Jesus prays for a third time (Mt 26:44-26:44)

“So!

Leaving them again,

Jesus went away.

He prayed

For the third time,

Saying the same words.”

 

καὶ ἀφεὶς αὐτοὺς πάλιν ἀπελθὼν προσηύξατο ἐκ τρίτου, τὸν αὐτὸν λόγον εἰπὼν πάλιν.

 

This is unique to Matthew, but implied in Mark, chapter 14.  In Luke, chapter 22, and John, chapter 22, there was nothing more about these extra prayers of Jesus.  In fact, Matthew even mentioned that after Jesus left them again (καὶ ἀφεὶς αὐτοὺς πάλιν), he prayed for a 3rd time (ἀπελθὼν προσηύξατο ἐκ τρίτου), saying the same words as before (τὸν αὐτὸν λόγον εἰπὼν πάλιν), that sound redundant.  Jesus would follow the will of his Father, so let’s move on.

Explanation of the parable of the lost sheep (Mt 18:14-18:14)

“Thus,

It is not the will

Of my Father in heaven

That one of these little ones

Should be lost.”

 

οὕτως οὐκ ἔστιν θέλημα ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ Πατρὸς ὑμῶν τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς ἵνα ἀπόληται ἓν τῶν μικρῶν τούτων.

 

This explanation of the lost sheep parable can also be found in Luke, chapter 15:7, with some minor changes, as Luke has this lost sheep as a repentant sinner.  Jesus explained that it was not the will of his heavenly Father (οὕτως οὐκ ἔστιν θέλημα ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ Πατρὸς ὑμῶν τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς) that these little ones should be lost or perish (ἵνα ἀπόληται ἓν τῶν μικρῶν τούτων).  Thus, this was the simple straightforward explanation.  The heavenly Father did not want to lose anyone, just like the good shepherd did not want to lose one of his lost sheep.

The new family (Mt 12:48-12:50)

“But Jesus replied

To the one

Who told him this.

‘Who is my mother?

Who are my brothers?’

Pointing to his disciples,

He said.

‘Here is my mother!

Here are my brothers!

Whoever does the will

Of my Father in heaven

Is my brother.

She is my sister!

She is my mother!’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν τῷ λέγοντι αὐτῷ Τίς ἐστιν ἡ μήτηρ μου, καὶ τίνες εἰσὶν οἱ ἀδελφοί μου;

καὶ ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ εἶπεν Ἰδοὺ ἡ μήτηρ μου καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί μου·

ὅστις γὰρ ἂν ποιήσῃ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς, αὐτός μου ἀδελφὸς καὶ ἀδελφὴ καὶ μήτηρ ἐστίν.

 

Luke, chapter 8:21, and Mark, chapter 3:33-35, have something similar, but Matthew is closer to Mark.  Jesus made a distinction between his biological family and his new spiritual family.  Jesus replied to the person who told him about his relatives (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν τῷ λέγοντι αὐτῷ).  He asked him who his mother was and who his brothers were (Τίς ἐστιν ἡ μήτηρ μου, καὶ τίνες εἰσὶν οἱ ἀδελφοί μου).  He stretched out his hand pointing to his disciples (καὶ ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ).  He said that they were his mother and his brothers (εἶπεν Ἰδοὺ ἡ μήτηρ μου καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί μου).  Anyone who did the will of his Father in heaven (ὅστις γὰρ ἂν ποιήσῃ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς) would be his brother (αὐτός μου ἀδελφὸς), his sister (καὶ ἀδελφὴ), and his mother (καὶ μήτηρ ἐστίν).  No longer was a biological family important, because there was now a new spiritual faith family of Jesus believers.

The kingdom of heaven (Mt 7:21-7:21)

“Not everyone

Who says to me.

‘Lord!

Lord!’

Will enter

The kingdom of heaven.

But only the one

Who does the will

Of my Father

In heaven.”

 

Οὐ πᾶς ὁ λέγων μοι Κύριε, εἰσελεύσεται εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν, ἀλλ’ ὁ ποιῶν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς.

