Jesus at a lonely place (Lk 4:42-4:42)

“At daybreak,

Jesus departed.

He went into

A deserted place.

The crowds

Were looking

For him.

When they reached him,

They wanted to prevent him

From leaving them.”

 

Γενομένης δὲ ἡμέρας ἐξελθὼν ἐπορεύθη εἰς ἔρημον τόπον· καὶ οἱ ὄχλοι ἐπεζήτουν αὐτόν, καὶ ἦλθον ἕως αὐτοῦ, καὶ κατεῖχον αὐτὸν τοῦ μὴ πορεύεσθαι ἀπ’ αὐτῶν.

 

Luke said that when daybreak came (Γενομένης δὲ ἡμέρας), Jesus departed or left (ἐξελθὼν) Capernaum.  He went into a deserted place (ἐπορεύθη εἰς ἔρημον τόπον).  The crowds were looking or searching for him (καὶ οἱ ὄχλοι ἐπεζήτουν αὐτόν).  When they reached him (καὶ ἦλθον ἕως αὐτοῦ), they wanted to prevent him or detain him from leaving them (καὶ κατεῖχον αὐτὸν τοῦ μὴ πορεύεσθαι ἀπ’ αὐτῶν).  There is something similar in Mark, chapter 1:35-36.  Jesus went out to a deserted place at daybreak, following the healings of the evening before. as here, but Jesus went out to pray, which was not mentioned here.  Jesus left the other disciples behind early in the morning before daybreak.  Luke had the crowds of people come to him, but there was no mention of Simon or the other disciples as in Mark.  However, Mark never mentioned anything about preventing Jesus from leaving.  Clearly, Jesus had a hard time being alone.

The family of Jesus (Mk 6:3-6:3)

“‘Is not this the carpenter,

The son of Mary,

The brother of James,

Joses,

Judas,

And Simon?

Are not his sisters

Here with us?’

They took offense

At Jesus.”

 

οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τέκτων, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς Μαρίας καὶ ἀδελφὸς Ἰακώβου καὶ Ἰωσῆτος καὶ Ἰούδα καὶ Σίμωνος; καὶ οὐκ εἰσὶν αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ ὧδε πρὸς ἡμᾶς; καὶ ἐσκανδαλίζοντο ἐν αὐτῷ.

 

This story about the relatives of Jesus can be found in Matthew, chapter 13:55-56, while Luke does not go into this problem.  Mark said that the local people asked, whether Jesus was a carpenter (οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ῦ τέκτων), not a carpenter’s son as in Matthew?  A carpenter could also mean a builder or artisan.  However, Mark explicitly mentioned the name of Jesus’ mother, Mary (ὁ υἱὸς τῆς Μαρίας).  Were not his brothers there James, Joses, Simon, and Judas (καὶ ἀδελφὸς Ἰακώβου καὶ Ἰωσῆτος καὶ Ἰούδα καὶ Σίμωνος)?  There is a difference in one brother’s name mentioned by Matthew and Mark.  Could Joses be the same as Joseph with a simple letter mistake?  Were not all his sisters there with them also (καὶ οὐκ εἰσὶν αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ ὧδε πρὸς ἡμᾶς)?  These relatives took offense or were scandalized by Jesus (καὶ ἐσκανδαλίζοντο ἐν αὐτῷ).  Once again there is the question of the brothers and sisters of Jesus.  These brothers and sisters could be biological brothers or sisters, half-brothers and half-sisters from a first marriage of Joseph, or kissing cousins or other close cousins of the family.  The Hebrew and Aramaic language did not have a distinctive word for cousins, so that the words “brother” and “sister” were often used to mean more than a biological brother.  Just as today, people sometimes refer to others as brothers or sisters, when there is no biological link.  However, the Greek language did have a word for cousins.  Half-brothers often refer to themselves as brothers or sisters today also.  The traditional belief of Christians, even though the Reformation period, has been that Mary was a virgin, so that Jesus was her only son.  Here there are explicit names for the brothers of Jesus, James, Joses, Simon, and Judas, who may have been leaders in the early Christian community but were never mentioned as disciples.  They clearly were relatives of Jesus, exactly how is not clear

 

The other apostles (Mk 3:18-3:18)

Then there was

Andrew,

And Philip,

And Bartholomew,

And Matthew,

And Thomas,

And James

The son of Alphaeus,

And Thaddaeus,

And Simon,

The Cananaean.”

