What should I do with Jesus? (Mk 15:12-15:12)

“Pilate spoke

To them again.

‘Then what do

You wish me

To do

With the man

You call

The King of the Jews?’”

 

ὁ δὲ Πειλᾶτος πάλιν ἀποκριθεὶς ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς Τί οὖν ποιήσω ὃν λέγετε τὸν Βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων;

 

Something similar to this dialogue between Pilate and the crowd can be found in Matthew, chapter 27:22.  Mark said that Pilate again asked the crowd (ὁ δὲ Πειλᾶτος πάλιν ἀποκριθεὶς ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς) what did they want him to do with the man called the King of the Jews (Τί οὖν ποιήσω ὃν λέγετε τὸν Βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων).  Pilate seemed very concerned about this Jewish crowd and its wishes.  Where do you stand?

Servant leadership (Mk 10:43-10:44)

“But it is not so

Among you.

Whoever wishes

To become great

Among you

Must be your servant.

Whoever wishes

To be first

Among you

Must be a slave

Of all.”

 

οὐχ οὕτως δέ ἐστιν ἐν ὑμῖν· ἀλλ’ ὃς ἂν θέλῃ μέγας γενέσθαι ἐν ὑμῖν, ἔσται ὑμῶν διάκονος,

καὶ ὃς ἂν θέλῃ ἐν ὑμῖν εἶναι πρῶτος, ἔσται πάντων δοῦλο

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 20:26-27, almost word for word, and Luke 22:26, but slightly different.  Mark said that Jesus reminded them that their authority was not going to be like the gentiles among themselves (οὐχ οὕτως ἐστὶν ἐν ὑμῖν).  The early Christian leaders, the 12 apostles, would lead this newly forming community of Jesus followers.  Whoever wanted to be great among them (ἀλλ’ ὃς ἂν θέλῃ μέγας γενέσθαι ἐν ὑμῖν) must be their servant or waiter, their ministerial deacons (ἔσται ὑμῶν διάκονος).  Whoever wanted to be first among them (καὶ ὃς ἂν θέλῃ ἐν ὑμῖν εἶναι πρῶτος) must be their slave (ἔσται ὑμῶν δοῦλος).  Clearly, Jesus wanted his new leaders not to be like the gentile Roman leaders, but true leaders who served their people.  The early 12 apostolic leaders were to practice servant leadership, not dictatorial leadership.  They were forming a new kind of community that was not hierarchical but service orientated.

 

Servant leaders (Mt 20:25-20:27)

“But Jesus called them

To himself.

He said.

‘You know

That the rulers

Of the gentiles

Lord it over them.

Their great men

Are tyrants over them.

It will not be so

Among you.

Whoever wishes to be great

Among you

Must be your servant.

Whoever wishes to be first,

Among you

Must be your slave.’”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς προσκαλεσάμενος αὐτοὺς εἶπεν Οἴδατε ὅτι οἱ ἄρχοντες τῶν ἐθνῶν κατακυριεύουσιν αὐτῶν καὶ οἱ μεγάλοι κατεξουσιάζουσιν αὐτῶν.

οὐχ οὕτως ἐστὶν ἐν ὑμῖν· ἀλλ’ ὃς ἐὰν θέλῃ ἐν ὑμῖν μέγας γενέσθαι, ἔσται ὑμῶν διάκονος,

καὶ ὃς ἂν θέλῃ ἐν ὑμῖν εἶναι πρῶτος, ἔσται ὑμῶν δοῦλος·

 

