Bear the cross (Lk 14:27-14:27)

“Whoever does not carry

His cross

And follow me,

Cannot be my disciple.”

 

ὅστις οὐ βαστάζει τὸν σταυρὸν ἑαυτοῦ καὶ ἔρχεται ὀπίσω μου, οὐ δύναται εἶναί μου μαθητής.

 

Luke then had Jesus utter this famous saying about whoever does not carry his own cross (ὅστις οὐ βαστάζει τὸν σταυρὸν ἑαυτοῦ) and follow after him (καὶ ἔρχεται ὀπίσω μου), cannot be or is not able to be his disciple (οὐ δύναται εἶναί μου μαθητής).  This verse is similar to Matthew, chapter 10:38.  Matthew had Jesus repeat this remark that whoever did not take up his cross (καὶ ὃς οὐ λαμβάνει τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ) and follow after Jesus (καὶ ἀκολουθεῖ ὀπίσω μου,), was not worthy of him (οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος).  Matthew, chapter 16:24, had Jesus tell his disciples (Τότε ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ) that if anyone wanted to become his follower (Εἴ τις θέλει ὀπίσω μου ἐλθεῖν), they would have to deny themselves (ἀπαρνησάσθω ἑαυτὸν).  They would have to take up their cross (καὶ ἀράτω τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ) and follow him (καὶ ἀκολουθείτω μοι).  Mark, chapter 8:34, has the carrying of the cross as a condition of discipleship.  If you did not take up your cross (καὶ ὃς οὐ λαμβάνει τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ) and follow after Jesus (καὶ ἀκολουθεῖ ὀπίσω μου), you were not worthy of Jesus (οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος).  This assumes knowledge of the cross and suffering of Jesus.  To be a follower of Jesus, you had to follow him and take up his cross.  The hanging on the cross was the Roman way of punishment and execution.  After the death and resurrection of Jesus, the cross became a symbol of the death of Jesus.  Are you willing to take up the cross of Jesus?

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Fire on earth (Lk 12:49-12:49)

“I came

To bring fire

To the earth.

How I wish

That it was

Already kindled!”

 

Πῦρ ἦλθον βαλεῖν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν, καὶ τί θέλω εἰ ἤδη ἀνήφθη.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said that he came to bring or cast fire or judgment (Πῦρ ἦλθον βαλεῖν) to the earth (ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν).  Jesus wished (καὶ τί θέλω) that this fire had already started or kindled (εἰ ἤδη ἀνήφθη).  It appeared that Jesus wanted the judgment day to come sooner.  He wanted the judgment of fire to come quickly.  Fire was also a symbol of the Holy Spirit, purification, or presence of his love.  Jesus wanted things to get going.  Are you anxious about things to start?

The mustard seed (Mk 4:31-4:32)

“The kingdom of God

Is like

A mustard seed.

When sown

Upon the ground,

It is the smallest

Of all the seeds

On earth.

Yet when it is sown,

It grows up.

It becomes the greatest

Of all shrubs.

It puts forth

Large branches,

So that the birds

Of the air

Can make nests

In its shade.”

 

ὡς κόκκῳ σινάπεως, ὃς ὅταν σπαρῇ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, μικρότερον ὂν πάντων τῶν σπερμάτων τῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς,

καὶ ὅταν σπαρῇ, ἀναβαίνει καὶ γίνεται μεῖζον πάντων τῶν λαχάνων, καὶ ποιεῖ κλάδους μεγάλους, ὥστε δύνασθαι ὑπὸ τὴν σκιὰν αὐτοῦ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνοῖν.

