Prediction of what is going to happen in Jerusalem (Mt 20:18-20:19)

“See!

We are going up

To Jerusalem.

The Son of Man

Will be handed over

To the chief priests

And scribes.

They will condemn him

To death.

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.

The response of Jesus about divorce (Mt 19:8-19:9)

“Jesus said to them.

‘It was because

You were so hard-hearted

That Moses allowed you

To divorce your wives.

But from the beginning,

It was not so.

I say to you!

Whoever divorces his wife,

Except for sexual immorality,

Then marries another,

Commits adultery.’”

 

λέγει αὐτοῖς Ὅτι Μωϋσῆς πρὸς τὴν σκληροκαρδίαν ὑμῶν ἐπέτρεψεν ὑμῖν ἀπολῦσαι τὰς γυναῖκας ὑμῶν· ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς δὲ οὐ γέγονεν οὕτως.

λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν ὅτι ὃς ἂν ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ καὶ γαμήσῃ ἄλλην, μοιχᾶται.

 

This questioning and answering of the Pharisees about divorce can also be found partially in Mark, chapter 10:5, where there was no equivalent verse about an exception.  Jesus responded to the Pharisees (λέγει αὐτοῖς).  He said that Moses allowed them to divorce their wives (Ὅτι Μωϋσῆς …ἐπέτρεψεν ὑμῖν ἀπολῦσαι τὰς γυναῖκας ὑμῶν) because they were so hard-hearted, perverse, and obstinate (πρὸς τὴν σκληροκαρδίαν ὑμῶν).  However, as he had noted earlier, this was not so from the beginning, (ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς δὲ οὐ γέγονεν οὕτως).  Then in a solemn proclamation (λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν) he said that whoever divorced his wife and married another woman committed adultery (ὅτι ὃς ἂν ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ…καὶ γαμήσῃ ἄλλην, μοιχᾶται), except for the sexual immorality or fornication (μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ) of his wife.  Jesus had taken the stronger stance of no divorce, but gave one exception, the sexual misconduct of the wife, much like some of the stricter Jewish rabbis at that time.

The future of Jesus (Mt 16:21-16:21)

“From that time on,

Jesus Christ began

To show

His disciples

That he must go

To Jerusalem.

He would undergo

Great suffering

At the hands

Of the elders,

The chief priests,

And the Scribes.

He would be killed.

However,

On the third day

Be raised up.”

 

Ἀπὸ τότε ἤρξατο Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς δεικνύειν τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ ὅτι δεῖ αὐτὸν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα ἀπελθεῖν καὶ πολλὰ παθεῖν ἀπὸ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων καὶ ἀρχιερέων καὶ γραμματέων καὶ ἀποκτανθῆναι καὶ τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ ἐγερθῆναι.

 

Jesus began to talk about his future suffering that can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 8:31, Luke, chapter 9:22, and here, almost word for word.  Notice that Matthew and the other synoptics do not blame the Pharisees or the Sadducees for the suffering and death of Jesus.  There also was no mention of Roman authorities.  Matthew disliked Jerusalem and everything and everybody attached to it.  For the first time he used the full name of Jesus Christ (Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς).  From that time on (Ἀπὸ τότε), after Jesus had set up Peter in charge, Jesus Christ began to show or let his disciples know (ἤρξατο Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς δεικνύειν τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ) that he had to go to Jerusalem (ὅτι δεῖ αὐτὸν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα ἀπελθεῖν).  There he would undergo great suffering (καὶ πολλὰ παθεῖν) from the Israelite Jerusalem elders or presbyters (ἀπὸ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων), the chief priests (καὶ ἀρχιερέων), and the Scribes (καὶ γραμματέων).  Eventually, he would be killed (καὶ ἀποκτανθῆναι), but he would be raised up on the 3rd day (καὶ τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ ἐγερθῆναι).

Jesus goes to the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon (Mt 15:21-15:21)

“Jesus left that place.

He went away

To the district

Of Tyre

And Sidon.”

 

Καὶ ἐξελθὼν ἐκεῖθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὰ μέρη Τύρου καὶ Σιδῶνος.

