The great dinner banquet (Lk 14:16-14:16)

“Then Jesus said to him.

‘Someone gave

A great dinner banquet.

He invited

Many people.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ἄνθρωπός τις ἐποίει δεῖπνον μέγα, καὶ ἐκάλεσεν πολλούς,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus told a parable.  He said to this man (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ἄνθρωπός) that someone gave a great dinner banquet (τις ἐποίει δεῖπνον μέγα).  He invited many people (καὶ ἐκάλεσεν πολλούς).  This is somewhat similar to Matthew, chapter 22:2, where instead of “someone” it was “a king” who was giving a great wedding dinner for his son.  There may be a common Q source for this story or parable.  Matthew had Jesus compare the kingdom of heaven (Ὡμοιώθη ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν) to this male king (ἀνθρώπῳ βασιλεῖ) who had prepared a great wedding banquet for his son (ὅστις ἐποίησεν γάμους τῷ υἱῷ αὐτοῦ).  This was an obvious allusion to the king, God the Father, giving a wedding banquet feast for his son, Jesus.  Here in Luke, it was only a great feast.  Both stories have many people being invited to this great feast.  Have you ever been invited to a great dinner banquet?

The little child (Lk 9:47-9:47)

“But Jesus

Became aware

Of their inner thoughts.

He took

A little child.

He put this child

By his side.”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἰδὼς τὸν διαλογισμὸν τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν, ἐπιλαβόμενος παιδίον ἔστησεν αὐτὸ παρ’ ἑαυτῷ,

 

Luke said that Jesus became aware of their inner heart thoughts (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἰδὼς τὸν διαλογισμὸν τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν).  He took a little child (ἐπιλαβόμενος παιδίον).  He put this child by his side (ἔστησεν αὐτὸ παρ’ ἑαυτῷ).  This talk about Jesus and the little child can also be found in Matthew, chapter 18:2, as well as Mark, chapters 9:36, with some changes.  Mark said that Jesus took a little child.  He then placed this little child in the middle or among his disciples.  He held the child in his arms and then he spoke to his apostles.  Matthew indicated that Jesus put an emphasis on becoming like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus called or summoned a little child.  He placed this little child in the middle of his disciples.  Then he made a solemn proclamation that they had to change or convert to become like little children.  Otherwise, they would never enter the kingdom of heaven   Whoever became humble like this little child in their midst, would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  The greatest in heaven would be the simple humble little children or those who acted like children, without power and depending on other people.  What do you think the role of children should be?

Do what I tell you! (Lk 6:46-6:46)

“Why do you call me?

‘Lord!

Lord!’

But you do not do

What I tell you.”

 

Τί δέ με καλεῖτε Κύριε, καὶ οὐ ποιεῖτε ἃ λέγω;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus asked this question.  Why do you call me Lord! Lord (Τί δέ με καλεῖτε Κύριε κύριε)?  However, you do not do what I tell you to do (καὶ οὐ ποιεῖτε ἃ λέγω).  This verse is somewhat similar to Matthew, chapter 7:21.  There Jesus said that not everyone who called him Lord, Lord, would enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who did the will of his Father in heaven.  It was not good enough to simply call Jesus the Lord, but you had to do his will and the will of his Father to enter the heavenly kingdom.  Do you do what Jesus tells you to do?

Jesus taught in the Galilee synagogues (Mk 1:39-1:39)

“Jesus went

Throughout Galilee.

He proclaimed

The message

In their synagogues.

He was casting out

Demons.”

 

καὶ ἦλθεν κηρύσσων εἰς τὰς συναγωγὰς αὐτῶν εἰς ὅλην τὴν Γαλιλαίαν καὶ τὰ δαιμόνια ἐκβάλλων.