 

καὶ Ἀνδρέαν καὶ Φίλιππον καὶ Βαρθολομαῖον καὶ Μαθθαῖον καὶ Θωμᾶν καὶ Ἰάκωβον τὸν τοῦ Ἁλφαίου καὶ Θαδδαῖον καὶ Σίμωνα τὸν Καναναῖον

 

This section about naming the 12 apostles is similar to Matthew, chapter 10:3-4, and Luke, chapter 6:14-16.  This list can also be compared to the list in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 1:13.  Except for Matthew and Andrew, the other 6 apostles are not mentioned by name elsewhere in the gospels.  Andrew (καὶ Ἀνδρέαν), the brother of Simon, is first here, but without being called his brother.  Then there was Philip (Φίλιππον), Bartholomew (καὶ Βαρθολομαῖον), Matthew (καὶ Μαθθαῖον), not called Levi, Thomas (καὶ Θωμᾶν), James, the son of Alphaeus (Ἰάκωβον τὸν τοῦ Ἁλφαίου), Thaddaeus (καὶ Θαδδαῖον), Simon the Cananaean (καὶ Σίμωνα τὸν Καναναῖον).  Obviously, this Simon may have not been Jewish since he is called a Cananaean.  Sometimes, this may have been a reference to the Zealots.  In Mark 2:14, Levi or Matthew was called the son of Alphaeus as James is here.  However, Thaddaeus was only listed by Matthew and Mark, while Luke and the Acts listed him as Jude or Judas, the son of James, not Thaddaeus.  Are these two-different people or just two different names?  Is this Jude Thaddeus like Simon Peter and Levi Matthew?  Did he have a Jewish and a Greek name?

First there was Peter (Mk 3:16-3:16)

“Thus,

Jesus appointed

The Twelve.

There was Simon

Whom he named Peter.”

 

καὶ ἐποίησεν τοὺς δώδεκα, καὶ ἐπέθηκεν ὄνομα τῷ Σίμωνι Πέτρον·

 

This section about the names of the 12 apostles is similar to Mathew, chapter 10:2-4 and Luke, chapter 6:13-16.  This list can also be compared to the list in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 1:13.  Mark said that Jesus appointed these 12 disciples as apostles (καὶ ἐποίησεν τοὺς δώδεκα).  First of all, there was Simon, known as Peter (καὶ ἐπέθηκεν ὄνομα τῷ Σίμωνι Πέτρον).  Mark indicated that Simon’s name of Peter came from Jesus.  It is interesting that his brother Andrew was not listed here as in in the other listings in Matthew and Luke, since his calling was linked with his brother Simon in Mark, chapter 1:16-17.  Instead, he was listed with the other apostles later.  Why did Andrew not make the cut with his brother Simon here?

The call of the sons of Zebedee (Mk 1:20-1:20)

“Immediately,

Jesus called them.

They left

Their father,

Zebedee,

In the boat

With the hired men.

They followed after Jesus.”

 

καὶ εὐθὺς ἐκάλεσεν αὐτούς· καὶ ἀφέντες τὸν πατέρα αὐτῶν Ζεβεδαῖον ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ μετὰ τῶν μισθωτῶν ἀπῆλθον ὀπίσω αὐτοῦ.

