The request for the head of John the Baptist on a platter (Mk 6:25-6:25)

“Immediately,

She rushed back

To the king.

She requested.

‘I want you

To give me

At once

The head

Of John the Baptist

On a platter.’”

 

καὶ εἰσελθοῦσα εὐθὺς μετὰ σπουδῆς πρὸς τὸν βασιλέα ᾐτήσατο λέγουσα Θέλω ἵνα ἐξαυτῆς δῷς μοι ἐπὶ πίνακι τὴν κεφαλὴν Ἰωάνου τοῦ Βαπτιστοῦ.

 

This is like Matthew, chapter 14:8.  Urged on by her mother, this girl immediately rushed or hastened back to the king (καὶ εἰσελθοῦσα εὐθὺς μετὰ σπουδῆς πρὸς τὸν βασιλέα).  She told the king her request (ᾐτήσατο λέγουσα) that she wanted him to give her at once (Θέλω ἵνα ἐξαυτῆς δῷς μοι) the head of John the Baptist on a platter or a dish (ἐπὶ πίνακι τὴν κεφαλὴν Ἰωάνου τοῦ Βαπτιστοῦ).  Obviously.  King Herod had made a silly solemn statement and his wife Herodias took advantage of this situation.

 

 

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Conclusion: Passion, Resurrection and Great Commission

 

This gospel concluded with the events of the last week of Jesus, a main preoccupation of all four gospels.  Jesus had entered Jerusalem in triumph.  He held a last supper and prayed to be spared.  He was betrayed by Judas.  Then he was tried by the Jewish leaders and before The roman governor Pontius Pilate.  Jesus was crucified as king of the Jews and mocked by all.  At his death, there was an earthquake, when the veil of the Temple was cut in two, and the saints rose from their tombs.  Mary Magdalene and the other women discovered the empty tomb.  Jesus told them to tell the disciples to meet him in Galilee.

There was a plot to kill Jesus.  Jesus spoke to his disciples and gave his fourth prediction about the death of the Son of Man.  Then the chief priests and the elders gathered to plot the arrest of Jesus.  However, before that, there was an anointing by the unnamed women in Bethany as she poured oil on Jesus.  Others wanted to know why she was wasting oil.  Jesus said that she had done a good thing by anointing him for burial.  Thus, she would be remembered.  Meanwhile, Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

Then they made the preparations for the Passover.  Where would the Passover be?  There was a house for the Passover meal, as the disciples prepared for the Passover evening meal.  Jesus announced the betrayal.  Who would betray Jesus?  This betrayer would be cursed, as Judas spoke out.  At the Last Supper Eucharist, Jesus said that this was his body and blood with eschatological implications.

They went to the Mount of Olives.  Jesus predicted that the apostles would scatter.  He was going to go to Galilee.  Peter said that he would never desert Jesus.  Then Jesus warned Peter about his desertion, but Peter was adamant that he would never deny Jesus.

They went to Gethsemane as Jesus took his three favorite apostles.  He prayed to his Father while these apostles slept.  There was a second prayer of Jesus, as he came a second time to the sleeping apostles.  He prayed a third time.  Then Jesus woke them up.

Judas arrived and kissed Jesus, as they then seized Jesus.  Someone cut off the ear of the high priest’s slave.  However, Jesus told them to put their swords away as the disciples fled.

Jesus went before Caiaphas the high priest, while Peter followed Jesus to the courtyard of the high priest.  They were looking for false testimony.  Finally, two witnesses came forward.  The high priest spoke and Jesus responded.  He called the words of Jesus blasphemy, as they mocked Jesus.  Peter’s denied Jesus three time and then he remembered Jesus’ words.

The elders and Pharisees planned to kill Jesus.  They would deliver Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor.  Meanwhile, Judas repented, but he hung himself.  He returned the pieces of silver to the Temple, but it was used to purchase a graveyard called the Field of Blood to fulfill a prophecy of Jeremiah.

Jesus went before Pilate as he asked him if he was the king of the Jews?  However, Jesus did not respond.  The governor was going to release one prisoner at the festival time.  However, the people wanted the prisoner Barabbas rather than Jesus.  Pilate got a warning from his wife.  Nevertheless, the crowd wanted to crucify Jesus.  Pilate claimed that he was innocent of his blood but the crowds said that his blood be on us.  Barabbas was then released.  Jesus went to the governor’s head quarters where the Roman soldiers mocked him.

