Pilate released Barabbas (Mk 15:15-15:15)

“Thus,

Pilate wished

To satisfy the crowd.

He released Barabbas

For them.

After flogging Jesus,

He handed him over

To be crucified.”

 

ὁ δὲ Πειλᾶτος βουλόμενος τῷ ὄχλῳ τὸ ἱκανὸν ποιῆσαι ἀπέλυσεν αὐτοῖς τὸν Βαραββᾶν, καὶ παρέδωκεν τὸν Ἰησοῦν φραγελλώσας ἵνα σταυρωθῇ.

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 27:26.  In Luke, chapter 23:24-25, Pilate rendered a verdict, while in John, chapter 19:16, Pilate also handed him over to be crucified.  Mark said Pilate wished to satisfy the crowd (ὁ δὲ Πειλᾶτος βουλόμενος τῷ ὄχλῳ τὸ ἱκανὸν ποιῆσαι).  Thus, he released Barabbas to them (ἀπέλυσεν αὐτοῖς τὸν Βαραββᾶν).  After flogging or whipping Jesus (καὶ παρέδωκεν τὸν Ἰησοῦν φραγελλώσας), he handed him over to be crucified (ἵνα σταυρωθῇ).  Crucifixion was a common Roman death penalty.  This whipping, flogging, or scourging was also the normal way of preparing a person for death.  Those condemned to die were then nailed to planks in order to die of asphyxiation on a cross planted in the ground, so that they were not able to breath.  It sounds gruesome, but that is the way they did things back in the day.

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The good seed grows (Mk 4:26-4:27)

“Jesus said.

‘The kingdom of God

Is as if

Someone would

Scatter seed

On the ground.

He would sleep.

He would rise

Night and day.

Meanwhile,

The seed

Would sprout

And grow.

He does not know

How this happens.’”

 

Καὶ ἔλεγεν Οὕτως ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὡς ἄνθρωπος βάλῃ τὸν σπόρον ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς,

καὶ καθεύδῃ  καὶ ἐγείρηται νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν, καὶ ὁ σπόρος βλαστᾷ καὶ μηκύνηται ὡς οὐκ οἶδεν αὐτός

 

This unique parable of Mark is not found in any of the other synoptic gospels.  Jesus said (Καὶ ἔλεγεν) that the kingdom of God (Οὕτως ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ) was like as if someone or a man would scatter, place, or drop some seeds on the ground (ὡς ἄνθρωπος βάλῃ τὸν σπόρον ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς).  He would then go to sleep (καὶ καθεύδῃ) and wake up (καὶ ἐγείρηται) every night and day (νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν).  Meanwhile, the seeds would sprout (καὶ ὁ σπόρος βλαστᾷ) and grow (καὶ μηκύνηται).  However, he did not know how this happened (ὡς οὐκ οἶδεν αὐτός).  This is a little like the sower and the seeds in the various difficult places.  However, this is a simpler story.  He was just wondering how things grew in the kingdom of God.

The adoration of the three apostles (Mt 17:6-17:8)

“When the disciples heard this,

They fell to the ground,

Face down.

They were overcome

With fear.

But Jesus came.

He touched them.

Saying.

‘Get up!

Do not be afraid!’

When they looked up,

They saw no one

Except Jesus himself alone.”

 

καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ μαθηταὶ ἔπεσαν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον αὐτῶν καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν σφόδρα.

καὶ προσῆλθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ ἁψάμενος αὐτῶν εἶπεν Ἐγέρθητε καὶ μὴ φοβεῖσθε.

πάραντες δὲ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν οὐδένα εἶδον εἰ μὴ αὐτὸν Ἰησοῦν μόνον.

 

This adoration of the apostles can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 9:8, Luke, chapter 9:36, and here in Matthew, which is more elaborate, even though there are other differences in all 3 accounts.  When the disciples heard (καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ μαθηταὶ) this voice from the cloud say that Jesus was the beloved Son, in whom the Father was well pleased, they fell face down to the ground (ἔπεσαν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον αὐτῶν).  They were greatly terrified (ἔπεσαν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον αὐτῶν).  However, Jesus came (καὶ προσῆλθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς) to them.  He touched them (καὶ ἁψάμενος αὐτῶν).  Then he told them to get up (εἶπεν Ἐγέρθητε) and not be afraid (μὴ φοβεῖσθε).  When they looked up or lifted up their eyes (πάραντες δὲ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν), they saw no one (οὐδένα εἶδον), but only Jesus himself alone (εἰ μὴ αὐτὸν Ἰησοῦν μόνον).  Where were Moses and Elijah?  Was this just a dream?

