You are the witnesses (Lk 11:48-11:48)

“Thus,

You are witnesses.

You approve

Of the deeds

Of your ancestors.

They killed them.

But you built

Their tombs.”

 

ἄρα μάρτυρές ἐστε καὶ συνευδοκεῖτε τοῖς ἔργοις τῶν πατέρων ὑμῶν, ὅτι αὐτοὶ μὲν ἀπέκτειναν αὐτοὺς, ὑμεῖς δὲ οἰκοδομεῖτε.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus continued this same idea.  Jesus said that the Pharisees and lawyers were witnesses (ἄρα μάρτυρές ἐστε).  They approved of the deeds of their fathers or ancestors (καὶ συνευδοκεῖτε τοῖς ἔργοις τῶν πατέρων ὑμῶν), who killed the prophets (ὅτι αὐτοὶ μὲν ἀπέκτειναν αὐτοὺς), by building their tombs (ὅτι αὐτοὶ μὲν ἀπέκτειναν αὐτοὺς).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 23:31.  Jesus said that these Pharisees and Scribes testified or witnessed against themselves, since they admitted that they were the descendants or sons of those people who murdered the prophets.  Jesus then told them to finish up their work, using the measuring rod of their ancestors.  Thus, they had the same attitude as their ancestors.  However, there was very little evidence of Jewish prophets being killed.  Do you have the same attitudes of your parents and grandparents?

 

Temptations in the wilderness (Mk 1:13-1:13)

“Jesus was

In the wilderness

Forty days.

He was

Tempted by Satan.

He was

With the wild beasts.

The angels

Ministered to him.”

 

καὶ ἦν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ τεσσεράκοντα ἡμέρας πειραζόμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ Σατανᾶ, καὶ ἦν μετὰ τῶν θηρίων, καὶ οἱ ἄγγελοι διηκόνουν αὐτῷ.

 

Mark has an abbreviated description of the temptations of Jesus compared to Matthew, chapter 4:2-11, and Luke, chapter 4:2-13.  Jesus was in the wilderness 40 days (καὶ ἦν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ τεσσεράκοντα ἡμέρας).  All 3 synoptics agree on the 40 days, since there was a symbolism to this number with the 40 years that the Israelites were in the wilderness during the Exodus.  All agree that Jesus was tempted by Satan or the devil (πειραζόμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ Σατανᾶ).  Satan was the adversary or the accuser after the Persian influence on the Israelites after the exile.  The older devil concept was considered a fallen angel without all the powers of God, but nevertheless very strong.  Sometimes the devil was referred to as the personification of evil.  Why was Jesus tempted?  God, the Father, Yahweh, often tested the righteous ones and the prophets in the Hebrew Bible.  Luke and Matthew are very similar with their detailed account of these 3 temptations.  Mark does not mention Jesus fasting or any of the 3 specific detailed temptations that are in Luke and Matthew.  Jesus was with the wild beasts (καὶ ἦν μετὰ τῶν θηρίων), but this remark was not found in the longer detailed descriptions of Matthew and Luke, only here.  Mark makes it seem like the temptation was physical or like the fear of wild animals.  Then the angels ministered to him (καὶ οἱ ἄγγελοι διηκόνουν αὐτῷ).  This is somewhat similar to Matthew, chapter 4:11, but there were no angels ministering to Jesus in Luke, chapter 4:13.  Here, a number of angels came, as in 1 Kings, chapter 19:4-8, where an angel came to help Elijah when he was in the desert, as the shadow of Elijah appeared in many of these gospel stories.  These angels came to wait on and care for Jesus.

The voice from heaven (Mk 1:11-1:11)

“A voice

Came from heaven.

‘You are my Son!

The Beloved one!

With you

I am well pleased.’”

 

καὶ φωνὴ ἐγένετο ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν Σὺ εἶ ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα.

 

This voice from the heavens addressed Jesus personally, as in Luke, chapter 3:22.  However, in Matthew, chapter 3:17, the voice was not directed at Jesus, while John had no mention of a voice from heaven.  Mark said that a voice came from the heavens (καὶ φωνὴ ἐγένετο ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν) that said that Jesus was his beloved son (Σὺ εἶ ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός) with whom he was well pleased (ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα).  The idea of a heavenly voice had a very strong tradition in the Jewish writings of the Hebrew Bible, especially among the prophets.  The gospel writers did not clarify whether others saw or heard these things.  In fact, this saying and incident after the baptism of Jesus might have been the basis for a Subordinationschristologie that Jesus the Son was somehow subordinate to the Father.  According to this adoption theory, God the Father had to send his Spirit to anoint and empower Jesus in this concrete event, before he could begin his public ministry.  This adoptionist theory, and the Christological disputes of the later 4th century CE, led to the diminution of this baptismal event within later patristic and medieval theological circles.  Nevertheless, the baptism of Jesus has become the starting point for any theological reflection about early Christian initiation practices.  It is not clear whether all the primitive Christian communities linked the baptism of Jesus with the baptism of the new followers of Christ, despite the fact that many post-apostolic Christians did so.

 

Second narrative

This second narrative centered around the Sermon on the Mount and the famous so-called Beatitudes.  The first beatitude was about poverty, while the second beatitude was about mourning.  The third beatitude was about the meek or the humble.  The fourth beatitude was about righteousness.  The fifth beatitude was on mercy, while the sixth beatitude was about the pure of heart.  The seventh beatitude was on peacemakers, while the eighth beatitude was on persecution.  There was a grand blessing for the persecuted Christians, who were the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  They had to value and become the lighted lamp.

