No one is greater (Lk 7:28-7:28)

“‘I tell you!

Among those born

Of women,

No one is greater

Than John.

Yet the least

In the kingdom of God

Is greater than he.’”

 

λέγω ὑμῖν, μείζων ἐν γεννητοῖς γυναικῶν Ἰωάνου οὐδείς ἐστιν· ὁ δὲ μικρότερος ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ Θεοῦ μείζων αὐτοῦ ἐστιν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus, with a solemn announcement (λέγω ὑμῖν), said that there was nobody born of a woman greater than John (μείζων ἐν γεννητοῖς γυναικῶν Ἰωάνου οὐδείς ἐστιν).  However, yet even the least in the kingdom of God (ὁ δὲ μικρότερος ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ Θεοῦ) was greater than him (μείζων αὐτοῦ ἐστιν).  This saying about John the Baptist can be found almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 11:11.  Thus, this may have been a Q source about John, like many of the other passages about John.  Matthew had Jesus issue this solemn proclamation.  There was no other human being greater than John the Baptist.  Notice that he used his title of the Baptist there.  However, those who are the least, the smallest, or the littlest in the kingdom of heaven would be greater than John.  This was great praise for John.  Yet, being a follower of Jesus made them even greater.  Which would you rather be, the greatest human being or a follower of Jesus?

The mustard seed (Mk 4:31-4:32)

“The kingdom of God

Is like

A mustard seed.

When sown

Upon the ground,

It is the smallest

Of all the seeds

On earth.

Yet when it is sown,

It grows up.

It becomes the greatest

Of all shrubs.

It puts forth

Large branches,

So that the birds

Of the air

Can make nests

In its shade.”

 

ὡς κόκκῳ σινάπεως, ὃς ὅταν σπαρῇ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, μικρότερον ὂν πάντων τῶν σπερμάτων τῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς,

καὶ ὅταν σπαρῇ, ἀναβαίνει καὶ γίνεται μεῖζον πάντων τῶν λαχάνων, καὶ ποιεῖ κλάδους μεγάλους, ὥστε δύνασθαι ὑπὸ τὴν σκιὰν αὐτοῦ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνοῖν.

 

This parable of the mustard seed can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 13:31-32, and Luke, chapter 13:19.  The mustard seed was the symbol of small things.  However, it could grow to become a tree or shrub where birds could nest.  There was no explanation of this parable, except the clear indication that the kingdom of heaven may start out small but would grow to hold many people.  Jesus, via Mark, explicitly presented them with another short parable.  He said that the kingdom of God was like a mustard seed or a grain of mustard (ὡς κόκκῳ σινάπεως).  When planted in the ground (ὃς ὅταν σπαρῇ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς), it is the smallest of all seeds on earth (μικρότερον ὂν πάντων τῶν σπερμάτων τῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς).  But when it has grown after being planted (καὶ ὅταν σπαρῇ, ἀναβαίνει), it becomes greater than all the garden plants or shrubs (καὶ γίνεται μεῖζον πάντων τῶν λαχάνων).  It then produces great branches (καὶ ποιεῖ κλάδους μεγάλους).  Thus, the birds of the air would be able to come and perch or build nests in the shade of its branches (ὥστε δύνασθαι ὑπὸ τὴν σκιὰν αὐτοῦ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνοῖν).  What starts out small can become quite large.

The parable of the mustard seed (Mt 13:31-13:32)

“Jesus presented them

Another parable.

‘The kingdom of heaven is

Like a mustard seed.

Someone took it.

He sowed in his field.

It is the smallest of all seeds.

But when it has grown,

It is the greatest of shrubs.

It becomes a tree,

So that the birds of the air

Come.

They make nests

In its branches.’”

 

Ἄλλην παραβολὴν παρέθηκεν αὐτοῖς λέγων Ὁμοία ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν κόκκῳ σινάπεως, ὃν λαβὼν ἄνθρωπος ἔσπειρεν ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ αὐτοῦ·

ὃ μικρότερον μέν ἐστιν πάντων τῶν σπερμάτων, ὅταν δὲ αὐξηθῇ, μεῖζον τῶν λαχάνων ἐστὶν καὶ γίνεται δένδρον, ὥστε ἐλθεῖν τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ κατασκηνοῖν ἐν τοῖς κλάδοις αὐτοῦ.

 

This parable of the mustard seed can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:30-32, and Luke, chapter 13:18-19.  The mustard seed was the symbol of small things.  However, it could grow to become a tree or shrub where birds could nest.  There is no explanation of this parable except the clear indication that the kingdom of heaven may start out small but would grow to hold many people.  Jesus, via Matthew, explicitly presented them with another short parable (Ἄλλην παραβολὴν παρέθηκεν αὐτοῖς λέγων).  He said that the kingdom of heaven was like a mustard seed (Ὁμοία ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν κόκκῳ σινάπεως).  A man planted this seed in his field (ὃν λαβὼν ἄνθρωπος ἔσπειρεν ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ αὐτοῦ).  When planted, it is the smallest of all seeds (ὃ μικρότερον μέν ἐστιν πάντων τῶν σπερμάτων).  But when it has grown, it is the greatest of garden plants or shrubs (ὅταν δὲ αὐξηθῇ, μεῖζον τῶν λαχάνων).   It then becomes a tree (καὶ γίνεται δένδρον).  Thus, the birds of the air could come and perch or build nests in its branches (ὥστε ἐλθεῖν τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ κατασκηνοῖν ἐν τοῖς κλάδοις αὐτοῦ).  What starts out small can become quite large.

Just measurements (Ezek 45:10-45:12)

“You shall have

Honest balances.

There must be

An honest ephah,

There must be

An honest bath.

The ephah

With the bath

Shall be

Of the same measure.

The bath

Contains one tenth

Of a homer.

The ephah contains

One tenth

Of a homer.

The homer shall be

The standard measure.

The shekel shall be

Twenty gerahs.

Twenty shekels,

Twenty-five shekels,

Shall make a mina

For you.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, was going to tell them how to keep their measurements just and correct. What are all these measurements? Ezekiel loved to be exact. First, a homer was a measure for liquids, about 60 gallons or 6 bushels of grain. The bath was about 6 gallons. The ephah was a measurement for grains about 2/3rd of a bushel or about 6 gallons. The gerah was the smallest size coin, about 1/50th of ounce. The shekel coin was 2/5th of an ounce. The mina was the largest coin, about 1.25 pounds. Thus, these were to be the standard measurements.