Jesus give thanks and distributes the bread (Mt 15:35-15:36)

“Jesus ordered

The crowd

To sit down

On the ground.

He took the seven loaves

And the fish.

He gave thanks.

He broke them.

He gave them

To the disciples.

Then the disciples

Gave them

To the crowds.”

 

καὶ παραγγείλας τῷ ὄχλῳ ἀναπεσεῖν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν

ἔλαβεν τοὺς ἑπτὰ ἄρτους καὶ τοὺς ἰχθύας καὶ εὐχαριστήσας ἔκλασεν καὶ ἐδίδου τοῖς μαθηταῖς, οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ τοῖς ὄχλοις.

 

Mark, chapter 8:6-7, has a similar statement about the thanksgiving blessing and the distribution of the 7 loaves of bread and fish.  Jesus ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground, instead of earlier on the grass (καὶ παραγγείλας τῷ ὄχλῳ ἀναπεσεῖν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν).  This was going to be like a large picnic.  He took the seven loaves and the fish (ἔλαβεν τοὺς ἑπτὰ ἄρτους καὶ τοὺς ἰχθύας).  He gave thanks or eucharized them (καὶ εὐχαριστήσας) and broke them apart (ἔκλασεν).  He gave them to the disciples (καὶ ἐδίδου τοῖς μαθηταῖς).  Then the disciples gave them to the crowds (οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ τοῖς ὄχλοις).  This feeding of a large group of people harkens back to the Exodus story, chapter 16:1-36, about the manna and the quails in the wilderness, but on a smaller scale.  Yet the word “thanksgiving” was used here instead of a “blessing” as at the feeding of the 5,000 people in chapter 14:19.  This has almost a foretaste of the Eucharistic Last Supper of Jesus, when he gave thanks, blessed and broke the bread.  Otherwise, this is very similar to the first multiplication of the loaves of bread.  However, Jesus did not look up to heaven here.  The process is pretty much the same.  Jesus gave the food to his disciples, who in turn gave the food to the people in the crowd.

The value of sparrows (Mt 10:29-10:31)

“Are not two sparrows

Sold for a penny?

Yet not one of them

Will fall to the ground

Without your Father’s will.

But even the hairs

Of your head

Are all numbered.

Do not be afraid!

You are of more value

Than many sparrows.”

 

οὐχὶ δύο στρουθία ἀσσαρίου πωλεῖται; καὶ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν οὐ πεσεῖται ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ἄνευ τοῦ Πατρὸς ὑμῶν.

ὑμῶν δὲ καὶ αἱ τρίχες τῆς κεφαλῆς πᾶσαι ἠριθμημέναι εἰσίν.

μὴ οὖν φοβεῖσθε· πολλῶν στρουθίων διαφέρετε ὑμεῖς.

 

This verse of Matthew is similar to Luke, chapter 12:6-7, indicating a Q source.  Jesus, via Matthew, compared human life to 2 sparrows.  He asked whether 2 sparrows (οὐχὶ δύο στρουθία) that sold for a penny or a Greek “assarion” (ἀσσαρίου πωλεῖται), worth about 2 cents. were more valuable than humans.  Not one of these sparrows would fall to the ground without the heavenly Father (καὶ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν οὐ πεσεῖται ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ἄνευ τοῦ Πατρὸς ὑμῶν).  God, the Father, could number all the hairs on their head (μῶν δὲ καὶ αἱ τρίχες τῆς κεφαλῆς πᾶσαι ἠριθμημέναι εἰσίν.).  They should not be afraid (μὴ οὖν φοβεῖσθε), because they are more valuable that many sparrows (πολλῶν στρουθίων διαφέρετε ὑμεῖς).  If God the Father cares for these insignificant birds, how much more is he concerned about humans.  There was a continual theme about not being afraid.

Sinners will die (Am 9:9-9:10)

“I will command!

I will shake

The house of Israel

Among all the nations,

As one shakes

With a sieve.

But no pebble

Shall fall

To the ground.

All the sinners

Of my people

Shall die

By the sword.

They say.

‘Evil shall not overtake

Or meet us.’”

Yahweh was going to command and shake the house of Israel among all the countries in the world.  He was going to shake them like a sieve.  However, no pebble would fall to the ground.  All the sinners among his people would die by the sword.  Who were these sinners?  These were the ones who said that evil would not overtake or meet them.

The vision of the fire (Am 7:4-7:4)

“This is what

Yahweh God

Showed me.

Yahweh God

Was calling

For a shower of fire.

It devoured

The great deep.

It was eating up

The land.”

Amos saw Yahweh send a shower of fire on the land. It was eating up the land, even the water below the ground of the great deep wells