 

This was another of Mark’s summary statements.  Luke, chapter 4:44, has something similar, but Luke said that it was Judea and not Galilee.  Besides, Luke did not mention anything about casting out demons.  Matthew, chapter 4:23, is also somewhat similar.  Matthew implied that Jesus went all over Galilee, as he was teaching in their synagogues.  He said that Jesus was proclaiming the good news or the gospel about the kingdom, without saying whether it was the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, or even an earthly kingdom.  Here Mark said that Jesus went throughout the whole of Galilee (καὶ ἦλθεν…εἰς ὅλην τὴν Γαλιλαίαν), as he proclaimed or preached this unspecified message in their synagogues (κηρύσσων εἰς τὰς συναγωγὰς αὐτῶν).  The synagogue was a new developing Jewish gathering place that might mean a group or assembly of Jewish people rather than a building, since some places may not have been able to afford a building.  At the same time, Jesus was casting out demons (καὶ τὰ δαιμόνια ἐκβάλλων).  Mark seemed very intent on emphasizing that Jesus was casting out demons along with his undefined preaching.  He gave the impression that this took place all over Galilee without mentioning any particular place.

Fourth narrative

The fourth narrative section revealed the increasing opposition to Jesus.  Thus, his disciples had to prepare for his absence.  These instructions emphasized responsibility and humility.  Simon was renamed Peter, the rock upon which he was going to build his church, especially the mystery of the kingdom of heaven.

While Jesus was preaching in the various towns, John the Baptist was put in prison.  The disciples of John questioned Jesus and Jesus responded.  Jesus then asked questions about John.  Was John more than a prophet?  Then Matthew had a series of Old Testament scriptural quotations about John.  How great was John the Baptist?  Was John Elijah?

Jesus warned that this was a childish generation that was indifferent as they kept on eating and drinking, as if nothing important was happening.  Jesus was against the various Galilean cities and towns, especially Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum.  Jesus explained that there were hidden things from the wise ones, especially the relationship of the Father with the Son, but that the disciples had an easy yoke to bear.

Next came the question of eating on the Sabbath.  The Pharisees reacted against Jesus, but he used the example of David and the priests in the Temple to respond to them.  God was the Lord of the Sabbath.  Thus, when Jesus went into the synagogue, they asked him if he would heal anyone on the Sabbath?  Jesus compared sheep to human beings and then healed the man’s hand.  Thus, the Pharisees conspired against Jesus, while he took a low profile.

Jesus said that the fulfillment of the prophesy of Isaiah was at hand in the servant of Yahweh.  Jesus cured the blind and mute man as the crowds were amazed.  However, the Pharisees compared Jesus to Beelzebul, the devil.  Jesus responded that a divided kingdom would not stand.  The Spirit of God was with Jesus.  The bandits tied up people before stealing from them.  You were either for or against Jesus.  They should be aware of the sin against the Holy Spirit.

Jesus then issued a series of sayings about a tree and its fruit.  He compared the Pharisees to a brood of vipers.  There could be good and bad treasures.  Words would either save or condemn them.

Jesus told them about the sign for this evil generation that was always seeking signs.  He was only going to give them the sign of Jonah.  Notice how the men of Nineveh reacted.  The Queen of Sheba brought gifts to Solomon.  The unclean spirit would return with other evil spirits.  The relatives of Jesus, his mother and brothers showed up, but Jesus said that he had a new family.

Then Jesus spoke in parables siting in a boat by the sea.  There was the parable of the sower with his lost seeds, where only a few of the seeds fell on good soil.  His disciples wanted to know why he was speaking in parables, so that Jesus explained why he used parables.  Once again, he referred to a prophecy of Isaiah.  He explained about the seeds on the rocky ground and the seeds among the thorns.  Finally, he explained the meaning of the seeds on good ground or path since they were the blessed ones.

Then there was the parable about the weeds among the wheat.  The slaves let the weeds grow and then separated them at harvest time.  There were other parables about the mustard seed and the yeast.  Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, but he explained these parables to his disciples, especially the sower, the field, and the seeds.  He explained the enemy and the burning of the weeds.  The punishment for the weeds came at the harvest end times.  Thus, the reward for the righteous will be at the end times.

