The stones would cry out (Lk 19:40-19:40)

“Jesus answered.

‘I tell you!

If these disciples

Were silent,

The stones

Would shout out!’”

 

καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Λέγω ὑμῖν ἐὰν οὗτοι σιωπήσουσιν, οἱ λίθοι κράξουσιν.

 

Thus, only Luke has this unique response of Jesus.  With a solemn pronouncement (Λέγω ὑμῖν) Jesus answered (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν) that if he were to silence his disciples (ἐὰν οὗτοι σιωπήσουσιν), the stones would shout out the same message anyway (οἱ λίθοι κράξουσιν).  According to Luke, Jesus had a quick response to these Pharisees.  If he had his disciples stop shouting, the very stones in the road would shout out in their place.  The shouting would continue, no matter what.  Has anyone ever told you to stop praising Jesus?

 

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Have mercy on me! (Lk 18:39-18:39)

“Those who were

In front

Sternly ordered him

To be quiet.

But he shouted out

More loudly.

‘Son of David!

Have mercy on me!’”

 

καὶ οἱ προάγοντες ἐπετίμων αὐτῷ ἵνα σιγήσῃ· αὐτὸς δὲ πολλῷ μᾶλλον ἔκραζεν Υἱὲ Δαυείδ, ἐλέησόν με.

 

Luke indicated that those who were in front of the crowd (καὶ οἱ προάγοντες) sternly ordered the blind beggar (ἐπετίμων αὐτῷ) to be quiet (ἵνα σιγήσῃ).  Instead, he shouted out more loudly (αὐτὸς δὲ πολλῷ μᾶλλον ἔκραζεν) the same message “Son of David (Υἱὲ Δαυείδ)!  Have mercy on me (ἐλέησόν με)!”  Both Mark, chapter 10:48, and Matthew, chapter 20:31, have something similar.  Mark said that many in the crowd rebuked, admonished, or ordered Bartimaeus to be quiet or silent (καὶ ἐπετίμων αὐτῷ πολλοὶ ἵνα σιωπήσῃ).  But he shouted out even more loudly (ὁ δὲ πολλῷ μᾶλλον ἔκραζεν).  He repeated again what he had shouted out earlier.  He called Jesus, the Son of David (Υἱὲ Δαυείδ).  He wanted Jesus to have mercy on him. (ἐλέησόν με).  Matthew said that the crowd rebuked or admonished these two blind beggars to be quiet or silent (ὁ δὲ ὄχλος ἐπετίμησεν αὐτοῖς ἵνα σιωπήσωσιν).  But they shouted out even more loudly (οἱ δὲ μεῖζον ἔκραξαν λέγοντες).  They repeated again what they had shouted out earlier.  They called Jesus, Lord, the Son of David (Κύριε, υἱὸς Δαυείδ).  They wanted him to have mercy on them (ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς).  This Greek cry of “Κύριε, ἐλέησον” “kyrie eleison,” would become a Christian cry for mercy that has found its way into the Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Word at the beginning of the regular Sunday Mass service, with the “Lord, have mercy!”  Quite often, it is also part of a chant.  Do you ask Jesus, the Lord, to have mercy on you?

 

Carry very little (Lk 10:4-10:4)

“Carry no purse!

Carry no bag!

Wear no sandals!

Greet no one

On the road.”

 

μὴ βαστάζετε βαλλάντιον, μὴ πήραν, μὴ ὑποδήματα· καὶ μηδένα κατὰ τὴν ὁδὸν ἀσπάσησθε.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus gave these 70 special disciples nearly the same message that he had given to his 12 apostles.  Jesus told them not to carry (μὴ βαστάζετε) any purse (βαλλάντιον) or bag (μὴ πήραν).  They were not to wear sandals (μὴ ὑποδήματα) and not greet anyone on the road (καὶ μηδένα κατὰ τὴν ὁδὸν ἀσπάσησθε).  Earlier Luke, chapter 9:3, indicated that Jesus told the 12 apostles to take nothing for their journey.  Here it was almost the same admonition for these 70 special missionary disciples.  However, there was the further admonition of not to greet people on the road that seemed a little inhospitable.  However, they had an urgent message that meant that there should be no distractions along the way.  There was no mention of bread, a staff, or tunics here for the 70 disciples.  Equivalent passages about the 12 apostles can be found in Matthew, chapter 10:9-10, and Mark, chapter 6:8-9.  Mark indicated that Jesus instructed the 12 apostles that they should not bring anything for their journey.  They could only bring a staff or walking stick, but they could not bring any bread, a bag or a sack, or money in their belts.  However, all 3 synoptics agreed that they did not need two tunics, since one would be enough.  Matthew indicated that Jesus told the 12 apostles that they were not to bring with them any gold, silver, or copper, in their money belts, since they did not need money.  This was similar to what Mark had said about not bringing any money belts.  They were not to take any bag or sack for their journey.  They were not to take two tunics, since one would be enough.  They were not to take any sandals or a staff.  This was a very strong demand on these 12 missionaries of Jesus.  The same demand was expected of these 70 disciples on this 2nd missionary journey.  Would you be able to carry out these instructions as a missionary for Jesus Christ?

