The mustard seed (Lk 17:6-17:6)

“The Lord replied.

‘If you had faith

The size of

A mustard seed,

You could say

To this mulberry tree,

‘Be rooted up!

Be planted

In the sea!’’

It would obey you.’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ ὁ Κύριος Εἰ ἔχετε πίστιν ὡς κόκκον σινάπεως, ἐλέγετε ἂν τῇ συκαμίνῳ ταύτῃ Ἐκριζώθητι καὶ φυτεύθητι ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ· καὶ ὑπήκουσεν ἂν ὑμῖν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus, the Lord, replied (εἶπεν δὲ ὁ Κύριος) that if they had faith (Εἰ ἔχετε πίστιν) the size of a mustard seed (ὡς κόκκον σινάπεως), they could say (ἐλέγετε) to this mulberry or sycamore tree (ἂν τῇ συκαμίνῳ ταύτῃ), be rooted up (Ἐκριζώθητι) and planted in the sea (καὶ φυτεύθητι ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ).  Luke is the only biblical writer to use the Greek term συκαμίνῳ that means a black mulberry tree or a sycamore tree that had medicinal value.  Then this tree would obey them (καὶ ὑπήκουσεν ἂν ὑμῖν).  There are expanded faith sayings that can also be found in Mark, chapter 9:28-29, and Matthew, chapter 17:19-21, who are much closer to each other.  Matthew indicated that the disciples came to Jesus privately (Τότε προσελθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ τῷ Ἰησοῦ).  They wondered why they were not able to cast out the evil spirits from that boy (κατ’ ἰδίαν εἶπον Διὰ τί ἡμεῖς οὐκ ἠδυνήθημεν ἐκβαλεῖν αὐτό).  Jesus reminded them (ὁ δὲ λέγει αὐτοῖς) of their little faith (Διὰ τὴν ὀλιγοπιστίαν ὑμῶν), a term used predominately by Matthew.  Jesus came back with a solemn pronouncement (ἀμὴν γὰρ λέγω ὑμῖν) that if they had faith the size of a mustard seed (ἐὰν ἔχητε πίστιν ὡς κόκκον σινάπεως), like here in Luke, they could move mountains from here to there (ἐρεῖτε τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ Μετάβα ἔνθεν ἐκεῖ, καὶ μεταβήσεται).  Nothing would be impossible for them (καὶ οὐδὲν ἀδυνατήσει ὑμῖν).  If they had faith with prayer and fasting (εἰ μὴ ἐν προσευχῇ καὶ νηστείᾳ), they would be able to cast the evil spirits out (τοῦτο δὲ τὸ γένος οὐκ ἐκπορεύεται).  Matthew continued to emphasize the lack of faith or the little faith of the disciples of Jesus.  Mark said that the disciples wondered why they were not able to cast out the evil spirit from that boy (Ὅτι ἡμεῖς οὐκ ἠδυνήθημεν ἐκβαλεῖν αὐτό).  The disciples were concerned that they must have lacked something that made it impossible for them to get rid of this evil spirit that was in that boy.  Mark added the need for prayer.  There was no emphasis on faith as in Matthew, where Jesus talked about faith and the mustard seed.  Mark emphasized prayer, as he indicated that Jesus said that this kind of evil spirit could only be expelled (Τοῦτο τὸ γένος ἐν οὐδενὶ δύναται ἐξελθεῖν) through prayer (εἰ μὴ ἐν προσευχῇ).  Prayer might imply faith, but it is not explicit here in Luke.  Which is more important to you, faith or prayer?

Keep the word of God (Lk 11:28-11:28)

“But Jesus said.

‘Blessed rather are

Those who

Hear the word

Of God

And obey it!’”

 

αὐτὸς δὲ εἶπεν Μενοῦν μακάριοι οἱ ἀκούοντες τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ φυλάσσοντες.

