Zacchaeus welcomes Jesus (Lk 19:6-19:6)

“Thus,

Zacchaeus

Hurried down.

He was happy

To welcome Jesus.”

 

καὶ σπεύσας κατέβη, καὶ ὑπεδέξατο αὐτὸν χαίρων.

 

Luke said that Zacchaeus hurried down (καὶ σπεύσας κατέβη) from the tree.  He was happy to welcome Jesus (καὶ ὑπεδέξατο αὐτὸν χαίρων).  Instead of Zacchaeus seeking Jesus, Jesus was seeking Zacchaeus, so that he must have been well pleased at this turn of events.  Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus.  Did you realize that when you are seeking God, he is seeking you?

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The voice from heaven (Lk 3:22-3:22)

“A voice

Came from heaven.

‘You are my Son!

The Beloved!

I am well pleased

With you!’”

 

καὶ φωνὴν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ γενέσθαι Σὺ εἶ ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα.

 

As in Mark, chapter 1:11, Luke, had a voice from heaven address Jesus directly.  In Matthew, chapter 3:17, this voice from the heavens did not address Jesus personally, while John, chapter 1, did not have any mention of a voice from heaven at all after the baptism of Jesus.  The idea of a heavenly voice had a very strong tradition in the Hebrew Bible, especially among the prophets.  Luke said that this voice came from heaven (καὶ φωνὴν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ γενέσθαι).  It said that Jesus was his beloved son (Σὺ εἶ ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός).  He, the heavenly Father was well pleased with him (ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα).  All this was in the second person singular.  God the Father said that Jesus was his most beloved son in whom he was well pleased.  The gospel writers did not clarify whether others saw and heard these things.  In fact, this saying and incident after the baptism of Jesus might have been the basis for a Subordinationschristologie that Jesus the Son was somehow subordinate to the Father.  According to this adoption theory, God the Father had to send his Spirit to anoint and empower Jesus in this concrete event, before he could begin his public ministry.  This adoptionism theory, and the Christological disputes of the later 4th century CE, led to the diminution of this baptismal event within later patristic and medieval theological circles.  Nevertheless, the baptism of Jesus has become the starting point for any theological reflection about early Christian initiation practices.  It is not clear whether all the primitive Christian communities linked the baptism of Jesus with the baptism of the new followers of Christ, despite the fact that many post-apostolic Christians did so.

The voice from heaven (Mk 1:11-1:11)

“A voice

Came from heaven.

‘You are my Son!

The Beloved one!

With you

I am well pleased.’”

 

καὶ φωνὴ ἐγένετο ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν Σὺ εἶ ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα.

 

This voice from the heavens addressed Jesus personally, as in Luke, chapter 3:22.  However, in Matthew, chapter 3:17, the voice was not directed at Jesus, while John had no mention of a voice from heaven.  Mark said that a voice came from the heavens (καὶ φωνὴ ἐγένετο ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν) that said that Jesus was his beloved son (Σὺ εἶ ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός) with whom he was well pleased (ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα).  The idea of a heavenly voice had a very strong tradition in the Jewish writings of the Hebrew Bible, especially among the prophets.  The gospel writers did not clarify whether others saw or heard these things.  In fact, this saying and incident after the baptism of Jesus might have been the basis for a Subordinationschristologie that Jesus the Son was somehow subordinate to the Father.  According to this adoption theory, God the Father had to send his Spirit to anoint and empower Jesus in this concrete event, before he could begin his public ministry.  This adoptionist theory, and the Christological disputes of the later 4th century CE, led to the diminution of this baptismal event within later patristic and medieval theological circles.  Nevertheless, the baptism of Jesus has become the starting point for any theological reflection about early Christian initiation practices.  It is not clear whether all the primitive Christian communities linked the baptism of Jesus with the baptism of the new followers of Christ, despite the fact that many post-apostolic Christians did so.

 

The adoration of the three apostles (Mt 17:6-17:8)

“When the disciples heard this,

They fell to the ground,

Face down.

They were overcome

With fear.

But Jesus came.

He touched them.

Saying.

‘Get up!

Do not be afraid!’

When they looked up,

They saw no one

Except Jesus himself alone.”

 

καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ μαθηταὶ ἔπεσαν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον αὐτῶν καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν σφόδρα.

καὶ προσῆλθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ ἁψάμενος αὐτῶν εἶπεν Ἐγέρθητε καὶ μὴ φοβεῖσθε.

πάραντες δὲ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν οὐδένα εἶδον εἰ μὴ αὐτὸν Ἰησοῦν μόνον.

 

This adoration of the apostles can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 9:8, Luke, chapter 9:36, and here in Matthew, which is more elaborate, even though there are other differences in all 3 accounts.  When the disciples heard (καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ μαθηταὶ) this voice from the cloud say that Jesus was the beloved Son, in whom the Father was well pleased, they fell face down to the ground (ἔπεσαν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον αὐτῶν).  They were greatly terrified (ἔπεσαν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον αὐτῶν).  However, Jesus came (καὶ προσῆλθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς) to them.  He touched them (καὶ ἁψάμενος αὐτῶν).  Then he told them to get up (εἶπεν Ἐγέρθητε) and not be afraid (μὴ φοβεῖσθε).  When they looked up or lifted up their eyes (πάραντες δὲ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν), they saw no one (οὐδένα εἶδον), but only Jesus himself alone (εἰ μὴ αὐτὸν Ἰησοῦν μόνον).  Where were Moses and Elijah?  Was this just a dream?

The voice from the cloud (Mt 17:5-17:5)

“While Peter

Was still speaking,

Suddenly,

A bright cloud

Overshadowed them.

