26Μὴ οὖν φοβηθῆτε αὐτούς: οὐδὲν γάρ ἐστιν κεκαλυμμένον ὃ οὐκἀποκαλυφθήσεται, καὶ κρυπτὸν ὃ οὐ γνωσθήσεται. 27ὃ λέγω ὑμῖν ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ, εἴπατε ἐν τῷ φωτί: καὶ ὃεἰς τὸ οὖς ἀκούετε, κηρύξατε ἐπὶ τῶν δωμάτων. 28καὶ μὴ φοβεῖσθε ἀπὸ τῶν ἀποκτεννόντων τὸ σῶμα, τὴνδὲ ψυχὴν μὴ δυναμένων ἀποκτεῖναι: φοβεῖσθε δὲ μᾶλλον τὸν δυνάμενον καὶ ψυχὴν καὶ σῶμα ἀπολέσαιἐν γεέννῃ. 29οὐχὶ δύο στρουθία ἀσσαρίου πωλεῖται; καὶ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν οὐ πεσεῖται ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ἄνευ τοῦπατρὸς ὑμῶν. 30ὑμῶν δὲ καὶ αἱ τρίχες τῆς κεφαλῆς πᾶσαι ἠριθμημέναι εἰσίν. 31μὴ οὖν φοβεῖσθε: πολλῶνστρουθίων διαφέρετε ὑμεῖς. 32Πᾶς οὖν ὅστις ὁμολογήσει ἐν ἐμοὶ ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ὁμολογήσωκἀγὼ ἐν αὐτῷ ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν [τοῖς] οὐρανοῖς: 33ὅστις δ' ἂν ἀρνήσηταί με ἔμπροσθεντῶν ἀνθρώπων, ἀρνήσομαι κἀγὼ αὐτὸν ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν [τοῖς] οὐρανοῖς. 34Μὴ νομίσητεὅτι ἦλθον βαλεῖν εἰρήνην ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν: οὐκ ἦλθον βαλεῖν εἰρήνην ἀλλὰ μάχαιραν. 35ἦλθον γὰρ διχάσαιἄνθρωπον κατὰ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ καὶ θυγατέρα κατὰ τῆς μητρὸς αὐτῆς καὶ νύμφην κατὰ τῆς πενθερᾶςαὐτῆς, 36καὶ ἐχθροὶ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οἱ οἰκιακοὶ αὐτοῦ. 37Ὁ φιλῶν πατέρα ἢ μητέρα ὑπὲρ ἐμὲ οὐκ ἔστιν μουἄξιος: καὶ ὁ φιλῶν υἱὸν ἢ θυγατέρα ὑπὲρ ἐμὲ οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος: 38καὶ ὃς οὐ λαμβάνει τὸν σταυρὸναὐτοῦ καὶ ἀκολουθεῖ ὀπίσω μου, οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος. 39ὁ εὑρὼν τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ ἀπολέσει αὐτήν, καὶ ὁἀπολέσας τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ εὑρήσει αὐτήν
26“So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 27What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32“Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.34“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. 37Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
v26 μη ... φοβηθητε (φοβεομαι) aor. subj. "do not be afraid of" - a subjunctive of prohibition.
αυτους pro. "them" - Within the context likely the religious authorities (Pharisees, etc.)
εστιν κεκαλυμμενον (καλυπτω) perf. pas. part. "concealed/veiled” an adverbial, concessive; so "there is nothing so carefully hidden that it: ο ουκ αποκαλυφθησεται (αποκαλυπτω) fut. pas. "will not be disclosed" – a theological passive indicating that God is the one who will reveal.
v27 υμιν dat. pro. "[what I tell] you" – a dative of indirect object εν σκοτια + dat. "in the dark" i.e. in private τω/ φωτι (ως ωτος) "[in] the light" i.e. in public.
ο εις το ους ακουετε "what is whispered in our ear" - the singular supports the one-to-one nature of the message, so "whispered" is best. Unlike the persecutors who hide their evil motivations behind a cloak of self-righteousness, disciples must proclaim the message from a public pulpit.
v28 των αποκτεννοντων (αποκτεινω) gen. part. "the ones killing”
μη δυναμενων "the ones who has no power"
αποκτειναι (αποκτεινω) aor. inf. "to kill”.
δε μαλλον "rather" – a preferred alternative
τον δυναμενον (δυναμαι) " One who HAS power" –God the final judge, not humans, is to be feared, (al la Luther: obeyed, respected, trusted).
απολεσαι (απολλυμι) aor. inf. "to destroy" - completing the verbal sense of "being able." "Destroy" here in the sense of "cast into hell" a power reserved to God, casting a person into ‘outer darkness” not a “soul”.
ψυχην (η) literally “life or inner life” referring to the divine spark only God can extinguish.
γε’εννη (α) "rubbish pit" the valley outside of the walls of Jerusalem which served as the city dump where trash and occasionally the dead body of one too poor to have a family tomb were dumped and burned. Matthew’s exact reference here is unclear; it could be ‘hades’ or ‘sheol’ (abode of the dead) or least likely “hell” (some place of punishment) Matthew’s intent is unclear and our subsequent translations unhelpful!
v29 ουχι "[are] not" - used for a question expecting a positive answer.
πωλειται (πωλεω) pres. pas. "sold" - offered for sale.
ασσαριου (ον) gen. "for a penny" – the Roman ασ was one sixteenth of a drachma the normal pay for a day laborer.
ανευ + gen. "apart from [your Father's care]" - probably in a less direct sense "knowledge". The sparrow is the cheapest bird sold in the market - poultry of the poor.
v30 υμων gen. pro. "you” emphatic- "as for you",
της κεφαλης (η) gen. "the hairs of your head".
