The prophecy of Isaiah (Mk 7:6-7:7)

“Jesus said

To them.

‘Isaiah prophesied rightly

About you hypocrites!

As it is written.

‘This people honor me

With their lips,

But their hearts

Are far from me.

In vain

Do they worship me!

They teach

Human precepts

As doctrines.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Καλῶς ἐπροφήτευσεν Ἡσαΐας περὶ ὑμῶν τῶν ὑποκριτῶν, ὡς γέγραπται ὅτι Οὗτος ὁ λαὸς τοῖς χείλεσίν με τιμᾷ, ἡ δὲ καρδία αὐτῶν πόρρω ἀπέχει ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ·

μάτην δὲ σέβονταί με, διδάσκοντες διδασκαλίας ἐντάλματα ἀνθρώπων·

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 15:7-9.  Mark indicated that Jesus said to these Pharisees (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that Isaiah had prophesied correctly (Καλῶς ἐπροφήτευσεν Ἡσαΐας) about them being hypocrites (περὶ ὑμῶν τῶν ὑποκριτῶν) as it was written (ὡς γέγραπται) in Isaiah.  Hypocrites were people who played a part in a drama, but who were not sincere.  This Greek quotation from Isaiah, chapter 29:13, is from the Septuagint, almost the same as in Matthew.  This oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, centered on insincere worship.  These Israelites adored Yahweh with their mouths and lips, but their hearts were far away.  They only praised the Lord because of human demands, as they recited rote prayers.  Jesus repeated these verses of Isaiah.  These people honored him with their lips or mouth (ὅτι Οὗτος ὁ λαὸς τοῖς χείλεσίν με τιμᾷ).  However, their hearts were far away from him (ἡ δὲ καρδία αὐτῶν πόρρω ἀπέχει ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ).  In a vain or useless way, they adored, worshiped, or reverenced him (μάτην δὲ σέβονταί με).  They were teaching doctrines (διδάσκοντες διδασκαλίας) that were human precepts or ordinances (ἐντάλματα ἀνθρώπων).  Thus Jesus, via Mark and Isaiah, was wailing against false worship and human precepts pretending to be divine worship and divine teachings.

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The voice in the wilderness (Mk 1:3-1:3)

“He is the voice

Of one crying out

In the wilderness.

‘Prepare the way

Of the Lord!

Make his paths

Straight!’”

 

φωνὴ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ Ἑτοιμάσατε τὴν ὁδὸν Κυρίου, εὐθείας ποιεῖτε τὰς τρίβους αὐτοῦ,

 

Just as in Matthew, chapter 3:3, Mark has this citation from Isaiah about John the Baptist.  Both Mark and Matthew have this exact same quotation, word for word from Isaiah, chapter 40:3.  John, chapter 1:23, and Luke, chapter 3:4, have this very same quotation.  John used it as an explanation of who John the Baptist was.  Originally in Deutero-Isaiah, this was about preparing a new path or a way out of the Exile, just as there was the path of the Exodus.  In this wilderness or desert, they were to make a straight path, like a highway for God or the holy way to prepare a path for Yahweh.  However, it is clear that John the Baptist was the messenger being sent ahead.  He was a voice crying out in the wilderness (Φωνὴ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ) to prepare the way of the Lord (Ἑτοιμάσατε τὴν ὁδὸν Κυρίου,).  He was going to make the paths straight (εὐθείας ποιεῖτε τὰς τρίβους αὐτοῦ).  Clearly, there was a connection between John the Baptist and Isaiah the prophet.

Be ready (Mt 24:42-24:44)

“Keep awake therefore!

You do not know

On what day

Your Lord is coming.

But understand this!

If the owner

Of the house

Had known

In what part

Of the night

The thief was coming,

He would have stayed awake.

He would not have

Let his house

Be broken into.

Therefore,

You also must be ready!

The Son of Man

Is coming

At an unexpected hour.”

 

γρηγορεῖτε οὖν, ὅτι οὐκ οἴδατε ποίᾳ ἡμέρᾳ ὁ κύριος ὑμῶν ἔρχεται.

