The new and the old treasures (Mt 13:52-13:52)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Therefore,

Every scribe,

Who has been trained

For the kingdom of heaven is

Like the master of a household.

He brings out of his treasure

What is new

And what is old.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Διὰ τοῦτο πᾶς γραμματεὺς μαθητευθεὶς τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδεσπότῃ ὅστις ἐκβάλλει ἐκ τοῦ θησαυροῦ αὐτοῦ καινὰ καὶ παλαιά.

 

Only Matthew has this parable about the trained scribe with his new and old treasures.  Jesus said to his disciples (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that all the scribes are trained disciples for the kingdom of heaven (Διὰ τοῦτο πᾶς γραμματεὺς μαθητευθεὶς τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν).  Matthew seems to be more positive to the Jewish scribes than to the Jewish Pharisees.  This implies that a trained scribe in the Old Testament law had become a disciple of Jesus.  Thus, like the master of a household (ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδεσπότῃ), he brought some things that were new and others that were old from his treasure (ὅστις ἐκβάλλει ἐκ τοῦ θησαυροῦ αὐτοῦ καινὰ καὶ παλαιά).  The reference to old and new indicates that Matthew thought that the old covenant was still in effect, but that there would be new things for the early Christians on top of the old Torah.

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Did they understand the parables? (Mt (13:51-13:51)

“‘Have you understood

All this?’

They answered.

‘Yes.’”

 

Συνήκατε ταῦτα πάντα; λέγουσιν αὐτῷ Ναί.

 

Only Matthew has this question for his disciples.  Jesus wanted to be sure that his disciples understood what he was talking about.  Thus, he asked them (λέγουσιν αὐτῷ) if they understood everything that he was talking about (Συνήκατε ταῦτα πάντα).  They responded that they did with a positive yes (Ναί).  Obviously, some may have understood better than others.  However, they all understood something.

Bible Model

The Gospel message is an interpretation of Jesus.  Jesus did not write anything.  We have his oral preaching about the Kingdom of God that was written and interpreted by his followers.  Was Jesus just a historical peasant revolutionary?  No, the Jesus of the inspired New Testament is the Pauline Risen Christ.  Paul never met the historical Jesus, Jesus was number one for him.  The biblical language is a confessional language, a love language.  For the early followers of Christianity, as represented in the New Testament, clearly Jesus was unique for them.  They were positive about Jesus.

Attitudes toward God

We all have a belief attitude to this great mysterious, even if not articulated.  This attitude may be implicit or explicit.  Thus, it can be a subconscious belief or a practical disbelief in God.  How do we describe these various belief attitudes?  Do we have a positive or negative view of God?  Do we any view of God?  Do we not even care about the question?

The value of myths

Myths are not lies, but stories.  Story telling is an important human activity and essential to the life of any society.  Myths awaken and maintain an experience of awe in the face of the ultimate religious mystery.  Myths explain where the world came from and where it is going.  Myths promote virtues and a certain social ethical order.  Myths give individuals a role and identity much like our modern psychology.  Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) and Mircea Eliade (1907-1986) have shown that myth is not a negative, but a positive part of life.  If we did not have religious myths, people would create their own secular myths, like in sports, such as baseball and football.

 

The error of the impious (Wis 2:21-2:24)

“Thus they reasoned.

But they were led astray.

Their wickedness blinded them.

They did not know the secret purposes of God.

They did not hope for the wages of holiness.

They did not discern the prize for blameless souls.

God created us for incorruption.

He made us in the image of his own eternity.

Through the devil’s envy,

Death entered the world.

Those who belong to his company experience it.”

Now we have the counter argument of the just one. These wicked ones were led astray because they were blind. They did not know the secret mysterious plan of God (μυστήρια Θεοῦ). They did not hope for holiness. They did not know about the prize for the blameless souls (ψυχῶν ἀμώμων). Now we have the positive part. God has created us for incorruption (ὁ Θεὸς ἔκτισε τὸν ἄνθρωπον) to live in eternity with him. We would not die. This is a very strong emphasis on the immortality of humans. However, there is the disclaimer based on the creation stories of Genesis. We were made in the image of God (εἰκόνα τῆς ἰδίας ἰδιότητος ἐποίησεν αὐτόν), but the envious devil (διαβόλου) entered the world (κόσμον) so that those who associate with him experience death (θάνατος). The wicked have become associates of the devil or Satan.

Yahweh blames the three wise men (Job 42:7-42:9)

“After Yahweh had spoken these words to Job, Yahweh said to Eliphaz the Temanite.

‘My wrath is kindled against you!

My wrath is kindle against your two friends!

You have not spoken of me what is right.

But my servant Job has.

Now therefore take seven bulls!

Take seven rams!

Go to my servant Job!

Offer up for yourselves a burnt offering!

My servant Job shall pray for you.

I will accept his prayer.

That is to not deal with you according to your folly.

You have not spoken of me what is right.

But my servant Job has done so.’

So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what Yahweh had told them. Yahweh accepted Job’s prayer.”

Yahweh was not mad at Job, but rather his 3 friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. He spoke directly to Eliphaz but he told him that he and his 2 friends were wrong when they spoke about Yahweh to Job. Job was right. As a punishment, the 3 of them were to take 7 bulls and 7 rams to make a burnt offering. Job would pray for them. Thus the prayer of Job was answered in the positive by Yahweh, the God of Israel. Obviously, since they were not Jewish they were not going to go to Jerusalem. However, it was a common ancient practice to offer sacrifices for absolving sins. So now we know the rest of the story as far as the 3 amigos of Job were concerned.