Bear the cross (Lk 14:27-14:27)

“Whoever does not carry

His cross

And follow me,

Cannot be my disciple.”

 

ὅστις οὐ βαστάζει τὸν σταυρὸν ἑαυτοῦ καὶ ἔρχεται ὀπίσω μου, οὐ δύναται εἶναί μου μαθητής.

 

Luke then had Jesus utter this famous saying about whoever does not carry his own cross (ὅστις οὐ βαστάζει τὸν σταυρὸν ἑαυτοῦ) and follow after him (καὶ ἔρχεται ὀπίσω μου), cannot be or is not able to be his disciple (οὐ δύναται εἶναί μου μαθητής).  This verse is similar to Matthew, chapter 10:38.  Matthew had Jesus repeat this remark that whoever did not take up his cross (καὶ ὃς οὐ λαμβάνει τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ) and follow after Jesus (καὶ ἀκολουθεῖ ὀπίσω μου,), was not worthy of him (οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος).  Matthew, chapter 16:24, had Jesus tell his disciples (Τότε ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ) that if anyone wanted to become his follower (Εἴ τις θέλει ὀπίσω μου ἐλθεῖν), they would have to deny themselves (ἀπαρνησάσθω ἑαυτὸν).  They would have to take up their cross (καὶ ἀράτω τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ) and follow him (καὶ ἀκολουθείτω μοι).  Mark, chapter 8:34, has the carrying of the cross as a condition of discipleship.  If you did not take up your cross (καὶ ὃς οὐ λαμβάνει τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ) and follow after Jesus (καὶ ἀκολουθεῖ ὀπίσω μου), you were not worthy of Jesus (οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος).  This assumes knowledge of the cross and suffering of Jesus.  To be a follower of Jesus, you had to follow him and take up his cross.  The hanging on the cross was the Roman way of punishment and execution.  After the death and resurrection of Jesus, the cross became a symbol of the death of Jesus.  Are you willing to take up the cross of Jesus?

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You will receive (Lk 11:10-11:10)

“Everyone who asks,

Receives.

Everyone who seeks,

Finds.

Everyone who knocks,

The door will be opened.”

 

πᾶς γὰρ ὁ αἰτῶν λαμβάνει, καὶ ὁ ζητῶν εὑρίσκει, καὶ τῷ κρούοντι ἀνοιγήσεται.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that everyone who asks for things (πᾶς γὰρ ὁ αἰτῶν), receives them (λαμβάνει).  Everyone who seeks things (καὶ ὁ ζητῶν), finds them (εὑρίσκει).  Everyone who knocks (καὶ τῷ κρούοντι), that door will be opened for him (ἀνοιγήσεται).  This almost seems like a repeat of the preceding verse, but it is really an elaboration of the same concepts.  Matthew, chapter 7:8, has a similar saying of Jesus, almost word for word, indicating a common Q source.  Everyone who asked, would receive (πᾶς γὰρ ὁ αἰτῶν λαμβάνει) what he asked for.  The seeker will find (καὶ ὁ ζητῶν εὑρίσκει), what he is looking for.  The one knocking will see it open (καὶ τῷ κρούοντι ἀνοιγήσεται).  All is well that ends well.  You just need a little effort in your prayer to the heavenly Father.  Do you ask thing from God the Father?

The first commandment (Mk 12:29-12:30)

“Jesus answered.

‘The first commandment is.

‘Hear this!

O Israel!

The Lord Our God!

The Lord is one!

You shall love

The Lord

Your God

With all your heart,

With all your soul,

With all your mind,

And with all your strength.’”

 

ἀπεκρίθη ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι Πρώτη ἐστίν Ἄκουε, Ἰσραήλ, Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν Κύριος εἷς ἐστιν

καὶ ἀγαπήσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σου ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ψυχῆς σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς διανοίας σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ἰσχύος σου.

 

This response of Jesus can be found also in Matthew, chapter 22:37-38, without the Shema cry for Israel to listen.  In Luke, chapter 10:27-28, Jesus responded that he had given the right answer to the question.  Here, in Mark it is separate from the love of neighbor, which is the 2nd commandment.  This Shema can be found in Deuteronomy, chapter 6:4-5.  These verses have had a great influence on the Israelites as the great commandment that is recited often and written all over the place on their hands, forehead, and door posts.  It is both a morning and an evening prayer, something you say at home and when you are away from home.  The Israelites taught their children this simple prayer.  Jesus and the early Christian followers will repeat this prayer in the gospel stories of the New Testament as the great commandment of love of God.  This “Shema” became the basis of the Abrahamic religions, the great commandment of monotheism and love that must always be remembered.  Mark said that Jesus answered this Scribe (ἀπεκρίθη ὁ Ἰησοῦς) that the first commandment was (ὅτι Πρώτη ἐστίν) “Hear this (Ἄκουε,)!  O Israel (Ἰσραήλ,)! The Lord our God (Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς), the Lord is one (Κύριος εἷς ἐστιν)!”  He should love the Lord (καὶ ἀγαπήσεις Κύριον), his God (τὸν Θεόν σου) with his whole heart (ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίᾳ σου), his whole soul (καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ψυχῆς σου), his whole mind (καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς διανοίας σου), and with all his strength (καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ἰσχύος σου).  This was the greatest and the first commandment, love God above all else with your whole powerful being, heart, soul, and mind.

