Martha (Lk 10:38-10:38)

“Now as they went

On their way,

Jesus entered

A certain village.

A woman

Named Martha

Welcomed him

Into her house.”

 

Ἐν δὲ τῷ πορεύεσθαι αὐτοὺς αὐτὸς εἰσῆλθεν εἰς κώμην τινά· γυνὴ δέ τις ὀνόματι Μάρθα ὑπεδέξατο αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν.

 

Luke uniquely among the synoptics has this story of Martha and Mary.  However, John, chapters 11 and 12 have these two, Martha and Mary, as sisters to Lazarus in Bethany.  Here the story is just between the two sisters and their different roles.  Luke said that as they went on their way (Ἐν δὲ τῷ πορεύεσθαι αὐτοὺς), Jesus entered a certain unnamed village (εἰσῆλθεν εἰς κώμην τινά).  There a woman named Martha (γυνὴ δέ τις ὀνόματι Μάρθα) welcomed him (ὑπεδέξατο αὐτὸν) into her house (εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν).  There was no indication if any of his disciples or apostles went with him into the house.  Could this unnamed village be Bethany?  Are you afraid to mention the name of your town?

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The crowd follows Jesus (Lk 9:11-9:11)

“The crowds

Found out

About him.

They followed Jesus.

He welcomed them.

He spoke to them

About the kingdom of God.

He healed

Those who needed

To be cured.”

 

οἱ δὲ ὄχλοι γνόντες ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ· καὶ ἀποδεξάμενος αὐτοὺς ἐλάλει αὐτοῖς περὶ τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ τοὺς χρείαν ἔχοντας θεραπείας ἰᾶτο.

 

Luke said that the crowds found out where Jesus was (οἱ δὲ ὄχλοι γνόντες) and followed him (ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ).  Thus, Jesus welcomed them (καὶ ἀποδεξάμενος αὐτοὺς) and spoke to them (ἐλάλει αὐτοῖς) about the kingdom of God (περὶ τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ).  He healed those who needed to be cured (καὶ τοὺς χρείαν ἔχοντας θεραπείας ἰᾶτο).  A similar statement can be found in all four gospels, Matthew, chapter 14:14, Mark chapter 6:34, and John, chapter 6:2, plus here.  Jesus continued his mission of compassion.  Mark said that when Jesus went ashore, he saw a great crowd, without any indication of the size of this crowd.  He then had compassion for them.  However, instead of curing the people as in Matthew and Luke, Mark had Jesus talk to them as being sheep without a shepherd, as in Matthew, chapter 9:36.  Then Jesus began to teach the people many things, rather than heal them.  The emphasis in Mark here was on teaching rather than healing.  Matthew, on the other hand, said that Jesus continued his mission of compassion by curing the ill and the sick people.  When Jesus went ashore, he saw a great crowd.  He then had compassion for them, so that he cured the feeble and ill people.  One of the great acts of kindness of Jesus was curing people of their diseases or sicknesses.  How do you treat sick people?

The crowds waited for Jesus (Lk 8:40-8:40)

“Now when Jesus returned,

The crowd

Welcomed him.

They were all

Waiting

For him.”

 

Ἐν δὲ τῷ ὑποστρέφειν τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἀπεδέξατο αὐτὸν ὁ ὄχλος· ἦσαν γὰρ πάντες προσδοκῶντες αὐτόν.

 

Luke continued to follow Mark.  When Jesus returned (Ἐν δὲ τῷ ὑποστρέφειν τὸν Ἰησοῦν), the crowd welcomed him (ἀπεδέξατο αὐτὸν ὁ ὄχλος).  They were all waiting for him (ἦσαν γὰρ πάντες προσδοκῶντες αὐτόν).  There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 5:21.  Mark said that Jesus crossed to the other side of the sea in a boat.  There, a great crowd gathered around him near the seashore.  Jesus had returned to familiar ground in the Jewish area around the western side of the Sea of Galilee.  Do you like to return to familiar territory?

