Gerasenes (Lk 8:26-8:26)

“Then they arrived

At the country

Of the Gerasenes,

Which is opposite Galilee.”

 

Καὶ κατέπλευσαν εἰς τὴν χώραν τῶν Γερασηνῶν, ἥτις ἐστὶν ἀντιπέρα τῆς Γαλιλαίας.

 

Luke said that Jesus and his disciples sailed down (Καὶ κατέπλευσαν) to the country of the Gerasenes (εἰς τὴν χώραν τῶν Γερασηνῶν), which was opposite Galilee (ἥτις ἐστὶν ἀντιπέρα τῆς Γαλιλαίας).  All three synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 8:28, Mark, chapter 5:1, as well as Luke here, have Jesus cross to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.  They went to the country or region of the Gerasenes.  Matthew called it Gadarenes, while Luke called it Gerasenes, like Mark.  This might be one of two different towns on the east bank of the Jordan in the Decapolis territory, a group of 10 cities.  One was called Gadara, about 6 miles away from the southeast side of the Sea of Galilee, near where the Sea of Galilee ran into the Jordan River.  Today, it is in the country of Jordan, known as Umm Qais.  The other Decapolis town was called Gerasa, a town about 40 miles from the Sea of Galilee, which would be more inconsistent with this story.  Nevertheless, this was Gentile territory with only a few Jewish people there.  Jesus had traveled over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee to its southern tip, to one of the 10 cities of the Decapolis territory.  Have you ever traveled to an area where they had different religious beliefs than you?

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The decree of Caesar Augustus (Lk 2:1-2:1)

“In those days,

A decree went out

From the Emperor

Caesar Augustus

That all the world

Should be registered.”

 

Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις ἐξῆλθεν δόγμα παρὰ Καίσαρος Αὐγούστου ἀπογράφεσθαι πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην.

 

Luke tried to put these events within a historical perspective.  He said that in those days (Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις), a decree or dogma went out (ἐξῆλθεν δόγμα) from the Emperor, Caesar Augustus (παρὰ Καίσαρος Αὐγούστου), that all the world should be registered (ἀπογράφεσθαι πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην).  Could all the world be registered in a census?  Luke referred to the Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus, who ruled the Roman empire with his famous Pax Romana, or peace everywhere, from 27 BCE to 14 CE, precisely the time of these events.  Augustus was born in 63 BCE so that he would have been 77 years old when he died.  He was sometimes called god, son of god, savior, or father.  As the adopted son of Julius Caesar, he defeated Mark Anthony and Cleopatra to gain sole control of the empire.  He set up an intricate set of taxes for the empire, so that there was a consent source of income.  Thus, the local tax collectors or publicans became rich, but disliked, official people in the empire.  The month of August was named after him, just as July was named after Julius Caesar.  However, there is no evidence of any call to register the whole world.  However, this would not have been inconsistent with his taxing plans, since the main reason for any registration or census would be for tax purposes.  Thus, this is possible, but unlikely.

Jesus leaves Jerusalem (Mk 11:19-11:19)

“When evening came.

Jesus

And his disciples

Went out

Of the city.”

 

Καὶ ὅταν ὀψὲ ἐγένετο, ἐξεπορεύοντο ἔξω τῆς πόλεως.

 

This is a unique saying of Mark, but not inconsistent with the other gospel stories.  When evening came (Καὶ ὅταν ὀψὲ ἐγένετο), Jesus and his disciples went out of the city (ἐξεπορεύοντο ἔξω τῆς πόλεως).  Notice that they left Jerusalem at night, probably going to Bethany, which was not far away and where they felt safe.

Jesus goes to Gerasenes (Mk 5:1-5:1)

“They came

To the other side

Of the sea,

To the country

Of the Gerasenes.”

 

Καὶ ἦλθον εἰς τὸ πέραν τῆς θαλάσσης εἰς τὴν χώραν τῶν Γερασηνῶν.

