The great commandment to love God (Lk 10:27-10:27)

“The lawyer answered.

‘You shall love

The Lord,

Your God,

With all your heart,

With all your soul,

With all your strength,

And with all your mind.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Ἀγαπήσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σου ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ἰσχύϊ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου,

 

Luke said that the lawyer answered Jesus (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν) by citing Deuteronomy, chapter 6:4-5, where it said that you were to love the Lord, your God (Ἀγαπήσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σου), with all your heart (ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου), with all your soul (καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ σου), with all your strength (καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ἰσχύϊ σου), and with all your mind (καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου).  Mark, chapter 12:39-40, said that Jesus answered this Scribe, instead of the other way around as here in Luke.  The first commandment was “Hear this O Israel!  The Lord our God is one.  He should love the Lord, his God with his whole heart, his whole soul, his whole mind, and with all his strength.  This Shema cry for Israel to listen can be found in Deuteronomy, chapter 6:4-5.  These verses have had a great influence on the Israelites as the great commandment that was recited often and written all over the place on their hands, forehead, and door posts.  It was both a morning and an evening prayer, something you could say at home and when you were away from home.  The Israelites taught their children this simple prayer.  Jesus and the early Christian followers repeated this prayer in the gospel stories of the New Testament as the great commandment of love of God.  This “Shema” became the basis of the Abrahamic religions, the great commandment of monotheism and love that must always be remembered.  In Matthew, chapter 22:37-38, Jesus also responded, rather than the lawyer.  Jesus told this lawyer that he should love the Lord, his God with his whole heart, his whole soul, and his whole mind   This was the greatest and the first commandment.  Just be a good human Jewish person and love God above all else with your whole being, heart, soul, and mind.  Do you totally love God?

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He will be like Elijah (Lk 1:17-1:17)

“With the spirit

And power

Of Elijah,

He will go

Before the Messiah.

He will turn

The hearts

Of parents

To their children.

He will turn

The disobedient

To the wisdom

Of the righteous.

He will

Make ready

A people

Prepared for the Lord.”

 

καὶ αὐτὸς προελεύσεται ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ ἐν πνεύματι καὶ δυνάμει Ἡλεία, ἐπιστρέψαι καρδίας πατέρων ἐπὶ τέκνα καὶ ἀπειθεῖς ἐν φρονήσει δικαίων, ἑτοιμάσαι Κυρίῳ λαὸν κατεσκευασμένον.

 

Luke then introduced the concept of Elijah to this new child. The role of Elijah can be found also in Mark, chapter 9:11, as well as in Matthew, chapter 17:11, where the disciples of Jesus asked him why the Scribes said that Elijah the prophet had to come first.  The prophet Malachi, chapter 4:5, had also foretold the coming of Elijah.  Malachi had said that Yahweh was going to send the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of Yahweh would come.  Jesus did not disagree with this comment.  He responded by reiterating that Elijah was indeed coming to restore all things.  There was no doubt about the role of Elijah, a 9th century BCE northern Israel prophet, as in the Elijah cycle in 1 Kings, chapter 17-19.  He dominated late Jewish thought.  In Matthew, Jesus had a clear link of Elijah to John the Baptist, since he was the new Elijah.  Here Luke said that this child would precede or go first before the Lord (καὶ αὐτὸς προελεύσεται ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ).  He would have the spirit and the power of Elijah (ἐν πνεύματι καὶ δυνάμει Ἡλεία).  Then he would turn the hearts of parents to their children (ἐπιστρέψαι καρδίας πατέρων ἐπὶ τέκνα), as well as turn the disobedient ones into wise righteous ones (καὶ ἀπειθεῖς ἐν φρονήσει δικαίων).  He would prepare people to be disposed to get ready for the Lord (ἑτοιμάσαι Κυρίῳ λαὸν κατεσκευασμένον), by teaching about repentance and restoring families.  This child was going to be the forerunner for the Messiah, since all the prophets and the law had predicted this right up until the time of this child John.

The first commandment (Mk 12:29-12:30)

“Jesus answered.

‘The first commandment is.

‘Hear this!

O Israel!

The Lord Our God!

The Lord is one!

You shall love

The Lord

Your God

With all your heart,

With all your soul,

With all your mind,

And with all your strength.’”

 

ἀπεκρίθη ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι Πρώτη ἐστίν Ἄκουε, Ἰσραήλ, Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν Κύριος εἷς ἐστιν

καὶ ἀγαπήσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σου ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ψυχῆς σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς διανοίας σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ἰσχύος σου.

 

This response of Jesus can be found also in Matthew, chapter 22:37-38, without the Shema cry for Israel to listen.  In Luke, chapter 10:27-28, Jesus responded that he had given the right answer to the question.  Here, in Mark it is separate from the love of neighbor, which is the 2nd commandment.  This Shema can be found in Deuteronomy, chapter 6:4-5.  These verses have had a great influence on the Israelites as the great commandment that is recited often and written all over the place on their hands, forehead, and door posts.  It is both a morning and an evening prayer, something you say at home and when you are away from home.  The Israelites taught their children this simple prayer.  Jesus and the early Christian followers will repeat this prayer in the gospel stories of the New Testament as the great commandment of love of God.  This “Shema” became the basis of the Abrahamic religions, the great commandment of monotheism and love that must always be remembered.  Mark said that Jesus answered this Scribe (ἀπεκρίθη ὁ Ἰησοῦς) that the first commandment was (ὅτι Πρώτη ἐστίν) “Hear this (Ἄκουε,)!  O Israel (Ἰσραήλ,)! The Lord our God (Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς), the Lord is one (Κύριος εἷς ἐστιν)!”  He should love the Lord (καὶ ἀγαπήσεις Κύριον), his God (τὸν Θεόν σου) with his whole heart (ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίᾳ σου), his whole soul (καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ψυχῆς σου), his whole mind (καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς διανοίας σου), and with all his strength (καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ἰσχύος σου).  This was the greatest and the first commandment, love God above all else with your whole powerful being, heart, soul, and mind.

