Jesus praying (Lk 3:21-3:21)

“When Jesus also

Had been baptized,

He was praying.

Heaven was opened.”

 

καὶ Ἰησοῦ βαπτισθέντος καὶ προσευχομένου ἀνεῳχθῆναι τὸν οὐρανὸν,

 

The four gospel stories show what happened to Jesus after he had been baptized.  Matthew, chapter 3:16, and Mark, chapter 1:10, are almost the same as here.  John, chapter 1:32, had John the Baptist explaining what was happening, but there was no mention of heaven opening or Jesus at prayer.  Luke said that when Jesus had been baptized (καὶ Ἰησοῦ βαπτισθέντος), just as he was coming up out of the water, he was praying (καὶ προσευχομένου).  Heaven was opened (ἀνεῳχθῆναι τὸν οὐρανὸν).  There is no mention of Jesus seeing the heavens open as Mark indicated.  The idea of heaven opening up or breaking open was also found among the major Israelite prophets Isaiah, chapter 63:19, and Ezekiel, chapter 1:1.  All this happened as Jesus came up from the water, not during the baptism itself.  The idea of Jesus praying was unique to Luke and one of his favorite themes.  However, Luke did not have a description of John the Baptist, nor any discussion of whether John should baptize Jesus, as in Mark and Matthew.

The Spirit descended on Jesus (Mk 1:10-1:10)

“Just as he was coming up

Out of the water,

He saw

The heavens

Torn apart.

The Spirit

Descended upon him

Like a dove.”

 

καὶ εὐθὺς ἀναβαίνων ἐκ τοῦ ὕδατος εἶδεν σχιζομένους τοὺς οὐρανοὺς καὶ τὸ Πνεῦμα ὡς περιστερὰν καταβαῖνον εἰς αὐτόν·

 

The role of the Holy Spirit at the baptism of Jesus was very important.  The four gospel stories show what happened to Jesus after he had been baptized Matthew, chapter 3:16, Luke, chapter 3:21-22, and John, chapter 1:32, are almost word for word the same as here.  John did not mention a dove, while Luke called it a bodily form of a dove.  Mark said that just as Jesus was coming up out of the water (καὶ εὐθὺς ἀναβαίνων ἐκ τοῦ ὕδατος), he saw the heavens torn apart (εἶδεν σχιζομένους τοὺς οὐρανοὺς).  The Spirit descended upon him like a dove (καὶ τὸ Πνεῦμα ὡς περιστερὰν καταβαῖνον εἰς αὐτόν).  The heavens opened up or broke open was a theme found among the prophets Isaiah, chapter 63:19, and Ezekiel, chapter 1:1.  As Jesus came up from the water, not during the baptism itself, the Holy Spirit, as a dove, came to stay on Jesus.  Just as the dove after the great flood in Genesis, chapter 8:8-12, heralded a new age, so too Jesus would preach the good news in this new age.  With his prophetic vocation, Jesus was anointed with power to begin his public ministry of healing and exorcising.  The later concept of the anointing of Jesus with the Spirit referred to this action of the dove, after his baptism in the Jordan.  There was a clear distinction between the baptism of Jesus himself, and the specific dove bestowal of the Spirit that followed.  Despite the fact that there was no indication of any real anointing in any of these baptismal accounts of Jesus, the coming of the Spirit, in the form of a dove, was considered a symbolic anointing of Jesus within the Judaic prophetic line.  This incident functioned as the basis for an understanding of Jesus’ metaphorical anointing as “the anointed one,” “Christ.”  This symbolic metaphorical anointing action gathered many of the Hebrew bible strands of a messianic king, a sacerdotal high priest, a servant, and a prophet into this one event.   Within this process, the messianic time began with a pre-figuration of what was going to take place at the later Pentecost event, when the fullness of the Spirit came to all the followers of Jesus.

Pay the tax anyway (Mt 17:27-17:27)

“However,

Not to give offense

To them,

Go to the sea!

Cast a hook!

Take the first fish

That comes up!

When you open its mouth,

You will find a coin.

Take that!

Give it to them

For you

And for me!”

 

ἵνα δὲ μὴ σκανδαλίσωμεν αὐτούς, πορευθεὶς εἰς θάλασσαν βάλε ἄγκιστρον καὶ τὸν ἀναβάντα πρῶτον ἰχθὺν ἆρον, καὶ ἀνοίξας τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ εὑρήσεις στατῆρα· ἐκεῖνον λαβὼν δὸς αὐτοῖς ἀντὶ ἐμοῦ καὶ σοῦ.

 

This section about the temple tax is unique to Matthew.  After just saying that they did not have to pay the Temple tax, Jesus reminded them that they should not offend or scandalize the Temple tax collectors (ἵνα δὲ μὴ σκανδαλίσωμεν αὐτούς).  He told Peter to go the sea (πορευθεὶς εἰς θάλασσαν), probably the Sea of Galilee, and throw out a hook into the sea (βάλε ἄγκιστρον).  Peter was to catch the first fish that came up out of the water (καὶ τὸν ἀναβάντα πρῶτον ἰχθὺν ἆρον).  Then Peter was to open the mouth of this fish (καὶ ἀνοίξας τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ).  He would find a coin called a “statara” “στατῆρα,” in its mouth (εὑρήσεις στατῆρα).  This coin was worth about 2 didrachmas, enough to pay the temple tax for two people.  Thus, Peter was to pay the Temple tax collectors for Peter and himself (ἐκεῖνον λαβὼν δὸς αὐτοῖς ἀντὶ ἐμοῦ καὶ σοῦ).  The money did not come from Jesus and his disciples, but from this magic fish.  There was no mention of the other disciples paying this tax.

