The right answer (Lk 10:28-10:28)

“Jesus said to him.

‘You have given

The right answer.

Do this!

Then you will live!’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ Ὀρθῶς ἀπεκρίθης· τοῦτο ποίει καὶ ζήσῃ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to the lawyer (εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ) that he had given the correct right answer (Ὀρθῶς ἀπεκρίθης).  Jesus told him to do that (τοῦτο ποίει) and then he would live (καὶ ζήσῃ).  Mark, chapter 12:32-33, indicated that this Scribe said to Jesus, rather than the other way around, that Jesus was right.  He, in fact, respectfully called Jesus Teacher (Διδάσκαλε).  This Scribe agreed that Jesus had spoken according to the truth.  God was one, so that there was no other God but him alone. Thus, the Scribe and Jesus were on the same page as regards God and his commandments.  Then the Scribe pointed out that these 2 commandments were more important than all the Temple sacrifices.  He said that to love God with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all your strength, as well as to love your neighbor as yourself was much more important than all the various sacrificial burnt offerings.  This Scribe recognized the value of love of God and neighbor.  Do you love God with your whole being and your neighbor as yourself?

The great commandment to love God (Lk 10:27-10:27)

“The lawyer answered.

‘You shall love

The Lord,

Your God,

With all your heart,

With all your soul,

With all your strength,

And with all your mind.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Ἀγαπήσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σου ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ἰσχύϊ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου,

 

Luke said that the lawyer answered Jesus (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν) by citing Deuteronomy, chapter 6:4-5, where it said that you were to love the Lord, your God (Ἀγαπήσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σου), with all your heart (ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου), with all your soul (καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ σου), with all your strength (καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ἰσχύϊ σου), and with all your mind (καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου).  Mark, chapter 12:39-40, said that Jesus answered this Scribe, instead of the other way around as here in Luke.  The first commandment was “Hear this O Israel!  The Lord our God is one.  He should love the Lord, his God with his whole heart, his whole soul, his whole mind, and with all his strength.  This Shema cry for Israel to listen can be found in Deuteronomy, chapter 6:4-5.  These verses have had a great influence on the Israelites as the great commandment that was recited often and written all over the place on their hands, forehead, and door posts.  It was both a morning and an evening prayer, something you could say at home and when you were away from home.  The Israelites taught their children this simple prayer.  Jesus and the early Christian followers repeated this prayer in the gospel stories of the New Testament as the great commandment of love of God.  This “Shema” became the basis of the Abrahamic religions, the great commandment of monotheism and love that must always be remembered.  In Matthew, chapter 22:37-38, Jesus also responded, rather than the lawyer.  Jesus told this lawyer that he should love the Lord, his God with his whole heart, his whole soul, and his whole mind   This was the greatest and the first commandment.  Just be a good human Jewish person and love God above all else with your whole being, heart, soul, and mind.  Do you totally love God?

Faith can move mountains (Mk 11:23-11:23)

“‘Truly!

I say to you!

If you say

To this mountain.

‘Be taken up!

Be thrown

Into the sea!’

If you do not doubt

In your heart,

But believe

What you say

It will come to pass,

It will be done

For you.’”

 

ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ὃς ἂν εἴπῃ τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ Ἄρθητι καὶ βλήθητι εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, καὶ μὴ διακριθῇ ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ ἀλλὰ πιστεύῃ ὅτι ὃ λαλεῖ γίνεται, ἔσται αὐτῷ.

 

This Jesus saying about faith can be found in Matthew, chapter 21:21, somewhat similar to this in Mark.  Mark said that Jesus answered with a solemn pronouncement (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) about the importance of faith.  If they had faith, they could move mountains.  They could tell a mountain (ὅτι ὃς ἂν εἴπῃ τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ) to be lifted up or taken away (Ἄρθητι) and thrown into the sea (καὶ βλήθητι εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν).  If they did not doubt it in their hearts (καὶ μὴ διακριθῇ ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ), but believed what they said (ἀλλὰ πιστεύῃ ὅτι ὃ λαλεῖ γίνεται), it would happen or take place or come to pass for them (ἔσται αὐτῷ).

This parable explanation is to forgive your brothers (Mt 18:35-18:35)

“Thus,

My heavenly Father

Will also do

To every one of you,

If you do not forgive

Your brother

From your heart.”

 

Οὕτως καὶ ὁ Πατήρ μου ὁ οὐράνιος ποιήσει ὑμῖν, ἐὰν μὴ ἀφῆτε ἕκαστος τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τῶν καρδιῶν ὑμῶν.

 

This parable about the unforgiving servant slave is unique to Matthew.  Jesus then gave an explanation of this parable, probably for his disciples.  His heavenly Father, the lord or king, was going to do the same to every one of them (Οὕτως καὶ ὁ Πατήρ μου ὁ οὐράνιος ποιήσει ὑμῖν) who did not forgive their brother (ἐὰν μὴ ἀφῆτε ἕκαστος τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ) from their heart (ἀπὸ τῶν καρδιῶν ὑμῶν).  If you do not truly forgive others, do not expect forgiveness for yourself.

