The gospel preaching of John (Lk 3:18-3:18)

“Thus,

With many other exhortations,

John proclaimed

The good news gospel

To the people.”

 

Πολλὰ μὲν οὖν καὶ ἕτερα παρακαλῶν εὐηγγελίζετο τὸν λαόν·

 

Only Luke has this explanation that John the Baptist with many other exhortations (Πολλὰ μὲν οὖν καὶ ἕτερα παρακαλῶν), other than those recounted here, proclaimed the good news to the people (εὐηγγελίζετο τὸν λαόν).  Was this the same good news or gospel (εὐηγγελίζετο) that Jesus would later preach?  Luke was the only one among the other gospel writers who linked John and Jesus as relatives in chapter 1:36.  John’s mother, Elizabeth, and Jesus’ mother, Mary, were relatives of some sort, thus making their children relatives or cousins also.  They could be compared in some ways to Aaron and Moses or the later Peter and Paul.  One was superior to the other, but the other played an indispensable role.  John the Baptist was a Jewish itinerant preacher in the early first century CE.  He used baptism, some kind of dipping in water, as the central symbol or sacrament of his messianic movement.  Thus, he became known as the one who baptizes, the Baptizer, John the Baptist.  This John certainly had a relationship with Jesus, but the exact relationship between John and Jesus is also problematic.  They may have originally been co-workers.  However, they separated as Jesus went along a different route.  However, the shadow of John the Baptist appeared again and again in the biblical stories about Jesus and his apostles.  Some believe that Jesus may have been an early follower or disciple of John, but the textual indications are that John saw himself as clearly subservient to Jesus.  Some of Jesus’ early followers had previously been followers of John, such as the apostle Andrew, the brother of Simon, in John, chapter 1:40, and in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 19:2-6.  There may have been also some contact between John the Baptist and the Qumran-Essene community, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.  John might have been associated with them or part of their community for a while.  Thus, John the Baptist has been revered as a prophet and a Christian saint throughout the centuries.

The large upper room (Mk 14:15-14:15)

“He will show you

A large room,

Upstairs,

Furnished,

And ready.

Prepare things

For us there!”

 

καὶ αὐτὸς ὑμῖν δείξει ἀνάγαιον μέγα ἐστρωμένον ἕτοιμον· καὶ ἐκεῖ ἑτοιμάσατε ἡμῖν.

 

There is something similar to this in Luke, chapter 22:12, but nothing about the description of this upstairs room in MatthewMark said that Jesus told the 2 unnamed disciples that the owner of this house would show them a large upstairs room (καὶ αὐτὸς ὑμῖν δείξει ἀνάγαιον μέγα).  This room would be completely furnished (ἐστρωμένον) and already prepared (ἕτοιμον) for a meal.  That is where they were to make the final preparations (καὶ ἐκεῖ ἑτοιμάσατε ἡμῖν) for the Passover meal for Jesus and his apostles.  Thus, it would make sense if these two disciples were Peter and John, as Luke indicated, since they were among the 12 apostles, who would be later attending this Passover.

Do not tell anyone (Mk 7:36-7:36)

“Jesus ordered them

To tell no one.

But the more

He ordered them,

The more zealously

They proclaimed it.”

 

καὶ διεστείλατο αὐτοῖς ἵνα μηδενὶ λέγωσιν· ὅσον δὲ αὐτοῖς διεστέλλετο, αὐτοὶ μᾶλλον περισσότερον ἐκήρυσσον.

 

Once again, this unique saying of Mark had Jesus order or instruct this man and the crowd with him (καὶ διεστείλατο αὐτοῖς) not to tell anyone about it (ἵνα μηδενὶ λέγωσιν).  However, the more he ordered or instructed them to be quiet (ὅσον δὲ αὐτοῖς διεστέλλετο,), the more zealously they proclaimed it (αὐτοὶ μᾶλλον περισσότερον ἐκήρυσσον).  This was the strange Messianic secret that no one could keep secret.  The ironic twist was that the crowds saw what was happening, yet Jesus was trying not to let people tell others.  On the other hand, he would send his apostles out to preach.  What did he expect to happen?

The seeds are the word of God (Mk 4:14-4:14)

“The sower

Sows

The word.”

 

ὁ σπείρων τὸν λόγον σπείρει.

 

Mark said the seeds were the word (ὁ σπείρων τὸν λόγον), without any further clarification.  Matthew, chapter 13:19 was more explicit with the seeds as the word of the kingdom (τὸν λόγον τῆς βασιλείας).  Luke, chapter 8:11, was ever more specific when he explicitly said that seed was the word of God (τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Mark said that the sower (ὁ σπείρων), either Jesus or his apostles, was sowing the word (τὸν λόγον σπείρει), the word of the kingdom, or the word of God into good ground, so that it might bear fruit.

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.

Wise faithful slave (Mt 24:45-24:47)

“Who then is the faithful

And wise slave?

His master

Has put him in charge

Over his household.

He was to give

The other slaves

Their allowance

Of food

At the proper time.

Blessed is that slave

Whom his master

Will find at work

When he arrives.

Truly!

I say to you!

He will put that one

In charge

Of all his possessions.”

 

Τίς ἄρα ἐστὶν ὁ πιστὸς δοῦλος καὶ φρόνιμος ὃν κατέστησεν ὁ κύριος ἐπὶ τῆς οἰκετείας αὐτοῦ τοῦ δοῦναι αὐτοῖς τὴν τροφὴν ἐν καιρῷ;

μακάριος ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος ὃν ἐλθὼν ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ εὑρήσει οὕτως ποιοῦντα·

ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἐπὶ πᾶσιν τοῖς ὑπάρχουσιν αὐτοῦ καταστήσει αὐτόν.

 

There is a similar parable saying about this good slave in Luke, chapter 12:42-44, almost word for word.  Jesus asked who was the faithful and wise slave (Τίς ἄρα ἐστὶν ὁ πιστὸς δοῦλος καὶ φρόνιμος)?  Was he referring to his apostles and disciples?  The master had put this slave in charge over his household slaves (ὃν κατέστησεν ὁ κύριος ἐπὶ τῆς οἰκετείας αὐτοῦ).  He was to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time (τοῦ δοῦναι αὐτοῖς τὴν τροφὴν ἐν καιρῷ).  This slave would be blessed (μακάριος ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος) if this master came and found him at work (ὃν ἐλθὼν ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ εὑρήσει οὕτως ποιοῦντα).  Then in a solemn proclamation (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν), Jesus said that this hard-working wise slave would be put in charge of all the master’s possessions (ὅτι ἐπὶ πᾶσιν τοῖς ὑπάρχουσιν αὐτοῦ καταστήσει αὐτόν).  Do a good job and you will get a promotion.

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.