 

Mark, chapter 7:24, has something similar but only mentions Tyre, not Sidon.  Jesus left the area (Καὶ ἐξελθὼν ἐκεῖθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς) around the Sea of Galilee.  He went to the district of Tyre and Sidon (ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὰ μέρη Τύρου καὶ Σιδῶνος).  Tyre was a Phoenician coastal island city that still exists in southern Lebanon.  Known for its maritime trade and purple dye, it was actually originally in the Israelite territory of Asher.  The Mediterranean ports at both Sidon and Tyre. were commercial trading partners.  Tyre was a great ancient city with many merchant princes, while Sidon was also a maritime Phoenician city about 25 miles north of Tyre, mostly known for its fishing and trade.  Sidon was also the name of the grandson of Noah, and thus older than Tyre.  Traditionally, Isaiah, chapter 23, and the other prophets were against these two wealthy coastal towns.  It is not clear why Jesus went to this coastal region, except that the Pharisees were not there.

Blind guides (Mt 15:13-15:14)

“Jesus answered.

‘Every plant

That my heavenly Father

Has not planted

Will be rooted up.

Let them alone!

They are blind guides

Of the blind.

If a blind person

guides another blind person,

Both will fall

Into a pit.’”

 

δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Πᾶσα φυτεία ἣν οὐκ ἐφύτευσεν ὁ Πατήρ μου ὁ οὐράνιος ἐκριζωθήσεται.

ἄφετε αὐτούς· τυφλοί εἰσιν ὁδηγοί τυφλῶν· τυφλὸς δὲ τυφλὸν ἐὰν ὁδηγῇ, ἀμφότεροι εἰς βόθυνον πεσοῦνται.

 

Something similar to this can be found in Luke, chapter 6:39, about the blind leading the blind.  Jesus responded (δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν) to his disciples about the Pharisees.  He told them that every plant that was not planted by his heavenly Father would be rooted up (Πᾶσα φυτεία ἣν οὐκ ἐφύτευσεν ὁ Πατήρ μου ὁ οὐράνιος ἐκριζωθήσεται.).  He told them to leave the Pharisees alone (ἄφετε αὐτούς).  They were blind guides of blind people (τυφλοί εἰσιν ὁδηγοί τυφλῶν).  It was as if one blind person was guiding or leading another blind person (τυφλὸς δὲ τυφλὸν ἐὰν ὁδηγῇ).  They would both fall into a pit (ἀμφότεροι εἰς βόθυνον πεσοῦνται), a common Old Testament prophetic theme about the bad times, when you would fall into an open pit.

Honor your parents (Mt 15:4-15:5)

“God said.

‘Honor your father!

Honor your mother!’

‘Whoever speaks evil

Of father

Or mother

Must surely die.’

But you say.

‘Whoever tells

His father

Or his mother.

Whatever gift

He made

To God,

It would not profit

Or honor

His parents.’”

 

ὁ γὰρ Θεὸς εἶπεν Τίμα τὸν πατέρα καὶ τὴν μητέρα, καί Ὁ κακολογῶν πατέρα ἢ μητέρα θανάτῳ τελευτάτω·

ὑμεῖς δὲ λέγετε Ὃς ἂν εἴπῃ τῷ πατρὶ ἢ τῇ μητρί Δῶρον ὃ ἐὰν ἐξ ἐμοῦ ὠφεληθῇς,

 

There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 7:10-12.  Jesus gave an example of how the Pharisees had turned away from God’s commandments in favor of their own traditions.  He took as an example, one of God’s Ten Commandments (ὁ γὰρ Θεὸς εἶπεν) about honoring your father and mother (Τίμα τὸν πατέρα καὶ τὴν μητέρα), as found in Exodus, chapter 20:12 and Deuteronomy chapter 5:16, where it said that you will live long and things will go well with you if you take care of and honor your parents.  Jesus then added in the saying about speaking evil of one’s parents (καί Ὁ κακολογῶν πατέρα ἢ μητέρα) from Exodus, chapter 21:17, and Leviticus, chapter 20:9, where the penalty for striking or cursing a parent was death (θανάτῳ τελευτάτω).  He seemed to indicate that the Pharisees believed and said (ὑμεῖς δὲ λέγετε) that an individual could tell his parents (Ὃς ἂν εἴπῃ τῷ πατρὶ ἢ τῇ μητρί) that whatever gift they had given to God as a “korab” Temple offering, their parents could not profit from it (Δῶρον ὃ ἐὰν ἐξ ἐμοῦ ὠφεληθῇς).  Therefore, they would only offer gifts to God and not their parents.  Sometimes people did not give their temple gift or “korab” until just before death, but never give anything to their parents.

