Saturday, November 05, 2005

Gospel of Mark: Chapter Three

And Yeshu again entered the synagogue.[1] A certain man was there with a withered hand. And they watched him whether he would work a cure upon him on the Sabbath so that they might bring an accusation against him. And he said to him, the man with the withered hand, “Stand up here in the midst!”. He also said unto them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good, or that which is Evil? To save life or to destroy it?” But they were silent. And he looked upon them with indignation, while it grieved him because of the hardness of their hearts. And he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand!” And he stretched it and his hand straightened. And the Pharisees went out immediately and took counsel against him that they may destroy him[2].

And Yeshu went with his disciples towards the sea. And many people joined him from Galilee, and from Judea and from Jerusalem and from Edom and from beyond the Jordan, and from Tyre and Sidon. Great multitudes came unto him having heard all that he had done[3]. And he told his disciples to bring a boat for him that the crowds might not crush him for he had healed multitudes until they were rushing upon him to touch him. And they were those troubled with unclean spirits. When they saw him they fell down and cried out, saying, “You are the Son of God!” But he strongly prohibited them from making himself known.[4]

And he ascended a mountain and called those whom he had chosen and they came unto him. And he chose twelve to be with him and sent them out to preach and to have authority to heal diseases and to cast out devils. And he gave to Simeon the name Cephas[5] and upon Jacob Bar Zabdai and Jochannan the brother of Jacob he gave them the name of “Benai Regesh” which means Sons of Thunder[6]. And Andreas and Philipos[7] and Bar-Thulmai[8] and Mathai and Thoma[9] and Jacob bar Chalphai and Tadai[10] and Simeon the Canannean[11] and Judah Ish-Kerioth[12], who turned traitor.

And they came into a house and the crowd gathered again and it was so many that they could not eat bread. And his relatives heard and they went out to restrain him for they said, “He is out of his mind.”[13]

And the scribes who had come from Jerusalem said, “Beelzebub is in him and by the Prince of Devils does he cast out devils.” And Yeshu called them and by parables said unto them, “How can Satan cast out Satan? For if a kingdom against itself be divided, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rises against Satan, he is divided and cannot stand for he is at an end. No one can enter into the house of the strong and spoil his possessions unless he first binds the Strong Man, and then his house he may destroy. Amen, I say unto you that all sin and blasphemy which the sons of men blaspheme may be forgiven but whosoever shall blaspheme the Spirit of Holiness[14] has no forgiveness forever, but is condemned to the eternal judgment.[15]” He said this because they had said that an evil spirit was in him.

And there came unto him his mother and his brothers standing outside.[16] And they sent and called for him. But the congregation sat around him. And they said, “Look, your mother and your brothers are asking for you.” And he answered and said unto them, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” And looking to those who sat with him he said, “Behold, my mother and behold my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and my sister and my mother.”

