Paul reminded his readers that they were once gentiles or the uncircumcised ones. However, circumcision was made with human hands. They were separated from Jesus Christ. They were alienated from Israel. They were strangers to the Hebrew covenant promise. They had no hope. They lived in a world without God.
The things to come (Mk 10:33-10:34)
We are going up
The Son of man
Will be handed over
To the chief priests
And the Scribes.
They will condemn him
Then they will
Hand him over
To the gentiles.
They will mock him.
They will spit upon him.
They will flog him.
They will kill him.
After three days,
He will rise again.’”
ὅτι Ἰδοὺ ἀναβαίνομεν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα, καὶ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδοθήσεται τοῖς ἀρχιερεῦσιν καὶ τοῖς γραμματεῦσιν, καὶ κατακρινοῦσιν αὐτὸν θανάτῳ καὶ παραδώσουσιν αὐτὸν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν
καὶ ἐμπαίξουσιν αὐτῷ καὶ ἐμπτύσουσιν αὐτῷ καὶ μαστιγώσουσιν αὐτὸν καὶ ἀποκτενοῦσιν, καὶ μετὰ τρεῖς ἡμέρας ἀναστήσεται.
Matthew, chapter 20:18-19, and Luke, chapter 18:32-33, have something similar to this, almost word for word. This would be the 3rd prediction of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection. Yet this is the most descriptive explanation. Mark said that Jesus told his trusted 12 leaders that they were going up to Jerusalem (ὅτι Ἰδοὺ ἀναβαίνομεν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα). There the Son of Man would be handed over to the chief priests and the Scribes (καὶ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδοθήσεται τοῖς ἀρχιερεῦσιν καὶ τοῖς γραμματεῦσιν), with no mention of the Pharisees or Sadducees. These chief priests and Scribes were going to condemn him to death (καὶ κατακρινοῦσιν αὐτὸν εἰς θανάτῳ). They would, in turn, hand him over to the gentiles (καὶ παραδώσουσιν αὐτὸν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν), meaning the Romans. While this first part was almost word for word with Matthew, there was a change of vocabulary in the second verse. Then they would mock or ridicule him (καὶ ἐμπαίξουσιν αὐτῷ). They would spit on him (καὶ ἐμπτύσουσιν αὐτῷ). They would flog or scourge him (καὶ μαστιγώσουσιν αὐτὸν). Finally, they would kill him (καὶ ἀποκτενοῦσιν), but there was no mention of a crucifixion, as in Matthew. After three days (καὶ μετὰ τρεῖς ἡμέρας), he would rise again (ἀναστήσεται). Obviously, Jesus was talking about himself, but he always used the term Son of Man.
Divorced women commit adultery (Mk 10:12-10:12)
“If she divorces
And marries another,
She commits adultery.”
καὶ ἐὰν αὐτὴ ἀπολύσασα τὸν ἄνδρα αὐτῆς γαμήσῃ ἄλλον, μοιχᾶται.
This is unique to Mark, since in Jewish society, women could not divorce their husbands, but in Roman society or among the gentiles, women could divorce their husbands. However, Jesus gave the same rebuke as he gave the men. If a woman divorced her husband (καὶ ἐὰν αὐτὴ ἀπολύσασα τὸν ἄνδρα αὐτῆς), and married someone else (γαμήσῃ ἄλλον), she committed adultery (μοιχᾶται). There were no exceptions, not even for spousal abuse. The new marriage was adulterous.
Prediction of what is going to happen in Jerusalem (Mt 20:18-20:19)
We are going up
The Son of Man
Will be handed over
To the chief priests
They will condemn him
Then they will hand him
Over to the gentiles.
He will be mocked.
He will be scourged.
He will be crucified.
On the third day
He will be raised up.”
Ἰδοὺ ἀναβαίνομεν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα, καὶ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδοθήσεται τοῖς ἀρχιερεῦσιν καὶ γραμματεῦσιν, καὶ κατακρινοῦσιν αὐτὸν εἰς θάνατον,
καὶ παραδώσουσιν αὐτὸν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν εἰς τὸ ἐμπαῖξαι καὶ μαστιγῶσαι καὶ σταυρῶσαι, καὶ τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ ἐγερθήσεται.
