A true family member hears and does the word (Lk 8:21-8:21)

“But Jesus said to them.

‘My mother

And my brothers

Are those

Who hear the word

Of God

And do it.’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς Μήτηρ μου καὶ ἀδελφοί μου οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ ἀκούοντες καὶ ποιοῦντες.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus replied to them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς) that his mother (Μήτηρ μου) and his brothers (καὶ ἀδελφοί μου) were those who heard (οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ…ἀκούοντες) the word of God (τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ) and did it (καὶ ποιοῦντες).  Mark, chapter 3:33-35, and Matthew, chapter 12:48-50, have something similar, but Matthew was closer to Mark.  Luke had this simple concluding statement that sounded like a repudiation of his biological family.  Mark said that Jesus made a distinction between his biological family and his new spiritual family, as he replied to the person who told him about his relatives.  He asked him who his mother was and who were his brothers?  He looked at those who were sitting around him in a circle.  Then he said that they were his mother and his brothers.  Anyone who did the will of God, would be his brother, his sister, and his mother.  Matthew also said that Jesus asked them who his mother was and who his brothers were?  He stretched out his hand pointing to his disciples and said that they were his mother and his brothers.  Anyone who did the will of his Father in heaven would be his brother, his sister, and his mother.  This idea of a new faith family was common among many religious groups, since their fellow believers were now their new family.  No longer was a biological family important, because there was now a new spiritual family of Jesus believers.  How important is your biological family to you?

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Gennesaret (Lk 5:1-5:1)

“Once while Jesus

Was standing beside

The lake of Gennesaret,

The crowd

Was pressing in

On him

To hear

The word of God.”

 

Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ τὸν ὄχλον ἐπικεῖσθαι αὐτῷ καὶ ἀκούειν τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν ἑστὼς παρὰ τὴν λίμνην Γεννησαρέτ,

 

This verse of Luke is unique but not inconsistent with the other gospel stories.  Luke said that Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret (καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν ἑστὼς παρὰ τὴν λίμνην Γεννησαρέτ).  Gennesaret was another name for the Sea of Galilee or Lake Tiberias.  Then the crowd was pressing in on him (Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ τὸν ὄχλον ἐπικεῖσθαι αὐτῷ) to hear the word of God (καὶ ἀκούειν τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Jesus was standing there as a crowd gathered around him.  They wanted to hear the word of God, as if Jesus were somehow qualified to present this word of God.

The call of John (Lk 3:2-3:2)

“The word of God

Came to John,

The son of Zechariah,

In the wilderness.”

 

ἐγένετο ῥῆμα Θεοῦ ἐπὶ Ἰωάνην τὸν Ζαχαρίου υἱὸν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ.

 

Luke presented John like a prophet who was called like the other Israelite prophets.  The word of God came or happened to John (ἐγένετο ῥῆμα Θεοῦ ἐπὶ Ἰωάνην), the son of Zechariah (τὸν Ζαχαρίου υἱὸν), in the wilderness or desert (ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ), just like it had come to many other ancient Jewish prophets.  There should be no confusion about whom this John is because he was the son of Zechariah that was described in chapter 1.  There is something similar, but not quite the same in all 4 gospel stories.  In Mark, chapter 1:4, John appeared on the scene immediately after a citation from the prophet IsaiahMatthew, chapter 3:1-2, seemed to follow Mark, since Mark began his gospel with this story.  Matthew had John the Baptizer preaching in the wilderness or desert in Judea, southeast of Jerusalem and west of the Dead Sea.  John, chapter 1:19, also introduced John the Baptist immediately after his prologue.  Only Matthew and Luke have the infancy narratives before the introduction of John, who was central to the work of Jesus.

 

Limitations of the Bible

The difficulty with all these interpretations hangs on the question whether this is the word of God or man’s word?  Every reading of the Bible is an interpretation.  Who decided which books belong in the bible?  This was not decided until over 300 hundred years after Christ.  Many of the Christian churches have different books in the Old Testament.  How can you have justification from the texts themselves?  There have many weird interpretations of the Bible.  The Bible has had a history under the influence of God’s Spirit.  The Bible should not be watered down.

What is the Bible?

The Bible is the most published book of all time.  A Latin Vulgate copy of the Bible was one of the first books printed on the original German Guttenberg Press in the fifteenth century in 1440.  The Bible has been translated into virtually every human language.  What a strange great literary work, or more precisely a series of books, that has had a profound effect on the world.  In fact, most of the great works of Western European civilization assume some biblical knowledge.  The Bible serves as the source book or “Word of God” for over two billion people living today.  Thus, the Bible is often considered “the book of books”.

Against Gog (Ezek 38:1-38:2)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Set your face

Toward Gog,

Of the land of Magog.

The chief prince

Of Meshech

With Tubal.

Prophesy against him!’”

This section represents an example of apocalyptic literature. The emphasis in this type of literature is on a future that would be better compared to the sufferings of the present time. This thinking predominated in Second Temple Judaism after the return from the exile. This Messianic hope prefigured a future victory of good over evil. The prophet Daniel and the Book of Revelation or the Apocalypse are better examples of this apocalyptic literature. As usual, the word of God came to Ezekiel, the son of man. However, this time he was to prophesize against Gog. Who is this Gog? This is the first mention of Gog in the biblical literature, who clearly was an enemy of Yahweh. There appears to be no historical basis for this Gog from Magog. According to Genesis, chapter 10, Magog was descended from Japheth, the son of Noah. Here Gog is a person and Magog is the land where he comes from. However, in later literature they were usually combined into ‘Gog and Magog,’ perhaps due to the Septuagint Greek translation. Magog might have been a code name for Babylon. There were also other legends about Gog and Magog in the later Greek and Roman times. Both are mentioned in later Jewish and Muslim writings. Meshech and Tubal were 7th century BCE kingdoms in Asia Minor or present day Turkey. Gog appears to be the chief prince of these two kingdoms also.