 

This parable of the mustard seed can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 13:31-32, and Luke, chapter 13:19.  The mustard seed was the symbol of small things.  However, it could grow to become a tree or shrub where birds could nest.  There was no explanation of this parable, except the clear indication that the kingdom of heaven may start out small but would grow to hold many people.  Jesus, via Mark, explicitly presented them with another short parable.  He said that the kingdom of God was like a mustard seed or a grain of mustard (ὡς κόκκῳ σινάπεως).  When planted in the ground (ὃς ὅταν σπαρῇ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς), it is the smallest of all seeds on earth (μικρότερον ὂν πάντων τῶν σπερμάτων τῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς).  But when it has grown after being planted (καὶ ὅταν σπαρῇ, ἀναβαίνει), it becomes greater than all the garden plants or shrubs (καὶ γίνεται μεῖζον πάντων τῶν λαχάνων).  It then produces great branches (καὶ ποιεῖ κλάδους μεγάλους).  Thus, the birds of the air would be able to come and perch or build nests in the shade of its branches (ὥστε δύνασθαι ὑπὸ τὴν σκιὰν αὐτοῦ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνοῖν).  What starts out small can become quite large.

Hire people (Mt 20:1-20:1)

“The kingdom of heaven is

Like a landowner

Who went out

Early in the morning

To hire laborers

For his vineyard.”

 

Ὁμοία γάρ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδεσπότῃ, ὅστις ἐξῆλθεν ἅμα πρωῒ μισθώσασθαι ἐργάτας εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα αὐτοῦ.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew.  Jesus, via Matthew, explained that the kingdom of heaven was like (Ὁμοία γάρ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν) a wealthy vineyard owner, the man who owned and was in charge of his land (ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδεσπότῃ).  He needed his grapes picked at the harvest time.  He would hire day laborers or daily workers to do this difficult work.  He went out early in the morning (ὅστις ἐξῆλθεν ἅμα πρω), probably around 6 AM.  He wanted to hire some daily grape picker field laborers (μισθώσασθαι ἐργάτας) to work on his land in his vineyard (εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα αὐτοῦ).  This vineyard would have been a symbol of the prophets working in the vineyard of Israel.

Pick up your cross (Mt 10:38-10:38)

“Whoever does not

Take up the cross

And follow after me

Is not worthy of me.”

 

καὶ ὃς οὐ λαμβάνει τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀκολουθεῖ ὀπίσω μου, οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος.

 

This verse of Matthew is similar to Luke, chapter 14:27, indicating a Q source.  Matthew had Jesus repeat this remark in chapter 16:24, about the same theme of unworthiness.  Mark, chapter 8:34 has the carrying of the cross as a condition of discipleship.  If you did not take up his cross (καὶ ὃς οὐ λαμβάνει τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ) and follow after Jesus (καὶ ἀκολουθεῖ ὀπίσω μου), you were not worthy of Jesus (οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος).  This assumes knowledge of the cross and suffering of Jesus.  To be a follower of Jesus, you had to follow him and take up his cross.  The cross was the Roman way of punishment and execution.  After the death and resurrection of Jesus, it became a symbol of the death of Jesus on the cross.

Anti-Evolution

The 19th century anti-evolution and anti-modern science attitude was basic to fundamentalism.  Darwin’s evolutionary theory in The Origin of the Species (1859) became the symbol around which most of the fundamentalism revolved.  Darwin held that everything was evolutionary.  Evolution was opposed to the concept of immovable static truths, particularly the first structured creation story of Genesis.  The height of the anti-evolution movement was reached in the 1925 Scopes Trial, although this still continues today with the question about teaching creationism versus evolution.

Gomer will be lost (Hos 2:6-2:7)

“Therefore,

I will hedge up

Her way

With thorns.

I will build a wall

Against her,

So that she cannot find

Her paths.

She shall pursue

Her lovers,

But not overtake them.

She shall seek them,

But shall not find them.

Then she shall say.

‘I will go.

I will return

To my first husband.

It was better

With me then

Than now.’”

The prophet Hosea was going to make it difficult for Gomer. He was going to build a wall of hedges around her. Then, she would not be able to follow her paths. She might want to pursue her lovers, but she would not be able to reach them. She would go looking for them, but not find them. Finally, she would say, maybe I should return to my first husband. I was better off then with him. Once again, Gomer was a symbol of the lost Israel, seeking the Baal gods, but finally deciding to come home to Yahweh, their first husband.