Bethsaida (Lk 9:10-9:10)

“On their return,

The apostles

Told Jesus

All that they had done.

He took them

With him,

As he withdrew privately

To a city

Called Bethsaida.”

 

Καὶ ὑποστρέψαντες οἱ ἀπόστολοι διηγήσαντο αὐτῷ ὅσα ἐποίησαν. Καὶ παραλαβὼν αὐτοὺς ὑπεχώρησεν κατ’ ἰδίαν εἰς πόλιν καλουμένην Βηθσαϊδά.

 

Luke said that on the return of the apostles (Καὶ ὑποστρέψαντες οἱ ἀπόστολοι), they told Jesus all that they had done (διηγήσαντο αὐτῷ ὅσα ἐποίησαν).  He then took them with him (Καὶ παραλαβὼν αὐτοὺς) as he withdrew privately to a city (ὑπεχώρησεν κατ’ ἰδίαν εἰς πόλιν) called Bethsaida (καλουμένην Βηθσαϊδά).  This opening to the multiplication of the loaves story can be found in all four gospels, Matthew, chapter 14:13, Mark, chapter 6:30-33, John, chapter 6:1-2, and here.  Luke was the only one to mention the town of Bethsaida, while the others talked about Jesus in a boat.  This gathering of the apostles around Jesus after their mission can only be found in Mark and in Luke.  Mark said that they told Jesus everything that they had done and taught.  Thus, Jesus had a debriefing session with his apostles where he found out what had happened to them on their missionary adventures.  Then Mark said that Jesus wanted to get away to a deserted place in a boat, but somehow the crowds followed him along the bank of the sea, so that Jesus and his apostles could not get away by themselves.  Mark wanted his disciples and apostles to rest for a while, to take it easy.  Many people were coming and going, so that they did not have any leisure time to eat.  Thus, they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.  Jesus was concerned about the apostles’ mental state.  He wanted them to have some down time.  Matthew had pretty much the same story about Jesus and the boat with a slightly different twist.  Jesus left in a boat to be in a deserted or secluded place alone.  However, the crowds heard about it, so that they followed him on foot from the various towns.  Jesus could not get away by himself.  Do you ever want to get away by yourself?

Gather the elect (Mk 13:27-13:27)

“Then the Son of Man

Will send out

The angels.

He will gather

His elect

From the four winds,

From the ends of the earth

To the ends of heaven.”

 

καὶ τότε ἀποστελεῖ τοὺς ἀγγέλους καὶ ἐπισυνάξει τοὺς ἐκλεκτοὺς αὐτοῦ ἐκ τῶν τεσσάρων ἀνέμων ἀπ’ ἄκρου γῆς ἕως ἄκρου οὐρανοῦ.

 

This is almost word for word, in Matthew, chapter 24:31.  Mark said that the Son of Man would send out angels (καὶ τότε ἀποστελεῖ τοὺς ἀγγέλους).  Thus, the angels were the apostles or sent ones for gathering the chosen ones.  There was no mention of a trumpet call here, as in Matthew.  These angels would gather his elect or chosen ones (καὶ ἐπισυνάξει τοὺς ἐκλεκτοὺς αὐτοῦ) from the four winds (ἐκ τῶν τεσσάρων ἀνέμων), from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven (ἀπ’ ἄκρου γῆς ἕως ἄκρου οὐρανοῦ).  The Son of Man would send his apostolic angels to gather the chosen ones from all over the place.

 

Conclusion: Passion, Resurrection and Great Commission

 

This gospel concluded with the events of the last week of Jesus, a main preoccupation of all four gospels.  Jesus had entered Jerusalem in triumph.  He held a last supper and prayed to be spared.  He was betrayed by Judas.  Then he was tried by the Jewish leaders and before The roman governor Pontius Pilate.  Jesus was crucified as king of the Jews and mocked by all.  At his death, there was an earthquake, when the veil of the Temple was cut in two, and the saints rose from their tombs.  Mary Magdalene and the other women discovered the empty tomb.  Jesus told them to tell the disciples to meet him in Galilee.

