclean lips.

I live among a people of unclean lips.

Yet my eyes have seen

The King,

Yahweh of hosts!’”

Isaiah assumes the first personal singular with his response to this situation. He felt that he was lost, since he was a man of unclean lips, living with other unclean people. However, his eyes had seen Yahweh, the king and lord of all. There was a belief that if you saw God, Yahweh, you would die.

Betraying secrets (Sir 27:16-27:21)

“Whoever betrays secrets

Destroys confidence.

He will never find

A congenial friend.

Love your friend.

Keep faith with him.

But if you betray his secrets,

Do not follow after him.

As a person destroys

His enemy,

So you have destroyed

The friendship of your neighbor.

As you allow a bird to escape

From your hand,

So you have let your neighbor go.

You will not catch him again.

Do not go after him.

He is too far off.

He has escaped

Like a gazelle from a snare.

A wound may be bandaged.

There is reconciliation after abuse.

But whoever has betrayed secrets

Is without hope.”

Sirach is very harsh against those who betray secrets. When you betray a secret you destroy any confidence that another person has in you. You can never be their friend again. If you love your friend, you will not betray his secrets. Once you betray him, do not follow after him. Your friendship is destroyed. You have let the bird out of your hand that will never return. So too, your friendly neighbor is gone for good. He is like a gazelle that has escaped from a trap. You will never get him back. Then Sirach indicated how strong he felt about this. He said that it was easier to have a wound bandaged, and abusive behavior forgiven than making up after betraying a secret. There was no hope for the betrayer. Wow! Be careful when someone tells you a secret.