Great crowds (Lk 14:25-14:25)

“Now large crowds

Were traveling

With Jesus.

He turned to them.”

 

Συνεπορεύοντο δὲ αὐτῷ ὄχλοι πολλοί, καὶ στραφεὶς

 

Luke uniquely indicated that that there were great large crowds traveling with Jesus (Συνεπορεύοντο δὲ αὐτῷ ὄχλοι πολλοί).  He was no longer going to places where crowds gathered.  They were traveling with him now.  He turned to them (καὶ στραφεὶς).  He was about to talk to them about the cost of being a disciple of Jesus.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), the German Lutheran theologian wrote the Cost of Discipleship (1937), outlining the problems of being a Christian in Nazi Germany, when he argued against cheap grace, the easy way out.  Do you go along with the crowd?

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Fifth narrative

Jesus traveled toward Jerusalem and taught in the Temple there, debating with the chief priests and religious leaders.  Then he spoke about the coming kingdom of heaven and the future end times.

Jesus finally went to Judea, where he cured large crowds of people.  The Pharisees questioned him about divorce.  Jesus reiterated the importance of marriage, as he spoke about Moses and divorce.  After hearing the response of Jesus about divorce, his disciples wondered why they should marry at all.  Jesus explained about different kind of eunuchs.

The children came forward to Jesus and he blessed them.  He warned against wealth.  To gain eternal life you had to keep the commandments.  They wanted to know which commandments?  The great commandment was not a problem.  However, Jesus asked them to give up their possessions, so that the rich young man walked away.  It was hard for rich people to enter the kingdom like a camel going through the eye of a needle.  Who could be saved?  The response was that all things are possible with God.  Peter wanted to know about the disciples and the eternal life reward, so that Jesus told them that the first shall be last and vice versa.

Then Jesus presented the parable of the laborers in the vineyard.  He hired the first laborers, and then late in the day a second group, a third group and finally a fourth group of laborers.  The last group hired got a full day’s pay.  The first group hired were upset when they got the same as the last group hired.  This brought up the problem of generosity versus fairness, as Jesus explained the parable.

On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus predicted what was going to happen to him in Jerusalem.  The mother of the sons of Zebedee wanted to know if her two sons, James and John, could be the greatest, on either side of Jesus.  Jesus pointed out the difficulties and said that only the Father set up the seating arrangements.  This led to ten angry men as they resented the two trying to be first.  Jesus reminded them about servant leadership, as the Son of Man was going to give up his life.

There were great crowds at Jericho where Jesus found two blind men asking for mercy, so he healed them.  Then began the final ministry in Jerusalem with a triumphal entry.  Jesus sent two disciples from Bethpage to get a donkey and a colt because he needed them.  Thus, the prophecy of Zechariah might be fulfilled.  They brought the donkey and the colt to Jesus.  Then crowds welcomed the Son of David into Jerusalem as they began to wonder who this man was?

Jesus went into the Temple and chased out the money changers to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah.  When he cured people in the Temple, the chief priests were angry, but the little children praised him.

Then Jesus went to Bethany.  The next morning, he was hungry.  He saw a fig tree, but it had no figs, so he cursed the fig tree as it withered because of his faith.

People began to question where did Jesus get his authority?  Jesus responded with a question for a question.  He asked them about the value of the baptism of John.  They gave a timid response.  Then he told the parable about the two sons.  The first son said no at first, and then did the work, while the second son said yes and did not do the work.  Which son did the will of his father?  Thus, they did not believe John the Baptist.

Then Jesus told the parable about the wicked tenants.  This absentee land owner of the vineyard sent people to collect his rent.  Instead, the tenants beat and killed the landowner’s slaves.  He sent a second group that was also killed.  Then the tenants killed the landowner’s son.  Finally, the landowner came to take back his vineyard, citing Psalm 118 about the kingdom of God and the falling cornerstone.  The Pharisees understood this parable and tried to arrest Jesus.

Jesus continued to speak in parables.  This parable was about the king who gave a great wedding banquet.  However, the invited guests refused to come to the wedding banquet.  He sent out a second invitation to the wedding banquet, but they refused the second invitation also.  They treated his slaves badly.  The king was angry and sent out new invitations to the wedding feast.  Finally, a man without a wedding garment showed up, but he threw him out of the feast.  The explanation of this parable was that many are called, but few are chosen.

