The kingdom of God (Lk 10:9-10:9)

“Heal

Their sick people!

Say to them!

‘The kingdom of God

Has come

Near to you.’”

 

καὶ θεραπεύετε τοὺς ἐν αὐτῇ ἀσθενεῖς, καὶ λέγετε αὐτοῖς Ἤγγικεν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus told these 70 disciples to heal the sick people (καὶ θεραπεύετε τοὺς ἐν αὐτῇ ἀσθενεῖς).  There was no mention of casting out demons or evil spirits.  They were to tell the people (καὶ λέγετε αὐτοῖς) that the kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ) had come near to them (Ἤγγικεν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς).  There was no exact equivalent to this passage in the other gospels.  However, Matthew, chapter 10:8 said that the 12 apostles were to do what Jesus had been doing.  They were to heal or cure the sick or ailing people.  They were to raise up the dead, a difficult task.  They were to cleanse the lepers, and cast out the demons.  Since they had not paid to get this gift to be an apostle, so thus they should not receive any payment for their work as an apostle.  They should give freely of their own time since this was not a money-making project.  The idea of the kingdom of God coming near was also present in Matthew, chapter 10:7.  There, Jesus wanted the 12 apostles to go and proclaim that the kingdom of heaven was at hand or near.  This was exactly the same teaching as John the Baptist, word for word, as in Matthew, chapter 3:2.  This connection of the message of John and Jesus was very strong in MatthewLuke was more precise, since the kingdom of God was coming near, they ought to be alert.  Do you think that the kingdom of God is close at hand?

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The first laborers hired (Mt 20:2-20:2)

“He agreed

With the laborers

For the usual daily wage.

He sent them

Into his vineyard.”

 

συμφωνήσας δὲ μετὰ τῶν ἐργατῶν ἐκ δηναρίου τὴν ἡμέραν ἀπέστειλεν αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα αὐτοῦ.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew.  Jesus continued with his parable.  This land owner hired the first group of day laborers.  They came to a mutual understanding.  This land owner agreed and the day laborers also agreed to accept one denarius as payment for that day, the usual or common wage for a day’s work (συμφωνήσας δὲ μετὰ τῶν ἐργατῶν ἐκ δηναρίου τὴν ἡμέραν).  This Roman silver coin was worth about $.15 USA.  They would work all day for about 15 cents.  Then he sent them into his vineyard to pick the grapes (ἀπέστειλεν αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα αὐτοῦ).  So far, so good, nothing unusual here.  A land owner and some workers agreed on a day’s pay that was not extravagant, without any middle man.

The servant slave owed ten thousand talents (Mt 18:24-18:25)

“When he began

The reckoning,

The one who owed him

Ten thousand talents

Was brought to him.

He could not pay it.

His lord ordered him

To be sold,

With his wife

And children,

With all his possessions.

Thus,

Some payment

Would be made.”

 

ἀρξαμένου δὲ αὐτοῦ συναίρειν προσήχθη εἷς αὐτῷ ὀφειλέτης μυρίων ταλάντων.

μὴ ἔχοντος δὲ αὐτοῦ ἀποδοῦναι ἐκέλευσεν αὐτὸν ὁ κύριος πραθῆναι καὶ τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ τὰ τέκνα καὶ πάντα ὅσα ἔχει, καὶ ἀποδοθῆναι.

 

This parable about the unforgiving servant slave is unique to Matthew.  This king began to settle his accounts (ἀρξαμένου δὲ αὐτοῦ συναίρειν).  This first servant or slave owed the king 10,000 talents (προσήχθη εἷς αὐτῷ ὀφειλέτης μυρίων ταλάντων), an unbelievable sum.  A talent was about 60 mina, 10,000 denarii, or 3,000 shekels.  Thus, in current money that would be about $1,500 for a talent.  The amount owed would have been approximately $15,000,000.00, that’s right 15 million dollars.  There was no way that he could have acquired that much in debt, and certainly no way to repay it (μὴ ἔχοντος δὲ αὐτοῦ ἀποδοῦναι).  Thus, it is called a parable story.  This lordly king decided and commanded that the best way to get this debt off his books was sell him, his wife, his children, and all their possessions (ἐκέλευσεν αὐτὸν ὁ κύριος πραθῆναι καὶ τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ τὰ τέκνα καὶ πάντα ὅσα ἔχει,).  This would make a small payment (καὶ ἀποδοθῆναι) to this enormous debt, but not very much.  Things did not look good for this servant slave with the large debt.

