Children and the kingdom of God (Lk 18:16-18:16)

“But Jesus

Called the disciples.

He said.

‘Let the little children

Come to me!

Do not stop them!

It is to such

As these

That the kingdom of God

Belongs.’”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς προσεκαλέσατο αὐτὰ λέγων Ἄφετε τὰ παιδία ἔρχεσθαι πρός με καὶ μὴ κωλύετε αὐτά· τῶν γὰρ τοιούτων ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ

 

Luke indicated that Jesus called his disciples (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς προσεκαλέσατο αὐτὰ).  He told them to let the little children come to him (λέγων Ἄφετε τὰ παιδία ἔρχεσθαι πρός με).  They were not to stop them (καὶ μὴ κωλύετε αὐτά), since the kingdom of God belonged to them (τῶν γὰρ τοιούτων ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ).  This story about Jesus and the little children can be found in Mark, chapter 10:14-16, and Matthew, chapter 19:14, but slightly different.  Mark said that Jesus saw what was going on (ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  He was indignant or angry with his disciples (ἠγανάκτησεν).  Once again, there was a little dispute between Jesus and his disciples.  He said to them (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) to let the little children come to him (Ἄφετε τὰ παιδία ἔρχεσθαι πρός με).  They were not to stop or hinder them (μὴ κωλύετε αὐτά).  They belonged to the kingdom of heaven (τῶν γὰρ τοιούτων ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Matthew indicated that Jesus said (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν) to his disciples that the little children should not be forbidden to come to him (Ἄφετε τὰ παιδία καὶ μὴ κωλύετε αὐτὰ ἐλθεῖν πρός με).  They belonged to the kingdom of heaven (τῶν γὰρ τοιούτων ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν).  Once again, there was a difference between Mark with the “kingdom of God” and Matthew with the “kingdom of heaven.”  Then Matthew indicated that Jesus laid his hands on them (καὶ ἐπιθεὶς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτοῖς) before he traveled from there on his way (ἐπορεύθη ἐκεῖθεν).  This was not in the Mark or Luke.  Thus, Jesus favored the little children.  There was no mention of infants in any of these gospel stories, except for Luke at the beginning.  Do you think that priests and ministers should bless little children?

 

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Rejoice in the Holy Spirit (Lk 10:21-10:21)

“At that same hour,

Jesus rejoiced

In the Holy Spirit.

He said.

‘I thank you!

Father!

Lord of heaven

And earth!

Because you have

Hidden these things

From the wise

And the intelligent.

You have revealed them

To infants.

Yes!

Father!

It was pleasing in your sight.”

 

Ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ ἠγαλλιάσατο τῷ Πνεύματι τῷ Ἁγίῳ καὶ εἶπεν Ἐξομολογοῦμαί σοι, Πάτερ, Κύριε τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ τῆς γῆς, ὅτι ἀπέκρυψας ταῦτα ἀπὸ σοφῶν καὶ συνετῶν, καὶ ἀπεκάλυψας αὐτὰ νηπίοις· ναί, ὁ Πατήρ, ὅτι οὕτως εὐδοκία ἐγένετο ἔμπροσθέν σου.

 

Luke said that at the same time or hour (Ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ), Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit (ἠγαλλιάσατο τῷ Πνεύματι τῷ Ἁγίῳ).  Jesus said (καὶ εἶπεν) that he acknowledged and thanked (Ἐξομολογοῦμαί σοι) his Father (Πάτερ,), the Lord of heaven and earth (Κύριε τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ τῆς γῆς), using the second person singular.  This was a strong personal Trinitarian theological statement about the relationship between God, the Father, and the Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  This was like eavesdropping on a conversation between Jesus and his heavenly Father, who had hidden these things (ὅτι ἀπέκρυψας ταῦτα) from the wise (ἀπὸ σοφῶν) and the intelligent (καὶ συνετῶν).  However, he had revealed them to the infants (καὶ ἀπεκάλυψας αὐτὰ νηπίοις).  Yes (ναί, ὁ Πατήρ), this was the gracious will of the Father, well pleasing in his sight (ὅτι οὕτως εὐδοκία ἐγένετο ἔμπροσθέν σου).  This theological statement about the relationship between Jesus and his heavenly Father was also found in Matthew, chapter 11:25, indicating a possible common Q source.  Matthew also indicated that Jesus said that the unlearned little one had received revelation, but the wise and intelligent ones did not understand it.  Jesus said thank you to his Father, the Lord of heaven and earth, because he had hidden these things from the wise and intelligent ones.  However, he revealed them to the unlearned little ones.  Somehow, the unwise ones were the ones who got God’s revelation, while the wise and intelligent ones did not understand it, because God had hidden it from them.  Both Luke and Matthew are in agreement on that.  They also agreed that Jesus had a special relationship to God, the Father, and the Holy Spirit.  Do you understand the Trinity?

Pregnant or nursing (Mt 24:19-24:19)

“Woe to those

Who are pregnant!

Woe to those

Who are nursing infants

In those days!”

 

οὐαὶ δὲ ταῖς ἐν γαστρὶ ἐχούσαις καὶ ταῖς θηλαζούσαις ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις.

 

This is exactly the same, word for word, in Mark, chapter 13:17, and in Luke, chapter 21:23.  All three synoptic gospels have the same wording for this curse.  The curses ones (οὐαὶ δὲ) would be those women who were pregnant with a baby in their womb (ταῖς ἐν γαστρὶ ἐχούσαις) or those women nursing infants (καὶ ταῖς θηλαζούσαις) during the end times, in those days (ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις).  There would be no earthly future for their infants

The example of Thebes (Nah 3:8-3:10)

“Are you better

Than Thebes?

They sat by the Nile,

With water around her.

Her rampart was a sea.

Water was her wall.

Ethiopia was her strength.

Egypt too was her strength,

Without any limit.

Put

With the Libyans

Were her helpers.

Yet Egypt became an exile.

She went into captivity.

Even her infants were

Dashed into pieces

At the head

Of every street.

Lots were cast

For her nobles.

All her dignitaries

Were bound in chains.”

The Assyrians had captured Thebes, the capital of Egypt in 663 BCE.  Thus, Nahum pointed out that the Assyrians were no better than the Egyptian capital town of Themes on the Nile River.  Even though they were on the Nile River and protected by water all around them, they still fell to these Assyrians.  All their neighbors, including the other people of Egypt, and the surrounding counties of Ethiopia and Libya, were not able to help her.  Thus, Nahum pointed out that Egypt went into exile and captivity.  Even their children and infants were dashed to pieces on the street corners.  They held a lottery for their noble men.  All the important dignitaries of the city of Thebes were bound in chains.  So too, it would be the same for Nineveh and Assyria.

The starving children (Lam 4:4-4:4)

Daleth

“The tongue

Of the infant

Sticks

To the roof

Of its mouth

For thirst.

The children

Beg for food.

But no one gives

Them anything.”

The situation in Jerusalem was dire, since the infants are so thirsty that their tongues stick to the roof of their mouths. The children had to beg for food. But even then, there was no one to give them food. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Daleth in this acrostic poem.

Caring for the young (Lam 4:3-4:3)

Gimel

“Even the jackals

Offer their breast.

They nurse

Their young.

But my people

Have become cruel,

Like the ostriches

In the wilderness.”

How do you care for the young children and infants? This author points out that even the wild jackals nurse their young infants. However, his people, meaning those left in Jerusalem, have become cruel. They are more like the ostriches in the desert wilderness. Somehow ostriches were considered cruel. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Gimel in this acrostic poem.

A personal lamentation (Lam 2:11-2:11)

Kaph

“My eyes are spent

With weeping.

My stomach churns.

My bile is poured out

On the ground.

Because of the destruction

Of my people.

Because infants

Faint.

Babies faint

In the streets

Of the city.”

Now this poem turns to the author of this work as he was personally weeping. His stomach was churning, so that he was throwing up. He was upset because of the destruction of his people. Infants and babies were fainting in the streets of this desolate city. Once again, we have a personal bleak picture of the wasted city of Jerusalem describing the remaining helpless young people. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Kaph. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.