Lazarus (Lk 16:20-16:20)

“At his gate,

Lay a poor man

Named Lazarus,

Covered with sores.”

 

πτωχὸς δέ τις ὀνόματι Λάζαρος ἐβέβλητο πρὸς τὸν πυλῶνα αὐτοῦ εἱλκωμένος

 

This parable story about the poor man Lazarus and an unnamed rich man is only found in Luke, not in the other gospels.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that a certain poor beggar (πτωχὸς δέ τις) lay at the gate of this rich man (ἐβέβλητο πρὸς τὸν πυλῶνα αὐτοῦ).  He was named Lazarus (ὀνόματι Λάζαρος) and was covered with sores (εἱλκωμένος).  Once again, Luke is the only one in all the biblical literature to use this Greek word εἱλκωμένος that means to wound, to ulcerate, or to suffer from sores.  It was also unusual to give a name to this poor person, since most of the Jesus parables usually had unnamed people.  The rich man was unnamed.  Was this Lazarus connected to the brother of Martha and Mary in John, chapter 11?  From this story, we know that Lazarus was poor and had many sores.  There was no attempt to line him up with the women of Bethany, Martha and Mary.  Do you personally know a poor person?

The better portion (Lk 10:42-10:42)

“There is need

Of only one thing.

Mary has chosen

The better part.

It will not be

Taken away

From her.”

 

ὀλίγων δέ ἐστιν χρεία ἢ ἑνός· Μαριὰμ γὰρ τὴν ἀγαθὴν μερίδα ἐξελέξατο, ἥτις οὐκ ἀφαιρεθήσεται αὐτῆς.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said that there was need of only one thing (ὀλίγων δέ ἐστιν χρεία ἢ ἑνός).  Mary had chosen the better part (Μαριὰμ γὰρ τὴν ἀγαθὴν μερίδα ἐξελέξατο), in listening.  This would not be taken away from her (ἥτις οὐκ ἀφαιρεθήσεται αὐτῆς).  Jesus was clear, being a listening disciple was better than running around serving people.  Listening was important.  Household duties can wait.  Martha, the welcoming lady, lost out to her listening sister, Mary.  Quit complaining.  Just do the work and listen to Jesus.  Do you prefer to work or listen?

Make my sister help me (Lk 10:40-10:40)

“But Martha

Was distracted

By her many tasks.

She went

To the Lord.

She asked

‘Lord!

Do you not care

That my sister

Has left me

To do all the work

Alone by myself?

Tell her then

To help me!’”

 

ἡ δὲ Μάρθα περιεσπᾶτο περὶ πολλὴν διακονίαν· ἐπιστᾶσα δὲ εἶπεν Κύριε, οὐ μέλει σοι ὅτι ἡ ἀδελφή μου μόνην με κατέλειπεν διακονεῖν; εἰπὸν οὖν αὐτῇ ἵνα μοι συναντιλάβηται.

 

Now the element of conflict came up.  Luke said that Martha was distracted or troubled by her many tasks of hospitality serving (ἡ δὲ Μάρθα περιεσπᾶτο περὶ πολλὴν διακονίαν).  Thus, she went to address Jesus as the Lord (ἐπιστᾶσα δὲ εἶπεν Κύριε).  She urgently wanted to know if the Lord cared about the fact that her sister had left her alone to do all the serving work by herself (οὐ μέλει σοι ὅτι ἡ ἀδελφή μου μόνην με κατέλειπεν διακονεῖν)?  She wanted Jesus to tell Mary (εἰπὸν οὖν αὐτῇ) to help her (ἵνα μοι συναντιλάβηται).  Mary was simply sitting listening to Jesus, while Martha was doing all the housework.  Martha wanted Jesus to tell her sister to help her with the household duties.  Why couldn’t Martha talk to her sister herself?  She knew her pretty well.  What will be the response of Jesus?  Would you rather be the worker or the listener?

Mary (Lk 10:39-10:39)

“Martha had a sister

Named Mary.

She sat

At the Lord’s feet.

Mary listened

To what Jesus

Was saying.”

 

καὶ τῇδε ἦν ἀδελφὴ καλουμένη Μαριάμ, ἣ καὶ παρακαθεσθεῖσα πρὸς τοὺς πόδας τοῦ Κυρίου ἤκουεν τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke uniquely said that Martha had a sister (καὶ τῇδε ἦν ἀδελφὴ) called Mary (καλουμένη Μαριάμ).  There were many women called Mary in the gospel stories.  This Mary sat down at the Lord’s feet (καὶ παρακαθεσθεῖσα πρὸς τοὺς πόδας τοῦ Κυρίου) and listened to his words (ἤκουεν τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ).  This was a common position for the disciples to take.  It also was common for women to sit at the feet of men to listen to them.  Was she a disciple of Jesus?  Notice that Jesus was called the Lord (Κυρίου), not Jesus.  Certainly, this Mary was very attuned to the teaching of Jesus.  Are you willing to listen to the teaching of Jesus?

Martha (Lk 10:38-10:38)

“Now as they went

On their way,

Jesus entered

A certain village.

