The twelve-year old (Lk 2:42-2:42

“When Jesus was

Twelve years old,

They went up

As usual

For the festival.”

 

Καὶ ὅτε ἐγένετο ἐτῶν δώδεκα, ἀναβαινόντων αὐτῶν κατὰ τὸ ἔθος τῆς ἑορτῆς,

 

Now we have another unique saying of Luke about the age of Jesus.  When Jesus was 12 years old (Καὶ ὅτε ἐγένετο ἐτῶν δώδεκα), the whole family went up to Jerusalem (ἀναβαινόντων αὐτῶν) as usual for the festival of Passover (κατὰ τὸ ἔθος τῆς ἑορτῆς).  This was not a bar mitzvah or confirmation, since this Jewish practice came later.  However, Jesus would have been on the verge of puberty.  The number 12 would play a major role in the life of Jesus, since he had 12 apostles, who were called the Twelve.  This episode is the only insight into the life of Jesus between his birth and the baptism by John, that can be found in any of the canonical biblical gospel narratives.  There are many stories about the boyhood of Jesus in some apocryphal gospels.  Thus, this story takes on a special canonical importance.

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The naming of the child (Lk 1:59-1: 59)

“They were going

To name him

Zechariah,

After his father.”

 

καὶ ἐκάλουν αὐτὸ ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ Ζαχαρίαν.

 

Luke said that they were going to name him (καὶ ἐκάλουν αὐτὸ) Zechariah (Ζαχαρίαν), after the name of his father (ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ).  The naming of the child was not associated with the circumcision until later.  Christians often call the baptizing of their infants Christening when they give a Christian name to the child, after infant baptism became popular in the early Middle Ages.  Interesting enough, the Hispanic or Sephardic Jews name their children after their parents, while the Ashkenazic or Eastern European Jews name their children after dead relatives or grandparents.  However, today, naming a Jewish boy and circumcision take place at the same time.  For girls, it had become usual to name the girl at a Torah reading on the Sabbath.

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.

The camel and the eye of a needle (Mt 19:24-19:24)

“Again!

I tell you!

It is easier for a camel

To go through

The eye of a needle

Than for a rich man

To enter

The kingdom of God.”

 

πάλιν δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, εὐκοπώτερόν ἐστιν κάμηλον διὰ τρήματος ῥαφίδος εἰσελθεῖν ἢ πλούσιον εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

This saying about the camel and the eye of a needle can be found in Mark, chapter 10:25, and Luke, chapter 18:25, word for word.  Once again, this is a solemn proclamation of Jesus (πάλιν δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν).  He said that it would be easier (εὐκοπώτερόν ἐστιν) for a camel to go through the eye of a needle (κάμηλον διὰ τρήματος ῥαφίδος εἰσελθεῖν) that was used for sewing than for a wealthy rich man to enter the kingdom of God (ἢ πλούσιον εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  This was a follow up to the obstacles of wealth.  Everyone knew that it would be impossible for a camel to go through a sewing needle eye or opening.  Notice that Matthew followed the other two gospels by using kingdom of God (τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ) rather than his usual kingdom of heaven (τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν), as in the preceding verses.

Yahweh will not consult with the elders (Ezek 20:2-20:3)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Speak to the elders

Of Israel!

Say to them!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Why are you coming?

Are you coming

To consult with me?

As I live!

I will not be consulted

By you.’

Says Yahweh God.”

As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Yahweh told him what to tell the elders of Israel. Yahweh wanted to know why they were coming to consult with him. Yahweh clearly maintained that he did not want to consult with them.

They have strayed from Yahweh (Ezek 11:14-11:15)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Your kinsfolk,

Your own relatives,

Your fellow exiles,

The whole house of Israel,

All of them,

Are those of whom

The inhabitants of Jerusalem

Have said.

‘They have gone far

From Yahweh.

To us

This land is

Given for a possession.’”

As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel. He reminded him that all his relatives, his household, his fellow exiles, and the whole house of Israel had strayed from Yahweh. However, there is an unusual twist as the people left in Jerusalem said that since these others had sinned, they would take possession of the land and the property of those who had died or were taken captive.