The mother and brothers of Jesus (Lk 8:19-8:19)

“Then Jesus’ mother

And his brothers

Came to him.

But they could not reach him

Because of the crowd.”

 

Παρεγένετο δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν ἡ μήτηρ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ οὐκ ἠδύναντο συντυχεῖν αὐτῷ διὰ τὸν ὄχλον.

 

Luke said that Jesus’ mother (ἡ μήτηρ) and his brothers (καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ) came to him (Παρεγένετο δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν).  However, they could not reach him (καὶ οὐκ ἠδύναντο συντυχεῖν αὐτῷ) because of the crowd (διὰ τὸν ὄχλον).  Mark, chapter 3:31, and Matthew, chapter 12:46, have something similar.  Mark said that his mother and brothers came to see Jesus, but apparently, they could not reach him because of the crowd, so that they were standing outside.  Matthew said that while Jesus was still speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers were standing outside.  They wanted to speak to him.  This brings up all kinds of questions.  Who were these unnamed brothers?  To what extent was Jesus estranged from his family?  According to Matthew, Jesus had been near to John the Baptist and his early apostles Peter, Andrew, John, James and Matthew.  These brothers could be biological brothers, half-brothers from a first marriage of Joseph, or cousin relatives.  The Hebrew and Aramaic language did not have a distinctive word for cousins, so that the word “brother” was often used to mean more than a true biological brother.  However, the Greek language did have a specific word for cousins.  Just as today, people sometimes refer to others as brothers or sisters, when there is no biological link.  The traditional belief of Christians, even through the Reformation period, had been that Mary was a virgin, so that Jesus was her only divine son.  Thus, here the unnamed mother and the unnamed brothers of Jesus were outside wanting to speak to Jesus.  In Mark, chapter 6:3, and Matthew, chapter 13:55–56, there are explicit names for the brothers of Jesus.  They clearly were relatives of Jesus, but exactly how close a relative is not clear.  Do you know all your relatives?

Only God forgives sins (Lk 5:21-5:21)

“Then the Scribes

And the Pharisees

Began to question.

‘Who is this

That speaks blasphemies?

Who can forgive sins

But God alone?’”

 

καὶ ἤρξαντο διαλογίζεσθαι οἱ γραμματεῖς καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι λέγοντες Τίς ἐστιν οὗτος ὃς λαλεῖ βλασφημίας; τίς δύναται ἁμαρτίας ἀφεῖναι εἰ μὴ μόνος ὁ Θεός;

 

Luke said that the Scribes (οἱ γραμματεῖς) and the Pharisees (καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι) began to reason or question Jesus (καὶ ἤρξαντο διαλογίζεσθαι).  Was Jesus not speaking blasphemies (λέγοντες Τίς ἐστιν οὗτος ὃς λαλεῖ βλασφημίας)?  Only God could forgive sins (τίς δύναται ἁμαρτίας ἀφεῖναι εἰ μὴ μόνος ὁ Θεός).  Mark, chapter 2:6-7, and Matthew, chapter 9:3, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this saying about the Pharisees and the Scribes saying that Jesus was committing blasphemy.  Mark and Matthew did not mention the Pharisees, just the Scribes.  Mark said that some of these Scribes were sitting there in this crowded room.  They were reasoning or questioning in their hearts, but not to others.  They wondered why Jesus was talking this way, since it appeared to be blasphemy.  Blasphemers used scurrilous or irreverent language about God.  How was Jesus able to forgive sins, since only God can forgive sins?  This seems like a legitimate question.

Go fishing (Lk 5:4-5:4)

“When Jesus

Had finished speaking,

He said to Simon.

‘Put out into

The deep water!

Let down your nets

For a catch!’”

 

ὡς δὲ ἐπαύσατο λαλῶν, εἶπεν πρὸς τὸν Σίμωνα Ἐπανάγαγε εἰς τὸ βάθος, καὶ χαλάσατε τὰ δίκτυα ὑμῶν εἰς ἄγραν.

 

There is something similar to this in John, chapter 21.  However, there it was a post-resurrection apparition to Simon and the other apostles near the Sea of Tiberias or Galilee, like here.  However, nothing like this can be found in Mark and MatthewLuke said that when Jesus had finished speaking (ὡς δὲ ἐπαύσατο λαλῶν), he told Simon (εἶπεν πρὸς τὸν Σίμωνα) to go out into the deep water (Ἐπανάγαγε εἰς τὸ βάθος) of the Sea of Galilee.  He wanted them to let their nets into the water to catch some fish (καὶ χαλάσατε τὰ δίκτυα ὑμῶν εἰς ἄγραν).  Jesus wanted them to go fishing.