ἐκεῖνο δὲ γινώσκετε ὅτι εἰ ᾔδει ὁ οἰκοδεσπότης ποίᾳ φυλακῇ ὁ κλέπτης ἔρχεται, ἐγρηγόρησεν ἂν καὶ οὐκ ἂν εἴασεν διορυχθῆναι τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ.

διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ὑμεῖς γίνεσθε ἕτοιμοι, ὅτι ᾗ οὐ δοκεῖτε ὥρᾳ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἔρχεται.

 

There is one sentence of this saying of Jesus in Matthew that is similar in Mark, chapter 13:35, and also in Luke, chapter 12:39-40, about the thief at night.  Jesus warned his disciples to be vigilant.  They were to stay awake (γρηγορεῖτε οὖν) because they did not know on what day (ὅτι οὐκ οἴδατε ποίᾳ ἡμέρᾳ) the Lord was coming (ὁ κύριος ὑμῶν ἔρχεται).  They had to understand or realize (ἐκεῖνο δὲ γινώσκετε) that if an owner of a house had known at what time of the night a thief was coming (ὅτι εἰ ᾔδει ὁ οἰκοδεσπότης ποίᾳ φυλακῇ ὁ κλέπτης ἔρχεται), he would have been alert and stayed awake (ἐγρηγόρησεν ἂν).  He would not have let his house be broken into (καὶ οὐκ ἂν εἴασεν διορυχθῆναι τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ).  Therefore, they had to be ready or prepared (διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ὑμεῖς γίνεσθε ἕτοιμοι) for the coming of the Son of Man (ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἔρχεται) because he would be coming at an unexpected hour (ὅτι ᾗ οὐ δοκεῖτε ὥρᾳ).

The landowner came to take back his vineyard (Mt 21:40-21:41)

“‘When the owner

Of the vineyard

Comes,

What will he do

To those tenants?’

They said to him.

‘He will put those wretches

To a miserable death.

He will lease out

The vineyard

To other tenants

Who will give him

The produce

At the harvests time.’”

 

ὅταν οὖν ἔλθῃ ὁ κύριος τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος, τί ποιήσει τοῖς γεωργοῖς ἐκείνοις;

λέγουσιν αὐτῷ Κακοὺς κακῶς ἀπολέσει αὐτούς, καὶ τὸν ἀμπελῶνα ἐκδώσεται ἄλλοις γεωργοῖς, οἵτινες ἀποδώσουσιν αὐτῷ τοὺς καρποὺς ἐν τοῖς καιροῖς αὐτῶν.

 

The end of the parable of the wicked tenants can be found in Mark, chapter 12:9, and Luke, chapter 20:15-16, almost word for word.  Jesus continued with his story by asking a question.  When the lord or the owner of that vineyard came to his vineyard (ὅταν οὖν ἔλθῃ ὁ κύριος τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος), what would he do to those wicked tenants (τί ποιήσει τοῖς γεωργοῖς ἐκείνοις)?  They responded to him (λέγουσιν αὐτῷ) by saying that this landowner would put those evil wretches to a miserable death (Κακοὺς κακῶς ἀπολέσει αὐτούς).  Then he would lease out or rent the vineyard to other tenants (καὶ τὸν ἀμπελῶνα ἐκδώσεται ἄλλοις γεωργοῖς). who would give him the produce at the harvest time (οἵτινες ἀποδώσουσιν αὐτῷ τοὺς καρποὺς ἐν τοῖς καιροῖς αὐτῶν).  This land owner was still looking for good tenants or renters.

The two blind men ask for mercy (Mt 20:30-20:31)

“There were two blind men

Sitting by the roadside.

When they heard

That Jesus was passing by,

They shouted out.

‘Lord!

Have mercy on us!

Son of David!”

The crowd rebuked them.

They ordered them

To be quiet.

But they shouted

Even more loudly.

‘Lord!

Have mercy on us!

Son of David!’”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ δύο τυφλοὶ καθήμενοι παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν, ἀκούσαντες ὅτι Ἰησοῦς παράγει, ἔκραξαν λέγοντες Κύριε, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς, υἱὸς Δαυείδ.

