Strength (Lk 21:36-21:36)

“Be alert

At all times!

Pray!

That you may have

The strength

To escape

All these things

That will take place.

Thus,

You may stand

Before the Son of Man.”

ἀγρυπνεῖτε δὲ ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ δεόμενοι ἵνα κατισχύσητε ἐκφυγεῖν ταῦτα πάντα τὰ μέλλοντα γίνεσθαι, καὶ σταθῆναι ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.

Only Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said that that they were to be alert or watch (ἀγρυπνεῖτε δὲ) at all times or at every season (ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ).  They were to pray (δεόμενοι) to have the strength (ἵνα κατισχύσητε) to escape all these things (ἐκφυγεῖν ταῦτα πάντα) that were about to happen (τὰ μέλλοντα γίνεσθαι).  Thus, they would stand before (καὶ σταθῆναι ἔμπροσθεν) the Son of Man (τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου).  Jesus wanted them all to make it to the end times with the Son of Man.  Do you expect to see the end of the world?

The possessed man (Lk 8:29-8:29)

Jesus had commanded

The unclean spirit

To come out

Of the man.

Many times,

It had seized him.

He was bound

With chains.

He was kept

In shackles.

But he would break

The bonds.

He was driven

By the demon

Into the wild desert.”

 

παρήγγελλεν γὰρ τῷ πνεύματι τῷ ἀκαθάρτῳ ἐξελθεῖν ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. πολλοῖς γὰρ χρόνοις συνηρπάκει αὐτόν, καὶ ἐδεσμεύετο ἁλύσεσιν καὶ πέδαις φυλασσόμενος, καὶ διαρήσσων τὰ δεσμὰ ἠλαύνετο ἀπὸ τοῦ δαιμονίου εἰς τὰς ἐρήμους.

 

Luke said that Jesus had commanded (παρήγγελλεν) the unclean spirit (γὰρ τῷ πνεύματι τῷ ἀκαθάρτῳ) to come out of this man (ἐξελθεῖν ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου).  Many times (πολλοῖς γὰρ χρόνοις), it had seized him (συνηρπάκει αὐτόν).  Thus, he was bound with chains (καὶ ἐδεσμεύετο ἁλύσεσιν) and kept in foot shackles (καὶ πέδαις φυλασσόμενος).  However, he would break the chains or bonds (καὶ διαρήσσων τὰ δεσμὰ).  He was driven (ἠλαύνετο) by a demon (ἀπὸ τοῦ δαιμονίου) into the wild desert (εἰς τὰς ἐρήμους).  Here in Luke, Jesus commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the demoniac.  Mark, chapter 5:8, also indicated that Jesus said to the demoniac that this unclean spirit should come out of this man.  Thus, Jesus spoke directly to the unclean spirit here also.  While Matthew, chapter 8:28, just said that these possessed men were wild people, Mark, chapter 5:4-5, had an elaborate description much like this in LukeMark said that this demoniac had often been bound or restrained with foot shackles and chains.  However, he tore up these chains and shattered his foot shackles into pieces.  No one had the strength to subdue him.  Constantly, all night and day, he was howling or crying among the tombs and on the hills or in the mountains.  He was cutting or bruising himself with stones.  This was not a pretty sight or a happy guy.  Have you ever met a crazy possessed person?

Mary’s spirit rejoices in God (Lk 1:47-1:47)

“My spirit

Rejoices

In God,

My Savior!”

 

καὶ ἠγαλλίασεν τὸ πνεῦμά μου ἐπὶ τῷ Θεῷ τῷ Σωτῆρί μου

 

This canticle of Mary was modeled on that of Hannah in 1 Samuel, chapter 2:1, that praised Yahweh.  Hannah’s heart and strength came from Yahweh, just as Luke said that Mary’s spirit rejoiced, exalted, or was full of joy (καὶ ἠγαλλίασεν τὸ πνεῦμά μου) in God (ἐπὶ τῷ Θεῷ), her Savior (τῷ Σωτῆρί μου).  Mary, like Hannah, was happy to have God as her savior.

The value of the commandments (Mk 12:33-12:33)

“‘To love God

With all the heart,

With all the understanding,

With all the strength,

As well as

To love one’s neighbor

As oneself,’

This is much more

Important than

Than all the burnt offerings

And sacrifices.”

 

καὶ τὸ ἀγαπᾶν αὐτὸν ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς συνέσεως καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ἰσχύος, καὶ τὸ ἀγαπᾶν τὸν πλησίον ὡς ἑαυτὸν περισσότερόν ἐστιν πάντων τῶν ὁλοκαυτωμάτων καὶ θυσιῶν.

 

This monologue of the Scribe to Jesus is unique to Mark.  This Scribe pointed out that these 2 commandments were more important that all the Temple sacrifices of burnt offerings.  He said that to love God (καὶ τὸ ἀγαπᾶν αὐτὸν) with all your heart (ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας), with all your understanding (καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς συνέσεως), with all your strength (καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ἰσχύος), as well as to love your neighbor as yourself (καὶ τὸ ἀγαπᾶν τὸν πλησίον ὡς ἑαυτὸν) was much more important (περισσότερόν ἐστιν) than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices (πάντων τῶν ὁλοκαυτωμάτων καὶ θυσιῶν).  This Scribe recognized the value of love of God and neighbor.

