Salted fire (Mk 9:49-9:49)

“Everyone

Will be salted

With fire.”

 

Πᾶς γὰρ πυρὶ ἁλισθήσεται.

 

This is a unique saying of Mark.  He indicated that Jesus said that everyone would be salted with fire (Πᾶς γὰρ πυρὶ ἁλισθήσεται).  This eternal fire would be seasoned with salt to give a further sting.  Some ancient orthodox manuscripts added here that every sacrifice would be salted with salt.  (καὶ πᾶσα θυσία ἁλὶ ἁλισθήσεται).  In other words, this spice or preservative salt would further enhance and lengthen the eternal fire of Gehenna or hell.

They were afraid (Mk 9:6-9:6)

“Peter did not know

What to say.

They were terrified.”

 

οὐ γὰρ ᾔδει τί ἀποκριθῇ· ἔκφοβοι γὰρ ἐγένοντο.

 

This unique saying of Mark seems like it should be after the voice from heaven.  However, it is here.  Mark said the Peter was speechless, since he did not know what to say (οὐ γὰρ ᾔδει τί ἀποκριθῇ).  He, John, and James were greatly terrified (ἔκφοβοι γὰρ ἐγένοντο).

They were astonished (Mk 7:37-7:37)

“They were astonished

Beyond measure.

They said.

‘He has done everything well.

He even makes

The deaf

To hear.

He makes

The mute

Speak.’”

 

καὶ ὑπερπερισσῶς ἐξεπλήσσοντο λέγοντες Καλῶς πάντα πεποίηκεν, καὶ τοὺς κωφοὺς ποιεῖ ἀκούειν καὶ ἀλάλους λαλεῖν.

 

This unique saying of Mark ends with everyone being astonished or amazed.  Mark said that they were astonished beyond measure (καὶ ὑπερπερισσῶς ἐξεπλήσσοντο λέγοντες).  They said that Jesus had done everything well (Καλῶς πάντα πεποίηκεν).  He made both the deaf hear (καὶ τοὺς κωφοὺς ποιεῖ ἀκούειν) and the mute speak (καὶ τοὺς κωφοὺς ποιεῖ ἀκούειν).  This was great praise for Jesus.

Do not tell anyone (Mk 7:36-7:36)

“Jesus ordered them

To tell no one.

But the more

He ordered them,

The more zealously

They proclaimed it.”

 

καὶ διεστείλατο αὐτοῖς ἵνα μηδενὶ λέγωσιν· ὅσον δὲ αὐτοῖς διεστέλλετο, αὐτοὶ μᾶλλον περισσότερον ἐκήρυσσον.

 

Once again, this unique saying of Mark had Jesus order or instruct this man and the crowd with him (καὶ διεστείλατο αὐτοῖς) not to tell anyone about it (ἵνα μηδενὶ λέγωσιν).  However, the more he ordered or instructed them to be quiet (ὅσον δὲ αὐτοῖς διεστέλλετο,), the more zealously they proclaimed it (αὐτοὶ μᾶλλον περισσότερον ἐκήρυσσον).  This was the strange Messianic secret that no one could keep secret.  The ironic twist was that the crowds saw what was happening, yet Jesus was trying not to let people tell others.  On the other hand, he would send his apostles out to preach.  What did he expect to happen?

The reaction of Jesus’ family (Mk 3:21-3:21)

“When his family

Heard it,

They went out

To restrain Jesus.

People were saying.

‘He has gone

Out of his mind.’”

 

καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ παρ’ αὐτοῦ ἐξῆλθον κρατῆσαι αὐτόν· ἔλεγον γὰρ ὅτι ἐξέστη.

 

This is another unique saying of Mark.  He said that when the family of Jesus, without being specific about which members of this family, heard about the crowds and Jesus (καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ παρ’ αὐτοῦ), they went out to restrain or get hold of him (ἐξῆλθον κρατῆσαι αὐτόν).  People were saying that Jesus had gone out of his mind or was astonishing (ἔλεγον γὰρ ὅτι ἐξέστη).  There is always a fine line between genius and madness.  His family must have felt that Jesus had gone too far.  In general, gospel writers indicate that the relatives and family of Jesus, seem to have misunderstood what his role was.

Converts (Mt 23:15-23:15)

“Woe to you!

Scribes!

Woe to you!

Pharisees!

Hypocrites!

You cross the sea.

You cross the dry land

To make a single convert.

You make

The new convert

Twice as much

A child of hell

As yourselves.”

 

Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι ὑποκριταί, ὅτι περιάγετε τὴν θάλασσαν καὶ τὴν ξηρὰν ποιῆσαι ἕνα προσήλυτον, καὶ ὅταν γένηται, ποιεῖτε αὐτὸν υἱὸν γεέννης διπλότερον ὑμῶν.

