The sign of Jonah (Lk 11:29-11:29)

“When the crowds

Were increasing,

Jesus began to say.

‘This generation

Is an evil generation.

It asks for a sign.

But no sign

Will be given to it,

Except the sign of Jonah.’”

 

Τῶν δὲ ὄχλων ἐπαθροιζομένων ἤρξατο λέγειν Ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη γενεὰ πονηρά ἐστιν· σημεῖον ζητεῖ, καὶ σημεῖον οὐ δοθήσεται αὐτῇ εἰ μὴ τὸ σημεῖον Ἰωνᾶ.

 

Luke said that the crowds were increasingly pressing (Τῶν δὲ ὄχλων ἐπαθροιζομένων) around Jesus.  Thus, he began to talk (ἤρξατο λέγειν).  He said that this generation was an evil generation (Ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη γενεὰ πονηρά ἐστιν).  They seek signs (σημεῖον ζητεῖ), but no sign will be given to them (καὶ σημεῖον οὐ δοθήσεται αὐτῇ), except the sign of Jonah (εἰ μὴ τὸ σημεῖον Ἰωνᾶ).  This seeking of signs was common among all the synoptic gospel writers, Matthew, chapter 12:38-39, Mark, chapter 8:11-12, and Luke, here.  Matthew said that the Scribes and Pharisees wanted a sign rather than the vague “they” here in Luke.  They called Jesus a teacher or rabbi (Διδάσκαλε).  They wanted to see a sign from Jesus (θέλομεν ἀπὸ σοῦ σημεῖον ἰδεῖν).  Mark said that Jesus was not going to give them any sign at all.  He said that Jesus sighed deeply in his spirit.  He asked them why was this generation seeking a sign?  With a rare solemn proclamation in Mark, Jesus told them point blank that no sign would be given to this generation.  Sometimes miracles were considered heavenly signs, but Mark continued to call miracles works of power and not signs, as other gospel writers sometimes referred to them.  Are you always looking for signs from heaven on what to do?

The voice from heaven (Lk 3:22-3:22)

“A voice

Came from heaven.

‘You are my Son!

The Beloved!

I am well pleased

With you!’”

 

καὶ φωνὴν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ γενέσθαι Σὺ εἶ ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα.

 

As in Mark, chapter 1:11, Luke, had a voice from heaven address Jesus directly.  In Matthew, chapter 3:17, this voice from the heavens did not address Jesus personally, while John, chapter 1, did not have any mention of a voice from heaven at all after the baptism of Jesus.  The idea of a heavenly voice had a very strong tradition in the Hebrew Bible, especially among the prophets.  Luke said that this voice came from heaven (καὶ φωνὴν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ γενέσθαι).  It said that Jesus was his beloved son (Σὺ εἶ ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός).  He, the heavenly Father was well pleased with him (ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα).  All this was in the second person singular.  God the Father said that Jesus was his most beloved son in whom he was well pleased.  The gospel writers did not clarify whether others saw and heard these things.  In fact, this saying and incident after the baptism of Jesus might have been the basis for a Subordinationschristologie that Jesus the Son was somehow subordinate to the Father.  According to this adoption theory, God the Father had to send his Spirit to anoint and empower Jesus in this concrete event, before he could begin his public ministry.  This adoptionism theory, and the Christological disputes of the later 4th century CE, led to the diminution of this baptismal event within later patristic and medieval theological circles.  Nevertheless, the baptism of Jesus has become the starting point for any theological reflection about early Christian initiation practices.  It is not clear whether all the primitive Christian communities linked the baptism of Jesus with the baptism of the new followers of Christ, despite the fact that many post-apostolic Christians did so.

The last breath (Mk 15:37-15:37)

“Then Jesus

Gave a loud cry.

He breathed his last.”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἀφεὶς φωνὴν μεγάλην ἐξέπνευσεν.

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 27:50.  In Luke, chapter 23:46, Jesus cried out with a loud voice saying that he was commending his spirit into the hands of his Father.  In John, chapter 19:30, Jesus said that it was finished, after drinking the sour wine.  Mark has the simple comment that Jesus cried out with a loud voice again (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἀφεὶς φωνὴν μεγάλην).  Then Jesus breathed his last breath (ἐξέπνευσεν0.  Jesus had died on the cross.

No sign will be given to this generation (Mk 8:12-8:12)

“Jesus sighed deeply

In his spirit.

He said.

‘Why does this generation

Seek a sign?

Truly!

I say to you!

No sign will be given

To this generation.’”

