The two thieves taunt Jesus (Mt 27:44-27:44)

“The bandits,

Who were crucified

With him,

Also taunted him

In the same way.”

 

τὸ δ’ αὐτὸ καὶ οἱ λῃσταὶ οἱ συνσταυρωθέντες σὺν αὐτῷ ὠνείδιζον αὐτόν.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:32.  However, Luke, chapter 23:39-43, had an extended conversation between Jesus and these two bandits.  One of the two thieves or bandits told Jesus to save himself and them also, but the other thief or robber said that they deserved to die.  Only Luke had this story about the good and the bad thief.  Here in Matthew and Mark, both of the bandits being crucified with Jesus taunted him.  There was nothing about these thieves in JohnMatthew said that the two bandits or robbers (τὸ δ’ αὐτὸ καὶ οἱ λῃσταὶ), who were crucified with Jesus (οἱ συνσταυρωθέντες σὺν αὐτῷ), also taunted or insulted him in the same way as the others had done (ὠνείδιζον αὐτόν).  Both robbers were just as bad as the Jewish leaders and the others passing by.

Derision of Jesus (Mt 27:39-27:40)

“Those who passed by

Derided him.

They shook

Their heads.

They said.

‘You who would destroy

The Temple,

And then build it

In three days,

Save yourself!

If you are

The Son of God,

Come down

From the cross.’”

 

Οἱ δὲ παραπορευόμενοι ἐβλασφήμουν αὐτὸν κινοῦντες τὰς κεφαλὰς αὐτῶν

καὶ λέγοντες Ὁ καταλύων τὸν ναὸν καὶ ἐν τρισὶν ἡμέραις οἰκοδομῶν, σῶσον σεαυτόν, εἰ Υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ κατάβηθι ἀπὸ τοῦ σταυροῦ.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:29-30.  In Luke, chapter 23:35, the religious leaders were doing the mocking.  However, John did not have anyone making remarks about Jesus.  Matthew said that some passing by people abused and derided Jesus (Οἱ δὲ παραπορευόμενοι ἐβλασφήμουν αὐτὸν).  They shook their heads at Jesus (κινοῦντες τὰς κεφαλὰς αὐτῶν).  They reminded Jesus (καὶ λέγοντες) that he had said if the Temple was destroyed (Ὁ καταλύων τὸν ναὸν), he would rebuild it in three days (καὶ ἐν τρισὶν ἡμέραις οἰκοδομῶν).  They told Jesus to save himself (σῶσον σεαυτόν).  If he was the Son of God (εἰ Υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ Θεοῦ), why didn’t he come down from the cross (καὶ κατάβηθι ἀπὸ τοῦ σταυροῦ).  The taunting of these people seemed to turn on Jesus’ own words.

Put your swords away (Mt 26:52-26:54)

“Then Jesus said

To him.

‘Put your sword back

Into its place.

All who take

The sword

Will perish

By the sword.

Do you think

That I cannot appeal

To my Father?

He will at once

Send me

More than

Twelve legions

Of angels.

But how then

Should the scriptures

Be fulfilled?

It must happen

In this way.’”

 

τότε λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Ἀπόστρεψον τὴν μάχαιράν σου εἰς τὸν τόπον αὐτῆς· πάντες γὰρ οἱ λαβόντες μάχαιραν ἐν μαχαίρῃ ἀπολοῦνται.

ἢ δοκεῖς ὅτι οὐ δύναμαι παρακαλέσαι τὸν Πατέρα μου, καὶ παραστήσει μοι ἄρτι πλείω δώδεκα λεγιῶνας ἀγγέλων;

πῶς οὖν πληρωθῶσιν αἱ γραφαὶ ὅτι οὕτως δεῖ γενέσθαι;

 

This is unique to Matthew, among the synoptic gospelsHowever,  John, chapter 18:11, had Jesus tell Peter to put his sword away also.  Matthew recounted that Jesus said to the swordsman (τότε λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς) to put his sword away or put it back in the place where it belonged (Ἀπόστρεψον τὴν μάχαιράν σου εἰς τὸν τόπον αὐτῆς).  Then he said that all those who take up the sword (πάντες γὰρ οἱ λαβόντες μάχαιραν) would perish by the sword (ἐν μαχαίρῃ ἀπολοῦνται).  Live by the sword!  Die by the sword!  He reminded them that he could appeal to his Father (ἢ δοκεῖς ὅτι οὐ δύναμαι παρακαλέσαι τὸν Πατέρα μου) to send him more than 12 legions of angels (καὶ παραστήσει μοι ἄρτι πλείω δώδεκα λεγιῶνας ἀγγέλων).  Instead, these things had to happen this way to fulfill the scriptures (πῶς οὖν πληρωθῶσιν αἱ γραφαὶ ὅτι οὕτως δεῖ γενέσθαι).  There was no indication of what exact scriptures needed to be fulfilled.  Jesus maintained that he had heavenly or spiritual powers that could save him.  A legion was about 6,000 men, so that would mean about 72,000 angels could come to fight for Jesus.  However, based on the Father’s plan, this suffering was the way it was going to go.

