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?

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The washing of cups (Mk 7:4-7:4)

“They do not eat anything

From the market place,

Unless they wash it.

There are many other traditions

That they observe.

They wash

Cups,

Pots,

And bronze plates.”

 

καὶ ἀπ’ ἀγορᾶς ἐὰν μὴ ῥαντίσωνται οὐκ ἐσθίουσιν, καὶ ἄλλα πολλά ἐστιν ἃ παρέλαβον κρατεῖν, βαπτισμοὺς ποτηρίων καὶ ξεστῶν καὶ χαλκίων,

 

Mark alone continued with his elaboration about the Pharisees and their traditions to his gentile non-Jewish audience.  He said that the Pharisees do not eat anything coming from the market place, unless they wash it first (καὶ ἀπ’ ἀγορᾶς ἐὰν μὴ ῥαντίσωνται οὐκ ἐσθίουσιν).  There are many other traditions that they hold or observe (καὶ ἄλλα πολλά ἐστιν ἃ παρέλαβον κρατεῖν) about washing cups (βαπτισμοὺς ποτηρίων), pots (καὶ ξεστῶν), and bronze plates (καὶ χαλκίων).  It was obvious that the Pharisees had a keener sense of cleanliness or purity than most gentiles because washing or purification was an important religious practice.

The tradition of the elders (Mk 7:3-7:3)

“The Pharisees,

And all the Jews,

Do not eat

Unless they wash

Their hands.

Thus,

They observe

The tradition

Of the elders.”

 

οἱ γὰρ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ πάντες οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι ἐὰν μὴ πυγμῇ νίψωνται τὰς χεῖρας οὐκ ἐσθίουσιν, κρατοῦντες τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν πρεσβυτέρων,

 

There is nothing like this elsewhere, because Mark was explaining this Jewish practice to his gentile Christian readers.  Mark said that the Pharisees (οἱ γὰρ Φαρισαῖοι) and all the Jews (καὶ πάντες οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι) did not eat. unless they had washed their hands (μὴ πυγμῇ νίψωνται τὰς χεῖρας οὐκ ἐσθίουσιν).  Not washing hands was considered to be not upholding or a violation against the Jewish tradition of the elders or priests (κρατοῦντες τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν πρεσβυτέρων).  The importance of this tradition was clearly seen in Matthew, chapter 15:2, in this more Jewish Christian writing.  It is not clear that all Jews followed this tradition, but the Pharisees certainly did.  Originally, this practice of washing hands before eating was what the priestly Levites did in the Temple to practice ritual purity as indicated in Exodus, chapter 30:17-21.  Yahweh had told Moses that there should be a bronze basin with a bronze stand for washing.  Thus, Aaron and his sons should wash their hands and feet when they went into the meeting tent or the altar.  The penalty for not washing your hands and feet was death under this perpetual ordinance.  However, the Pharisaic oral tradition, or the tradition of the elders, had extended this practice to individual and their own homes.

The law of the new Temple (Ezek 43:11-43:12)

“When they are ashamed

Of all that they had done,

Make known to them

The plan of the temple.

Let them know

Its arrangement,

Its exits,

Its entrances,

Its whole form!

Make known

To them

All its ordinances,

Its entire plan,

All its laws!

Write it down

In their sight!

Thus,

They may observe,

They may follow,

The entire plan

With all its ordinances.

This is the law

Of the temple.

The whole territory

On the top

Of the mountain,

All around,

Shall be most holy!

This is the law

Of the temple.”

Yahweh was very explicit to Ezekiel. He was to lay down the basics for the new Temple, just like Moses with his Mosaic laws. This was to be the law of the new Temple for the post-exilic Israelites. Once the Israelites had accepted their shame for all that they had done, Ezekiel was to let them know about this divine plan for the new temple. He was to tell them about its arrangements, exits, entrances, with its whole form. They were to know its ordinances, as well as the entire plan, including its laws. Ezekiel was to write it down in the sight of these Israelites, since there should not be any ambiguity. They were to observe and follow the entire plan with all its ordinances. This was to be the law for the new Temple. The whole territory on the top of the mountain with the territory all around it would be most holy. They were not to forget that this was the law of the temple.

 

The rebellion (Ezek 20:21-20:21)

“But the children

Rebelled

Against me.

They did not follow

My statutes.

They were not careful

To observe

My ordinances.

By their observance,

Everyone shall live.

They profaned

My Sabbath.”

This is the 3rd mention of a rebellion in this chapter. This time, even the children of those wandering in the desert rebelled. It seemed to be a major theme of Ezekiel in his history of the Israelites. In each case there was a rebellion. First there were those in Egypt, then those in the wilderness, and now the children of those in the wilderness. They failed to follow the statutes of Yahweh. They failed to observe his ordinances that gave life. Finally, they profaned his Sabbath.

The warning in the wilderness (Ezek 20:18-20:18)

“I said to their children

In the wilderness.

‘Do not follow

The statutes

Of your parents!

Do not observer

Their ordinances!

Do not defile yourselves

With their idols!’”

Yahweh had warned the children of Israel during the wilderness travel. They were not to follow the statutes of their parents, since Yahweh was going to give them new ones. These young children were not to observe the various ordinances and customs of their parents that they had followed in Egypt. Finally, they were not to defile themselves with the Egyptian idols of their parents.