Next came the law and the prophets.  The law with all its commandments remained.  The righteous ones would not murder, nor would they get angry with insults.  They would offer their gifts at the Temple.  They would pay their debts and not commit adultery.  Jesus warned against the sinning eye and the sinning right hand.  He favored the traditional divorce stance, but warned about marrying a divorced woman.  They should not bear false witness, nor swear at all, since they should have a simple speech.  No longer was it an eye for an eye, but rather turn the other cheek with unusual kindness.  They were to love their enemies and their heavenly Father with a perfect love.

The followers of Jesus should fast and pray.  We should have piety with almsgiving.  Our charity and prayer should be secret with short prayers.  Thus, there was the famous “Our Father” prayer.  The first part of the Lord’s prayer was about God the Father.  The second part of the Lord’s prayer was about our human problems.  We should seek forgiveness and fast in secret.  We should not want earthly treasures, but heavenly treasures.  We need to have a healthy eye because we cannot serve two masters.

We should trust in Providence.  We do not need to worry.  Just look at the birds who do not worry.  The lilies of the field have more beauty than Solomon in all his glory.  Seek the kingdom of heaven first and you will not have to worry about tomorrow.

As far as judgment was concerned, do not judge the speck in the eye of your neighbor.  Be careful with your holy treasures.  Be seekers and give to your sons.  Pray to your heavenly Father and follow the golden rule.  The gate was narrow and there were many false prophets.  Know them by their fruits.  The sound tree has good fruits.  Cut down the bad tree.  Seek the kingdom of heaven.  Stay away from evildoers.  Wise men build on a rock foundation, while the foolish ones build on a sand foundation.  The crowds were astonished at the authority of Jesus.

The destruction of the Temple (Mt 24:2-24:2)

“Then Jesus asked them.

‘Do you not

See all these buildings?

Truly!

I say to you!

Not one stone

Will be left here

Upon another.

All will be thrown down.’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Οὐ βλέπετε ταῦτα πάντα; ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐ μὴ ἀφεθῇ ὧδε λίθος ἐπὶ λίθον ὃς οὐ καταλυθήσεται.

 

There is something similar in Mark, chapter 13:2, almost word for word, and in Luke, chapter 21:6, but slightly different.  Then Jesus answered them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς).  He asked them if they had not seen all these buildings (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Οὐ βλέπετε ταῦτα πάντα).  Then in a solemn proclamation (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) he told them that not one stone would be left on another stone here at the Temple (οὐ μὴ ἀφεθῇ ὧδε λίθος ἐπὶ λίθον).  All of the Temple buildings would be torn down or thrown down (ὃς οὐ καταλυθήσεται).  In fact, in 70 CE, about 40 years after the time of Jesus, the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed by the Romans in their war with Israel.  Threats against the Jerusalem Temple had been common among the prophets in the Old Testament, especially before the Exile in the 6th century BCE.

O Jerusalem (Mt 23:37-23:37)

“O Jerusalem!

O Jerusalem!

The city

That kills the prophets!

They stone those

Who are sent to it!

How often

Have I desired

To gather

Your children together,

As a hen gathers

Her brood

Under her wings,

But you were not willing!”

 

Ἰερουσαλὴμ Ἰερουσαλήμ, ἡ ἀποκτείνουσα τοὺς προφήτας καὶ λιθοβολοῦσα τοὺς ἀπεσταλμένους πρὸς αὐτήν, ποσάκις ἠθέλησα ἐπισυναγαγεῖν τὰ τέκνα σου, ὃν τρόπον ὄρνις ἐπισυνάγει τὰ νοσσία αὐτῆς ὑπὸ τὰς πτέρυγας, καὶ οὐκ ἠθελήσατε.

 

Both Luke, chapter 13:34, and Matthew here have this lament about Jerusalem, word for word the same, so that this may be a Q source.  Jesus addressed Jerusalem (Ἰερουσαλὴμ Ἰερουσαλήμ), saying that it was the city that killed the prophets (ἡ ἀποκτείνουσα τοὺς προφήτας).  They stoned those prophets who were sent to it (καὶ λιθοβολοῦσα τοὺς ἀπεσταλμένους πρὸς αὐτήν).  God, the Father, or Jesus had often desired to gather her children together (ποσάκις ἠθέλησα ἐπισυναγαγεῖν τὰ τέκνα σου), just like a hen gathers her brood of little chicks under her wings (ὃν τρόπον ὄρνις ἐπισυνάγει τὰ νοσσία αὐτῆς ὑπὸ τὰς πτέρυγας).  However, Jerusalem was not willing to do so (καὶ οὐκ ἠθελήσατε).  This idea of a mother hen gathering her chicks under her wings can be found in Psalm 17:8 that spoke about hiding in the shadow of her wings and Psalm 91:4 that once again spoke about being covered with wings.  The exact incidents of the city of Jerusalem killing prophets are not clear.

Hire people (Mt 20:1-20:1)

“The kingdom of heaven is

Like a landowner

Who went out

Early in the morning

To hire laborers

For his vineyard.”

 

Ὁμοία γάρ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδεσπότῃ, ὅστις ἐξῆλθεν ἅμα πρωῒ μισθώσασθαι ἐργάτας εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα αὐτοῦ.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew.  Jesus, via Matthew, explained that the kingdom of heaven was like (Ὁμοία γάρ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν) a wealthy vineyard owner, the man who owned and was in charge of his land (ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδεσπότῃ).  He needed his grapes picked at the harvest time.  He would hire day laborers or daily workers to do this difficult work.  He went out early in the morning (ὅστις ἐξῆλθεν ἅμα πρω), probably around 6 AM.  He wanted to hire some daily grape picker field laborers (μισθώσασθαι ἐργάτας) to work on his land in his vineyard (εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα αὐτοῦ).  This vineyard would have been a symbol of the prophets working in the vineyard of Israel.