The mustard seed (Lk 13:19-13:19)

“The kingdom of God

Is like

A mustard seed

That someone took.

He sowed it

In his garden.

It grew.

It became a tree.

The birds of the air

Made nests

In its branches.”

 

ὁμοία ἐστὶν κόκκῳ σινάπεως, ὃν λαβὼν ἄνθρωπος ἔβαλεν εἰς κῆπον ἑαυτοῦ, καὶ ηὔξησεν καὶ ἐγένετο εἰς δένδρον, καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατεσκήνωσεν ἐν τοῖς κλάδοις αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the kingdom of God was like a mustard seed (ὁμοία ἐστὶν κόκκῳ σινάπεως) that someone took (ὃν λαβὼν ἄνθρωπος) and sowed in his garden (ἔβαλεν εἰς κῆπον ἑαυτοῦ).  Then it grew (καὶ ηὔξησεν) and became a tree (καὶ ἐγένετο εἰς δένδρον).  The birds of the air (καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ) made nests (κατεσκήνωσεν) in its branches (ἐν τοῖς κλάδοις αὐτοῦ).  Luke did not explicitly say that this mustard seed was the smallest seed, but implied it symbolically.  However, this seed could grow to become a tree or shrub where birds could nest.  There was no explanation of this parable, except the clear indication that the kingdom of God might start out small but would grow to hold many people.  This parable of the mustard seed can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 13:31-32, and Mark, chapter 4:31-32, plus here.  Jesus, via Mark, said that the kingdom of God was like a mustard seed or a grain of mustard.  When planted in the ground, it is the smallest of all seeds on earth.  But when it has grown after being planted, it becomes greater than all the garden plants or shrubs.  It then produced great branches.  Thus, the birds of the air would be able to come and perch or build nests in the shade of its branches.  What started out small can become quite large.  Jesus, via Matthew, explicitly presented them with another short parable.  He said that the kingdom of heaven, not the kingdom of God, was like a mustard seed.  A man planted this seed in his field.  When planted, it was the smallest of all seeds.  But when it was grown, it was the greatest of garden plants or shrubs.  It then became a tree.  Thus, the birds of the air could come and perch or build nests in its branches.  What started out small can become quite large. Do you know something small that became large?

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Gethsemane (Mk 14:32-14:32)

“They went to a place

Named Gethsemane.

Jesus said

To his disciples.

‘Sit here!

While I pray.’”

 

Καὶ ἔρχονται εἰς χωρίον οὗ τὸ ὄνομα Γεθσημανεί, καὶ λέγει τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ Καθίσατε ὧδε ἕως προσεύξωμαι.

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 26:36.  In Luke, chapter 22:40, there is no mention of Gethsemane only the Mount of Olives, while in John, chapter 18:1, it is a garden in the Kidron Valley.  Mark said that they went out (Καὶ ἔρχονται) to a place with the name of Gethsemane (εἰς χωρίον οὗ τὸ ὄνομα Γεθσημανεί).  This Aramaic name Gethsemane means an oil press.  Thus, this might have been the place where olive oil came from as this urban garden was at the foothills of the Mount of Olives, where they had just been.  Jesus then told his disciples (καὶ λέγει τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ) to sit there (Καθίσατε), while he went to pray (ὧδε ἕως προσεύξωμαι).  Thus, they have gone from the room where the Last Supper Passover meal took place to the Mount of Olives, and now to the garden in Gethsemane at the base of this hill filled with olives.

The sleeping apostles (Mt 26:40-26:41)

“Then Jesus came

To the disciples.

He found them sleeping.

He said to Peter.

‘So!

Could you not

Stay awake

With me

One hour?

Stay awake!

Pray

That you may not come

Into the time

Of temptation!

The spirit indeed

Is willing,

But the flesh

Is weak.’”

 

καὶ ἔρχεται πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς καὶ εὑρίσκει αὐτοὺς καθεύδοντας, καὶ λέγει τῷ Πέτρῳ Οὕτως οὐκ ἰσχύσατε μίαν ὥραν γρηγορῆσαι μετ’ ἐμοῦ;