The chief priests were angry (Mt 21:15-21:15)

“The chief priests

And the Scribes

Saw the amazing things

That Jesus did.

The children were crying out

In the Temple.

‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’

They became angry.”

 

ἰδόντες δὲ οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς τὰ θαυμάσια ἃ ἐποίησεν καὶ τοὺς παῖδας τοὺς κράζοντας ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ καὶ λέγοντας Ὡσαννὰ τῷ υἱῷ Δαυείδ, ἠγανάκτησαν,

 

This is unique to Matthew, who said that the chief priests and the scribes saw all the amazing and wonderful things that Jesus did (ἰδόντες δὲ οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς τὰ θαυμάσια ἃ ἐποίησεν).  The children were crying out in the Temple (καὶ τοὺς παῖδας τοὺς κράζοντας ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ).  They were saying to Jesus “Hosanna to the son of David (καὶ λέγοντας Ὡσαννὰ τῷ υἱῷ Δαυείδ)!”  These little children seem to praise Jesus and ask him to save them.  Obviously, this made the priests and scribes angry (ἠγανάκτησαν).  Matthew always pitted the Jewish leaders against Jesus since Jesus seemed to challenge their authority.

The crowds welcome the Son of David (Mt 21:8-21:9)

“A very large crowd

Spread their garments

On the road.

Others cut branches

From the trees.

They spread them

On the road.

The crowds went ahead of him.

Others followed him.

They were shouting.

‘Hosanna!

To the Son of David!

Blessed is the one

Who comes in the name of the Lord!

Hosanna in the highest heaven!’”

 

ὁ δὲ πλεῖστος ὄχλος ἔστρωσαν ἑαυτῶν τὰ ἱμάτια ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ, ἄλλοι δὲ ἔκοπτον κλάδους ἀπὸ τῶν δένδρων καὶ ἐστρώννυον ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ.

οἱ δὲ ὄχλοι οἱ προάγοντες αὐτὸν καὶ οἱ ἀκολουθοῦντες ἔκραζον λέγοντες Ὡσαννὰ τῷ υἱῷ Δαυείδ· Εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι Κυρίου· Ὡσαννὰ ἐν τοῖς ὑψίστοις.

 

Both Mark, chapter 11:8-10, and Luke, chapter 19:36-38, are similar but with slight differences.  Once again, Matthew emphasized the large crowds, as he said that a very large crowd of people (ὁ δὲ πλεῖστος ὄχλος) that spread out their outer garments or coats on the road (ἔστρωσαν ἑαυτῶν τὰ ἱμάτια ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ,).  Meanwhile, others were cutting down branches from the surrounding trees (ἄλλοι δὲ ἔκοπτον κλάδους ἀπὸ τῶν δένδρων).  They also spread out these branches on the road (καὶ ἐστρώννυον ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ).  The crowds were in front of him and behind him (οἱ δὲ ὄχλοι οἱ προάγοντες αὐτὸν καὶ οἱ ἀκολουθοῦντες).  They were all shouting out (ἔκραζον λέγοντες) “Hosanna to the Son of David (Ὡσαννὰ τῷ υἱῷ Δαυείδ)!”  He was the blessed one who came in the name of the Lord (Εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι Κυρίου).  These hosannas should reach to the highest heaven (Ὡσαννὰ ἐν τοῖς ὑψίστοις).  Hosanna was a Hebrew term of praise asking God to save them.  This saying came from the Hallel chants that was used in the Passover celebration, based on Psalm 118:26.  Later it became part of the Roman Catholic “Sanctus” chant in the Eucharistic celebration.  This event has become the great Palm Sunday celebration, the triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem.  Actually only John, chapter 12:13, called these palm branches.  This idea of laying garments on the road can be found in 2 Kings, chapter 9:13, to protect the feet of the king.  Clearly, this was an attempt to connect Jesus with the Davidic kingship.  Was Jesus to be the new king of Israel as a son of David?

The parable of the lost sheep (Mt 18:12-18:13)

“What do you think?

A shepherd

Has a hundred sheep.

If one of them has gone astray,

Does he not leave

The ninety-nine

On the mountains?

