They try to kill Jesus (Lk 4:29-4:29)

“They got up.

They drove Jesus

Out of town.

They led him

To the ridge

Of the hill

On which their town

Was built.

They wanted

To hurl him

Off the cliff.”

 

καὶ ἀναστάντες ἐξέβαλον αὐτὸν ἔξω τῆς πόλεως, καὶ ἤγαγον αὐτὸν ἕως ὀφρύος τοῦ ὄρους ἐφ’ οὗ ἡ πόλις ᾠκοδόμητο αὐτῶν, ὥστε κατακρημνίσαι αὐτόν·

 

Luke alone said that they acted out their anger.  They got up (καὶ ἀναστάντες) from the synagogue.  They drove Jesus out of town (ἐξέβαλον αὐτὸν ἔξω τῆς πόλεως).  They led him to the top or the ridge of the hill (καὶ ἤγαγον αὐτὸν ἕως ὀφρύος τοῦ ὄρους) on which their town was built (ἐφ’ οὗ ἡ πόλις ᾠκοδόμητο αὐτῶν).  They wanted to hurl him off the cliff (ὥστε κατακρημνίσαι αὐτόν).  One problem is that Nazareth was a flat town with no hills or cliffs.  Some commentators say that they meant to stone him, but the text does not say that.  However, they did not like his teachings about going to non-Jewish people and not doing any miracles in his home town.

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Clear the path (Lk 3:5-3:5)

“Every valley

Shall be filled.

Every mountain

Shall be made low.

Every hill

Shall be made low.

The crooked ways

Will be made straight.

The rough ways

Will be made smooth.”

 

πᾶσα φάραγξ πληρωθήσεται καὶ πᾶν ὄρος καὶ βουνὸς ταπεινωθήσεται, καὶ ἔσται τὰ σκολιὰ εἰς εὐθείας καὶ αἱ τραχεῖαι εἰς ὁδοὺς λείας·

 

Only Luke has this continuation of the prophecy from Deutero-Isaiah.  As a further description on how to prepare the way for the Lord, Luke quoted Isaiah, chapter 40:4-5.  Every valley will be filled (πᾶσα φάραγξ πληρωθήσεται).  Every mountain and hill will be made low (καὶ πᾶν ὄρος καὶ βουνὸς ταπεινωθήσεται).  The crooked ways will be made straight (καὶ ἔσται τὰ σκολιὰ εἰς εὐθείας).  The rough ways will be made smooth (καὶ αἱ τραχεῖαι εἰς ὁδοὺς λείας).  This would be a time of upheaval.  The valleys would rise as the mountains and hills would fall.  Also, the uneven and rough places would become level and plain so that all the people would then see the glory of God revealed.

They sung a hymn (Mk 14:26-14:26)

“When they had sung

The hymn,

They went out

To the Mount of Olives.”

 

Καὶ ὑμνήσαντες ἐξῆλθον εἰς τὸ ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαιῶν.

 

This is exactly word for word in Matthew, chapter 26:30, and similar in Luke, chapter 22:39.  Both Matthew and Mark agree that after they had sung the praise hymns (Καὶ ὑμνήσαντες), they went out to the hill or the Mount of Olives (ἐξῆλθον εἰς τὸ ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαιῶν).  The hymns that they would have sung would be the Hallel Psalms 115-118, that were usually associated with the Passover service.  The Mount of Olives was about 2 miles east of the old city of Jerusalem, where many people had been buried for thousands of years.  Thus, when Jesus and his 12 disciples had finished with their Passover hymn singing of the Hallel psalms, they went outside the city about a 2 mile walk to this graveyard where there was a hill with a lot of olive trees on it.

The swine on the hillside (Mk 5:11-5:12)

“Now there on a hillside,

A great herd

Of swine

Was feeding.

The unclean spirits

Begged him.

‘Send us into the swine!

Let us enter them!’”

 

ἦν δὲ ἐκεῖ πρὸς τῷ ὄρει ἀγέλη χοίρων μεγάλη βοσκομένη·

καὶ παρεκάλεσαν αὐτὸν λέγοντες Πέμψον ἡμᾶς εἰς τοὺς χοίρους, ἵνα εἰς αὐτοὺς εἰσέλθωμεν.