Next the Pharisees tried to trick Jesus by flattering him.  They asked him a question about taxes.  Jesus gave a harsh response as he had a dialogue about the Roman coin about whose image was on it.  Give Caesar his due.  The Pharisees and their disciples left.

However, the Sadducees asked a question about the resurrection.  There was a law about marrying the brother of a dead man.  There was a woman who married seven brothers, who was her husband in the resurrection?  Jesus responded that there was no marriage in the resurrection.  The living God of their ancestors would show them the way.  The crowd was astonished.

The Pharisees regrouped and wanted to know what is the greatest commandment?  Jesus responded about the two great commandments to love God and your neighbor.  Then Jesus asked the Pharisees a question.  Was the Christ the son of David?  Then who was the Lord for David?  After that there were no more questions for Jesus.

Jesus then cursed the Scribes and Pharisees.  He told his disciples to do what they say, but not what they do.  They tied up heavy burdens on the people.  They wore special clothing and sought the places of honor.  They want to be called Rabbis.  No one was your father or master.  Greatness comes with humility.  They tried to lock people out of heaven as they shut it off.  Even when they tried to make converts, they are like blind guides and fools.  They swore by the altar or the gift of the altar.  They swore by heaven, but they had forgotten the law.  They wanted the gnat out your eye but had a camel in their own eye.  They worried about the outside of the cup instead of the inside.  They were like whitewashed tombs.  They proclaimed reverence for the tombs of the prophets, but they were like their sinning ancestors. They were like serpents.  They would kill the prophets.  They spread innocent blood.  Soon the house of Jerusalem would be desolate.

Finally, there were the predictions about the end times.  Jesus left the Temple as he predicted its destruction.  What are the signs of the Parousia?  There would be the beginning of the great suffering so that they should not be lead astray.  There would be rumors of wars in those troubled times.  They would be persecuted for the sake of Jesus.  There would be betrayals and false prophets.  Love would grow cold.  Endurance would be necessary.  The importance of Daniel the prophet was emphasized.  In Judea, they would flee to the housetops.  It would be too late for the people in the fields.  This would be the wrong time to be pregnant or nursing.  There would be great tribulation, but the days would be short.

The end was coming because there would be false Christs and people looking for the Messiah.  The Son of Man would come on the clouds as the darkness in the skies appeared.  There would be a gathering of the chosen ones.  Using the parable of the fig tree, they could tell that the end was near.  This generation would pass away, but Jesus’ words would not pass away.  No one knew the day, since it would be like in the days of Noah.  Only one would be taken and the other left, so be ready.  Be a wise and faithful slave, not a wicked slave.

Jesus told the parable of the ten bridesmaids where half were wise and half foolish.  They all fell asleep.  When the bridegroom came, they all got up.  However, the foolish ones had no oil and wise ones said that there was not enough oil for both of them.  When the foolish left to get oil, they shut the door.  When they came back, the bridegroom said that he did not know them.  Thus, you do not know the day.

Next Jesus told the parable of the talents.  A man entrusted his assets to his slaves.  He gave them money.  One slave added five more talents, another added two more talents, but the third slave dug a hole and buried his money.  The master settled their accounts.  The slave with five talents got five more talents.  The slave with two talents got two more talents.  The slave with one talent was rebuked and punished.  Thus, there will be rewards and punishments at the end times.

In the last judgment, the Son of Man would appear in glory.  There would be sheep and goats, with the sheep on the right hand.  They had taken care of him.  They wondered when they had done this.  The Son of Man replied that they took care of him when they cared for the least of his brothers.  Then he told the goats on his left side to depart from him because they had not taken care of him when they did not care for the lowly people.  Thus, there would be eternal punishment or eternal reward.

Third narrative

This third narrative centered around a variety of miracles and various comments to his disciples.  Jesus cured the leper before great crowds, but then told him to keep it a secret.  Then he cured the centurion’s paralyzed servant at Capernaum.  This Roman soldier understood the role of authority since he had faith.  Jesus chastised the failure of the sons of Abraham but healed the Roman centurion’s servant.

Jesus also cured other sick and possessed people, including Peter’s mother-in-law.  He thus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah.  He had some scribe followers, even though Jesus was homeless.  Was the death of a father enough to disrupt a disciple?  During a stormy boat ride, they woke up Jesus.  Thus, he responded by showing them his power by calming the storm.

