The man with leprosy (Lk 5:12-5:12)

“Once,

When Jesus was

In one of the cities,

There was a man

Covered with leprosy.

When he saw Jesus,

He bowed

With his face

To the ground.

He begged Jesus.

‘Lord!

If you choose,

You can make me clean.’”

 

Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ εἶναι αὐτὸν ἐν μιᾷ τῶν πόλεων καὶ ἰδοὺ ἀνὴρ πλήρης λέπρας· ἰδὼν δὲ τὸν Ἰησοῦν, πεσὼν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον ἐδεήθη αὐτοῦ λέγων Κύριε, ἐὰν θέλῃς, δύνασαί με καθαρίσαι.

 

Luke said that Jesus was in one of the cities (Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ εἶναι αὐτὸν ἐν μιᾷ τῶν πόλεων), but without naming it.  There was a man there fully covered with leprosy (καὶ ἰδοὺ ἀνὴρ πλήρης λέπρας).  When he saw Jesus (ἰδὼν δὲ τὸν Ἰησοῦν), he bowed with his face to the ground (πεσὼν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον ἐδεήθη αὐτοῦ).  He implored Jesus, calling him Lord (λέγων Κύριε).  He said that if Jesus would choose (ἐὰν θέλῃς) to help him, he had the power to make him clean (δύνασαί με καθαρίσαι).  This was similar Matthew, chapter 8:2, and Mark, chapter 1:40.  However, here the man was fully covered with leprosy, but the request was the same.  Mark, like Matthew said that a leper was begging Jesus, as he knelt before him.  Then he said that if Jesus wanted to, he could make him clean.  This leper was asking Jesus to make him clean, so that he could join normal Jewish society again.  He knew that Jesus had the power to do this, since many prophets had cured lepers.  Leprosy was some kind of skin disease that was usually found among poor people.  Today, there are about 2,000,000 people with leprosy or Hansen’s disease, mostly in India, Indonesia, and Brazil.  The Greek word “λέπρας” used here is a broader definition of leprosy than just Hansen’s disease.  Leprosy was a Jewish religious problem also.  What to do about it was clearly defined in Leviticus, chapters 13-14.  Leprosy in the wide sense was considered unclean and had religious connotations, since only a priest could declare a person clean, with a distinct ritual for cleansing the leper.  As a leper, they were considered unclean and not fit to live in normal communal life.

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Eternal life (Mk 10:17-10:17)

“As Jesus

Was setting out

On a journey,

A man ran up

To him.

He knelt

Before him.

He asked him.

‘Good Teacher!

What must I do

To inherit

Eternal life?’”

 

Καὶ ἐκπορευομένου αὐτοῦ εἰς ὁδὸν προσδραμὼν εἷς καὶ γονυπετήσας αὐτὸν ἐπηρώτα αὐτόν Διδάσκαλε ἀγαθέ, τί ποιήσω ἵνα ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσω;

 

This incident about the man seeking eternal can be found in Matthew, chapter 19:16, and Luke, chapter 18:18, but slightly different.  Mark has Jesus setting out on a journey (Καὶ ἐκπορευομένου αὐτοῦ εἰς ὁδὸν), when a man, not a ruler as in Luke, came running up to Jesus (προσδραμὼν εἷς).  He knelt down before Jesus (καὶ γονυπετήσας αὐτὸν).  He then questioned Jesus (ἐπηρώτα αὐτόν), calling him a good teacher (Διδάσκαλε ἀγαθέ), not just a teacher as in Matthew.  He wanted to know what he had to do (τί ποιήσω) to inherit, possess, or acquire eternal life (ἵνα ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσω).  This person wanted to know about his own personal eternal salvation, while the normal Jewish attitude would have been to talk about how they could all be saved.

Fourth narrative

The fourth narrative section revealed the increasing opposition to Jesus.  Thus, his disciples had to prepare for his absence.  These instructions emphasized responsibility and humility.  Simon was renamed Peter, the rock upon which he was going to build his church, especially the mystery of the kingdom of heaven.

While Jesus was preaching in the various towns, John the Baptist was put in prison.  The disciples of John questioned Jesus and Jesus responded.  Jesus then asked questions about John.  Was John more than a prophet?  Then Matthew had a series of Old Testament scriptural quotations about John.  How great was John the Baptist?  Was John Elijah?