Mark, chapter 10:33-34, and Luke, chapter 18:32-33, have something similar to this. This would be the 3rd prediction of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection after chapters 16:21 and 17:22-23. Yet this is the most descriptive explanation. Jesus told his trusted 12 leaders that they were going to Jerusalem (Ἰδοὺ ἀναβαίνομεν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα). There the Son of Man would be handed over to the chief priests of Jerusalem and the scribes (καὶ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδοθήσεται τοῖς ἀρχιερεῦσιν καὶ γραμματεῦσιν). There was no mention of the Pharisees or Sadducees. These priests and scribes were going to condemn him to death (καὶ κατακρινοῦσιν αὐτὸν εἰς θάνατον). They would, in turn, hand him over to the gentiles (καὶ παραδώσουσιν αὐτὸν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν), meaning the Romans. Then they would mock or ridicule him (εἰς τὸ ἐμπαῖξαι). They would scourge him (καὶ μαστιγῶσαι). Finally, they would crucify him (καὶ σταυρῶσαι), the common form of Roman execution. However, on the 3rd day, the Son of Man would be raised up (καὶ τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ ἐγερθήσεται). Obviously, Jesus was talking about himself, but he always used the term Son of Man.
You will be persecuted (Mt 10:17-10:18)
“Beware of those men!
They will hand you over
They will flog you
In their synagogues.
You will be dragged
And before kings,
Because of me.
You will be
And the gentiles.”
Προσέχετε δὲ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων· παραδώσουσιν γὰρ ὑμᾶς εἰς συνέδρια, καὶ ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν μαστιγώσουσιν ὑμᾶς·
καὶ ἐπὶ ἡγεμόνας δὲ καὶ βασιλεῖς ἀχθήσεσθε ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ, εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς καὶ τοῖς ἔθνεσιν.
Equivalent passages to this can be found in Mark, chapter 13:9, and Luke, chapter 21:12. Jesus, via Matthew warned his apostles and disciples that they would be persecuted because of him. They should realize or be aware of what other men were going to do to them (Προσέχετε δὲ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων). They would be handed over to the local councils, courts, tribunals, or local Jewish Sanhedrin (παραδώσουσιν γὰρ ὑμᾶς εἰς συνέδρια). These were local gatherings called “συνέδρια.” They would be flogged or scourged in the synagogues (καὶ ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν μαστιγώσουσιν ὑμᾶς). This “μαστιγώσουσιν” would be a whipping that one would endure after being tied to a pole. They would also be dragged before governors and kings (καὶ ἐπὶ ἡγεμόνας δὲ καὶ βασιλεῖς ἀχθήσεσθε). All this would happen to them (ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ) because they were going to give testimony or witness about Jesus before other people even the gentiles (εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς καὶ τοῖς ἔθνεσιν). They were warned about how difficult the task of being a follower or apostle of Jesus might be.
These twelve apostles were for the Jews (Mt 10:5-10:7)
“Jesus sent out
With the following instructions.
Among the Gentiles!
Enter no town
Of the Samaritans!
But go rather
To the lost sheep
Of the house of Israel!
Preach as you go!
‘The kingdom of heaven
Is at hand.’”
Τούτους τοὺς δώδεκα ἀπέστειλεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς παραγγείλας αὐτοῖς λέγων Εἰς ὁδὸν ἐθνῶν μὴ ἀπέλθητε καὶ εἰς πόλιν Σαμαρειτῶν μὴ εἰσέλθητε·
πορεύεσθε δὲ μᾶλλον πρὸς τὰ πρόβατα τὰ ἀπολωλότα οἴκου Ἰσραήλ
πορευόμενοι δὲ κηρύσσετε λέγοντες ὅτι Ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.
There is no exact equivalent to this exclusive mission to the Jews, that this is unique to Matthew. Jesus sent out these 12 apostles (Τούτους τοὺς δώδεκα ἀπέστειλεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς). He commanded them with specific instructions (παραγγείλας αὐτοῖς λέγων). They were to stay away from the gentiles (Εἰς ὁδὸν ἐθνῶν μὴ ἀπέλθητε). They were not allowed to enter any Samaritan town either (καὶ εἰς πόλιν Σαμαρειτῶν μὴ εἰσέλθητε). Thus, they had to stay away from the gentiles and the Samaritans. Their mission, however, was to go to the lost sheep in the house of Israel (πορεύεσθε δὲ μᾶλλον πρὸς τὰ πρόβατα τὰ ἀπολωλότα οἴκου Ἰσραήλ). They were to go and proclaim that the kingdom of heaven was at hand (πορευόμενοι δὲ κηρύσσετε λέγοντες ὅτι Ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν). This is exactly the same teaching as John the Baptist, word for word, as in chapter 3:2. Matthew had John say that the kingdom of heaven (γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν) was at hand, coming near (ἤγγικεν). Notice that Matthew did not say the kingdom of God, but the kingdom of heaven. In fact, it is in the plural, heavens. This connection of the message of John and Jesus is very strong here in Matthew.
Short prayers (Mt 6:7-6:8)
“When you are praying,
Do not heap up empty phrases,
As the gentiles do.