Zechariah blessed God (Lk 1:64-1:64)

“Immediately,

His mouth

Was opened.

His tongue

Was free

To talk.

He was speaking,

Blessing God.”

 

ἀνεῴχθη δὲ τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ παραχρῆμα καὶ ἡ γλῶσσα αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐλάλει εὐλογῶν τὸν Θεόν

 

Luke indicated that as soon as Zechariah wrote on the tablet that the name of the child should be John, immediately his mouth was opened (ἀνεῴχθη δὲ τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ παραχρῆμα).  His tongue was free to talk (καὶ ἡ γλῶσσα αὐτοῦ).  He spoke, blessing God (καὶ ἐλάλει εὐλογῶν τὸν Θεόν).  Once he had written the name of John, Zechariah was no longer mute.  He immediately praised or blessed God, because any hint of his doubts had disappeared.

The exclamation prayer of Elizabeth (Lk 1:42-1:42)

“Elizabeth exclaimed

With a loud cry.

‘Blessed are you

Among women!

Blessed is the fruit

Of your womb!’”

 

καὶ ἀνεφώνησεν κραυγῇ μεγάλῃ καὶ εἶπεν Εὐλογημένη σὺ ἐν γυναιξίν, καὶ εὐλογημένος ὁ καρπὸς τῆς κοιλίας σου.

 

Luke then had Elizabeth shout out, as if speaking for the baby in her womb.  Elizabeth exclaimed with a loud cry (καὶ ἀνεφώνησεν κραυγῇ μεγάλῃ).  She said that Mary was blessed among all women (καὶ εἶπεν Εὐλογημένη σὺ ἐν γυναιξίν).  Blessed would be the fruit of her womb (καὶ εὐλογημένος ὁ καρπὸς τῆς κοιλίας σου)!  Thus, Elizabeth, without a word spoken, knew that Mary was pregnant with an important child.  These words of Elizabeth then became the second part of the “Ave Maria,” prayer.  “Hail Mary!  Full of Grace!  The Lord is with you!  Blessed are you among women!  Blessed is the fruit of your womb!  Jesus!”  Thus, Elizabeth, via Luke, is the biblical originator of this Marian prayer that became popular in the middle ages down to the present time.

Judas came with a group of people (Mk 14:43-14:43)

“Immediately,

While Jesus

Was still speaking,

Judas,

One of the twelve,

Arrived.

There was

A crowd

With him.

They had swords

And clubs.

They included

The chief priests,

The Scribes,

And the elders.”

 

Καὶ εὐθὺς ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος παραγίνεται ὁ Ἰούδας εἷς τῶν δώδεκα, καὶ μετ’ αὐτοῦ ὄχλος μετὰ μαχαιρῶν καὶ ξύλων παρὰ τῶν ἀρχιερέων καὶ τῶν γραμματέων καὶ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων.

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 26:46.  Luke, chapter 22:47, is somewhat similar, but does not mention the Jewish religious groups.  John, chapter 18:2-3, is more detailed, since he mentioned the police and a detachment of soldiers, as well as the Pharisees.  Mark said that immediately as Jesus was still speaking (Καὶ εὐθὺς ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος), Judas, one of the 12 apostles, arrived on the scene (παραγίνεται ὁ Ἰούδας εἷς τῶν δώδεκα).  He had with him a large crowd of people (καὶ μετ’ αὐτοῦ ὄχλος) with swords (μετὰ μαχαιρῶν) and clubs (καὶ ξύλων).  Mark seems to indicate that the chief priests (παρὰ τῶν ἀρχιερέων), the Scribes (καὶ τῶν γραμματέων) and the elders or presbyters (καὶ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων) were there, while Matthew had these religious leaders sending the crowd.  Apparently, these leaders were expecting some resistance from Jesus and his followers.  Thus, they had a large armed group of people with Judas.  In John’s more descriptive account, Judas knew where to find Jesus because they had often been there at this place.  He said that they also brought lanterns and torches.  Mark and the other gospel writers never mentioned the Sadducees, while only John mentioned the Pharisees, and Mark was the only one to mention the Scribes.

Troubles ahead (Mk 13:8-13:8)

“Nation will rise

Against nation!

Kingdom will rise

Against kingdom!

There will be earthquakes

In various places!

There will be famines!

This is but the beginning

Of the birth-pangs.”

 

ἐγερθήσεται γὰρ ἔθνος ἐπ’ ἔθνος καὶ βασιλεία ἐπὶ βασιλείαν. ἔσονται σεισμοὶ κατὰ τόπους, ἔσονται λιμοί· ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων ταῦτα.