There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 10:42-44, almost word for word, and Luke 22:26, but slightly different.  Jesus called his 12 leaders to himself (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς προσκαλεσάμενος αὐτοὺς) because of this dispute among them.  He told them that they knew that the gentile rulers, the Romans and the Greeks, lorded it over their people (ἶπεν Οἴδατε ὅτι οἱ ἄρχοντες τῶν ἐθνῶν κατακυριεύουσιν αὐτῶν).  Their great men acted like tyrants, exercising authority (καὶ οἱ μεγάλοι κατεξουσιάζουσιν αὐτῶν).  However, Jesus reminded them that it was not going to be like that among them (οὐχ οὕτως ἐστὶν ἐν ὑμῖν), the early Christian leaders, the 12.  Whoever wanted to be great among them must be their servant or waiter (ἀλλ’ ὃς ἐὰν θέλῃ ἐν ὑμῖν μέγας γενέσθαι, ἔσται ὑμῶν διάκονος).  Whoever wanted to be first among them (καὶ ὃς ἂν θέλῃ ἐν ὑμῖν εἶναι πρῶτος) must be their slave (ἔσται ὑμῶν δοῦλος).  Clearly, Jesus wanted his new leaders not to be like the gentile Roman leaders, but true leaders who served their people.  The early 12 apostolic leaders must practice servant leadership, not dictatorial leadership.

The final destruction of Babylon (Jer 51:54-51:57)

“Listen!

A cry from Babylon!

A great crashing

From the land

Of the Chaldeans!

Yahweh is laying

Babylon waste!

Yahweh is stilling

Her loud clamor!

Their waves roar

Like many waters!

The sound of their clamor

Resounds!

A destroyer has come

Against her!

Against Babylon!

Her warriors are taken.

Their bows are broken.

Yahweh is

A God of recompense.

He will repay in full.

‘I will make drunk

Her officials,

Her sage wise men,

Her governors,

Her deputies,

Her warriors.

They shall sleep

A perpetual sleep.

They shall not wake.’

Says the King,

Whose name is

Yahweh of hosts.”

They will hear the cry of Babylon as its destruction takes place. Yahweh will destroy the land of the Chaldeans as he lays waste to Babylon. Loud noises like roaring waters will be heard in Babylon. A destroyer came against Babylon. The warriors were taken. Their bows were broken. Yahweh is a God of rewards. Thus, he will demand a payment in full. He will make all their officials, sages, governors, deputies, and warriors drunk. They will sleep an eternal sleep, so that they will never again wake up. Thus the God king, Yahweh of hosts has spoken. The final destruction of Babylon will take place as he wishes.

 

The headstrong daughter (Sir 26:10-26:12)

“Keep strict watch

Over a headstrong daughter.

Otherwise when she finds liberty,

She will make use of it.

Be on guard

Against her impudent eye.

Do not be surprised

If she sins against you.

As a thirsty traveler

Opens his mouth to drink

From any water near him,

So she will sit

In front of every tent peg.

She will open her quiver

To the arrow.”

Sirach has some advice on how to handle a headstrong daughter. Notice that there is no mention of a headstrong son. This daughter will try to exercise her freedom. However, the father is warned against this, because she may have an impudent eye. In fact, she may sin not against God, but this father, as if he were God. She is like a thirsty traveler who opens his mouth to drink any kind of water. She will sit in front of the tent by the pegs that hold it down. There she will open her archery quiver so that others may put their arrows into it. This sounds like a sexual allusion. Thus there is a need to keep an eye on all young daughters, so that they do not stray from their father’s wishes.

Come to my house (Song 8:1-8:2)

Female lover

“O that you were

Like a brother to me!

You have nursed at my mother’s breast!

If I met you outside,

I would kiss you.

No one would despise me.

I would lead you.

I would bring you

Into the house of my mother.

I would bring you

Into the chamber of the one who bore me.

I would give you

Spiced wine to drink.

I would give you

The juice of my pomegranates.”

This female lover wishes that her lover was her brother so that both of them would have been nursed with her mother’s breast. If she met him outside, she would kiss him and not feel ashamed. She would lead him to her mother’s house. She wanted to bring him into the chamber room of her mother. She wanted to give him spiced wine and the juice of her pomegranates. Clearly this was an invitation to her lover to come to where she lived like earlier in chapter 3.

The king and prosperity (Ps 72:15-72:17)

“Long may he live!

May gold of Sheba be given to him!