 

καὶ ἀναστενάξας τῷ πνεύματι αὐτοῦ λέγει Τί ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη ζητεῖ σημεῖον; ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, εἰ δοθήσεται τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ σημεῖον

 

While both Matthew, chapter 12:39, and Luke, chapter 11:29-30, perhaps using a Q source, said that Jesus would only give them the sign of Jonah, Mark said here that Jesus was not going to give them any sign at all.  He said that Jesus sighed deeply in his spirit (καὶ ἀναστενάξας τῷ πνεύματι αὐτοῦ).  He asked them why was this generation seeking a sign (λέγει Τί ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη ζητεῖ σημεῖον)?  With a rare solemn proclamation (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) in Mark, Jesus told them point blank that no sign would be given to this generation in this convoluted phrase (εἰ δοθήσεται τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ σημεῖον).  Sometimes miracles were considered heavenly signs, but Mark continued to call miracles works of power and not signs, as other gospel writers sometimes referred to them.

Jesus questions his detractors (Mk 2:8-2:8)

“Immediately,

Jesus perceived

In his spirit

That they were discussing

These questions

Among themselves.

He said to them.

‘Why do you raise

Such questions

In your hearts?’”

 

καὶ εὐθὺς ἐπιγνοὺς ὁ Ἰησοῦς τῷ πνεύματι αὐτοῦ ὅτι οὕτως διαλογίζονται ἐν ἑαυτοῖς, λέγει αὐτοῖς Τί ταῦτα διαλογίζεσθε ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν;

 

Luke, chapter 5:22, and Matthew, chapter 9:4, are similar to Mark, with Luke closer to Mark, so that Mark might be the source of this saying.  Mark said that Jesus immediately seemed to know with his spirit what they were thinking (καὶ εὐθὺς ἐπιγνοὺς ὁ Ἰησοῦς τῷ πνεύματι αὐτοῦ).  They were discussing, debating, or considering this among themselves (ὅτι οὕτως διαλογίζονται ἐν ἑαυτοῖς).  However, the text did not indicate that they had been discussing this issue among themselves, but only in their hearts.  Jesus then asked them (λέγει αὐτοῖς) why they were discussing or raising such questions in their hearts (Τί ταῦτα διαλογίζεσθε ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν).  He did not call them evil thoughts as Matthew had done in chapter 9:4.

The voice from heaven (Mk 1:11-1:11)

“A voice

Came from heaven.

‘You are my Son!

The Beloved one!

With you

I am well pleased.’”

 

καὶ φωνὴ ἐγένετο ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν Σὺ εἶ ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα.

 

This voice from the heavens addressed Jesus personally, as in Luke, chapter 3:22.  However, in Matthew, chapter 3:17, the voice was not directed at Jesus, while John had no mention of a voice from heaven.  Mark said that a voice came from the heavens (καὶ φωνὴ ἐγένετο ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν) that said that Jesus was his beloved son (Σὺ εἶ ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός) with whom he was well pleased (ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα).  The idea of a heavenly voice had a very strong tradition in the Jewish writings of the Hebrew Bible, especially among the prophets.  The gospel writers did not clarify whether others saw or heard these things.  In fact, this saying and incident after the baptism of Jesus might have been the basis for a Subordinationschristologie that Jesus the Son was somehow subordinate to the Father.  According to this adoption theory, God the Father had to send his Spirit to anoint and empower Jesus in this concrete event, before he could begin his public ministry.  This adoptionist theory, and the Christological disputes of the later 4th century CE, led to the diminution of this baptismal event within later patristic and medieval theological circles.  Nevertheless, the baptism of Jesus has become the starting point for any theological reflection about early Christian initiation practices.  It is not clear whether all the primitive Christian communities linked the baptism of Jesus with the baptism of the new followers of Christ, despite the fact that many post-apostolic Christians did so.

 

Jesus dies (Mt 27:50-27:50)

“Then Jesus cried again

With a loud voice.

He breathed

His last breath.”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς πάλιν κράξας φωνῇ μεγάλῃ ἀφῆκεν τὸ πνεῦμα.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:37.  In Luke, chapter 23:46, Jesus cried out with a loud voice saying that he was commending his spirit into the hands of his Father.  In John, chapter 19:30, Jesus said that it was finished after drinking the sour wine.  Matthew has the simple comment that Jesus cried out with a loud voice again (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς πάλιν κράξας φωνῇ μεγάλῃ).  Jesus then gave up his spirit (ἀφῆκεν τὸ πνεῦμα) as he breathed his last breath.  Jesus had died on the cross.