He goes in search

Of the one that went astray.

If he finds it,

Truly!

I say to you!

He rejoices over it

More than over the ninety-nine

That never went astray.”

 

Ἦλθεν γὰρ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου σῶσαι τὸ ἀπολωλός.

Τί ὑμῖν δοκεῖ; ἐὰν γένηταί τινι ἀνθρώπῳ ἑκατὸν πρόβατα καὶ πλανηθῇ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν, οὐχὶ ἀφήσει τὰ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα ἐπὶ τὰ ὄρη καὶ πορευθεὶς ζητεῖ τὸ πλανώμενον;

καὶ ἐὰν γένηται εὑρεῖν αὐτό, ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι χαίρει ἐπ’ αὐτῷ μᾶλλον ἢ ἐπὶ τοῖς ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα τοῖς μὴ πεπλανημένοις.

 

This parable of the lost sheep can also be found in Luke, chapter 15:3-6, with some minor changes.  In some Orthodox texts there is a line that the Son of Man had come to save those who were lost or destroyed (Ἦλθεν γὰρ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου σῶσαι τὸ ἀπολωλός).  Jesus then asked them to think (Τί ὑμῖν δοκεῖ) about this parable, although he did not call it a parable like Luke did.  A person or shepherd had 100 sheep (ἐὰν γένηταί τινι ἀνθρώπῳ ἑκατὸν πρόβατα).  One of these sheep wandered away from the rest of them and was lost (καὶ πλανηθῇ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν).  Thus, would he not leave the other 99 sheep in the mountains (οὐχὶ ἀφήσει τὰ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα ἐπὶ τὰ ὄρη)?  He would then search for the lost sheep that had wandered astray (καὶ πορευθεὶς ζητεῖ τὸ πλανώμενον).  Jesus then had a solemn pronouncement (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  If he found that one sheep (καὶ ἐὰν γένηται εὑρεῖν αὐτό) he would rejoice over that more than over the 99 sheep that had never wandered away (ὅτι χαίρει ἐπ’ αὐτῷ μᾶλλον ἢ ἐπὶ τοῖς ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα τοῖς μὴ πεπλανημένοις).  Every sheep was precious in the sight of this good shepherd.

Peter walks on the water (Mt 14:29-14:30)

“Jesus said.

‘Come!’

Thus,

Peter got out of the boat.

He started walking

On the water.

He came toward Jesus.

But when he noticed

The strong wind,

He became frightened.

He began to sink.

He cried out.

‘Lord!

Save me!’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ἐλθέ. καὶ καταβὰς ἀπὸ τοῦ πλοίου Πέτρος περιεπάτησεν ἐπὶ τὰ ὕδατα καὶ ἦλθεν πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν.

βλέπων δὲ τὸν ἄνεμον ἐφοβήθη, καὶ ἀρξάμενος καταποντίζεσθαι ἔκραξεν λέγων Κύριε, σῶσόν με.

 

This section about Peter walking on the water is unique to Matthew, as he tended to emphasize the importance of Peter.  Jesus told Peter to come to him (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ἐλθέ).  Thus, Peter got out of the boat (καὶ καταβὰς ἀπὸ τοῦ πλοίου Πέτρος) and started walking on the water (περιεπάτησεν ἐπὶ τὰ ὕδατα).  He came toward Jesus (καὶ ἦλθεν πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν), but he noticed a strong wind (βλέπων δὲ τὸν ἄνεμον), so that he became frightened (ἐφοβήθη).  Thus, he began to sink (καὶ ἀρξάμενος καταποντίζεσθαι), as he cried out to Jesus, his Lord or master, to save him (ἔκραξεν λέγων Κύριε, σῶσόν με).

The response of Jesus (Mt 11:4-11:6)

“Jesus answered them.

‘Go on your way!

Tell John

What you hear!

Tell him

What you see!

The blind receive their sight.

The lame people walk.

The lepers are cleansed.

The deaf hear.

The dead are raised up.

The poor have good news

Brought to them.

Blessed is anyone

Who takes no offense at me!’”

 

καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Πορευθέντες ἀπαγγείλατε Ἰωάνει ἃ ἀκούετε καὶ βλέπετε·

τυφλοὶ ἀναβλέπουσιν καὶ χωλοὶ περιπατοῦσιν, λεπροὶ καθαρίζονται καὶ κωφοὶ ἀκούουσιν, καὶ νεκροὶ ἐγείρονται καὶ πτωχοὶ εὐαγγελίζονται·

καὶ μακάριός ἐστιν ὃς ἐὰν μὴ σκανδαλισθῇ ἐν ἐμοί.