A voice from the cloud said.

‘This is my beloved Son.

I am well pleased

With him.

Listen to him!’

 

ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος, ἰδοὺ νεφέλη φωτεινὴ ἐπεσκίασεν αὐτούς, καὶ ἰδοὺ φωνὴ ἐκ τῆς νεφέλης λέγουσα Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ἐν ᾧ εὐδόκησα· ἀκούετε αὐτοῦ.

 

The voice from the cloud can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 9:7, Luke, chapter 9:34-35, and here in Matthew, but there are minor differences in all 3 accounts.  The wording of the voice from the clouds sounds almost exactly like the voice from heaven in chapter 3:17, after the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John the Baptist.  Instead of heaven there, it is a bright cloud here.  This voice did not address Jesus personally.  However, the idea of a heavenly voice had a very strong tradition in the Jewish writings of the Hebrew Bible, especially among the prophets.  The Baptism of Jesus, like the transfiguration here, has become the starting point for any theological reflection about early Christian Christology.  While Peter was still speaking (ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος), suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them (ἰδοὺ νεφέλη φωτεινὴ ἐπεσκίασεν αὐτούς).  This voice from the cloud (καὶ ἰδοὺ φωνὴ ἐκ τῆς νεφέλης) said that Jesus was his most beloved Son (λέγουσα Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός), in whom he was well pleased (ἐν ᾧ εὐδόκησα).  However, here there is the further admonition to listen to him (ἀκούετε αὐτοῦ).  Matthew has a clear connection between the Baptism of Jesus and his transfiguration.  Both times, the Father as the voice from heaven or the clouds pronounced that Jesus was his beloved Son in whom he was well pleased

The servant of Yahweh (Matt 12:18-12:18)

“Here is my servant!

I have chosen him.

My beloved!

My soul is well pleased

With him.

I will put my Spirit

Upon him.

He shall proclaim justice

To the gentile nations.”

 

Ἰδοὺ ὁ παῖς μου ὃν ᾑρέτισα, ὁ ἀγαπητός μου ὃν εὐδόκησεν ἡ ψυχή μου· θήσω τὸ Πνεῦμά μου ἐπ’ αὐτόν, καὶ κρίσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ἀπαγγελεῖ.

 

A series of scholarly debates has risen about who this servant of Yahweh is in Isaiah, chapter 42:1.  Is it the country and people of Israel or is it an individual prophetic person?  Sometimes the reference is singular as here, but is that also symbolic?  There are many chants or songs about the servant in Second Isaiah.  This oracle has Yahweh speak directly about his servant, who he will uphold, since he is the chosen one.  Yahweh’s soul delights in him.  He puts his Spirit upon him.  This servant of Yahweh will bring about justice for all the nations.  At first take, this appears to be an individual that Yahweh really likes.  Mathew made a clear choice about this servant of Yahweh.  Jesus is the servant of God (Ἰδοὺ ὁ παῖς μου).  God has chosen him (ὃν ᾑρέτισα).  He is God’s beloved (ὁ ἀγαπητός μου).  The soul of God has delighted in Jesus (ὃν εὐδόκησεν ἡ ψυχή μου).  God would put his Spirit on Jesus (θήσω τὸ Πνεῦμά μου ἐπ’ αὐτόν).  Jesus would proclaim a just judgment to the gentile nations (καὶ κρίσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ἀπαγγελεῖ).  The text that Matthew used is not an exact copy of the Greek or Hebrew text, but close enough.

The relationship of the Father and the Son (Mt 11:26-11:27)

“Yes!

Father!

Such was

Your gracious will.

All things

Have been handed over

To me,

By my Father.

No one knows

The Son,

Except the Father.

No one knows

The Father,

Except the Son,

And anyone to whom

The Son chooses

To reveal him.”

 

ναί, ὁ Πατήρ, ὅτι οὕτως εὐδοκία ἐγένετο ἔμπροσθέν σου

Πάντα μοι παρεδόθη ὑπὸ τοῦ Πατρός μου, καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐπιγινώσκει τὸν Υἱὸν εἰ μὴ ὁ Πατήρ, οὐδὲ τὸν Πατέρα τις ἐπιγινώσκει εἰ μὴ ὁ Υἱὸς καὶ ᾧ ἐὰν βούληται ὁ Υἱὸς ἀποκαλύψαι.

 

Matthew has Jesus explain his relationship to the Father in heaven.  Luke, chapter 10:22, has a similar statement, almost word for word, indicating a possible common Q source.  This is one of the few times that the synoptic gospels present Jesus with a clear knowledge of his relationship to the heavenly Father, as the Son.  The Father was well pleased to let this be known and happen because it was his will to do so (ναί, ὁ Πατήρ, ὅτι οὕτως εὐδοκία ἐγένετο ἔμπροσθέν σου).  The Father has handed over everything to his Son (Πάντα μοι παρεδόθη ὑπὸ τοῦ Πατρός μου). This is a profound theological statement indicating that the divine affiliation is very clear.  Jesus is the Son of the Father.  Only he and the Father know this.  No one really knows the Son, except the Father (Πάντα μοι παρεδόθη ὑπὸ τοῦ Πατρός μου).  The opposite is also true.   No one really knows the Father, except the Son (οὐδὲ τὸν Πατέρα τις ἐπιγινώσκει εἰ μὴ ὁ Υἱὸς).  However, Jesus, the Son, may decide or choose to tell or reveal this to others (καὶ ᾧ ἐὰν βούληται ὁ Υἱὸς ἀποκαλύψαι).  This is the gist of the gospel stories.  Jesus wanted to reveal his relationship to the Father to all his followers.