Explain the Kingdom of God (Mk 4:30-4:30)

“Jesus said.

‘With what

Can we compare

The kingdom of God?

What parable

Will we use for it?’”

 

Καὶ ἔλεγεν Πῶς ὁμοιώσωμεν τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἢ ἐν τίνι αὐτὴν παραβολῇ θῶμεν;

 

This saying of Jesus, via Mark, can be found in Matthew, chapter 13:31, and Luke, chapter 13:18, with Luke closer to Mark, who might have been the source of this saying.  Mark reported that Jesus said (Καὶ ἔλεγεν) what can we compare the kingdom of God with (Πῶς ὁμοιώσωμεν τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ)?  What parable will we use for it (ἢ ἐν τίνι αὐτὴν παραβολῇ θῶμεν)?  Jesus wanted to know how to explain the kingdom of God with a good parable?

The importance of marriage (Mt 19:4-19:6)

“Jesus answered.

‘Have you not read

That the one who made them

At the beginning

Made them male

And female?

He said.

‘For this reason,

A man shall leave

His father

And mother.

He shall be joined

To his wife.

The two shall become

One flesh’

Thus,

They are no longer two

But one flesh.

Therefore,

What God has joined together,

Let no one separate.’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε ὅτι ὁ κτίσας ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτοὺς

καὶ εἶπεν Ἕνεκα τούτου καταλείψει ἄνθρωπος τὸν πατέρα καὶ τὴν μητέρα καὶ κολληθήσεται τῇ γυναικὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἔσονται οἱ δύο εἰς σάρκα μίαν;

ὥστε οὐκέτι εἰσὶν δύο ἀλλὰ σὰρξ μία. ὃ οὖν ὁ Θεὸς συνέζευξεν, ἄνθρωπος μὴ χωριζέτω.

 

This saying of Jesus that points to the importance and indissolubility of marriage can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:6-9, almost word for word.  Jesus used the creation story of Genesis to emphasize his point.  Jesus answered them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν) by asking them if they not read or know Genesis, chapters 1:27 and 2:24 (Οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε).  Jesus noted that from the beginning God had made humans male and female (ὅτι ὁ κτίσας ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτοὺς).  At the pinnacle of creation, God created humans in his image.  Both men and women were created equal in God’s image.  Jesus continued that a man leaves his father and mother (Ἕνεκα τούτου καταλείψει ἄνθρωπος τὸν πατέρα καὶ τὴν μητέρα), so that he could become joined to his wife (καὶ κολληθήσεται τῇ γυναικὶ αὐτοῦ).  The two of them will become one flesh (καὶ ἔσονται οἱ δύο εἰς σάρκα μίαν), so that they are no longer two but one flesh (ὥστε οὐκέτι εἰσὶν δύο ἀλλὰ σὰρξ).  The conclusion was that what God has joined together (ὃ οὖν ὁ Θεὸς συνέζευξεν), no one should separate (ἄνθρωπος μὴ χωριζέτω).

Only the lost sheep of Israel (Mt 15:23-15:24)

“But Jesus

Did not answer her

At all.

His disciples came.

They urged him,

Saying.

‘Send her away!

She keeps shouting

After us.’

He answered.

‘I was sent only

To the lost sheep

Of the house of Israel.’”

 

ὁ δὲ οὐκ ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῇ λόγον. καὶ προσελθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἠρώτουν αὐτὸν λέγοντες Ἀπόλυσον αὐτήν, ὅτι κράζει ὄπισθεν ἡμῶν.

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Οὐκ ἀπεστάλην εἰ μὴ εἰς τὰ πρόβατα τὰ ἀπολωλότα οἴκου Ἰσραήλ.

 

This saying of Jesus is unique to Matthew, thus, not in the Mark narrative.  Jesus did not respond to her with any words at all (ὁ δὲ οὐκ ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῇ λόγον).  However, his disciples came to him to tell him to implore or urge her (καὶ προσελθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἠρώτουν αὐτὸν λέγοντες) to go away (Ἀπόλυσον αὐτήν), because she was shouting after them (ὅτι κράζει ὄπισθεν ἡμῶν),  Then Jesus answered (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν) that he was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Οὐκ ἀπεστάλην εἰ μὴ εἰς τὰ πρόβατα τὰ ἀπολωλότα οἴκου Ἰσραήλ), not to other people.  However, Jesus had cured the Roman centurion’s servant in chapter 8:5-13.

For or against Jesus (Mt 12:30-12:30)

“Whoever is not with me,

Is against me.

Whoever does not gather

With me,

Scatters.”

 

ὁ μὴ ὢν μετ’ ἐμοῦ κατ’ ἐμοῦ ἐστιν, καὶ ὁ μὴ συνάγων μετ’ ἐμοῦ σκορπίζει.

