Jesus at a lonely place (Lk 4:42-4:42)

“At daybreak,

Jesus departed.

He went into

A deserted place.

The crowds

Were looking

For him.

When they reached him,

They wanted to prevent him

From leaving them.”

 

Γενομένης δὲ ἡμέρας ἐξελθὼν ἐπορεύθη εἰς ἔρημον τόπον· καὶ οἱ ὄχλοι ἐπεζήτουν αὐτόν, καὶ ἦλθον ἕως αὐτοῦ, καὶ κατεῖχον αὐτὸν τοῦ μὴ πορεύεσθαι ἀπ’ αὐτῶν.

 

Luke said that when daybreak came (Γενομένης δὲ ἡμέρας), Jesus departed or left (ἐξελθὼν) Capernaum.  He went into a deserted place (ἐπορεύθη εἰς ἔρημον τόπον).  The crowds were looking or searching for him (καὶ οἱ ὄχλοι ἐπεζήτουν αὐτόν).  When they reached him (καὶ ἦλθον ἕως αὐτοῦ), they wanted to prevent him or detain him from leaving them (καὶ κατεῖχον αὐτὸν τοῦ μὴ πορεύεσθαι ἀπ’ αὐτῶν).  There is something similar in Mark, chapter 1:35-36.  Jesus went out to a deserted place at daybreak, following the healings of the evening before. as here, but Jesus went out to pray, which was not mentioned here.  Jesus left the other disciples behind early in the morning before daybreak.  Luke had the crowds of people come to him, but there was no mention of Simon or the other disciples as in Mark.  However, Mark never mentioned anything about preventing Jesus from leaving.  Clearly, Jesus had a hard time being alone.

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The time of birth arrived (Lk 2:6-2:6)

“While they were there,

The time came

For her

To deliver

Her child.”

 

Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ εἶναι αὐτοὺς ἐκεῖ ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ τεκεῖν αὐτήν,

 

Luke had a very simple statement, just like Matthew, chapter 2:1, about the birth of Jesus.  While they were there (Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ εἶναι αὐτοὺς ἐκεῖ) in Bethlehem, the time came for her to deliver her child (ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ τεκεῖν αὐτήν).  Her pregnancy had reached its end.  After all that had preceded, the main event had arrived.  As any mother, Mary was excited about the birth of her child.  Joseph might also have been concerned.

Send two disciples from Bethpage (Mt 21:1-21:1)

“When they had come

Near Jerusalem,

They had reached Bethphage,

At the Mount of Olives.

Then Jesus sent two disciples.”

 

Καὶ ὅτε ἤγγισαν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα καὶ ἦλθον εἰς Βηθφαγὴ εἰς τὸ ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαιῶν, τότε Ἰησοῦς ἀπέστειλεν δύο μαθητὰς

 

Both Mark, chapter 11:1, and Luke, chapter 19:29, are almost word for word to what is here in Matthew.  Thus, when they got near to Jerusalem (Καὶ ὅτε ἤγγισαν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα), Jesus then sent out two of his disciples (τότε Ἰησοῦς ἀπέστειλεν δύο μαθητὰς).  They were staying at Bethphage (καὶ ἦλθον εἰς Βηθφαγὴ), a village on the way from Jericho to Jerusalem, near the Mount of Olives (εἰς τὸ ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαιῶν), not far from Jerusalem.

Do they pay the temple tax? (Mt 17:24-17:25)

“When they reached

Capernaum,

The collectors

Of the temple tax

Came to Peter.

They said.

‘Does your teacher

Not pay the tax?’

Peter said.

‘Yes!

He does!’”

 

Ἐλθόντων δὲ αὐτῶν εἰς Καφαρναοὺμ προσῆλθον οἱ τὰ δίδραχμα λαμβάνοντες τῷ Πέτρῳ καὶ εἶπαν Ὁ διδάσκαλος ὑμῶν οὐ τελεῖ δίδραχμα;

λέγει Ναί.

 

This section about the temple tax is unique to Matthew.  Jesus and his disciples had come back to Capernaum (Ἐλθόντων δὲ αὐτῶν εἰς Καφαρναοὺμ).  The collectors of the temple tax came to Peter (προσῆλθον οἱ τὰ δίδραχμα λαμβάνοντες τῷ Πέτρῳ).  Once again, this is an indication of Peter’s leadership.  They asked him if his teacher had paid the temple tax (καὶ εἶπαν Ὁ διδάσκαλος ὑμῶν οὐ τελεῖ δίδραχμα).  Peter responded that Jesus did pay the tax with a simple yes answer (λέγει Ναί).  What is this temple tax?  It actually was a half-shekel or “δίδραχμα – didrachma.”  All the Israelite males over the age of 20 had to pay this half-shekel tax to the Jerusalem temple, once a year, sometime in March around Passover time.  In Capernaum, there was no temple, just a synagogue.  However, this might have been a group that was collecting for the temple tax in Jerusalem for those who were not going to go to Jerusalem for the Passover.  The value of a shekel would have been around $5.00 USA, so that each male had to pay about $2.50, not a big deal for a once a year tax.  This incident probably made more sense in Jerusalem itself.

The disciples forget bread (Mt 16:5-16:5)

“When the disciples

Reached the other side,

They had forgotten

To bring any bread.”

 

Καὶ ἐλθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ εἰς τὸ πέραν ἐπελάθοντο ἄρτους λαβεῖν.

 

There is something similar in Mark, chapter 8:14.  In an ironic twist of fate, the disciples of Jesus forget to bring bread with them on this trip across the Sea of Galilee.  There is no indication of the place where they were.  Mark said that they only had one loaf of bread.  When the disciples got to the other side of the sea (Καὶ ἐλθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ εἰς τὸ πέραν), they realized that they had forgotten to bring any bread with them (ἐπελάθοντο ἄρτους λαβεῖν).  Bread was a key food element of nourishment.  Remember the bread of life.

Wailing for the countryside of Judah (Mic 1:8-1:9)

“I will lament!

I will wail!

I will go barefoot!

I will go naked!

I will make lamentations

Like the jackals!

I will mourn

Like the ostriches!

Her wound is incurable.

It has come to Judah.

It has reached

To the gate

Of my people,

To Jerusalem.”

Next Micah lamented and wailed about the countryside around Jerusalem.  Micah was going to go barefooted and naked in his lamentation, just like the jackals or the ostriches that put their head in the sand.  This was an incurable wound to Judah that had reached the gates of Jerusalem, the holy people.

The king was the great tree (Dan 4:20-4:22)

“‘The tree

That you saw,

That grew great,

That became strong,

That its top reached

To heaven,

That was visible

To the end

Of the whole earth,

It is you!

O king!

Its leaves were beautiful.

It fruit was abundant.

It provided food for all.

Animals of the field

Lived under it.

Birds of the air

Had nests

In its branches.

It is you!

O king!

You have grown great!

You have become strong!

Your greatness has increased!

Your greatness reaches

To heaven.

Your sovereignty reaches

To the ends of the earth.’”

Belteshazzar or Daniel told the king that he was the tree that he saw in his dream, since a strong man was often equated with a big sturdy tree. After all, the king, like the tree in the dream, had grown great and strong. His greatness had reached to heaven and was visible to the ends of the whole earth, because his kingdom was so great. Daniel described the tree with its abundant beautiful leaves and fruit that provided food for everyone. He used the same remarks as in the dream about the tree being a shady place for field animals and birds to build nests on its branches.