Sycamore tree (Lk 19:4-19:4)

“Thus,

Zacchaeus ran ahead.

He climbed up

A sycamore tree

To see Jesus,

Because Jesus

Was going

To pass that way.”

 

καὶ προδραμὼν εἰς τὸ ἔμπροσθεν ἀνέβη ἐπὶ συκομορέαν, ἵνα ἴδῃ αὐτόν, ὅτι ἐκείνης ἤμελλεν διέρχεσθαι.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Zacchaeus ran ahead (καὶ προδραμὼν εἰς τὸ ἔμπροσθεν) of everyone.  He then climbed up a sycamore tree (ἀνέβη ἐπὶ συκομορέαν) in order to see Jesus (ἵνα ἴδῃ αὐτόν), because Jesus was about to pass that way (ὅτι ἐκείνης ἤμελλεν διέρχεσθαι).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use the word συκομορέαν, that means a fig-mulberry tree, a sycamore fig, or a sycamore tree.  This small rich tax collector ran ahead of everybody and climbed up a tree so that he could see Jesus when he passed by, an ingenious way to get a look at the celebrity who was in town.  Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus.  Would you climb a tree to see a celebrity?

Advertisements

The father embraces the son (Lk 15:20-15:20)

“Thus,

The prodigal son

Set off.

He went

To his father.

But while he was

Still far off,

His father saw him.

He was filled

With compassion.

He ran to him.

He put his arms

Around him.

He kissed him.”

 

καὶ ἀναστὰς ἦλθεν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα ἑαυτοῦ. ἔτι δὲ αὐτοῦ μακρὰν ἀπέχοντος εἶδεν αὐτὸν ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐσπλαγχνίσθη, καὶ δραμὼν ἐπέπεσεν ἐπὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ καὶ κατεφίλησεν αὐτόν.

 

This long parable story about the prodigal son can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that this prodigal son set off to go to his father (καὶ ἀναστὰς ἦλθεν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα ἑαυτοῦ).  While he was still far away (ἔτι δὲ αὐτοῦ μακρὰν ἀπέχοντος), his father saw him (εἶδεν αὐτὸν ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ).  He was filled with compassion (καὶ ἐσπλαγχνίσθη).  He ran to him (καὶ δραμὼν).  He put his arms around him or fell upon his neck (ἐπέπεσεν ἐπὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ) and he kissed him (καὶ κατεφίλησεν αὐτόν).  In case there was any doubt, the father was going to accept the prodigal sinning son without any conditions.  There was not even an “I’m sorry!” from the son.  This compassionate father ran out to embrace him before he even got close to their house.  Obviously, he was out in the fields working.  Do you feel closer to the wasteful repentant prodigal son or the compassionate forgiving father?

The demoniac was healed (Lk 8:36-8:36)

“Those who had seen it

Told them

How the one

Who had been possessed

By demons

Had been healed.”

 

ἀπήγγειλαν δὲ αὐτοῖς οἱ ἰδόντες πῶς ἐσώθη ὁ δαιμονισθεί

 

Luke said that those who had seen (οἱ ἰδόντες) what happened told them (ἀπήγγειλαν δὲ αὐτοῖς) how the one who had been possessed by demons (ὁ δαιμονισθεί) had been healed (πῶς ἐσώθη).  There was something similar in Mark, chapter 5:16, while there is nothing like this in MatthewMark said that those who had seen what had happened to this demoniac told everyone.  They reported, described, or related it to other people how the pigs ran into the sea.  There was nothing secret about this transfer of evil spirits from a human to a herd of pigs.  What do you think about pigs?

Give him something to drink (Mk 15:36-15:36)

“Someone ran.

He filled a sponge

With sour wine.

He put it

On a stick.

He gave it

To Jesus

To drink.

Saying.

‘Wait!

Let us see

Whether Elijah

Will come

To take him down.’”

 

δραμὼν δέ τις καὶ γεμίσας σπόγγον ὄξους περιθεὶς καλάμῳ ἐπότιζεν αὐτόν, λέγων Ἄφετε ἴδωμεν εἰ ἔρχεται Ἡλείας καθελεῖν αὐτόν.