 

Luke continued with this unique incident.  Luke indicated that Jesus responded to this woman who had shouted out from the crowd.  He said (αὐτὸς δὲ εἶπεν) that blessed rather (Μενοῦν μακάριοι) are those who hear (οἱ ἀκούοντες) the word of God (τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ) and obey it (καὶ φυλάσσοντες).  Thus, the really happy, fortunate, or blessed ones (μακάριοι) are not his mother, but rather those who hear and keep or observe the word of God.  Jesus seemed to point out that his true followers were happier or more blessed than his mother.  Listening and following the word of God was more important than anything else.  Spiritual ties were more important than biological ties.  Who do you think are the blessed ones?

They were amazed at Jesus (Lk 8:25-8:25)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Where is your faith?’

They were afraid.

Yet they were amazed.

They said

To one another.

‘Who then is this?

He commands

Even the winds

And the water!

They obey him!’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς Ποῦ ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν; φοβηθέντες δὲ ἐθαύμασαν, λέγοντες πρὸς ἀλλήλους Τίς ἄρα οὗτός ἐστιν, ὅτι καὶ τοῖς ἀνέμοις ἐπιτάσσει καὶ τῷ ὕδατι, καὶ ὑπακούουσιν αὐτῷ;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus asked his disciples (εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς) where was their faith (Ποῦ ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν)?  They were afraid (φοβηθέντες), but amazed (δὲ ἐθαύμασαν) at the same time.  They said to one another (λέγοντες πρὸς ἀλλήλους).  Who is this (Τίς ἄρα οὗτός ἐστιν) that commands (ἐπιτάσσει) even the winds (ὅτι καὶ τοῖς ἀνέμοις) and the water (καὶ τῷ ὕδατι)?  Both the winds and the water obey him (καὶ ὑπακούουσιν αὐτῷ).  This rebuke of Jesus can also be found in Matthew, chapter 8:26-27, and Mark, chapter 4:40-41, in a somewhat similar manner.  Mark said that Jesus then turned to his followers and asked them why they were afraid?  Was it because they still had no faith?  Jesus called out his disciples for their lack of faith or trust, while showing his great power.  Perhaps, this was a slap at some of the early Christian followers of Jesus, who lacked a strong belief in him.  These male disciples of Jesus were filled with great fear or awe.  They said to one another who is this man?  Both the winds and the seas obey or listen to him.  Matthew said that these disciples of Jesus marveled or were amazed at what they had just seen take place.  They wondered out loud what kind of man that Jesus was?  Both the winds and the seas obey him.  Jesus was the Lord of nature and weather.  Do you believe that Jesus can control the winds and the water?

I understand authority (Lk 7:8-7:8)

“I am a man

Set under authority,

With soldiers

Under me.

I say to one.

‘Go!

And he goes.

I say to another.

‘Come!’

And he comes.

I say to my slave.

‘Do this!’

And he does it.’”

 

καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ ἄνθρωπός εἰμι ὑπὸ ἐξουσίαν τασσόμενος, ἔχων ὑπ’ ἐμαυτὸν στρατιώτας, καὶ λέγω τούτῳ Πορεύθητι, καὶ πορεύεται, καὶ ἄλλῳ Ἔρχου, καὶ ἔρχεται, καὶ τῷ δούλῳ μου Ποίησον τοῦτο, καὶ ποιεῖ.

 

Interesting enough, Luke has the friends of the centurion speak in the first person singular to indicate that these are the exact words of the centurion.  The centurion said that he was a man who was appointed by authority (καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ ἄνθρωπός εἰμι ὑπὸ ἐξουσίαν τασσόμενος) with soldiers under him (ἔχων ὑπ’ ἐμαυτὸν στρατιώτας).  He would say to one go (καὶ λέγω τούτῳ Πορεύθητι) and he went (καὶ πορεύεται).  He would say to another come (καὶ ἄλλῳ Ἔρχου) and he came (καὶ ἔρχεται).  He would tell his slave to do something (καὶ τῷ δούλῳ μου Ποίησον τοῦτο) and he would do it (καὶ ποιεῖ).  This saying of the centurion is exactly the same as in Matthew, chapter 8:9, perhaps indicating a Q source.  In Matthew, the Roman centurion spoke for himself directly to Jesus, but the message was the same.  This centurion understood authority, since he was a Roman solider under the authority of his superiors and yet at the same time, he had soldiers under him.  Thus, if he said to any of them to go or come, they would do precisely that.  The same would be true of his slaves who would do whatever he told them to do.  Are you willing to obey the commands of Jesus?

