Possible and impossible things (Lk 18:27-18:27)

“But Jesus replied.

‘What is impossible

For mortals

Is possible

With God.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Τὰ ἀδύνατα παρὰ ἀνθρώποις δυνατὰ παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ ἐστιν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said or replied (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν) that what was impossible for mortal men (Τὰ ἀδύνατα παρὰ ἀνθρώποις) was possible with God (δυνατὰ παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ ἐστιν).  This saying about the power of God and the impotence of humans can be found in Mark, chapter 10:27, and Matthew, chapter 19:26, but slightly different, although Mark and Matthew were similar.  Mark said that Jesus looked at them (ἐμβλέψας αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  Then he told them (λέγει) that this would be impossible for mortal men (Παρὰ ἀνθρώποις ἀδύνατον), but not with God (ἀλλ’ οὐ παρὰ Θεῷ).  All things are possible with God (πάντα γὰρ δυνατὰ παρὰ τῷ θεῷ), since he could do everything.  In Matthew, Jesus looked at them (ἐμβλέψας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς) and told them (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that this would be impossible for mortal men (Παρὰ ἀνθρώποις τοῦτο ἀδύνατόν ἐστιν), but with God, all things were possible (παρὰ δὲ Θεῷ πάντα δυνατά), since he could do everything.  This could be an allusion to Genesis, chapter 18:14, when Sarah laughed when she was told she was going to have a son or the prophet Jeremiah, chapter 32:17, when he was talking about creation.  What humans are not able to do, God is able to do.  Does God save wealthy people?

With God all things are possible (Mk 10:27-10:27)

“Jesus looked at them.

He said.

‘For mortals,

It is impossible,

But not for God.

All things are possible

For God.’”

 

ἐμβλέψας αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγει Παρὰ ἀνθρώποις ἀδύνατον, ἀλλ’ οὐ παρὰ θεῷ· πάντα γὰρ δυνατὰ παρὰ τῷ θεῷ.

 

This saying about the power of God and the impotence of humans can be found in Matthew, chapter 19:26, and Luke, chapter 18:27, but slightly different.  Mark said that Jesus looked at them (ἐμβλέψας αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  Then he told them (λέγει) that this would be impossible for mortal men (Παρὰ ἀνθρώποις ἀδύνατον), but not with God (ἀλλ’ οὐ παρὰ Θεῷ).  All things were possible with God (πάντα γὰρ δυνατὰ παρὰ τῷ θεῷ), since he could do everything.  This could be an allusion to Genesis, chapter 18:14, when Sarah laughed when she was told she was going to have a son or the prophet Jeremiah, chapter 32:17, when he was talking about creation.  What humans were not able to do, God was able to do because he was an all-powerful God.

Yahweh is his name (Am 4:13-4:13)

“For lo!

The one who forms the mountains!

The one who creates the wind!

The one who reveals

His thoughts to mortals!

The one who makes

The morning darkness!

The one who treads

On the heights

Of the earth!

Yahweh is his name!

The God of hosts!”

In a great show of force and praise. Amos revealed that it was Yahweh who formed the mountains. Yahweh has created the wind. He has revealed his thoughts to mortals. He has made the morning darkness. He has walked on the heights of the earth. It is of course Yahweh, the God of heavenly hosts. Yahweh is his name.

The impossible task (Dan 2:10-2:11)

The Chaldeans answered

The king.

‘There is not a man

On earth

Who can reveal

What the king demanded.

In fact,

No king,

However great

Or powerful,

Has ever asked

Such a thing

Of any magician,

Or enchanter

Or Chaldean.

The thing

That the king is asking

is difficult.

No one can reveal it

To the king,

Except the gods,

Whose dwelling

Is not with mortals.’”

The Chaldeans responded that this was an impossible task. No one could reveal what the king dreamt. In fact, no king anywhere, no matter how great and powerful, ever asked for such a request from his royal court. Only the many gods in their extra-terrestrial setting might know the answer. Certainly, no mortals would be able to respond to this impossible request.

The death of the cedar tree (Ezek 31:13-31:14)

“All the birds

Of the air

Settle

On its fallen trunk.

All the wild animals

Lodge

Among its boughs.

All this is

In order

That no trees

By the waters

May grow

To a lofty height

Or set their tops

Among the clouds.

No trees

That drink water

May reach up

To them

In height.

All of them

Are handed over

To death,

To the world below.

They will be

With all mortals,

Who go down

To the pit.”

The birds of the air will settle on the fallen trunk of this great cedar tree. Wild animals will be among its loose branches. This would be a warning that no other trees that were near water should grow to lofty heights. No other trees should have their tree tops in the clouds or reach up to those heights. All of them would be handed over to death, to go to the world below, the great pit, where all the other mortals go. This personification of the cedar tree was complete, since it would share the afterlife with other mortals in the underworld pit.

The prayer of Jeremiah to the all powerful God (Jer 32:17-32:19)

“O Lord God!

It is you!

You made the heavens!

You made the earth!

By your great power!

By your outstretched arm!

Nothing is too hard for you!

You show steadfast love

To the thousandth generation.

But you repay

The guilt of parents

Into the laps of their children

After them.

O great mighty God!

Your name is Yahweh of hosts!

You are great in counsel!

You are mighty in deeds!

Your eyes are open

To all the ways of mortals!

You reward all

According to their ways,

According to the fruit

Of their doings!”

Jeremiah’s prays to an all powerful God, who has made heaven and earth by his potent outstretched hand. There is nothing too hard for God to do. God’s love lasts over 1,000 generations. However, he repays the guilt of the parents by putting it into the laps of their children, who come after them. Yahweh of hosts is the name of this God, who is great and mighty in deeds. He gives counsel, as his eyes are open to the various ways of mortals. He rewards humans according to their ways and the fruit of their actions.

The curse of Yahweh (Jer 17:5-17:6)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘Cursed are those

Who trust in mere mortals!

Cursed are those

Who make mere flesh

Their strength!

Cursed are those

Whose hearts turn away

From Yahweh!

They are

Like a shrub in the desert.

They shall not see

When relief comes.

They shall live

In the parched places

Of the wilderness.

They shall live

In an uninhabited salt land.’”

Jeremiah had Yahweh issue a curse, not a blessing. If they trusted in mere mortals, if they made their own flesh their strength, and if their hearts turned away from Yahweh, they would be cursed. They are like shrubs in a desert that do not know when help is coming to them. They will live in a wild parched land. They will live in uninhabitable salt lands. Their punishment would be a hard life with bad soil.