The speck and the log (Lk 6:41-6:41)

“Why do you see

The speck

In your neighbor’s eye?

But you do not

Notice the log

In your own eye?”

 

Τί δὲ βλέπεις τὸ κάρφος τὸ ἐν τῷ ὀφθαλμῷ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ σου, τὴν δὲ δοκὸν τὴν ἐν τῷ ἰδίῳ ὀφθαλμῷ οὐ κατανοεῖς;

 

Luke had this saying of Jesus that is almost exactly the same as in Matthew, chapter 7:3, indicating a common Q source.  Jesus wanted to know why they saw the speck, the splinter, or the chip (τί δὲ βλέπεις τὸ κάρφος) in their brother’s eye (τὸ ἐν τῷ ὀφθαλμῷ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ σου), but they did not notice the log or beam in their own eye (τὴν δὲ δοκὸν ἐν τῷ ἰδίῳ ὀφθαλμῷ οὐ κατανοεῖς)?  This indicated how foolish it was to correct others when you were doing worse things yourself.  Are you a nag with others, while overlooking your own bad habits?

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Shake off the dust of your feet (Mk 6:11-6:11)

“If any place

Will not welcome you,

If they refuse

To hear you,

As you leave,

Shake off the dust

That is on your feet

As a testimony

Against them.”

 

καὶ ὃς ἂν τόπος μὴ δέξηται ὑμᾶς μηδὲ ἀκούσωσιν ὑμῶν, ἐκπορευόμενοι ἐκεῖθεν ἐκτινάξατε τὸν χοῦν τὸν ὑποκάτω τῶν ποδῶν ὑμῶν εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς.

 

Equivalent passages to this can be found in Matthew, chapter 10:14, and Luke, chapter 9:5.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that if any place (καὶ ὃς ἂν τόπος) would not receive them (μὴ δέξηται ὑμᾶς) or listen to their words (μηδὲ ἀκούσωσιν ὑμῶν), they were to leave that place (ἐκπορευόμενοι ἐκεῖθεν).  They should shake off the dust from their feet (ἐκτινάξατε τὸν χοῦν τὸν ὑποκάτω τῶν ποδῶν ὑμῶν), as a witness or testimony against them (εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς).  This indicated that the dust of that house was useless.  Some orthodox texts have the statement about Sodom and Gomorrah that was in Matthew, chapter 10:15 that had Jesus make a comparison between the places that had rejected them with the famous wicked cities of Genesis, chapter 18:20-19:29, Sodom and Gomorrah.  He said with a solemn statement (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) that it would be more tolerable (ἀνεκτότερον ἔσ) for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah (γῇ Σοδόμων καὶ Γομόρρων) on the judgment day (ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως) than this place that rejected his disciples (ἢ τῇ πόλει ἐκείνῃ).  They had lacked hospitality to the followers of Jesus, so that they were worse than those terrible cities in Genesis.

Jewish religious leaders want to have the tomb secure (Mt 27:63-27:64)

“They said.

‘Lord!

We remember what

This impostor said

While he was still alive.

‘After three days,

I will rise again.’

Therefore,

Command

That the tomb

Be made secure

Until the third day.

Otherwise,

His disciples may go.

They may steal him away.

Then they will tell

The people.

‘He has risen

From the dead.’

The last deception

Would be worse

Than the first.”

 

λέγοντες Κύριε, ἐμνήσθημεν ὅτι ἐκεῖνος ὁ πλάνος εἶπεν ἔτι ζῶν Μετὰ τρεῖς ἡμέρας ἐγείρομαι.

κέλευσον οὖν ἀσφαλισθῆναι τὸν τάφον ἕως τῆς τρίτης ἡμέρας, μή ποτε ἐλθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ κλέψωσιν αὐτὸν καὶ εἴπωσιν τῷ λαῷ Ἠγέρθη ἀπὸ τῶν νεκρῶν, καὶ ἔσται ἡ ἐσχάτη πλάνη χείρων τῆς πρώτης.