 

Once again, the similarity with Matthew, chapter 4:22, is quite striking, almost word for word.  Then as Jesus had done with the other two brothers, he immediately called these two brothers (καὶ εὐθὺς ἐκάλεσεν αὐτούς).  Just like Simon and Andrew had done, they left both their boat and also their father Zebedee (καὶ ἀφέντες τὸν πατέρα αὐτῶν Ζεβεδαῖον ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ).  However, they left their father with some hired servants (μετὰ τῶν μισθωτῶν) that was not mentioned in Matthew.  Both James and John, the sons of Zebedee, followed after Jesus (ἀπῆλθον ὀπίσω αὐτοῦ).  So now, we have the first four disciples of Jesus, two sets of brothers, according to Matthew and Mark.

Fourth narrative

The fourth narrative section revealed the increasing opposition to Jesus.  Thus, his disciples had to prepare for his absence.  These instructions emphasized responsibility and humility.  Simon was renamed Peter, the rock upon which he was going to build his church, especially the mystery of the kingdom of heaven.

While Jesus was preaching in the various towns, John the Baptist was put in prison.  The disciples of John questioned Jesus and Jesus responded.  Jesus then asked questions about John.  Was John more than a prophet?  Then Matthew had a series of Old Testament scriptural quotations about John.  How great was John the Baptist?  Was John Elijah?

Jesus warned that this was a childish generation that was indifferent as they kept on eating and drinking, as if nothing important was happening.  Jesus was against the various Galilean cities and towns, especially Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum.  Jesus explained that there were hidden things from the wise ones, especially the relationship of the Father with the Son, but that the disciples had an easy yoke to bear.

Next came the question of eating on the Sabbath.  The Pharisees reacted against Jesus, but he used the example of David and the priests in the Temple to respond to them.  God was the Lord of the Sabbath.  Thus, when Jesus went into the synagogue, they asked him if he would heal anyone on the Sabbath?  Jesus compared sheep to human beings and then healed the man’s hand.  Thus, the Pharisees conspired against Jesus, while he took a low profile.

Jesus said that the fulfillment of the prophesy of Isaiah was at hand in the servant of Yahweh.  Jesus cured the blind and mute man as the crowds were amazed.  However, the Pharisees compared Jesus to Beelzebul, the devil.  Jesus responded that a divided kingdom would not stand.  The Spirit of God was with Jesus.  The bandits tied up people before stealing from them.  You were either for or against Jesus.  They should be aware of the sin against the Holy Spirit.

Jesus then issued a series of sayings about a tree and its fruit.  He compared the Pharisees to a brood of vipers.  There could be good and bad treasures.  Words would either save or condemn them.

Jesus told them about the sign for this evil generation that was always seeking signs.  He was only going to give them the sign of Jonah.  Notice how the men of Nineveh reacted.  The Queen of Sheba brought gifts to Solomon.  The unclean spirit would return with other evil spirits.  The relatives of Jesus, his mother and brothers showed up, but Jesus said that he had a new family.

Then Jesus spoke in parables siting in a boat by the sea.  There was the parable of the sower with his lost seeds, where only a few of the seeds fell on good soil.  His disciples wanted to know why he was speaking in parables, so that Jesus explained why he used parables.  Once again, he referred to a prophecy of Isaiah.  He explained about the seeds on the rocky ground and the seeds among the thorns.  Finally, he explained the meaning of the seeds on good ground or path since they were the blessed ones.

Then there was the parable about the weeds among the wheat.  The slaves let the weeds grow and then separated them at harvest time.  There were other parables about the mustard seed and the yeast.  Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, but he explained these parables to his disciples, especially the sower, the field, and the seeds.  He explained the enemy and the burning of the weeds.  The punishment for the weeds came at the harvest end times.  Thus, the reward for the righteous will be at the end times.

The kingdom of heaven was like a treasure, like pearls, and like a fishing net.  Jesus explained the parables because the disciples did not understand them.  They were like new and old treasures.

Jesus was an astonishment in his own home town.  They all knew the family of Jesus.  Thus, he was a prophet without honor in his own country.

