Peter responds (Lk 9:20-9:20)

“Jesus said to them.

‘But who do you say

That I am?’

Peter answered.

‘The Messiah,

The Christ

Of God.’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς Ὑμεῖς δὲ τίνα με λέγετε εἶναι; Πέτρος δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Τὸν Χριστὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ

 

Luke indicated that Jesus asked his disciples (εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς) who did they say that he was (Ὑμεῖς δὲ τίνα με λέγετε εἶναι)?  Peter answered (Πέτρος δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς) that he was the Messiah, the Christ of God (εἶπεν Τὸν Χριστὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  This same question and response of Peter can be found in Matthew, chapter 16:15-17, Mark, chapter 6:29 and John, 6:69, but all slightly different.  Mark said that Jesus was questioning his disciples who was it that they thought or said that he was.  Jesus thus put them to the test.  This was not about what others said or thought, but about their understanding of Jesus.  Who did they think Jesus was?  Mark said that Peter replied to the generic question of Jesus immediately.  He said that Jesus was the Christ or the Messiah that they were expecting in Israel.  Matthew indicated that Jesus asked his disciples who they thought or said that he was.  Was he the Son of Man or someone else?  Simon Peter replied to the question of Jesus immediately.  He said that Jesus was the Christ or the Messiah that they were expecting in Israel.  Jesus was the son of the living God, not just merely the son of God.  Peter, as the leader of this new group of Jesus followers, asserted this important belief about Jesus.  For the first time, Jesus was called the Christ, the Messiah.  Here Peter, in the name of the nascent Christian community, proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ.  Are the Greek “Christ” and the Hebrew “Messiah” the same?  Matthew was the only one who had Peter say that Jesus was the son of the living God.  Matthew was also the only one that mentioned the special relationship that Peter had with his Father in heaven.  However, Peter gave a strong positive response in all four versions.  Matthew also had Jesus respond to Peter, but that was not in Mark or Luke.  Jesus said that Simon was blessed, because flesh and blood or humans had not revealed this saying of his, but Jesus’ heavenly Father had done so.  Thus, Peter had a special relationship with the Father in heaven.  Peter, as the leader of this new group of Jesus followers, asserted this important belief about Jesus.  Matthew, more than any of the other gospel writers, emphasized the role of Peter as the leader of the early Christian community, the disciples, and the apostles of Jesus.  Who is your human Christian leader?

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The seeds among the thorns choked (Lk 8:14-8:14)

“As for what fell

Among the thorns,

They are the ones

Who hear.

But as they go

On their way,

They are choked

By the cares,

By the riches,

And by the pleasures

Of life.

Their fruit

Does not mature.”

 

τὸ δὲ εἰς τὰς ἀκάνθας πεσόν, οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ ἀκούσαντες, καὶ ὑπὸ μεριμνῶν καὶ πλούτου καὶ ἡδονῶν τοῦ βίου πορευόμενοι συνπνίγονται καὶ οὐ τελεσφοροῦσιν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that those seeds that fell among the thorns (τὸ δὲ εἰς τὰς ἀκάνθας πεσόν) were like the ones who hear the word (οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ ἀκούσαντες), but as they go on their way (πορευόμενοι), they are choked or crowded out (συνπνίγονται) by the cares (καὶ ὑπὸ μεριμνῶν), the riches (καὶ πλούτου), and the pleasures of life (καὶ ἡδονῶν τοῦ βίου).  Their fruit does not mature (καὶ οὐ τελεσφοροῦσιν).  This explanation about the seeds among the thorns can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:18-19, Matthew, chapter 13:22, and here, with Matthew closer to Mark.  Both Matthew and Mark said that the seeds sown among the thorns were the ones who heard the words of the kingdom, but the cares and anxiety of this present age, as well as the allure or deceit of material wealth, choked or crowded out the words.  Thus, it yielded nothing, because it was barren.  The thorns were the cares about physical riches that choked off the growth of the seeds or the words of the kingdom.  There had to be good circumstances or pre-depositions to hearing and understanding for the word or the seed to be effective.  There had to be follow up or acting out on the word for it to mature into a full mature faith belief in Jesus Christ.  Have the seeds of the word of God matured in you?

