Severe man (Lk 19:21-19:21)

“I was afraid of you!

You are a harsh man!

You take

What you did not deposit.

You reap

What you did not sow.”

 

ἐφοβούμην γάρ σε, ὅτι ἄνθρωπος αὐστηρὸς εἶ, αἴρεις ὃ οὐκ ἔθηκας, καὶ θερίζεις ὃ οὐκ ἔσπειρας.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that this third slave said that he was afraid (ἐφοβούμην) of the lord nobleman, because this nobleman was a harsh or severe man (γάρ σε, ὅτι ἄνθρωπος αὐστηρὸς εἶ).  Once again, Luke used a word αὐστηρὸς, that means harsh, severe, grim, strict, exacting, or rigid, that is not found elsewhere in the Greek biblical literature.  This man took what he had not deposited (αἴρεις ὃ οὐκ ἔθηκας).  He reaped what he had not sown (καὶ θερίζεις ὃ οὐκ ἔσπειρας).  This was similar to Matthew, chapter 25:24, perhaps indicating a Q source.  Jesus, via Matthew, indicated that this slave said to his master or lord (εἶπεν Κύριε) that he knew that his master was a harsh or hard man (ἔγνων σε ὅτι σκληρὸς εἶ ἄνθρωπος), because he would reap or harvest crops where he had not sown them (θερίζων ὅπου οὐκ ἔσπειρας).  He even gathered crops where he had not scattered seeds (καὶ συνάγων ὅθεν οὐ διεσκόρπισας).  This third slave in each story was afraid of this harsh or severe demanding master.  Do you know someone who is very demanding?

 

The astonished parents were to be silent (Lk 8:56-8:56)

“Her parents

Were astonished.

But Jesus

Ordered them

To tell no one about

What had happened.”

 

καὶ ἐξέστησαν οἱ γονεῖς αὐτῆς· ὁ δὲ παρήγγειλεν αὐτοῖς μηδενὶ εἰπεῖν τὸ γεγονός

 

Luke said that her parents were astonished (καὶ ἐξέστησαν οἱ γονεῖς αὐτῆς).  However, Jesus ordered them to tell no one what had happened (ὁ δὲ παρήγγειλεν αὐτοῖς μηδενὶ εἰπεῖν τὸ γεγονός).  The ending to this story is different in Matthew, chapter 9:26 than that of Mark, chapter 5:43 and Luke, who are similar.  Mark indicated that Jesus strictly instructed or ordered them that no one should know about this incident.  That would have been hard because this was such a public event.  In Matthew, this event spread all over this land or district without any attempt to keep it quiet, which was the opposite of Luke and Mark.  If you saw a miraculous event, would you be quiet about it or tell everyone?

Jesus told them not to tell anyone (Mk 5:43-5:43)

“Jesus strictly ordered them.

No one should know this.

He told them

To give her something

To eat.”

 

καὶ διεστείλατο αὐτοῖς πολλὰ ἵνα μηδεὶς γνοῖ τοῦτο, καὶ εἶπεν δοθῆναι αὐτῇ φαγεῖν.

 

The ending to this story is different in Matthew, chapter 9:26 than that of Mark and Luke, chapter 8:55-56, that are similar.  Mark indicated that Jesus strictly instructed or ordered them (καὶ διεστείλατο αὐτοῖς πολλὰ) that no one should know about this incident (ἵνα μηδεὶς γνοῖ τοῦτο).  That would have been hard because this was such a public event.  However, Jesus told them to give the young girl something to eat (καὶ εἶπεν δοθῆναι αὐτῇ φαγεῖν).  In Matthew, this event spread all over this land or district without any attempt to keep it quiet.

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.

The slave with one talent (Mt 25:24-25:25)

“Then the slave who had received

One talent

Also came forward.

He said.

‘Master!

I knew that

You were a harsh man.

You reap

Where you did not sow.

You gather

Where you did not

Scatter seed.

