The tax collectors
Were coming near
Ἦσαν δὲ αὐτῷ ἐγγίζοντες πάντες οἱ τελῶναι καὶ οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἀκούειν αὐτοῦ
Luke uniquely talked about Jesus and his closeness to sinners and tax collectors, although there are indications like this elsewhere. Luke said that all the tax collectors (πάντες οἱ τελῶναι) and sinners (καὶ οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ) were coming near (Ἦσαν δὲ αὐτῷ ἐγγίζοντες) to listen to Jesus (ἀκούειν αὐτοῦ). Perhaps this was an exaggeration when he said all tax collectors, but certainly quite a few. These sinners were the ones willing to listen to Jesus. Tax collectors were considered tools of the Roman authorities and linked with the public sinners as not part of the righteous social strata in Israel. Do you know any public sinners?
“Do not be afraid!
Will give you
Μὴ φοβοῦ, τὸ μικρὸν ποίμνιον· ὅτι εὐδόκησεν ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν δοῦναι ὑμῖν τὴν βασιλείαν.
Luke indicated that Jesus concluded these sayings about not worrying. Jesus told them, his little flock (τὸ μικρὸν ποίμνιον), not to be afraid (Μὴ φοβοῦ). Their Father’s good pleasure (ὅτι εὐδόκησεν ὁ Πατὴρ) would give them (δοῦναι ὑμῖν) the kingdom (τὴν βασιλείαν). There was no exact equivalent in Matthew, but chapter 6:34 is close. Matthew had Jesus utter this great philosophical saying at the conclusion to this section. Just worry about today, not tomorrow! This certainly fits in with all the indications about not worrying, because the heavenly Father would take care of things. However, there is no mention of God or Father here. Do not be anxious about tomorrow (μὴ οὖν μεριμνήσητε εἰς τὴν αὔριον)! Tomorrow will be anxious by itself (ἡ γὰρ αὔριον μεριμνήσει ἑαυτῆς). There are enough problems today (ἀρκετὸν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἡ κακία αὐτῆς). Pure and simple, be happy! Don’t worry! Tomorrow is another day. Are you willing to accept tomorrow without worrying?
That you may not come
Into the time of trial!
The spirit indeed
But the flesh
γρηγορεῖτε καὶ προσεύχεσθε, ἵνα μὴ ἔλθητε εἰς πειρασμόν· τὸ μὲν πνεῦμα πρόθυμον, ἡ δὲ σὰρξ ἀσθενής.
This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 14:41. Luke, chapter 22:45-46, is somewhat similar, while in John, chapter 22, there were no indications of this action in the garden. Mark recounted that Jesus told Peter and the other 2 disciples to stay awake, watch, and be vigilant (γρηγορεῖτε). They should pray (καὶ προσεύχεσθε) that their time of temptation or trial did not come (ἵνα μὴ ἔλθητε εἰς πειρασμόν), because they did not seem to be ready. Then Jesus remarked that the spirit indeed was willing (τὸ μὲν πνεῦμα πρόθυμον), but the flesh was weak (ἡ δὲ σὰρξ ἀσθενής). Jesus was reprimanding Peter and the other 2 disciples in a mild but firm way. They needed to be more vigilant.
“Jesus came back.
He found them
He said to Peter.
Are you asleep?
Could you not
καὶ ἔρχεται καὶ εὑρίσκει αὐτοὺς καθεύδοντας, καὶ λέγει τῷ Πέτρῳ Σίμων, καθεύδεις; οὐκ ἴσχυσας μίαν ὥραν γρηγορῆσαι
This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 26:40, but Mark calls Peter “Simon”. Luke, chapter 22:45-46, is somewhat similar, while in John, chapter 22, there were no indications of this action in the garden. Mark recounted that Jesus came back to his 3 special apostles (καὶ ἔρχεται), where he found them sleeping (καὶ εὑρίσκει αὐτοὺς καθεύδοντας). Then he complained to Simon Peter (καὶ λέγει τῷ Πέτρῳ Σίμων) that he was asleep (καθεύδεις). He could not even stay awake or watch with him for merely one hour (οὐκ ἴσχυσας μίαν ὥραν γρηγορῆσαι). Jesus was upset at their lack of attentiveness.
All things are possible
Remove this cup
Not what I want,
But what you want.’”
καὶ ἔλεγεν Ἀββᾶ ὁ Πατήρ, πάντα δυνατά σοι· παρένεγκε τὸ ποτήριον τοῦτο ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ· ἀλλ’ οὐ τί ἐγὼ θέλω ἀλλὰ τί σύ.