Jesus teaches repentance (Mt 4:17-4:17)

“From that time on,

Jesus began to proclaim.

‘Repent!

The kingdom of heaven

Has come near.’”

 

Ἀπὸ τότε ἤρξατο ὁ Ἰησοῦς κηρύσσειν καὶ λέγειν Μετανοεῖτε, ἤγγικεν γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.

 

Matthew had another unique comment about and his preaching. He said that from that time on (Ἀπὸ τότε ἤρξατο), Jesus was proclaiming (ὁ Ἰησοῦς κηρύσσειν) the same message as John the Baptist in the preceding chapter, 3:2. It almost seems like Jesus had become a disciple of John. The preaching messages of John the Baptist and Jesus were very simple and exactly the same. They both said that people should repent (λέγειν Μετανοεῖτε). People should turn their lives around, with a profound metanoia, a change of their spirit. Matthew had John and Jesus say that the kingdom of heaven (γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν) was at hand, coming near (ἤγγικεν). Notice that Matthew did not say the kingdom of God, but the kingdom of “heavens.” Perhaps this was due to the Hebrew word for heaven that was both singular and plural. Matthew used this apocalyptic phrase over 30 times. He was the only one of the canonical gospel writers to use this term, “kingdom of heaven.”

John the Baptist and the Baptism of Jesus

Although Matthew did not show the same relationship of Jesus and John the Baptist as cousins, as it was in Luke, chapter 1:36, he still has them as familiar to each other.  They were at a minimum, friends.  In this portrayal, Jesus came to John, not the other way around.  John was already an established preacher, baptizing in the Jordan River.  Did they have the same message or was it different?  In one sense, both John and Jesus wanted people to repent, since the kingdom of heaven was near.  However, there are no indications in the biblical texts that Jesus was baptizing people the way that John was doing it.  Thus, they might have been semi-co-workers without any formal relationship established, although John the Baptist would appear again in this gospel story of Matthew.  Clearly, John the Baptist baptizing Jesus at the Jordan River stands as the beginning of the public life of Jesus, both here and in the other three canonical gospel accounts of Mark, Luke, and John.  Jesus became someone special as “the anointed one,” “Χριστος,” “the Christ,” from this moment on.  Was there any particular self-realization on the part of Jesus here?  How did the disciples of these two men work with each other?  What was the reaction of Jesus to the post-baptismal event, when God, the Father, sent his Spirit, the dove, to empower Jesus, before he could begin his public ministry?  God clearly announced that Jesus was his beloved son.  With his prophetic divine vocation revealed, Jesus was ready to begin his public ministry of healing and exorcising.  Jesus had come to proclaim his ethical judgment of righteousness during this messianic time when the fullness of the Holy Spirit would come to all the followers of Jesus.

The second message to King Hezekiah (Isa 37:9-37:13)

“When King Sennacherib heard it,

He sent messengers

To King Hezekiah.

‘Thus shall you speak

To King Hezekiah of Judah.

Do not let your God,

On whom you rely,

Deceive you

By promising

That Jerusalem will not be given

Into the hand of the king of Assyria.

See!

You have heard

What the kings of Assyria

Have done to all lands,

Destroying them utterly.

Shall you be delivered?

Have the gods of the other nations delivered them?

My predecessors destroyed these nations,

Gozan,

Haran,

Rezeph,

Also the people of Eden

Who were in Telassar.

Where is the king of Hamath?

Where is the king of Arpad?

Where is the king of the city of Sepharvaim?

Where is the king of Hena?

Where is the king of Ivvah?’”

Once again, this is almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 19, almost repeating the speech of Rabshakeh in the preceding chapter. These messengers of King Sennacherib of Assyria were to present almost the same message. Do not rely on your God. See what has happened to those places that relied on their gods, since the various kings of Assyria have destroyed them. How have their gods defended them? He repeated what had happened to the kings of Hamath, Arpad, Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah. Most of these towns were in Babylon or Syria. He also added the cities of Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and Eden.   Gozan was where the northern Israelites were sent in their captivity. Haran was in Mesopotamia, a town where Abraham had stopped. Rezeph was near Hamath. Eden in Telassar probably refers to some place in Mesopotamia, thus giving further credence to Mesopotamia as the original place of the Garden of Eden. At least at this time, nearly 2700 years ago, this place was called Eden, which might have also influenced the biblical writers.