To a distant country
To get royal power
Then he would return.’”
εἶπεν οὖν Ἄνθρωπός τις εὐγενὴς ἐπορεύθη εἰς χώραν μακρὰν λαβεῖν ἑαυτῷ βασιλείαν καὶ ὑποστρέψαι.
Luke indicated that Jesus said (εἶπεν οὖν) that a nobleman (Ἄνθρωπός τις εὐγενὴς) went to a distant country (ἐπορεύθη εἰς χώραν μακρὰν) to get royal power for himself (λαβεῖν ἑαυτῷ βασιλείαν). After that, he would return later (καὶ ὑποστρέψαι). This might have been a hint about the local leaders going to Rome to get their royal powers. It may also be about Jesus going to heaven and then returning at the last judgment or the Second Coming. However, there was the overriding theme of the need for responsibility, productivity, and not laziness. There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 25:14, where the story is about a man with a household of slaves and not a nobleman as here. The slaves were given money to take care of things while the rich man was gone. In Matthew, Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven would be like a man going on a journey (Ὥσπερ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος ἀποδημῶν). This very generous man called or summoned his slaves (ἐκάλεσεν τοὺς ἰδίους δούλους) to entrust them or give them his property and possessions, while he was gone (καὶ παρέδωκεν αὐτοῖς τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ). In Mark, 13:34, Jesus said that the end times would be like a man going on a journey (ὡς ἄνθρωπος ἀπόδημος). He left his house (ἀφεὶς τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ). He gave his slaves the authority (καὶ δοὺς τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ τὴν ἐξουσίαν) to perform their own individual tasks (ἑκάστῳ τὸ ἔργον αὐτοῦ). He commanded a doorkeeper to stand watch over this whole situation (καὶ τῷ θυρωρῷ ἐνετείλατο ἵνα γρηγορῇ). However, the story for Mark ended there, unlike Luke and Matthew that have more details about the slaves in this household. What do you do when you go on a long journey?
“There were also women
From a distance.
Among them were
Of James the younger,
And of Joseph,
Ἦσαν δὲ καὶ γυναῖκες ἀπὸ μακρόθεν θεωροῦσαι, ἐν αἷς καὶ Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ καὶ Μαρία ἡ Ἰακώβου τοῦ μικροῦ καὶ Ἰωσῆτος μήτηρ καὶ Σαλώμη,
This is similar to Matthew, chapter 27:55-56. In Luke, chapter 23:49, there was a mention of the women from Galilee, but without their specific names. In John, chapter 19:25-27, there was a mention of the mother of Jesus, Mary, the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene, as well as a conversation, but no mention of Galilee. Mark said that some women were also there (Ἦσαν δὲ καὶ γυναῖκες). They were looking on from a distance (ἀπὸ μακρόθεν θεωροῦσαι), which would have been their normal role. Mark specifically mentioned Mary Magdalene (ἐν αἷς ἦν Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ), Mary, the mother of James the younger and Joseph (καὶ Μαρία ἡ Ἰακώβου τοῦ μικροῦ καὶ Ἰωσῆτος μήτηρ), as well as Salome (καὶ Σαλώμη). Was Salome the mother of the sons of Zebedee? Certainly, there were a lot of women called Mary, since it was the most popular name of Palestinian Jewish women at the time of Jesus. There probably were 8 different women with the name of Mary in the 61 times that the name Mary was mentioned in the New Testament. First was (1) Mary, the mother of Jesus, who was not mentioned here. Next there was (2) Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, who also was not mentioned here. (3) Mary of Clopas was mentioned in John, but not here. Then there was Mary Magdalene (4), who was mentioned here. Finally, there were the more confusing Marys. (5) Mary, the mother of James the younger and Joseph, who was mentioned here. (6) Perhaps the mother of the Zebedee brothers was also named Mary or Mary Salome. Finally (7) Mary, the mother of John Mark was mentioned in Acts, chapter 12:12, while (8) Mary in Rome, was mentioned in Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 16:6. There was also an English novel by Bruce Marshall (1899-1987) called The Other Mary from 1927, based on the New Testament.
Dennis the Short (470-544 CE) or Dionysius Exiguus, a Scythian monk who worked in Rome, came up with the idea of dating everything from the birth of Christ, instead of the Roman counsels who had held office. In 525 CE, he developed his Christocentric calendar, but he was off by a few years in his calculations, since Jesus may have lived from 6 BCE-26 CE. His dating system was known as Anno Domini, the year of Our Lord. This AD system did not become popular until the Carolingian Reform of the 9th ninth century and the promulgation of the Gregorian calendar in the 16th century. Since then, all world events have centered on the birth of Christ. At the 2000 millennium year celebrations even non-Christian countries such as China and India celebrated the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. In the twentieth century, Jewish and Christian scholars adopted the term CE, or Common Era, showing a neutral stance towards Christ. Now practically every country dates things from the birth of Christ, whether they consider themselves Christian or not. 2018 CE means 2018 years since the birth of Christ, the Common Era. The time before Christ is called BC, before the Common Era, BCE.
Under the leadership of the apostles Peter and Paul, who both died around the year 64 CE, the early Christian community grew from Jerusalem to Rome, from a Palestinian Jewish sect to a more universal group that included Gentile non-Jewish people, all around the Mediterranean area. The travels of Paul as found in the Acts of the Apostles and his letters give a glimpse into what was happening back then. The followers of Jesus Christ began to differentiate themselves from the Rabbinic Judaism that was developing at the same time.
“In view of these things King Demetrius
Confirmed him in the high priesthood.
He made him one of the king’s friends.
He paid him high honors.
He had heard that the Jews
Were addressed by the Romans as friends,
Allies and brothers.
The Romans had received the envoys of Simon with honor.”
This decree also mentioned that King Demetrius II confirmed Simon in the high priesthood. It is still not clear where this authority came from. He, of course, made him one of the king’s friends. Thus he paid him high honors. He knew that Simon had sent envoys to Rome, who had addressed him as a friend, ally, and brother. The Seleucid King Demetrius II wanted to be on the right side of this relationship.