Persecution (Lk 21:12-21:12)

“But before all this occurs,

They will arrest you.

They will persecute you.

They will hand you over

To synagogues

And prisons.

You will be brought

Before kings

And governors

Because of my name.”

 

πρὸ δὲ τούτων πάντων ἐπιβαλοῦσιν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῶν καὶ διώξουσιν, παραδιδόντες εἰς τὰς συναγωγὰς καὶ φυλακάς, ἀπαγομένους ἐπὶ βασιλεῖς καὶ ἡγεμόνας ἕνεκεν τοῦ ὀνόματός μου

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that before all this occurred (πρὸ δὲ τούτων πάντων), they would arrest or lay hands on his disciples (ἐπιβαλοῦσιν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῶν).  They would persecute them (καὶ διώξουσιν) and hand them over (παραδιδόντες) to the synagogues (εἰς τὰς συναγωγὰς) and prisons (καὶ φυλακάς).  They would be brought before kings (ἀπαγομένους ἐπὶ βασιλεῖς) and governors (καὶ ἡγεμόνας) because of the name of Jesus (ἕνεκεν τοῦ ὀνόματός μου).  There was something similar in Mark, chapter 13:9, and Matthew, chapter 24:9.  Jesus said that his followers were going to be persecuted.  Mark indicated that Jesus warned them that they should be self-aware (Βλέπετε δὲ ὑμεῖς ἑαυτούς).  They would be handed over (παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς) to courts, councils, or synods (εἰς συνέδρια) and synagogues (καὶ εἰς συναγωγὰς), since some of the Jewish Christians were still part of Jewish social, political, and religious life.  They would also be beaten (δαρήσεσθε).  On the other hand, they would also have to stand before governors and kings (καὶ ἐπὶ ἡγεμόνων καὶ βασιλέων σταθήσεσθε) to give testimony as a witness to them about Jesus (ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ, εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς).  This idea of the persecution of the Jesus followers was not a new theme for Matthew, because it was mentioned earlier in chapter 10:16-25, where Jesus was more reassuring, and chapter 16:24, where Jesus spoke about bearing the cross of death.  Jesus said that his followers were going to be persecuted, distressed, or afflicted (τότε παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς θλῖψιν), even though there was no mention of this taking place in the synagogues in Matthew.  No doubt about it, they were going to be handed over to be tortured and put to death (καὶ ἀποκτενοῦσιν ὑμᾶς).  They would be hated and detested (καὶ ἔσεσθε μισούμενοι) by all the gentile nations (ὑπὸ πάντων τῶν ἐθνῶν) because of his name (διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου).  This was tough talk because it was not going to be easy to be a disciple of Jesus after he was gone.  In the Acts of the Apostles, there are many instances of the early Christians being persecuted in prisons and being brought before various magistrates.  Do you think it would be difficult to be persecuted because you were a Christian?

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Do not be afraid (Lk 1:30-1:30)

“The angel

Said to her.

‘Do not be afraid!

Mary!

You have found

Favor

With God!’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν ὁ ἄγγελος αὐτῇ Μὴ φοβοῦ, Μαριάμ· εὗρες γὰρ χάριν παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ·

 

Luke, as in Matthew, said that the angel Gabriel was reassuring Mary, just as the angel had reassured Joseph.  Gabriel told her (καὶ εἶπεν ὁ ἄγγελος αὐτῇ), Mary, not to be afraid (Μὴ φοβοῦ, Μαριάμ) because she had found favor or grace with God (εὗρες γὰρ χάριν παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ).  Everything was going to be okay.

The disciples were afraid (Mk 6:49-6:50)

“But when the disciples

Saw him

Walking on the sea,

They thought

It was a ghost.

They cried out.

They all saw him.

They were terrified.

But immediately,

He spoke

To them.

He said.

‘Take heart!

It is I!

Have no fear!’”

 

οἱ δὲ ἰδόντες αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης περιπατοῦντα ἔδοξαν ὅτι φάντασμά ἐστιν, καὶ ἀνέκραξαν

πάντες γὰρ αὐτὸν εἶδαν καὶ ἐταράχθησαν. ὁ δὲ εὐθὺς ἐλάλησεν μετ’ αὐτῶν, καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς Θαρσεῖτε, ἐγώ εἰμι, μὴ φοβεῖσθε.

 

This incident about Jesus walking on water can be found in Matthew, chapter 14:26-27, and John, chapter 6:19-20.  In all three stories, the disciples were afraid and the response of Jesus was the same, reassuring.  Mark said that when the disciples saw him walking on the sea (οἱ δὲ ἰδόντες αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης περιπατοῦντα), they thought Jesus was a ghost or an apparition (ἔδοξαν ὅτι φάντασμά ἐστιν).  They cried or shouted out (καὶ ἀνέκραξαν).  They all saw him (πάντες γὰρ αὐτὸν εἶδαν) and were terrified (καὶ ἐταράχθησαν).  But immediately, Jesus spoke to them to reassure them (ὁ δὲ εὐθὺς ἐλάλησεν μετ’ αὐτῶν).  He told them to have courage and take heart (καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς Θαρσεῖτε).  He said that he was not a ghost, but Jesus himself (ἐγώ εἰμι), so that they did not have to be afraid.  They had nothing to fear (μὴ φοβεῖσθε).  Jesus reassured his disciples, while he walked on the waters of the sea.  Once again, the disciples seemed weak or not understanding what was going on.

Persecuted for the sake of Jesus (Mt 24:9-24:9)

“Then they will

Hand you over

To be tortured.

They will put you

To death.

You will be hated

By all nations

Because of my name.”

 

τότε παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς θλῖψιν καὶ ἀποκτενοῦσιν ὑμᾶς, καὶ ἔσεσθε μισούμενοι ὑπὸ πάντων τῶν ἐθνῶν διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου.

 

There is something similar in Mark, chapter 13:9, and in Luke, chapter 21:12, where there is a mention of synagogues, kings, and governors, but nothing about death.  This is not a new theme for Matthew, because it was mentioned earlier in chapter 10:16-25, where Jesus was more reassuring, and chapter 16:24, where Jesus spoke about bearing the cross of death.  Jesus said that his followers were going to be persecuted, distressed, or afflicted (τότε παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς θλῖψιν), even though there was no mention of this taking place in synagogues here.  No doubt about it, they were going to be handed over to be tortured and put to death (καὶ ἀποκτενοῦσιν ὑμᾶς).  They would be hated and detested (καὶ ἔσεσθε μισούμενοι) by all the gentile nations (ὑπὸ πάντων τῶν ἐθνῶν) because of his name (διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου).  This was tough talk because it was not going to be easy to be a disciple of Jesus after he was gone.