ὁ δὲ ὄχλος ἐπετίμησεν αὐτοῖς ἵνα σιωπήσωσιν· οἱ δὲ μεῖζον ἔκραξαν λέγοντες Κύριε, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς, υἱὸς Δαυείδ.

 

Both Mark, chapter 10:46-48, and Luke, chapter 18:36-39, have something similar, but they only have one blind man with almost the same cry for mercy.  This story in Matthew has two blind men sitting by the roadside (καὶ ἰδοὺ δύο τυφλοὶ καθήμενοι παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν).  When they heard that Jesus was passing by (ἀκούσαντες ὅτι Ἰησοῦς παράγει), they cried out to him (ἔκραξαν λέγοντες) to have mercy on them (ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς).  They called Jesus the messianic Lord (Κύριε), the Son of David (υἱὸς Δαυείδ).  However, the crowd rebuked or admonished them to be quiet or silent (ὁ δὲ ὄχλος ἐπετίμησεν αὐτοῖς ἵνα σιωπήσωσιν).  But they shouted out even more loudly (οἱ δὲ μεῖζον ἔκραξαν λέγοντες).  They repeated again what they had shouted out earlier.  They called Jesus, Lord, the Son of David (Κύριε…υἱὸς Δαυείδ).  They wanted him to have mercy on them (ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς).  This Greek cry of “Κύριε, ἐλέησον” “kyrie eleison,” has found its way into the Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Word at the beginning of the regular Sunday Mass service, with the “Lord, have mercy!”  Quite often, it is also part of a chant.

Pay the day laborers (Mt 20:8-20:8)

“When evening came,

The owner of the vineyard

Said to his manager.

‘Call the laborers!

Give them their pay!

Begin with the last.

Then go to the first.’”

 

ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης λέγει ὁ κύριος τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος τῷ ἐπιτρόπῳ αὐτοῦ Κάλεσον τοὺς ἐργάτας καὶ ἀπόδος τὸν μισθόν, ἀρξάμενος ἀπὸ τῶν ἐσχάτων ἕως τῶν πρώτων.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew.  When evening came (ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης), the owner or the lord of the vineyard told his manager, steward, or foreman (λέγει ὁ κύριος τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος αὐτοῦ) to call the laborers in (Κάλεσον τοὺς ἐργάτας) from the vineyard.  He was to pay them their day’s pay that day (καὶ ἀπόδος τὸν μισθόν).  Based on the Jewish Mosaic law in Leviticus, chapter 19:13, they were not to keep for themselves the wages of a laborer until the next morning.  The same can be found in Deuteronomy, chapter 24:14-15, but with a little more elaboration.  Poor laborers were to get their pay immediately every day before sunset.  Otherwise guilt would come upon the land owner.  There was a sense of justice that people who lived day to day should get their daily pay.  Thus, the manager was to pay the day laborers beginning with the last ones hired and work his way up to the first ones hired (ἀρξάμενος ἀπὸ τῶν ἐσχάτων ἕως τῶν πρώτων).

This parable explanation is to forgive your brothers (Mt 18:35-18:35)

“Thus,

My heavenly Father

Will also do

To every one of you,

If you do not forgive

Your brother

From your heart.”

 

Οὕτως καὶ ὁ Πατήρ μου ὁ οὐράνιος ποιήσει ὑμῖν, ἐὰν μὴ ἀφῆτε ἕκαστος τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τῶν καρδιῶν ὑμῶν.

 

This parable about the unforgiving servant slave is unique to Matthew.  Jesus then gave an explanation of this parable, probably for his disciples.  His heavenly Father, the lord or king, was going to do the same to every one of them (Οὕτως καὶ ὁ Πατήρ μου ὁ οὐράνιος ποιήσει ὑμῖν) who did not forgive their brother (ἐὰν μὴ ἀφῆτε ἕκαστος τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ) from their heart (ἀπὸ τῶν καρδιῶν ὑμῶν).  If you do not truly forgive others, do not expect forgiveness for yourself.