Simon Peter is a sinner (Lk 5:8-5:8)

“When Simon Peter

Saw this,

He fell down

At Jesus’ knees.

Saying.

‘Go away

From me!

I am a sinful man!

O Lord!’”

 

ἰδὼν δὲ Σίμων Πέτρος προσέπεσεν τοῖς γόνασιν Ἰησοῦ λέγων Ἔξελθε ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ, ὅτι ἀνὴρ ἁμαρτωλός εἰμι, Κύριε.

 

Luke was the only one to describe the reaction of Simon to this big catch of fish.  He admitted that he was a sinner.  When Simon Peter saw what had happened (ἰδὼν δὲ Σίμων Πέτρος), he fell down at Jesus’ knees (προσέπεσεν τοῖς γόνασιν Ἰησοῦ).  Notice that this is the first time that Simon was called Simon Peter.  Obviously, this took place after the boats were at shore.  Simon said that Jesus should go away from him (λέγων Ἔξελθε ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ) because he was a sinful man (ὅτι ἀνὴρ ἁμαρτωλός εἰμι).  He called Jesus not a master or a teacher, but the Lord (Κύριε).  This obviously is a theological statement, where Simon Peter confesses his sinfulness before the divine Lord.  He realized that Jesus was special.

He will not drink strong drink (Lk 1:15-1:15)

“John will be great

In the sight

Of the Lord.

He must never

Drink wine,

Or any strong drink.

He will be filled

With the Holy Spirit,

Even before his birth,

From his mother’s womb.”

 

ἔσται γὰρ μέγας ἐνώπιον Κυρίου, καὶ οἶνον καὶ σίκερα οὐ μὴ πίῃ, καὶ Πνεύματος Ἁγίου πλησθήσεται ἔτι ἐκ κοιλίας μητρὸς αὐτοῦ,

 

Now comes the jolt, as the role of this John would be made clear.  This angel, via Luke, pointed out that this child will not be just another Jewish kid, but someone special, befitting his special birth.  Luke had the angel continue that John would be great in the sight of the Lord (ἔσται γὰρ μέγας ἐνώπιον Κυρίου).  However, he must never drink wine, or any strong intoxicating drink (καὶ οἶνον καὶ σίκερα οὐ μὴ πίῃ), like a Nazirite, a person dedicated to God, as in Numbers, chapter 6:1-4.  Either a man or woman could take these Nazirite vows that made them closer to Yahweh.  In Hebrew the term “nazir” meant a vow, so that it was possible for a non-Levite to be a favorite of Yahweh also.  Vow taking in most religious groups sets those people apart, just as the religious vows of the medieval Catholic Church became popular, producing vowed monks and nuns.  A striking English comment would be that these are “Nazi rites.”  This Nazirite vow separates them from normal life, especially from wine and anything to do with grapes.  The Nazirite stayed away from grapes of any kind.  Thus, John was to be filled with the Holy Spirit (καὶ Πνεύματος Ἁγίου πλησθήσεται) even before his birth, from his mother’s womb (ἔτι ἐκ κοιλίας μητρὸς αὐτοῦ).  John would be holy before he was born.  The Holy Spirit would play a major role in the works of Luke here and in Acts.  This special role of John is similar to Samuel in 1 Samuel, chapter 1:11, and Samson in Judges, chapter 13:4-7, in the Hebrew Bible.  Both were dedicated to be Nazirites before their birth.  John was to be a special dude.

 

John the Baptist and the Baptism of Jesus

Although Matthew did not show the same relationship of Jesus and John the Baptist as cousins, as it was in Luke, chapter 1:36, he still has them as familiar to each other.  They were at a minimum, friends.  In this portrayal, Jesus came to John, not the other way around.  John was already an established preacher, baptizing in the Jordan River.  Did they have the same message or was it different?  In one sense, both John and Jesus wanted people to repent, since the kingdom of heaven was near.  However, there are no indications in the biblical texts that Jesus was baptizing people the way that John was doing it.  Thus, they might have been semi-co-workers without any formal relationship established, although John the Baptist would appear again in this gospel story of Matthew.  Clearly, John the Baptist baptizing Jesus at the Jordan River stands as the beginning of the public life of Jesus, both here and in the other three canonical gospel accounts of Mark, Luke, and John.  Jesus became someone special as “the anointed one,” “Χριστος,” “the Christ,” from this moment on.  Was there any particular self-realization on the part of Jesus here?  How did the disciples of these two men work with each other?  What was the reaction of Jesus to the post-baptismal event, when God, the Father, sent his Spirit, the dove, to empower Jesus, before he could begin his public ministry?  God clearly announced that Jesus was his beloved son.  With his prophetic divine vocation revealed, Jesus was ready to begin his public ministry of healing and exorcising.  Jesus had come to proclaim his ethical judgment of righteousness during this messianic time when the fullness of the Holy Spirit would come to all the followers of Jesus.