How can Jesus control the wind and the sea? (Mk 4:41-4:41)

“They were filled

With great awe.

They said

To one another.

‘Who then is this?

Even the wind

And the sea

Obey him.’”

 

καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν φόβον μέγαν, καὶ ἔλεγον πρὸς ἀλλήλους Τίς ἄρα οὗτός ἐστιν, ὅτι καὶ ὁ ἄνεμος καὶ ἡ θάλασσα ὑπακούει αὐτῷ;

 

This comment about the power of Jesus can be found in Matthew, chapter 8:27, and Luke, chapter 8:25, in a something similar fashion.  Mark said that these male disciples of Jesus were filled with great fear or awe.  They said to one another (καὶ ἔλεγον πρὸς ἀλλήλους) who is this man (Τίς ἄρα οὗτός ἐστιν)?  Both the winds and the seas obey or listen to him (ὅτι καὶ ὁ ἄνεμος καὶ ἡ θάλασσα ὑπακούει αὐτῷ).  Jesus was the Lord of nature and weather.

The final commission (Mt 28:18-28:20)

“Jesus came to them.

He said to them.

‘All authority

In heaven and on earth

Has been given to me.

Go therefore!

Make disciples

Of all nations!

Baptize them

In the name of the Father

And of the Son

And of the Holy Spirit!

Teach them

To obey everything

That I have commanded you!

Remember!

I am with you always,

To the end of the age!”

 

καὶ προσελθὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐλάλησεν αὐτοῖς λέγων Ἐδόθη μοι πᾶσα ἐξουσία ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς.

πορευθέντες οὖν μαθητεύσατε πάντα τὰ ἔθνη, βαπτίζοντες αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ Υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύματος,

διδάσκοντες αὐτοὺς τηρεῖν πάντα ὅσα ἐνετειλάμην ὑμῖν· καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ μεθ’ ὑμῶν εἰμι πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας ἕως τῆς συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος.

 

This is unique to Matthew, as he had Jesus give his farewell speech on this unnamed mountain top in Galilee.  The risen Jesus came to his 11 disciples (καὶ προσελθὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  He told them (ἐλάλησεν αὐτοῖς λέγων) that all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to him (Ἐδόθη μοι πᾶσα ἐξουσία ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς).  Thus, he wanted them to go forth to make disciples in all the gentile countries (πορευθέντες οὖν μαθητεύσατε πάντα τὰ ἔθνη), since this was no longer a mere Jewish message, but a wider message to the whole world.  He wanted them to baptize people (βαπτίζοντες αὐτοὺς) in the name of the Father (εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Πατρὸς) and of the Son (καὶ τοῦ Υἱοῦ), and of the Holy Spirit (καὶ τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύματος).  No longer was it good enough to have the baptism of John or baptism in the name of Jesus, it had to be trinitarian, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  They were to teach people to obey everything that he had commanded them (διδάσκοντες αὐτοὺς τηρεῖν πάντα ὅσα ἐνετειλάμην ὑμῖν), without setting any priorities.  He told them to remember that he would always be with them until the completion of all time (καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ μεθ’ ὑμῶν εἰμι πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας ἕως τῆς συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος), the end of the world.

 

Everyone was to obey Haggai (Hag 1:12-1:12)

“Then Zerubbabel,

The son of Shealtiel,

With Joshua,

The son of Jehozadak,

The high priest,

With all the remnant

Of the people,

Obeyed the voice

Of Yahweh

Their God.

They obeyed

The words

Of the prophet Haggai.

Yahweh,

Their God,

Had sent him.

The people feared

Yahweh.’”

The rulers and the remaining people of Jerusalem gathered to hear the voice of Yahweh, via the prophet Haggai.  This included the governor of Judah, Zerubbabel, and the high priest Joshua, as mentioned earlier.  They would obey Haggai as the voice of Yahweh, since they feared Yahweh.  Yahweh had sent them Haggai as a prophet to speak in his name.