Jesus cured the two possessed demoniacs who were calling out to him as the Son of God.  These demons wanted to be pigs, so that they died in the sea, jumping off a cliff.  However, the herdsmen in the city were upset so that the people asked Jesus to leave.

Jesus then went home and cured a paralytic.  Did Jesus blaspheme?  What was the difference between sin and sickness?  The people were amazed at his powers.  Jesus then called Matthew, the tax collector.  Jesus hung out with these tax collectors and sinners, so that the Pharisees complained.  Jesus responded by asking if well people needed doctors?  Then there was a citation from Hosea about mercy.

The Pharisees wanted to know why his disciples were not fasting, but the disciples of John the Baptist were.  Jesus explained that there would be no fasting while he, the bridegroom, was present.  You did not use old cloth to mend clothes or put new wine in old wineskins.

Then Jesus cured the woman with hemorrhages, because she was a woman of faith.  Then he cured the dead girl who was only sleeping.  He cured the two blind men because they were believers also.  He cured the mute person so that he could speak again.  The Pharisees questioned the power of Jesus.  However, Jesus had compassion for the sheep because there would be a need for many laborers at the harvest time.

Then Jesus began his apostolic talk to his disciples, in particular about the authority of the twelve disciples, with four major apostles.  Matthew then listed the twelve apostles that would be sent to the Jews and what their work was.  Jesus told them what to bring with them and where to stay.  He told them how to enter a house.  Those unhospitable towns who did not accept them would be punished.  These apostles should be like wise simple sheep.  When they would be persecuted, the Holy Spirit would speak through them.  They would be involved in family disputes and hated.  Both the teacher and his disciples would suffer, but they should not be afraid.  They should proclaim the message.  They were to worry about their souls, since they had more value than sparrows.  They should acknowledge Jesus whether in peace or with the sword.  Who was worthy of Jesus?  You had to pick up your cross and lose your life to find it.  Receive Jesus and be a prophet as the righteous disciple of Jesus.

First narrative

This first narrative began with the baptism of Jesus and his preaching about the kingdom of heaven.  Once again, there are five sections.  First there was the preaching of John the Baptist with his message of repentance.  Matthew made a comparison of the prophet Isaiah with John, including a description of John.  People went to John at the Jordan River where he baptized people.  John was against the Pharisees and the Sadducees, since he felt that the children of Abraham should not be presumptuous.  However, there was a powerful one yet to come when the chaff would burn.

The second section was about the baptism of Jesus, as he came to John.  However, John did not want to baptize Jesus, but Jesus insisted.  At the baptism of Jesus, a voice declared that Jesus was the beloved son, as the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descended on Jesus.  Thus, John the Baptist and Jesus remain linked together.

The third section was about the temptations of Jesus in the desert.  Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights.  Then Jesus had his first temptation with his response.  After the second and third temptations and responses of Jesus, the devil left.

The fourth section had Jesus return to Galilee after the arrest of John the Baptist.  He went to Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee.  Like the prophet Isaiah and John the Baptist, Jesus taught a call for repentance.

The fifth and final section was the call of the first four disciples.  The first two brother fishermen called were Simon and Andrew, who became his first two disciples.  Then he called James and John, the sons of Zebedee.  Then Jesus taught and healed in Galilee, where he was a faith healer with great crowds.

 

Healing the crowds of people (Mt 15:30-15:31)

“Great crowds

Came to him.

They brought with them

The lame,

The maimed,

The blind,

The mute,

And many others.

They put them

At his feet.

Jesus healed them.

Thus,

The crowd was amazed

When they saw

The mute speaking,

The maimed whole,

The lame walking,

And the blind seeing.

They praised

The God of Israel.”

 

καὶ προσῆλθον αὐτῷ ὄχλοι πολλοὶ ἔχοντες μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν χωλούς, κυλλούς, τυφλούς, κωφούς, καὶ ἑτέρους πολλούς, καὶ ἔριψαν αὐτοὺς παρὰ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ· καὶ ἐθεράπευσεν αὐτούς·

ὥστε τὸν ὄχλον θαυμάσαι βλέποντας κωφοὺς λαλοῦντας κυλλοὺς ὑγιεῖς καὶ χωλοὺς περιπατοῦντας καὶ τυφλοὺς βλέποντας· καὶ ἐδόξασαν τὸν Θεὸν Ἰσραήλ.

