The King of Stories -- Lawyers and Second Comings

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.)

Be aware, this is an especially long entry.

Lawyers and Second Comings (8 and 7 days until the end...)

Now it happened that when Jesus finished these declarations (says the Disciple, seconded by the Follower, meaning the teaching on forgiveness seven times and seventy-times-and-seven, while back in Capernaum before the final mission-tour to Jerusalem had begun), He got up and went from Galilee; (eventually) coming into the region of Judea beyond the Jordan (past Jericho, east of Jerusalem 20 miles or more).

Now the Passover of the Jews was near (the Evangelist says, taking his turn of the story for a moment), and many went up out of the countryside into Jerusalem before the Passover, in order to purify themselves (in the week before the Night itself).

So they sought Jesus, and they said as they stood with one another in the Temple, "What do you think...?--that he will absolutely not be coming to the Feast?"

But the chief priests and the Pharisees had given commands, that if anyone is knowing where He is (alone), he should be reporting it, so that they might arrest Him (without fear of the crowd's reaction).


But crowds gathered round Him again (say the other storytellers--Jesus had gone somewhere else instead of straight to Jerusalem, as told in the previous chapter, foiling the plan of the priests to arrest Him quietly before the crowds knew He was near); and He healed them there (beyond the Jordan), and began once more to teach them as He often did.

Now some Pharisees came up to Him, testing Him, inquiring of Him, saying:

"Is it lawful for a man to send away his wife for any reason?"

Now He answers them and says, "What does Moses command you?"

And they said, "Moses permits 'to write a scroll of divorce and send her away'." (quoting Deuteronomy)

Yet Jesus said to them, "Have you not read, that He the Maker from the beginning, 'made them male and female'? And said 'For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'?

"Consequently, they are no longer two, but one flesh.

"What God, then, yokes together, let no one separate!"

They said to Him, "Why did Moses command, to give her a scroll of divorce and send her away?!"

He said to them: "He wrote this in reference to the hardness of your hearts!--permitting you to send away your wives. But from the beginning it has not been this way!

"Now I am telling you: whoever sends away his wife, except for prostitution, and marries another woman, makes her commit adultery." (And, in early copies of the Follower's account, "And he who marries a woman thus sent away, commits adultery.")

The disciples are saying to Him: "If the cause of a man with a woman is thus, it is better not to (legally) marry!"

But He said to them, "Not everyone can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way from the womb; and there are eunuchs made no longer men by men; and eunuchs who emasculate themselves for the sake of the kingdom of the heavens.

"The one who can accept this, let him accept it."

[Footnote: otherwise, by implication, if a man cannot hold to this level of obligation -relationship to a woman, let the man make himself a eunuch for the kingdom of God!]

Now in the house (afterward) the disciples questioned Him again about this.

And He said to them: "Whoever sends away his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if she herself sends away her husband and marries another, she is committing adultery."


Little children were brought to Him then (probably the next morning--7 days before the end), that He might place His hands on them, and pray. Yet the disciples rebuke them!

But seeing this, Jesus resents this!--and calls to them, saying, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them!--for of such is the kingdom of God!

"I tell you truly (once again), whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child, absolutely may not enter into it!"

And holding them in His arms, and placing His hands on them in benediction, He went away from there.


Now as He was going out (of the house, tells the Follower with the Disciple and the Scholar; meaning on the way to Jerusalem)--look! a certain wealthy chief runs up to Him, and falls before Him on his knees, imploring of Him: "Good Rabbi! What good shall I do to enjoy the allotment of God's own life?!"

[Plotnote: this takes place in the general vicinity of an earlier similar question put less urgently, more as a test, by a certain lawyer--answered by Jesus with the parable of the Good Samaritan, also set in the same general locale! The convergences here are interesting...]

But Jesus said to him, "Why do you ask Me about the good? One is 'the good'! Why do you call Me 'good'? No one is good but One, the God! (i.e. referring to the Jewish Shema proclamation 'The Lord thy God the Lord is One!')

"Yet if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments."

He said to Him, "Which ones?!"

