Jesus prays to his Father (Mt 26:39-26:39)

“Going a little farther,

Jesus threw himself

On the ground,

Face down.

He prayed.

‘My Father!

If it be possible,

Let this cup

Pass from me!

Nevertheless,

Not what I want,

But what you want.’”

 

καὶ προελθὼν μικρὸν ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ προσευχόμενος καὶ λέγων Πάτερ μου, εἰ δυνατόν ἐστιν, παρελθάτω ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ τὸ ποτήριον τοῦτο· πλὴν οὐχ ὡς ἐγὼ θέλω ἀλλ’ ὡς σύ.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 14:35-36.  In Luke, chapter 22:41-42, it is somewhat similar, while in John, chapter 22, there are no indications of this prayer in the garden.  Both Mark and Matthew recounted that Jesus went a little farther away (καὶ προελθὼν μικρὸν).  He fell on his face (ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ), throwing himself on the ground.  Then he prayed to his Father (προσευχόμενος καὶ λέγων Πάτερ μου).  He said that he wondered if it was possible (εἰ δυνατόν ἐστιν) that this drinking cup could pass from him or be disregarded (παρελθάτω ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ τὸ ποτήριον τοῦτο).  However, he was willing to do whatever the Father wanted, because his will was second to his Father (πλὴν οὐχ ὡς ἐγὼ θέλω ἀλλ’ ὡς σύ).  Clearly, Jesus subordinated his will to the will of his Father.

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The need for faith (Mt 21:21-21:22)

“Jesus answered them.

‘Truly!

I say to you!

If you have faith,

If you do not doubt,

Not only will you do

What has been done

To the fig tree,

But even if you say

To this mountain.

‘Be lifted up!

Be thrown into the sea!’

It will be done.

Whatever you ask for

In prayer,

With faith,

You will receive.’”

 

ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐὰν ἔχητε πίστιν καὶ μὴ διακριθῆτε, οὐ μόνον τὸ τῆς συκῆς ποιήσετε, ἀλλὰ κἂν τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ εἴπητε Ἄρθητι καὶ βλήθητι εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, γενήσεται·

καὶ πάντα ὅσα ἂν αἰτήσητε ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ πιστεύοντες λήμψεσθε.

 

This Jesus saying about faith can be found in Mark, chapter 11:20-24, word for word, but it was the next day after the curse, not the same day.  Jesus answered the disciple’s question (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) about how the fig tree withered with a solemn pronouncement (Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) about the importance of faith.  If they had faith (ἐὰν ἔχητε πίστιν) and did not doubt (καὶ μὴ διακριθῆτε), they too would be able to effectively curse a fig tree (οὐ μόνον τὸ τῆς συκῆς ποιήσετε).  Not only that, but if they had faith, they could move mountains.  They could tell a mountain (ἀλλὰ κἂν τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ εἴπητε) to be lifted up or taken away (Ἄρθητι) and thrown into the sea (καὶ βλήθητι εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν), and it would happen (γενήσεται).  Whatever they asked for in believing prayer (καὶ πάντα ὅσα ἂν αἰτήσητε ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ πιστεύοντες), they would receive it (λήμψεσθε).  The essential ingredient of effective prayer was faith.

Why were the disciples unable to heal the epileptic? (Mt 17:19-17:20)

“Then the disciples

Came to Jesus privately.

They said.

‘Why could we not cast it out?’

He said to them.

‘Because of your little faith.

Truly!

I say to you!

If you have faith

The size of a mustard seed,

You will say to this mountain.

‘Move from here to there.’

Then it will move.

Nothing will be impossible

For you.’”

 

Τότε προσελθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ τῷ Ἰησοῦ κατ’ ἰδίαν εἶπον Διὰ τί ἡμεῖς οὐκ ἠδυνήθημεν ἐκβαλεῖν αὐτό;

ὁ δὲ λέγει αὐτοῖς Διὰ τὴν ὀλιγοπιστίαν ὑμῶν· ἀμὴν γὰρ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐὰν ἔχητε πίστιν ὡς κόκκον σινάπεως, ἐρεῖτε τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ Μετάβα ἔνθεν ἐκεῖ, καὶ μεταβήσεται, καὶ οὐδὲν ἀδυνατήσει ὑμῖν.

τοῦτο δὲ τὸ γένος οὐκ ἐκπορεύεται εἰ μὴ ἐν προσευχῇ καὶ νηστείᾳ.

 

This faith saying can also be found in Mark, chapter 9:28-29.  However, he added the need for prayer, as in the variant Orthodox texts that mentioned fasting also.  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), 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.

The authority of the centurion (Mt 8:8-8:9)

“The centurion responded.

‘Lord!

I am not worthy

To have you

Come under my roof!

But only say the word,

Then my servant

Will be healed.

I am a man

Under authority,

With soldiers

Under me.

I say to one.

‘Go!’

Then he goes.

I say to another.

‘Come!’

Then he comes.

I say to my slave.

‘Do this!’

Then he does it.’”

 

ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ ἑκατόνταρχος ἔφη Κύριε, οὐκ εἰμὶ ἱκανὸς ἵνα μου ὑπὸ τὴν στέγην εἰσέλθῃς· ἀλλὰ μόνον εἰπὲ λόγῳ, καὶ ἰαθήσεται ὁ παῖς μου.