That they will be heard
Because of their many words.
Do not be like them!
Your Father knows
What you need
Before you ask him.”
Προσευχόμενοι δὲ μὴ βατταλογήσητε ὥσπερ οἱ ἐθνικοί· δοκοῦσιν γὰρ ὅτι ἐν τῇ πολυλογίᾳ αὐτῶν εἰσακουσθήσονται.
μὴ οὖν ὁμοιωθῆτε αὐτοῖς· οἶδεν γὰρ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὧν χρείαν ἔχετε πρὸ τοῦ ὑμᾶς αἰτῆσαι αὐτόν.
This is another saying of Jesus, only found in Matthew, that serves as the introduction to the “Our Father” prayer. When the followers of Jesus were praying (Προσευχόμενοι δὲ), they should not babble or use vain empty words (μὴ βατταλογήσητε). Matthew used this Greek word “βατταλογήσητε” that only appears here in all the biblical literature. This was a kind of long babbling stammering rote type of prayer that some gentiles used (ὥσπερ οἱ ἐθνικοί). Thus, once again Matthew indicated that these gentles were not part of the Jesus followers. These long-winded gentile non-Jewish people thought that they had to use a lot of words to be heard (δοκοῦσιν γὰρ ὅτι ἐν τῇ πολυλογίᾳ αὐτῶν εἰσακουσθήσονται). The Jesus followers should not be the same or like them (μὴ οὖν ὁμοιωθῆτε αὐτοῖς), since their divine Father (οἶδεν γὰρ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν) knew what they needed before they even asked (ὧν χρείαν ἔχετε πρὸ τοῦ ὑμᾶς αἰτῆσαι αὐτόν).
The army of Judas Maccabeus (2 Macc 8:5-8:7)
“As soon as Judas Maccabeus got his army organized, the gentiles could not withstand him. The wrath of the Lord had turned to mercy. Coming without warning, he would set fire to towns and villages. He captured strategic positions. He put to flight not a few of the enemy. He found the nights most advantageous for such attacks. Talk of his valor spread everywhere.”
Suddenly, the army of Judas Maccabeus was able to attack the gentiles. The anger of God turned to mercy. Judas Maccabeus and his group would set fire to towns and villages, the supposed strategic positions of the enemy. However, they were in Israel or Judah. The enemies were sent fleeing. He mostly attacked at night because it was easier then as talk of his exploits began to spread everywhere.
The gentiles take over the Temple (2 Macc 6:3-6:6)
“Harsh and utterly grievous was the onslaught of evil. The temple was filled with debauchery and reveling by the gentiles. They dallied with prostitutes. They had intercourse with women within the sacred precincts. Besides they brought in things for sacrifice that were unfit. The altar was covered with abominable offerings which were forbidden by the laws. People could neither keep the Sabbath, nor observe the festivals of their ancestors, nor so much as confess themselves to be Jews.”
The gentiles took over the Temple. This was mentioned in 1 Maccabees, chapter 1, but here it is more specific, especially about prostitutes as part of a fertility cult. They would have intercourse in the sacred places to help have children. They also offered unfit sacrifices. The altars were full of all kinds of Jewish forbidden abominable offerings. The Israelites could not keep the Sabbath, nor observe their festival days. In fact, they could not even confess that they were Jews.
The taking of Bethzur and siege of Jerusalem (1 Macc 6:48-6:54)
“The soldiers of the king’s army went up to Jerusalem against them. The king encamped in Judea and at Mount Zion. He made peace with the men of Beth-zur. They evacuated the town because they had no provisions there to withstand a siege, since it was a sabbatical year for the land. So the king took Beth-zur. He stationed a guard there to hold it. Then he encamped before the sanctuary for many days. He set up siege towers, engines of war to throw fire and stones, machines to shoot arrows, and catapults. The Jews also made engines of war to match theirs. They fought for many days. But they had no food in storage, because it was the seventh year. Those who found safety in Judea from the gentiles had consumed the last of the stores. Only a few men were left in the sanctuary. The rest of the men had scattered to their own homes. The famine proved too much for them.”
The king’s soldiers moved on to Jerusalem. They camped near Mount Zion. They had already made peace with the people of Beth-zur because they had no provisions due to the fact that it was a sabbatical year. No one worked the fields. The king set up a guard there. Then he camped near the sanctuary in Jerusalem. Then the king’s men set up towers to create engines of war. These engines of war were like battering rams or catapults to shot fire, stones, and arrows. The Jews tried to match these engines of war as the war dragged on. However, the men in Jerusalem, like the people in Beth-zur had little supplies since this was sabbatical jubilee year when no work was done. Eventually, a lot of the Jews left for their own homes as the famine continued.