The King of Stories -- Knights and King, Errant

Introductory note from Jason Pratt: see here for the previous entry; and see here for the first entry of the series. (It explains what I'm doing, and how, and contains the Johannine prologue.)

Knights and King, Errant

Now getting into the boat, Jesus and His disciples crossed over again and came to His own city (Capernaum). And the crowd (whom He had given the slip by departing in the middle of the night before) welcomed His return, for they had all been hoping He would!

And Jesus, standing beside the lake, sees the crowd as they gather to Him; and He has compassion on them, for they are harassed and thrown down, like sheep without a shepherd.

Then He is saying to His disciples: "The harvest is vast; but the workers are few. Therefore implore the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest!"

Now calling together the twelve apostles, He gives them authority over all the demons in order to cast them out, and to be curing every disease and every disability!

Jesus sent out these twelve, two by two, after giving them instructions, saying:

"Do not go into a road of (other) nations, and do not go into a Samaritan city; but go instead to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

"Now as you go, proclaim: 'The kingdom of God is near!'

"Be curing the sick, be raising the dead, be cleansing lepers, be casting out demons.

"Freely given you received; be giving freely given.

"Do not (delay to) acquire anything (extra) for traveling: no bread; no gold, silver or even copper in your belt; no begging bag or knapsack; no staff (although, the Follower adds, they could carry one--if they had it already by implication); nor shoes (although, the Follower adds again, they could wear sandal-soles); not even a second shirt (as a spare or worn beneath the first one.) For the worker is worthy of his food.

"Now, into whichever city or village you may be entering, inquire who in it is worthy, and there remain until you depart.

"And when you enter the house, salute it; and if indeed the house is worthy, let your peace come on it. For whoever gives you even a cup of cool water to drink, because you are named as followers of the Anointed King, I tell you truly: he shall not lose his reward! But if (the house) is unworthy after all, then let your peace return to you.

"Now, whoever does not receive you, nor is yet hearing your words, come out of that house or city or village, and shake off its dust from your feet as a testimony on them. Truly I say to you, the lands of Sodom and Gomorrah will find the Judgment Day more tolerable than that city!

"Look here! I am sending you out as sheep among wolves! So become wise as serpents, yet innocent as doves."

[Footnote: I am saving many of the instructions reported in GosMatt for a different occasion, as they sound a whole lot more like instructions for a final sending, rather than for a first one.]


Now it happened that when Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, they departed and began going from village to village; proclaiming the good news, so that people would willingly change their hearts; and casting out demons; and everywhere anointing sick people with oil and healing them.

And Jesus (also) departed from there, to teach and proclaim in their cities, going through their villages, teaching in their synagogues, heralding the good news of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and weakness among the people.


Now, He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath (says the Scholar, relating the following stories).

And look!--there was a woman having a spirit of sickness for eighteen years, and she was bending double, unable to straighten at all.

Now seeing her, Jesus shouts and says to her: "Woman, you have been freed from your infirmity!"

And He places His hands on her.

And instantly she was raised up again.

And she glorified God!

Now the chief of the synagogue resented that Jesus was curing on the Sabbath, and said to the crowd as an answer: "Six days are there on which you must work; come and be cured on them, and not on the Sabbath day!"

But the Lord answered him and said: "You hypocrites; on the Sabbath, does each of you (who agree with this official) not untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead him away to water!?

"Now this one--being a daughter of Abraham bound by Satan look! eighteen years!--must she not be loosed from this bond on the day of Sabbath!!?"

And all opposing Him wished they were dead, at His saying these things; but all the crowds were rejoicing at all the glorious things being done by Him!


Now it happened that on a(nother?) Sabbath, as He came into the house of a certain chief of the Pharisees to eat lunch, they were watching Him closely.

[Footnote: apparently this is somewhere not too far from Jerusalem--lawyers are here, and a leader of the Pharisees would likely be on the Sanhedrin Council. It should be noted that rabbis were in the habit of allowing the poor and infirm to freely enter the house during a meal so that the rabbis could give them food in order to demonstrate charity; but these people were required to sit back against the wall and stay silent, not participating in the actual meal. This has more than passing relevance to the following incidents and sayings.]

And look! a certain man in front of Him was swollen with fluid (i.e. he had 'dropsy', or 'hydropikon' meaning wet-eyes).

And answering (an unreported request from the dropsical man, perhaps), Jesus spoke toward the lawyers and Pharisees, saying: "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?"

But they are quiet.

Now taking hold, He heals and dismisses him.

And answering (His own question to them with this rhetorical question), He said to them: "Which of you having a son or ox falling into a well, will not immediately pull him up on the Sabbath day?"

But they are not strong to answer Him again along this line.

Now attending to how invited guests were choosing the first reclinings (the places of honor at the dinner table), He told a parable saying toward them:

"Whenever you may be invited by anyone into a wedding feast, do not recline at the first reclining (near the head of the table), lest someone more honored than you has been invited and he who invited both of you will come and declare to you, 'Yield this place!'; and then with shame you begin to retain the final place!