They prepared Jesus for the crucifixion.  They got Simon of Cyrene to help with the cross as they went to Golgotha.  They divided his garments and wrote on the cross Jesus, King of the Jews.  There were two robbers who derided and and taunted Jesus, just like the Jewish religious leaders had mocked Jesus.

Darkness fell over the land as Jesus died.  The cry of Jesus was interpreted as a call to Elijah.  They gave him sour wine to drink.  Would Elijah save Jesus?  When Jesus died, the Temple curtain was torn in two.  Tombs opened and the dead rose and appeared in Jerusalem.  He truly was  the Son of God.

There were women from Galilee, especially the women called Mary.  Joseph of Arimathea got the body of Jesus and put it in his tomb as the women called Mary were vigilant.  Meanwhile, there was a gathering with Pilate, since the Jewish religious leaders wanted to have the tomb secure.  Thus, a custodial guard was set up at the tomb.

The two Marys visited the tomb, where there was another earthquake with an angel at the tomb.  The guards were afraid, but the angel speaks to the women to tell them to let the disciples know what happened.  The women left the tomb and Jesus appeared to them.  Meanwhile, the guards told the chief priests in Jerusalem what had happened.  These religious leaders paid the guards to tell everyone that someone stole the body of Jesus while they were sleeping.  Thus, this stolen body story spread.

After the resurrection, the remaining eleven disciples returned to an unnamed mountain in Galilee.  There the post-resurrection Jesus gave them authority in heaven and on earth with his great commission:  They were to make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them with a Trinitarian formula.  They were to follow his commandments because Jesus would be with them until the end of time.

Why marry? (Mt 19:10-19:10)

“The disciples said to Jesus.

‘If such is the case

Of a man

With his wife,

It is better not to marry.’”

 

λέγουσιν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταί Εἰ οὕτως ἐστὶν ἡ αἰτία τοῦ ἀνθρώπου μετὰ τῆς γυναικός, οὐ συμφέρει γαμῆσαι.

 

This section about eunuchs, celibacy, and marriage is unique to Matthew.  The disciples raised the question (λέγουσιν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταί) about a man with his wife (Εἰ οὕτως ἐστὶν ἡ αἰτία τοῦ ἀνθρώπου μετὰ τῆς γυναικός), no divorce in marriage, would it not be better to not marry at all (οὐ συμφέρει γαμῆσαι).  They though that this restriction about marriage and divorce was too harsh or difficult.

The importance of marriage (Mt 19:4-19:6)

“Jesus answered.

‘Have you not read

That the one who made them

At the beginning

Made them male

And female?

He said.

‘For this reason,

A man shall leave

His father

And mother.

He shall be joined

To his wife.

The two shall become

One flesh’

Thus,

They are no longer two

But one flesh.

Therefore,

What God has joined together,

Let no one separate.’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε ὅτι ὁ κτίσας ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτοὺς

καὶ εἶπεν Ἕνεκα τούτου καταλείψει ἄνθρωπος τὸν πατέρα καὶ τὴν μητέρα καὶ κολληθήσεται τῇ γυναικὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἔσονται οἱ δύο εἰς σάρκα μίαν;

ὥστε οὐκέτι εἰσὶν δύο ἀλλὰ σὰρξ μία. ὃ οὖν ὁ Θεὸς συνέζευξεν, ἄνθρωπος μὴ χωριζέτω.

 

This saying of Jesus that points to the importance and indissolubility of marriage can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:6-9, almost word for word.  Jesus used the creation story of Genesis to emphasize his point.  Jesus answered them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν) by asking them if they not read or know Genesis, chapters 1:27 and 2:24 (Οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε).  Jesus noted that from the beginning God had made humans male and female (ὅτι ὁ κτίσας ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτοὺς).  At the pinnacle of creation, God created humans in his image.  Both men and women were created equal in God’s image.  Jesus continued that a man leaves his father and mother (Ἕνεκα τούτου καταλείψει ἄνθρωπος τὸν πατέρα καὶ τὴν μητέρα), so that he could become joined to his wife (καὶ κολληθήσεται τῇ γυναικὶ αὐτοῦ).  The two of them will become one flesh (καὶ ἔσονται οἱ δύο εἰς σάρκα μίαν), so that they are no longer two but one flesh (ὥστε οὐκέτι εἰσὶν δύο ἀλλὰ σὰρξ).  The conclusion was that what God has joined together (ὃ οὖν ὁ Θεὸς συνέζευξεν), no one should separate (ἄνθρωπος μὴ χωριζέτω).