I was afraid.

I went off.

I hid your talent

In the ground.

Here you have

What is yours.’”

 

προσελθὼν δὲ καὶ ὁ τὸ ἓν τάλαντον εἰληφὼς εἶπεν Κύριε, ἔγνων σε ὅτι σκληρὸς εἶ ἄνθρωπος, θερίζων ὅπου οὐκ ἔσπειρας, καὶ συνάγων ὅθεν οὐ διεσκόρπισας·

καὶ φοβηθεὶς ἀπελθὼν ἔκρυψα τὸ τάλαντόν σου ἐν τῇ γῇ· ἴδε ἔχεις τὸ σόν.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew, but there is something similar in Luke, chapter 19:20-21, where the slave had wrapped the money in a piece of cloth.  This slave who had received one talent came forward to his master (προσελθὼν δὲ καὶ ὁ τὸ ἓν τάλαντον εἰληφὼς).  He said to his master or lord (εἶπεν Κύριε) that he knew that his master was a harsh or hard man (ἔγνων σε ὅτι σκληρὸς εἶ ἄνθρωπος), because he would reap or harvest crops where he had not sown them (θερίζων ὅπου οὐκ ἔσπειρας).  He even gathered crops where he had not scattered seeds (καὶ συνάγων ὅθεν οὐ διεσκόρπισας).  Thus, this slave said that he was afraid (καὶ φοβηθεὶς), so he went and hid his talent in the ground (ἀπελθὼν ἔκρυψα τὸ τάλαντόν σου ἐν τῇ γῇ).  Then he seemed happy to return this one talent worth $4,000,000 US back to his master, as he said “Look! here it is (ἴδε ἔχεις τὸ σόν)!”  He was glad to be rid of this burden of protecting this money from possible thieves or robbers.

They tie up heavy burdens (Mt 23:4-23:4)

“The Pharisees

And the Scribes

Tie up heavy burdens,

Hard to bear.

They lay them

On the shoulders of others.

But they themselves

Are unwilling to lift a finger

To move them.”

 

δεσμεύουσιν δὲ φορτία βαρέα καὶ ἐπιτιθέασιν ἐπὶ τοὺς ὤμους τῶν ἀνθρώπων, αὐτοὶ δὲ τῷ δακτύλῳ αὐτῶν οὐ θέλουσιν κινῆσαι αὐτά.

 

This is unique to Matthew.  However, there is something similar in Luke, chapter 11:46, but there Jesus was talking about a lawyer, who may have been a Pharisaic lawyer of the Law of Moses, who would not help others.  Jesus said that these Pharisees and the Scribes tied up heavy burdens (δεσμεύουσιν δὲ φορτία βαρέα) on the people that were hard or oppressive to bear.  They put these burdens on the shoulders of other men (καὶ ἐπιτιθέασιν ἐπὶ τοὺς ὤμους τῶν ἀνθρώπων), but they themselves were unwilling to lift a finger to help them remove these burdens (αὐτοὶ δὲ τῷ δακτύλῳ αὐτῶν οὐ θέλουσιν κινῆσαι αὐτά).  These heavy burdens of the Torah may have been their multiple perplexing oral interpretations of the law rather than the law itself that was usually considered a blessing.

The prostitute spirit In Ephraim (Hos 5:3-5:4)

“I know Ephraim!

Israel is not hidden

From me.

For now,

O Ephraim!

You have played

The prostitute.

Israel is defiled.

Their deeds

Do not permit them

To return

To their God.

The spirit of prostitution

Is within them.

They do not know

Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, is particularly hard on the tribe of Ephraim, which was just north of Benjamin, with the capital of the northern Israelite kingdom there. Israel could not hide from Yahweh. Ephraim had played the prostitute role. Thus, Israel had defiled itself. By their deeds, they could not return to God. The spirit of prostitution had overtaken them. They no longer knew Yahweh. They had abandoned him.