"But whenever you may be invited, go lean back in the final place, so that when the one who invited you comes he will be saying to you, 'Friend, step up further!' Then in the eyes of all those lying back at table with you, glory will be yours!

"For everyone who exalts himself shall be humiliated; and who humbles himself will be exalted."

Now He went on to say to the one who invited Him: "Whenever you may be making a lunch or dinner, do not merely summon your friends, nor yet your brothers or relatives, nor yet rich neighbors, in order to be repaid by them inviting you in return some other time.

"But whenever you make a reception, invite the poor, the cripples, the lame, the blind--and happy you will be, for they have nothing with which to repay you! For it will be paid to you in the resurrection of the just!"

Now hearing these things (especially the resurrection of the just), someone lying back with Him said to Him: "Happy will be whoever eats bread in the kingdom of God!!"

But He said to him:

"A certain man made a great dinner, and he invites many. And at the dinner hour he sends forth his slave to say to those invited, 'Come! For all is ready now!'

"But they all begin alike to make excuses.

"The first said to him, 'I am buying a field, and have a need to go to see it. I request you to excuse me.'

"And a different said, 'I am buying five yoke of oxen, and I go to try them out. I request you to excuse me.'

"And a different said, 'I marry a wife, and so I cannot come!'

"Now coming (back) along, the slave reports these to his master.

"Then, becoming angry, the householder said to his slave: 'Go quickly out into the squares and city streets, and lead in here the poor and cripples and blind and lame!'

"Now the slave said to him, 'Sir, what you command is done; yet still there are places!'

"And the Lord said to the slave, 'Go out into the roads and fencerows, compelling people there to enter, that my house may be crammed!

"'For I am saying to you, not one of those men I invited shall taste of my dinner.'"

Now, being questioned by the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God is coming, He answered them and said: "The kingdom of God is not coming with observations to be observed; nor will they say, 'Look here!' or else 'Look there!' For look! God's kingdom is inside you." [Footnote: or possibly 'among you', 'in your midst'. Compare to the answer of John the Baptist about one already 'among them' whom they are not seeing.]

Now look!--a certain lawyer stood, putting Him to the test, and said: "Rabbi; by doing what shall I enjoy inheriting God's own life?"

And He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?"

And answering he (the lawyer) said (quoting Deuteronomy and Leviticus): "'You shall love the Lord your God out of your whole heart; and in your whole soul, and in your whole strength, and in your whole understanding' and 'your neighbor as yourself'."

And He said to him, "You answer correctly. 'This be doing, and you shall be living.'" (quoting from Leviticus, near where God commands in the Law to love our neighbor as ourselves)

But wanting to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

Now accepting this challenge ('taking him up'), Jesus said:

"A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho (on the road from Jerusalem to the Jordan River--possibly where this lunch is happening, or where this lawyer's family is from.)

"But he fell among brigands ('lestes', bandit highwaymen rebelling against the Romans), who stripped him as well as beat him, going away and leaving him half dead!

"Now by coincidence it happens that a certain priest went down by that road; but seeing him, passed by on the other side.

"And likewise a Levite (a hereditary servant of God especially for Temple duties, possibly even a Temple soldier) also came to the place, and seeing him, passed by on the other side.

"But a certain Samaritan (considered by many practicing Jews to be pagan and traitorous), going his way, came across him; and seeing him, he has compassion, and going to him he wraps his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. [Footnote: alcohol as an antiseptic, oil to help soothe sunburnt cracked skin.]

"Now mounting him on his own beast, he led him to a wayfarer's inn and had him cared for.

"And the next morning, going away, he takes out two day's wages and gives them to the innkeeper; and said to him, 'Care for him, and whatever more you may be expending, I will be paying you at my return.'

"Which of these three, do you suppose, has therefore become a neighbor of he who fell in with the brigands?"

And he said, "...the one showing mercy toward him."

And Jesus said to him: "Go, and you do likewise."

And He also told this parable (says the Scholar), to certain ones having confidence in themselves that they are righteous and scorning the rest:

"Two men went up into the Temple to pray; one a Pharisee, the other a tax-collector. [Footnote: men who collaborated with the Roman Empire, often for their own profit, thus considered a stock example of heinous traitor against God and His people.]

"The Pharisee, standing, prayed this toward himself: 'God, I thank You that I am not even like other people!--rapacious, unjust, adulterers... or even like this tax-collector! I am fasting twice a week, and I tithe from everything I am acquiring!'

"But the tax-collector, standing at a distance, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his chest saying, 'God! Make a shelter within Your favor for me, the sinner!'

"I am telling you, this one went down to his home justified, instead of that one!

"For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, yet he who humbles himself shall be exalted..."

Matthew 91b
Matthew 9:35-38
Matthew 10:5-16
Matthew 11:1
Mark 5:21
Mark 6:6b-13
Luke 8:40
Luke 9:1-6
Luke 10:25-37
Luke 13:10-17
Luke 14:1-24
Luke 17:20-21
Luke 18:9-14

[Next time: Passings Over]


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