Pharisees question him about divorce (Mt 19:3-19:3)

“Some Pharisees

Came to Jesus.

They tested him.

They asked.

‘Is it lawful

For a man

To divorce

His wife

For any cause?’”

 

Καὶ προσῆλθον αὐτῷ Φαρισαῖοι πειράζοντες αὐτὸν καὶ λέγοντες Εἰ ἔξεστιν ἀπολῦσαι τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ κατὰ πᾶσαν αἰτίαν;

 

This questioning of the Pharisees about divorce can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:2, almost word for word, with some minor changes.  Once again, some Pharisees show up on the scene (Καὶ προσῆλθον αὐτῷ Φαρισαῖοι) testing or tempting Jesus (πειράζοντες αὐτὸν).  The Pharisees were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that followed the Law of Moses, but with a number of oral traditions.  They had they own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple.  They asked Jesus if it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause (καὶ λέγοντες Εἰ ἔξεστιν ἀπολῦσαι τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ κατὰ πᾶσαν αἰτίαν), since this was a disputed question among many Jewish rabbis.

The servant slave owed ten thousand talents (Mt 18:24-18:25)

“When he began

The reckoning,

The one who owed him

Ten thousand talents

Was brought to him.

He could not pay it.

His lord ordered him

To be sold,

With his wife

And children,

With all his possessions.

Thus,

Some payment

Would be made.”

 

ἀρξαμένου δὲ αὐτοῦ συναίρειν προσήχθη εἷς αὐτῷ ὀφειλέτης μυρίων ταλάντων.

μὴ ἔχοντος δὲ αὐτοῦ ἀποδοῦναι ἐκέλευσεν αὐτὸν ὁ κύριος πραθῆναι καὶ τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ τὰ τέκνα καὶ πάντα ὅσα ἔχει, καὶ ἀποδοθῆναι.

 

This parable about the unforgiving servant slave is unique to Matthew.  This king began to settle his accounts (ἀρξαμένου δὲ αὐτοῦ συναίρειν).  This first servant or slave owed the king 10,000 talents (προσήχθη εἷς αὐτῷ ὀφειλέτης μυρίων ταλάντων), an unbelievable sum.  A talent was about 60 mina, 10,000 denarii, or 3,000 shekels.  Thus, in current money that would be about $1,500 for a talent.  The amount owed would have been approximately $15,000,000.00, that’s right 15 million dollars.  There was no way that he could have acquired that much in debt, and certainly no way to repay it (μὴ ἔχοντος δὲ αὐτοῦ ἀποδοῦναι).  Thus, it is called a parable story.  This lordly king decided and commanded that the best way to get this debt off his books was sell him, his wife, his children, and all their possessions (ἐκέλευσεν αὐτὸν ὁ κύριος πραθῆναι καὶ τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ τὰ τέκνα καὶ πάντα ὅσα ἔχει,).  This would make a small payment (καὶ ἀποδοθῆναι) to this enormous debt, but not very much.  Things did not look good for this servant slave with the large debt.

The divorced woman (Mt 5:32-5:32)

“But I say to you!

‘That everyone

Who divorces his wife,

Except on the ground

Of sexual immorality,

Makes her an adulteress.

Whoever marries

A divorced woman

Commits adultery.’”

 

ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ἀπολύων τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ παρεκτὸς λόγου πορνείας ποιεῖ αὐτὴν μοιχευθῆναι, καὶ ὃς ἐὰν ἀπολελυμένην γαμήσῃ μοιχᾶται.

 

Jesus, via Matthew has a higher standard for his followers.  Matthew has this as a solemn statement of Jesus (ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν).  Not only that, he repeated the same statement later in chapter 19:3-9, based on Mark, chapter 10:2-12.  Luke also had this same statement in chapter 16:18.  There was only one ground for divorce, the unchaste sexual immoral women (ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ἀπολύων τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ παρεκτὸς λόγου πορνείας).  This immorality, “πορνείας” included all kinds of sexual perversity, not just adultery.  Otherwise, that divorced women would become an adulteress, committing adultery (ποιεῖ αὐτὴν μοιχευθῆναι).  If anyone married a divorced woman, they were also committing adultery (καὶ ὃς ἐὰν ἀπολελυμένην γαμήσῃ μοιχᾶται.).  Thus, the reasons for divorce were explicitly limited to sexual perversity.  However, there was no indication that a woman could divorce her husband for any sexual cruelty or perversity.