On Tuesday morning the pastors of Lutheran Saints in Ministry gather in Fairborn Ohio to discuss the texts for Sunday.

These are the contributions that are brought to the table.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December 15 - What the Text Says, by Pr. Fourman

Matthew 11:1-10
11:1  At this point, Matthew gives us a summary of Jesus ministry. Luke goes to greater detail so we have a better understanding of why John would now have doubts about Jesus' messiahship, i.e. Jesus' actions are similar to Elijah, so is Jesus only the coming Elijah, the one who prepares for the coming messiah?
και εγενετο - and it came about a typical introductory formula; 
οτε "after" – when a temporal clause, 
ετελεσεν (τελεω) aor. "had finished" - completed, completely ended, fulfilled
διατασσων (διατασσω) part. "instructing" complementary, completing the sense of the verb "completed" likely referring to the commissioning of the disciples in chapter 10.
τοις δωδεκα μαθηταις dat. "[his] twelve disciples
μετεβη (μεταβαινω) aor. "he moved on, departed "
του διδασκειν και κηρυσσειν pres. inf. "to teach and preach" a final clause expressing purpose; so more properly "in order to preach and teach" – he is done insgtructing one kind of follower, and now he moves on to instruct another kind.  
v2  Matthew now recounts Jesus' meeting with the disciples of John and Jesus' reply. As noted above, John's doubts may well be related to his wrong reading of Jesus' ministry so this account comes off as somewhat negative, an implied rebuke, "blessed is he who does not take offence at me" v6; "the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he", v11. None-the-less, the rebuke of v6 does not require one to believe that John's expectation was wrong, but only that he was slow to read the evidence. Jesus summarizes the signs associated with the coming of the messiah to proclaim the day of salvation, blessing and cursing. These signs authenticate Jesus' messianic role.
ακουσας (ακουω) aor. part. "when [John ....] heard" - having heard. Za Greek word used often in relation to disciples.  Disciples ‘follow” ακουαλεθε –they hear and respond.  
του Χριστου (ος) gen. "[what] Christ [was doing/[the deeds [of Messiah]" a genitive treated a possessive. Matthew is underlining who John is questioning; a brave move on John's part. τα εργα (ον) "the works” probably works = miracles
πεμψας (πεμπω) aor. part. "having sent. action accompanying the adverbial participle "having heard"; "when he heard ... he sent." 
ειπεν (ειπον οραω) aor. "to ask
συ "[are] you" - emphatic position,  ο ερχομενος (ερχομαι) pres. part. "the one coming?”. 
προσδοκωμεν (προσδοκαω) sub. "should we expect/ literally wait for” a present indicative with a future sense, "Should we wait for someone else?" the "we" means "we Jews", not "we disciples of John."

αποκριθεις (αποκρινομαι) part. "answering ... [said. attendant circumstance - a common Semitic construction in the NT; "and answering He said ".
πορευθεντες (πορευομαι) aor. pas. part. "going back report" "Go and tell", α ακουετε και βλεπετε "what you hear and see" - the words and the works (what is plural).
αναβλεπουσιν (αναβλεπω) pres. "receive sight" can look up again, the prefix adds the sense "again", "people who are blind see again" not "all blind people."
ευαγγελιζονται pres. pas. "the good news is proclaimed to" - πτωχοι adj. "the poor" – literally the abject poor, the beggars, those who have nothing, the disempowered. Only "leper" in this list is a noun, the rest are adjectives serving as nouns.
μακαριος adj. "blessed"  a declaration of a favored status before God. The person who believes in Jesus is forgiven and appropriates the covenant blessings.
μη σκανδαλισθη/ (σκανδαλιζω) pas. sub. "does not fall way/take offense”. The sense is of drifting in one's reliance on Jesus, allowing doubts to flourish, so, has "no doubts about me, does not lose faith in me".

v7   The Baptist serves as "the last and greatest of the prophets, fulfilling the role of foretold in Malachi 3:1 and 4:5-6 - ushering in the time of salvation. In this passage Matthew has compiled three sayings, with only the first found in Luke (7:24-28).  Luke uses the second saying elsewhere, (16:16) 
τουτων ... πορευμενων (πορευομαι) gen. pres. part. "as John's disciples were leaving" indicating ongoing action; "while/as/at the time they were leaving."
λεγειν (λεγω) pres. inf. "[Jesus began] to say" – i.e. he was no longer talikng to them but τοις οχλοις (ος) dat. "to the crowd" - Dative of indirect object.
θεασασθαι (θεαομαι) aor. inf. "to see, behold, gaze at, gawk at”  an infinitive that expresses purpose, "in order to …"; "When you went out into the wilderness in order to observe the prophet John, what did you expect to see?"
ημφιεσμενον (αμφιεννυμι) perf. pas. / mid. part. "dressed"  in τα μαλακα adj. "fancy clothes" fancy; think silks and satins – the dress of the rich and famous.
περισσοτερον (περισσος) adj. comp. "more" means "more than abundant", and in it's comparative form, as here, "greater than abundant / abundantly more" i.e. the Baptist is someone who is greater α προφητου (ης ου) gen. "than a prophet" genitive is ablative, of comparison.
v10  This quotation from Mal.3:1 influenced by Ex.23:20. The LXX has "before my face ..... before me."
γεγραπται (γραφω) perf. pas. "it is written" - it stands written. "John is the one of whom the scriptures declare .." 
κατασκευασει (κατασκευαζω) fut. "will prepare - will get ready, equip, furnish”. In the Malachi 3:1 quotation, Yahweh sends the messenger to prepare for his coming. Here, Jesus identifies himself with Yahweh as the manifestation of Yahweh John is preparing for.

την οδον (ος) "the way" – a road building image employed where the road is made straight to speed the return of the King - a throwback to the Persians (and in Jesus’ day the Romans) who built straight roads to facilitate the movement of troops from one part of the empire to another and thus extend royal power.  

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