Earthly and heavenly treasures (Mt 6:19-6:21)

“Do not store up

For yourselves

Treasures on earth.

Moths

And rust

Will consume them.

Thieves

Will break in

And steal them.

But store up

For yourselves

Treasures in heaven.

Where neither moth

Nor rust

Consumes them.

Where thieves

Do not break in

And steal them.

Where your treasure is,

There will your heart be also.”

 

Μὴ θησαυρίζετε ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, ὅπου σὴς καὶ βρῶσις ἀφανίζει, καὶ ὅπου κλέπται διορύσσουσιν καὶ κλέπτουσιν·

θησαυρίζετε δὲ ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς ἐν οὐρανῷ, ὅπου οὔτε σὴς οὔτε βρῶσις ἀφανίζει, καὶ ὅπου κλέπται οὐ διορύσσουσιν οὐδὲ κλέπτουσιν

ὅπου γάρ ἐστιν ὁ θησαυρός σου, ἐκεῖ ἔσται καὶ ἡ καρδία σου.

 

This is another unique saying of Jesus in Matthew, although the idea can be found in Luke, chapter 12:33-34, with the last verse exactly the same.  You should not store up treasures (Μὴ θησαυρίζετε ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς) here on earth (ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς), because it was too much trouble to store things.  Either moths (ὅπου σὴς) would eat up the garments or rust would consume them.  This is one of the 3 times that moths are mentioned in the biblical New Testament.  The other was the Luke comparative and later in Matthew.  Garments were often considered treasures.  Rust was a more common term and applied to other goods.  Otherwise, thieves might break in and steal it anyhow (καὶ ὅπου κλέπται διορύσσουσιν καὶ κλέπτουσιν).  The opposite of the earthly treasures were the heavenly treasures (θησαυρίζετε δὲ ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς ἐν οὐρανῷ) that you should store up.  Moths and rust could not consume them (ὅπου οὔτε σὴς οὔτε βρῶσις ἀφανίζει).  Thieves could not break in and steal them either (καὶ ὅπου κλέπται οὐ διορύσσουσιν οὐδὲ κλέπτουσιν).  Finally, we have the wonderful saying about where your treasure is (ὅπου γάρ ἐστιν ὁ θησαυρός σου), there is your heart (ἐκεῖ ἔσται καὶ ἡ καρδία σου).  What you really care about is what is important to you.

Do not mourn excessively (Sir 38:18-38:23)

“Grief may result in death.

A sorrowful heart

Saps one’s strength.

When a person is taken away,

Sorrow is over.

But the life of the poor

Weighs down the heart.

Do not give your heart

To sorrow!

Drive it away!

Remember your own end.

Do not forget!

There is no coming back.

You do the dead no good.

You injure yourself.

Remember his fate.

Yours is like it.

Yesterday it was his.

Today it is yours.

Me yesterday!

You today!

When the dead is at rest,

Let his remembrance rest also.

Be comforted for him

When his spirit has departed.”

Sirach did not want a long mourning period because grief could lead to the death of the person grieving. A sad heart can sap your strength. When the person was buried, the period of sorrow should end despite the fact that your heart is still heavy. Drive away sorrow and grief. Remember you own life. There is no coming back from the grave. You can’t do anything for the dead. You may injure yourself. Your fate will be the same as his. He was here yesterday and gone today. Your fate may be the same, here today and gone tomorrow. When the dead are at rest, let their remembrance die with them. Their spirit has departed, since we have the Greek idea of body and spirit.

Sickness (Sir 38:9-38:15)

“My child!

When you are ill,

Do not delay!

But pray to the Lord!

He will heal you.

Give up your faults!

Direct your hands rightly!

Cleanse your heart

From all sin!

Offer a sweet-smelling sacrifice!

Offer a memorial portion

Of choice flour!

Pour oil on your offering,

As much as you can afford.

Then give the physician his place.

The Lord has created him.

Do not let him leave you!

You need him.

There may come a time

When recovery lies

In the hands of this physician.

They too pray to the Lord.

Thus the Lord may grant him

Success in his diagnosis.

Thus he may grant him

Success in healing.

This is done

For the sake of preserving life.

He who sins

Against his Maker,

Will be defiant

Toward his physician.”

Sirach explains the connection between sickness and sin. However, the new twist is that you must do more than simply praying for forgiveness. You must also see a physician. Although the first thing that you do when you are sick is pray to the Lord, but that is not sufficient. You should confess your sins and cleanse your heart. You should also make a sweet smelling sacrifice to the Lord with choice flour and as much oil as you can. After that, you then turn to a physician who was created by the Lord. Do not let the physician leave you because your recovery will depend on him. He too prays for a successful diagnosis of your illness. He heals for the sake of preserving life. The physician takes the place of your maker God, since if you have sinned, you will be defiant to this physician also. Here we see the need for human remediation to help in sickness instead of a total reliance on God.