 

This is almost word for word in Mathew, chapter 27:48-49.  In Luke, chapter 23:36, there was an indication of a soldier who gave some sour wine to Jesus.  In John, chapter 19:28-29, Jesus said that he was thirsty before they gave him this sour wine that was standing nearby.  Mark said that someone ran to get a sponge (δραμὼν δέ τις).  He filled this sponge with sour wine or vinegar (καὶ γεμίσας σπόγγον ὄξους), a common Roman solder drink.  Then he put it on a stick or reed (περιθεὶς καλάμῳ) to give Jesus something to drink (ἐπότιζεν αὐτόν).  He said to wait and see if Elijah would come to take Jesus down from the cross (λέγων Ἄφετε ἴδωμεν εἰ ἔρχεται Ἡλείας καθελεῖν αὐτόν).  This sour wine or vinegar might have been a reference to Psalm 69:21, where the psalmist complained that they gave him vinegar to drink.  This sour wine or vinegar mixed with water might also have been an anesthetic to ease the pain of Jesus.  Thus, this action might have been an act of compassion for Jesus hanging on the cross.

The crowd was amazed (Mk 9:15-9:15)

“When the whole crowd

Saw him,

They were

Immediately overcome

With awe.

They ran forward

To greet him.”

 

καὶ εὐθὺς πᾶς ὁ ὄχλος ἰδόντες αὐτὸν ἐξεθαμβήθησαν, καὶ προστρέχοντες ἠσπάζοντο αὐτόν.

 

As Jesus left his small group of disciples, a large crowd came towards him.  This incident is somewhat similar to Matthew, chapter 17:14, and Luke, chapter 9:37, but yet unique to Mark, who said that suddenly a large crowd saw Jesus (καὶ εὐθὺς πᾶς ὁ ὄχλος ἰδόντες αὐτὸν).  They were amazed or overcome with awe (ἐξεθαμβήθησαν) since he was like a celebrity.  They all ran forward to greet him (καὶ προστρέχοντες ἠσπάζοντο αὐτόν).

The crowds follow Jesus (Mk 6:33-6:33)

“Now many saw them

Going.

They recognized them.

They hurried there

On foot

From all the towns.

They arrived

Ahead of them.”

 

καὶ εἶδον αὐτοὺς ὑπάγοντας καὶ ἐπέγνωσαν πολλοί, καὶ πεζῇ ἀπὸ πασῶν τῶν πόλεων συνέδραμον ἐκεῖ καὶ προῆλθον αὐτούς.

 

This opening to the multiplication of the loaves story can be found in all four gospels, Matthew, chapter 14:13, Luke, chapter 9:10, John, chapter 6:1-2, and here.  Jesus wanted to get away to a deserted place in a boat, but somehow the crowds followed him.  It is not clear if they were looking for his reaction to the death of John the Baptist, or just following him as an itinerant preacher and healer.  Mark said that many people saw and recognized Jesus and his disciples leaving in the boat (καὶ εἶδον αὐτοὺς ὑπάγοντας καὶ ἐπέγνωσαν πολλοί).  They ran together on foot there along the shore from all the various towns (καὶ πεζῇ ἀπὸ πασῶν τῶν πόλεων συνέδραμον ἐκεῖ).  The crowds, in fact, arrived ahead of them (καὶ προῆλθον αὐτούς). This crowd seemed to follow along the bank of the sea, so that Jesus and his apostles could not get away by themselves.

They repeated the story (Mk 5:16-5:16)

“Those who had seen

What had happened

To the demoniac

And to the swine,

Reported it.”

 

καὶ διηγήσαντο αὐτοῖς οἱ ἰδόντες πῶς ἐγένετο τῷ δαιμονιζομένῳ καὶ περὶ τῶν χοίρων.

 

There is something similar in Luke, chapter 8:36, while there is nothing like this in MatthewMark said that those who had seen what had happened (οἱ ἰδόντες πῶς ἐγένετο) to this demoniac, the one possessed by the devils or evil spirits (ῷ δαιμονιζομένῳ) told everyone.  They reported, described, or related it to other people (καὶ διηγήσαντο αὐτοῖς) how the swine or the pigs (καὶ περὶ τῶν χοίρων) ran into the sea.  There was nothing secret about this transfer of evil spirits from a human to a herd of pigs.