Jesus warned that this was a childish generation that was indifferent as they kept on eating and drinking, as if nothing important was happening.  Jesus was against the various Galilean cities and towns, especially Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum.  Jesus explained that there were hidden things from the wise ones, especially the relationship of the Father with the Son, but that the disciples had an easy yoke to bear.

Next came the question of eating on the Sabbath.  The Pharisees reacted against Jesus, but he used the example of David and the priests in the Temple to respond to them.  God was the Lord of the Sabbath.  Thus, when Jesus went into the synagogue, they asked him if he would heal anyone on the Sabbath?  Jesus compared sheep to human beings and then healed the man’s hand.  Thus, the Pharisees conspired against Jesus, while he took a low profile.

Jesus said that the fulfillment of the prophesy of Isaiah was at hand in the servant of Yahweh.  Jesus cured the blind and mute man as the crowds were amazed.  However, the Pharisees compared Jesus to Beelzebul, the devil.  Jesus responded that a divided kingdom would not stand.  The Spirit of God was with Jesus.  The bandits tied up people before stealing from them.  You were either for or against Jesus.  They should be aware of the sin against the Holy Spirit.

Jesus then issued a series of sayings about a tree and its fruit.  He compared the Pharisees to a brood of vipers.  There could be good and bad treasures.  Words would either save or condemn them.

Jesus told them about the sign for this evil generation that was always seeking signs.  He was only going to give them the sign of Jonah.  Notice how the men of Nineveh reacted.  The Queen of Sheba brought gifts to Solomon.  The unclean spirit would return with other evil spirits.  The relatives of Jesus, his mother and brothers showed up, but Jesus said that he had a new family.

Then Jesus spoke in parables siting in a boat by the sea.  There was the parable of the sower with his lost seeds, where only a few of the seeds fell on good soil.  His disciples wanted to know why he was speaking in parables, so that Jesus explained why he used parables.  Once again, he referred to a prophecy of Isaiah.  He explained about the seeds on the rocky ground and the seeds among the thorns.  Finally, he explained the meaning of the seeds on good ground or path since they were the blessed ones.

Then there was the parable about the weeds among the wheat.  The slaves let the weeds grow and then separated them at harvest time.  There were other parables about the mustard seed and the yeast.  Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, but he explained these parables to his disciples, especially the sower, the field, and the seeds.  He explained the enemy and the burning of the weeds.  The punishment for the weeds came at the harvest end times.  Thus, the reward for the righteous will be at the end times.

The kingdom of heaven was like a treasure, like pearls, and like a fishing net.  Jesus explained the parables because the disciples did not understand them.  They were like new and old treasures.

Jesus was an astonishment in his own home town.  They all knew the family of Jesus.  Thus, he was a prophet without honor in his own country.

Herod thought that Jesus was a resurrected John the Baptist, but he was afraid of John the Baptist.  At his birthday party, Herod granted the wish to have the head of John the Baptist on a platter.  Meanwhile, John the Baptist’s disciples buried him.

Jesus was worried as he was healing the sick people.  The disciples complained about the crowds, so that Jesus told them to give them something to eat.  However, they only had five loaves and two fish.  Then Jesus blessed the five loaves of bread and distributed them to the crowd.  There were even leftovers from this crowd of five thousand people.

The disciples left in a boat, so that Jesus prayed alone.  The boat was in the middle of the sea when Jesus walked on water to come to them.   Peter talked to Jesus and then attempted to walk on the water.  Jesus then saved Peter who recognized Jesus as the Son of God.  Then there were the healings at Gennesaret, where Jesus cured the sick.

The Pharisees from Jerusalem came to Jesus to ask him why his disciples did not wash their hands before eating.  Jesus responded by telling them to honor their parents since there was hypocrisy in their traditions.  He cited Isaiah about vain worship.  He told them to hear and understand.  They should watch what came out of their mouth rather than what went into their mouth as defilement.  The Pharisees were offended, but Jesus called them blind guides.  Peter wanted to understand more so that Jesus explained the mouth should speak from the heart.

Jesus went to the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon where he met a Canaanite woman.  He said that he was only going to the lost sheep of Israel, but this Canaanite woman persistently asked for help.  Jesus refused again saying that he could not feed the dogs.  However, she responded that dogs eat crumbs from the table.  Jesus said that she had great faith and healed her.