There was a plot to kill Jesus.  Jesus spoke to his disciples and gave his fourth prediction about the death of the Son of Man.  Then the chief priests and the elders gathered to plot the arrest of Jesus.  However, before that, there was an anointing by the unnamed women in Bethany as she poured oil on Jesus.  Others wanted to know why she was wasting oil.  Jesus said that she had done a good thing by anointing him for burial.  Thus, she would be remembered.  Meanwhile, Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

Then they made the preparations for the Passover.  Where would the Passover be?  There was a house for the Passover meal, as the disciples prepared for the Passover evening meal.  Jesus announced the betrayal.  Who would betray Jesus?  This betrayer would be cursed, as Judas spoke out.  At the Last Supper Eucharist, Jesus said that this was his body and blood with eschatological implications.

They went to the Mount of Olives.  Jesus predicted that the apostles would scatter.  He was going to go to Galilee.  Peter said that he would never desert Jesus.  Then Jesus warned Peter about his desertion, but Peter was adamant that he would never deny Jesus.

They went to Gethsemane as Jesus took his three favorite apostles.  He prayed to his Father while these apostles slept.  There was a second prayer of Jesus, as he came a second time to the sleeping apostles.  He prayed a third time.  Then Jesus woke them up.

Judas arrived and kissed Jesus, as they then seized Jesus.  Someone cut off the ear of the high priest’s slave.  However, Jesus told them to put their swords away as the disciples fled.

Jesus went before Caiaphas the high priest, while Peter followed Jesus to the courtyard of the high priest.  They were looking for false testimony.  Finally, two witnesses came forward.  The high priest spoke and Jesus responded.  He called the words of Jesus blasphemy, as they mocked Jesus.  Peter’s denied Jesus three time and then he remembered Jesus’ words.

The elders and Pharisees planned to kill Jesus.  They would deliver Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor.  Meanwhile, Judas repented, but he hung himself.  He returned the pieces of silver to the Temple, but it was used to purchase a graveyard called the Field of Blood to fulfill a prophecy of Jeremiah.

Jesus went before Pilate as he asked him if he was the king of the Jews?  However, Jesus did not respond.  The governor was going to release one prisoner at the festival time.  However, the people wanted the prisoner Barabbas rather than Jesus.  Pilate got a warning from his wife.  Nevertheless, the crowd wanted to crucify Jesus.  Pilate claimed that he was innocent of his blood but the crowds said that his blood be on us.  Barabbas was then released.  Jesus went to the governor’s head quarters where the Roman soldiers mocked him.

They prepared Jesus for the crucifixion.  They got Simon of Cyrene to help with the cross as they went to Golgotha.  They divided his garments and wrote on the cross Jesus, King of the Jews.  There were two robbers who derided and and taunted Jesus, just like the Jewish religious leaders had mocked Jesus.

Darkness fell over the land as Jesus died.  The cry of Jesus was interpreted as a call to Elijah.  They gave him sour wine to drink.  Would Elijah save Jesus?  When Jesus died, the Temple curtain was torn in two.  Tombs opened and the dead rose and appeared in Jerusalem.  He truly was  the Son of God.

There were women from Galilee, especially the women called Mary.  Joseph of Arimathea got the body of Jesus and put it in his tomb as the women called Mary were vigilant.  Meanwhile, there was a gathering with Pilate, since the Jewish religious leaders wanted to have the tomb secure.  Thus, a custodial guard was set up at the tomb.

The two Marys visited the tomb, where there was another earthquake with an angel at the tomb.  The guards were afraid, but the angel speaks to the women to tell them to let the disciples know what happened.  The women left the tomb and Jesus appeared to them.  Meanwhile, the guards told the chief priests in Jerusalem what had happened.  These religious leaders paid the guards to tell everyone that someone stole the body of Jesus while they were sleeping.  Thus, this stolen body story spread.

After the resurrection, the remaining eleven disciples returned to an unnamed mountain in Galilee.  There the post-resurrection Jesus gave them authority in heaven and on earth with his great commission:  They were to make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them with a Trinitarian formula.  They were to follow his commandments because Jesus would be with them until the end of time.

