Be like a child (Lk 18:17-18:17)

“Truly!

I say to you!

Whoever does not receive

The kingdom of God

As a little child

Will never enter it.”

 

ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ὃς ἂν μὴ δέξηται τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ ὡς παιδίον, οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθῃ εἰς αὐτήν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to them with a solemn proclamation (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) that whoever did not receive (ὃς ἂν μὴ δέξηται) the kingdom of God (τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ) as a little child (ὡς παιδίον) would never enter it (οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθῃ εἰς αὐτήν).  This Jesus saying put an emphasis on becoming a child to enter the kingdom.  Similar comments can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:15, as well as Matthew, chapters 18:3, with some minor changes.  Mark said that Jesus made a solemn proclamation “Truly! I say to you!’ (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).”  They had to receive the kingdom of God (ὃς ἂν μὴ δέξηται τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ) like a little child (ὡς παιδίον).  Otherwise, they would never enter the kingdom of God (οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθῃ εἰς αὐτήν).  Pure and simple, they had to have the attitude of a young child to enter the kingdom of God, just Luke mentioned here, almost word for word.  Matthew indicated that Jesus called or summoned a little child (καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος παιδίον).  He placed this little child in the middle of his disciples (ἔστησεν αὐτὸ ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῶν).  Then he made a solemn proclamation ‘Truly! I say to you!’ (καὶ εἶπεν Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  They had to change or convert to become like little children (ἐὰν μὴ στραφῆτε καὶ γένησθε ὡς τὰ παιδία).  Otherwise, they would never enter the kingdom of heaven (οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθητε εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν).  Whoever became humble like this little child in their midst (ὅστις οὖν ταπεινώσει ἑαυτὸν ὡς τὸ παιδίον τοῦτο), would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ μείζων ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν).  The greatest in heaven would be the simple humble little children or those who acted like children, without power and dependent on other people.  Luke and Mark did not have a long explanation about being humble like this little child to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Notice also that once again, Matthew emphasized the kingdom of heaven and not the kingdom of God.  Are you humble like a little child?

 

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Welcome the little child (Lk 9:48-9:48)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Whoever welcomes

This child

In my name,

Welcomes me.

Whoever welcomes me,

Welcomes the one

Who sent me.

The least

Among all of you

Is the greatest.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ὃς ἐὰν δέξηται τοῦτο τὸ παιδίον ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματί μου, ἐμὲ δέχεται· καὶ ὃς ἂν ἐμὲ δέξηται, δέχεται τὸν ἀποστείλαντά με· ὁ γὰρ μικρότερος ἐν πᾶσιν ὑμῖν ὑπάρχων οὗτός ἐστιν μέγας.

 

Luke said that Jesus told his disciples (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that whoever welcomed this child (Ὃς ἐὰν δέξηται τοῦτο τὸ παιδίον) in his name (ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματί μου), welcomed him (ἐμὲ δέχεται).  Whoever welcomes him (καὶ ὃς ἂν ἐμὲ δέξηται), welcomed the one who sent him (δέχεται τὸν ἀποστείλαντά με).  The least among all of them (ὁ γὰρ μικρότερος ἐν πᾶσιν ὑμῖν ὑπάρχων) would be the greatest (οὗτός ἐστιν μέγας).  There was the answer to the question.  The greatest was the little child.  This saying about welcoming this little child can also be found in Matthew, chapter 18:5, and Mark, chapter 9:37, with some minor changes.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that whoever welcomed, received, or accepted such a little child in Jesus’ name, welcomed Jesus.  Whoever welcomed Jesus welcomed not just Jesus, but welcomed the one who had sent him.  Matthew had this welcoming saying about the little child also.  Whoever welcomed such a little child in Jesus’ name, welcomed Jesus.  However, there was no mention of a relationship to the Father that was in other gospel sayings.  Pure and simple, anyone who accepted this little child in Jesus’ name, welcomed Jesus.  Are you good with little children?

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.

Be like a child (Mk 10:15-10:15)

“Truly!

I say to you!

Whoever does not receive

The kingdom of God

As a little child

Will never enter it.”

 

ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ὃς ἂν μὴ δέξηται τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ ὡς παιδίον, οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθῃ εἰς αὐτήν.

 

This story about Jesus wanting them to become like little children is in Matthew, chapter 18:3, and Luke, chapter 18:17, but slightly different.  Jesus put an emphasis on becoming like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Mark said that Jesus made a solemn proclamation “Truly! I say to you!’ (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).”  They had to receive the kingdom of God (ὃς ἂν μὴ δέξηται τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ) like a little child (ὡς παιδίον).  Otherwise, they would never enter the kingdom of God (οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθῃ εἰς αὐτήν).  There is no long explanation about being humble like this little child to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, as in Matthew.  Pure and simple, they had to have the attitude of a young child to enter the kingdom of God.

