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.

Monday, April 14, 2014

he Greek Text of Matthew 28 - Pr. Fourman

Matthew 28:1-10

Almost every verb in this account is aorist.  For those who disremember, the aorist tense is the standard tense used for telling a story in Koine’ Greek. The ordinary distinction between this tense and the active is between actions considered single undivided events and actions that portray a continuous events, i.e. events with continued or ongoing impact and significance..

v 1 Ὀψὲ δὲ σαββάτων gen. plural“late on [the evening of] the Sabbath”  a genitive of time, our understanding of the Hebrew clock is skewed; this would have been at the last possible moment of the Sabbath day (Sundown Friday to sundown Saturday) so we are talking midnight Saturday night.  τῇ ἐπιφωσκούσῃ εἰς μίαν σαββάτωνit being close to dawn of the Sabbath”
ἦλθεν Μαριὰμ   Μαγδαληνὴ καὶ ἄλλη Μαρία θεωρῆσαι τὸν τάφον aorist infinitive active , “Mary of Magdala and the other Mary saw the tomb”  literally “they came in order to look at the tomb” an aorist implies past action with  present and future implications.  That is, they were not aware in the moment of the importance of seeing the tomb as it was.

ἐξ οὐρανοῦ  active aorist participle “and they saw a great earthquake and an angel of the Lord [coming] from heaven”
The stone was “rolled away” (another aorist) and the angel was sitting on it, i.e. the stone, so their attention was not on the empty tomb, but on the stone to its side.

v 3 ἀστραπὴ “a flash of lightning/a sudden brightness” in the Old Testament blinding light accompanies a theophany; e.g. the burning bush or the pillar of fire of the Exodus.
ἔνδυμα αὐτοῦ λευκὸν ὡς χιών.and his clothing was snow white” - grammatically the phrase modifies the brightness, a clear reference back to the transfiguration – one of those Greek phrases that lead some scholars to conclude the transfiguration was itself a misplace resurrection story.

v 4 ἐσείσθησαν καὶ ἐγενήθησαν aorist passive; the guards “trembled and became” like dead men.  Again, to prostrate oneself in fear and trembling is an appropriate human response to a theophany.  One wonders why the two Marys were immune?  Perhaps wonder or grief overcame fear?
Μὴ φοβεῖσθε ὑμεῖς· an imperative “fear not” while this serves the same as an assurance, it is more like a king demanding one of his servants to stand up!  The fear of the unknown is replaced by the fear of authority (and in this case the trust that is implied).

v 5 οἶδα γὰρ ὅτι Ἰησοῦν τὸν ἐσταυρωμένον ζητεῖτε· present tense “for I know that you seek Jesus, the one that they crucified”  We often do not realize that the first case against the resurrection was one of mistaken identity.  They arrested/killed/buried the wrong man.  And Jesus was a fairly common name for that time.  So this is not just any Jesus, it is the one that they seek and the one that they crucified.  So this is not just formulaic, it lays to rest the first of their primal fears, that they are in the wrong place or that someone has taken the body away.

v 6 οὐκ ἔστιν ὧδε·ἠγέρθη γὰρ aorist indicative “he is not here, he is risen” 
καθὼς εἶπεν·aorst active indicative expressing intent “just as he told you
δεῦτε ἴδετε τὸν τόπον ὅπου ἔκειτο. An idiom “behold the place where they laid him” i.e. come and see for yourselves.  Seeing is believing.

v 7 καὶ ταχὺ πορευθεῖσαι participle “go quickly [and] having gone
εἴπατε τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ ὅτι Ἠγέρθη ἀπὸ τῶν νεκρῶν, “And say to his disciples that “He is risen from the dead…”  thus begins the first part of the earliest Christian witness.
And this is the second; καὶ ἰδοὺ προάγει ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν
ἐκεῖ αὐτὸν ὄψεσθε.ἰδοὺ εἶπον ὑμῖν.” “Behold he is going before you into Galilee, and you will see him there.” – another idiom,. “You will ‘really, really’ see him there!

v 8 μνημείου - a ταθον (v 1) is a generic burial place, like our cemeteries.  But a μνεμειον is an actual mausoleum, a specific site.  So the first verse moves from a general area to a specific identifiable location with a ‘grave stone’.  Come and see, stay and visit; Matthew is inviting his readers to go to the place, it is still around.
ἀπελθοῦσαι  “having gone out” i.e. after they had left, and ταχὺquickly” μετὰ φόβου καὶ χαρᾶς μεγάληςwith fear and great joy” which curiously echoes Luke’s account of the shepherd’s visit to the manger.
ἔδραμον  “They ran”
ἀπαγγεῖλαι τοῖς μαθηταῖς  “they announced to the disciples” now becoming themselves the “messengers” or angels of God’s good news

v 9 Ὡς δὲ ἐπορεύοντο ἀπαγγεῖλαι  aorist imperfect, “as they were going to announce” i.e. while they were on the way but before they had the chance…
λέγων Χαίρετε.and said to them “grace”
ἐκράτησαν αὐτοῦ τοὺς πόδας καὶ προσεκύνησαν αὐτῷ.they fell at his feet and worshipped him” – another response to a theophany, this is echoed later in 28 when, on the mountain in Galilee, the disciples do the same.  But this is not so much a statement of faith as a practice of the time.  Remember there is ‘fear and trembling” here but ‘doubt’ later.

V 10 Μὴ φοβεῖσθε· “fear not” – Jesus repeats the command of the angel and also repeats the command to go to Galilee.  The difference is now in the address as it moves from the generic μαθετεσdisciple” to the specific and more intimate τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς μουmy brothers”.  Jesus may be beyond death but he is  not beyond expressing affection and care.

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