Fifth narrative

Jesus traveled toward Jerusalem and taught in the Temple there, debating with the chief priests and religious leaders.  Then he spoke about the coming kingdom of heaven and the future end times.

Jesus finally went to Judea, where he cured large crowds of people.  The Pharisees questioned him about divorce.  Jesus reiterated the importance of marriage, as he spoke about Moses and divorce.  After hearing the response of Jesus about divorce, his disciples wondered why they should marry at all.  Jesus explained about different kind of eunuchs.

The children came forward to Jesus and he blessed them.  He warned against wealth.  To gain eternal life you had to keep the commandments.  They wanted to know which commandments?  The great commandment was not a problem.  However, Jesus asked them to give up their possessions, so that the rich young man walked away.  It was hard for rich people to enter the kingdom like a camel going through the eye of a needle.  Who could be saved?  The response was that all things are possible with God.  Peter wanted to know about the disciples and the eternal life reward, so that Jesus told them that the first shall be last and vice versa.

Then Jesus presented the parable of the laborers in the vineyard.  He hired the first laborers, and then late in the day a second group, a third group and finally a fourth group of laborers.  The last group hired got a full day’s pay.  The first group hired were upset when they got the same as the last group hired.  This brought up the problem of generosity versus fairness, as Jesus explained the parable.

On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus predicted what was going to happen to him in Jerusalem.  The mother of the sons of Zebedee wanted to know if her two sons, James and John, could be the greatest, on either side of Jesus.  Jesus pointed out the difficulties and said that only the Father set up the seating arrangements.  This led to ten angry men as they resented the two trying to be first.  Jesus reminded them about servant leadership, as the Son of Man was going to give up his life.

There were great crowds at Jericho where Jesus found two blind men asking for mercy, so he healed them.  Then began the final ministry in Jerusalem with a triumphal entry.  Jesus sent two disciples from Bethpage to get a donkey and a colt because he needed them.  Thus, the prophecy of Zechariah might be fulfilled.  They brought the donkey and the colt to Jesus.  Then crowds welcomed the Son of David into Jerusalem as they began to wonder who this man was?

Jesus went into the Temple and chased out the money changers to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah.  When he cured people in the Temple, the chief priests were angry, but the little children praised him.

Then Jesus went to Bethany.  The next morning, he was hungry.  He saw a fig tree, but it had no figs, so he cursed the fig tree as it withered because of his faith.

People began to question where did Jesus get his authority?  Jesus responded with a question for a question.  He asked them about the value of the baptism of John.  They gave a timid response.  Then he told the parable about the two sons.  The first son said no at first, and then did the work, while the second son said yes and did not do the work.  Which son did the will of his father?  Thus, they did not believe John the Baptist.

Then Jesus told the parable about the wicked tenants.  This absentee land owner of the vineyard sent people to collect his rent.  Instead, the tenants beat and killed the landowner’s slaves.  He sent a second group that was also killed.  Then the tenants killed the landowner’s son.  Finally, the landowner came to take back his vineyard, citing Psalm 118 about the kingdom of God and the falling cornerstone.  The Pharisees understood this parable and tried to arrest Jesus.

Jesus continued to speak in parables.  This parable was about the king who gave a great wedding banquet.  However, the invited guests refused to come to the wedding banquet.  He sent out a second invitation to the wedding banquet, but they refused the second invitation also.  They treated his slaves badly.  The king was angry and sent out new invitations to the wedding feast.  Finally, a man without a wedding garment showed up, but he threw him out of the feast.  The explanation of this parable was that many are called, but few are chosen.

Next the Pharisees tried to trick Jesus by flattering him.  They asked him a question about taxes.  Jesus gave a harsh response as he had a dialogue about the Roman coin about whose image was on it.  Give Caesar his due.  The Pharisees and their disciples left.