The mustard seed (Mk 4:31-4:32)

“The kingdom of God

Is like

A mustard seed.

When sown

Upon the ground,

It is the smallest

Of all the seeds

On earth.

Yet when it is sown,

It grows up.

It becomes the greatest

Of all shrubs.

It puts forth

Large branches,

So that the birds

Of the air

Can make nests

In its shade.”

 

ὡς κόκκῳ σινάπεως, ὃς ὅταν σπαρῇ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, μικρότερον ὂν πάντων τῶν σπερμάτων τῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς,

καὶ ὅταν σπαρῇ, ἀναβαίνει καὶ γίνεται μεῖζον πάντων τῶν λαχάνων, καὶ ποιεῖ κλάδους μεγάλους, ὥστε δύνασθαι ὑπὸ τὴν σκιὰν αὐτοῦ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνοῖν.

 

This parable of the mustard seed can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 13:31-32, and Luke, chapter 13:19.  The mustard seed was the symbol of small things.  However, it 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 heaven may start out small but would grow to hold many people.  Jesus, via Mark, explicitly presented them with another short parable.  He said that the kingdom of God was like a mustard seed or a grain of mustard (ὡς κόκκῳ σινάπεως).  When planted in the ground (ὃς ὅταν σπαρῇ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς), it is the smallest of all seeds on earth (μικρότερον ὂν πάντων τῶν σπερμάτων τῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς).  But when it has grown after being planted (καὶ ὅταν σπαρῇ, ἀναβαίνει), it becomes greater than all the garden plants or shrubs (καὶ γίνεται μεῖζον πάντων τῶν λαχάνων).  It then produces great branches (καὶ ποιεῖ κλάδους μεγάλους).  Thus, the birds of the air would be able to come and perch or build nests in the shade of its branches (ὥστε δύνασθαι ὑπὸ τὴν σκιὰν αὐτοῦ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνοῖν).  What starts out small can become quite large.

Fourth narrative

The fourth narrative section revealed the increasing opposition to Jesus.  Thus, his disciples had to prepare for his absence.  These instructions emphasized responsibility and humility.  Simon was renamed Peter, the rock upon which he was going to build his church, especially the mystery of the kingdom of heaven.

While Jesus was preaching in the various towns, John the Baptist was put in prison.  The disciples of John questioned Jesus and Jesus responded.  Jesus then asked questions about John.  Was John more than a prophet?  Then Matthew had a series of Old Testament scriptural quotations about John.  How great was John the Baptist?  Was John Elijah?

Jesus warned that this was a childish generation that was indifferent as they kept on eating and drinking, as if nothing important was happening.  Jesus was against the various Galilean cities and towns, especially Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum.  Jesus explained that there were hidden things from the wise ones, especially the relationship of the Father with the Son, but that the disciples had an easy yoke to bear.

Next came the question of eating on the Sabbath.  The Pharisees reacted against Jesus, but he used the example of David and the priests in the Temple to respond to them.  God was the Lord of the Sabbath.  Thus, when Jesus went into the synagogue, they asked him if he would heal anyone on the Sabbath?  Jesus compared sheep to human beings and then healed the man’s hand.  Thus, the Pharisees conspired against Jesus, while he took a low profile.

Jesus said that the fulfillment of the prophesy of Isaiah was at hand in the servant of Yahweh.  Jesus cured the blind and mute man as the crowds were amazed.  However, the Pharisees compared Jesus to Beelzebul, the devil.  Jesus responded that a divided kingdom would not stand.  The Spirit of God was with Jesus.  The bandits tied up people before stealing from them.  You were either for or against Jesus.  They should be aware of the sin against the Holy Spirit.

Jesus then issued a series of sayings about a tree and its fruit.  He compared the Pharisees to a brood of vipers.  There could be good and bad treasures.  Words would either save or condemn them.

Jesus told them about the sign for this evil generation that was always seeking signs.  He was only going to give them the sign of Jonah.  Notice how the men of Nineveh reacted.  The Queen of Sheba brought gifts to Solomon.  The unclean spirit would return with other evil spirits.  The relatives of Jesus, his mother and brothers showed up, but Jesus said that he had a new family.

Then Jesus spoke in parables siting in a boat by the sea.  There was the parable of the sower with his lost seeds, where only a few of the seeds fell on good soil.  His disciples wanted to know why he was speaking in parables, so that Jesus explained why he used parables.  Once again, he referred to a prophecy of Isaiah.  He explained about the seeds on the rocky ground and the seeds among the thorns.  Finally, he explained the meaning of the seeds on good ground or path since they were the blessed ones.

