The Son of Man will give up his life (Mt 20:28-20:28)

“The Son of Man came

Not to be served,

But to serve.

He gives his life

As a ransom for many.”

 

ὥσπερ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἦλθεν διακονηθῆναι, ἀλλὰ διακονῆσαι καὶ δοῦναι τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ λύτρον ἀντὶ πολλῶν.

 

There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 10:45, word for word.  Jesus said that the Son of Man came not to be served (ὥσπερ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἦλθεν διακονηθῆναι), but to serve others (ἀλλὰ διακονῆσαι).  He was going to give his life (καὶ δοῦναι τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ) as a ransom for many people (λύτρον ἀντὶ πολλῶν).  This ransom or freeing of slaves was a divine liberation from the slavery of sin.  Quite often in the Old Testament, Yahweh said that he was going to save his people, the Israelites.  Jesus was going to pay the penalty of death.  Thus, he ransomed a great number of people from their sins or their debts.

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Jesus said that she had great faith (Mt 15:28-15:28)

“Then Jesus answered her.

‘Woman!

Great is your faith!

Let it be done for you

As you wish!’

Her daughter

Was healed instantly.”

 

τότε ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῇ Ὦ γύναι, μεγάλη σου ἡ πίστις· γενηθήτω σοι ὡς θέλεις. καὶ ἰάθη ἡ θυγάτηρ αὐτῆς ἀπὸ τῆς ὥρας ἐκείνης.

 

A similar but expanded response can be found in Mark, chapter 7:29-30.  Jesus recognized her great faith, that was so important in this gospel of Matthew.  Jesus answered her (τότε ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  He said to her that she was a woman of great faith (εἶπεν αὐτῇ Ὦ γύναι, μεγάλη σου ἡ πίστις).  He was going to grant her wish (γενηθήτω σοι ὡς θέλεις).  Her daughter was healed instantly, at that very hour (καὶ ἰάθη ἡ θυγάτηρ αὐτῆς ἀπὸ τῆς ὥρας ἐκείνης).  Despite the reluctance of Jesus to go outside of the Israelites, the great faith of this woman persuaded him to cure her daughter of her demonic illness.

The Lord of the Sabbath (Mt 12:6-12:8)

“I tell you!

Something greater

Than the temple is here.

If you had known

What this means.

‘I desire mercy,

Not sacrifice!’

You would not have

Condemned

The guiltless.

The Son of Man is

Lord of the Sabbath.”

 

λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν ὅτι τοῦ ἱεροῦ μεῖζόν ἐστιν ὧδε.

εἰ δὲ ἐγνώκειτε τί ἐστιν Ἔλεος θέλω καὶ οὐ θυσίαν, οὐκ ἂν κατεδικάσατε τοὺς ἀναιτίους.

κύριος γάρ ἐστιν τοῦ σαββάτου ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.

 

Mark, chapter 2:27-28, has a similar saying to this, so that he may be the source of this saying.  Matthew has Jesus begin with a solemn proclamation (λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν).  Something or someone greater than the Temple is here (ὅτι τοῦ ἱεροῦ μεῖζόν ἐστιν ὧδε), a clear reference to Jesus himself.  Too bad, that they did not know what the saying about mercy was all about (εἰ δὲ ἐγνώκειτε τί ἐστιν).  Matthew then used the same citation of Hosea that he had earlier in chapter 9:13.  Jesus explained that he desired mercy (τί ἐστιν Ἔλεος θέλω), and not sacrifices (καὶ οὐ θυσίαν), based on Hosea, chapter 6:6, where the essential message was that Yahweh wanted real faithful love, not mere sacrifices.  Hosea wanted the Israelites to have real knowledge of God, rather than worry about burnt offerings.  Thus, the Pharisees would not have condemned the innocent or guiltless ones (οὐκ ἂν κατεδικάσατε τοὺς ἀναιτίους) since Jesus and his disciples had done nothing wrong.  The Son of Man was the Lord of the Sabbath (κύριος γάρ ἐστιν τοῦ σαββάτου ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου).  Jesus then could control the Sabbath, not the other way around.  Instead of the Sabbath as a gift to humans, Jesus would reinterpret the laws of the Sabbath as the Lord of the Sabbath.

