The Pharisee prayer (Lk 18:11-18:11)

“The Pharisee,

Standing by himself,

Was praying thus.

‘God!

I thank you

That I am not

Like other people.

I am not

A thief,

A wicked person,

An adulterer,

Or even

Like this tax collector.’”

 

ὁ Φαρισαῖος σταθεὶς ταῦτα πρὸς ἑαυτὸν προσηύχετο Ὁ Θεός, εὐχαριστῶ σοι ὅτι οὐκ εἰμὶ ὥσπερ οἱ λοιποὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ἅρπαγες, ἄδικοι, μοιχοί, ἢ καὶ ὡς οὗτος ὁ τελώνης·

 

Luke has Jesus tell a parable about this Pharisee and a tax collector that is only found in this gospel.  Luke indicated that Jesus said this Pharisee stood by himself (ὁ Φαρισαῖος σταθεὶς ταῦτα πρὸς ἑαυτὸν).  He was praying (προσηύχετο) to God.  He said thank you to God (Ὁ Θεός, εὐχαριστῶ σοι) that he was not like other people (ὅτι οὐκ εἰμὶ ὥσπερ οἱ λοιποὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων).  He was not a thief, a robber, or a swindler (ἅρπαγες), unjust, unrighteous, or wicked (ἄδικοι), or an adulterer (μοιχοί), or even like this tax collector (ἢ καὶ ὡς οὗτος ὁ τελώνης).  This Pharisee considered himself a just, righteous person, not like other sinners who were evil.  Certainly, he was happy not to be a terrible Roman tax collector, like that other person in the Temple.  Thus, he uttered the prayer of an upstanding righteous Jewish person.  Do you thank God that you are better than other people?

 

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Pilate gave the body to Joseph (Mk 15:45-15:45)

“When he learned

From the centurion

That Jesus was dead,

He granted

The body

To Joseph.”

 

καὶ γνοὺς ἀπὸ τοῦ κεντυρίωνος ἐδωρήσατο τὸ πτῶμα τῷ Ἰωσήφ.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 27:58.  Luke, chapter 23:52, and John, chapter 19:38, who simply had this short statement, without any comment from Pilate.  Mark said when Pilate learned from the centurion (καὶ γνοὺς ἀπὸ τοῦ κεντυρίωνος) that Jesus was dead, he granted the body to Joseph (ἐδωρήσατο τὸ πτῶμα τῷ Ἰωσήφ).  Thus, the body of Jesus left the control of the Roman and the Jewish authorities.  However, there was no mention of the bodies of the other two robbers who had been crucified with Jesus.

The widow contributed more (Mk 12:43-12:43)

“Then Jesus called

His disciples.

He said to them.

‘Truly!

I say to you!

This poor widow

Has put in more

Than all those

Who are contributing

To the treasury.”

 

καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἡ χήρα αὕτη ἡ πτωχὴ πλεῖον πάντων ἔβαλεν τῶν βαλλόντων εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον·

 

Only Luke, chapter 21:3, has something similar, while Matthew did not mention this incident.  Mark said that Jesus called his disciples (καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ).  He told them with a solemn pronouncement (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) that this poor widow had put in more money than all those rich people who were contributing to the treasury (ὅτι ἡ χήρα αὕτη ἡ πτωχὴ πλεῖον πάντων ἔβαλεν τῶν βαλλόντων εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον).  In plain numerical terms, that was not correct, but proportionally it was true.  She had given the smallest amount of Greek or Roman money as possible.  There was nothing smaller than her contribution of 2 copper coins.  However, she had so little to begin with, so that this was a large contribution for her.

Joseph gets the body of Jesus (Mt 27:58-27:58)

“Joseph went to Pilate.

He asked for

The body of Jesus.

Then Pilate ordered it

To be given to him.”

 

οὗτος προσελθὼν τῷ Πειλάτῳ ᾐτήσατο τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ. τότε ὁ Πειλᾶτος ἐκέλευσεν ἀποδοθῆναι.

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 15:43-45, but more expanded on the part of Pilate.  Luke, chapter 23:52, and John, chapter 19:38, simply have this short statement, without any comment from Pilate.  Matthew said that this Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate (οὗτος προσελθὼν τῷ Πειλάτῳ).  He asked for the body of Jesus (ᾐτήσατο τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ).  Then Pilate ordered or commanded that the body be given to Joseph (τότε ὁ Πειλᾶτος ἐκέλευσεν ἀποδοθῆναι).  Thus, the body of Jesus left the control of the Roman and the Jewish authorities.  However, there was no mention of the bodies of the other two robbers who had been crucified with Jesus.

The great faith of the centurion (Mt 8:10-8:10)

“When Jesus heard

The centurion,

He was amazed.

He said to those

Who followed him.

‘Truly,

I say to you!

In no one in Israel

Have I found

Such a great faith.’”

 

ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐθαύμασεν καὶ εἶπεν τοῖς ἀκολουθοῦσιν Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, παρ’ οὐδενὶ τοσαύτην πίστιν ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ εὗρον.

 

This response of Jesus to the centurion was exactly the same as in Luke, chapter 7:9, perhaps indicating a Q source.  When Jesus heard the response (ἀκούσας δὲ) of this centurion, he marveled, wondered, admired, or was amazed (ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐθαύμασεν).  He then turned to speak to his followers (καὶ εἶπεν τοῖς ἀκολουθοῦσιν) with a solemn pronouncement (Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  He had not found anyone in Israel with so great of faith (παρ’ οὐδενὶ τοσαύτην πίστιν ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ εὗρον) like this Roman, non-Jewish, centurion.  His great belief, faith, and trust in the power of Jesus would be demanded of all the Jesus followers.

Against Gog (Ezek 38:1-38:2)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Set your face

Toward Gog,

Of the land of Magog.

The chief prince

Of Meshech

With Tubal.

Prophesy against him!’”

This section represents an example of apocalyptic literature. The emphasis in this type of literature is on a future that would be better compared to the sufferings of the present time. This thinking predominated in Second Temple Judaism after the return from the exile. This Messianic hope prefigured a future victory of good over evil. The prophet Daniel and the Book of Revelation or the Apocalypse are better examples of this apocalyptic literature. As usual, the word of God came to Ezekiel, the son of man. However, this time he was to prophesize against Gog. Who is this Gog? This is the first mention of Gog in the biblical literature, who clearly was an enemy of Yahweh. There appears to be no historical basis for this Gog from Magog. According to Genesis, chapter 10, Magog was descended from Japheth, the son of Noah. Here Gog is a person and Magog is the land where he comes from. However, in later literature they were usually combined into ‘Gog and Magog,’ perhaps due to the Septuagint Greek translation. Magog might have been a code name for Babylon. There were also other legends about Gog and Magog in the later Greek and Roman times. Both are mentioned in later Jewish and Muslim writings. Meshech and Tubal were 7th century BCE kingdoms in Asia Minor or present day Turkey. Gog appears to be the chief prince of these two kingdoms also.

God with his council (Ps 82:1-82:2)

A psalm of Asaph

“God has taken his place in the divine council.

In the midst of the gods he holds judgment.

‘How long will you judge unjustly?

How long will you show partiality to the wicked?’”

Selah

Psalm 82 is simply one in the series of psalms of Asaph, the Temple singer. The ancient Near East believed that the world was ruled by a series of gods, which was also the Greek and Roman concepts of divinity. Here God sits with his council, sometimes referred to as the angels. Speaking in God’s name was the Temple priest or prophet. God’s judgment questions were clear. Why were they judging unjustly? Why were they partial to the wicked ones? This section ends once again with the musical meditative interlude pause of Selah.