The first commandment (Mk 12:29-12:30)

“Jesus answered.

‘The first commandment is.

‘Hear this!

O Israel!

The Lord Our God!

The Lord is one!

You shall love

The Lord

Your God

With all your heart,

With all your soul,

With all your mind,

And with all your strength.’”

 

ἀπεκρίθη ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι Πρώτη ἐστίν Ἄκουε, Ἰσραήλ, Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν Κύριος εἷς ἐστιν

καὶ ἀγαπήσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σου ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ψυχῆς σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς διανοίας σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ἰσχύος σου.

 

This response of Jesus can be found also in Matthew, chapter 22:37-38, without the Shema cry for Israel to listen.  In Luke, chapter 10:27-28, Jesus responded that he had given the right answer to the question.  Here, in Mark it is separate from the love of neighbor, which is the 2nd commandment.  This Shema can be found in Deuteronomy, chapter 6:4-5.  These verses have had a great influence on the Israelites as the great commandment that is recited often and written all over the place on their hands, forehead, and door posts.  It is both a morning and an evening prayer, something you say at home and when you are away from home.  The Israelites taught their children this simple prayer.  Jesus and the early Christian followers will repeat this prayer in the gospel stories of the New Testament as the great commandment of love of God.  This “Shema” became the basis of the Abrahamic religions, the great commandment of monotheism and love that must always be remembered.  Mark said that Jesus answered this Scribe (ἀπεκρίθη ὁ Ἰησοῦς) that the first commandment was (ὅτι Πρώτη ἐστίν) “Hear this (Ἄκουε,)!  O Israel (Ἰσραήλ,)! The Lord our God (Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς), the Lord is one (Κύριος εἷς ἐστιν)!”  He should love the Lord (καὶ ἀγαπήσεις Κύριον), his God (τὸν Θεόν σου) with his whole heart (ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίᾳ σου), his whole soul (καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ψυχῆς σου), his whole mind (καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς διανοίας σου), and with all his strength (καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ἰσχύος σου).  This was the greatest and the first commandment, love God above all else with your whole powerful being, heart, soul, and mind.

The wild behavior of the demoniac (Mk 5:4-5:5)

“This demoniac

Had often been restrained

With foot shackles

And chains.

But he tore apart

The chains.

He broke in pieces

The foot shackles.

No one

Had the strength

To subdue him.

All night and day,

He was always howling

Among the tombs

And on the mountains.

He was bruising himself

With stones.”

 

διὰ τὸ αὐτὸν πολλάκις πέδαις καὶ ἁλύσεσιν δεδέσθαι, καὶ διεσπάσθαι ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ τὰς ἁλύσεις καὶ τὰς πέδας συντετρῖφθαι, καὶ οὐδεὶς ἴσχυεν αὐτὸν δαμάσαι·

καὶ διὰ παντὸς νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν καὶ ἐν τοῖς ὄρεσιν ἦν κράζων καὶ κατακόπτων ἑαυτὸν λίθοις.

 

This is a description of this demoniac, while Matthew just said that he was a wild person, but Luke, chapter 8:29, has a description much like this.  Mark said that this demoniac had often been bound or restrained with foot shackles and chains (διὰ τὸ αὐτὸν πολλάκις πέδαις καὶ ἁλύσεσιν δεδέσθαι).  However, he tore in two the chains (καὶ διεσπάσθαι ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ τὰς ἁλύσεις).  He broke or shattered his foot shackles into pieces (καὶ τὰς πέδας συντετρῖφθαι).  No one had the strength to subdue him (καὶ οὐδεὶς ἴσχυεν αὐτὸν δαμάσαι).  Constantly all night and day (καὶ διὰ παντὸς νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας), he was always howling or crying among the tombs and on the hills or mountains (ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν καὶ ἐν τοῖς ὄρεσιν ἦν κράζων).  He was cutting or bruising himself with stones (καὶ κατακόπτων ἑαυτὸν λίθοις).  This was not a pretty sight or a happy guy.

The problem of Jerusalem (Zech 12:2-12:3)

“See!

I am about to make Jerusalem

A cup of trembling

For all the surrounding people.

It will be against Judah also

In the siege against Jerusalem.

On that day,

I will make Jerusalem

A heavy stone

For all the people.

Anyone who lifts it

Shall grievously hurt themselves.

All the nations of the earth

Shall come together against it.”

Zechariah pointed out that Jerusalem was going to have a special place.  They were going to be like a cup of trembling or reeling, perhaps an allusion to the cup, bowl, or basin that caught the blood of the Passover lamb.  The neighboring people should be aware that Jerusalem was under siege.  Thus, Jerusalem was to become a heavy stone that few people could lift.  Apparently, there was a practice of lifting stones to show one’s strength among young men, like weight lifting.  Thus, anyone who tried to lift the heavy stone of Jerusalem would hurt themselves.  All the various countries in the world would come against Jerusalem, but at their own risk.