However, the Sadducees asked a question about the resurrection.  There was a law about marrying the brother of a dead man.  There was a woman who married seven brothers, who was her husband in the resurrection?  Jesus responded that there was no marriage in the resurrection.  The living God of their ancestors would show them the way.  The crowd was astonished.

The Pharisees regrouped and wanted to know what is the greatest commandment?  Jesus responded about the two great commandments to love God and your neighbor.  Then Jesus asked the Pharisees a question.  Was the Christ the son of David?  Then who was the Lord for David?  After that there were no more questions for Jesus.

Jesus then cursed the Scribes and Pharisees.  He told his disciples to do what they say, but not what they do.  They tied up heavy burdens on the people.  They wore special clothing and sought the places of honor.  They want to be called Rabbis.  No one was your father or master.  Greatness comes with humility.  They tried to lock people out of heaven as they shut it off.  Even when they tried to make converts, they are like blind guides and fools.  They swore by the altar or the gift of the altar.  They swore by heaven, but they had forgotten the law.  They wanted the gnat out your eye but had a camel in their own eye.  They worried about the outside of the cup instead of the inside.  They were like whitewashed tombs.  They proclaimed reverence for the tombs of the prophets, but they were like their sinning ancestors. They were like serpents.  They would kill the prophets.  They spread innocent blood.  Soon the house of Jerusalem would be desolate.

Finally, there were the predictions about the end times.  Jesus left the Temple as he predicted its destruction.  What are the signs of the Parousia?  There would be the beginning of the great suffering so that they should not be lead astray.  There would be rumors of wars in those troubled times.  They would be persecuted for the sake of Jesus.  There would be betrayals and false prophets.  Love would grow cold.  Endurance would be necessary.  The importance of Daniel the prophet was emphasized.  In Judea, they would flee to the housetops.  It would be too late for the people in the fields.  This would be the wrong time to be pregnant or nursing.  There would be great tribulation, but the days would be short.

The end was coming because there would be false Christs and people looking for the Messiah.  The Son of Man would come on the clouds as the darkness in the skies appeared.  There would be a gathering of the chosen ones.  Using the parable of the fig tree, they could tell that the end was near.  This generation would pass away, but Jesus’ words would not pass away.  No one knew the day, since it would be like in the days of Noah.  Only one would be taken and the other left, so be ready.  Be a wise and faithful slave, not a wicked slave.

Jesus told the parable of the ten bridesmaids where half were wise and half foolish.  They all fell asleep.  When the bridegroom came, they all got up.  However, the foolish ones had no oil and wise ones said that there was not enough oil for both of them.  When the foolish left to get oil, they shut the door.  When they came back, the bridegroom said that he did not know them.  Thus, you do not know the day.

Next Jesus told the parable of the talents.  A man entrusted his assets to his slaves.  He gave them money.  One slave added five more talents, another added two more talents, but the third slave dug a hole and buried his money.  The master settled their accounts.  The slave with five talents got five more talents.  The slave with two talents got two more talents.  The slave with one talent was rebuked and punished.  Thus, there will be rewards and punishments at the end times.

In the last judgment, the Son of Man would appear in glory.  There would be sheep and goats, with the sheep on the right hand.  They had taken care of him.  They wondered when they had done this.  The Son of Man replied that they took care of him when they cared for the least of his brothers.  Then he told the goats on his left side to depart from him because they had not taken care of him when they did not care for the lowly people.  Thus, there would be eternal punishment or eternal reward.

You took care of me (Mt 25:35-25:36)

“I was hungry!

You gave me food!

I was thirsty!

You gave me something

To drink!

I was a stranger!

You welcomed me!

I was naked!

You gave me

Clothing!

I was sick!

You took care of me!

I was in prison!

You visited me!”

 

ἐπείνασα γὰρ καὶ ἐδώκατέ μοι φαγεῖν, ἐδίψησα καὶ ἐποτίσατέ με, ξένος ἤμην καὶ συνηγάγετέ με,

γυμνὸς καὶ περιεβάλετέ με, ἠσθένησα καὶ ἐπεσκέψασθέ με, ἐν φυλακῇ ἤμην καὶ ἤλθατε πρός με.

