The second slave (Lk 20:11-20:11)

“Next the vineyard owner sent

Another slave.

They also beat him.

They insulted him.

They sent him away

Empty-handed.”

 

καὶ προσέθετο ἕτερον πέμψαι δοῦλον· οἱ δὲ κἀκεῖνον δείραντες καὶ ἀτιμάσαντες ἐξαπέστειλαν κενόν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that this landowner proceeded to send another slave (καὶ προσέθετο ἕτερον πέμψαι δοῦλον).  These wicked tenants also beat (οἱ δὲ κἀκεῖνον δείραντες) and insulted him (καὶ ἀτιμάσαντες).  They also sent him away empty-handed (ἐξαπέστειλαν κενόν).  This beating of the second slave can be found in Mark, chapter 12:4, and Matthew, chapter 21:36, but there were multiple slaves in MatthewMark said that this landowner sent another slave again to them (καὶ πάλιν ἀπέστειλεν πρὸς αὐτοὺς ἄλλον δοῦλον) in another attempt to get his share of the crop.  This time, they beat or struck this second slave over the head (κἀκεῖνον ἐκεφαλίωσαν) and insulted or shamed him (καὶ ἠτίμασαν).  These wicked tenants did the same thing to him that they had done to the first slave.  There definitely was a pattern developing here.  Matthew had multiple individual slaves in both accounts, instead of one slave.  This landowner sent more slaves (πάλιν ἀπέστειλεν ἄλλους δούλους) this second time around.  This time, there was more than the 3 like the first time (πλείονας τῶν πρώτων), without any indication of how many.  However, the wicked tenants did the same thing to them (καὶ ἐποίησαν αὐτοῖς ὡσαύτως) that they had done to the first group of slaves, which included killing and stoning them, once again without being specific.  How would you treat bad tenants?

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Jesus wept over the city (Lk 19:41-19:41)

“As Jesus came near

He saw the city.

He wept over it.”

 

Καὶ ὡς ἤγγισεν, ἰδὼν τὴν πόλιν ἔκλαυσεν ἐπ’ αὐτήν,

 

Luke uniquely said that as Jesus came near (Καὶ ὡς ἤγγισεν) to Jerusalem, he saw the city (ἰδὼν τὴν πόλιν) and wept over it (ἔκλαυσεν ἐπ’ αὐτήν).  However, this was the second time that he lamented about the situation in Jerusalem as he had earlier in chapter 13:33-34 about Jerusalem killing its prophets.  Jesus sadly entered the city after the rousing entrance in the preceding verses.  He was acutely aware of the sufferings and problems to come for himself, the city, and its people.  Have you ever wept over a city?

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew had 3 chapters devoted to Jesus and his preaching on the mount or hill.  This Sermon on the Mount is a collection of sayings and teachings of Jesus that emphasize his moral teaching, the first of his 5 discourses. early in the ministry of Jesus.  Luke had something similar in his sermon on the plain.  This sermon is the longest continuous section of Jesus speaking in the New Testament, containing the central tenets of Christian discipleship.  Thus, it had become the most widely quoted and best known of the teachings of Jesus, with the Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer.  These Jesus sayings echo the highest ideals of Jesus’ teachings on spirituality and compassion with acts of mercy, providing both temporal and spiritual benefits.  Jesus also used many metaphors in his sermon.  He reinterpreted the Ten Commandments, particularly about lying, killing and adultery.  The teachings of this sermon have been a key element of Christian ethics with its demanding high moral standards.  Christians were to be perfect with a Christian righteousness.  There have been many different interpretations of this demanding ethical life.  Was this only for clergy and monks?  Is it only an impossible ideal?  Should we take this literally?  Is this only an interim ethic or a future ethic?  Is this the basis of the social gospel and Christian existentialism?  What value do these ideals have for our lives today?

Do not murder (Mt 5:21-5:21)

“You have heard

That it was said

To those in ancient times.

‘You shall not murder!’

Whoever murders

Shall be liable

To judgment.”

 

Ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη τοῖς ἀρχαίοις Οὐ φονεύσεις· ὃς δ’ ἂν φονεύσῃ, ἔνοχος ἔσται τῇ κρίσει.

 

Next Matthew has Jesus expand on the individual commandments. The first of these was killing or murder. Human life was important, as first outlined in Genesis, chapter 4:1-16, in the Cain and Abel story, as well as in chapter 9:5-6, after the Flood. They already knew this basic commandment, since they had heard what had been told to their ancient ancestors (Ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη τοῖς ἀρχαίοις). This was the simple commandment not to murder or kill anyone (Οὐ φονεύσεις) from the Ten Commandments in Exodus, chapter 20:13 and Deuteronomy, chapter 5:17, as well as in Exodus, chapter 21:12-17, where there was a section on homicide. There were consequences for anyone who murdered someone else (ὃς δ’ ἂν φονεύσῃ). They were responsible for their actions. They were liable to be brought to judgment (ἔνοχος ἔσται τῇ κρίσει). This judgment would be before a Jewish court. There were a series of things that had to be done when a murder occurred, as outlined in Deuteronomy, chapter 21:1-9. The law about murder was fairly clear.

The response of Yahweh (Ezek 33:25-33:26)

“Therefore,

Say to them!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘You eat flesh

With the blood!

You lift up

Your eyes

To your idols!

You shed blood!

Shall you then

Possess the land?

You depend

On your swords.

You commit

Abominations.

Each of you

Defiles

His neighbor’s wife.

Shall you then

Possess the land?’”

Yahweh, their God, as usual, did not take kindly to anyone questioning him. He told Ezekiel to tell the Israelites that they had not behaved well. They had been eating flesh or meat with the blood still in it. They had lifted up their eyes to their own idols. They had shed blood by killing others. How would they then deserve to possess the promised land of Abraham? They had depended on their swords and committed many abominations. Many of them had defiled their neighbor’s wife. How then could they expect to possess the land of Abraham?

Repent (Ezek 18:30-18:32)

“Repent!

Turn

From all your transgressions!

Otherwise iniquity

Will be your ruin!

Cast away

From you

All the transgressions

That you have committed

Against me!

Get yourselves

A new heart!

Get yourselves

A new spirit!

Why will you die?

O house of Israel!

I have no pleasure

In the death

Of anyone.

Turn then !

Live!’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh had a simple solution. They were to repent and turn away from all their transgressions. Otherwise their iniquity would be their ruin. They had to cast away all the transgressions that they had committed against Yahweh. They needed a new heart and a new spirit. Why would they want to die? Yahweh told the house of Israel that he took no pleasure in killing people. They simply had to turn away from their evil ways. Then they would live.

A sword upon the land (Ezek 14:17-14:18)

“‘Or if I bring a sword

Upon that land.

I will say.

‘Let a sword

Pass through the land.’

I cut off

Humans

With animals

From it.

Even though

These three men

Were in the land,

As I live,

They would save

Neither sons

Nor daughters.

But they alone

Would be saved.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh continued by talking about bringing a sword to the land, killing humans and animals. However, if these 3 great men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in that land, they would be able to save themselves alone, but they would not be able to save their sons or daughters. This was the same concept repeated again that individuals had limited power over the group.