The kingdom of heaven was like a treasure, like pearls, and like a fishing net.  Jesus explained the parables because the disciples did not understand them.  They were like new and old treasures.

Jesus was an astonishment in his own home town.  They all knew the family of Jesus.  Thus, he was a prophet without honor in his own country.

Herod thought that Jesus was a resurrected John the Baptist, but he was afraid of John the Baptist.  At his birthday party, Herod granted the wish to have the head of John the Baptist on a platter.  Meanwhile, John the Baptist’s disciples buried him.

Jesus was worried as he was healing the sick people.  The disciples complained about the crowds, so that Jesus told them to give them something to eat.  However, they only had five loaves and two fish.  Then Jesus blessed the five loaves of bread and distributed them to the crowd.  There were even leftovers from this crowd of five thousand people.

The disciples left in a boat, so that Jesus prayed alone.  The boat was in the middle of the sea when Jesus walked on water to come to them.   Peter talked to Jesus and then attempted to walk on the water.  Jesus then saved Peter who recognized Jesus as the Son of God.  Then there were the healings at Gennesaret, where Jesus cured the sick.

The Pharisees from Jerusalem came to Jesus to ask him why his disciples did not wash their hands before eating.  Jesus responded by telling them to honor their parents since there was hypocrisy in their traditions.  He cited Isaiah about vain worship.  He told them to hear and understand.  They should watch what came out of their mouth rather than what went into their mouth as defilement.  The Pharisees were offended, but Jesus called them blind guides.  Peter wanted to understand more so that Jesus explained the mouth should speak from the heart.

Jesus went to the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon where he met a Canaanite woman.  He said that he was only going to the lost sheep of Israel, but this Canaanite woman persistently asked for help.  Jesus refused again saying that he could not feed the dogs.  However, she responded that dogs eat crumbs from the table.  Jesus said that she had great faith and healed her.

As Jesus healed the crowds of people in the mountain near the Sea of Galilee, he had compassion for them.  Where will they get food?  His disciples said that they had seven loaves.  Jesus then gave thanks over them and distributed the bread to four thousand men as there was a second multiplication of bread loaves.

Jesus went to Magadan.  There the Pharisees asked for a sign from heaven.  Once again, Jesus said that there are weather signs, but he would only give this evil generation the sign of Jonah.

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, but Jesus warned them about the yeast of the Pharisees.  He reprimanded his disciples for their lack of faith as he reminded them about the multiplication of the loaves of bread.  They should be worried about the Pharisees not food.

What was the role of Peter?  Jesus asked about the Son of Man as the disciples responded.  Then Jesus asked them about himself.  Peter gave a very positive response, so that Jesus rewarded him.  The Messianic secret was tied to the future of Jesus in this conversation between Peter and Jesus.  He would have to take up his cross if wanted to save his life because the Son of Man in his kingdom would be coming soon.

Jesus took three of his apostles up a mountain where he was transfigured before them.  Moses and Elijah appeared with him.  Peter wanted to set up three tents for them.  A voice from the cloud came as the three apostles adored him.  Jesus asked them to be silent about this.  What was the role of Elijah and John the Baptist?

An epileptic man knelt before Jesus that his disciples were unable to heal.  Jesus then healed him, so that his disciples wondered why they were unable to heal this epileptic?  Jesus spoke about the future of the Son of Man.  Should they pay the Temple tax?  Jesus responded that the son of the king did not pay taxes, but he told Peter to pay them anyway.

Finally, we have the ecclesiastical discourse about who is the greatest.  A child is the greatest because when you welcome a little child, you welcome Jesus.  They were not to cause children to sin.  They were not to tempt people.  It would be better to be maimed and blind than suffer eternal fire.  They were not to despise the little ones.  Jesus explained the parable of the lost sheep and fraternal correction.  What were you to do with a sinning brother.  Let him become a gentile, if he does not listen.  Common prayer was important so that they should gather in his name.  How often should they forgive?  The response was the seventy times seven.