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

 

This saying of the centurion is exactly the same as in Luke, chapter 7:6-10, perhaps indicating a Q source.  The Roman centurion responded to Jesus (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ ἑκατόνταρχος ἔφη).  Calling him “Lord” (Κύριε) again, this centurion said that he was not worthy to have such an important man as Jesus enter into his house (οὐκ εἰμὶ ἱκανὸς ἵνα μου ὑπὸ τὴν στέγην εἰσέλθῃς).  He merely wanted Jesus to say the word (ἀλλὰ μόνον εἰπὲ λόγῳ), and then his servant would be healed (καὶ ἰαθήσεται ὁ παῖς μου).  He explained that he understood authority (καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ ἄνθρωπός εἰμι ὑπὸ ἐξουσίαν), since he was a Roman solider under the authority of his superiors and yet at the same time, he had soldiers under him (ἔχων ὑπ’ ἐμαυτὸν στρατιώτας).  Thus, if he said to one to go (καὶ λέγω τούτῳ Πορεύθητι, καὶ πορεύεται,) or come (καὶ ἄλλῳ Ἔρχου, καὶ ἔρχεται), they would do precisely that.  The same would be true of his slave who would do whatever he told him to do (καὶ τῷ δούλῳ μου Ποίησον τοῦτο, καὶ ποιεῖ).  This saying about not being worthy has entered into the Roman Catholic liturgy as a prayer before receiving Holy Communion.

Pray to your heavenly Father (Mt 7:11-7:11)

“If you then,

Who are evil,

Know how

To give good gifts

To your children,

How much more

Will your Father,

Who is in heaven,

Give good things

To those

Who ask him!

 

εἰ οὖν ὑμεῖς πονηροὶ ὄντες οἴδατε δόματα ἀγαθὰ διδόναι τοῖς τέκνοις ὑμῶν, πόσῳ μᾶλλον ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς δώσει ἀγαθὰ τοῖς αἰτοῦσιν αὐτόν.

 

This saying of Jesus is exactly the same as in Luke, chapter 11:13, indicating a common Q source, except that Luke mentioned giving the Holy Spirit instead of giving good things.  Even the evil humans (εἰ οὖν ὑμεῖς πονηροὶ ὄντες), know how to give good gifts to their children (οἴδατε δόματα ἀγαθὰ διδόναι τοῖς τέκνοις ὑμῶν,).  How much more will your heavenly Father (πόσῳ μᾶλλον ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς) give you good things (δώσει ἀγαθὰ), if you were to ask for them (τοῖς αἰτοῦσιν αὐτόν).  Ask, and it will be granted.  Prayer to the heavenly Father is easy.

Secret fasting (Mt 6:17-6:18)

“When you fast,

Anoint your head!

Wash your face!

Thus,

Your fasting

May not be seen

By other men,

But by your Father,

Who is in secret.

Your Father,

Who sees in secret

Will reward you.”

 

σὺ δὲ νηστεύων ἄλειψαί σου τὴν κεφαλὴν καὶ τὸ πρόσωπόν σου νίψαι,

ὅπως μὴ φανῇς τοῖς ἀνθρώποις νηστεύων ἀλλὰ τῷ Πατρί σου τῷ ἐν τῷ κρυφαίῳ· καὶ ὁ Πατήρ σου ὁ βλέπων ἐν τῷ κρυφαίῳ ἀποδώσει σοι.

 

As earlier, Jesus, via Matthew, indicated that secret almsgiving and prayer were good.  Here now, unique to Matthew, Jesus said to fast in secret (σὺ δὲ νηστεύων).  They should anoint their heads (ἄλειψαί σου τὴν κεφαλὴν) and wash their faces (καὶ τὸ πρόσωπόν σου νίψαι,).  Thus, no one would know that they were fasting (ὅπως μὴ φανῇς τοῖς ἀνθρώποις νηστεύων).  However, their father (ἀλλὰ τῷ Πατρί σου) in secret (τῷ ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ) would know.  Like in the almsgiving and praying, their Father would be able to see them in secret (καὶ ὁ Πατήρ σου ὁ βλέπων ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ).  Thus, he would also reward them (ἀποδώσει σοι), so that their reward would be in heaven, not here.  Why all this secrecy?  Were they afraid of being persecuted for something?  The followers of Jesus were to give alms, pray, and fast in secret, not in public, so that they would get a reward from their heavenly Father.

Pray in secret (Mt 6:6-6:6)

“But when you pray,

Go into your room!

Shut the door!

Pray to your Father,

Who is in secret.

Your Father,

Who sees in secret

Will reward you.”

 

σὺ δὲ ὅταν προσεύχῃ, εἴσελθε εἰς τὸ ταμεῖόν σου καὶ κλείσας τὴν θύραν σου πρόσευξαι τῷ Πατρί σου τῷ ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ· καὶ ὁ Πατήρ σου ὁ βλέπων ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ ἀποδώσει σοι.

 

This is another saying of Jesus, only found in Matthew, that carries on with the theme of secrecy, but this time it is about prayer.  When the followers of Jesus were to pray (σὺ δὲ ὅταν προσεύχῃ), they should go into their room (εἴσελθε εἰς τὸ ταμεῖόν σου) and shut the door (καὶ κλείσας τὴν θύραν σου).  They were to pray to their Father (πρόσευξαι τῷ Πατρί σου) in secret (ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ).  Like in the almsgiving, their Father would be able to see them in secret (καὶ ὁ Πατήρ σου ὁ βλέπων ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ).  Thus, he would also reward them (ἀποδώσει σοι), so that their reward would be in heaven, not here.  Why all this secrecy?  Were they afraid of being persecuted for something?