He built a synagogue (Lk 7:5-7:5)

“This centurion loves

Our people.

He built us

Our synagogue.”

 

ἀγαπᾷ γὰρ τὸ ἔθνος ἡμῶν καὶ τὴν συναγωγὴν αὐτὸς ᾠκοδόμησεν ἡμῖν.

 

Luke uniquely said that these Jewish elders continued praising this centurion, who loved the Jewish people, their people (ἀγαπᾷ γὰρ τὸ ἔθνος ἡμῶν).  He had built a synagogue for them (καὶ τὴν συναγωγὴν αὐτὸς ᾠκοδόμησεν ἡμῖν).  There were many instances of Roman soldiers adopting the religious practices of the people where they were staying.  However, building a synagogue seems a bit much.  It may have led to better community relations.  Although he was not Jewish, this centurion had been very favorable to the Jewish people by helping them build a new synagogue.  There was no mention of this synagogue in the Matthew story about the centurion.  Would you be favorable to a religion not your own?

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The demons want to be pigs (Mt 8:30-8:31)

“Now a large herd

Of swine

Was feeding

At some distance

From them.

The demons begged him.

‘If you cast us out,

Send us

Into the herd

Of swine.’”

 

ἦν δὲ μακρὰν ἀπ’ αὐτῶν ἀγέλη χοίρων πολλῶν βοσκομένη.

οἱ δὲ δαίμονες παρεκάλουν αὐτὸν λέγοντες Εἰ ἐκβάλλεις ἡμᾶς, ἀπόστειλον ἡμᾶς εἰς τὴν ἀγέλην τῶν χοίρων.

 

All three synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 5:12 and Luke, chapter 8:32, and Matthew here, have these demoniacs ask to be sent into the herd of pigs nearby, with slight nuances in each story.  This large herd of pigs (ἀγέλη χοίρων πολλῶν) was feeding or in a pasture (βοσκομένη) at some distance away from them (ἦν δὲ μακρὰν ἀπ’ αὐτῶν), since this was gentile or a Greek area that was not Jewish.  Then the demoniacs begged Jesus (οἱ δὲ δαίμονες παρεκάλουν αὐτὸν λέγοντες), if he was going to cast them out (Εἰ ἐκβάλλεις ἡμᾶς), to send them into these pigs (ἀπόστειλον ἡμᾶς εἰς τὴν ἀγέλην τῶν χοίρων).  It seems like these evil spirits knew that they belonged in the unclean pigs or swine.

The questions of the Magi (Mt 2:2-2:2)

“The Magi asked.

‘Where is the child

Who has been born

King of the Jews?

We have observed

His star

At its rising

In the east.

We have come

To pay him homage.’”

 

λέγοντες Ποῦ ἐστιν ὁ τεχθεὶς βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων; εἴδομεν γὰρ αὐτοῦ τὸν ἀστέρα ἐν τῇ ἀνατολῇ καὶ ἤλθομεν προσκυνῆσαι αὐτῷ.

 

These magi, because it was more than one, wanted to know where the new born child was (Ποῦ ἐστιν ὁ τεχθεὶς) who was going to be the King of the Jews (βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων).  They had observed his star rising in the east (εἴδομεν γὰρ αὐτοῦ τὸν ἀστέρα ἐν τῇ ἀνατολῇ).  They had come to pay homage or worship this new king (ἤλθομεν προσκυνῆσαι αὐτῷ).  These seem like legitimate questions from these eastern magi for King Herod.  They might have assumed that this new king would be the child of the current king, since King Herod had the title of King of the Jews.  As astrologers, they had seen this special star in the east.  They were outsiders, not Jewish, so that their insertion into this story indicated a universal appeal to the infant Jesus, who was to be ruler of the Jews.