But Jesus said: "You know the commandments. 'Do not murder; do not adulter; do not steal; do not falsely testify; honor your father and mother'--do not cheat (in other words)--and 'You must love your neighbor as yourself'."

[Plotnote: Jesus is giving the Second Table of the Ten Words (with two summaries, one from Leviticus)--the ones directing fairness toward our neighbor. Notice again the similarities with the Good Samaritan parable from that earlier incident...]

The young man strongly declared to Him: "All these things I do, and have done since my childhood! What am I lacking?!"

And hearing this, Jesus looks at him, and loves him, and declares to him: "You lack one thing! If you wish to be complete, go and sell the things you have and give the proceeds to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven! Now come, pick up the cross, and follow Me!"

[Plotnote: Jesus does not reference the First Table of the Ten Words here--the ones directed toward serving God. Instead, He says to follow Himself!]

But when the young man heard all this declaration, his face fell, and he was grieved and went away; for he was one who owned much property, being extremely rich.

And Jesus, seeing him sorrow-stricken, turned to His disciples, saying, "How sick at their stomach ('ill-foods') shall those who have the money be, entering into the kingdom of God!"

Now the disciples were awe-struck. Yet Jesus answers them, saying again:

"Children, how just like being sick at their stomach it is, for those who trust in money to be entering into the kingdom of the heavens! For it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle, than for the rich to be entering into the kingdom of God."

Now hearing this, the disciples were vastly astonished, saying consequently: "But who can be saved??!"

Yet Jesus, looking at them, said, "By people, this is impossible; but not by God. For all things impossible by people are possible with God."

Then answering, Peter begins to say to Him, "Look here! We are leaving everything, and we follow you! How then will it be with us?!"

And He said to them, "I tell you truly: there is no one leaving their house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields, on My account and on account of the good news--on account of the kingdom of God!--who shall not by all means be getting back a hundredfold during this time: houses and brothers and sisters and mother and father and children and fields... with persecutions!

"And in the age to come, they shall be enjoying the inheritance of God's own life.

"Truly I tell you, in the Arrival, whenever the Son of Man should be seated on the throne of His glory, that you who follow Me shall also be sitting on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

"Yet many first shall be the last, and last the first.

"For the kingdom of the heavens can be likened to a man, a householder, who went out at the same time as the sunrise to hire workers for his vineyard. And agreeing with the workers for a daywage for the day, he sends them into his vineyard.

[Plotnote: a householder wouldn't normally do this, but would rather send his steward to hire any poor men waiting desperately for a job that day. The householder in the story is thus shown from the outside to be a strongly compassionate character.]

"Now, coming out about 9 o'clock, he saw some others standing idle in the market square. And to those he said, 'You also go into my vineyard; and whatever may be fair, I will be giving you.' And they come away.

"And coming out again about 12 and 3 o'clock, he does the same.

"Now at about 5 o'clock, coming out, he found others standing there. And he is saying to them, 'Why do you stand here the whole day idle!?'

"They are saying to him, ' one hires us.' [Plotnote: but they persist anyway, long after anyone else would have given up hope.]

"He is saying to them, 'You also go into the vineyard.'

"Now evening coming on (at 6 o'clock, one hour later), the master of the vineyard says to his manager, 'Call in the workers and pay them the wages, beginning from last to the first.'

"And those hired about the eleventh hour (5 o'clock) got a daywage apiece.

"And coming along, the first infer (from this) that they will be getting more! But they also got a daywage apiece.

"Now receiving this, they growled against the householder saying, 'These last ones do one hour (of work), and you make them equal to us--the ones who bear the burden of the day and scorching heat!'

"Yet answering one of them, he said, 'Friend, I am not injuring you! Did you not agree with me for a daywage? Pick up what is yours and go away! Now I want to give to this last one even as to you--am I not allowed to do what I want with what is mine?! Or do you have an evil eye, because I am good??'

"Thus the last shall be the first, and first the last."


Now they were on the road, going up into Jerusalem (from where they were, east of Jordan River), and Jesus went ahead of them. And they (the disciples) were awe-struck, and those who followed (having heard what He had been recently saying) feared.