Then there was the parable of the unforgiving servant slave.  The master settled accounts with servant slaves.  One owed ten thousand talents, so that the king forgave him his debt.  However, this servant slave would not forgive the debt of his fellow slaves, who were angry.  Thus, this unforgiving slave was tortured.  This parable explanation was simple, forgive your brothers.

The simple explanation of the parable (Mt 20:16-20:16)

“Thus,

The last will be first.

The first will be last.”

 

Οὕτως ἔσονται οἱ ἔσχατοι πρῶτοι καὶ οἱ πρῶτοι ἔσχατοι.

 

This simple explanation of the parable of the day laborers is unique to Matthew.  Thus, the last ones will be the first ones (Οὕτως ἔσονται οἱ ἔσχατοι πρῶτοι) and the first ones will be the last ones (καὶ οἱ πρῶτοι ἔσχατοι).  There are no special places in the kingdom of heaven.  There will be a role reversal.  Those who think that they were first here on earth will be the opposite in the kingdom of heaven.  The last will be the first.  This long parable was nothing more than a repeat of the same saying that was earlier in chapter 19:30 with similar statements in Mark, chapter 10:31 and Luke, chapter 13:30.  Thus, a change in status was part of the kingdom of heaven.

Who is the greatest? (Mt 18:1-18:1)

“At that time,

The disciples came to Jesus.

They asked.

‘Who is the greatest

In the kingdom of heaven?’”

 

Ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ προσῆλθον οἱ μαθηταὶ τῷ Ἰησοῦ λέγοντες Τίς ἄρα μείζων ἐστὶν ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν;

 

This question about the greatest in heaven can also be found in Mark, chapter 9:34, and Luke, chapter 9:46, with some minor changes.  There the disciples seemed to be arguing among themselves about who would be the greatest in heaven.  Here they came to Jesus with the question.  After the transition phrase, “At that time” (Ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ), these disciples came to Jesus (προσῆλθον οἱ μαθηταὶ τῷ Ἰησοῦ).  They asked him who is the greatest in the kingdom of the heavens (λέγοντες Τίς ἄρα μείζων ἐστὶν ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν)?  They were looking for some sort of status in a gnostic concept of a higher and lower status people.  After all, they were the disciples of Jesus.

Jesus rewards Peter for his response (Mt 16:18-16:19)

“I tell you!

You are Peter!

On this rock

I will build my church.

The gates of Hades

Shall not prevail against it.

I will give you

The keys

To the kingdom of heaven.

Whatever you bind

On earth

Shall be bound

In heaven.

Whatever you loose

On earth

Shall be loosed

In heaven.”

 

κἀγὼ δέ σοι λέγω ὅτι σὺ εἶ Πέτρος, καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, καὶ πύλαι Ἅιδου οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς.

δώσω σοι τὰς κλεῖδας τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν, καὶ ὃ ἐὰν δήσῃς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἔσται δεδεμένον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, καὶ ὃ ἐὰν λύσῃς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἔσται λελυμένον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς.

 

This reward bestowal of power on Peter is unique to Matthew.  Jesus, via Matthew, asserted the authority of Peter in a very formal way with a solemn pronouncement (κἀγὼ δέ σοι λέγω).  Peter (ὅτι σὺ εἶ Πέτρος) was going to be the rock of Jesus’ new church community (καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν).  Notice the play on words of Peter “Πέτρος” and rock “πέτρᾳ.”  The gates of hell (καὶ πύλαι Ἅιδου) would not prevail (οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς) against this rock of a church, congregation, or assembly “ἐκκλησία.”  Matthew is the only biblical writer to use the phrase “gates of hell or Hades” (πύλαι Ἅιδου).”  Peter would receive the keys to the kingdom of heaven (δώσω σοι τὰς κλεῖδας τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν), as the gatekeeper of heaven.  Whatever he did on earth would be bound (καὶ ὃ ἐὰν δήσῃς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἔσται δεδεμένον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς) or loosed in heaven (καὶ ὃ ἐὰν λύσῃς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἔσται λελυμένον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς).  Peter was no longer a mere informal leader, but the true man in charge here on earth with heavenly consequences, much like the Israelite high priests.  This of course has led to the so-called Petrine privilege, the power of Peter as handed down via the bishop of Rome.  As the first bishop of Rome, the power of Peter passed on to the bishop successors of Peter in Rome.  Thus, the bishop of Rome became known as the Pope or papa of the Christian Church in later centuries.