Good ears to hear (Mk 7:16-7:16)

“Let anyone with ears

To hear,

Listen!”

 

εἴ τις ἔχει ὦτα ἀκούειν, ἀκουέτω.

 

This verse is found only in some orthodox manuscripts because it is an exact repeat of what was said earlier in chapter 4:9 and 4:23.  However, this warning was in all 3 synoptic gospels, in Matthew, chapter 13:8, and in Luke, chapter 8:8, and here.  Jesus warned that anyone with ears to hear should listen (εἴ τις ὦτα ἀκούειν ἀκουέτω).  Jesus often mentioned the importance of hearing and listening, something all of us should take heed.

The first greatest commandment (Mt 22:37-22:38)

“Jesus said to him.

‘You shall love

The Lord,

Your God

With all your heart,

With all your soul,

And with all your mind.’

This is the greatest commandment.

This is the first commandment.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἔφη αὐτῷ Ἀγαπήσεις κύριον τὸν Θεόν σου ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ καρδίᾳ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου.

αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ μεγάλη καὶ πρώτη ἐντολή.

 

The response of Jesus can be found also in Mark, chapter 12:29-30, where there is the Shema cry for Israel to listen.  In Luke, chapter 10:27-28, Jesus responded that he had given the right answer to the question.  Here, in Matthew, it is separate from the love of neighbor, which is the 2nd commandment.  This Shema can be found in Deuteronomy, chapter 6:4-5.  These verses have had a great influence on the Israelites as the great commandment that is recited often and written all over the place on their hands, forehead, and door posts.  It is both a morning and an evening prayer, something you say at home and when you are away from home.  The Israelites were to teach their children this simple prayer.  Jesus and the early Christian followers will repeat this in the gospel stories of the New Testament as the great commandment of love of God.  This ‘Shema’ became the basis of the Abrahamic religions, the great commandment of monotheism and love that must always be remembered.  Jesus told this lawyer (ὁ δὲ ἔφη αὐτῷ) that he should love the Lord (Ἀγαπήσεις κύριον), his God (τὸν Θεόν σου) with his whole heart (ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ καρδίᾳ σου), his whole soul (καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ σου), and his whole mind (καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου).  This was the greatest (αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ μεγάλη) and the first commandment (καὶ πρώτη ἐντολή).  Just be a good human Jewish person and love God above all else with your whole being, heart, soul, and mind.

Pick up your cross (Mt 10:38-10:38)

“Whoever does not

Take up the cross

And follow after me

Is not worthy of me.”

 

καὶ ὃς οὐ λαμβάνει τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀκολουθεῖ ὀπίσω μου, οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος.

 

This verse of Matthew is similar to Luke, chapter 14:27, indicating a Q source.  Matthew had Jesus repeat this remark in chapter 16:24, about the same theme of unworthiness.  Mark, chapter 8:34 has the carrying of the cross as a condition of discipleship.  If you did not take up his cross (καὶ ὃς οὐ λαμβάνει τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ) and follow after Jesus (καὶ ἀκολουθεῖ ὀπίσω μου), you were not worthy of Jesus (οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος).  This assumes knowledge of the cross and suffering of Jesus.  To be a follower of Jesus, you had to follow him and take up his cross.  The cross was the Roman way of punishment and execution.  After the death and resurrection of Jesus, it became a symbol of the death of Jesus on the cross.

The failure of the gardens (Am 4:9-4:9)

“‘I struck you

With blight.

I struck you

With mildew.

I laid waste

Your gardens.

I laid waste

Your vineyards.

The locusts devoured

Your fig trees.

The locusts devoured

Your olive trees.

Yet you did not

Return to me.’

Says Yahweh.”

Amos has this oracle of Yahweh repeat the same theme, that despite the failure of their gardens and vineyards, they did not return to Yahweh. He had struck them with blight and mildew. Yahweh had laid waste their gardens and vineyards. Locusts devoured their fig trees and olive trees. Despite all this devastation, the Israelites of the northern kingdom did not return to Yahweh.