But taking the Twelve aside again, He begins to tell them what is about to happen to Him: "Look! we are going up into Jerusalem, and everything will happen to the Son of Man as written through the prophets. For the Son of Man will be given up to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and will give Him up to the pagan men, and will be mocking Him and spitting on Him, and scourging Him, and crucifying Him, and killing Him!--but on the third day, He will be raised."

Yet they understood none of these things; and this saying was hidden from them; and they did not comprehend the things that were said.

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came toward Him, with her sons James and John, bowing down and making Him a request, saying to Him: "Rabbi, we wish for you to do for us whatever we ask of you!"

Now He said to them, "What do you wish?"

She said to Him: "Decree that in your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit, one on your right, and one on your left!"

"Give us this," they said to him, "that we may sit in your glory!"

But Jesus said to them: "You are not aware what you are asking for! Are you able to drink the cup that I am drinking, or to be baptized with the baptism by which I am being baptized?!"

And they said to Him, "We are able!"

But Jesus said to them, "The cup I drink, you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism by which I am being baptized.

"But to sit on My right or left... this isn't Mine to give; but it is for the ones for whom My Father has prepared it."

Now hearing this, the (other) ten resent the brothers James and John.

But calling them to Him, Jesus is saying to them: "You know the ones who presume to be chiefs of the pagans lord it over them, and their mighty men coerce them. Yet not thus is it with you!--but whoever may want to be great among you, will be your servant. And whoever may want to be first among you, will be the slave of all.

"For even the Son of Man has come, not to be served, but to serve!--

"...and to give His soul instead, paying the freedom for many."


A crowd of ten thousand was now assembled (says the Scholar, taking his turn of the tale for a while), so that they were trampling on one another!

At which (while He walked the Jericho road westward toward Jerusalem), He begins saying to His disciples first:

"Beware the leaven of the Pharisees!--which is, hypocrisy. (referring back to something He said on their final trip by boat together on Galilee Lake)

"Now, there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known! Instead, whatever you say in the dark shall be heard in the light, and whatever you speak in the ear in the inner rooms shall be heralded on the housetops!

"But I am saying to you, My friends--do not be afraid of those who kill the body, yet after this they have no worse that they can do to you. Now I will tell you as a friend whom you should fear: be afraid of Him Who after killing has authority to cast you in the flaming garbage dump! Certainly I tell you, be afraid of this One!

"Five sparrows are sold for two copper coins, aren't they? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God's sight! And even the hairs of your head have all been numbered!

"So do not fear!--you are worth more than many sparrows!

"Now I tell you: whoever swears the truth of Me in front of people, the Son of Man shall also swear the truth of him in front of the angels of God!

"But whoever denies Me in front of people, will be renounced before the angels of God.

"Yet anyone who declares a word against the Son of Man, it shall be pardoned him!

"But, whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit shall not be pardoned.

"Now whenever they bring you before the synagogues and authorities and chiefs, you should not be worrying how or what your defense should be, or what you may say, for the Holy Spirit will be teaching you in that same hour what you should be saying."


Now someone said to Him out of the crowd: "Rabbi, tell my brother to divide the enjoyment of the inheritance with me!"

But He said to him, "Man!--who makes Me a judge or arbiter over you?"

And He said to them (turning to the crowd to teach, basing the topics on this and other things that happened earlier in the morning):

"Beware!--and be on your guard, against every greed; for the life of one is not in all his many possessions!"

Now He told them a parable, saying:

"A rich man's land was bearing well; and so he reasoned in himself, saying, 'What shall I be doing?--for I have nowhere to gather my grains!'

"Now he said, 'I will be doing this!--I will pull down my barns, and build even larger ones! And I will gather there all of my grain, and my good things, and I will be telling my self, "Self, you have laid up many good things for many years to come. Rest, eat, drink, be merry!"'

"But God said to him, 'You fool! They are demanding your soul from you this night--and what you make ready, whose will it be!?'