 

This last judgment section is unique to Matthew.  Jesus said to the sheep on the right side that they had taken care of him.  He said that when he was hungry, they gave him food to eat (ἐπείνασα γὰρ καὶ ἐδώκατέ μοι φαγεῖν).  When he was thirsty, they gave him something to drink (ἐδίψησα καὶ ἐποτίσατέ με).  When he was a stranger, they kindly took him in (ξένος ἤμην καὶ συνηγάγετέ με).  When he was naked, they gave him clothes to wear (γυμνὸς καὶ περιεβάλετέ με).  When he was sick, they visited and took care of him (ἠσθένησα καὶ ἐπεσκέψασθέ με).  When he was in prison, they came to visit him (ἐν φυλακῇ ἤμην καὶ ἤλθατε πρός με).  All of this was in the first person singular.  This sounds like the beatitudes mentioned earlier in chapter 5:3-11, but here they are more specific and personal.

Death (Sir 41:1-41:4)

“O death!

How bitter is the thought of you!

Death is bitter to those

Who live at peace

Among their possessions!

Death is bitter to those

Who have nothing to worry about!

Death is bitter to those

Who are prosperous in everything!

Death is bitter to those

Who still are vigorous enough

To enjoy food!

O death!

How welcome is your sentence?

Death is welcome to those

Who are failing in strength!

Death is welcome to those

Who are worn down by age!

Death is welcome to those

Who are anxious about everything!

Death is welcome to those

Who are contrary!

Death is welcome to those

Who have lost all patience!

Do not fear death’s decree for you!

Remember those who went before you!

Remember those who will come after you!

This is the Lord’s decree for all flesh.

Why then should you reject

The will of the Most High?

Whether life lasts

For ten years,

Or a hundred years,

Or a thousand years,

There are no questions asked

In Hades.”

Sirach has a poem about death. The thought of death is bitter to those who are doing well with a lot of possessions. They are prosperous, without worry, and vigorous enough to enjoy foods. On the other hand, the thought of death is welcomed by those who are not doing as well, the needy, the old, the contrary, those with failing strength, those anxious about everything, and those who have lost all patience. Remember that everybody before you and after you will die also. It does not matter how long your life is, in Hades they do not care if you lived 10 years, or a 100 years or a 1,000 years. It is death, plain and simple.

Egypt was more culpable than Sodom (Wis 19:13-19:17)

“The punishments did not come upon the sinners

Without prior signs

With the violence of thunder.

They justly suffered

Because of their wicked acts.

They practiced a more bitter hatred of strangers.

Others had refused to receive strangers

When they came to them.

But these made slaves of guests

Who were their benefactors.

Not only so,

While punishment of some sort

Will come upon the former

For having received strangers with hostility,

The latter,

Having first received them with festal celebrations,

Afterward afflicted them with terrible sufferings.

They had already shared the same rights.

They were stricken also with loss of sight.

Just as were those at the door of the righteous man.

When surrounded by yawning darkness,

Each tried to find the way through their own door.”

Who was worse, the Egyptians or the Sodomites from Genesis, chapters 18-19? Did the Egyptians deserve to be punished? The decision rested on how they treated strangers. Interesting enough, the argument is not about immorality but about hospitality. There is no explicit mention of Sodom or Egypt, but the implications are clear. These Egyptians were clearly warned with the various plagues. Instead of refusing strangers, the Egyptians had welcomed the Israelites, especially based on the stories about Joseph in Genesis, chapters 37-47. There his whole family, father and brothers, the sons of Jacob were welcomed into Egypt. However, as pointed out at the beginning of Exodus, chapters 1 and 5, they then enslaved them and tried to kill the Israelite male babies. Unlike the Sodomites they were not blind, but simply lived in darkness. This story about blindness is clearly from the Sodomite story in Genesis.