As Jesus healed the crowds of people in the mountain near the Sea of Galilee, he had compassion for them.  Where will they get food?  His disciples said that they had seven loaves.  Jesus then gave thanks over them and distributed the bread to four thousand men as there was a second multiplication of bread loaves.

Jesus went to Magadan.  There the Pharisees asked for a sign from heaven.  Once again, Jesus said that there are weather signs, but he would only give this evil generation the sign of Jonah.

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, but Jesus warned them about the yeast of the Pharisees.  He reprimanded his disciples for their lack of faith as he reminded them about the multiplication of the loaves of bread.  They should be worried about the Pharisees not food.

What was the role of Peter?  Jesus asked about the Son of Man as the disciples responded.  Then Jesus asked them about himself.  Peter gave a very positive response, so that Jesus rewarded him.  The Messianic secret was tied to the future of Jesus in this conversation between Peter and Jesus.  He would have to take up his cross if wanted to save his life because the Son of Man in his kingdom would be coming soon.

Jesus took three of his apostles up a mountain where he was transfigured before them.  Moses and Elijah appeared with him.  Peter wanted to set up three tents for them.  A voice from the cloud came as the three apostles adored him.  Jesus asked them to be silent about this.  What was the role of Elijah and John the Baptist?

An epileptic man knelt before Jesus that his disciples were unable to heal.  Jesus then healed him, so that his disciples wondered why they were unable to heal this epileptic?  Jesus spoke about the future of the Son of Man.  Should they pay the Temple tax?  Jesus responded that the son of the king did not pay taxes, but he told Peter to pay them anyway.

Finally, we have the ecclesiastical discourse about who is the greatest.  A child is the greatest because when you welcome a little child, you welcome Jesus.  They were not to cause children to sin.  They were not to tempt people.  It would be better to be maimed and blind than suffer eternal fire.  They were not to despise the little ones.  Jesus explained the parable of the lost sheep and fraternal correction.  What were you to do with a sinning brother.  Let him become a gentile, if he does not listen.  Common prayer was important so that they should gather in his name.  How often should they forgive?  The response was the seventy times seven.

Then there was the parable of the unforgiving servant slave.  The master settled accounts with servant slaves.  One owed ten thousand talents, so that the king forgave him his debt.  However, this servant slave would not forgive the debt of his fellow slaves, who were angry.  Thus, this unforgiving slave was tortured.  This parable explanation was simple, forgive your brothers.

The Roman soldiers mock Jesus (Mt 27:28-27:30)

“They stripped Jesus.

They put a scarlet robe

On him.

They twisted

Some thorns

Into a crown.

They put it

On his head.

They put a reed

In his right hand.

They knelt

Before him.

They mocked him.

They said.

‘Hail!

King of the Jews!’

They spat

On Jesus.

They took the reed.

They struck him

On the head.”

 

καὶ ἐκδύσαντες αὐτὸν χλαμύδα κοκκίνην περιέθηκαν αὐτῷ,

καὶ πλέξαντες στέφανον ἐξ ἀκανθῶν ἐπέθηκαν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ καὶ κάλαμον ἐν τῇ δεξιᾷ αὐτοῦ, καὶ γονυπετήσαντες ἔμπροσθεν αὐτοῦ ἐνέπαιξαν αὐτῷ λέγοντες Χαῖρε, Βασιλεῦ τῶν Ἰουδαίων,

καὶ ἐμπτύσαντες εἰς αὐτὸν ἔλαβον τὸν κάλαμον καὶ ἔτυπτον εἰς τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:17-19, but not in Luke.  In John, chapter 19:2-3, there is something similar.  Matthew said that these Roman soldiers stripped Jesus of his clothes (καὶ ἐκδύσαντες αὐτὸν).  They put a scarlet robe on him (κοκκίνην περιέθηκαν αὐτῷ), a Roman soldier’s tunic.  Thus, he might have looked like a king in a purple robe.  Then they twisted some thorns into a crown (καὶ πλέξαντες στέφανον ἐξ ἀκανθῶν).  They put this crown on his head (πέθηκαν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ) like a Roman laurel or gold crown.  They put a reed in his right hand (καὶ κάλαμον ἐν τῇ δεξιᾷ αὐτοῦ) like a royal scepter.  Then these Roman soldiers knelt before him (καὶ γονυπετήσαντες ἔμπροσθεν αὐτοῦ) as they mocked him, saying “Hail! King of the Jews (ἐνέπαιξαν αὐτῷ λέγοντες Χαῖρε, Βασιλεῦ τῶν Ἰουδαίων)!”  Then they spat on Jesus (καὶ ἐμπτύσαντες).  They took the reed from his hand (εἰς αὐτὸν ἔλαβον τὸν κάλαμον) and struck him on the head (καὶ ἔτυπτον εἰς τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ).  They were mocking this pretended king of the Jews.