The work of the apostles (Mt 10:8-10:8)

“Cure the sick!

Raise the dead!

Cleanse the lepers!

Cast out demons!

You received

Without paying.

Give without payment!”

 

ἀσθενοῦντας θεραπεύετε, νεκροὺς ἐγείρετε, λεπροὺς καθαρίζετε, δαιμόνια ἐκβάλλετε· δωρεὰν ἐλάβετε, δωρεὰν δότε.

 

There is no exact equivalent to this passage in the other gospels.  Jesus, via Matthew, laid out what the work of an apostle of Jesus should be.  These apostles were to do what Jesus had been doing.  They were to heal or cure the sick or ailing people (ἀσθενοῦντας θεραπεύετ).  They were to raise up the dead (νεκροὺς ἐγείρετε), a difficult task.  They were to cleanse the lepers (λεπροὺς καθαρίζετε) and cast out the demons (δαιμόνια ἐκβάλλετε).  As they had not paid to get this gift to be an apostle (δωρεὰν ἐλάβετε), so thus they should not receive any payment (δωρεὰν δότε) for their work as an apostle.  They should give freely of their time since this was not a money-making project.

The destruction of Gomer’s life (Hos 2:10-2:12)

“Now I will uncover

Her shame

In the sight

Of her lovers.

No one shall rescue her

Out of my hand.

I will put an end

To all her mirth,

Her festivals,

Her new moons,

Her sabbaths,

All her appointed festivals.

I will lay waste

Her vines

With her fig trees.

She said.

‘These are my pay.

My lovers

Have given me

These vines,

These fig trees.’

I will make them

A forest.

The wild animals

Shall devour them.”

Hosea was going to shame Gomer. He was going to uncover her nakedness in the sight of her lovers. Nudity was considered shameful, not glorified. No one would be able to save her from his hands. He was going to put an end to all her merry ways. Strangely enough, this included the various Israelite religious holidays, such as the festivals, the new moon observance, the Sabbath observance, as well as the other religious appointed festival days. Hosea was also going to destroy the vines and the trees that her lovers had given her as payment for her various sexual activities. Hosea was going to make them like a overgrown forest, so that the wild animals would devour and destroy them. Gomer was then a symbol of what was going to happen to Israel.

King Nebuchadnezzar will get the spoils of Egypt (Ezek 29:19-29:20)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I will give the land

Of Egypt

To King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon.

He shall carry off

Its wealth.

He shall despoil it.

He shall plunder it.

It shall be

The wages

For his army.

I have given him

The land

Of Egypt

As his payment

For which he labored.

Because they worked

For me.’

Says Yahweh God.”

In a perverse sort of way, Yahweh was going to give King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon the land of Egypt as a compensation for not getting much from the capture of Tyre. Thus, the king of Babylon would get the wealth of Egypt. He was going to wreck and plunder Egypt to get the wages for his army. Egypt was the payment to the king of Babylon for doing the work of Yahweh, the God of Israel.

The paying adulterous wife (Ezek 16:32-16:34)

“‘Adulterous wife!

You receive strangers

Instead of your husband!

Gifts are given

To whores.

But you gave

Your gifts

To all your lovers.

You bribed them

To come

To you

From all around

For your prostitution activities.

So you were different

From other women

In your prostitution.

No one solicited you

To play the whore.

You gave payment,

While no payment

Was given to you.

You were different.’”

Jerusalem was a different kind of adulterous wife. She took in strangers rather than her husband. However, instead of getting gifts as most prostitutes did, she gave gifts to her lovers. She bribed them to come to her from all over the place to share sexual activities. Thus, she was different from other female prostitutes. No one solicited her as a prostitute. She paid people to come to her, instead of receiving payment for her sexual activities. She never received any money or gifts. She was a different kind of prostitute.