Levi the tax collector (Lk 5:27-5:27)

“After this,

Jesus went out.

He saw a tax collector,

Named Levi,

Sitting

At the tax booth.

He said to him.

‘Follow me!’”

 

Καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα ἐξῆλθεν, καὶ ἐθεάσατο τελώνην ὀνόματι Λευεὶν καθήμενον ἐπὶ τὸ τελώνιον, καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ἀκολούθει μοι.

 

The call of Levi or Matthew follows the story of the paralytic healing in all three synoptic gospels.  Luke said that Jesus went out (Καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα ἐξῆλθεν), presumably in Capernaum.  There he saw a tax collector (καὶ ἐθεάσατο τελώνην), named Levi (ὀνόματι Λευεὶν), sitting at the tax booth (καθήμενον ἐπὶ τὸ τελώνιον).  He said to him (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ) to follow him (Ἀκολούθει μοι).  Mark, chapter 2:14, and Matthew, chapter 9:9, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this event.  However, there are some significant differences.  Matthew called this man Matthew instead of Levi, his Jewish name.  Luke also followed Mark in calling him Levi.  Matthew and Luke did not mention his father, but Mark did.  It was strange that if this Matthew the apostle was the author of this gospel, why he did not mention the name of his father.  Both Matthew and Mark said that Jesus was walking along, when he saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus, or Matthew, sitting in his tax office, toll booth, or tax booth.  Jesus simply said to him to follow him.

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The short ending of Mark (Mk 16:9-16:9)

“These women

Briefly

And promptly told

Those around Peter

All that had been

Instructed to them.

Afterward,

Jesus himself

Sent out

Through them,

From east to west,

The sacred

And imperishable proclamation

Of eternal salvation.”

Πάντα δὲ τὰ παρηγγελμένα τοῖς περὶ τὸν Πέτρον συντόμως ἐξήγγειλαν. Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα καὶ αὐτὸς ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἀπὸ ἀνατολῆς καὶ ἄχρι δύσεως ἐξαπέστειλεν δι’ αὐτῶν τὸ ἱερὸν καὶ ἄφθαρτον κήρυγμα τῆς αἰωνίου σωτηρίας

The oldest know Latin text was the Codex Bobiensis, from the Bobbio monastery in northern Italy, during the 4th or 5th century CE.  Obviously, this was a later edition, certainly not in the 1st or 2nd century after Jesus.  Nevertheless, it was an attempt to fix up the last sentence of the preceding verse or the original ending of Mark.  This was an attempt to put Peter in charge of a universal church that was present at the time of the original writing of this gospel.  This text says that the women at the tomb reported to the people around Peter briefly and promptly (τοῖς περὶ τὸν Πέτρον συντόμως ἐξήγγειλαν) all that had been instructed or commanded to them (Πάντα δὲ τὰ παρηγγελμένα) at the tomb.  Afterward, Jesus himself, without saying how, sent the followers of Jesus out from east to west (Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα καὶ αὐτὸς ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἀπὸ ἀνατολῆς καὶ ἄχρι δύσεως ἐξαπέστειλεν δι’ αὐτῶν) to proclaim a sacred and imperishable eternal salvation (τὸ ἱερὸν καὶ ἄφθαρτον κήρυγμα τῆς αἰωνίου σωτηρίας).  This was an attempt to show why the Christians were all over the place.

This is my body (Mk 14:22-14:22)

“While they were eating,

Jesus took

A loaf of bread.

After blessing it,

He broke it.

He gave it

To them.

He said.

‘Take!

This is my body.’”

 

Καὶ ἐσθιόντων αὐτῶν λαβὼν ἄρτον εὐλογήσας ἔκλασεν καὶ ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς καὶ εἶπεν Λάβετε· τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου.

 

This is almost word for word in Mathew, chapter 26:26, but in Luke, chapter 22:19, it has a little more elaboration.  Paul used almost the same wording in I Corinthians, chapter 11:23-24.  In John, chapter 6:35-58, Jesus was preaching about eating the flesh of the Son of Man, the bread of life, so that he does not have a Last Supper institution narrative.  Mark said that while they were eating (Καὶ ἐσθιόντων αὐτῶν) the Passover meal, Jesus took a loaf of bread (λαβὼν ἄρτον).  He spoke the blessing or blessed it (εὐλογήσας).  He broke it into pieces (ἔκλασεν).  Then he gave it to them (καὶ ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς).  He said (καὶ εἶπεν) that they should take (Λάβετε) this bread, because it was his body (τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου).  There was no mention of eating it here, as in Matthew.  This Eucharistic institution narrative may already have been in this stylized form at the time of the writing of this gospel.  There was no specific indication whether this was leavened or unleavened bread, just a loaf of bread.  However, if it was a Passover meal on the feast of the Unleavened Bread, the evident assumption would be that it was unleavened or “matzah” bread.  Clearly, this institution narrative has had a profound effect on further Christian Eucharistic sacramental theological development.

The stolen body story spread (Mt 28:15-28:15)

“Thus,

They took the money.