 

This seems to be unique to Matthew, with his emphasis on the great crowds of people and mass healings.  In chapter 8:17, He had talked about these healing actions as a fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah, but here this prophet is not mentioned.  As usual, great crowds came out to see Jesus (καὶ προσῆλθον αὐτῷ ὄχλοι πολλοὶ).  They brought with them (ἔχοντες μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν) the lame (χωλούς), the maimed (κυλλούς), the blind (τυφλούς), the mute (κωφούς), and many other sick people (, καὶ ἑτέρους πολλούς).  They were all placed at the feet of Jesus (καὶ ἔριψαν αὐτοὺς παρὰ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ).  Then he healed them (καὶ ἐθεράπευσεν αὐτούς), so that the crowd was amazed or marveled at what they saw (ὥστε τὸν ὄχλον θαυμάσαι βλέποντας).  The mute people were able to speak (κωφοὺς λαλοῦντας).  The maimed people were made sound or whole (κυλλοὺς ὑγιεῖς).  The lame people were able to walk (καὶ χωλοὺς περιπατοῦντας).  The blind people were able to see (καὶ τυφλοὺς βλέποντας).  They all praised or honored the God of Israel (καὶ ἐδόξασαν τὸν Θεὸν Ἰσραήλ), and not Jesus.

Jesus siting in a boat by the sea (Mt 13:1-13:2)

“That same day,

Jesus went out

Of the house.

He sat beside the sea.

Such great crowds

Gathered around him,

That he got into a boat.

He sat there.

Meanwhile,

The whole crowd stood

On the beach.”

 

Ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ ἐξελθὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τῆς οἰκίας ἐκάθητο παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν

καὶ συνήχθησαν πρὸς αὐτὸν ὄχλοι πολλοί, ὥστε αὐτὸν εἰς πλοῖον ἐμβάντα καθῆσθαι, καὶ πᾶς ὁ ὄχλος ἐπὶ τὸν αἰγιαλὸν εἱστήκει.

 

A similar statement can be found in Mark, chapter 4:1.  This seems to be a transition statement.  It was the same day (Ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ), but Jesus left his house (ἐξελθὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τῆς οἰκίας) and sat beside the Sea of Galilee (ἐκάθητο παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν).  Such great crowds gathered or assembled around him (καὶ συνήχθησαν πρὸς αὐτὸν ὄχλοι πολλοί), so that Jesus got into a boat (ὥστε αὐτὸν εἰς πλοῖον ἐμβάντα).  He then sat there in the boat (καθῆσθαι), while the whole crowd stood on the beach shore (καὶ πᾶς ὁ ὄχλος ἐπὶ τὸν αἰγιαλὸν εἱστήκει).  Jesus was no longer talking to just his apostles since this was a whole crowd of people.

Jesus takes a low profile (Mt 12:15-12:16

When Jesus

Became aware of this,

He departed from there.

Many crowds followed him.

He cured all of them.

He ordered them

Not to make him known.”

 

Ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς γνοὺς ἀνεχώρησεν ἐκεῖθεν. καὶ ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ πολλοί, καὶ ἐθεράπευσεν αὐτοὺς πάντας,

καὶ ἐπετίμησεν αὐτοῖς ἵνα μὴ φανερὸν αὐτὸν ποιήσωσιν

 

Although this first sentence is unique to Matthew, the second sentence is a direct quote from Mark, chapter 3:12.  Once again, Matthew emphasized the great crowds without any specific number.  He cured all the sick people but did not want them to make it public.  There seems to be a contradiction here with large crowds, many healings, and yet not making it public, as if that was possible.  Although he wanted a low profile, he continued to heal many people.  Jesus knew what was going on with the Pharisees (Ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς γνοὺς).  Thus, he left that area of Galilee (ἀνεχώρησεν ἐκεῖθεν).  However, great crowds followed him anyway (καὶ ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ πολλοί).  He healed, cured, or served all of these people (καὶ ἐθεράπευσεν αὐτοὺς πάντας).  Then he ordered, warned, or admonished them (καὶ ἐπετίμησεν αὐτοῖς) not to reveal or make him known (ἵνα μὴ φανερὸν αὐτὸν ποιήσωσιν).  This was often referred to as the Messianic secret that Matthew indicated in chapters 8:4 and 9:30.