Herod thought that Jesus was a resurrected John the Baptist, but he was afraid of John the Baptist.  At his birthday party, Herod granted the wish to have the head of John the Baptist on a platter.  Meanwhile, John the Baptist’s disciples buried him.

Jesus was worried as he was healing the sick people.  The disciples complained about the crowds, so that Jesus told them to give them something to eat.  However, they only had five loaves and two fish.  Then Jesus blessed the five loaves of bread and distributed them to the crowd.  There were even leftovers from this crowd of five thousand people.

The disciples left in a boat, so that Jesus prayed alone.  The boat was in the middle of the sea when Jesus walked on water to come to them.   Peter talked to Jesus and then attempted to walk on the water.  Jesus then saved Peter who recognized Jesus as the Son of God.  Then there were the healings at Gennesaret, where Jesus cured the sick.

The Pharisees from Jerusalem came to Jesus to ask him why his disciples did not wash their hands before eating.  Jesus responded by telling them to honor their parents since there was hypocrisy in their traditions.  He cited Isaiah about vain worship.  He told them to hear and understand.  They should watch what came out of their mouth rather than what went into their mouth as defilement.  The Pharisees were offended, but Jesus called them blind guides.  Peter wanted to understand more so that Jesus explained the mouth should speak from the heart.

Jesus went to the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon where he met a Canaanite woman.  He said that he was only going to the lost sheep of Israel, but this Canaanite woman persistently asked for help.  Jesus refused again saying that he could not feed the dogs.  However, she responded that dogs eat crumbs from the table.  Jesus said that she had great faith and healed her.

As Jesus healed the crowds of people in the mountain near the Sea of Galilee, he had compassion for them.  Where will they get food?  His disciples said that they had seven loaves.  Jesus then gave thanks over them and distributed the bread to four thousand men as there was a second multiplication of bread loaves.

Jesus went to Magadan.  There the Pharisees asked for a sign from heaven.  Once again, Jesus said that there are weather signs, but he would only give this evil generation the sign of Jonah.

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, but Jesus warned them about the yeast of the Pharisees.  He reprimanded his disciples for their lack of faith as he reminded them about the multiplication of the loaves of bread.  They should be worried about the Pharisees not food.

What was the role of Peter?  Jesus asked about the Son of Man as the disciples responded.  Then Jesus asked them about himself.  Peter gave a very positive response, so that Jesus rewarded him.  The Messianic secret was tied to the future of Jesus in this conversation between Peter and Jesus.  He would have to take up his cross if wanted to save his life because the Son of Man in his kingdom would be coming soon.

Jesus took three of his apostles up a mountain where he was transfigured before them.  Moses and Elijah appeared with him.  Peter wanted to set up three tents for them.  A voice from the cloud came as the three apostles adored him.  Jesus asked them to be silent about this.  What was the role of Elijah and John the Baptist?

An epileptic man knelt before Jesus that his disciples were unable to heal.  Jesus then healed him, so that his disciples wondered why they were unable to heal this epileptic?  Jesus spoke about the future of the Son of Man.  Should they pay the Temple tax?  Jesus responded that the son of the king did not pay taxes, but he told Peter to pay them anyway.

Finally, we have the ecclesiastical discourse about who is the greatest.  A child is the greatest because when you welcome a little child, you welcome Jesus.  They were not to cause children to sin.  They were not to tempt people.  It would be better to be maimed and blind than suffer eternal fire.  They were not to despise the little ones.  Jesus explained the parable of the lost sheep and fraternal correction.  What were you to do with a sinning brother.  Let him become a gentile, if he does not listen.  Common prayer was important so that they should gather in his name.  How often should they forgive?  The response was the seventy times seven.

Then there was the parable of the unforgiving servant slave.  The master settled accounts with servant slaves.  One owed ten thousand talents, so that the king forgave him his debt.  However, this servant slave would not forgive the debt of his fellow slaves, who were angry.  Thus, this unforgiving slave was tortured.  This parable explanation was simple, forgive your brothers.

