Archive for June, 2011

They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.  Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
The Acts of the Apostles

 This day has been consecrated for us by the martyrdom of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul. It is not some obscure martyrs we are talking about. Their sound has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world. These martyrs had seen what they proclaimed, they pursued justice by confessing the truth, by dying for the truth.

The blessed Peter, the first of the Apostles, the ardent lover of Christ, who was found worthy to hear, And I say to you, that you are Peter. He himself, you see, had just said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Christ said to him, And I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church. Upon this rock I will build the faith you have just confessed. Upon your words, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, I will build my Church; because you are Peter. Peter comes from πέτρα, meaning “a rock”. Peter, “Rocky,” from “rock”; not “rock” from “Rocky.” Peter comes from the word for a rock in exactly the same way as the name Christian comes from Christ.

Before his passion the Lord Jesus, as you know, chose those disciples of his whom he called apostles. Among these it was only Peter who almost everywhere was given the privilege of representing the whole Church. It was in the person of the whole Church, which he alone represented, that he was privileged to hear, To you will I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. After all, it is not just one man that received these keys, but the Church in its unity. So this is the reason for Peter’s acknowledged pre-eminence, that he stood for the Church’s universality and unity, when he was told, To you I am entrusting, what has in fact been entrusted to all. To show you that it is the Church which has received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, listen to what the Lord says in another place to all his apostles: Receive the Holy Spirit; and immediately afterwards, Whose sins you forgive, they will be forgiven them; whose sins you retain, they will be retained.

Quite rightly, too, did the Lord after his resurrection entrust his sheep to Peter to be fed. It is not, you see, that he alone among the disciples was fit to feed the Lord’s sheep; but when Christ speaks to one man, unity is being commended to us. And he first speaks to Peter, because Peter is the first among the apostles. Do not be sad, Apostle. Answer once, answer again, answer a third time. Let confession conquer three times with love, because self-assurance was conquered three times by fear. What you had bound three times must be loosed three times. Loose through love what you had bound through fear. And for all that, the Lord once, and again, and a third time, entrusted his sheep to Peter.

There is one day for the passion of two apostles. But these two also were as one; although they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, Paul followed. We are celebrating a feast day, consecrated for us by the blood of the apostles. Let us love their faith, their lives, their labors, their sufferings, their confession of faith, their preaching.

Saint Augustine of Hippo

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Matthew 4.23

Καὶ περιῆγεν ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ Γαλιλαίᾳ, διδάσκων ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν καὶ κηρύσσων τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς βασιλείας καὶ θεραπεύων πᾶσαν νόσον καὶ πᾶσαν μαλακίαν ἐν τῷ λαῷ.

1) περιῆγεν : 3rd sg. Aor., περιάγω (+ ἐν), to go around the area
2) ἐν ὅλῃ : ἐν + dat.; ὅλος η ον, whole, entire, complete
3) θεραπεύων : pres. act. part., nom. sg., θεραπεύω, to attend to; heal, cure
4) νόσον : acc. sg., νόσος ου, sickness, disease
5) μαλακίαν : acc. sg., μαλακία ας, softness, weakness (cf. L. mollis, soft)
6) ἐν τῷ λαῷ : ἐν + dat.; λαός οῦ, the people (laity)

And he went around all the Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and attending to every sickness and infirmity in the people.

ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν
There are seven mentions in Matthew of the synagogues, five of these times have συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν, their synagogues, that is the synagogues of the Pharisees. The noticeable exception is the final expression
συναγωγαῖς ὑμῶν, your synagogues. Synagogues, for Matthew’s community, are unwelcome places, where, at best, are full of argument and harassment, and, at worst, are places where Jesus’ apostles are being expelled. By the time of John’s Revelation, the place will become συναγωγὴ τοῦ Σατανᾶ, a synagogue of Satan (Rv 2.9).

τὸ εὐαγγέλιον
εὐαγγέλιον, good news, often translated as gospel, has four mentions in Matthew, three, just like here, say the good news of the kingdom (9.35,24.13).

ἐν τῷ λαῷ
λαός the people, mentioned eight times in Matthew, play a unique role in Jesus’ ministry.

Consider two:
τέξεται δὲ υἱὸν καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν, αὐτὸς γὰρ σώσει τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν αὐτῶν.
And she will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.

“Καὶ σύ, Βηθλεὲμ γῆ Ἰούδα, οὐδαμῶς ἐλαχίστη εἶ ἐν τοῖς ἡγεμόσιν Ἰούδα: ἐκ σοῦ γὰρ ἐξελεύσεται ἡγούμενος, ὅστις ποιμανεῖ τὸν λαόν μου τὸν Ἰσραήλ.”
“And you, Bethlehem of Judah, are in no way the least among the chiefs of Judah; out of you will come forth a leader, who with tend to my people Israel.

So, λαός in Matthew will stand for Israel, the object of God’s redemption through Jesus.

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Matthew 3.1-2

Ἐν δὲ ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις παραγίνεται Ἰωάννης ὁ βαπτιστὴς κηρύσσων ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ τῆς Ἰουδαίας [καὶ] λέγων, Μετανοεῖτε, ἤγγικεν γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.