May prayer be made for him continually!

May blessings be invoked for him all day long!

May there be abundance of grain in the land!

May grain wave on the tops of the mountains!

May its fruit be like Lebanon!

May people blossom in the cities

Like the grass of the field!

May his name endure forever!

May his fame continue as long as the sun!

May all nations be blessed in him!

May they pronounce him happy!”

These are a series of wishes for the king. First, there is the one that he might have a long life. Thus the famous saying, “Long live the King.” Then the wish was for gold from Sheba, where of course, the famous Queen of Sheba had visited King Solomon. Every day in the great Temple prayers should be offered to the king who built the Temple. They also wished for an abundance of grain on the land and in the mountains. They wanted it to be like Lebanon to the north. The cities should also prosper like grass in the field. They wanted his name and his fame to endure as long as there was a sun in the sky. All nations were to be blessed by him in his happiness. Thus the king was like a mini-god in his great power.

The curse for David’s enemies (Ps 69:22-69:29)

“Let their own table be a trap for them!

Let their own table be a snare for their allies!

Let their eyes be darkened,

So that they cannot see!

Make their loins tremble continually!

Pour out your indignation upon them!

Let our burning anger overtake them!

May their camp be desolation!

Let no one live in their tents!

They persecute those

Whom you have struck down.

They persecute those

Whom you have wounded.

They attack still more.

Add guilt to their guilt!

May they have no acquittal from you!

Let them be blotted out of the book of the living!

Let them not be enrolled among the righteous!

But I am lowly.

I am in pain.

Let your salvation!

O God!

Protect me high!”

These are a series of curses or wishes against the enemies of David. His enemies’ tables should be a trap or snare to them and their friends. He wanted them to lose their sight and to tremble all the time. God’s indignation and anger should be upon them. Their camp should be desolate so that they could not live in their tents. They had persecuted and attacked those who had been wounded. Their guilt pilled on guilt. They should not be acquitted. They should be blotted out of the book of the living. They should not be listed among the righteous. They should die. Then there is the cry of David to protect him and bring him salvation.

King Antiochus IV appoints a successor (2 Macc 9:23-9:27)

“But I observed that my father,

On the occasions

When he made expeditions into the upper country,

He appointed his successor.

So that, if anything unexpected happened

Or any unwelcome news came,

The people throughout the realm would not be troubled.

They would know to whom the government was left.

Moreover, I understand how the princes along the borders

And the neighbors to my kingdom

Keep watching for opportunities

And waiting to see what will happen.

So I have appointed my son Antiochus to be king,

I have often entrusted and commended him to most of you,

When I hastened off to the upper provinces.

I have written to him what is written here.

I therefore urge and beg you to remember

The public and private services rendered to you.

Maintain your present good will,

Each of you,

Toward me and my son.

I am sure that he will follow my policy

He will treat you with moderation and kindness.’”

This letter of King Antiochus IV is really not a letter with all the conditions and wishes for the Jew that was mentioned above. Instead, it is a succession letter or last will and testament. Basically, since everyone was so kind to him, he wanted everyone to listen to his son who would succeed him if he did not get over this illness that occurred to him when he was in Persia. The idea of writing a letter of succession was not new, since his father King Antiochus III had done this. He had appointed King Seleucid IV, his brother, as the successor. King Antiochus IV wanted everyone to know that his son King Antiochus V would be his rightful moderate and kind successor. He did not trust the neighboring princes on the borders since they might try to raise havoc about who was in charge. He told them to remember the good times.

Haman honors Mordecai (Esth 6:11-6:12)

“So Haman took the robes and the horse. He robed Mordecai. He led him riding through the open square of the city, proclaiming,

‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king wishes to honor.’

Then Mordecai returned to the king’s gate.”

Then Haman had to bring Mordecai around the city into the open square. Haman had to proclaim that this is the man who the king wishes to honor. He, the one who hated Mordecai, was now his servant leading Mordecai with the royal robes and royal horse.