The wisdom of God (Lk 11:49-11:49)

“Therefore,

The Wisdom of God said.

‘I will send them

Prophets

And apostles.

They will kill

And persecute

Some of them.’”

 

διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἡ σοφία τοῦ Θεοῦ εἶπεν Ἀποστελῶ εἰς αὐτοὺς προφήτας καὶ ἀποστόλους, καὶ ἐξ αὐτῶν ἀποκτενοῦσιν καὶ διώξουσιν,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the Wisdom of God (διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἡ σοφία τοῦ Θεοῦ εἶπεν) said that he would send them prophets (Ἀποστελῶ εἰς αὐτοὺς προφήτας) and apostles (καὶ ἀποστόλους).  However, they would kill (ἀποκτενοῦσιν) and persecute (καὶ διώξουσιν) some of them (καὶ ἐξ αὐτῶν).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 23:34, perhaps a Q source, about the killing of prophets.  Jesus said, via Matthew, that he was going to send them prophets, sages or wise men, and scribes, the heroes of the Hebrew Scripture and the Mosaic Law.  However, instead of respecting them, they were going to kill some, crucify some, and flog or scourge some in their synagogues.  They were going to go from town to town persecuting some also.  Jesus had mentioned the possibility of death or crucifixion for his followers earlier.  Luke had Jesus slightly more restrained here.  He mentioned the Wisdom of God (ἡ σοφία τοῦ Θεοῦ) as he had done earlier in chapter 7:35, either indicating Holy Scripture or the personification of wisdom.  What do you know about the wisdom of God?

Hear the word and do it! (Lk 6:47-6:47)

“I will show you

What someone is like

Who comes to me.

He hears my words,

And acts on them.”

 

Πᾶς ὁ ἐρχόμενος πρός με καὶ ἀκούων μου τῶν λόγων καὶ ποιῶν αὐτούς, ὑποδείξω ὑμῖν τίνι ἐστὶν ὅμοιος.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that he would show them what someone was like (ὑποδείξω ὑμῖν τίνι ἐστὶν ὅμοιος) who came to him (Πᾶς ὁ ἐρχόμενος πρός με).  They heard his words (καὶ ἀκούων μου τῶν λόγων), and acted on them (καὶ ποιῶν αὐτούς).  This verse was just like Matthew, chapter 7:24, which might indicate a Q source.  Matthew implied that Jesus said that everyone who heard his words and actually did and followed them, were like wise men.  Are you a wise man who follows through on the words of Jesus?

Second narrative

This second narrative centered around the Sermon on the Mount and the famous so-called Beatitudes.  The first beatitude was about poverty, while the second beatitude was about mourning.  The third beatitude was about the meek or the humble.  The fourth beatitude was about righteousness.  The fifth beatitude was on mercy, while the sixth beatitude was about the pure of heart.  The seventh beatitude was on peacemakers, while the eighth beatitude was on persecution.  There was a grand blessing for the persecuted Christians, who were the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  They had to value and become the lighted lamp.

Next came the law and the prophets.  The law with all its commandments remained.  The righteous ones would not murder, nor would they get angry with insults.  They would offer their gifts at the Temple.  They would pay their debts and not commit adultery.  Jesus warned against the sinning eye and the sinning right hand.  He favored the traditional divorce stance, but warned about marrying a divorced woman.  They should not bear false witness, nor swear at all, since they should have a simple speech.  No longer was it an eye for an eye, but rather turn the other cheek with unusual kindness.  They were to love their enemies and their heavenly Father with a perfect love.

The followers of Jesus should fast and pray.  We should have piety with almsgiving.  Our charity and prayer should be secret with short prayers.  Thus, there was the famous “Our Father” prayer.  The first part of the Lord’s prayer was about God the Father.  The second part of the Lord’s prayer was about our human problems.  We should seek forgiveness and fast in secret.  We should not want earthly treasures, but heavenly treasures.  We need to have a healthy eye because we cannot serve two masters.

We should trust in Providence.  We do not need to worry.  Just look at the birds who do not worry.  The lilies of the field have more beauty than Solomon in all his glory.  Seek the kingdom of heaven first and you will not have to worry about tomorrow.

As far as judgment was concerned, do not judge the speck in the eye of your neighbor.  Be careful with your holy treasures.  Be seekers and give to your sons.  Pray to your heavenly Father and follow the golden rule.  The gate was narrow and there were many false prophets.  Know them by their fruits.  The sound tree has good fruits.  Cut down the bad tree.  Seek the kingdom of heaven.  Stay away from evildoers.  Wise men build on a rock foundation, while the foolish ones build on a sand foundation.  The crowds were astonished at the authority of Jesus.

