Jesus at prayer (Lk 6:12-6:12)

“Now during those days,

Jesus went out

To the mountain

To pray.

He spent the night

In prayer

To God.”

 

Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ταύταις ἐξελθεῖν αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ ὄρος προσεύξασθαι, καὶ ἦν διανυκτερεύων ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

Luke said that during those days (Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ταύταις), Jesus went out to the mountain to pray (ἐξελθεῖν αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ ὄρος προσεύξασθαι).  He spent the night (καὶ ἦν διανυκτερεύων) in prayer to God (ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Mark, chapter 3:13, also said that Jesus went up a mountain, much like Moses.  Going to a mountain was a way of getting closer to God in the high heavens.  Here Luke emphasized the prayerful solitary preparation of Jesus before his decision about the 12 apostles, as he spent the night praying to God.  This also brings up the separation between Jesus and God,the Father.

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Joseph goes to Nazareth (Mt 2:23-1:23)

“There Joseph

Made his home

In a town called

Nazareth.

Thus,

What was spoken

Through the prophets

Might be fulfilled.

‘He will be called a Nazorean.’”

 

καὶ ἐλθὼν κατῴκησεν εἰς πόλιν λεγομένην Ναζαρέτ· ὅπως πληρωθῇ τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ τῶν προφητῶν ὅτι Ναζωραῖος κληθήσεται.

 

Joseph took his family to a specific place in lower Galilee, a city called Nazareth (ἐλθὼν κατῴκησεν εἰς πόλιν λεγομένην Ναζαρέτ). Somehow, this fulfilled a prophecy (ὅπως πληρωθῇ τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ τῶν προφητῶν) about being called a Nazarene (ὅτι Ναζωραῖος κληθήσεται). Some of Jesus’ followers were called Nazarenes. He was also known as Jesus of Nazareth since this was his childhood home. People have been living in Nazareth for nearly 5.000 years, with over 75,000 people today, as the largest Arab city in Israel. Nazareth may have had a population of about 400 at the time of Jesus. The town of Nazareth is about 20 miles from the Sea of Galilee and about 6 miles west of Mount Tabor, but over 100 miles from Jerusalem. It is difficult to pinpoint where this prophecy comes from. In Judges, chapter 13:2-7, there is a comment that a boy will be a Nazirite from birth, so that no one should cut his hair. Thus, he would deliver Israel from the Philistines. According to Numbers, chapter 6:1-21, there were rules laid out for those who would take the Nazirite vows. They would not drink wine, nor shave their beards. They were not to go near a corpse. They had to bring special offerings to the Temple. This separation and special consecration may have been present among other ancient people, but here it is under Mosaic Law. The normal time period, according to some rabbinic schools, was about a month of Nazirite vows, although others may have been longer. Some have referred to John the Baptist as a Nazirite. On top of that, Jesus of Nazareth may have been confused with Jesus the Nazirite. Is that the case here?

Pantheism

Pantheism is close to polytheism, but goes one step further.  Pantheists proclaim that the transcendent God is imminent in everything.  Everything is divine, since there is no separation between all reality and God.  God is everywhere and in everything.  This is a long way from the monotheism mentioned earlier.

The parting of the ways

The distinction between the Old Testament and the New Testament raises the question of whether the separation of the first century Christian groups and the nascent first century CE Rabbinic Jewish groups was just a continuation of an earlier dispute.  Did the fall of the Temple in 70 CE put the final nail in the coffin?  Was this the fracture of Judaism, as the two groups went in different ways?  Already in the second century BCE, there were differences between the Judean Maccabeus group and the Greek Hellenistic Jews.  None of the inspired Jewish biblical writers who called themselves followers of Jesus Christ in the first century wrote in Hebrew, but all wrote in Greek.  Was Christianity, or the forming of the Christian communities, the final stage of this dispute within Judaism about the role of Greek?

The intervention of the high priest Alcimus (2 Macc 14:3-14:5)

“A certain Alcimus, who had formerly been high priest but had willfully defiled himself in the times of separation, realized that there was no way for him to be safe or to have access again to the holy altar. He then went to King Demetrius in about the one hundred and fifty-first year, presenting to him a crown of gold and a palm. Besides these things he presented some of the customary olive branches from the temple. During that day he kept quiet. However, he found an opportunity that furthered his mad purpose when he was invited by Demetrius to a meeting of the council. He was asked about the attitude and intentions of the Jews.”

Once again, this is similar to 1 Maccabees, chapter 7. There it was King Demetrius I who made Alcimus the high priest from 162-159 BCE. This Alcimus was also the leader of the renegades in 1 Maccabees. Here he already is the high priest since Menelaus had preceded him as the high priest in Jerusalem before his death in 162 BCE. He had presented the new king with gold and palm branches as well as olive branches from the Temple. He had been quiet during the day, but then he was invited to a meeting with King Demetrius I and his council who wanted to know about the attitude and intentions of the Jews.