[1] In Aramaic, “the Congregation”. The Jewish synagogue may have had its origins during the period that the Jews were in exile in Babylonia. In the Temple of Jerusalem the Jews worshiped with ritualistic animal sacrifices. The synagogue was centered around the reading and expositions of scriptures. At the time of Jesus synagogue worship began with Hebrew prayer and Bible readings in Hebrew. It was then followed by an oral translation of the Bible into Aramaic, called the Targum. This was given by a person called a meterguman. Afterwards, a rabbinic leader preached in Aramaic and the service was closed in an Aramaic prayer called the Kaddish.
[2] Here Jesus defies the traditional Jewish observance of the Sabbath. Jesus shows that is permissible to end human suffering on the Sabbath day.
[3] At the time of Christ the Holy Land was part of the Roman province of Syria. According to the Gospel of Matthew the fame of Jesus spread across all of Syria (Matthew 4:24). Aramaic means the language of Aram. Aram is the old way of saying ‘Syria’. Aramaic is still spoken in certain villages in Syria and was the language of Syria until the time of the Arabic conquest. During the public ministry of Jesus the Gospel spread into Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. According to Aramaic tradition found in the ‘Doctrine of Addai’, the Assyrian king, Abgar Ukamma heard of the fame of Jesus and sent a herald unto him.
[4] The devils recognized Jesus as the Son of God but Jesus refused to have them make him known mostly because his time had not yet come.
[5] In the Greek text the Aramaic word for stone, Kaipha, is used in John 1:42. Usually the Greek word, petros, or Peter, is used. However, Paul in his epistles uses the Aramaic form Cephas rather than the Greek form Peter (1 Corinthians 1:12, 3:22, Galatians 1:18, 2:9, 14). Paul wrote in Greek but occasionally used Aramaic in his epistles (Galatians 4:6, 1 Corinthians 16: 22, Romans 8:5). Paul uses the Aramaic ‘Maranatha’ prayer in his epistles. Maranatha is Aramaic for ‘Our Lord, Come’. Maran means ‘Our Lord’ and Atha in Aramaic means ‘come’.
[6] Here Galilean Aramaic is used “Benai Regesh” probably means more literally, “Sons of the Storm Wind” or “Tempestuous Ones”. Benai Ramo is “Sons of Thunder” in Eastern Aramaic. As with the word “Cephas” here we have Jesus giving his friends Aramaic, and not Greek, nick-names.
[7] These are the only two disciples with Greek names. All of the other apostles have Hebrew or Aramaic names. Andrew means manly and Phillip means fond of horses. Although they have Greek names Andrew’s brother, Simon Cephas, has a Hebrew and an Aramaic name and the friend of Phillip is Nathaniel, which is a Hebrew name (John 1:45).
[8] Bartholomew is an Aramaic name meaning Son of Ptolemy. Bar in Aramaic means ‘son of”. It is found often in the Greek New Testament. ‘Ben’ is the Hebrew word for ‘Son of’.
[9] Thomas is the Aramaic word for ‘twin’ (see John 21:2). According to ancient Aramaic texts Thomas was the nick name given to a carpenter from Galilee named Judah. He was called the Twin because he looked as if he was the identical twin of Jesus. Judah Thomas went and preached the Gospel in Persia and India, where he died a martyr’s death. Archeologists have discovered a Gospel of Thomas, but it seems to be authentic but the version that has been discovered has been altered by some sort of heretical sect. There is also the Aramaic ‘Acts of Thomas’ which chronicles his missionary exploits in India.
[10] Thaddeus is called ‘Addai’ in Aramaic. He was also named Judah and had two Aramaic nicknames, Thaddeus in Aramaic means ‘breast’ or ‘nipple’ and his other Aramaic name is Lebbeaus from the Aramaic word, Leba, which means ‘heart’. Thaddeus was commissioned by Thomas to preach the Gospel to the Assyrians, the Chaldeans and the Babylonians. Thaddeus converted Abgar the King of Edessa to Christianity. Important works bearing Thaddeus’s name includes “The Doctrine of Addai” and “the Hallowing of Mar Mari and Mar Addai” which is the most ancient liturgy still in use and is the official order of service of the Ancient Assyrian Church of the East.
[11] The “Canaanean” here is an ancient Aramaic word for “Zealot”. Simon was a Zealot for the Law of Moses but was also a terrorist or insurgent before coming to faith in Jesus as the Messiah.
[12] This is a Hebrew term meaning “Man from Kerioth”. Kerioth was a town in Judea. All of Jesus’ disciples were from Galilee with the exception of Judas who was a Judean.
[13] Like Peter and all of the apostles, the family of Jesus also experienced a lapse of faith. Another lapse of faith is mentioned in John 7:6. But it must be born in mind that despite these periods of doubt the mother of Jesus and his brothers, James the Just, Joseph, Simon and Jude were followers of Jesus. James and Jude wrote epistles. The Bible declares that the family of Jesus were with him, following him at the beginning of the ministry (John 2:12), during his passion (John 19:25) and immediately thereafter (Acts 1: 14). James the Just, not Peter, became the leader of the church (Acts 15: 16-21). The brothers of Jesus also led the church and evangelized (1 Corinthians 9:5).
[14] Jesus was anointed with Power by the Holy Spirit.
[15] Here we have the Biblical teaching that some sins are worse than others and certain sins carry heavier penalties than others. See John 5:16-17 and Luke 12:47-48.
[16] Other ancient texts also mention sisters as well. It is believed that the names of Jesus sisters were Mary and Salome. The Roman Catholic church teaches that ‘brothers’ here is not literal but an Aramaic expression meaning ‘near-kinsmen’ and ‘close relatives’. Eastern Orthodox Christians believe that the brothers of Jesus were children from Joseph’s prior marriage before he married Mary. Protestants interpret this scripture literally, meaning that after the Virgin Birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph had children together.


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