The disciples could not heal the epileptic (Mt 17:15-17:16)

“The kneeling man said.

‘Lord!

Have mercy on my son!

He is an epileptic!

He suffers terribly!

He often falls

Into the fire.

He often falls

Into the water.

I brought him

To your disciples.

But they were not able

To cure him.’”

 

καὶ λέγων Κύριε, ἐλέησόν μου τὸν υἱόν, ὅτι σεληνιάζεται καὶ κακῶς ἔχει· πολλάκις γὰρ πίπτει εἰς τὸ πῦρ καὶ πολλάκις εἰς τὸ ὕδωρ.

καὶ προσήνεγκα αὐτὸν τοῖς μαθηταῖς σου, καὶ οὐκ ἠδυνήθησαν αὐτὸν θεραπεῦσαι.

 

The story of the man with the incurable epileptic son can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 9:17-18, Luke, chapter 9:38-40, and here in Matthew, but there are minor differences in all 3 accounts.  Here it is the kneeling man, and not someone from the crowd who yells out to Jesus.  He addressed Jesus as the Lord (καὶ λέγων Κύριε).  He wanted Jesus to have mercy on his son (ἐλέησόν μου τὸν υἱόν), who was an epileptic (ὅτι σεληνιάζεται).  Epileptics were often considered to be possessed by the devil.  Even today, we are still unsure of the exact cause of epilepsy seizures.  This man’s son suffered very badly (καὶ κακῶς ἔχει).  He often fell into a fire (πολλάκις γὰρ πίπτει εἰς τὸ πῦρ) and into water (καὶ πολλάκις εἰς τὸ ὕδωρ).  Then there is the kicker that he had asked Jesus’s disciples to cure his son (καὶ προσήνεγκα αὐτὸν τοῖς μαθηταῖς σου), but they were not able to cure him (καὶ οὐκ ἠδυνήθησαν αὐτὸν θεραπεῦσαι).  Why were the disciples of Jesus unable to cure his son?

Jesus saves Peter (Mt 14:31-14:31)

“Jesus immediately reached out

His hand.

He caught him.

He said to him.

‘You of little faith!

Why did you doubt?’”

 

εὐθέως δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα ἐπελάβετο αὐτοῦ καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Ὀλιγόπιστε, εἰς τί ἐδίστασας;

 

This section about Peter is unique to Matthew, as he tended to emphasize the importance of Peter, yet at the same time, there was a continual mention of the lack of Peter’s faith.  After Peter cried out for help, Jesus immediately reached out his hand (εὐθέως δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα) and caught or grabbed Peter before he fell into the water (ἐπελάβετο αὐτοῦ).  He said to him (καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ).  Why did he have so little faith (Ὀλιγόπιστε,)?  Why did he doubt or hesitate (εἰς τί ἐδίστασας) when he was already walking?  Thus, even the leader of his disciples, Peter, was not so sure of his confidence in Jesus.

Peter walks on the water (Mt 14:29-14:30)

“Jesus said.

‘Come!’

Thus,

Peter got out of the boat.

He started walking

On the water.

He came toward Jesus.

But when he noticed

The strong wind,

He became frightened.

He began to sink.

He cried out.

‘Lord!

Save me!’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ἐλθέ. καὶ καταβὰς ἀπὸ τοῦ πλοίου Πέτρος περιεπάτησεν ἐπὶ τὰ ὕδατα καὶ ἦλθεν πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν.

βλέπων δὲ τὸν ἄνεμον ἐφοβήθη, καὶ ἀρξάμενος καταποντίζεσθαι ἔκραξεν λέγων Κύριε, σῶσόν με.

 

This section about Peter walking on the water is unique to Matthew, as he tended to emphasize the importance of Peter.  Jesus told Peter to come to him (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ἐλθέ).  Thus, Peter got out of the boat (καὶ καταβὰς ἀπὸ τοῦ πλοίου Πέτρος) and started walking on the water (περιεπάτησεν ἐπὶ τὰ ὕδατα).  He came toward Jesus (καὶ ἦλθεν πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν), but he noticed a strong wind (βλέπων δὲ τὸν ἄνεμον), so that he became frightened (ἐφοβήθη).  Thus, he began to sink (καὶ ἀρξάμενος καταποντίζεσθαι), as he cried out to Jesus, his Lord or master, to save him (ἔκραξεν λέγων Κύριε, σῶσόν με).

Peter talks to Jesus (Mt 14:28-14:28)

“Peter answered Jesus.

‘Lord!

If it is you,

Command me

To come to you

On the water.’”

 

ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ Πέτρος εἶπεν Κύριε, εἰ σὺ εἶ, κέλευσόν με ἐλθεῖν πρὸς σὲ ἐπὶ τὰ ὕδατα.

 

This section about Peter is unique to Matthew, as he tended to emphasize the importance of Peter.  Peter answered Jesus (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ Πέτρος).  He called Jesus the Lord and asked if it was him (εἶπεν Κύριε, εἰ σὺ εἶ).  If so, he wanted Jesus to command him to come to him on the water (κέλευσόν με ἐλθεῖν πρὸς σὲ ἐπὶ τὰ ὕδατα).