The future of the Son of Man (Mt 17:22-17:23)

“As they were gathering

In Galilee,

Jesus said to them.

‘The Son of Man

Is going to be betrayed

Into human hands.

They will kill him.

On the third day,

He will be raised.’

They were greatly distressed.”

 

Συστρεφομένων δὲ αὐτῶν ἐν τῇ Γαλιλαίᾳ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς Μέλλει ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδίδοσθαι εἰς χεῖρας ἀνθρώπων,

καὶ ἀποκτενοῦσιν αὐτόν, καὶ τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ ἐγερθήσεται. καὶ ἐλυπήθησαν σφόδρα.

 

This saying about the fate of the Son of Man can also be found in Mark, chapter 9:30-31, and Luke, chapter 9:44, with some minor changes.  This was not the first time that Jesus had talked about this, since it was mentioned earlier in this work, chapter 16:21, in more detail.  Jesus and his disciples were gathering together in Galilee (Συστρεφομένων δὲ αὐτῶν ἐν τῇ Γαλιλαίᾳ), probably getting ready to go to Jerusalem.  Jesus said to them (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς) that the Son of Man was about to be betrayed by human hands (Μέλλει ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδίδοσθαι εἰς χεῖρας ἀνθρώπων), without mentioning any particular group as he had done earlier.  They were going to kill him or put him to death (καὶ ἀποκτενοῦσιν αὐτόν).  However, on the third day (καὶ τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ), he would be raised up (ἐγερθήσεται).  On hearing this, the disciples were greatly vexed, pained, or distressed (καὶ ἐλυπήθησαν σφόδρα).  This was shocking news to them.

The great place of Mount Zion (Mic 4:8-4:8)

“You!

O tower of the flock!

Hill of daughter Zion!

It shall come to you.

The former dominion

Shall come,

The kingdom

Of daughter Jerusalem.”

Yahweh, via Micah, praised the tower of the flock of Israel, the hill of daughter Zion.  Jerusalem had power before and will have it again.  The idea of a tower on a hill gathering all the flock of sheep of Israel indicated the importance of Jerusalem.

The collection for Jerusalem (Bar 1:5-1:7)

“Then they wept.

They fasted.

They prayed

Before the Lord.

They collected

As much money

As each could give.

They sent it

To Jerusalem

To the high priest

Jehoiakim,

The son of Hilkiah,

The son of Shallum,

To the priests,

To all the people

Who were present

With him

In Jerusalem.”

Apparently, this gathering was with all the Judean exiles, and not any Babylonians. There, after the reading, they wept, fasted, and prayed to the Lord. After that, they took up a collection for the people who were left behind in Jerusalem. They were going to send it to the now high priest and the priests left in Jerusalem, Jehoiakim, the son of Hilkiah, the son of Shallum. There was no indication of how this money would get there. It was a free will offering, with each one giving what they could.

The appearance of God (Isa 40:9-40:11)

“Get you up to a high mountain!

O Zion!

Herald of good tidings!

Lift up your voice with strength!

O Jerusalem!

Herald of good tidings!

Lift it up!

Fear not!

Say to the cities of Judah!

‘Here is your God!’

See!

Yahweh God comes with might.

His arm rules for him.

His reward is with him.

His recompense is before him.

He will feed his flock

Like a shepherd.

He will gather the lambs in his arms.

He will carry them in his bosom.

He will gently lead the mother sheep.”

Somehow, Second Isaiah was going to present the people with God. God had been unknown, but now he wants to reveal himself. Isaiah, and then Mount Zion, and finally Jerusalem were to go to a high mountain. They were to be the herald of good tidings. They were to announce in a loud voice to the cities of Judah that God was there to be seen. How they would be heard is not clear, but they were not to be afraid. Yahweh would come with his might to rule and to reward. He was going to be like a good shepherd feeding his flock, gathering and carrying the lambs, while gently leading the pregnant sheep.