 

This is unique to Matthew, who remarked that this group of high priests and Pharisees called Pilate “Lord (λέγοντες Κύριε)!”  They said that they remembered (ἐμνήσθημεν) what this impostor or deceiver had said (ὅτι ἐκεῖνος ὁ πλάνος εἶπεν), while he was still alive or living (ἔτι ζῶν).  He had said that after three days (Μετὰ τρεῖς ἡμέρας), he would rise up again (ἐγείρομαι).  Thus, they wanted Pilate to command (κέλευσον οὖν) that the tomb be made secure (ἀσφαλισθῆναι τὸν τάφον) until the third day (ἕως τῆς τρίτης ἡμέρας).  Otherwise, Jesus’ disciples might come and steal him away (μή ποτε ἐλθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ κλέψωσιν αὐτὸν).  Then they would tell the people (καὶ εἴπωσιν τῷ λαῷ) that he had risen from the dead (Ἠγέρθη ἀπὸ τῶν νεκρῶν).  Finally, this last deception or sin would be worse than the first deceptions (καὶ ἔσται ἡ ἐσχάτη πλάνη χείρων τῆς πρώτης).  In other words, these Jewish leaders wanted Pilate to have guards around the tomb of Jesus because they remembered that while he was alive he said that he would arise in 3 days.  Mathew has these chief priests and Pharisees predict the resurrection of Jesus.

The return of the evil spirits (Mt 12:44-12:45)

“Then this unclean spirit says.

‘I will return

To my house,

From which I came.’

When he comes,

This spirit finds it empty.

It is swept.

It is put in order.

Then the unclean spirit goes

And brings along

Seven other spirits

More evil than itself.

They enter there.

They live there.

The last state of that person

Is worse than the first.

Thus,

It will it be also

With this evil generation.”

 

τότε λέγει Εἰς τὸν οἶκόν μου ἐπιστρέψω ὅθεν ἐξῆλθον· καὶ ἐλθὸν εὑρίσκει σχολάζοντα καὶ σεσαρωμένον καὶ κεκοσμημένον.

τότε πορεύεται καὶ παραλαμβάνει μεθ’ ἑαυτοῦ ἑπτὰ ἕτερα πνεύματα πονηρότερα ἑαυτοῦ, καὶ εἰσελθόντα κατοικεῖ ἐκεῖ· καὶ γίνεται τὰ ἔσχατα τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐκείνου χείρονα τῶν πρώτων. οὕτως ἔσται καὶ τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ τῇ πονηρᾷ.

 

This saying about the returning unclean spirit can also be found word for word in Luke, chapter 11:25-26, indicating a Q source.  This implies a failed exorcism or a failed healing, so that the evil unclean spirit would return with more evil spirits.  Thus, the final state of that person would be worse than it was in the beginning.  This unclean spirit said to itself that it would return to its house or the place or person that it had come from (τότε λέγει Εἰς τὸν οἶκόν μου ἐπιστρέψω ὅθεν ἐξῆλθον).  Nothing had been put in its place, because this unclean spirit found it empty or unoccupied (καὶ ἐλθὸν εὑρίσκει σχολάζοντα), swept clean (καὶ σεσαρωμένον) and in order, newly decorated (καὶ κεκοσμημένον).  Thus, the unclean spirit went and brought 7 more evil spirits (τότε πορεύεται καὶ παραλαμβάνει μεθ’ ἑαυτοῦ ἑπτὰ ἕτερα πνεύματα πονηρότερα ἑαυτοῦ).  All these evil spirits entered and lived there (καὶ εἰσελθόντα κατοικεῖ ἐκεῖ·).  Finally, the last state of that person would be worse than the original situation (καὶ γίνεται τὰ ἔσχατα τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐκείνου χείρονα τῶν πρώτων).  Thus, it would be the same for this evil generation (οὕτως ἔσται καὶ τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ τῇ πονηρᾷ).  Jesus had just called this generation evil in chapter 12:19.

