Only God forgives sins (Lk 5:21-5:21)

“Then the Scribes

And the Pharisees

Began to question.

‘Who is this

That speaks blasphemies?

Who can forgive sins

But God alone?’”

 

καὶ ἤρξαντο διαλογίζεσθαι οἱ γραμματεῖς καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι λέγοντες Τίς ἐστιν οὗτος ὃς λαλεῖ βλασφημίας; τίς δύναται ἁμαρτίας ἀφεῖναι εἰ μὴ μόνος ὁ Θεός;

 

Luke said that the Scribes (οἱ γραμματεῖς) and the Pharisees (καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι) began to reason or question Jesus (καὶ ἤρξαντο διαλογίζεσθαι).  Was Jesus not speaking blasphemies (λέγοντες Τίς ἐστιν οὗτος ὃς λαλεῖ βλασφημίας)?  Only God could forgive sins (τίς δύναται ἁμαρτίας ἀφεῖναι εἰ μὴ μόνος ὁ Θεός).  Mark, chapter 2:6-7, and Matthew, chapter 9:3, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this saying about the Pharisees and the Scribes saying that Jesus was committing blasphemy.  Mark and Matthew did not mention the Pharisees, just the Scribes.  Mark said that some of these Scribes were sitting there in this crowded room.  They were reasoning or questioning in their hearts, but not to others.  They wondered why Jesus was talking this way, since it appeared to be blasphemy.  Blasphemers used scurrilous or irreverent language about God.  How was Jesus able to forgive sins, since only God can forgive sins?  This seems like a legitimate question.

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Who will roll the stone away? (Mk 16:3-16:3)

“They had been saying

To one another.

‘Who will roll away

The stone

For us,

From the entrance

To the tomb?’”

 

καὶ ἔλεγον πρὸς ἑαυτάς Τίς ἀποκυλίσει ἡμῖν τὸν λίθον ἐκ τῆς θύρας τοῦ μνημείου;

 

This is unique to Mark.  There was no discussion about rolling back the stone in the other 3 gospel stories, since it had been rolled back by the time that the women got there.  However, Mark said that the 3 women had been saying to themselves or talking to one another (καὶ ἔλεγον πρὸς ἑαυτάς).  They wondered who would roll away the stone for them (ίς ἀποκυλίσει ἡμῖν τὸν λίθον) at the entrance to the tomb (ἐκ τῆς θύρας τοῦ μνημείου)?  This was a legitimate question for these 3 women.

Which commandment is first? (Mk 12:28-12:28)

“One of the Scribes

Came near.

He heard them

Disputing with one another.

Seeing that Jesus

Had answered them well,

He asked him.

“Which commandment

Is the first of all of them?”

 

Καὶ προσελθὼν εἷς τῶν γραμματέων, ἀκούσας αὐτῶν συνζητούντων, εἰδὼς ὅτι καλῶς ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς, ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτόν Ποία ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη πάντων;

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 22:34, but there the question was presented by a Pharisee lawyer, not a Scribe.  In Luke, chapter 10:25, there was an unnamed lawyer who wanted to know how to gain eternal life.  Here, Mark has an unnamed Scribe approach Jesus (Καὶ προσελθὼν εἷς τῶν γραμματέων) because he had heard the disciples discussing, disputing, or arguing with each other (ἀκούσας αὐτῶν συνζητούντων).  He saw how Jesus had answered their questions very well (εἰδὼς ὅτι καλῶς ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς).  He was not there to test him, but he did question Jesus (ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτόν).  He wanted to know which commandment was the first or the greatest (Ποία ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη πάντων), since there were 613 commandments in late Judaism.  Thus, it would seem like a legitimate question with so many commandments or laws.

What is your authority? (Mk 11:28-11:28)

“They said to Jesus.

‘By what authority

Are you doing

These things?

Who gave you

This authority

To do them?’”

 

καὶ ἔλεγον αὐτῷ Ἐν ποίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ ταῦτα ποιεῖς; ἢ τίς σοι ἔδωκεν τὴν ἐξουσίαν ταύτην ἵνα ταῦτα ποιῇς;

 

This questioning of the authority of Jesus can be found in Matthew, chapter 21:23, and Luke, chapter 20:2, almost word for word.  Mark said that these chief priests, Scribes, and elders asked Jesus (καὶ ἔλεγον αὐτῷ) by what authority was he doing all these things (Ἐν ποίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ ταῦτα ποιεῖς) in the Temple?  Who gave him his authority to do all these things (ἢ τίς σοι ἔδωκεν τὴν ἐξουσίαν ταύτην ἵνα ταῦτα ποιῇς)?  This seemed like a legitimate question since Jesus was not a Levitical priest or an ordained rabbi.  They wanted to know where he came from and what he was trying to do.