 

This saying of Jesus is exactly the same, word for word, in Luke, chapter 11:23, thus indicating a Q source.  You are either with Jesus or against him.  There is no in between.  Whoever is not with Jesus (ὁ μὴ ὢν μετ’ ἐμοῦ), is against him (κατ’ ἐμοῦ ἐστιν).  Whoever does not gather with Jesus (καὶ ὁ μὴ συνάγων μετ’ ἐμοῦ), scatters abroad (σκορπίζει).  Either you stand and gather with Jesus or you are against him and scatter everywhere.  The choice is yours.

A prophet and the righteous one (Mt 10:41-10:41)

“Whoever welcomes

A prophet

In the name of a prophet

Will receive

A prophet’s reward.

Whoever welcomes a righteous man

In the name of a righteous man

Will receive

The reward of a righteous man.”

 

ὁ δεχόμενος προφήτην εἰς ὄνομα προφήτου μισθὸν προφήτου λήμψεται, καὶ ὁ δεχόμενος δίκαιον εἰς ὄνομα δικαίου μισθὸν δικαίου λήμψεται.

 

There does not seem to be a parallel verse to this saying of Jesus, via Matthew.  It seems like an extension or explanation of the preceding verse.  If you accept or welcome a prophet (ὁ δεχόμενος προφήτην) in that prophet’s name (εἰς ὄνομα προφήτου), then you would get a prophet’s reward (μισθὸν προφήτου λήμψεται).  If you accept a righteous man (καὶ ὁ δεχόμενος δίκαιον), in the name of a righteous man (εἰς ὄνομα δικαίου), then you would receive a righteous reward (μισθὸν δικαίου λήμψεται).  These prophets and righteous men will be the new disciples of Jesus.  Clearly Jesus emphasized the role of righteousness among his followers.  Jesus was incorporating the idea of prophetic justice or prophetic righteousness into his followers, who would not be afraid of his name.

The death of a father (Mt 8:21-8:22)

“Another of the disciples

Said to him.

‘Lord!

Let me first go

To bury my father!’

But Jesus said to him,

‘Follow me!

Let the dead

Bury their own dead.’”

 

τερος δὲ τῶν μαθητῶν εἶπεν αὐτῷ Κύριε, ἐπίτρεψόν μοι πρῶτον ἀπελθεῖν καὶ θάψαι τὸν πατέρα μου.

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς λέγει αὐτῷ Ἀκολούθει μοι, καὶ ἄφες τοὺς νεκροὺς θάψαι τοὺς ἑαυτῶν νεκρούς.

 

This saying of Jesus is almost the same in Luke, chapter 9:59-60, indicating a possible Q source.  Once again, this is a harsh saying about discipleship of Jesus.  Another follower of Jesus (τερος δὲ τῶν μαθητῶν) said to him (εἶπεν αὐτῷ), calling him the “Lord” (Κύριε) that he wanted to be allowed to bury his father first (ἐπίτρεψόν μοι πρῶτον ἀπελθεῖν καὶ θάψαι τὸν πατέρα μου), as it was the Jewish custom to bury people within 7 days.  However, Jesus’ response was not very compassionate.  Quite the opposite, Jesus told his follower (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς λέγει αὐτῷ), a true disciple of Jesus who was a “μαθητῶν,” to follow him (Ἀκολούθει μοι).  Jesus added, that the dead should bury their own dead (καὶ ἄφες τοὺς νεκροὺς θάψαι τοὺς ἑαυτῶν νεκρούς).  This seems to deny any mourning period.

Jesus is homeless (Mt 8:20-8:20)

“Jesus said to him.

‘Foxes have holes.

Birds of the air

Have nests.

But the Son of Man

Has nowhere

To lay his head.’”

 

καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Αἱ ἀλώπεκες φωλεοὺς ἔχουσιν καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνώσεις, ὁ δὲ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἔχει ποῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν κλίνῃ.

 

This saying of Jesus is exactly the same in Luke, chapter 9:58, indicating a possible Q source.  Jesus responded to this scribe (καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς) by telling him that he was homeless.  Foxes had foxholes (Αἱ ἀλώπεκες φωλεοὺς ἔχουσιν).  Birds of the air had nests (καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνώσεις).  However, the Son of Man (ὁ δὲ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) had nowhere to put his head (οὐκ ἔχει ποῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν κλίνῃ).  This is the first instance of Matthew having Jesus say that he was the “Son of Man” (Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου), since this might be based on the Book of Daniel, chapter 7:13.  Daniel also saw in his night vision that the “son of man” was coming from heaven.  This Son of Man went to the Ancient One and presented himself to God.  However, he was given dominion, glory and kingship over all people, nations, and languages.  Everyone would serve him, since his kingdom would last forever, and never be destroyed.  This has been often interpreted as the coming of the Messiah, the savior.  Jesus and his disciples used this term.  However, in the Book of Ezekiel, Yahweh used this term for Ezekiel.  So that, the “Son of Man” may also mean that Jesus was trying to point out his humanity, like everyone else.