First narrative

This first narrative began with the baptism of Jesus and his preaching about the kingdom of heaven.  Once again, there are five sections.  First there was the preaching of John the Baptist with his message of repentance.  Matthew made a comparison of the prophet Isaiah with John, including a description of John.  People went to John at the Jordan River where he baptized people.  John was against the Pharisees and the Sadducees, since he felt that the children of Abraham should not be presumptuous.  However, there was a powerful one yet to come when the chaff would burn.

The second section was about the baptism of Jesus, as he came to John.  However, John did not want to baptize Jesus, but Jesus insisted.  At the baptism of Jesus, a voice declared that Jesus was the beloved son, as the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descended on Jesus.  Thus, John the Baptist and Jesus remain linked together.

The third section was about the temptations of Jesus in the desert.  Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights.  Then Jesus had his first temptation with his response.  After the second and third temptations and responses of Jesus, the devil left.

The fourth section had Jesus return to Galilee after the arrest of John the Baptist.  He went to Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee.  Like the prophet Isaiah and John the Baptist, Jesus taught a call for repentance.

The fifth and final section was the call of the first four disciples.  The first two brother fishermen called were Simon and Andrew, who became his first two disciples.  Then he called James and John, the sons of Zebedee.  Then Jesus taught and healed in Galilee, where he was a faith healer with great crowds.

 

The sleeping apostles (Mt 26:40-26:41)

“Then Jesus came

To the disciples.

He found them sleeping.

He said to Peter.

‘So!

Could you not

Stay awake

With me

One hour?

Stay awake!

Pray

That you may not come

Into the time

Of temptation!

The spirit indeed

Is willing,

But the flesh

Is weak.’”

 

καὶ ἔρχεται πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς καὶ εὑρίσκει αὐτοὺς καθεύδοντας, καὶ λέγει τῷ Πέτρῳ Οὕτως οὐκ ἰσχύσατε μίαν ὥραν γρηγορῆσαι μετ’ ἐμοῦ;

γρηγορεῖτε καὶ προσεύχεσθε, ἵνα μὴ εἰσέλθητε εἰς πειρασμόν· τὸ μὲν πνεῦμα πρόθυμον, ἡ δὲ σὰρξ ἀσθενής.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 14:37-38, but Mark calls Peter Simon.  Luke, chapter 22:45-46, is somewhat similar, but without the last phrase, while in John, chapter 22, there are no indications of this action in the garden.  Both Mark and Matthew recounted that Jesus came to the 3 special disciples (καὶ ἔρχεται πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς), where he found them sleeping (καὶ εὑρίσκει αὐτοὺς καθεύδοντας).  Then he complained to Peter (καὶ λέγει τῷ Πέτρῳ) that he could not even stay awake or watch with him for merely one hour (Οὕτως οὐκ ἰσχύσατε μίαν ὥραν γρηγορῆσαι μετ’ ἐμοῦ).  He told him and the other 2 disciples to stay awake, watch, and be vigilant (γρηγορεῖτε).  They should pray (καὶ προσεύχεσθε) that their time of temptation or trial did not come (ἵνα μὴ εἰσέλθητε εἰς πειρασμόν).  Then Jesus remarked that the spirit indeed was willing (τὸ μὲν πνεῦμα πρόθυμον), but the flesh was weak (ἡ δὲ σὰρξ ἀσθενής).  Jesus was reprimanding Peter and the other 2 disciples in a mild but firm way.  They needed to be vigilant.

Do the sons of the king pay the tax? (Mt 17:25-17:26)

“When Peter came home,

Jesus anticipated

What Peter was going to say.

He asked him.

‘What do you think?

Simon!

From whom do kings

Of the earth

Take taxes

Or tributes?

Do they demand that

From their children

Or from other strangers?’

When Peter said.

‘From other strangers.’

Jesus said to him.

‘Then indeed

The children

Are free.’”