"Thus is he who hoards for himself; and is not rich toward God."

And He said to His disciples, "I am telling you, therefore: do not be worrying your soul what you may eat, nor what you should be putting on your body. For the soul is more than food, and the body more than clothes.

"Consider the ravens: they do not sow, nor do they reap anything which needs a storeroom or barn--and yet God feeds them. How much more worth are you than birds!

"Now which of you, by being anxious, can increase his length of life by even half an arm? So if you cannot do even a little thing, why are you worrying over the rest?

"Consider the krinoi (common flowers of Palestine, blooming now in the springtime)--how they grow! They do not toil, nor do they spin; yet I tell you, Solomon (King of Israel past) in all his glory was not clothed as one of these! Now, if God thus dresses the grass in the field, which is today and tomorrow is thrown in the stove--how much more are you, little believers?!

"Now do not seek what you may eat and drink, and do not worry. For these things, all the nations of the world are seeking; but your Father is aware that you need these. You be seeking the kingdom of God, however, and all these will be added to you.

"Fear not, dearest flock!--for your Father delights to give the kingdom to you! Sell your possessions, and give in mercy. Make yourselves purses which do not age, a treasure which never shall fail in heaven, where a thief cannot come near, nor yet a moth will ruin.

"For your heart will be wherever your treasure is."

Yet He also said to the crowd:

"Whenever you see a cloud coming up in the west, immediately you say, 'A rainstorm is coming!'; and so it happens.

"And whenever it blows from the south, you say, 'It will be scorching!'; and so it happens.

"Hypocrites!--you know how to judge the appearance of earth and sky, yet you do not know how to judge this time! Now why, even on your own initiative, will you not judge what is fair!?

"For as you are going away with the one who accuses you to the magistrate, take action on the way in order to settle with him!--lest at some time, he may be dragging you to the judge; and the judge give you up to the sheriff; and the sheriff be casting you into jail!

"I am telling you: you absolutely shall not be departing from there, until you will pay up the very last cent."

Now on the same occasion (says the Scholar) some who were present reported to Him concerning the Galileans (actually the Samaritans--the two were often conflated together derisively by Judean residents taking pride in proximity to Jerusalem) whose blood Pilate mixed with their sacrifices.

But answering, Jesus said to them: "Are you supposing, because they suffered such things, these Galileans had come to be sinners beyond all other Galileans?! I tell you, no!

"Yet if you do not willingly choose to do better, you all shall likewise be perishing!

"Or those eighteen on whom the Siloam tower fell, killing them--do you suppose they had come to be debtors beyond all of the people who dwell in Jerusalem?! I tell you, no!

"Yet if you do not willingly choose to do better...

" all shall likewise be perishing!"

And He told this parable:

"A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard. And he came, seeking its fruit--and found none.

"Now he said toward the vineyard-ist, 'Look! For three years I am coming seeking fruit on this tree, and I am not finding any! So chop it down! Why does it even use up the ground!?'

"But he is saying to him in answer, 'Master, leave it this year as well, and let me be digging and casting manure around it (for fertilizer).

"'And if it is bearing fruit next year...?'

"'Otherwise (says the Lord), chop it down!'"

[Plotnote: fig trees and vineyards were often figures of Israel and Jerusalem in Jewish analogies. Remember, Jesus has been going to Jerusalem now for almost three years; although the Scholar has not been telling us of this directly. Neither has the Disciple or the Follower; only the Evangelist. This parable that the Scholar reports, however, references it in a fairly clear analogy. Meanwhile, Jesus so far has been very careful in His ministry, not to say or do anything that might call Pilate's suspicious attentions down on Him prematurely. That includes in this section of the story, on the final road to Jerusalem. More on this later...]

Matthew 6:19-21
Matthew 6:25-34
Matthew 10:29-33
Matthew 19:1-30
Matthew 20:1-28
Mark 10:1-45
Luke 12:1-32
Luke 12:54-59
Luke 13:1-9
Luke 18:15-34
John 11:55-57

[Next time: Dinners and Proposals (7 and 6 days until the end...)


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