 

There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 24:7-8, and in Luke, chapter 21:10-11, almost word for word at times.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that the gentile nations would rise up against other gentile nations (ἐγερθήσεται γὰρ ἔθνος ἐπ’ ἔθνος).  Kingdoms would rise up against other kingdoms (καὶ βασιλεία ἐπὶ βασιλείαν).  There would be earthquakes in various places (ἔσονται σεισμοὶ κατὰ τόπους) and famines (ἔσονται λιμοί).  All of this was the mere beginning of the end, the birth-pangs (ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων ταῦτα).  These comments and the idea of birth pains were in the Old Testament prophetic tradition of the Day of Yahweh, the judgment day.  Jesus was speaking like many of the ancient Israelite prophets who warned about the coming of the divine judgment at the end of days, the end times.

When will the destruction come? (Mk 13:4-13:4)

“Tell us!

When will this be?

What will be

The sign

That all these things

Are about

To be accomplished?”

 

Εἰπὸν ἡμῖν, πότε ταῦτα ἔσται, καὶ τί τὸ σημεῖον ὅταν μέλλῃ ταῦτα συντελεῖσθαι πάντα;

 

There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 24:4, and in Luke, chapter 21:7.  Either some unnamed disciples or the 4 main apostles, as indicated here in Mark, were speaking with Jesus privately.  Mark did not combine the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, the Second coming of Jesus, and the end of the world together, since he concentrated on the destruction of the Temple.  Mark said that the big four apostles wanted to be told (Εἰπὸν ἡμῖν) when would these things take place (πότε ταῦτα ἔσται)?  What would be the sign (καὶ τί τὸ σημεῖον) that all these things were going to finally happen (ὅταν μέλλῃ ταῦτα συντελεῖσθαι πάντα)?  They wanted the inside scoop about what was coming up.  After all, they were the important leaders among the followers of Jesus.

The private discussion (Mk 13:3-13:3)

“When Jesus

Was sitting

On the Mount of Olives,

Opposite the Temple,

Peter,

James,

John,

And Andrew,

Asked him privately.”

 

Καὶ καθημένου αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαιῶν κατέναντι τοῦ ἱεροῦ, ἐπηρώτα αὐτὸν κατ’ ἰδίαν Πέτρος καὶ Ἰάκωβος καὶ Ἰωάνης καὶ Ἀνδρέας

 

There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 24:3.  Rather than unnamed disciples, as in Matthew, Mark explicitly mentioned the big 2 sets of brother apostles, who were speaking privately with Jesus.  In Luke, chapter 21:7, there is only the vague “they” speaking with Jesus.  Mark said that Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives (Καὶ καθημένου αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ τοῦ ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαιῶν), just east of Jerusalem, where he could see the Jerusalem Temple, since it was opposite them (κατέναντι τοῦ ἱεροῦ).  Here, these apostolic leaders, Peter (Πέτρος), James (καὶ Ἰάκωβος), John (καὶ Ἰωάνης), and Andrew (καὶ Ἀνδρέας), questioned Jesus privately (ἐπηρώτα αὐτὸν κατ’ ἰδίαν).

Jesus commands the unclean spirit (Mk 9:25-9:25)

“When Jesus saw

That a crowd

Came running together,

He rebuked

The unclean spirit.

He said to it.

‘You spirit

That keeps this boy

From speaking

And hearing!

I command you!

Come out of him!

Never enter him again!’”

 

ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι ἐπισυντρέχει ὄχλος, ἐπετίμησεν τῷ πνεύματι τῷ ἀκαθάρτῳ λέγων αὐτῷ Τὸ ἄλαλον καὶ κωφὸν πνεῦμα, ἐγὼ ἐπιτάσσω σοι, ἔξελθε ἐξ αὐτοῦ καὶ μηκέτι εἰσέλθῃς εἰς αὐτόν.

 

This is unique to Mark.  When Jesus saw that a crowd came running together (ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι ἐπισυντρέχει ὄχλος), he rebuked the unclean spirit (ἐπετίμησεν τῷ πνεύματι τῷ ἀκαθάρτῳ).  He spoke directly to this evil spirit (λέγων αὐτῷ) as he commanded, in the first person singular, this unclean spirit (ἐγὼ ἐπιτάσσω σοι), in the second person “you”.  This evil spirit had kept this boy from speaking and hearing.  This mute and deaf spirit (Τὸ ἄλαλον καὶ κωφὸν πνεῦμα,), was to come out of him (ἔξελθε ἐξ αὐτοῦ), never again to enter him (καὶ μηκέτι εἰσέλθῃς εἰς αὐτόν).  Jesus then got rid of the unclean spirit that was in this boy in a public act in front of a crowd.