Why do you speak in parables? (Mt 13:10-13:10)

“Then the disciples came.

They said to Jesus.

‘Why do you speak

To them in parables?’”

 

Καὶ προσελθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ Διὰ τί ἐν παραβολαῖς λαλεῖς αὐτοῖς;

 

This question to Jesus can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:10, and Luke, chapter 8:9.  The disciples came to Jesus (Καὶ προσελθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ).  They wanted to know why Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables (εἶπαν αὐτῷ Διὰ τί ἐν παραβολαῖς λαλεῖς αὐτοῖς).  The disciples were confused about the use of parables.

Jesus asks questions about John (Mt 11:7-11:8)

“As the disciples of John

Went away,

Jesus began to speak

To the crowds

About John.

‘What did you go out

Into the wilderness

To look at?

Was he a reed

Shaken by the wind?’

Why then did you go out

To see him?

Was he a man

Dressed in fine clothes?

Look!

Those who wear fine clothes

Are in royal palaces.’”

 

Τούτων δὲ πορευομένων ἤρξατο ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγειν τοῖς ὄχλοις περὶ Ἰωάνου Τί ἐξήλθατε εἰς τὴν ἔρημον θεάσασθαι; κάλαμον ὑπὸ ἀνέμου σαλευόμενον;

ἀλλὰ τί ἐξήλθατε ἰδεῖν; ἄνθρωπον ἐν μαλακοῖς ἠμφιεσμένον; ἰδοὺ οἱ τὰ μαλακὰ φοροῦντες ἐν τοῖς οἴκοις τῶν βασιλέων.

 

These question sayings are word for word like Luke, chapter 7:24-25, indicating a possible Q source.  As these disciples of John were leaving on their journey (Τούτων δὲ πορευομένων), Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John (ἤρξατο ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγειν τοῖς ὄχλοις περὶ Ἰωάνου).  He asked them some questions.  Why did they go out into the wilderness to see John (Τί ἐξήλθατε εἰς τὴν ἔρημον θεάσασθαι)?  Was he a reed shaking in the wind (κάλαμον ὑπὸ ἀνέμου σαλευόμενον)?  Why did they go out to see him (ἀλλὰ τί ἐξήλθατε ἰδεῖν)?  Was he a man dressed in fine clothes or soft robes (ἄνθρωπον ἐν μαλακοῖς ἠμφιεσμένον)?  Or course not, since fine clothes or soft robes can only be found in royal palaces (ἰδοὺ οἱ τὰ μαλακὰ φοροῦντες ἐν τοῖς οἴκοις τῶν βασιλέων).

Laborers for the harvest (Mt 9:37-9:38)

“Then he said

To his disciples.

‘The harvest is plentiful.

But the laborers are few.

Therefore,

Ask the Lord

Of the harvest

To send out laborers

Into his harvest.’”

 

τότε λέγει τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ Ὁ μὲν θερισμὸς πολύς, οἱ δὲ ἐργάται ὀλίγοι·

 δεήθητε οὖν τοῦ Κυρίου τοῦ θερισμοῦ ὅπως ἐκβάλῃ ἐργάτας εἰς τὸν θερισμὸν αὐτοῦ.

 

This saying about the laborers for the harvest is exactly the same, word for word, as in Luke, chapter 10:2, indicating a probable Q source.  This time, Jesus spoke to his disciples (τότε λέγει τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ), not the crowds.  He told them that the harvest was plentiful or full (Ὁ μὲν θερισμὸς πολύς), but there were few field laborers or few workers (οἱ δὲ ἐργάται ὀλίγοι).  He wanted them to request, beseech, or pray to the Lord of the harvest (δεήθητε οὖν τοῦ Κυρίου τοῦ θερισμοῦ) to send out more field laborers or workers into his harvest field (ἐκβάλῃ ἐργάτας εἰς τὸν θερισμὸν αὐτοῦ).  Who is the Lord of the harvest?  Is this the Father?

The sermon on the mount (Mt 5:1-5:2)

“Jesus saw the crowds.

He went up the mountain.

After he sat down,

His disciples came to him.

He began to speak.

He taught them.”

 

δὼν δὲ τοὺς ὄχλους ἀνέβη εἰς τὸ ὄρος· καὶ καθίσαντος αὐτοῦ προσῆλθαν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ

καὶ ἀνοίξας τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ ἐδίδασκεν αὐτοὺς λέγων

 

This Sermon on the Mount contains the main themes of Jesus’ teaching.  There is an equivalent in Luke, chapter 6:20-26, but there is nothing like this in Mark or John.  This sermon is one of the great examples of the common Q source.  How did Luke and Matthew use this source differently?  Matthew has 8 blessings, but Luke has 4 blessings and 4 curses.  Matthew continued with his theme about large crowds.  Jesus saw that he had a large crowd (δὼν δὲ τοὺς ὄχλους).  What exactly is a large crowd?  Jesus went up to a mountain (ἀνέβη εἰς τὸ ὄρος), probably some rolling hill near Capernaum.  Matthew has another echo of Moses, as someone who escaped death as a child, left Egypt, went into the wilderness for 40 days, and now goes up the mountain.  In Luke, Jesus was on a level plain.  Right from the start, there are two different perspectives.  Jesus sat down (καὶ καθίσαντος αὐτοῦ), which was the common position of Jewish teaching rabbis.  Of course, his followers or disciples came to him (προσῆλθαν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ).  Obviously, there were now more than the two sets of two brothers.  Jesus then opened his mouth (καὶ ἀνοίξας τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ) to teach them with his words (ἐδίδασκεν αὐτοὺς λέγων).  If he was seated, in order to be heard, the crowd could not have been more than a couple of hundred people, if that, maybe even less than 100.