The scribes think that this is blasphemy (Mk 2:6-2:7)

“Some of the Scribes

Were sitting there.

They questioned

In their hearts.

‘Why does this man

Speak thus?

It is blasphemy!

Who can forgive sins

But God alone?’”

 

ἦσαν δέ τινες τῶν γραμματέων ἐκεῖ καθήμενοι καὶ διαλογιζόμενοι ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις αὐτῶν

Τί οὗτος οὕτως λαλεῖ; βλασφημεῖ· τίς δύναται ἀφιέναι ἁμαρτίας εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ Θεός

 

Luke, chapter 5:21, and Matthew, chapter 9:3, are similar to Mark, so that Mark might be the source of this saying about the Scribes and blasphemy.  Some of these Scribes were sitting there in this crowded room (ἦσαν δέ τινες τῶν γραμματέων ἐκεῖ καθήμενοι).  They were reasoning or questioning in their hearts, but not to others (καὶ διαλογιζόμενοι ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις αὐτῶν).  These Scribes were the religious experts who determined the traditions to be followed as interpreters of the law in this generally uneducated society.  They were professional copiers of manuscript documents, although they had a wider role in Jewish culture.  They might have been the fore-runners of the rabbinic class that was developing at that time.  They wondered why Jesus was talking this way (Τί οὗτος οὕτως λαλεῖ), since it appeared to be blasphemy (βλασφημεῖ).  Blasphemers used scurrilous or irreverent language about God.  How is Jesus able to forgive sins (τίς δύναται ἀφιέναι ἁμαρτίας), since only God can forgive sins (εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ Θεός)?  This seems like a legitimate question.

What is the greatest commandment? (Mt 22:35-22:36)

“One of the Pharisees,

A lawyer,

Asked Jesus a question,

To test him.

‘Teacher!

Which commandment

In the law

Is the greatest?’”

 

καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν εἷς ἐξ” αὐτῶν νομικὸς πειράζων αὐτόν

Διδάσκαλε, ποία ἐντολὴ μεγάλη ἐν τῷ νόμῳ;

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 12:28, but there the question was presented by a Scribe, not a Pharisee lawyer.  However, in Luke, chapter 10:25, there was an unnamed lawyer who wanted to know how to gain eternal life.  Here, Matthew has a lawyer (νομικὸς), who was a Pharisee, question Jesus (καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν εἷς ἐξ” αὐτῶν) to test him (πειράζων αὐτόν).  He probably was someone skilled in the Mosaic law.  He addressed Jesus in a very respectful tone calling him “Teacher” or rabbi (Διδάσκαλε).  He wanted to know which commandment of the law was the greatest (ποία ἐντολὴ μεγάλη ἐν τῷ νόμῳ), since there were 613 commandments in late Judaism.  Thus, it would seem like a legitimate question with so many commandments or laws.

Where did Jesus get his authority? (Mt 21:23-21:23)

“When Jesus entered

The Temple,

The chief priests

And the elders of the people

Came to him,

As he was teaching.

They said.

‘By what authority

Are you doing these things?

Who gave you

This authority?’”

 

Καὶ ἐλθόντος αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν προσῆλθον αὐτῷ διδάσκοντι οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι τοῦ λαοῦ λέγοντες Ἐν ποίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ ταῦτα ποιεῖς; καὶ τίς σοι ἔδωκεν τὴν ἐξουσίαν ταύτην;

 

This questioning of the authority of Jesus can be found in Mark, chapter 11:27-28, and Luke, chapter 20:1-2, almost word for word.  When Jesus entered the Temple (Καὶ ἐλθόντος αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν), the chief priests (οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς) or the high priest with the presbyters or elders of the people (καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι τοῦ λαοῦ) approached him as he was teaching (προσῆλθον αὐτῷ διδάσκοντι).  They wanted to know by what authority was he doing all these things (Ἐν ποίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ ταῦτα ποιεῖς) in the Temple?  Who gave him his authority (καὶ τίς σοι ἔδωκεν τὴν ἐξουσίαν ταύτην;)?  This seemed like a legitimate question since Jesus was not a Levitical priest or an ordained rabbi.  They wanted to know where he came from and what he was trying to do.