The King of Stories -- The Greater Condemnations (Part 1 of 2)

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.)

Normally I would put all this material into one book-chapter; but seeing as how it would then be even more lengthy than my other entries before now, I have made provisions to divide it into two uneven halves for posting.

The Greater Condemnations (2 days until the end...)

(The Follower and the Scholar relate what happened Wednesday in the Temple...)

Now Jesus sat down across from the treasury (in the Temple), and looking up He started to watch how the crowds were putting money into the treasury.

Now many rich people were putting large sums in as gifts.

Yet a poor widow came, and put in two lepta, amounting to a quadran. (1 quadran == 1/64 of a 'daywage' denarius.)

And calling His disciples to Him, He is saying to them:

"Truly I tell you--this poor widow put in more than all the others putting in the treasury.

"For they all put their gifts in from their abundance.

"But she, out of her poverty, has put in all the living that she had."


Now (the Disciple joins the other storytellers once again) while the Pharisees were coming together, as Jesus taught in the Temple, Jesus asked of them a question, saying:

"What do you think about the Anointed King (to come)? Whose Son is He?"

They said to Him, "Of David (the king of old, from whom He will be descended)!"

He said to them:

"Why do the scribes say, then, that the Anointed King is David's son? For why then does David himself, in the Holy Spirit, call Him 'Lord', saying in the scroll of Psalms:

The Lord said to my Lord,
'Sit at My right hand
until I put Your enemies
under Your feet as a footstool!'

"David himself therefore calls Him 'Lord'!

"If David, then, is calling Him 'Lord' (using a word that is only used in the OT scriptures to refer to God by name)--

"how is He his son?!"

But no one was able to answer Him a word, for they did not have the strength to question Him any longer on any subject.

Yet the multitudes were gladly hearing Him.

Then while the people all were listening, Jesus spoke to them and to His disciples, saying:

"The Pharisees and the scribes have seated themselves upon the chair of Moses. Therefore all they tell you, do and keep.

"But--do not do likewise to their deeds! For what they say, they do not do!

"Now, they are binding heavy loads, and lay them on the shoulders of the people; and they themselves refuse to push them with a finger!

"But they do all their deeds in order to be noticed by the people; for they widen their phylacteries (small boxes holding tiny scrolls of Scripture, worn with the original intention of reminding them to dwell upon the Law and never let it be far from their minds and hands), and lengthen out their tassels (in order that all may see how Jewish they are)!

"And they love the banquet place of honor, and the best seats in the synagogues, and greetings of respect while in the market square, and being named as 'Rabbi' by the people!

"But do not be called 'Rabbi'--for One is your Teacher, and you all are brothers.

"And do not call someone on earth your father--for One is your Father, He Who is in the heavens!

"Nor yet may you be called 'commanders' (or 'ones who carry the Law')--for One is your Commander: the Anointed King!!

"Yet... the Greatest among you shall be your servant.

"And whoever lifts up himself shall be brought down; yet whoever does lay himself down... shall be lifted up.

"But... Wailing to you, you scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!--because you shut the kingdom of the heavens off in front of people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you let those entering go in!!

"Wailing to you, you scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!--because you eat up widows' houses, even while you make long prayers in order to be seen; therefore you shall be receiving the greater condemnation!!

"Wailing to you, you scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!--because you travel around on sea and land to make one convert; and when he does become one, then you make him twice as much a son of flaming garbage as yourselves!!

"Wailing to you, you blind guides!--who say, 'Whoever is swearing by the Temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the Temple's gold, he is obligated'!

"You blind men and fools!--which is greater, the gold or the Temple that sanctifies the gold!?

"And (you say), 'Whoever is swearing by the altar (of the Temple), that is nothing; but whoever swears by gifts upon the altar, he is obligated'!

"You blind men!--which is greater, the offering or the altar sanctifying the offering!?

"So!--whoever swears, swears both by the altar and by everything on it! And whoever swears by the Temple, swears by both the Temple... and by Him Who dwells within it!!

"And he who swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and also by the One Who sits upon the throne!

"Wailing to you, you scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!--for you are tithing the mint and the dill and the cumin seeds (the very littlest things), but leave aside the weightier things of the Law: fairness, and mercy, and faith! But these were required of you to do, while not leaving those! You blind guides, who strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel!!

"Wailing to you, you scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!--for you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full because of robbery and self-indulgence! You blind Pharisee! First be cleaning the inside of the cup and the dish, so that the outside also may be being clean!

"Wailing to you, you scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!--like whitewashed tombs you are, which on the outside look so fair, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness! You also on the outside seem so fair, appearing so to people; but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and rebellion!

"Wailing to you, you scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites... for you build the prophets' tombs, and decorate memorials of the fair ones, and say, 'If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been their partners in the blood of the prophets!'

"So, against yourselves, you give testimony that you are descendants of the murderers of prophets, and fill up the measure of your fathers.... you serpents, you sons of vipers!... how shall you escape the judgment of fiery waste!!?

"So... look here! I am sending to you prophets, and sages, and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city;

"so that upon you may fall all the blood of justice shed on Earth

"from the blood of righteous Abel, to the blood of Zechariah (son of Berechiah, adds the Disciple), whom you murdered between the Temple and the altar.

"I tell you truly... all these things shall come upon this generation...

"O Jerusalem! ...Jerusalem!! You who kills the prophets and stones the ones who are sent to her! How often I have wanted to gather your children together, as a hen pulls her chicks beneath her wings (sparing them from a deadly fire by sacrificing her own life)...

"...but you were unwilling...

"BEHOLD!! Your house is being left to you--desolate!

"For I tell you: from now on you shall not see Me

"until you say (with the Psalmist)

"'Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord!'"

And Jesus went out from the Temple.


Now as He was going away, His disciples came up talking about the Temple buildings, adorned with beautiful stones and votive gifts.

And one of His disciples said to Him, "Rabbi? Look!--what wonderful stones, how great are these buildings!"

But Jesus said to him, and to them in answer:

"You see all these vast buildings, do you?

"I tell you truly, about the things you are looking at:

"not one stone will be left upon another

"which will not be torn away..."

Matthew 22:41-46
Matthew 23:1-39
Matthew 24:1-2
Mark 12:35-44
Mark 13:1-2
Luke 11:42-44
Luke 11:47-51
Luke 20:41-47
Luke 21:1-6

[Next time: The Greater Condemnations Part 2]


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