They did

As they were directed.

This story

Is still told

Among the Jews

To this day.”

 

οἱ δὲ λαβόντες ἀργύρια ἐποίησαν ὡς ἐδιδάχθησαν. Καὶ διεφημίσθη ὁ λόγος οὗτος παρὰ Ἰουδαίοις μέχρι τῆς σήμερον ἡμέρας.

 

This is unique to Matthew.  He said that these custodian guards or soldiers took the money (οἱ δὲ λαβόντες ἀργύρια).  They did as the Jewish leaders had directed or instructed them to do (ἐποίησαν ὡς ἐδιδάχθησαν).  These guards explained that the disciples of Jesus had stolen the body of Jesus while they were asleep.  Matthew then remarked that this story was spread all over and being told among Jewish people (Καὶ διεφημίσθη ὁ λόγος οὗτος παρὰ Ἰουδαίοις) right up to the day that he was writing this gospel in the 2nd half of the first century, some 30-40 years later or the present day (μέχρι τῆς σήμερον ἡμέρας).  Obviously, this was a slap at the Jews who had not become Jewish Christians.

This is my body (Mt 26:26-26:26)

“While they were eating,

Jesus took

A loaf of bread.

He blessed it.

He broke it.

He gave it

To the disciples.

He said.

‘Take!

Eat!

This is my body!’”

 

Ἐσθιόντων δὲ αὐτῶν λαβὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἄρτον καὶ εὐλογήσας ἔκλασεν καὶ δοὺς τοῖς μαθηταῖς εἶπεν Λάβετε φάγετε· τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 14:22, but in Luke, chapter 22:19, it has a little more elaboration.  In John, chapter 6:52-58, Jesus was preaching about eating the flesh of the Son of Man.  While they were eating (Ἐσθιόντων δὲ αὐτῶν) the Passover meal, Jesus took a loaf of bread (λαβὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἄρτον).  He blessed it (καὶ εὐλογήσας).  He broke it into pieces (ἔκλασεν).  He gave it to the disciples (καὶ δοὺς τοῖς μαθηταῖς).  He said (εἶπεν) that they should take (Λάβετε) this bread and eat (φάγετε) it because it was his body (τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου).  This Eucharistic institution narrative may already have been in this stylized form at the time of the writing of this gospel.  There was no specific indication whether this was leavened or unleavened bread, but it was a bread loaf.  Clearly this narrative has had a profound effect on the Christian Eucharistic theological development.

The call of Matthew (Mt 9:9-9:9)

“As Jesus was walking along,

He saw a man

Called Matthew.

He was sitting

At the tax booth.

Jesus said to him.

‘Follow me!’

He got up.

He followed him.”

 

Καὶ παράγων ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐκεῖθεν εἶδεν ἄνθρωπον καθήμενον ἐπὶ τὸ τελώνιον, Μαθθαῖον λεγόμενον, καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Ἀκολούθει μοι. καὶ ἀναστὰς ἠκολούθησεν αὐτῷ.

 

This saying about the call of Matthew is similar to Mark, chapter 2:14, and Luke, chapter 5:27-28, but there he was called Levi, his Jewish name, and not Matthew.  Also, the other stories mention his father, but not here.  It is strange that if this Matthew the apostle was the author of this gospel, why it was not mentioned here.  Jesus was walking along (Καὶ παράγων ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐκεῖθεν), when he saw a man called Matthew sitting in his tax office, toll booth, or tax booth (εἶδεν ἄνθρωπον καθήμενον ἐπὶ τὸ τελώνιον, Μαθθαῖον λεγόμενον).  Jesus simply said to him, “Follow me!” (καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Ἀκολούθει μοι).  Then Matthew got up and followed him (καὶ ἀναστὰς ἠκολούθησεν αὐτῷ) without any need to explain why or how he was doing this.  At this point in the Matthew gospel narrative, he is the 5th named apostle after Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John, the first individual without a brother follower.

The authority of Jesus (Mt 7:29-7:29)

“Jesus taught them,

As one who had authority,

Not as their scribes”

 

ἦν γὰρ διδάσκων αὐτοὺς ὡς ἐξουσίαν ἔχων, καὶ οὐχ ὡς οἱ γραμματεῖς αὐτῶν.

 

Matthew spoke about the authority of Jesus, that also was in Luke, chapter 4:32, as well as Mark, chapter 1:22.  What was this authority that Jesus had?  He was not like one of the scribes (καὶ οὐχ ὡς οἱ γραμματεῖς αὐτῶν).  The scribes were religious experts who determined the traditions to be followed.  These scribes were professional copiers of manuscript documents, although they had a wider role in Jewish society.  They might have been the forerunners of the rabbinic class that was developing at that time.  Perhaps, the author of this gospel might have been a Jewish scribe himself because he was very familiar with Hebrew scriptures.  Jesus taught on his own authority (ἦν γὰρ διδάσκων αὐτοὺς ὡς ἐξουσίαν ἔχων) without referring to tradition.