Flattering Jesus (Mt 22:16-22:16)

“The Pharisees

Sent their disciples

To him,

Along with the Herodians.

They said.

‘Teacher!

We know

That you are sincere.

You teach the way of God

In accordance with truth.

You show deference

To no one.

You do not regard

People with partiality.”

 

καὶ ἀποστέλλουσιν αὐτῷ τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτῶν μετὰ τῶν Ἡρῳδιανῶν λέγοντας Διδάσκαλε, οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀληθὴς εἶ καὶ τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ διδάσκεις, καὶ οὐ μέλει σοι περὶ οὐδενός, οὐ γὰρ βλέπεις εἰς πρόσωπον ἀνθρώπων·

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 12:13-14, and Luke, chapter 20:21, but slightly different.  The Pharisees sent their own disciples to Jesus (καὶ ἀποστέλλουσιν αὐτῷ τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτῶν).  The Pharisees themselves did come to Jesus, but they also sent along some Herodians (μετὰ τῶν Ἡρῳδιανῶν).  Who are these people?  They were the followers or political supporters of King Herod Antipas, the Roman client tetrarch king of Galilee, the one who had John the Baptist beheaded.  This group spoke to Jesus in flattering terms (λέγοντας).  They called Jesus their teacher or rabbi (Διδάσκαλε,).  They said that they knew that Jesus was sincere or truthful, since he knew the truthful way of God (οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀληθὴς εἶ καὶ τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  He taught truthfulness (ἐν ἀληθείᾳ διδάσκεις).  Jesus did not show any deference to anybody (καὶ οὐ μέλει σοι περὶ οὐδενός,).  He did not regard people with partiality based on their appearances (οὐ γὰρ βλέπεις εἰς πρόσωπον ἀνθρώπων).  They were buttering up Jesus with these flattering statements about how he was so sincere and truthful since he had not shown any deference or partiality to anybody.

The non-writing Jesus

Jesus did not write anything because he lived in a predominant oral society.  The apostles of Jesus followed suit and transmitted the living oral tradition to their disciples and the new followers of Jesus the Christ.  The apostles did not need to write anything, since they could explain everything.  However, once Christianity moved out of Jerusalem there was a need to write things down in a more permanent form.  The early Pauline letters to the new Christian Churches show how Christianity spread.  Increasing time and distance from the place of Jerusalem and the time of Jesus led to a decision to write things down.  In order to prevent heresy or diverse views, while at the same time encouraging the early Christians, the need for a written record became evident.