The two thieves taunt Jesus (Mt 27:44-27:44)

“The bandits,

Who were crucified

With him,

Also taunted him

In the same way.”

 

τὸ δ’ αὐτὸ καὶ οἱ λῃσταὶ οἱ συνσταυρωθέντες σὺν αὐτῷ ὠνείδιζον αὐτόν.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:32.  However, Luke, chapter 23:39-43, had an extended conversation between Jesus and these two bandits.  One of the two thieves or bandits told Jesus to save himself and them also, but the other thief or robber said that they deserved to die.  Only Luke had this story about the good and the bad thief.  Here in Matthew and Mark, both of the bandits being crucified with Jesus taunted him.  There was nothing about these thieves in JohnMatthew said that the two bandits or robbers (τὸ δ’ αὐτὸ καὶ οἱ λῃσταὶ), who were crucified with Jesus (οἱ συνσταυρωθέντες σὺν αὐτῷ), also taunted or insulted him in the same way as the others had done (ὠνείδιζον αὐτόν).  Both robbers were just as bad as the Jewish leaders and the others passing by.

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Judas repents (Mt 27:3-27:4)

“When Judas,

His betrayer,

Saw that Jesus

Was condemned,

He repented.

He brought back

The thirty pieces

Of silver

To the chief priests

And the elders.

Judas said.

‘I have sinned

By betraying

Innocent blood.’

They said.

‘What is that to us?

See to it yourself!’”

 

Τότε ἰδὼν Ἰούδας ὁ παραδοὺς αὐτὸν ὅτι κατεκρίθη, μεταμεληθεὶς ἔστρεψεν τὰ τριάκοντα ἀργύρια τοῖς ἀρχιερεῦσιν καὶ πρεσβυτέροις

λέγων Ἥμαρτον παραδοὺς αἷμα ἀθῷον. οἱ δὲ εἶπαν Τί πρὸς ἡμᾶς; σὺ ὄψῃ.

 

This is unique to Matthew, who went back to the story about Judas Iscariot.  When Judas, Jesus’ betrayer (Τότε ἰδὼν Ἰούδας ὁ παραδοὺς αὐτὸν), saw that Jesus had been condemned (ὅτι κατεκρίθη) by this semi-official gathering of the Jewish religious leaders, he regretted or repented (μεταμεληθεὶς).  He brought back or returned the 30 pieces of silver (ἔστρεψεν τὰ τριάκοντα ἀργύρια) to these Jerusalem chief priests and elders (τοῖς ἀρχιερεῦσιν καὶ πρεσβυτέροις).  Judas said to them that he had sinned (λέγων Ἥμαρτον) by betraying an innocent person or innocent blood (παραδοὺς αἷμα ἀθῷον).  However, these chief priests and elders said that it had nothing to do with them (οἱ δὲ εἶπαν Τί πρὸς ἡμᾶς).  It was up to him to do whatever he wanted to do (σὺ ὄψῃ).  This was a fair transaction.  They got Jesus and Judas got the money.  What else was there to do?

A man entrusts his assets to his slaves (Mt 25:14-25:14)

“The kingdom of heaven

Will be like

As if a man,

Going on a journey,

Summoned his slaves.

He entrusted

His property

To them.”

 

Ὥσπερ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος ἀποδημῶν ἐκάλεσεν τοὺς ἰδίους δούλους καὶ παρέδωκεν αὐτοῖς τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ,

 

This parable is unique to Matthew, but there is a somewhat similar parable in Luke, chapter 19:12-27, where the story is about the power of a nobleman with 10 slaves, but the basic concept is the same.  Some of the slaves were able to get more money, while the others were not.  Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven would be like a man going on a journey (Ὥσπερ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος ἀποδημῶν).  He called or summoned his slaves (ἐκάλεσεν τοὺς ἰδίους δούλους) to entrust them or gave them his property and possessions while he was gone (καὶ παρέδωκεν αὐτοῖς τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ).  This was a very generous man.

Who is the husband in the resurrection? (Mt 22:28-22:28)

“In the resurrection,

Then,

Whose wife

Of the seven brothers

Will she be?

All of them

Had married her.”

 

ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει οὖν τίνος τῶν ἑπτὰ ἔσται γυνή; πάντες γὰρ ἔσχον αὐτήν.

 

This kicker question of the Sadducees can also be found in Mark, chapter 12:23, and in Luke, chapter 20:33, almost word for word.  This story with the 7 brothers married to one woman was the set up for this question about the afterlife.  Whose wife would she be among these 7 brothers?  They were testing Jesus and questioning the concept of the resurrection after death.  In the resurrection (ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει οὖν), whose wife of the 7 brothers would she be (τίνος τῶν ἑπτὰ ἔσται γυνή).  All 7 of them had married her (πάντες γὰρ ἔσχον αὐτήν).  They assumed that the afterlife would be a continuation of this present earthly life.  How was Jesus going to answer their tricky question?

The woman who married seven brothers (Mt 22:25-22:27)

“Now there were seven brothers

Among us.

The first one married.

Then he died

Childless.