The seeds on the rock have no roots (Lk 8:13-8:13)

“The seeds

On the rock

Are those who,

When they hear

The word,

Receive it with joy.

But they have no roots.

They believe

Only for a while.

In a time of temptation,

They fall away.”

 

οἱ δὲ ἐπὶ τῆς πέτρας οἳ ὅταν ἀκούσωσιν μετὰ χαρᾶς δέχονται τὸν λόγον, καὶ οὗτοι ῥίζαν οὐκ ἔχουσιν, οἳ πρὸς καιρὸν πιστεύουσιν καὶ ἐν καιρῷ πειρασμοῦ ἀφίστανται.

 

Luke said that that the seeds on the rock (οἱ δὲ ἐπὶ τῆς πέτρας) are like those who, when they heard (οἳ ὅταν ἀκούσωσιν) the word (τὸν λόγον), received it with joy (μετὰ χαρᾶς δέχονται).  However, they did not have any roots (καὶ οὗτοι ῥίζαν οὐκ ἔχουσιν).  They believed, but only for a while (οἳ πρὸς καιρὸν πιστεύουσιν).  In a time of temptation or testing (καὶ ἐν καιρῷ πειρασμοῦ), they would fall away (ἀφίστανται).  This explanation of the seeds sown on the rocky ground can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 13:20-21, Mark, chapter 4:16-17, and here, almost word for word.  Mark and Matthew said that Jesus explained that the seeds sown on the rocky ground were like the people who heard the word and immediately received it with joy.  Yet these seedlings did not have their own roots, but only temporary roots.  When trouble, tribulation, or persecution arose, because of the word, they immediately stumbled and fell away.  Once again, the seeds were the word.  Listening to the word was not enough, if it did not resonate or take root.  Due to this rocky ground, the early excitement of receiving the word was not good enough to sustain a continual adherence to the word.  There had to be good circumstances or pre-depositions to hearing and understanding for the word or the seed to be effective.  How deep are your believing roots?

The Holy Spirit and Jesus (Lk 3:22-3:22)

“The Holy Spirit

Descended upon Jesus

In a bodily form,

Like a dove.”

 

καὶ καταβῆναι τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον σωματικῷ εἴδει ὡς περιστερὰν ἐπ’ αὐτόν,

 

The role of the Holy Spirit after the baptism of Jesus was very important. Matthew, chapter 3:16, Mark, chapter 1:10, and John, chapter 1:32, are almost the same as here.  Luke said that the Holy Spirit (τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον) descended (καὶ καταβῆναι) upon Jesus (ἐπ’ αὐτόν) in a bodily form (σωματικῷ εἴδει), like a dove (ὡς περιστερὰν).  John did not mention a dove, but he said that John the Baptist saw the Holy Spirit descend and remain on Jesus.  In Matthew and Mark, Jesus saw the Holy Spirit as a dove descend on him.  This all took place after the baptism itself.   Just as the dove after the great flood in Genesis, chapter 8:8-12, heralded a new age, so too Jesus would preach the good news in this new age.  With his prophetic vocation, Jesus had the power to begin his public ministry of healing and exorcising.  The later concept of the anointing of Jesus with the Spirit referred to this action of the dove, after his baptism in the Jordan River.  There was a clear distinction between the baptism of Jesus himself, and the specific dove bestowal of the Spirit that followed.  Despite the fact that there was no indication of any real anointing in any of these baptismal accounts of Jesus, the coming of the Spirit, in the form of a dove, was considered a symbolic anointing of Jesus within the Judaic prophetic line.  This incident functioned as the basis for an understanding of Jesus’ metaphorical anointing to become “the anointed one,” “Christ.”  This symbolic metaphorical anointing action gathered many of the Hebrew bible strands of a messianic king, a sacerdotal high priest, a servant, and a prophet into this one event.  Within this process, the messianic time began with a pre-figuration of what was going to take place at the later Pentecost event, when the fullness of the Spirit came to all the followers of Jesus.

