Do not be afraid! (Lk 21:9-21:9)

“When you hear

Of wars

And insurrections,

Do not be terrified!

These things

Must take place first.

The end will not

Follow immediately.”

 

ὅταν δὲ ἀκούσητε πολέμους καὶ ἀκαταστασίας, μὴ πτοηθῆτε· δεῖ γὰρ ταῦτα γενέσθαι πρῶτον, ἀλλ’ οὐκ εὐθέως τὸ τέλος.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that when they heard of wars (ὅταν δὲ ἀκούσητε πολέμους) and insurrections (καὶ ἀκαταστασίας), they were not to be terrified (μὴ πτοηθῆτε).  These things had to take place first (δεῖ γὰρ ταῦτα γενέσθαι πρῶτον).  The end times would not follow immediately (ἀλλ’ οὐκ εὐθέως τὸ τέλος).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 24:6, and in Mark, chapter 13:7, almost word for word.  Mark indicated that Jesus told them that they would hear about wars or battles (ὅταν δὲ ἀκούσητε πολέμους) and rumors of wars (καὶ ἀκοὰς πολέμων).  They should not be alarmed (μὴ θροεῖσθε).  This was going to happen (δεῖ γενέσθαι).  However, this was not the end, since it was not near (ἀλλ’ οὔπω τὸ τέλος).  Matthew indicated that Jesus told them that they would hear about wars or battles (μελλήσετε δὲ ἀκούειν πολέμους) and rumors of wars (καὶ ἀκοὰς πολέμων).  They should not be alarmed (ὁρᾶτε, μὴ θροεῖσθε).  This was going to happen (δεῖ γὰρ γενέσθαι), but the end was not near (ἀλλ’ οὔπω ἐστὶν τὸ τέλος).  The idea of strife and rumors of violence and wars was a great prophetic theme with Isaiah, chapter 19:1-4, and Jeremiah, chapter 51:46.  Do you often hear about wars and revolutions?

Humility (Lk 14:11-14:11)

“All who exalt themselves

Will be humbled!

Those who humble themselves

Will be exalted!”

 

ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ὑψῶν ἑαυτὸν ταπεινωθήσεται, καὶ ὁ ταπεινῶν ἑαυτὸν ὑψωθήσεται.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that all who exalted themselves (ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ὑψῶν ἑαυτὸν) would be humbled (ταπεινωθήσεται).  On the other hand, all those who humbled themselves (καὶ ὁ ταπεινῶν ἑαυτὸν), would be exalted (ὑψωθήσεται).  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 23:11-12, and chapter 20:26, but within different contexts.  There Jesus said that whoever wanted to be great among them must be their servant or waiter (ἀλλ’ ὃς ἐὰν θέλῃ ἐν ὑμῖν μέγας γενέσθαι, ἔσται ὑμῶν διάκονος).  Whoever wanted to be first among them (καὶ ὃς ἂν θέλῃ ἐν ὑμῖν εἶναι πρῶτος) must be their slave (ἔσται ὑμῶν δοῦλος).  Clearly, Jesus wanted his new leaders not to be like the gentile Roman leaders or the Jewish religious leaders.  They were to be true leaders who served their people, as they practiced servant leadership, not dictatorial leadership.  Jesus said that the greatest among them would be their servant (ὁ δὲ μείζων ὑμῶν ἔσται ὑμῶν διάκονος).  Like here, whoever exalted themselves would be humbled (Ὅστις δὲ ὑψώσει ἑαυτὸν ταπεινωθήσεται,).  On the other hand, anyone who humbled themselves would be exalted (καὶ ὅστις ταπεινώσει ἑαυτὸν ὑψωθήσεται).  This role reversal was an indication of the end times.  Do you humble yourself?

Jesus said no (Lk 9:55-9:55)

“But Jesus turned.

He rebuked them.”

 

στραφεὶς δὲ ἐπετίμησεν αὐτοῖς.

 

However, Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus turned around (στραφεὶς) to these two apostles.  He was not going to have any fire from heaven.  He rebuked both James and John (δὲ ἐπετίμησεν αὐτοῖς).  This was not the first or last time that Jesus would be upset with his apostles.  A Byzantine text added that Jesus said something to them.  He said that they did not know (Οὐκ οἴδατε) what spirit was in them (οἵου πνεύματός ἐστε ὑμεῖς).  Do you think that you have ever upset God?

Which commandment is first? (Mk 12:28-12:28)

“One of the Scribes

Came near.

He heard them

Disputing with one another.