 

All three synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 8:30-31, and Luke, chapter 8:32, and Mark here, have the unclean spirits or the demoniacs ask to be sent into the herd of pigs nearby, with slight nuances in each story.  This incident took place near a mountain or hill (ἦν δὲ ἐκεῖ πρὸς τῷ ὄρει).  There was a large herd of swine, pigs, or hogs (ἀγέλη χοίρων πολλῶν) feeding (βοσκομένη) on this hill, since this was gentile or a Greek area that was not Jewish.  Then the unclean spirits, not the demoniac, begged, entreated, or beseeched Jesus (καὶ παρεκάλεσαν αὐτὸν λέγοντες) to send them into these pigs or swine (Πέμψον ἡμᾶς εἰς τοὺς χοίρους), so that they could enter them (ἵνα εἰς αὐτοὺς εἰσέλθωμεν).  It seems like these evil spirits knew that they belonged in the unclean pigs or swine.

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew had 3 chapters devoted to Jesus and his preaching on the mount or hill.  This Sermon on the Mount is a collection of sayings and teachings of Jesus that emphasize his moral teaching, the first of his 5 discourses. early in the ministry of Jesus.  Luke had something similar in his sermon on the plain.  This sermon is the longest continuous section of Jesus speaking in the New Testament, containing the central tenets of Christian discipleship.  Thus, it had become the most widely quoted and best known of the teachings of Jesus, with the Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer.  These Jesus sayings echo the highest ideals of Jesus’ teachings on spirituality and compassion with acts of mercy, providing both temporal and spiritual benefits.  Jesus also used many metaphors in his sermon.  He reinterpreted the Ten Commandments, particularly about lying, killing and adultery.  The teachings of this sermon have been a key element of Christian ethics with its demanding high moral standards.  Christians were to be perfect with a Christian righteousness.  There have been many different interpretations of this demanding ethical life.  Was this only for clergy and monks?  Is it only an impossible ideal?  Should we take this literally?  Is this only an interim ethic or a future ethic?  Is this the basis of the social gospel and Christian existentialism?  What value do these ideals have for our lives today?

The return of the exiles (Bar 5:5-5:9)

“Arise!

O Jerusalem!

Stand upon the height!

Look toward the east! See your children

Gathered from the west,

Gathered from the east, At the word

Of the Holy One! They are rejoicing

That God has remembered them. They went out from you

On foot.

They were led away

By their enemies.

But God will bring them

Back to you.

They will be carried in glory

As on a royal throne.

God has ordered

That every high mountain

With the everlasting hills

Will be made low.

The valleys will be filled up

To make level ground.

Thus Israel may walk safely

In the glory of God.

The woods

With every fragrant tree

Have shaded Israel

At God’s command.

God will lead Israel with joy,

In the light of his glory,

With the mercy,

With the righteousness

That comes from him.”

This author concludes this book of Baruch with a call to Jerusalem to arise and stand tall. They were to look to the east to see their children, both from the east and west, returning and rejoicing because God had remembered them. They went out on foot, led away by their captive enemies. However, they would return as if carried in glory on a throne. Every high mountain and hill would be leveled, while the valleys would fill up, to make a level ground so that they could walk safely in the glory of God. The fragrant trees of the woods would shade them. God would lead them with the joy and the light of his glory that comes from his mercy and righteousness.

The devoured lost sheep (Jer 50:6-50:7)

“My people

Have been

Like lost sheep.

Their shepherds

Have led them astray.

They turned them away

On the mountains.

From mountain

To hill,

They have gone.

They have forgotten

Their fold.

All who found them

Have devoured them.

Their enemies have said.

‘We are not guilty!

Because they have sinned

Against Yahweh,

Their true pastor,

Their lord,

The hope of their ancestors.’”

The people of Israel and Judah were like lost sheep. Their shepherds or leaders had led them astray. They let these sheep loose in the mountains where they wandered around from hill to mountain, forgetting about the rest of the flock. Anyone who found them killed them and ate them. The response of these enemy snatchers was that they were not guilty, because these sheep and their shepherds had sinned against Yahweh, the true pastor and hope of their ancestors. Thus they justified their actions against them.