The response of Jesus (Mt 15:3-15:3)

“Jesus answered them.

‘Why do you break

The commandment of God

For the sake of your tradition?”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Διὰ τί καὶ ὑμεῖς παραβαίνετε τὴν ἐντολὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ διὰ τὴν παράδοσιν ὑμῶν;

 

There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 7:8.  Jesus responded to the Pharisees (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς).  He wanted to know why they broke or violated the commandments or command of God (Διὰ τί καὶ ὑμεῖς παραβαίνετε τὴν ἐντολὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ) for the sake of their own tradition or instructions (διὰ τὴν παράδοσιν ὑμῶν).  This is a question that many Evangelical Christians ask about mainline Christian Churches, especially Catholics and Orthodox, that have strong Christian traditions.  However, sometimes, new traditions are hard to break also.  This seems to set a dichotomy against God’s commandments and human religious traditions.

The sign of Jonah (Mt 12:39-12:40)

“But Jesus answered them.

‘An evil

And adulterous generation

Asks for a sign.

But no sign shall be given

To it,

Except the sign

Of the prophet Jonah.

Just as Jonah was three days

And three nights

In the belly of the sea monster,

Thus,

For three days

And three nights

The Son of man

Will be

In the heart of the earth.’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Γενεὰ πονηρὰ καὶ μοιχαλὶς σημεῖον ἐπιζητεῖ, καὶ σημεῖον οὐ δοθήσεται αὐτῇ εἰ μὴ τὸ σημεῖον Ἰωνᾶ τοῦ προφήτου.

ὥσπερ γὰρ ἦν Ἰωνᾶς ἐν τῇ κοιλίᾳ τοῦ κήτους τρεῖς ἡμέρας καὶ τρεῖς νύκτας, οὕτως ἔσται ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ τῆς γῆς τρεῖς ἡμέρας καὶ τρεῖς νύκτας.

 

This saying about the sign of Jonah can also be found in Luke, chapter 11:29-30, so that perhaps this is a Q source.  Once again, Q and Matthew went back to their Old Testament roots, using the story of the prophet Jonah, chapter 1:17, where he was in the belly of the whale or the sea monster for 3 days and 3 nights.  The obvious comparison between the 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of the fish and Jesus in the tomb was not lost on the early Christians.  Jesus answered the Pharisees (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς).  He called them an evil and adulterous generation (Γενεὰ πονηρὰ καὶ μοιχαλὶς).  Why were they asking for or seeking signs (σημεῖον ἐπιζητεῖ)?  The only sign they were going to get was the sign of the prophet Jonah (καὶ σημεῖον οὐ δοθήσεται αὐτῇ εἰ μὴ τὸ σημεῖον Ἰωνᾶ τοῦ προφήτου).  He had been in the belly of the sea monster or whale that swallowed him for 3 days and 3 nights (ὥσπερ γὰρ ἦν Ἰωνᾶς ἐν τῇ κοιλίᾳ τοῦ κήτους τρεῖς ἡμέρας καὶ τρεῖς νύκτας).  Thus, the Son of Man would be 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth (οὕτως ἔσται ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ τῆς γῆς τρεῖς ἡμέρας καὶ τρεῖς νύκτας).  This was a clear allusion to the death of Jesus in the tomb for 3 days and 3 nights before his resurrection.

The brood of vipers (Mt 12:34-12:34)

“You brood of vipers!

How can you speak

Good things,

When you are evil?

