Lose your life to find it (Mt 10:39-10:39)

“Those who find

Their life

Will lose it.

Those who lose

Their life

For my sake

Will find it.”

 

ὁ εὑρὼν τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ ἀπολέσει αὐτήν, καὶ ὁ ἀπολέσας τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ εὑρήσει αὐτήν.

 

This verse of Matthew is similar to Luke, chapters 9:24 and 17:33, Mark, chapter 8:35, and John 12:25.  In order to gain your eternal life, you have to lose your life for the sake of Jesus.  Anyone who thinks that he has found his life or soul (ὁ εὑρὼν τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ) will lose it (ἀπολέσει αὐτήν).  On the other hand, anyone who loses their life or soul (καὶ ὁ ἀπολέσας τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ) for the sake of Jesus (ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ) will find their life or soul (εὑρήσει αὐτήν).  Thus, you have to lose your life or soul in Jesus, in order to truly live.

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Gog’s plan of attack (Ezek 38:11-38:12)

“‘You will say!

‘I will go up

Against the land

Of unwalled villages.

I will fall upon

The quiet people

Who live in safety.

All of them live

Without walls.

They have no bars.

They have no gates.’

You want

To seize spoil.

You want

To carry off plunder.

You want to assail

The waste places

That are now inhabited.

You want to assail

The people

Who were gathered

From the nations.

You want to assail,

Those who are acquiring cattle.

You want to assail

Those with goods,

Who live

At the center

Of the earth.’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel said that Gog would say to himself that he would go up against this land of unwalled villages. He was going to attack these quiet safe people. They lived without walls with no bars or gates. Gog wanted to seize the spoils and plunder this former wasted land that was now inhabited. These people had been gathered from the various nations. Now they were acquiring cattle with other goods as well. They lived at the center of the earth. Where was the center of earth? Of course, it was Jerusalem. Everyone thinks that where they live is the center of the world.

Not respecting the creative potter (Isa 29:15-29:16)

“Woe to you!

You hide a plan too deep for Yahweh!

Your deeds are in the dark!

You say.

‘Who sees us?

Who knows us?’

You turn things upside down!

Shall the potter be regarded as the clay?

Shall the thing made

Say of its maker?

‘He did not make me.’

Shall the thing formed

Say of the one who formed it?

‘He has no understanding.’”

Yahweh seems to be mad at the leaders of Judah who are attempting to plot with Assyria. They have a hidden dark plan since they seem to say that no one sees them or knows about it. They have things upside down because they are the creatures, not the creators. They are the clay that thinks that they are the potters who mold the clay. They were made by the Creator God as in Genesis, chapter 2. They were the formed, not the formers. Why are they saying that the Creator God does not understand, since they are mere clay?

The rhetorical questions (Isa 10:15-10:15)

“Shall the axe vaunt itself

Over the one who wields it?

Can the saw magnify itself

Against the one who handles it?

Can the rod

Raise the one who lifts it up?

Can the staff

Lift the one who is not wood?”

Isaiah asks a series of rhetorical questions about the proud King Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727 BCE) of Assyria. The axe cannot wield itself. Someone, like Yahweh, has to wield the axe, who is the king. A saw, like the king, will not work unless someone is making it work, like Yahweh. The rod by itself, the king, is useless unless Yahweh lifts it up for punishment. Can a staff of wood do anything without someone controlling it like Yahweh. Yahweh is controlling this proud king, but he thinks that he is in charge.

Male adulterer (Sir 23:18-23:21)

“Whoever sins

Against his marriage bed,

Says to himself.

‘Who can see me?

Darkness surrounds me.

The walls hide me.

No one sees me.

Why should I worry?

The Most High

Will not remember my sins.’

His fear is confined

To human eyes.

He does not realize

That the eyes of the Lord

Are ten thousand times

Brighter than the sun.

They look upon

Every aspect of human behavior.

They see into hidden corners.

Before the universe was created,

it was known to him.

So it is since its completion.

This man will be punished

In the streets of the city.

Where he least suspects it,

He will be seized.”

Sirach shows that the male adulterer thinks that no one sees him since it is dark and the walls protect him. Why should he worry? The Most High God will not remember his sins. He is only worried about human eyes catching him. However, he should realize that the eyes of the Lord are 10,000 times brighter than the sun. They see every aspect of human behavior, even the hidden corners. Before the universe was created, God had pre-knowledge of everything. Thus God knows everything. This man will be punished in the city streets at a time when he least suspects it.

The annoying righteous one (Wis 2:12-2:16)

“‘Let us lie in wait

For the righteous man.

Because he is inconvenient to us.

He opposes our actions.

He reproaches us

For sins against the law.

He accuses us of sins

Against our training.

He professes to have knowledge of God.

He calls himself a child of the Lord.

He became to us a reproof of our thoughts.

The very sight of him is a burden to us.

Because his manner of life is

Unlike that of others.

His ways are strange.

We are considered by him

As something base.

He avoids our ways as unclean.

He calls the last end of the righteous happy.

He boasts that God is his father.’”

They are going to attack the righteous one (δίκαιον), because he opposes their actions. He has been reproaching them for their sins against the law (ἁμαρτήματα νόμου) and their training (παιδείας). He claims to have knowledge about God (γνῶσιν ἔχειν Θεοῦ). He says that he is a child of the Lord (παῖδα Κυρίου). He has rebuked their thoughts. His very presence is a burden to them. He is not like the others since his ways are strange. He thinks that they are base and unclean. He claims that God is his father (πατέρα Θεόν).

Religious vows (Prov 20:25-20:30)

“It is a snare for one to say rashly.

‘It is holy.’

Then only begin to reflect after making a vow.

A wise king winnows the wicked.

He drives the wheel over them.

The human spirit is the lamp of Yahweh.

It searches every innermost part.

Loyalty and faithfulness preserve the king.

His throne is upheld by righteousness.

The glory of young men is their strength.

The beauty of the aged is their gray hair.

Blows that wound

Cleanse away evil.

Strokes make clean the innermost parts.”

Watch out for snares or traps. When someone thinks that something is holy and then makes a vow, they might be caught because only later do they think about what they just agreed to do. A wise king winnows or gets rid of the wicked ones. Then he drives a wheel over them. The human spirit is like God’s lamp that searches his most inner part. If the king is loyal and faithful he will preserve himself. Righteousness keeps the king on his throne. The glory of young people is their strength. However, the aged are beautiful because of their wonderful gray hair. Any blows that wound people clean up any evil in them. These strokes clean the innermost parts of their human bodies. This seems like an argument for corporal punishment.