The first greatest commandment (Mt 22:37-22:38)

“Jesus said to him.

‘You shall love

The Lord,

Your God

With all your heart,

With all your soul,

And with all your mind.’

This is the greatest commandment.

This is the first commandment.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἔφη αὐτῷ Ἀγαπήσεις κύριον τὸν Θεόν σου ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ καρδίᾳ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου.

αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ μεγάλη καὶ πρώτη ἐντολή.

 

The response of Jesus can be found also in Mark, chapter 12:29-30, where there is the Shema cry for Israel to listen.  In Luke, chapter 10:27-28, Jesus responded that he had given the right answer to the question.  Here, in Matthew, it is separate from the love of neighbor, which is the 2nd commandment.  This Shema can be found in Deuteronomy, chapter 6:4-5.  These verses have had a great influence on the Israelites as the great commandment that is recited often and written all over the place on their hands, forehead, and door posts.  It is both a morning and an evening prayer, something you say at home and when you are away from home.  The Israelites were to teach their children this simple prayer.  Jesus and the early Christian followers will repeat this in the gospel stories of the New Testament as the great commandment of love of God.  This ‘Shema’ became the basis of the Abrahamic religions, the great commandment of monotheism and love that must always be remembered.  Jesus told this lawyer (ὁ δὲ ἔφη αὐτῷ) that he should love the Lord (Ἀγαπήσεις κύριον), his God (τὸν Θεόν σου) with his whole heart (ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ καρδίᾳ σου), his whole soul (καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ σου), and his whole mind (καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου).  This was the greatest (αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ μεγάλη) and the first commandment (καὶ πρώτη ἐντολή).  Just be a good human Jewish person and love God above all else with your whole being, heart, soul, and mind.

Do the sons of the king pay the tax? (Mt 17:25-17:26)

“When Peter came home,

Jesus anticipated

What Peter was going to say.

He asked him.

‘What do you think?

Simon!

From whom do kings

Of the earth

Take taxes

Or tributes?

Do they demand that

From their children

Or from other strangers?’

When Peter said.

‘From other strangers.’

Jesus said to him.

‘Then indeed

The children

Are free.’”

 

καὶ ἐλθόντα εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν προέφθασεν αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγων Τί σοι δοκεῖ, Σίμων; οἱ βασιλεῖς τῆς γῆς ἀπὸ τίνων λαμβάνουσιν τέλη ἢ κῆνσον; ἀπὸ τῶν υἱῶν αὐτῶν ἢ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀλλοτρίων;

εἰπόντος δέ Ἀπὸ τῶν ἀλλοτρίων, ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Ἄραγε ἐλεύθεροί εἰσιν οἱ υἱοί.

 

This section about the temple tax is unique to Matthew.  When Peter came home (καὶ ἐλθόντα εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν), after talking to the collectors of the Temple tax, Jesus anticipated that Peter (προέφθασεν αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς) was going to ask him about this tax.  He spoke to him, addressing him as Simon, and not Peter, as he asked him what did he think (λέγων Τί σοι δοκεῖ, Σίμων) about paying this tax?  Jesus wanted to know if the kings of the earth take taxes (οἱ βασιλεῖς τῆς γῆς ἀπὸ τίνων λαμβάνουσιν τέλη ἢ κῆνσον) from their own sons or children or rather from other strangers (ἀπὸ τῶν υἱῶν αὐτῶν ἢ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀλλοτρίων).  Peter responded that kings take their taxes and tolls from other strangers (εἰπόντος δέ Ἀπὸ τῶν ἀλλοτρίων), not their children.  Then Jesus said to him that indeed the sons or the children are free from this obligation to pay taxes (ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Ἄραγε ἐλεύθεροί εἰσιν οἱ υἱοί).  Jesus implied that they were the sons or children of God.

The happy family (Mal 4:6-4:6)

“Yahweh will turn

The hearts of parents

To their children.

He would turn

The hearts of children

To their parents.

Thus,

I will not come

To strike

The land

With a curse.”

Yahweh will make sure that there would be one big happy family.  He was going to turn the hearts of parents towards their children, and vice versa, the children towards their parents.  Thus, Yahweh would not strike the land with a curse.  So, the Old Testament prophets end on an upbeat note of the happy family, and not a curse.

Yahweh’s people (Mal 3:17-3:18)

“Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘They shall be mine.

They shall be

My special possession

On the day

When I act.

I will spare them,

As parents

Spare their children

Who serve them.

Then once more,

You shall see

The difference

Between the righteous

And the wicked,

Between one who serves God

And one who does not serve him.’”

Yahweh of hosts, via Malachi, said that the righteous would be his possession on the day when he acted.  He would spare them, just as parents spare their children.  Then on that day, they would once again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between those who served God and those who did not.