 

All three synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 8:28, and Luke, chapter 8:26-27, as well as Mark here, have Jesus cross to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (Καὶ ἦλθον εἰς τὸ πέραν τῆς θαλάσσης) to go the country or region of the Gerasenes (εἰς τὴν χώραν τῶν Γερασηνῶν).  Matthew called it Gadarenes, while Luke called it Garasenes, like Mark.  There were 2 different towns on the east bank of the Jordan in the Decapolis territory, a group of 10 cities.  One was called Gadara, about 6 miles away from the southeast side of the Sea of Galilee, near where the Sea of Galilee ran into the Jordan River.  Today, it is in the country of Jordan.  The other Decapolis town was called Gerasa, a town about 40 miles from the Sea of Galilee, which would be more inconsistent with this story.  Nevertheless, this was Gentile territory with a few Jewish people there.

Summary of the activity of Jesus (Mt 9:35-9:35)

“Jesus went about

All the towns

And villages.

He was teaching

In their synagogues.

He was proclaiming

The good news

Of the kingdom.

He was healing

Every disease

And every sickness.”

 

Καὶ περιῆγεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὰς πόλεις πάσας καὶ τὰς κώμας, διδάσκων ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν καὶ κηρύσσων τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς βασιλείας καὶ θεραπεύων πᾶσαν νόσον καὶ πᾶσαν μαλακίαν.

 

This summary statement seems to be unique to Matthew, but not inconsistent with the other gospel stories.  This is basically the same as in chapter 4:23-24.  However, there is no mention of Galilee here as in chapter 4.  Instead Jesus was going through all the towns and villages (Καὶ περιῆγεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὰς πόλεις πάσας καὶ τὰς κώμας,) without restricting it only to Galilee.  Otherwise, it is almost word for word like the earlier statement.  Jesus was teaching in their synagogues (διδάσκων ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν).  However, synagogue might mean a group or assembly of Jewish people rather than a building, since some places may not have been able to afford a building.  Matthew said that Jesus was proclaiming the good news or the gospel about the kingdom (καὶ κηρύσσων τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς βασιλείας), without saying whether it was the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, or even an earthly kingdom.  Jesus was like a faith healer, healing all diseases and curing people of all their sicknesses and illnesses (καὶ θεραπεύων πᾶσαν νόσον καὶ πᾶσαν μαλακίαν).  In other words, he was this itinerant preacher healing people.

Teaching and healing in Galilee (Mt 4:23-4:23)

“Jesus

Went throughout all Galilee.

He was teaching

In their synagogues.

He was proclaiming

The good news

Of the kingdom.

He was healing

Every disease

And every sickness

Among the people.

 

Καὶ περιῆγεν ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ Γαλιλαίᾳ, διδάσκων ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν καὶ κηρύσσων τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς βασιλείας καὶ θεραπεύων πᾶσαν νόσον καὶ πᾶσαν μαλακίαν ἐν τῷ λαῷ.

 

This summary statement seems to be unique to Matthew, but not inconsistent with the other gospel stories.  There is something similar in Mark 1:39 and Luke 4:14, about Jesus being in Galilee.  Matthew implied that Jesus went all over Galilee (Καὶ περιῆγεν ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ Γαλιλαίᾳ), not just around the Sea of Galilee.  He was teaching in their synagogues (διδάσκων ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν).  However, synagogue might mean a group or assembly of Jewish people rather than a building, since some places may not have been able to afford a building.  Matthew said that Jesus was proclaiming the good news or the gospel about the kingdom (καὶ κηρύσσων τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς βασιλείας), without saying whether it was the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, or even an earthly kingdom.  Jesus was like a faith healer, also healing all diseases and curing people of all their sicknesses and illnesses (καὶ θεραπεύων πᾶσαν νόσον καὶ πᾶσαν μαλακίαν).  In other words, he was this itinerant preacher healing people (ἐν τῷ λαῷ).