A parable near Jerusalem (Lk 19:11-19:11)

“As they were listening

To these things,

Jesus proceeded

To tell a parable.

He was near Jerusalem.

Thus,

They supposed

That the kingdom of God

Was to appear

Immediately.”

 

Ἀκουόντων δὲ αὐτῶν ταῦτα προσθεὶς εἶπεν παραβολὴν, διὰ τὸ ἐγγὺς εἶναι Ἱερουσαλὴμ αὐτὸν καὶ δοκεῖν αὐτοὺς ὅτι παραχρῆμα μέλλει ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ ἀναφαίνεσθαι·

 

Only Luke had this unique introduction to this parable.  He said that as the disciples were listening to these things (Ἀκουόντων δὲ αὐτῶν ταῦτα), presumably the story about Zacchaeus, Jesus proceeded to tell another parable (προσθεὶς εἶπεν παραβολὴν).  He was near his Jerusalem goal (διὰ τὸ ἐγγὺς εἶναι Ἱερουσαλὴμ αὐτὸν), which meant that he was in Jericho or between Jericho and Jerusalem.  The disciples supposed or thought (καὶ δοκεῖν αὐτοὺς) that the kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ) was about to appear immediately or soon (ὅτι παραχρῆμα μέλλει…ἀναφαίνεσθαι).  Somehow the disciples assumed that if they got to Jerusalem, the kingdom of God would be revealed to them.  They anticipated that the messianic age would happen.  Some more revolutionary followers may have even expected a political earthly kingdom to be established, in opposition to the Roman occupation.  This parable was meant to tone down their expectations about an earthly kingdom and the immediacy of this new heavenly kingdom.  Do you expect the the kingdom of God to come soon?

Advertisements

Bad judge (Lk 18:2-18:2)

“Jesus said.

‘In a certain city,

There was a judge

Who neither feared God

Nor had respect

For people.”

 

λέγων Κριτής τις ἦν ἔν τινι πόλει τὸν Θεὸν μὴ φοβούμενος καὶ ἄνθρωπον μὴ ἐντρεπόμενος

 

Luke uniquely had Jesus continue this parable with the introduction of a bad judge who didn’t care about God or other people.  Luke indicated that Jesus said (λέγων) that in a certain city (ἦν ἔν τινι πόλει), there was a particular judge (Κριτής τις), who neither feared God (τὸν Θεὸν μὴ φοβούμενος) nor had respect or regard for other humans (καὶ ἄνθρωπον μὴ ἐντρεπόμενος).  Have you ever met a bad judge?

The call of John (Lk 3:2-3:2)

“The word of God

Came to John,

The son of Zechariah,

In the wilderness.”

 

ἐγένετο ῥῆμα Θεοῦ ἐπὶ Ἰωάνην τὸν Ζαχαρίου υἱὸν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ.

 

Luke presented John like a prophet who was called like the other Israelite prophets.  The word of God came or happened to John (ἐγένετο ῥῆμα Θεοῦ ἐπὶ Ἰωάνην), the son of Zechariah (τὸν Ζαχαρίου υἱὸν), in the wilderness or desert (ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ), just like it had come to many other ancient Jewish prophets.  There should be no confusion about whom this John is because he was the son of Zechariah that was described in chapter 1.  There is something similar, but not quite the same in all 4 gospel stories.  In Mark, chapter 1:4, John appeared on the scene immediately after a citation from the prophet IsaiahMatthew, chapter 3:1-2, seemed to follow Mark, since Mark began his gospel with this story.  Matthew had John the Baptizer preaching in the wilderness or desert in Judea, southeast of Jerusalem and west of the Dead Sea.  John, chapter 1:19, also introduced John the Baptist immediately after his prologue.  Only Matthew and Luke have the infancy narratives before the introduction of John, who was central to the work of Jesus.

 

The citation from Isaiah (Mk 4:12-4:12

“Thus,

They may indeed look,

But not perceive.

They may indeed listen,

But not understand.

Thus,

They may not

Turn again

To be forgiven.”

 

ἵνα βλέποντες βλέπωσιν καὶ μὴ ἴδωσιν, καὶ ἀκούοντες ἀκούωσιν καὶ μὴ συνιῶσιν, μή ποτε ἐπιστρέψωσιν καὶ ἀφεθῇ αὐτοῖς.