They will kill the prophets (Mt 23:34-23:34)

“Therefore,

I send you

Prophets,

Sages,

And Scribes.

You will kill some.

You will crucify some.

You will flog some

In your synagogues.

You will persecute some

From town

To town.”

 

διὰ τοῦτο ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω πρὸς ὑμᾶς προφήτας καὶ σοφοὺς καὶ γραμματεῖς· ἐξ αὐτῶν ἀποκτενεῖτε καὶ σταυρώσετε, καὶ ἐξ αὐτῶν μαστιγώσετε ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς ὑμῶν καὶ διώξετε ἀπὸ πόλεως εἰς πόλιν·

 

There is something similar in Luke, chapter 11:49, about the killing of the prophets, but there is nothing about scourging and persecuting them from town to town.  Jesus said, via Matthew, that he was going to send them (διὰ τοῦτο ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω πρὸς ὑμᾶς) prophets (προφήτας), sages or wise men (καὶ σοφοὺς), and scribes (καὶ γραμματεῖς), the heroes of the Old Testament Mosaic Law.  However, instead of respecting them, they were going to kill (ἐξ αὐτῶν ἀποκτενεῖτε) some, crucify (καὶ σταυρώσετε) some, and flog or scourge some in their synagogues (καὶ ἐξ αὐτῶν μαστιγώσετε ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς ὑμῶν).  They were going to go from town to town persecuting (καὶ διώξετε ἀπὸ πόλεως εἰς πόλιν) some also.  Jesus had mentioned the possibility of death or crucifixion for his followers earlier in chapter 16:24-25.

The Magi go home (Mt 2:12-2:12)

“Having been warned

In a dream

Not to return

To Herod,

They left

For their own country

By another road.”

 

καὶ χρηματισθέντες κατ’ ὄναρ μὴ ἀνακάμψαι πρὸς Ἡρῴδην, δι’ ἄλλης ὁδοῦ ἀνεχώρησαν εἰς τὴν χώραν αὐτῶν.

 

The magi were warned (χρηματισθέντες) not to return to Herod (μὴ ἀνακάμψαι πρὸς Ἡρῴδην) in some sort of divine dream (κατ’ ὄναρ). This led them to withdraw from this scene and return to their own country (ἀνεχώρησαν εἰς τὴν χώραν αὐτῶν), wherever that may be.   They were not going to stop to see King Herod, as he had asked them to do. Thus, they went home using another road (δι’ ἄλλης ὁδοῦ), avoiding Jerusalem. So, ends the saga of these worshipping magi, magicians, wise men, or kings. Clearly, they symbolize the outreach of Jesus to other than Jewish people, but beyond that, it is difficult to say more. The idea of 3 kings does not come from the text itself. It can only be implied from the 3 gifts that were presented, but from nothing else.

The Magi arrive (Mt 2:1-2:1)

“Magi

From the East

Came to Jerusalem.”

 

ἰδοὺ μάγοι ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν παρεγένοντο εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα

 

Now we have some magi (μάγοι) arrive (παρεγένοντο) from an eastern area (ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν) into Jerusalem (εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα), the capital, where Herod would have been living.  Who were these wise guys or magi?  The word “μάγοι” appears in both the Old and New Testament.  Ordinarily this word is translated as a magician or sorcerer in the sense of illusionist or fortune-teller, except for here in the Gospel of Matthew.  Magi originally were the followers of the Persian Zoroastrianism or Zoroaster.  These priests paid particular attention to the stars and gained an international reputation for astrology, which was regarded as a science.  Their religious practices and use of astrology caused derivatives of the term magi to be applied to the occult in general.  Obviously, this led to the later English term magic or magicians.  These magi also had an interest in astrology and other esoteric studies.  However, the more common use of magi was to describe magicians, or practitioners of magic.  Thus, the magicians have come to town.  These magi have been popularly referred to as wise men or kings, but there is nothing in this account that implies that they were rulers of any kind.  This story of the magi only appears in Matthew and not in the Luke infancy story.

Edom and the day of Yahweh (Ob 1:8-1:9)

“Says Yahweh.

‘On that day,

I will destroy

The wise ones

Out of Edom.

I will destroy

The understanding ones

out of Mount Esau.

Your warriors

Shall be shattered!

O Teman!

Thus,

Every man

From Mount Esau

Will be cut off.’”

Yahweh, via the prophet Obadiah, said that he was going to destroy the wise and understanding people in Edom, because Edom was well known for its wise men and their wisdom.  He was going to destroy the warriors from Mount Esau, the name of the twin brother of Jacob.  The northern area of Teman would be shattered, so that the people from Mount Esau would be cut off from the rest of Edom.