Punishment for that unhospitable town (Mt 10:15-10:15)

“Truly,

I say to you!

It shall be more tolerable

For the land

Of Sodom,

And Gomorrah,

On the day of judgment,

Than for that town.”

 

ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται γῇ Σοδόμων καὶ Γομόρρων ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως ἢ τῇ πόλει ἐκείνῃ.

 

There are no equivalent passages in Mark or Luke.  However, Matthew has something like this in chapter 11:24.  Jesus, via Matthew, made a comparison between the town that had rejected them with the famous wicked cities of Genesis, chapter 18:20-19:29, Sodom and Gomorrah.  This was a solemn statement (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) that it would be more tolerable (ἀνεκτότερον ἔσ) for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah (γῇ Σοδόμων καὶ Γομόρρων) on the judgment day (ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως) than this town that rejected his disciples (ἢ τῇ πόλει ἐκείνῃ).  They had lacked hospitality to the followers of Jesus, so that they were worse than the terrible cities in Genesis.

Anger and insults (Mt 5:22-5:22)

“But I say to you!

That everyone angry

With his brother

Shall be liable

To judgment.

Whoever insults

His brother

By calling him

Empty-headed

Without brains

Shall be liable

To the Sanhedrin council.

Whoever says.

‘You impious fool!’

Shall be liable

To the hell of fire.”

 

ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ὀργιζόμενος τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ ἔνοχος ἔσται τῇ κρίσει· ὃς δ’ ἂν εἴπῃ τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ Ῥακά, ἔνοχος ἔσται τῷ συνεδρίῳ· ὃς δ’ ἂν εἴπῃ Μωρέ, ἔνοχος ἔσται εἰς τὴν γέενναν τοῦ πυρός.

 

Matthew once again showed the importance of this saying of Jesus with “But I say or tell you (ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν)!” This time it is about anger and insults. Anyone who was angry with his brother would be liable to the local Jewish council judgment (ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ὀργιζόμενος τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ ἔνοχος ἔσται τῇ κρίσει). If he insulted his brother, by calling him, an empty head without brains (ὃς δ’ ἂν εἴπῃ τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ Ῥακά), he was liable to the Jerusalem Sanhedrin Council (ἔνοχος ἔσται τῷ συνεδρίῳ). Calling someone a “Ῥακά” was a worse crime than a mere insult. If he called his brother an insensitive non-religious or impious fool (ἔσται τῷ συνεδρίῳ ὃς δ’ ἂν εἴπῃ Μωρέ), the punishment for this outrageous insult would be to be thrown into to the fiery hell (ἔνοχος ἔσται εἰς τὴν γέενναν τοῦ πυρός). The Greek term “Μωρέ” developed into the English term moron. The Greek word for hell “γέενναν” or the English Gehenna was based on the Hebrew word Gehinnom that was the name of the valley south of Jerusalem where burning child sacrifices would take place. There seemed to be 3 stages of punishment, depending on what they had said to their brother. Insulting them was bad. Calling them empty-headed was worse. But worst of all was calling them an insensitive non-religious fool. Be careful what you say to your brother or sister.

Compassion for Jerusalem (Zech 1:15-1:17)

“‘I am extremely angry

With the nations

That are at ease.

While only a little angry,

They made the disaster worse.’

Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh.

‘I have returned to Jerusalem

With compassion.

My house shall be built in it.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘The measuring lines

Shall be stretched out

Over Jerusalem.

Proclaim further!

Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

My cities

Shall again overflow

With prosperity.

Yahweh will again comfort Zion.

He will again choose Jerusalem.’”

While Yahweh was angry at the various easy-going nations, he was going to be compassionate to Jerusalem.  The other countries had made matters worse.  Now Yahweh was going to return to Jerusalem with compassion for its people.  Yahweh of hosts was going to spread out his measuring lines over Jerusalem.  He wanted them to proclaim that the cities of Yahweh would again overflow with prosperity.  Yahweh has chosen Jerusalem and Zion as his home.