 

This citation of Isaiah about the people unable to understand the meaning of parables can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels.  Matthew, chapter 13:14-16, had a longer citation from Isaiah with an introduction and a final comment, while Luke, chapter 8:10, had a short summary, like here in Mark.  This prophecy of Isaiah was from chapter 6:9-10, where Isaiah told the people that they were listening without comprehending.  They were looking without understanding.  Their hearts were dull.  Their eyes and ears were closed.  He wanted them not to look with their own eyes, but he wanted them to turn to Yahweh, so that they would be healed.  Mark indicated that they could see, but not perceive (καὶ βλέποντες βλέπωσιν).  They were experiencing and listening (καὶ μὴ ἴδωσιν, καὶ ἀκούοντες), but they could not hear or understand (ἀκούωσιν καὶ μὴ συνιῶσιν).  They would not turn back (καὶ ἐπιστρέψωσιν) and be forgiven (καὶ ἀφεθῇ αὐτοῖς).  The reason that Jesus spoke in parables was that some people would see, but not perceive. They would hear, but not understand what they heard.

Short prayers (Mt 6:7-6:8)

“When you are praying,

Do not heap up empty phrases,

As the gentiles do.

They think

That they will be heard

Because of their many words.

Do not be like them!

Your Father knows

What you need

Before you ask him.”

 

Προσευχόμενοι δὲ μὴ βατταλογήσητε ὥσπερ οἱ ἐθνικοί· δοκοῦσιν γὰρ ὅτι ἐν τῇ πολυλογίᾳ αὐτῶν εἰσακουσθήσονται.

μὴ οὖν ὁμοιωθῆτε αὐτοῖς· οἶδεν γὰρ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὧν χρείαν ἔχετε πρὸ τοῦ ὑμᾶς αἰτῆσαι αὐτόν.

 

This is another saying of Jesus, only found in Matthew, that serves as the introduction to the “Our Father” prayer.  When the followers of Jesus were praying (Προσευχόμενοι δὲ), they should not babble or use vain empty words (μὴ βατταλογήσητε).  Matthew used this Greek word “βατταλογήσητε” that only appears here in all the biblical literature.  This was a kind of long babbling stammering rote type of prayer that some gentiles used (ὥσπερ οἱ ἐθνικοί).  Thus, once again Matthew indicated that these gentles were not part of the Jesus followers.  These long-winded gentile non-Jewish people thought that they had to use a lot of words to be heard (δοκοῦσιν γὰρ ὅτι ἐν τῇ πολυλογίᾳ αὐτῶν εἰσακουσθήσονται).  The Jesus followers should not be the same or like them (μὴ οὖν ὁμοιωθῆτε αὐτοῖς), since their divine Father (οἶδεν γὰρ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν) knew what they needed before they even asked (ὧν χρείαν ἔχετε πρὸ τοῦ ὑμᾶς αἰτῆσαι αὐτόν).

The cup of wrath (Jer 25:15-25:17)

“Thus Yahweh,

The God of Israel,

Said to me.

‘Take from my hand

This cup

Of the wine of wrath!

Make all the nations

To whom I send you,

Drink it!

They shall drink.

They shall stagger.

They shall go out of their minds

Because of the sword

That I am sending among them.’

So I took the cup

From Yahweh’s hand.

I made all the nations,

To whom Yahweh

Sent me,

Drink it.”

This is sort of an introduction to Jeremiah’s oracles against the various nations. However, there will be more to come later in this work. Yahweh wanted Jeremiah to take a cup of wine that was the cup of wrath from his hand. Yahweh then told Jeremiah to make all the countries that he would send him to, drink from this cup. After they drank from it, they would stagger and go out of their minds. He then would send a sword to them. Thus Jeremiah, as usual, did what Yahweh had asked him to do. He took the cup to the various countries that Yahweh sent him. Then he made them drink from this cup of wrath. This sounds like a difficult task to carry around this wine cup of wrath.

The holy cry (Isa 6:3-6:4)

“One seraph called to another.

They said.

‘Holy,

Holy,

Holy

Is Yahweh of hosts!

The whole earth

Is full of his glory.’

The foundation pivots

On the thresholds

Shook at the voices

Of those who called.

The house was filled

With smoke.”

Now the seraphs cried out about the holiness of Yahweh, the Lord. The whole earth is full of his glory. This simple phrase of triple holiness became part of the introduction to the later Christian or Roman Catholic consecration at the Liturgy of the Eucharist with its famous “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus.” Emphasizing the holiness of Yahweh was a major theme of the biblical writings. These voices were so strong that they shook the foundation pivots of the threshold to the Temple. On top of that, the whole Temple or house of Yahweh was filled with smoke.