Out of the abundance

Of the heart,

The mouth speaks.”

 

γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν, πῶς δύνασθε ἀγαθὰ λαλεῖν πονηροὶ ὄντες; ἐκ γὰρ τοῦ περισσεύματος τῆς καρδίας τὸ στόμα λαλεῖ.

 

This saying seems to be unique to Matthew.  Earlier in this work, he had John the Baptist call the Pharisees and Sadducees a blood of vipers or snakes in chapter 3:7.  In chapter 23:33, once again he referred to the Scribes and Pharisees as vipers or snakes.  Was he referring to the Pharisees here?  Jesus addressed these people as a brood or offspring of vipers or snakes (γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν).  How could they speak good things (πῶς δύνασθε ἀγαθὰ λαλεῖν), when they were evil (πονηροὶ ὄντες)?  Their mouths spoke (τὸ στόμα λαλεῖ) out of the abundance or overflow of their hearts (ἐκ γὰρ τοῦ περισσεύματος τῆς καρδίας).  They could not fool anyone.  Their evil hearts showed up in their speech, even if they tried to be good.

The divided kingdom (Mt 12:25-12:27)

“Jesus knew

What they were thinking.

He said to them.

‘Every kingdom divided

Against itself is

Laid waste.

No city

Or house divided against itself

Will stand.

If Satan casts out Satan,

He is divided against himself.

How then will his kingdom stand?

If I cast out demons

By Beelzebul,

By whom

Do your own sons

Cast them out?

Therefore,

They will be your judges.”

 

εἰδὼς δὲ τὰς ἐνθυμήσεις αὐτῶν εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Πᾶσα βασιλεία μερισθεῖσα καθ’ ἑαυτῆς ἐρημοῦται, καὶ πᾶσα πόλις ἢ οἰκία μερισθεῖσα καθ’ ἑαυτῆς οὐ σταθήσεται.

καὶ εἰ ὁ Σατανᾶς τὸν Σατανᾶν ἐκβάλλει, ἐφ’ ἑαυτὸν ἐμερίσθη· πῶς οὖν σταθήσεται ἡ βασιλεία αὐτοῦ;

καὶ εἰ ἐγὼ ἐν Βεελζεβοὺλ ἐκβάλλω τὰ δαιμόνια, οἱ υἱοὶ ὑμῶν ἐν τίνι ἐκβάλλουσιν; διὰ τοῦτο αὐτοὶ κριταὶ ἔσονται ὑμῶν.

 

There are similar statements to this in Mark, chapter 3:23-26, and Luke, chapter 11:17-19.  Jesus responded to the Pharisees with his house divided remarks.  Jesus knew what the inner thoughts of the Pharisees were (εἰδὼς δὲ τὰς ἐνθυμήσεις αὐτῶν).  He said to them that every kingdom divided against itself would be destroyed (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Πᾶσα βασιλεία μερισθεῖσα καθ’ ἑαυτῆς ἐρημοῦται).  No city or house divided against itself could endure (καὶ πᾶσα πόλις ἢ οἰκία μερισθεῖσα καθ’ ἑαυτῆς οὐ σταθήσεται.).  This was one of President Abraham Lincoln’s (1809-1865) favorite biblical passages about slavery.  If Satan casts out Satan (καὶ εἰ ὁ Σατανᾶς τὸν Σατανᾶν ἐκβάλλει), then he was divided against himself (ἐφ’ ἑαυτὸν ἐμερίσθη).  How can his kingdom last (πῶς οὖν σταθήσεται ἡ βασιλεία αὐτοῦ)?  If Jesus was casting out demons by Beelzebul (καὶ εἰ ἐγὼ ἐν Βεελζεβοὺλ ἐκβάλλω τὰ δαιμόνια,), how were their own sons or other exorcists able to cast out demons (οἱ υἱοὶ ὑμῶν ἐν τίνι ἐκβάλλουσιν)?  Therefore, their own sons would be their judges (διὰ τοῦτο αὐτοὶ κριταὶ ἔσονται ὑμῶν).  This was a very strong argument against Jesus and Beelzebul working together.