 

This verse is somewhat similar to Luke, chapter 6:46.  Matthew has Jesus say that not everyone who called Jesus Lord! Lord! (Οὐ πᾶς ὁ λέγων μοι Κύριε Κύριε) would enter the kingdom of heaven (εἰσελεύσεται εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν).  Only those who did the will of his Father in heaven (ἀλλ’ ὁ ποιῶν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς) would enter the kingdom of heavens.  It was not good enough to simply call Jesus the Lord, but you had to do the will of his Father to enter the heavenly kingdom,

Against the messengers sent to Egypt (Isa 30:1-30:5)

“‘Woe to you!

Rebellious children!’

Says Yahweh.

‘You carry out a plan,

But it is not mine.

You make an alliance,

But it is against my will.

You are adding sin to sin!

You set out to go down to Egypt,

Without asking for my counsel!

You want to take refuge

In the protection of Pharaoh!

You want to seek shelter

In the shadow of Egypt!

Therefore the protection of Pharaoh

Shall become your shame.

The shelter in the shadow of Egypt

Shall become your humiliation.

Even though his officials are at Zoan,

Even though his envoys reach Hanes,

Everyone will come to shame.

They are a people

That cannot profit them.

They can bring

Neither help nor profit.

They can only bring shame and disgrace.’”

This is an oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, against sending messengers to Egypt to ask for help against Assyria around 703-701 BCE. These messengers were not from Yahweh. They were in fact rebelling against the will of Yahweh, so that they were only adding sin to sin. They went to Egypt without seeking the guidance of Yahweh, since they wanted to take refuge under the shadow and protection of the Egyptian Pharaoh. However, this protections will become their shame and humiliation. Even though these messengers are in the 2 Egyptian delta cities of Zoan in the north and Hanes in the south, everyone will be shamed. They will not get help, profit, or protection, but only shame and disgrace for this action.

The role of the king of Assyria (Isa 10:5-10:7)

“O Assyria!

The rod of my anger!

The club in their hands

Is my fury!

Against a godless nation,

I send him.

Against the people of my wrath,

I command him

To take spoil.

I command him

To seize plunder.

I command him

To tread them down

Like the mire of the streets.

This is not what he intends.

He did not have this in mind.

But in his heart,

He wanted to destroy.

He wanted to cut off

Not a few nations.”

It seems like Yahweh is sending the king of Assyria as his rod and club to work out God’s plans. Thus, King Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727 BCE) of Assyria wanted to deport people, so that they would not lead a revolt against him. This Assyrian king was to be the stick of Yahweh’s anger to make the northern Israelites like sludge in the streets. He would take the plunder and the spoils of the people of Yahweh, the northern Israelites. The Assyrian king controlled a great part of the Middle East from the Tigris River, including Babylon, during this time of Isaiah. However, the Assyrian King Tiglath-Pileser III did not intend to do the will of Yahweh. He really wanted to destroy and cut up many nations with his deportation and plunder policies.

The works of the Lord (Sir 42:15-42:17)

“I will now call to mind

The works of the Lord.

I will declare

What I have seen.

By the word of the Lord,

His works are made.

All his creatures

Do his will.

The sun looks down

On everything

With its light.

The work of the Lord

Is full of his glory.

The Lord has not empowered

Even his holy ones

To recount

All his marvelous works.

The Lord,

The Almighty,

Has established

That the universe

May stand firm

In his glory.”

Sirach now recalls the works of the Lord in nature.   He was speaking about what he had seen. The works of the Lord were made by his word. This is in slight contradiction with the creative role of wisdom. Here it is the word of God that creates the world. All these creative things do the will of the Lord. Thus the sun lights up and glorifies the world. Thus you see the ancient inclination to make the sun a god. Just like today, we think that all things look so beautiful on a gorgeous sunny day. No one, not even the holy angels, can tell all about the marvelous works that the Almighty Lord has done. The universe stands as an example of his glory.