γρηγορεῖτε καὶ προσεύχεσθε, ἵνα μὴ εἰσέλθητε εἰς πειρασμόν· τὸ μὲν πνεῦμα πρόθυμον, ἡ δὲ σὰρξ ἀσθενής.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 14:37-38, but Mark calls Peter Simon.  Luke, chapter 22:45-46, is somewhat similar, but without the last phrase, while in John, chapter 22, there are no indications of this action in the garden.  Both Mark and Matthew recounted that Jesus came to the 3 special disciples (καὶ ἔρχεται πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς), where he found them sleeping (καὶ εὑρίσκει αὐτοὺς καθεύδοντας).  Then he complained to Peter (καὶ λέγει τῷ Πέτρῳ) that he could not even stay awake or watch with him for merely one hour (Οὕτως οὐκ ἰσχύσατε μίαν ὥραν γρηγορῆσαι μετ’ ἐμοῦ).  He told him and the other 2 disciples to stay awake, watch, and be vigilant (γρηγορεῖτε).  They should pray (καὶ προσεύχεσθε) that their time of temptation or trial did not come (ἵνα μὴ εἰσέλθητε εἰς πειρασμόν).  Then Jesus remarked that the spirit indeed was willing (τὸ μὲν πνεῦμα πρόθυμον), but the flesh was weak (ἡ δὲ σὰρξ ἀσθενής).  Jesus was reprimanding Peter and the other 2 disciples in a mild but firm way.  They needed to be vigilant.

Jesus prays to his Father (Mt 26:39-26:39)

“Going a little farther,

Jesus threw himself

On the ground,

Face down.

He prayed.

‘My Father!

If it be possible,

Let this cup

Pass from me!

Nevertheless,

Not what I want,

But what you want.’”

 

καὶ προελθὼν μικρὸν ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ προσευχόμενος καὶ λέγων Πάτερ μου, εἰ δυνατόν ἐστιν, παρελθάτω ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ τὸ ποτήριον τοῦτο· πλὴν οὐχ ὡς ἐγὼ θέλω ἀλλ’ ὡς σύ.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 14:35-36.  In Luke, chapter 22:41-42, it is somewhat similar, while in John, chapter 22, there are no indications of this prayer in the garden.  Both Mark and Matthew recounted that Jesus went a little farther away (καὶ προελθὼν μικρὸν).  He fell on his face (ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ), throwing himself on the ground.  Then he prayed to his Father (προσευχόμενος καὶ λέγων Πάτερ μου).  He said that he wondered if it was possible (εἰ δυνατόν ἐστιν) that this drinking cup could pass from him or be disregarded (παρελθάτω ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ τὸ ποτήριον τοῦτο).  However, he was willing to do whatever the Father wanted, because his will was second to his Father (πλὴν οὐχ ὡς ἐγὼ θέλω ἀλλ’ ὡς σύ).  Clearly, Jesus subordinated his will to the will of his Father.

Jesus takes his three favorite apostles (Mt 26:37-26:38)

“Jesus took with him

Peter

And the two sons

Of Zebedee.

He began

To be grieved

And agitated.

Then he said to them.

‘I am deeply sorrowful,

Even to death.

Remain here!

Stay awake

Watching with me!’”

 

καὶ παραλαβὼν τὸν Πέτρον καὶ τοὺς δύο υἱοὺς Ζεβεδαίου ἤρξατο λυπεῖσθαι καὶ ἀδημονεῖν.

τότε λέγει αὐτοῖς Περίλυπός ἐστιν ἡ ψυχή μου ἕως θανάτου· μείνατε ὧδε καὶ γρηγορεῖτε μετ’ ἐμοῦ.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 14:33-34, but James and John are named rather than called the sons of Zebedee.  In Luke, chapter 22, and in John, chapter 18, there is no mention of these 3 apostles being separated from the others.  Matthew and Mark said that Jesus took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee (καὶ παραλαβὼν τὸν Πέτρον καὶ τοὺς δύο υἱοὺς Ζεβεδαίου), that is James and John.  Jesus began to be grieved, pained, sorrowful, troubled, distressed, and agitated (ἤρξατο λυπεῖσθαι καὶ ἀδημονεῖν).  Both these gospel writers showed the vulnerability of Jesus in his suffering.  Then Jesus said to these 3 apostles (τότε λέγει αὐτοῖς) that his soul was very sorrowful, deeply grieved (Περίλυπός ἐστιν ἡ ψυχή μου), even unto death (ἕως θανάτου).  He wanted them to stay there (μείνατε ὧδε) to watch or remain vigilant with him (καὶ γρηγορεῖτε μετ’ ἐμοῦ).  Thus, began the so-called agony of Jesus in the garden.

His response (Song 5:1-5:1)

Male lover

“I come to my garden.

My sister!

My bride!

I gather my myrrh

With my spice.

I eat my honeycomb

With my honey.

I drink my wine

With my milk.

Eat!

Friends!

Be drunk

With love.”

The male lover came to the garden of his bride. He gathered his myrrh and spice. He ate the honey in his honeycomb. He drank milk with wine. That does not sound good. He or someone else asked him and his friends to eat and be drunk with love. Surely this is a love poem.