ηριθμημεναι (αριθμεω) perf. pas. part. "[are all] numbered/counted” and really - who ouldgoto all that trouble? (Although for some this is easier than for others!)
v31 φοβεισθε (φοβεω) imp. "don't be afraid" a second time.
διαφερετε (διαφερω) pres. "worth more" – literally to “differentiate” carries the sense of “worth more than”.
πολλων στρουθιων (ον) gen. " many sparrows" - ablative expressing comparison.
v32 ομολογησει (ομολογεω) fut. "acknowledge/confess/promise” literally to “publicly declare allegiance" although the word allows for something softer like "if anyone should declare himself for me". Given the context, the situation may be the "acknowledgement" in a court case or in the face of a hostile crowd although a more modern “soft acceptance" cannot be ruled out as in the public affirmation of a Creed.
εν εμοι "in me” – a Semeticism, a dative of advantage, "whoever declares themselves for me".
εμπροσθεν + gen. "in front of” special in the sense of a confession before legal authorities or in public worship.
v33 αρνησηται (αρνεομαι) aor. subj. "disowns" – literally to shun (the Amish solution at last!).
v34 μη νομισητε (νομιζω) aor. subj. "do not suppose" – a subjunctive of prohibition.
ηλθον (ερχομαι) aor. "I have come" – curiously Jesus does not use the more common Semitic formulation “I was born” cf. John.
βαλειν (βαλλω) aor. inf. "throw, cast, put, place” the infinitive here expresses purpose; "in order to bring." The context defines the meaning, given that the word doesn't really mean "bring" although this may be a bit light applied to "sword". So perhaps "I did not come to bring peace, but to wield a μαχαιραν (a) "sword" an idiom for strife.
v35 διχασαι (διχαζω) aor. inf. literally "to cut into two” – an act of overt violence. There is no subtlety intended here. . Division is a consequence of Jesus' coming. It is interesting to note that in Rabbinic tradition division was an evil that served as a sign of the coming messiah.
v36 του ανθρωπου (ος) gen. "a man's" εχθροι (ος) "enemies" normally used of being at odds with someone, expressed strongly, "enemy", more softly, "opponent".
οι οικιακοι (ος) "will be the members of [his own] household" – i.e. the extended household including servants and hangers on – a rather important distinction. The more modern translation might be ‘neighborhood, church, workplace, community”
v37 ο φιλων (φιλεω) part. "anyone who loves" A distinction is often drawn between the more common New Testament word αγαπαω (to show compassion) and φιλεω (to show affection). But in truth in Κοινε there is little difference; it seems the point loyalty, familial relationships are important, but must not be idolized.
αξιος adj. "worthy [of me]" - show oneself to be fit.
v38 ου λαμβανει (λαμβανω) pres. "[whoever] does not take up/receive”. While most translators are inclined toward taking up rather than receiving (a remove from legalism) one cannot escape the obvious that no one volunteers for crucifixion - no one (including Jesus). One might be willing to risk it as an abstract consequence, but this is no Monty Python movie where everyone ends up on a cross singing “Always look on the bright side of life”.
σταυρον (ος) "cross" – the upright pole upon which the horizontal member was hung. This must be used in a figurative sense as it is a very strong image, given that people at the time would have seen criminals picking up a timber cross-member and carrying it to the place of their execution. It is an image of the one-way road to death but wow, it seems so much outside the experience of most of those hearing (and given Matthew’s community – Antioch - not normative). While crucifixion was a Roman practice, I was not common to all locations, usually only in those places where brigands were common, like Judea or Southern Italy during the slave revolt, or Rome itself when Nero was in charge. So this comment makes most sense as a post resurrection gloss, so I would argue first that this is either not an authentic Jesus saying or it does not mean what we think it means, so we need to be very clear and careful in its use. Assuming it si an authentic Jesus saying, this hearers would have been scandalized by the content and so would have disregarded or puzzled over it. Out modern hearers will trivialize or redefine it. In either event the hearer misses Jesus’ point. Discipleship is an all or nothing proposition, it is not a hobby, or a political conviction that can be put on like a suit of clothes and stored in the closet at night. It is a lifestyle, a radical realignment of priorities and values. It is more than a head trip, more than an emotional response, more than a conviction – it is the answering of a call. It begins with two acts of the will, first with God’s perfect will and second with our imperfect response. But discipleship requires BOTH. This is not about salvation we do a disservice to God when we equate the two. Discipleship is a life altering reconstruction and reclamation project head to toe, past to future, top to bottom. Bonhoeffer ‘s experience is illustrative. One wonders if he would have written “when he calls a man to discipleship, he bids him to come and die” in 1945 as he awaited death in Dachau with the same meaning and intenisty as he did when it was first published in 1936 as he was still teaching at Union Seminary?
και BDF suggests that this second "and" is actually equivalent to και ουδε, "and yet", "and yet follows me", "following" in the sense of serving as a disciple. The disciple who doesn't take up their cross, but still performs the role of a disciple, is no disciple of Jesus. - somewhat concerning if true and to the point of above.
ακολουθει απισω "follow after/behind, in the way of” μου gen. pro. me" Jesus is modeling a lifestyle, not a religion, although the two are not incompatible= again to the point of above. This is the heart of this text.
v39 ο ευρων (ευρισκω) aor. part. "whoever finds/discovers" - the aorist is proleptic – indicating an action that has not yet occurred – crucifixion and resurrection make discipleship possible (although as praxis would bear out, not bloody likely)
ψυχην (η) "life" - The word can refer to inner life or the divine spark only God can extinguish. Many commentators argue that, particularly here, it just means "self."
ο οπολεσας (απολλυμι) aor. part. "whoever loses/destroys” - conveys the idea, so one gives up inner life ενεκεν + gen. "for [my] sake" - "on my account".