A woman

Named Martha

Welcomed him

Into her house.”

 

Ἐν δὲ τῷ πορεύεσθαι αὐτοὺς αὐτὸς εἰσῆλθεν εἰς κώμην τινά· γυνὴ δέ τις ὀνόματι Μάρθα ὑπεδέξατο αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν.

 

Luke uniquely among the synoptics has this story of Martha and Mary.  However, John, chapters 11 and 12 have these two, Martha and Mary, as sisters to Lazarus in Bethany.  Here the story is just between the two sisters and their different roles.  Luke said that as they went on their way (Ἐν δὲ τῷ πορεύεσθαι αὐτοὺς), Jesus entered a certain unnamed village (εἰσῆλθεν εἰς κώμην τινά).  There a woman named Martha (γυνὴ δέ τις ὀνόματι Μάρθα) welcomed him (ὑπεδέξατο αὐτὸν) into her house (εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν).  There was no indication if any of his disciples or apostles went with him into the house.  Could this unnamed village be Bethany?  Are you afraid to mention the name of your town?

The woman in the house of Simon (Mk 14:3-14:3)

“Jesus was

At Bethany,

In the house of Simon,

The leper.

As he sat

At the table,

A woman came

With an alabaster jar

Of very costly

Ointment

Of nard.

She broke open

The jar.

She poured

The ointment

On his head.”

 

Καὶ ὄντος αὐτοῦ ἐν Βηθανίᾳ ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ Σίμωνος τοῦ λεπροῦ, κατακειμένου αὐτοῦ ἦλθεν γυνὴ ἔχουσα ἀλάβαστρον μύρου νάρδου πιστικῆς πολυτελοῦς· συντρίψασα τὴν ἀλάβαστρον κατέχεεν αὐτοῦ τῆς κεφαλῆς  

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 26:6-7, and somewhat similar to John, chapter 12:1-3, where Jesus was in Bethany, but at the house of Lazarus and his two sisters, Martha and Mary, 6 days before the Passover.  John identified this woman as Mary, the sister of Lazarus.  Mark also said that Jesus was in Bethany (Καὶ ὄντος αὐτοῦ ἐν Βηθανίᾳ), a town about a mile and a half east of Jerusalem, but in the house of Simon the leper (ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ Σίμωνος τοῦ λεπροῦ).  The identity of this Simon the leper is unknown.  However, it could have been someone whom Jesus had cured from leprosy, who became his disciple.  The people of Bethany may have favored Jesus because of the Lazarus event.  There was also a story of a woman anointing Jesus in Luke, chapter 7:36-50, but within a different context.  Jesus was at the house of a Pharisee, when this woman also brought an alabaster jar to anoint the feet of Jesus.  Mark continued that Jesus was reclining at table (κατακειμένου), when an unnamed woman came or approached Jesus (ἦλθεν γυνὴ) with an alabaster jar full of very expensive imported Indian nard ointment (ἔχουσα ἀλάβαστρον μύρου νάρδου πιστικῆς πολυτελοῦς).  This was anointing oil or as later Christians would call it holy oil, “Myron (μύρου).”  She broke the alabaster jar of ointment (συντρίψασα τὴν ἀλάβαστρον).  Then she then poured it on his head (κατέχεεν αὐτοῦ τῆς κεφαλῆς).  This may appear a little unusual, but this oil might be a foretaste of the prophetic, royal, or priestly anointing of Jesus as prophet, king, and priest.  In the ancient biblical stories, kings were anointed on the head.

Jesus entered Jerusalem and the Temple (Mk 11:11-11:11)

“Then Jesus

Entered Jerusalem.

He went

Into the Temple.

When he had looked around

At everything,

As it was already late,

He went out

To Bethany

With the twelve.”

 

Καὶ εἰσῆλθεν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα εἰς τὸ ἱερόν· καὶ περιβλεψάμενος πάντα, ὀψὲ ἤδη οὔσης τῆς ὥρας, ἐξῆλθεν εἰς Βηθανίαν μετὰ τῶν δώδεκα.

 

This generic remark about Jesus entering Jerusalem and the Temple is in stark contrast with Matthew, chapter 21:30, where he said that the whole city was in turmoil or stirred up wondering who was this man entering the city was.  Matthew emphasized that Jesus was from Galilee, the north, rather than a Judean or a southerner.  Mark said, in a more descriptive simple manner, that Jesus simply entered Jerusalem (Καὶ εἰσῆλθεν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα) and the Temple (εἰς τὸ ἱερόν).  He just looked around at everything (καὶ περιβλεψάμενος πάντα).  There was nothing spectacular about the arrival of Jesus and his apostles.  Since it was already a late hour (ὀψὲ ἤδη οὔσης τῆς ὥρας), he went out to Bethany (ἐξῆλθεν εἰς Βηθανίαν) with his twelve apostles (μετὰ τῶν δώδεκα).  There they probably spent the night, since it was only about a mile and a half east of Jerusalem.  This was the same city of Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha, but there was no mention of them here.