“I tell you!
Desired to see
What you see,
But they did not
They wanted to hear
What you heard,
But they did not hear it.”
λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν ὅτι πολλοὶ προφῆται καὶ βασιλεῖς ἠθέλησαν ἰδεῖν ἃ ὑμεῖς βλέπετε καὶ οὐκ εἶδαν, καὶ ἀκοῦσαι ἃ ἀκούετε καὶ οὐκ ἤκουσαν.
Luke indicated that Jesus said to his disciples with a solemn pronouncement (λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν) that many prophets (ὅτι πολλοὶ προφῆται) and kings (καὶ βασιλεῖς) desired to see (ἠθέλησαν ἰδεῖν) what they see (ἃ ὑμεῖς βλέπετε), but they did not see it (καὶ οὐκ εἶδαν). They wanted to hear (καὶ ἀκοῦσαι) what they had heard (ἃ ἀκούετε), but they did not hear it (καὶ οὐκ ἤκουσαν). Matthew, chapter 13:17 had something similar, perhaps indicating a Q source. Jesus said that his disciples had heard and seen what other prophets and righteous ones had wanted to see and hear, but never did. Matthew did not mention kings, but righteous people instead. Jesus then issued a solemn declaration. Many prophets and righteous people had longed for what they had seen and heard, but they never saw or heard these things, like they have. The disciples of Jesus should realize how fortunate they were to be with Jesus. Many people were less fortunate than them. Do you feel fortunate or unfortunate?
Full of the Holy Spirit,
From the Jordan River.
He was led
By the Spirit
In the wilderness.”
Ἰησοῦς δὲ πλήρης Πνεύματος Ἁγίου ὑπέστρεψεν ἀπὸ τοῦ Ἰορδάνου, καὶ ἤγετο ἐν τῷ Πνεύματι ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ
Both Matthew, chapter 4:1, and Mark, chapter 1:12, have the Holy Spirit lead Jesus into the desert, just like here. However, John has nothing about the temptations of Jesus at all. Luke said that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit (Ἰησοῦς δὲ πλήρης Πνεύματος Ἁγίου). He had returned from the Jordan River (ὑπέστρεψεν ἀπὸ τοῦ Ἰορδάνου). Then he was led by the Spirit (καὶ ἤγετο ἐν τῷ Πνεύματι) into the wilderness or desert (ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ). Having just received the Holy Spirit after his baptism with John at Jordan River, Jesus was full of this Holy Spirit. This same Spirit led or drove Jesus out into the wilderness. All three accounts of the synoptic gospels put the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness. The Israelites had been in the wilderness during their Exodus from Egypt. John the Baptist was also preaching and baptizing in the desert wilderness. The wilderness or the desert was a place of terror, not civilized. The Holy Spirit and God the Father wanted Jesus to experience the difficulties of this desolate arid land. Why was Jesus tempted? God, the Father, Yahweh, often tested the righteous ones and the prophets in the Hebrew Bible. Luke and Matthew are similar with their detailed account of these temptations, while Mark has only a summary statement about them.
This second narrative centered around the Sermon on the Mount and the famous so-called Beatitudes. The first beatitude was about poverty, while the second beatitude was about mourning. The third beatitude was about the meek or the humble. The fourth beatitude was about righteousness. The fifth beatitude was on mercy, while the sixth beatitude was about the pure of heart. The seventh beatitude was on peacemakers, while the eighth beatitude was on persecution. There was a grand blessing for the persecuted Christians, who were the salt of the earth and the light of the world. They had to value and become the lighted lamp.
Next came the law and the prophets. The law with all its commandments remained. The righteous ones would not murder, nor would they get angry with insults. They would offer their gifts at the Temple. They would pay their debts and not commit adultery. Jesus warned against the sinning eye and the sinning right hand. He favored the traditional divorce stance, but warned about marrying a divorced woman. They should not bear false witness, nor swear at all, since they should have a simple speech. No longer was it an eye for an eye, but rather turn the other cheek with unusual kindness. They were to love their enemies and their heavenly Father with a perfect love.
The followers of Jesus should fast and pray. We should have piety with almsgiving. Our charity and prayer should be secret with short prayers. Thus, there was the famous “Our Father” prayer. The first part of the Lord’s prayer was about God the Father. The second part of the Lord’s prayer was about our human problems. We should seek forgiveness and fast in secret. We should not want earthly treasures, but heavenly treasures. We need to have a healthy eye because we cannot serve two masters.
We should trust in Providence. We do not need to worry. Just look at the birds who do not worry. The lilies of the field have more beauty than Solomon in all his glory. Seek the kingdom of heaven first and you will not have to worry about tomorrow.
As far as judgment was concerned, do not judge the speck in the eye of your neighbor. Be careful with your holy treasures. Be seekers and give to your sons. Pray to your heavenly Father and follow the golden rule. The gate was narrow and there were many false prophets. Know them by their fruits. The sound tree has good fruits. Cut down the bad tree. Seek the kingdom of heaven. Stay away from evildoers. Wise men build on a rock foundation, while the foolish ones build on a sand foundation. The crowds were astonished at the authority of Jesus.
“The tombs also
Of the saints,
Who had fallen asleep.
καὶ τὰ μνημεῖα ἀνεῴχθησαν καὶ πολλὰ σώματα τῶν κεκοιμημένων ἁγίων ἠγέρθησαν·
This is unique to Matthew, since the other 3 gospels do not mention anything about tombs, bodies, or saints being raised. However, Matthew clearly said that the tombs were also opened (καὶ τὰ μνημεῖα ἀνεῴχθησαν), so that many bodies of the holy saints, who had fallen asleep (καὶ πολλὰ σώματα τῶν κεκοιμημένων ἁγίων), arose or were raised up (ἠγέρθησαν). It was the general Jewish expectation that at the end times, the Day of Yahweh, that the dead would rise, especially among the Pharisees. The holy ones or saints were the righteous ones who had died before Jesus.
You turn justice
You bring righteousness
To the ground!”
Amos said that justice was sweet, not like the bitterness of wormwood, a prominent tree in Israel. The wicked ones wanted to bring the righteous ones down to the ground. They wanted the bitterness of injustice rather than justice.