1) παραγίνεται : dep. pres. 3rd sg., παραγίνομαι, to be at hand; arrive, come
2) κηρύσσων : pres. act. part., nom. sg., κηρύσσω, to cry, proclaim, herald; see κήρυγμα, preaching
3) Μετανοεῖτε : pl. impv., μετανοέω, to change one’s mind, repent
4) ἤγγικεν : 3rd sg., 1 aor./pft, ἐγγίζω, to draw nigh, be at hand

In those days came John the baptist proclaiming in the desert of Judea, [and] saying, “Repent! for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”


There seems, in the Gospel of Matthew, a certain connection between the action of κηρύσσω, preaching/proclaiming, and the at-hand-ness, ἤγγικεν, of theἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν, the Kingdom of Heaven

Mt 4.17
ἤρξατο ὁ Ἰησοῦς κηρύσσειν καὶ λέγειν Μετανοεῖτε, ἤγγικεν γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.
Jesus began to proclaim and say, Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

Mt 10.7
πορευόμενοι δὲ κηρύσσετε λέγοντες ὅτι Ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.
And as you go forth, proclaiming saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”

βασιλεία, kingdom, dominion is a term used throughout the breadth of the New Testament. Here specifically we have ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν, the Kingdom of Heaven, a term Matthew uses eighteen times in his composition. This count excludes kingdom of God in 19.24 and 21.31, kingdom of my father in 26.29, Your kingdom in 6.10, or just the kingdom; all of these could be understood to be equivalents theologically speaking.

In Matthew, the Kingdom of Heaven is a thesis statement, a message of proclamation, κήρυγμα, against all the kingdoms of the world(4.8). ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν is never mentioned in Mark or Luke, both using ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ instead. John, too, opts for the the Kingdom of God, or my kingdom, (Jn 18.36Ἡ βασιλεία ἡ ἐμὴ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, my kingdom is not of this world)

Postscript: Consider the Book of Daniel:
και εν τοις χρονοις των βασιλεων τουτων στησει ο θεος του ουρανου βασιλειαν αλλην ητις εσται εις τους αιωνας και ου φθαρησεται και αυτη η βασιλεια αλλο εθνος ου μη εαση παταξει δε και αφανισει τας βασιλειας ταυτας και αυτη στησεται εις τον αιωνα (LXX)

In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. (NIV)


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Matthew 8.27

οἱ δὲ ἄνθρωποι ἐθαύμασαν λέγοντες, Ποταπός ἐστιν οὗτος ὅτι καὶ οἱ ἄνεμοι καὶ ἡ θάλασσα αὐτῷ ὑπακούουσιν;

1)    ἐθαύμασαν : θαυμάζω, Aor. 3rd. pl., to wonder, be astonished (cf. mirari)

2)    λέγοντες : λέγω, pres. act. participle, to say, speak

3)    ποταπός : [cl. ποδαπός] adj. που + από, whence? (cf. cuius)

4)    ὑπακούουσιν : ὑπ – ακούω. Pres. Act. 3rd pl., to listen; hearken, obey + dat.

And the men were astonished, saying, “What (whose) man is this, that both the winds and the sea obey him?”



Jesus receives the same reaction elsewhere: (i) marveling the crowds [οἱ ὄχλοι] in 9.32; (ii) his disciples [οἱ μαθηταὶ] in 21.20; (iii) and those listening [ἀκούσαντες] to his thoughts on giving to Caesar and to God in 22.22.

Luke will use the same form four times of his own, but note the comparison:

Lk 8.25 εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς Ποῦ ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν; φοβηθέντες δὲ ἐθαύμασαν, λέγοντες πρὸς ἀλλήλους Τίς ἄρα οὗτός ἐστιν ὅτι καὶ τοῖς ἀνέμοις ἐπιτάσσει καὶ τῷ ὕδατι, καὶ ὑπακούουσιν αὐτῷ;

And he said to them, “Where is your faith?” And afraid they were astonished, saying to each other, “Who then is this, that he commands both the winds and the water, and they obey him.

Luke’s version is not as neat and tiddy as Matthew’s; the Greek is clean and says much, but Luke uses many words to get his point across. Matthew’s “sea” [ἡ θάλασσα] is much more massive than Luke’s “water” [τῷ ὕδατι]. At the same time, it is in Luke that Jesus  gives orders [ἐπιτάσσει] to these forces of nature.

αὐτῷ ὑπακούουσιν

This exact combination is used by both Matthew and Luke (listed above), and is a part of a formula they may have picked up from Mark

Mk 1.27 ὥστε συνζητεῖν αὐτοὺς λέγοντας Τί ἐστιν τοῦτο; διδαχὴ καινή: κατ᾽ ἐξουσίαν καὶ τοῖς πνεύμασι τοῖς ἀκαθάρτοις ἐπιτάσσει, καὶ ὑπακούουσιν αὐτῷ.

So they discussed these things, saying, “What is this? a new teaching with authority! And he gives orders to unclean spirits, and they obey him.

Mk 4. 41 καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν φόβον μέγαν, καὶ ἔλεγον πρὸς ἀλλήλους, Τίς ἄρα οὗτός ἐστιν ὅτι καὶ ὁ ἄνεμος καὶ ἡ θάλασσα ὑπακούει αὐτῷ;

And they feared a great fear, and said to each other, “who then is this, that both the wind and the sea obey him.

The wind is singular, but we are back to the forces of nature.

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