The new and the old treasures (Mt 13:52-13:52)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Therefore,

Every scribe,

Who has been trained

For the kingdom of heaven is

Like the master of a household.

He brings out of his treasure

What is new

And what is old.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Διὰ τοῦτο πᾶς γραμματεὺς μαθητευθεὶς τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδεσπότῃ ὅστις ἐκβάλλει ἐκ τοῦ θησαυροῦ αὐτοῦ καινὰ καὶ παλαιά.

 

Only Matthew has this parable about the trained scribe with his new and old treasures.  Jesus said to his disciples (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that all the scribes are trained disciples for the kingdom of heaven (Διὰ τοῦτο πᾶς γραμματεὺς μαθητευθεὶς τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν).  Matthew seems to be more positive to the Jewish scribes than to the Jewish Pharisees.  This implies that a trained scribe in the Old Testament law had become a disciple of Jesus.  Thus, like the master of a household (ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδεσπότῃ), he brought some things that were new and others that were old from his treasure (ὅστις ἐκβάλλει ἐκ τοῦ θησαυροῦ αὐτοῦ καινὰ καὶ παλαιά).  The reference to old and new indicates that Matthew thought that the old covenant was still in effect, but that there would be new things for the early Christians on top of the old Torah.

Jesus explained why he used parables (Mt 13:11-13:13)

“Jesus answered them.

‘To you,

It has been given

To know the secret mysteries

Of the kingdom of heaven.

But to them,

It has not been given.

To those who have,

More will be given.

They will have an abundance.

But from those who have nothing,

Even what they have

Will be taken away.

The reason that I speak to them

In parables is that

Seeing,

They do not perceive.

Hearing,

They do not listen.

They do not understand.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν ὅτι Ὑμῖν δέδοται γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν, ἐκείνοις δὲ οὐ δέδοται.

ὅστις γὰρ ἔχει, δοθήσεται αὐτῷ καὶ περισσευθήσεται· ὅστις δὲ οὐκ ἔχει, καὶ ὃ ἔχει ἀρθήσεται ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ.

διὰ τοῦτο ἐν παραβολαῖς αὐτοῖς λαλῶ, ὅτι βλέποντες οὐ βλέπουσιν καὶ ἀκούοντες οὐκ ἀκούουσιν οὐδὲ συνίουσιν.

 

This response of Jesus about the meaning of parable can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:11-12, and Luke, chapter 8:10.  Matthew is closer to Mark here.  Jesus answered them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν).  He told them they had been given the knowledge of the secret mysteries about the kingdom of heaven (ὅτι Ὑμῖν δέδοται γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν).  However, this was not granted to others (ἐκείνοις δὲ οὐ δέδοται).  Those who had more knowledge, even more abundant knowledge would be given to them (ὅστις γὰρ ἔχει, δοθήσεται αὐτῷ καὶ περισσευθήσεται).  However, those who had nothing, (ὅστις δὲ οὐκ ἔχει), even what little they had would be taken away (καὶ ὃ ἔχει ἀρθήσεται ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ).  The reason that Jesus spoke in parables (διὰ τοῦτο ἐν παραβολαῖς αὐτοῖς λαλῶ), was that some people see, but do not perceive what they see (ὅτι βλέποντες οὐ βλέπουσιν).  Some people hear but do not listen or understand what they hear (καὶ ἀκούοντες οὐκ ἀκούουσιν οὐδὲ συνίουσιν).  This is almost like a gnostic interpretation of knowledge, where only the elite have a true secret knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom.