The lambs among the wolves (Lk 10:3-10:3)

“Go your way!

See!

I am sending you out

As lambs

Into the midst

Of wolves.”

 

ὑπάγετε· ἰδοὺ ἀποστέλλω ὑμᾶς ὡς ἄρνας ἐν μέσῳ λύκων.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that they were to go on their way (ὑπάγετε).  He was going to send them out (ἰδοὺ ἀποστέλλω ὑμᾶς) as lambs (ὡς ἄρνας) in the middle of wolves (ἐν μέσῳ λύκων).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 10:16, perhaps indicating a Q source.  This was part of the remarks that Jesus gave as the admonitions to his 12 apostles.  Matthew indicated that Jesus was going to send them out like sheep in the middle of wolves.  Luke did not mention as Matthew had that Jesus told them that they had to be as wise, intelligent, shrewd, or sensible as serpents.  At the same time, they had to be as innocent, simple, unsophisticated, sincere, or blameless, as doves.  This was a tall order.  Here there was a simple statement without any explanation.  Are you more like a lamb or a wolf?

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This man was the Son of God (Mk 15:39-15:39)

“When the centurion,

Who stood

Facing Jesus,

Saw that

In this way,

Jesus breathed

His last breath,

He said.

‘Truly!

This man

Was God’s Son!’”

 

Ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ κεντυρίων ὁ παρεστηκὼς ἐξ ἐναντίας αὐτοῦ ὅτι οὕτως ἐξέπνευσεν, εἶπεν Ἀληθῶς οὗτος ὁ ἄνθρωπος Υἱὸς Θεοῦ ἦν.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 27:54, except that there is no mention of an earthquake here, just the centurion statement alone.  In Luke, chapter 23:47, the centurion simply said that this man was innocent, without any earthquake.  There was nothing about a centurion or an earthquake in John, chapter 19.  Mark said that this Roman centurion (Ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ κεντυρίων), the one facing or guarding Jesus (ὁ παρεστηκὼς ἐξ ἐναντίας αὐτοῦ), saw the way that Jesus had died or spent his last breath (ὅτι οὕτως ἐξέπνευσεν).  He said (εἶπεν) that truly this man was the Son of God (Ἀληθῶς οὗτος ὁ ἄνθρωπος Υἱὸς Θεοῦ ἦν).  It is interesting to note that the leader of the Roman soldiers, this centurion, who was in charge of 100 men, issued this statement.  He, the gentile Roman soldier, was the one calling Jesus the Son of God.

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.

He was the Son of God (Mt 27:54-27:54)

“The centurion,

And those with him

Who were guarding Jesus,

Saw the earthquake.

They saw

What took place.

They were very terrified.

They said.

‘Truly!

This was the Son of God!’”

 

Ὁ δὲ ἑκατόνταρχος καὶ οἱ μετ’ αὐτοῦ τηροῦντες τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἰδόντες τὸν σεισμὸν καὶ τὰ γινόμενα ἐφοβήθησαν σφόδρα, λέγοντες Ἀληθῶς Θεοῦ Υἱὸς ἦν οὗτος.

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 15:39, except that there is no mention of an earthquake there, just the centurion statement alone.  In Luke, chapter 23:47, the centurion simply said that this man was innocent, without any earthquake.  There is nothing about a centurion or earthquake in John, chapter 19.  Matthew said that the Roman centurion and the other Roman soldiers guarding Jesus (Ὁ δὲ ἑκατόνταρχος καὶ οἱ μετ’ αὐτοῦ τηροῦντες τὸν Ἰησοῦν), saw the seismic earthquake (ἰδόντες τὸν σεισμὸν).  They saw what had taken place (καὶ τὰ γινόμενα).  They were all very terrified and afraid (ἐφοβήθησαν σφόδρα).  They said that truly this man was the Son of God (λέγοντες Ἀληθῶς Θεοῦ Υἱὸς ἦν οὗτος).  It is interesting to note that the leader of the Roman soldiers, this centurion, who was in charge of 100 men, was afraid.  He and his fellow Roman soldiers were the ones calling Jesus the Son of God.  Once again, Matthew emphasized the goodness of the Roman leaders versus the evilness of the Jewish leaders.

The Lord of the Sabbath (Mt 12:6-12:8)

“I tell you!

Something greater

Than the temple is here.

If you had known

What this means.

‘I desire mercy,

Not sacrifice!’

You would not have

Condemned

The guiltless.

The Son of Man is

Lord of the Sabbath.”

 

λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν ὅτι τοῦ ἱεροῦ μεῖζόν ἐστιν ὧδε.

εἰ δὲ ἐγνώκειτε τί ἐστιν Ἔλεος θέλω καὶ οὐ θυσίαν, οὐκ ἂν κατεδικάσατε τοὺς ἀναιτίους.

κύριος γάρ ἐστιν τοῦ σαββάτου ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.

 

Mark, chapter 2:27-28, has a similar saying to this, so that he may be the source of this saying.  Matthew has Jesus begin with a solemn proclamation (λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν).  Something or someone greater than the Temple is here (ὅτι τοῦ ἱεροῦ μεῖζόν ἐστιν ὧδε), a clear reference to Jesus himself.  Too bad, that they did not know what the saying about mercy was all about (εἰ δὲ ἐγνώκειτε τί ἐστιν).  Matthew then used the same citation of Hosea that he had earlier in chapter 9:13.  Jesus explained that he desired mercy (τί ἐστιν Ἔλεος θέλω), and not sacrifices (καὶ οὐ θυσίαν), based on Hosea, chapter 6:6, where the essential message was that Yahweh wanted real faithful love, not mere sacrifices.  Hosea wanted the Israelites to have real knowledge of God, rather than worry about burnt offerings.  Thus, the Pharisees would not have condemned the innocent or guiltless ones (οὐκ ἂν κατεδικάσατε τοὺς ἀναιτίους) since Jesus and his disciples had done nothing wrong.  The Son of Man was the Lord of the Sabbath (κύριος γάρ ἐστιν τοῦ σαββάτου ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου).  Jesus then could control the Sabbath, not the other way around.  Instead of the Sabbath as a gift to humans, Jesus would reinterpret the laws of the Sabbath as the Lord of the Sabbath.

Wise simple sheep (Mt 10:16-10:16)

“See!

I am sending you out

As sheep

Into the midst of wolves.

So be wise

As serpents!

Be innocent

As doves.”

 

Ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω ὑμᾶς ὡς πρόβατα ἐν μέσῳ λύκων· γίνεσθε οὖν φρόνιμοι ὡς οἱ ὄφεις καὶ ἀκέραιοι ὡς αἱ περιστεραί.

 

There is something similar in Luke, 10:3, perhaps indicating a Q source.  This is another admonition to his apostles.  Jesus was going to send them out (Ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω ὑμᾶς) like sheep in the middle of wolves (ὡς πρόβατα ἐν μέσῳ λύκων).  Thus, they had to be as wise, intelligent, shrewd, or sensible as serpents (γίνεσθε οὖν φρόνιμοι ὡς οἱ ὄφεις).  They had to be as innocent, simple, unsophisticated, sincere, or blameless, as doves (καὶ ἀκέραιοι ὡς αἱ περιστεραί).  This was a tall order with this dichotomous speech.

Israelite idolatry (Hos 8:4-8:6)

“They made kings,

But not through me.

They set up princes,

But without my knowledge.

With their silver,

With their gold,

They made idols

For their own destruction.

Your calf is rejected!

O Samaria!

My anger burns

Against them.

How long

Will they be incapable

O innocence?

It is from Israel

That an artisan made it.

It is not God.

The calf of Samaria

Shall be broken into pieces.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, was upset about the idolatry in northern Israel, Samaria. They had their own kings, who killed each other to be kings. Thus, these kings did not come from Yahweh. They set up their own officials and princes, without consulting Yahweh. Most important of all, they made idols made of silver and gold that led to their own destruction. The golden calf of Samaria was to be rejected. Yahweh was burning with anger against them, since they were incapable of being innocent. Local Israelite artisans made these idols, not God. Therefore, the Samarian calf would be broken into pieces.