Seeing that Jesus

Had answered them well,

He asked him.

“Which commandment

Is the first of all of them?”

 

Καὶ προσελθὼν εἷς τῶν γραμματέων, ἀκούσας αὐτῶν συνζητούντων, εἰδὼς ὅτι καλῶς ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς, ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτόν Ποία ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη πάντων;

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 22:34, but there the question was presented by a Pharisee lawyer, not a Scribe.  In Luke, chapter 10:25, there was an unnamed lawyer who wanted to know how to gain eternal life.  Here, Mark has an unnamed Scribe approach Jesus (Καὶ προσελθὼν εἷς τῶν γραμματέων) because he had heard the disciples discussing, disputing, or arguing with each other (ἀκούσας αὐτῶν συνζητούντων).  He saw how Jesus had answered their questions very well (εἰδὼς ὅτι καλῶς ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς).  He was not there to test him, but he did question Jesus (ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτόν).  He wanted to know which commandment was the first or the greatest (Ποία ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη πάντων), since there were 613 commandments in late Judaism.  Thus, it would seem like a legitimate question with so many commandments or laws.

Servant leadership (Mk 10:43-10:44)

“But it is not so

Among you.

Whoever wishes

To become great

Among you

Must be your servant.

Whoever wishes

To be first

Among you

Must be a slave

Of all.”

 

οὐχ οὕτως δέ ἐστιν ἐν ὑμῖν· ἀλλ’ ὃς ἂν θέλῃ μέγας γενέσθαι ἐν ὑμῖν, ἔσται ὑμῶν διάκονος,

καὶ ὃς ἂν θέλῃ ἐν ὑμῖν εἶναι πρῶτος, ἔσται πάντων δοῦλο

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 20:26-27, almost word for word, and Luke 22:26, but slightly different.  Mark said that Jesus reminded them that their authority was not going to be like the gentiles among themselves (οὐχ οὕτως ἐστὶν ἐν ὑμῖν).  The early Christian leaders, the 12 apostles, would lead this newly forming community of Jesus followers.  Whoever wanted to be great among them (ἀλλ’ ὃς ἂν θέλῃ μέγας γενέσθαι ἐν ὑμῖν) must be their servant or waiter, their ministerial deacons (ἔσται ὑμῶν διάκονος).  Whoever wanted to be first among them (καὶ ὃς ἂν θέλῃ ἐν ὑμῖν εἶναι πρῶτος) must be their slave (ἔσται ὑμῶν δοῦλος).  Clearly, Jesus wanted his new leaders not to be like the gentile Roman leaders, but true leaders who served their people.  The early 12 apostolic leaders were to practice servant leadership, not dictatorial leadership.  They were forming a new kind of community that was not hierarchical but service orientated.

 

Elijah restores things (Mk 9:12-9:12)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Elijah is indeed

Coming first

To restore all things.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἔφη αὐτοῖς Ἡλείας μὲν ἐλθὼν πρῶτον ἀποκαθιστάνει πάντα·

 

The role of Elijah can be found also in Matthew, chapter 17:11, as well as here in Mark.  Mark said that Jesus did not disagree with the Scribes.  He responded to his disciples (ὁ δὲ ἔφη αὐτοῖς) by reiterating that Elijah was indeed coming first to restore all things (Ἡλείας μὲν ἐλθὼν πρῶτον ἀποκαθιστάνει πάντα).  There is no doubt that the role of Elijah, a 9th century BCE northern Israel prophet, dominated late first century Jewish thought.

The children’s bread (Mk 7:27-7:27)

“Jesus said to her.

‘Let the children

Be fed first!

It is not fair

To take the children’s bread

And throw it

To the dogs.’”

 

καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτῇ Ἄφες πρῶτον χορτασθῆναι τὰ τέκνα· οὐ γάρ ἐστιν καλόν λαβεῖν τὸν ἄρτον τῶν τέκνων καὶ τοῖς κυναρίοις βαλεῖν.

 

This time Jesus answered her like in Matthew, chapter 15:26.  Mark said that Jesus responded to her (καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτῇ) that the children had to be feed or satisfied first (Ἄφες πρῶτον χορτασθῆναι τὰ τέκνα).  It was not right or fair (οὐ γάρ ἔστιν καλὸν) to take the children’s food or bread (λαβεῖν τὸν ἄρτον τῶν τέκνων) and feed it, throw it, or cast it to the unclean dogs (καὶ τοῖς κυναρίοις βαλεῖν).  His food was for the children of Israel, not for the gentile dogs.