The mighty and the lowly (Lk 1:52-1:52)

“God has brought down

The powerful

From their thrones.

He has lifted up

The lowly.”

 

καθεῖλεν δυνάστας ἀπὸ θρόνων καὶ ὕψωσεν ταπεινούς

 

This canticle of Mary was modeled on that of Hannah in 1 Samuel, chapter 2:4, that praised Yahweh for her son, the prophet Samuel.  Just like here, Hannah said that the mighty and the rich would stumble, but the lowly and the poor would succeed.  Luke indicated that Mary said that God had brought down the powerful (καθεῖλεν δυνάστας) from their thrones (ἀπὸ θρόνων), while he has lifted up the lowly (καὶ ὕψωσεν ταπεινούς).  There is almost an exact equivalency between Hannah and Mary.  Mary had mentioned nothing about lowly people until now.  Luke emphasized this theme of the poor or lowly as important throughout his gospel.

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Faith can move mountains (Mk 11:23-11:23)

“‘Truly!

I say to you!

If you say

To this mountain.

‘Be taken up!

Be thrown

Into the sea!’

If you do not doubt

In your heart,

But believe

What you say

It will come to pass,

It will be done

For you.’”

 

ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ὃς ἂν εἴπῃ τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ Ἄρθητι καὶ βλήθητι εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, καὶ μὴ διακριθῇ ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ ἀλλὰ πιστεύῃ ὅτι ὃ λαλεῖ γίνεται, ἔσται αὐτῷ.

 

This Jesus saying about faith can be found in Matthew, chapter 21:21, somewhat similar to this in Mark.  Mark said that Jesus answered with a solemn pronouncement (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) about the importance of faith.  If they had faith, they could move mountains.  They could tell a mountain (ὅτι ὃς ἂν εἴπῃ τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ) to be lifted up or taken away (Ἄρθητι) and thrown into the sea (καὶ βλήθητι εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν).  If they did not doubt it in their hearts (καὶ μὴ διακριθῇ ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ), but believed what they said (ἀλλὰ πιστεύῃ ὅτι ὃ λαλεῖ γίνεται), it would happen or take place or come to pass for them (ἔσται αὐτῷ).

The need for faith (Mt 21:21-21:22)

“Jesus answered them.

‘Truly!

I say to you!

If you have faith,

If you do not doubt,

Not only will you do

What has been done

To the fig tree,

But even if you say

To this mountain.

‘Be lifted up!

Be thrown into the sea!’

It will be done.

Whatever you ask for

In prayer,

With faith,

You will receive.’”

 

ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐὰν ἔχητε πίστιν καὶ μὴ διακριθῆτε, οὐ μόνον τὸ τῆς συκῆς ποιήσετε, ἀλλὰ κἂν τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ εἴπητε Ἄρθητι καὶ βλήθητι εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, γενήσεται·

καὶ πάντα ὅσα ἂν αἰτήσητε ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ πιστεύοντες λήμψεσθε.

 

This Jesus saying about faith can be found in Mark, chapter 11:20-24, word for word, but it was the next day after the curse, not the same day.  Jesus answered the disciple’s question (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) about how the fig tree withered with a solemn pronouncement (Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) about the importance of faith.  If they had faith (ἐὰν ἔχητε πίστιν) and did not doubt (καὶ μὴ διακριθῆτε), they too would be able to effectively curse a fig tree (οὐ μόνον τὸ τῆς συκῆς ποιήσετε).  Not only that, but if they had faith, they could move mountains.  They could tell a mountain (ἀλλὰ κἂν τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ εἴπητε) to be lifted up or taken away (Ἄρθητι) and thrown into the sea (καὶ βλήθητι εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν), and it would happen (γενήσεται).  Whatever they asked for in believing prayer (καὶ πάντα ὅσα ἂν αἰτήσητε ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ πιστεύοντες), they would receive it (λήμψεσθε).  The essential ingredient of effective prayer was faith.

The glory of Yahweh in the Temple (Ezek 43:4-43: 5)

“The glory of Yahweh

Entered the temple

By the gate facing east.

Then the Spirit

Lifted me up.

He brought me

Into the inner court.

The glory of Yahweh

Filled the temple.”

Just as the glory of Yahweh had exited the Temple via the east gate, he also returned through the east gate, where Ezekiel and the bronze man were standing. Furthermore, the Spirit of Yahweh lifted up Ezekiel. This Holy Spirit brought him into the inner court of the Temple. This time, he saw the glory of Yahweh fill the whole Temple.

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?

The end of the vision in Babylon (Ezek 11:24-11:25)

“The Spirit lifted me up.

The Spirit brought me

In a vision

By the Spirit of God

Into Chaldea,

To the exiles.

Then the vision

That I had seen

Left me.

I told the exiles

All the things

That Yahweh

Had showed me.”

Ezekiel concluded this vision by saying that he was lifted up by the Holy Spirit of God back into Babylon, among the Chaldeans and the other exiled Israelites and Judeans. The vision left him. Then he told the Israelite exiles there all about the things that Yahweh had shown him.