 

καὶ ἐλθόντα εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν προέφθασεν αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγων Τί σοι δοκεῖ, Σίμων; οἱ βασιλεῖς τῆς γῆς ἀπὸ τίνων λαμβάνουσιν τέλη ἢ κῆνσον; ἀπὸ τῶν υἱῶν αὐτῶν ἢ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀλλοτρίων;

εἰπόντος δέ Ἀπὸ τῶν ἀλλοτρίων, ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Ἄραγε ἐλεύθεροί εἰσιν οἱ υἱοί.

 

This section about the temple tax is unique to Matthew.  When Peter came home (καὶ ἐλθόντα εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν), after talking to the collectors of the Temple tax, Jesus anticipated that Peter (προέφθασεν αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς) was going to ask him about this tax.  He spoke to him, addressing him as Simon, and not Peter, as he asked him what did he think (λέγων Τί σοι δοκεῖ, Σίμων) about paying this tax?  Jesus wanted to know if the kings of the earth take taxes (οἱ βασιλεῖς τῆς γῆς ἀπὸ τίνων λαμβάνουσιν τέλη ἢ κῆνσον) from their own sons or children or rather from other strangers (ἀπὸ τῶν υἱῶν αὐτῶν ἢ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀλλοτρίων).  Peter responded that kings take their taxes and tolls from other strangers (εἰπόντος δέ Ἀπὸ τῶν ἀλλοτρίων), not their children.  Then Jesus said to him that indeed the sons or the children are free from this obligation to pay taxes (ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Ἄραγε ἐλεύθεροί εἰσιν οἱ υἱοί).  Jesus implied that they were the sons or children of God.

The positive response of Peter (Mt 16:16-16:17)

“Simon Peter answered.

‘You are the Christ!

The Son

Of the living God.’

Jesus answered him.

‘Blessed are you!

Simon!

Son of Jonah!

Flesh and blood

Has not revealed this

To you,

But my Father

In heaven.’”

 

ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ Σίμων Πέτρος εἶπεν Σὺ εἶ ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ ζῶντος.

ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ Μακάριος εἶ, Σίμων Βαριωνᾶ, ὅτι σὰρξ καὶ αἷμα οὐκ ἀπεκάλυψέν σοι ἀλλ’ ὁ Πατήρ μου ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς.

 

The response of Peter can be found in all four gospels, Mark, chapter 8:29, Luke, chapter 9:20, and John, 6:69, but all slightly different.  The name of Peter is sometimes just Peter.  Are the Greek “Christ” and the Hebrew “Messiah” the same?  Matthew is the only one who had Peter say the son of the living God.  Matthew is also the only one that mentioned the special relationship that Peter had with his Father in heaven.  Peter gave a strong positive response.  Simon Peter replied (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ Σίμων Πέτρος) to the question of Jesus immediately.  He said that Jesus was the Christ (εἶπεν Σὺ εἶ ὁ Χριστὸς) or the Messiah that they were expecting in Israel.  Jesus was the son of the living God (ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ ζῶντος.), not just merely the son of God.  Jesus then responded to Peter (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  He said that Simon, the son on Jonah, was blessed (εἶπεν αὐτῷ Μακάριος εἶ, Σίμων Βαριωνᾶ), because flesh and blood or humans had not revealed this saying of his (ὅτι σὰρξ καὶ αἷμα οὐκ ἀπεκάλυψέν σοι), but Jesus’ heavenly Father (ἀλλ’ ὁ Πατήρ μου ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς) had done so.  Peter had a special relationship with the Father in heaven.  Peter, as the leader of this new group of Jesus followers, asserted this important belief about Jesus.  For the first time, Jesus is called the Christ, the messiah.  The only other mention of this was in the prologue with the expectation of a messiah and the question about John the Baptist on whether he was the messiah.  Here Peter, in the name of the nascent Christian community, proclaimed that Jesus was the messiah, the Christ, the son of the living God.  Matthew, more than any of the other gospel writers, emphasized the role of Peter as the leader of the early Christian community, the disciples, and the apostles of Jesus.