Joy over one repentant sinner (Lk 15:10-15:10)

“Just so,

I tell you!

There is joy

In the presence

Of the angels of God

Over one sinner

Who repents.”

 

οὕτως, λέγω ὑμῖν, γίνεται χαρὰ ἐνώπιον τῶν ἀγγέλων τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐπὶ ἑνὶ ἁμαρτωλῷ μετανοοῦντι.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus concluded this short parable story about the lost drachma coin.  Jesus said with a solemn pronouncement (λέγω ὑμῖν) that there would be more joy in the presence of the angels of God (οὕτως, …γίνεται χαρὰ ἐνώπιον τῶν ἀγγέλων τοῦ Θεοῦ) over one sinner who repents (ἐπὶ ἑνὶ ἁμαρτωλῷ μετανοοῦντι).  This is another explanation and repetition of the lost sheep story.  Luke had Jesus there conclude this parable about the lost sheep. with a solemn pronouncement (λέγω ὑμῖν) that there would be more joy in heaven (ὅτι οὕτως χαρὰ ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ἔσται) over one repentant sinner (ἐπὶ ἑνὶ ἁμαρτωλῷ μετανοοῦντι) than over the ninety-nine righteous persons (ἢ ἐπὶ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα δικαίοις) who do not need repentance (οἵτινες οὐ χρείαν ἔχουσιν μετανοίας).  The phraseology is shorter here.  Certainly, there will be great rejoicing over one sinner who repents, just like finding the lost sheep and the lost drachma.  Have you ever rejoiced over a repentant sinner?

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I do not know you (Mt 25:11-25:12)

“Later,

The other foolish bridesmaids

Came also.

They said.

‘Lord!

Lord!

Open to us.’

But he replied.

‘Truly!

I say to you!

I do not know you!’”

 

ὕστερον δὲ ἔρχονται καὶ αἱ λοιπαὶ παρθένοι λέγουσαι Κύριε, ἄνοιξον ἡμῖν

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐκ οἶδα ὑμᾶ

 

This parable story is unique to Matthew.  Jesus said that after a while, the 5 foolish bridesmaids finally came to the wedding banquet (ὕστερον δὲ ἔρχονται καὶ αἱ λοιπαὶ παρθένοι).  They called out to the bridegroom calling him “Lord (λέγουσαι Κύριε κύριε)”.  They wanted him to open the door for them (ἄνοιξον ἡμῖν).  However, he replied (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς) to them, using the solemn pronouncement of Jesus’ phraseology (εἶπεν Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν), saying he did not know them (οὐκ οἶδα ὑμᾶ).  The repudiation of the 5 foolish bridesmaids was complete.

Lock people out of heaven (Mt 23:13-23:13)

“Woe to you!

Scribes!

Woe to you!

Pharisees!

Hypocrites!

You lock people out

Of the kingdom of heaven!

You do not go in yourselves.

But when other people

Are going in,

You stop them!”

 

Οὐαὶ δὲ ὑμῖν, γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι ὑποκριταί, ὅτι κλείετε τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων· ὑμεῖς γὰρ οὐκ εἰσέρχεσθε, οὐδὲ τοὺς εἰσερχομένους ἀφίετε εἰσελθεῖν.

 

This “Woe to you (Οὐαὶ δὲ ὑμῖν)!” was a famous Israelite prophetic saying or curse that Matthew had used earlier in chapter 11:21.  Here, there are a series of these curses against the Scribes and the Pharisees.  Were these some scribes that did the work for the Pharisees or a separate Scribe group, since this phraseology continued throughout this series of curses.  In Luke, chapter 11:42-44, Jesus cursed just the Pharisees, without any mention of the Scribes.  However, the content here was unique to Matthew.  There is no doubt that here Jesus was cursing the Scribes and the Pharisees (γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι), who he also called hypocrites (ὑποκριταί).  Jesus said that they locked people out of the kingdom of heaven (ὅτι κλείετε τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων).  Although they could not get into or enter heaven themselves (ὑμεῖς γὰρ οὐκ εἰσέρχεσθε), they were stopping or not allowing others to enter (οὐδὲ τοὺς εἰσερχομένους ἀφίετε εἰσελθεῖν) the kingdom of heaven.  Not only were they not going to heaven, they were stopping others from going to heaven, a serious charge.

Fasting (Mt 6:16-6:16)

“When you fast,

Do not look gloomy,

Like the hypocrites!

They disfigure

Their faces

So as to show others

That they are fasting.

Truly,

I say to you!

‘They have received

Their reward.’”

 

Ὅταν δὲ νηστεύητε, μὴ γίνεσθε ὡς οἱ ὑποκριταὶ σκυθρωποί· ἀφανίζουσιν γὰρ τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῶν ὅπως φανῶσιν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις νηστεύοντες· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀπέχουσιν τὸν μισθὸν αὐτῶν.

 

Once again, this saying of Jesus is unique to Matthew.  The phraseology and content are similar to the earlier comments on almsgiving.  When you fast (Ὅταν δὲ νηστεύητε), you should not be like the hypocrites (ὡς οἱ ὑποκριταὶ).  The Greek word “οἱ ὑποκριταὶ” originally meant actors or someone who sought praise, while acting deceitfully.  According to Matthew, these hypocrites were usually the enemies of Jesus.  In this case they looked sad, dismal or gloomy (σκυθρωποί) since they were deliberately disfiguring their faces (ἀφανίζουσιν γὰρ τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῶν).  Thus, other people could see that they were fasting (ὅπως φανῶσιν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις νηστεύοντες).  Some pious Jews would fast twice a week.  Jesus also fasted for 40 days, so his followers could fast also.  As usual, Matthew has Jesus give a solemn saying (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) concluding that these men who sought human approval have already received their reward here on earth (ἀπέχουσιν τὸν μισθὸν αὐτῶν).

Thanksgiving for past victories (Ps 108:7-108:9)

“God has promised in his sanctuary.

‘With exultation

I will divide up Shechem.

I will portion out the Vale of Succoth.

Gilead is mine.

Manasseh is mine.

Ephraim is my helmet.

Judah is my scepter.

Moab is my washbasin.

On Edom

I hurl my shoe.

Over Philistia

I shout in triumph.’”

This section is a repeat almost word for word of the same victories mentioned in Psalm 60. God directly promised or spoke in his sanctuary to David. This is one of the few times that this phraseology is used, assuming that the sanctuary of the Temple was completed. This probably was a prophet speaking in the name of God, but there is no specific indication here. He rattled off a series of Israelite victories. Shechem was a former Canaanite city that was now divided up and part of the territory of Manasseh. Succoth was conquered during the time of the Judges. Gilead was on the eastern side of the Jordan River where the tribes of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh lived. Only 3 Israelite tribes are mentioned here, Manasseh, Ephraim, and Judah. Judah would become the favorite when the split between the north and the south took place as the north became known as Israel. Moab was a mere washbasin on the east side of the Dead Sea. Edom was in the north. The phrase “hurl a shoe” seemed obsolete until some Iraqi journalist hurled his shoe at President George W. Bush to show his contempt. Philistines were on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Thus this is a list of the various victorious Israelite battles.