 

This is word for word like Luke, chapter 7:22-23, indicating a possible Q source.  Jesus responded or answered these disciples and their question (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  He told them to report back after their journey to John (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Πορευθέντες ἀπαγγείλατε Ἰωάνει) what they had heard and seen (ἃ ἀκούετε καὶ βλέπετε).  Then Jesus listed what he had been doing.  The blind recovered their sight (τυφλοὶ ἀναβλέπουσιν).  The lame people were walking around (καὶ χωλοὶ περιπατοῦσιν καὶ χωλοὶ περιπατοῦσιν).  The lepers were cleansed (, λεπροὶ καθαρίζονται).  The deaf were able to hear (καὶ κωφοὶ ἀκούουσιν).  The dead were raised up (καὶ νεκροὶ ἐγείρονται).  The poor and destitute people were getting good news brought to them (καὶ πτωχοὶ εὐαγγελίζονται).  The blessed, happy, and fortunate people were not scandalized, offended, or stumbled because of Jesus (καὶ μακάριός ἐστιν ὃς ἐὰν μὴ σκανδαλισθῇ ἐν ἐμοί).  This is a very strong response, as if to say that he was the Messiah, the Christ, the anointed one, something that Jesus did not do often.  The messianic expectation was based on Isaiah, chapter 35:4-6, when the savior, their God would come with a vengeance to make up for past problems.  He would come to save them.  Isaiah seems to indicate that there would be a reversal of fortune, a change in the ways that things happen.  The blind would see.  The deaf would hear.  The lame would run.  The mute people would speak.

Wake up Jesus (Mt 8:25-8:25)

“They went

To wake him up

Saying.

‘Save us!

Lord!

We are perishing!’”

 

καὶ προσελθόντες ἤγειραν αὐτὸν λέγοντες Κύριε, σῶσον, ἀπολλύμεθα.

 

This waking of Jesus can be found in Mark, chapter 4:38, and Luke, chapter 8:24, somewhat similar.  Mark is not as frantic, but Luke has a sense of urgency.  These followers or disciples went to wake up Jesus (καὶ προσελθόντες ἤγειραν αὐτὸν).  They cried out to the Lord (λέγοντες Κύριε) that they wanted to be saved or rescued (σῶσον), because they were dying or facing certain death (ἀπολλύμεθα.).  They were definitely afraid and scared.

The prophet Isaiah (Mt 4:14-4:16)

“Thus,

What had been spoken

Through the prophet Isaiah

Might be fulfilled.

‘The land of Zebulun,

The land of Naphtali,

On the road by the sea,

Across the Jordan,

Galilee of the Gentiles!

The people

Who sat in darkness

Have seen a great light.

Light has dawned

For those who sat

In the region,

In the shadow of death.’”

 

ἵνα πληρωθῇ τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Ἠσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος

Γῆ Ζαβουλὼν καὶ γῆ Νεφθαλείμ, ὁδὸν θαλάσσης, πέραν τοῦ Ἰορδάνου, Γαλιλαία τῶν ἐθνῶν,

ὁ λαὸς ὁ καθήμενος ἐν σκοτίᾳ φῶς εἶδεν μέγα, καὶ τοῖς καθημένοις ἐν χώρᾳ καὶ σκιᾷ θανάτου φῶς ἀνέτειλεν αὐτοῖς.

 

Matthew was unique in using this citation from Isaiah, chapter 9:1-5, where Isaiah was describing a defeat of the northern territories of Zebulun and Naphtali (Γῆ Ζαβουλὼν καὶ γῆ Νεφθαλείμ), near the Syrian border in the 8th century BCE. They were on the road near the sea, across the Jordan (ὁδὸν θαλάσσης, πέραν τοῦ Ἰορδάνου). Thus, this area became known as the Galilee of the gentles or the other nations or non-Jewish people (Γαλιλαία τῶν ἐθνῶν). Matthew used Isaiah, even though at the time of Jesus, there were a lot of Jewish people in Galilee. Using Isaiah, Matthew said that these people were sitting in darkness (ὁ λαὸς ὁ καθήμενος ἐν σκοτίᾳ), but the good news was that a great light would come to them (φῶς εἶδεν μέγα) to shine on their darkness. This dawning light (φῶς ἀνέτειλεν αὐτοῖς) would save those who were sitting in the shadowy land of death (καὶ τοῖς καθημένοις ἐν χώρᾳ καὶ σκιᾷ θανάτου). Matthew saw that this as a fulfillment of the prophetic words of Isaiah (ἵνα πληρωθῇ τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Ἠσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος). This saying from Isaiah preceded his saying about a child being born.