 

This first part of the opening verse is exactly the same as the preceding verse in this unique saying of Matthew.  Woe to you (Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν)!  Scribes (γραμματεῖς)!  Woe to you!  Pharisees (καὶ Φαρισαῖοι)!  Hypocrites (ὑποκριταί)!  There is no doubt that here Jesus was cursing the Scribes and the Pharisees.  These Pharisees were trying to convert many of the Romans to Judaism.  They would cross seas and dry lands trying to make a single convert or proselyte (ὅτι περιάγετε τὴν θάλασσαν καὶ τὴν ξηρὰν ποιῆσαι ἕνα προσήλυτον).  However, in doing so (καὶ ὅταν γένηται), they had made these new converts to Pharisaic Judaism twice as much a child of Gehenna or hell as themselves (ποιεῖτε αὐτὸν υἱὸν γεέννης διπλότερον ὑμῶν).

Shut off heaven (Mt 23:14-23:14)

“Woe to you!

Scribes!

Woe to you!

Pharisees!

Hypocrites!

You devour widow’s houses!

For the sake of appearance,

You make long prayers!

Therefore,

You will receive

The greater condemnation.”

 

Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι, ὑποκριταί, ὅτι κατεσθίετε τὰς οἰκίας τῶν χηρῶν, καὶ προφάσει μακρὰ προσευχόμενοι· διὰ τοῦτο λήψεσθε περισσότερον κρίμα.

 

This verse is missing in a number of manuscripts but can be found in other Greek Orthodox versions of this unique saying of Matthew.  This first part of the opening verse is exactly the same as the preceding verse.  Woe to you (Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν)!  Scribes (γραμματεῖς)!  Woe to you!  Pharisees (καὶ Φαρισαῖοι)!  Hypocrites (ὑποκριταί)!  There is no doubt that here Jesus was cursing the Scribes and the Pharisees, who were devouring widow’s houses (ὅτι κατεσθίετε τὰς οἰκίας τῶν χηρῶν), as they were taking advantage of widows.  They also made long lengthy prayers (καὶ προφάσει μακρὰ προσευχόμενοι·), so that they would look better and more pious.  However, they were about to receive a greater condemnation (διὰ τοῦτο λήψεσθε περισσότερον κρίμα) than they had expected.

 

The kingdom of God (Mt 21:43-21:43)

“Therefore.

I tell you!

The kingdom of God

Will be taken away

From you.

It will be given

To a people

That produces

The fruits of the kingdom.”

 

διὰ τοῦτο λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἀρθήσεται ἀφ’ ὑμῶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ δοθήσεται ἔθνει ποιοῦντι τοὺς καρποὺς αὐτῆς.

 

This is a unique saying of Matthew.  However, strangely enough, he called the kingdom “the kingdom of God” rather than his usual “kingdom of heaven.”  Jesus had a solemn pronouncement (διὰ τοῦτο λέγω ὑμῖν) that the kingdom of God will be taken away from them (ὅτι ἀρθήσεται ἀφ’ ὑμῶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Instead, it would be given to a people that would produce the fruits of this kingdom (καὶ δοθήσεται ἔθνει ποιοῦντι τοὺς καρποὺς αὐτῆς).  Thus, the productive followers of Jesus that produced fruits, rather than the chosen people, especially the Jewish religious leaders, would inherit the kingdom of God.

Do not despise the little ones (Mt 18:10-18:10)

“Take care!

Do not despise

One of these little ones!

I tell you!

In heaven,

Their angels

Continually see the face

Of my Father in heaven.”

 

Ὁρᾶτε μὴ καταφρονήσητε ἑνὸς τῶν μικρῶν τούτων· λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν ὅτι οἱ ἄγγελοι αὐτῶν ἐν οὐρανοῖς διὰ παντὸς βλέπουσι τὸ πρόσωπον τοῦ Πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς.

 

This is a unique saying about not scorning the little ones that is only found here in Matthew.  Jesus said that they should be careful or see not to despise, scorn, or disregard any one of these little ones (Ὁρᾶτε μὴ καταφρονήσητε ἑνὸς τῶν μικρῶν τούτων).  In a solemn proclamation, “I tell you” (λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν), he said that the angels of the little ones in heaven (ὅτι οἱ ἄγγελοι αὐτῶν ἐν οὐρανοῖς) always or continually see the face of his heavenly Father (διὰ παντὸς βλέπουσι τὸ πρόσωπον τοῦ Πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς).  This obviously is an allusion to the concept of guardian angels, especially for the little ones.