Then there was the parable about the weeds among the wheat.  The slaves let the weeds grow and then separated them at harvest time.  There were other parables about the mustard seed and the yeast.  Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, but he explained these parables to his disciples, especially the sower, the field, and the seeds.  He explained the enemy and the burning of the weeds.  The punishment for the weeds came at the harvest end times.  Thus, the reward for the righteous will be at the end times.

The kingdom of heaven was like a treasure, like pearls, and like a fishing net.  Jesus explained the parables because the disciples did not understand them.  They were like new and old treasures.

Jesus was an astonishment in his own home town.  They all knew the family of Jesus.  Thus, he was a prophet without honor in his own country.

Herod thought that Jesus was a resurrected John the Baptist, but he was afraid of John the Baptist.  At his birthday party, Herod granted the wish to have the head of John the Baptist on a platter.  Meanwhile, John the Baptist’s disciples buried him.

Jesus was worried as he was healing the sick people.  The disciples complained about the crowds, so that Jesus told them to give them something to eat.  However, they only had five loaves and two fish.  Then Jesus blessed the five loaves of bread and distributed them to the crowd.  There were even leftovers from this crowd of five thousand people.

The disciples left in a boat, so that Jesus prayed alone.  The boat was in the middle of the sea when Jesus walked on water to come to them.   Peter talked to Jesus and then attempted to walk on the water.  Jesus then saved Peter who recognized Jesus as the Son of God.  Then there were the healings at Gennesaret, where Jesus cured the sick.

The Pharisees from Jerusalem came to Jesus to ask him why his disciples did not wash their hands before eating.  Jesus responded by telling them to honor their parents since there was hypocrisy in their traditions.  He cited Isaiah about vain worship.  He told them to hear and understand.  They should watch what came out of their mouth rather than what went into their mouth as defilement.  The Pharisees were offended, but Jesus called them blind guides.  Peter wanted to understand more so that Jesus explained the mouth should speak from the heart.

Jesus went to the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon where he met a Canaanite woman.  He said that he was only going to the lost sheep of Israel, but this Canaanite woman persistently asked for help.  Jesus refused again saying that he could not feed the dogs.  However, she responded that dogs eat crumbs from the table.  Jesus said that she had great faith and healed her.

As Jesus healed the crowds of people in the mountain near the Sea of Galilee, he had compassion for them.  Where will they get food?  His disciples said that they had seven loaves.  Jesus then gave thanks over them and distributed the bread to four thousand men as there was a second multiplication of bread loaves.

Jesus went to Magadan.  There the Pharisees asked for a sign from heaven.  Once again, Jesus said that there are weather signs, but he would only give this evil generation the sign of Jonah.

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, but Jesus warned them about the yeast of the Pharisees.  He reprimanded his disciples for their lack of faith as he reminded them about the multiplication of the loaves of bread.  They should be worried about the Pharisees not food.

What was the role of Peter?  Jesus asked about the Son of Man as the disciples responded.  Then Jesus asked them about himself.  Peter gave a very positive response, so that Jesus rewarded him.  The Messianic secret was tied to the future of Jesus in this conversation between Peter and Jesus.  He would have to take up his cross if wanted to save his life because the Son of Man in his kingdom would be coming soon.

Jesus took three of his apostles up a mountain where he was transfigured before them.  Moses and Elijah appeared with him.  Peter wanted to set up three tents for them.  A voice from the cloud came as the three apostles adored him.  Jesus asked them to be silent about this.  What was the role of Elijah and John the Baptist?

An epileptic man knelt before Jesus that his disciples were unable to heal.  Jesus then healed him, so that his disciples wondered why they were unable to heal this epileptic?  Jesus spoke about the future of the Son of Man.  Should they pay the Temple tax?  Jesus responded that the son of the king did not pay taxes, but he told Peter to pay them anyway.

Finally, we have the ecclesiastical discourse about who is the greatest.  A child is the greatest because when you welcome a little child, you welcome Jesus.  They were not to cause children to sin.  They were not to tempt people.  It would be better to be maimed and blind than suffer eternal fire.  They were not to despise the little ones.  Jesus explained the parable of the lost sheep and fraternal correction.  What were you to do with a sinning brother.  Let him become a gentile, if he does not listen.  Common prayer was important so that they should gather in his name.  How often should they forgive?  The response was the seventy times seven.

Then there was the parable of the unforgiving servant slave.  The master settled accounts with servant slaves.  One owed ten thousand talents, so that the king forgave him his debt.  However, this servant slave would not forgive the debt of his fellow slaves, who were angry.  Thus, this unforgiving slave was tortured.  This parable explanation was simple, forgive your brothers.