The plundering nations shall be plundered (Zech 2:8-2:9)

“Thus said Yahweh of hosts,

After his glory sent me,

Regarding the nations

That plundered you.

‘Truly,

One who touches you

Touches the apple of my eye.

See now!

I am going to raise my hand

Against them.

They shall become plunder

For their own slaves.

Then you will know

That Yahweh of hosts

Has sent me.’”

Yahweh explained to Zechariah about the nations that had plundered Israel and Judah.  Anyone that touched them, touched the apple of his eye.  They were his favored ones, special to Yahweh.  Now, he was going to raise his hand against these plundering nations.  He was going to have their own slaves plunder them.  That way, they would know that Yahweh of hosts had acted and sent Zechariah.

The restoration of fortunes (Jer 30:18-30:21)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘I going to restore the fortunes

Of the tents of Jacob.

I have compassion

On their dwellings.

The city shall be rebuilt

Upon its mound.

The citadel shall set on

Its rightful site.

Out of them shall come

Songs of thanksgiving,

With the sound of merrymakers.

I will multiply them.

They shall not be few.

I will make them honored.

They shall not be disdained.

Their children shall be as of old.

Their congregation

Shall be established before me.

I will punish all

Who oppress them.

Their prince

Shall be one of their own.

Their ruler

Shall come from their own midst.

I will make him draw near.

They shall approach me.

Who would otherwise dare

To approach me?’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, says that he will restore the fortunes of the Israelites, the tents of Jacob. He was going to have compassion on their buildings and their cities. Thus, they would rebuild over the original rubble, which was the custom at that time. Then they would be able to come with songs of thanksgiving and voices of merrymakers. The Israelites would flourish. They would become numerous and honored, not disdained. Their children would be like in the good old days. Their congregation would hold Yahweh as special. Thus, anyone who oppressed them, Yahweh would punish. They would have their own princes and rulers from their own groups, not outsiders or foreigners telling them what to do. They would be near and approach Yahweh. Let the good times roll!

Yahweh will help the house of Jacob (Isa 46:3-46:4)

“Listen to me!

O house of Jacob!

The entire remnant

Of the house of Israel!

You have been borne by me

From your birth!

I carried you

From the womb!

Even to your old age

I am He!

Even when you turn gray

I will carry you!

I have made you!

I will bear you!

I will carry you!

I will save you!”

Second Isaiah has this beautiful Yahweh call to the house of Jacob and the remnant of the house of Israel. He wanted them to listen to him. He reminded them that he had taken care of them since their birth. He had carried them from the womb. Even to their old age, when their hair turns gray, he would be with them since he made them. He would bear them, carry them, and save them because they were special.

Description of the male lover (Song 5:10-5:16)

Female lover

“My beloved is all radiant.

He is ruddy.

He is distinguished among ten thousand.

His head is the finest gold.

His locks are wavy.

His locks are black as a raven.

His eyes are like doves,

Beside springs of water,

Bathed in milk,

Fitly set.

His cheeks are like beds of spices,

Yielding fragrance.

His lips are lilies,

Distilling liquid myrrh.

His arms are rounded gold,

Set with jewels.

His body is an ivory work,

Encrusted with sapphires.

His legs are alabaster columns,

Set upon bases of gold.

His appearance is like Lebanon,

Choice as the cedars.

His speech is most sweet.

He is altogether desirable.

This is my beloved.

This is my friend.

O daughters of Jerusalem!”

This female lover responded to the daughters of Jerusalem. She explains why her male lover is so special with a long description of him. First of all, he is radiant and ruddy. What does that mean? He is a glowing happy guy with a healthy reddish complexion. He is one in 10,000. He has a golden head with black wavy hair. His eyes are like clean white doves perfectly set in his head. His cheeks are like fragrant spices. His lips are like lilies spreading liquid myrrh. His arms are like rounded gold with jewels set in them. His body is like ivory with sapphires. His legs are like alabaster columns with golden bases as feet. He appears to be like a Lebanon cedar tree. His speech is sweet. He is quite a guy, altogether desirable. He is her beloved and her friend. That is some great description of the perfect man.