He left his widow wife

To his brother.

The second did the same.

As also did the third,

Down to the seventh.

Last of all,

The woman herself died.”

 

ἦσαν δὲ παρ’ ἡμῖν ἑπτὰ ἀδελφοί· καὶ ὁ πρῶτος γήμας ἐτελεύτησεν, καὶ μὴ ἔχων σπέρμα ἀφῆκεν τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ·

ὁμοίως καὶ ὁ δεύτερος καὶ ὁ τρίτος, ἕως τῶν ἑπτά·

ὕστερον δὲ πάντων ἀπέθανεν ἡ γυνή.

 

This story about the woman who married 7 brothers can be found in Mark, chapter 12:20-22, and in Luke, chapter 20:29-32, almost word for word.  Thus, this story was fairly well known.  There were 7 brothers among them (ἦσαν δὲ παρ’ ἡμῖν ἑπτὰ ἀδελφοί).  The first one married (καὶ ὁ πρῶτος γήμας).  Then he died (ἐτελεύτησεν).  He was childless since he had no descendants or offspring (καὶ μὴ ἔχων σπέρμα).  Thus, he left his widowed wife to his brother (ἀφῆκεν τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ).  Likewise, the same thing happened to the 2nd and 3rd brother all the way down to the 7th brother (ὁμοίως καὶ ὁ δεύτερος καὶ ὁ τρίτος, ἕως τῶν ἑπτά).  Last of all, this woman widow herself died (ὕστερον δὲ πάντων ἀπέθανεν ἡ γυνή).  This was a nice simple but improbable story.

The absentee land owner of the vineyard (Mt 21:33-21:33)

“Listen to another parable!

There was a landowner

Who planted a vineyard.

He put a fence around it.

He dug a wine press in it.

He built a watchtower.

Then he leased it

To tenants.

He went away

To another country.”

 

Ἄλλην παραβολὴν ἀκούσατε. Ἄνθρωπος ἦν οἰκοδεσπότης ὅστις ἐφύτευσεν ἀμπελῶνα, καὶ φραγμὸν αὐτῷ περιέθηκεν καὶ ὤρυξεν ἐν αὐτῷ ληνὸν καὶ ᾠκοδόμησεν πύργον, καὶ ἐξέδετο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς, καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν.

 

This parable of the absentee landowner can be found in Mark, chapter 12:1, word for word, and Luke, chapter 20:9, almost word for word.  Jesus wanted them to listen to another parable or story (Ἄλλην παραβολὴν ἀκούσατε) about a male landowner (Ἄνθρωπος ἦν οἰκοδεσπότης), who planted a vineyard (ὅστις ἐφύτευσεν ἀμπελῶνα).  He then put a fence around it (καὶ φραγμὸν αὐτῷ περιέθηκεν) and dug a wine press in it (καὶ ὤρυξεν ἐν αὐτῷ ληνὸν).  He even built a fortified watchtower (καὶ ᾠκοδόμησεν πύργον).  This seemed like a very nice vineyard.  This was reminiscent of the allegory of the vineyard of Isaiah, chapter 5:1-2.  Isaiah had a song about a friend’s fertile field.  He also dug out stones and planted choice vines.  He put a tower in the middle to look over the vineyard with a carved wine vat there also.  However, he got bad grapes instead of good grapes.  Clearly, he did not get what he expected.  However, this landowner here leased his land or rented it to farmer tenants (καὶ ἐξέδετο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς).  Then he left that region and went away to another country (ἀπεδήμησεν).  These last two things, renting and leaving the land will cause him a problem.

Which son did the will of his father? (Mt 21:31-21:31)

“‘Which of the two

Did the will of his father?’

They said.

‘The first.’

Jesus said to them.

‘Truly!

I say to you!

The tax collectors

And the prostitutes

Are going into

The kingdom of God

Before you.’”

 

τίς ἐκ τῶν δύο ἐποίησεν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πατρός; λέγουσιν Ὁ ὕστερος. λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι οἱ τελῶναι καὶ αἱ πόρναι προάγουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

This parable explanation is unique to Matthew.  Jesus entered into a dialogue with the chief priests and elders to explain his parable story, which would have been unusual since he normally explained the parable to his disciples.  In this parable story, Jesus asked which of the two sons did the will of his father (τίς ἐκ τῶν δύο ἐποίησεν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πατρός)?  They, probably the chief priests and elders, responded that the first son had done the will of his father, even though he said no at first (λέγουσιν Ὁ ὕστερος).  Then Jesus issued a solemn pronouncement (λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  He said that the tax collectors and the prostitutes were going into the kingdom of God before them (ὑμῖν ὅτι οἱ τελῶναι καὶ αἱ πόρναι προάγουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Notice that Matthew has Jesus say the “Kingdom of God,” “τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ” and not the usual “Kingdom of heaven,” “βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.”  The first son or the tax collectors and prostitutes had repented or changed their minds since they were willing to work in the vineyard.  The second son or the chief priests and elders said they would work in the vineyard but were like hypocrites who did not follow the Law, even though they wanted others to do so.