The citation from Hosea about mercy (Mt 9:13-9:13)

“Go!

Learn what this means!

‘I desire mercy,

Not sacrifice!

I have come

Not to call the righteous,

But sinners.’”

 

πορευθέντες δὲ μάθετε τί ἐστιν Ἔλεος θέλω καὶ οὐ θυσίαν· οὐ γὰρ ἦλθον καλέσαι δικαίους ἀλλὰ ἁμαρτωλούς.

 

This response of Jesus is almost the same as in Mark, chapter 2:17, and Luke, chapter 5;31.  Jesus explained that they ought to learn what he means (πορευθέντες δὲ μάθετε), because he desired mercy (τί ἐστιν Ἔλεος θέλω), and not sacrifices (καὶ οὐ θυσίαν).  This was based on Hosea, chapter 6:6, where the essential message was that Yahweh wanted real faithful love, not mere sacrifices.  Hosea wanted the Israelites to have real knowledge of God, rather than worry about burnt offerings.  Jesus had come not to call the people who were righteous already (γὰρ ἦλθον καλέσαι δικαίους), but to call the sinners (ἀλλὰ ἁμαρτωλούς).

The response of Jesus (Mt 4:4-4:4)

“But Jesus answered.

‘It is written.

One does not live

By bread alone,

But by every word

That comes

From the mouth of God.’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Γέγραπται Οὐκ ἐπ’ ἄρτῳ μόνῳ ζήσεται ὁ ἄνθρωπος, ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ παντὶ ῥήματι ἐκπορευομένῳ διὰ στόματος Θεοῦ.

 

Once again, Matthew and Luke, chapter 4:4 shared a common source, perhaps Q.  Jesus responded (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς) to the tempter by citing a written phrase (εἶπεν Γέγραπται) from Deuteronomy, chapter 8:3, about the fact that man does not live by bread alone (Οὐκ ἐπ’ ἄρτῳ μόνῳ ζήσεται ὁ ἄνθρωπος,), but rather man lives by all the words that come from the mouth of God (ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ παντὶ ῥήματι ἐκπορευομένῳ διὰ στόματος Θεοῦ.).  Actually, the Book of Deuteronomy was the most quoted book of the Torah in these New Testament writings.  In Deuteronomy, Yahweh had reminded the Israelites that they had been tested for 40 years with hunger.  Then came this saying about not living by bread alone, but by every word that came from the mouth of Yahweh.  The mouth of God was an anthropomorphism for Yahweh’s law.

 

Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights (Mt 4:2-4:2)

“Jesus fasted

Forty days

And forty nights.

Afterwards,

He was hungry.”

 

καὶ νηστεύσας ἡμέρας τεσσεράκοντα καὶ τεσσεράκοντα νύκτας ὕστερον ἐπείνασεν.

 

Once again, this text is like Luke, chapter 4:2, word for word, indicating a common source, perhaps the Q source.  There was a symbolism in this fast of 40 days (ἡμέρας τεσσεράκοντα) and 40 nights (καὶ τεσσεράκοντα νύκτας).  Fasting (νηστεύσας) was a common Hebrew exercise, while 40 was the same number of years that the Israelites were in the wilderness during the Exodus.  This was a real fast, not one that ended when the sun went down, since it included a night fast also.  Jesus was really hungry of famished (ἐπείνασεν) at the end of this time. (ὕστερον).

Christians reading the Old Testament

The Old Testament Hebrew Bible raises questions of interpretation for a Christian.  To what extent am I, as a Christian, projecting Christian views and values on the children of Israel, the people of Israel, the Israelites?  There are various terms that translators have used to describe the slowing forming group of Yahweh believers over three thousand years ago.  Yahweh was their God and intervened in their lives.  They had a special relationship or covenant with him.  The Hebrew sacred writings were incorporated into Christianity because all the early Christians were Jewish.  However, the writings were not originally meant for Christians, but for the Hebrew people.  Can I really fully understand the Semitic thought process of three thousand years ago?  Will I be able to appreciate how important the promised land of Israel was to Jewish people?  What role did the exodus from Egypt, the Temple, the exile, and the various codes play in their lives?  I can try, but I doubt if I will be fully successful.