The mother of the sons of Zebedee (Mt 20:20-20:20)

“Then the mother

Of the sons of Zebedee

Came up to Jesus,

With her sons.

She knelt before him.

She asked a favor

Of him.”

 

Τότε προσῆλθεν αὐτῷ ἡ μήτηρ τῶν υἱῶν Ζεβεδαίου μετὰ τῶν υἱῶν αὐτῆς προσκυνοῦσα καὶ αἰτοῦσά τι ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ.

 

There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 10:35, but there the brothers, rather than their mother approached Jesus.  Was she with them on this trip to Jerusalem, or did this take place earlier?  The mother of the sons of Zebedee (ἡ μήτηρ τῶν υἱῶν Ζεβεδαίου), or the wife of Zebedee, came to Jesus (Τότε προσῆλθεν αὐτῷ) with her sons (μετὰ τῶν υἱῶν αὐτῆς), James and John, who were part of the 12 leaders of Jesus.  She knelt before Jesus (προσκυνοῦσα) and made a request to him for a favor (καὶ αἰτοῦσά τι ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ).

The Canaanite woman asked for help (Mt 15:25-15:25)

“But she came.

She knelt worshiping before him.

Saying.

‘Lord!

Help me!’”

 

ἡ δὲ ἐλθοῦσα προσεκύνει αὐτῷ λέγουσα Κύριε, βοήθει μοι.

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 7:25, where the Canaanite woman came to Jesus (ἡ δὲ ἐλθοῦσα).  She knelt before him in worship (προσεκύνει αὐτῷ).  She addressed Jesus as the Lord (λέγουσα Κύριε) and asked for his help (βοήθει μοι).  She was very insistent.

The visit of the leader (Mt 9:18-9:19)

“While he was saying

These things to them,

A leader came in.

He knelt before him.

Saying,

‘My daughter

Has just died.

But come!

Lay your hand

On her!

Then she will live.’

Jesus got up.

He followed him,

With his disciples.”

 

Ταῦτα αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος αὐτοῖς ἰδοὺ ἄρχων εἷς προσελθὼν προσεκύνει αὐτῷ λέγων ὅτι Ἡ θυγάτηρ μου ἄρτι ἐτελεύτησεν· ἀλλὰ ἐλθὼν ἐπίθες τὴν χεῖρά σου ἐπ’ αὐτήν, καὶ ζήσεται.

καὶ ἐγερθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἠκολούθει αὐτῷ καὶ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ

 

This episode about the healing of the ruler’s daughter can be found in Mark, chapter 5:21 and Luke, chapter 8:40, except that there this leader had a name, Jairus, the leader of the synagogue.  Here, he is only called a generic leader or ruler (ἄρχων).  Apparently, this took place while Jesus was speaking to the people about his sayings (Ταῦτα αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος αὐτοῖς).  This unnamed leader or Jarius came and knelt before Jesus (ἰδοὺ ἄρχων εἷς προσελθὼν προσεκύνει αὐτῷ).  He then spoke to Jesus telling him that his daughter had just died (λέγων ὅτι Ἡ θυγάτηρ μου ἄρτι ἐτελεύτησεν).  There is no mention of her age here as in Luke, where she was 12 years old.  In Mark, she was very sick, not dead.  However, his belief in the power of Jesus was clear.  He said that if Jesus came (ἀλλὰ ἐλθὼν), he could lay his hand on her (τὴν χεῖρά σου ἐπ’ αὐτήν).  Then she would live (καὶ ζήσεται).  This leader had a great belief in Jesus to raise the dead.  Jesus then responded immediately, without saying anything.  He simply got up (καὶ ἐγερθεὶς) with his disciples (καὶ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ).  They followed this leader (ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἠκολούθει αὐτῷ).