“Now by chance,
Was going down
When he saw him,
He passed by
On the other side.”
κατὰ συγκυρίαν δὲ ἱερεύς τις κατέβαινεν ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ ἐκείνῃ, καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτὸν ἀντιπαρῆλθεν.
Luke uniquely continued this story or parable about who is my neighbor. Jesus said that by chance (κατὰ συγκυρίαν), a certain Jewish priest (δὲ ἱερεύς τις) was going down (κατέβαινεν) this same road (ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ ἐκείνῃ). He saw the badly wounded man (καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτὸν), but he passed by on the other side of the road (ἀντιπαρῆλθεν). There is a lot of speculation on why this priest did not help this man. Was it because of ritual purity? Was he in a hurry, so that he did not have time to stop? Did he simply not care? Was it too much of a bother? Certainly, a Jewish priest had standing in the Jewish community. Other than the high priest, he represented the most important level of Jewish society. What is certain is that this high-ranking religious leader did not engage in any way with the afflicted man on the other side of the road. He clearly saw him, as he specifically crossed over to the other side, so as not to be bothered by him. The ritual purity argument has been raised since a priest could not touch a corpse. However, there was no mention of a dead body. Do you always have an excuse on why you do not help other wounded people?
“Some others said
That Elijah had appeared.
That one of the ancient prophets
ὑπό τινων δὲ ὅτι Ἡλείας ἐφάνη, ἄλλων δὲ ὅτι προφήτης τις τῶν ἀρχαίων ἀνέστη.
Luke said that some people said Jesus was the appearance of Elijah (ὑπό τινων δὲ ὅτι Ἡλείας ἐφάνη). Others said that Jesus was one of the ancient prophets who had risen (ἄλλων δὲ ὅτι προφήτης τις τῶν ἀρχαίων ἀνέστη). There was nothing about this speculation in Matthew. However, Mark, chapter 6:15, had something similar, almost word for word. Some people said that Jesus was Elijah. Still others said that he was a prophet, like the former ancient prophets. Elijah was a 9th century BCE northern Israelite prophet whose work can be found in the Old Testament Books of 1 Kings, 2 Kings, and 1 Chronicles. There was no doubt that the role of Elijah dominated late Jewish thought at the time of Jesus, with his name appearing around John the Baptist, the transfiguration, and the death of Jesus. The prophets were the holy men of Hebrew scripture who brought the word of Yahweh to his people. Who would you compare Jesus to?
“A certain young man
Was following Jesus.
He was wearing
But a linen cloth.
They caught hold
But he left
The linen cloth.
He ran off naked.”
Καὶ νεανίσκος τις συνηκολούθει αὐτῷ περιβεβλημένος σινδόνα ἐπὶ γυμνοῦ, καὶ κρατοῦσιν αὐτόν·
ὁ δὲ καταλιπὼν τὴν σινδόνα γυμνὸς ἔφυγεν.
This story is unique to Mark, so that much speculation has centered around whether this was Mark himself of someone he knew. Anyway, the other gospel writers never mentioned this naked man. Was he a follower of Jesus from nearby Bethany or a vagrant? We do no not know. Mark thought it was important enough to write about it. He said that a certain young man was following Jesus (αὶ νεανίσκος τις συνηκολούθει αὐτῷ), perhaps indicating a follower of Jesus. He was wearing nothing but a linen cloth on his naked body (περιβεβλημένος σινδόνα ἐπὶ γυμνοῦ). They, the crowd that came to arrest Jesus, caught hold of him or seized him just like Jesus (καὶ κρατοῦσιν αὐτόν). However, he left his linen cloth behind (ὁ δὲ καταλιπὼν τὴν σινδόνα), as he ran off naked into the night (γυμνὸς ἔφυγεν). Apparently, no one followed him.