This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 26:36. In Luke, chapter 22:42, it is somewhat similar, while in John, chapter 22, there were no indications of this prayer in the garden. Here there is an explicit mention of both the “Father” and the “cup of suffering”. Mark recounted that Jesus prayed directly to his Father, using the Aramaic “Abba” for the word father but then immediately explained its meaning (καὶ ἔλεγεν Ἀββᾶ ὁ Πατήρ). Anything was possible with the Father (πάντα δυνατά σοι). He wanted the Father to remove or take away this cup of suffering from him (παρένεγκε τὸ ποτήριον τοῦτο ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ). However, he was willing to do whatever the Father wanted, because his will was second to his Father (ἀλλ’ οὐ τί ἐγὼ θέλω ἀλλὰ τί σύ). Clearly, Jesus subordinated his will to the will of his heavenly Father.
“Going a little farther,
Jesus threw himself
On the ground.
He prayed that,
If it were possible,
That this hour might pass
καὶ προελθὼν μικρὸν ἔπιπτεν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, καὶ προσηύχετο ἵνα εἰ δυνατόν ἐστιν παρέλθῃ ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ ἡ ὥρα,
This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 26:39. In Luke, chapter 22:41, it is somewhat similar, while in John, chapter 22, there were no indications of this prayer in the garden. Mark recounted that Jesus went a little farther away (καὶ προελθὼν μικρὸν). He threw himself on the ground (ἔπιπτεν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς). Then he prayed (καὶ προσηύχετο), but not explicitly to the Father, as in Matthew. He said that he wondered if it was possible (ἵνα εἰ δυνατόν ἐστιν) that this hour might pass from him or be disregarded (παρέλθῃ ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ ἡ ὥρα). This was slightly different from what Matthew had Jesus say, since he did not emphasize the hour as here.
Was lying sick
With a fever.
They told Jesus
About her at once.”
ἡ δὲ πενθερὰ Σίμωνος κατέκειτο πυρέσσουσα, καὶ εὐθὺς λέγουσιν αὐτῷ περὶ αὐτῆς.
Matthew, chapter 8:14, and Luke, chapter 4:38, have something similar. Mark said that Simon’s mother-in-law (ἡ δὲ πενθερὰ Σίμωνος) was lying sick in bed with a fever (κατέκειτο πυρέσσουσα). They, the people in the house, immediately told Jesus about her (καὶ εὐθὺς λέγουσιν αὐτῷ περὶ αὐτῆς). No one explained why Peter’s mother-in-law was living in this house. Was this a permanent arrangement? There were no indications of where Simon’s wife was, even if she was there. Matthew said that Jesus saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed sick with a fever, so that no one had to tell him about it. He saw it himself. In Luke, they asked Jesus about her. In all three gospel stories she was sick with a fever, lying in bed. There is no indication of what kind of illness this was or whether it was chronic or severe.
Do not worry
Will bring worries
Of its own.
μὴ οὖν μεριμνήσητε εἰς τὴν αὔριον, ἡ γὰρ αὔριον μεριμνήσει ἑαυτῆς· ἀρκετὸν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἡ κακία αὐτῆς.
Matthew concluded this chapter, without any parallel in Luke. Thus, this great philosophical saying of Jesus is unique to Matthew. Just worry about today, not tomorrow. This certainly fits in with all the indications about not worrying, because the heavenly Father would take care of things. However, there is no mention of God or Father here. Do not be anxious about tomorrow (μὴ οὖν μεριμνήσητε εἰς τὴν αὔριον)! Tomorrow will be anxious by itself (ἡ γὰρ αὔριον μεριμνήσει ἑαυτῆς). There are enough problems today (ἀρκετὸν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἡ κακία αὐτῆς.). Pure and simple, be happy! Don’t worry! Tomorrow is another day.
Some read the biblical texts looking for clues about the end times. When will the world come to an end? What is the meaning of the afterlife? There is a search for indications of when the Second Coming of Jesus will take place. The biblical apocalyptic literature is a favorite. I want to understand the visions and sayings about the end of the world. Will I be saved in the end times? Will I be able to meet my maker?
“In the first year
Son of Ahasuerus,
He became king
Over the realm
Of the Chaldeans.”
Here is the problem with Darius the Mede, the son of Ahasuerus. As far as we can tell, there was no such person. Somehow, he comes between the Babylonian King Belshazzar and the Persian Cyrus the Great. Perhaps, he was the first Persian general who entered Babylon after its fall in 539 BCE, but there are no indications of that. He appears to be a literary fiction, perhaps based on the later King Darius I, the 3rd ruler after Cyrus, from 522-486 BCE, who acted very favorably towards the returning Jews to Jerusalem.