The amazing Jesus (Lk 2:47-2:47)

“All who heard him

Were amazed

At his understanding

And his answers.”

 

ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες οἱ ἀκούοντες αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τῇ συνέσει καὶ ταῖς ἀποκρίσεσιν αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke made a comment that will be often repeated here and in all the other gospel stories about how people were amazed or marveled at Jesus.  He said that everyone, especially these religious teachers in Jerusalem, who heard this 12-year-old Jesus was amazed or astonished (ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες οἱ ἀκούοντες αὐτοῦ) at his understanding or intellect (ἐπὶ τῇ συνέσει) and his answers (καὶ ταῖς ἀποκρίσεσιν αὐτοῦ).  He was a bright kid for his age.  What else would you expect from Jesus?  The idea of a brilliant youth was common among all ancient heroes.  However, the gospel writers were restrained in this area, since this is the only canonical story or episode about the young Jesus.

The value of the commandments (Mk 12:33-12:33)

“‘To love God

With all the heart,

With all the understanding,

With all the strength,

As well as

To love one’s neighbor

As oneself,’

This is much more

Important than

Than all the burnt offerings

And sacrifices.”

 

καὶ τὸ ἀγαπᾶν αὐτὸν ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς συνέσεως καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ἰσχύος, καὶ τὸ ἀγαπᾶν τὸν πλησίον ὡς ἑαυτὸν περισσότερόν ἐστιν πάντων τῶν ὁλοκαυτωμάτων καὶ θυσιῶν.

 

This monologue of the Scribe to Jesus is unique to Mark.  This Scribe pointed out that these 2 commandments were more important that all the Temple sacrifices of burnt offerings.  He said that to love God (καὶ τὸ ἀγαπᾶν αὐτὸν) with all your heart (ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας), with all your understanding (καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς συνέσεως), with all your strength (καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ἰσχύος), as well as to love your neighbor as yourself (καὶ τὸ ἀγαπᾶν τὸν πλησίον ὡς ἑαυτὸν) was much more important (περισσότερόν ἐστιν) than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices (πάντων τῶν ὁλοκαυτωμάτων καὶ θυσιῶν).  This Scribe recognized the value of love of God and neighbor.

It is hard to enter the kingdom of God (Mk 10:24-10:24)

“The disciples

Were perplexed

At his words.

But Jesus

Answered them again.

‘Children!

How hard it is

For those who trust

In riches

To enter

The kingdom of God!’”

 

οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ ἐθαμβοῦντο ἐπὶ τοῖς λόγοις αὐτοῦ. ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς πάλιν ἀποκριθεὶς λέγει αὐτοῖς Τέκνα, πῶς δύσκολόν ἐστιν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν·

 

This unique saying of Mark is really the repetition of what was said in the previous verse, a redundancy, to drive home a point.  Mark indicated how difficult it would be for rich people to get into the kingdom of God.  Mark said that the disciples were perplexed or amazed at his words (οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ ἐθαμβοῦντο ἐπὶ τοῖς λόγοις αὐτοῦ.).  However, Jesus responded or answered his disciples again (δὲ Ἰησοῦς πάλιν ἀποκριθεὶς), calling them children (λέγει αὐτοῖς Τέκνα,), not understanding what was being said.  He indicated once again how hard it was for those who trusted in riches or wealth to enter the kingdom of God (πῶς δύσκολόν ἐστιν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν τοὺς πεποιθότας ἐπὶ χρήμασιν).  Mark had Jesus repeat things because the disciples were not that sharp.  Quite often wealth had been seen as a sign that God was pleased with that person.