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.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Greek Text Studies, Mark 13:1-8

Mark 13:1-13

v1 εκπορευομενου (εκπορευομαι) aor. part. "as [he] was leaving [the temple]" - participle is temporal, as NIV.
των μαθητων (ης ου) gen. "[one] of [his] disciples" - genitive is adjectival, partitive.
ιδε "look" - pay attention, in Koine Greek, usually an interjection standing by itself, but here it is followed by a clause indicating what to take note of.
ποταποι pro. "what magnificent" - obviously in the sense of an acclamation, "He who has not seen the temple in its full splendor has never seen a beautiful building", Josephus.
λιθοι (ος) "stones" - Josephus mentions the massive size of the stones used in the construction of the temple.
v2 μεγαλας adj. "[Do you see all these] great [buildings?]" - phrase may either be a statement or question. If a statement the sense may either be that the temple's greatness will soon be brought down, or the disciples should not be overawed since it will soon be brought down.
ου μη + subj. "not one" - A subjunctive of emphatic negative emphasizing the total destruction of the temple.
επι + acc. "[stone will be left] on [another]" – spacial cf. Luke 19:44 where the reference is to Jerusalem. (Other than the foundation platform upon which the temple stood, there are no stones left today!)
v3 καθημενου (καθημαι) gen. pres. part. "as [Jesus] was sitting" – a genitive absolute, expressing temporal "while" - grammatically inappropriate here because its subject is part of the main clause. None-the-less, Mark's construction ties Jesus' words, from v5 onward, to his prediction in v2. Jesus is explaining to his disciples his startling, but mysterious words, declared earlier to the crowd, v2.
των ελαιων (α) gen. "[mount] of olives" - genitive is adjectival, attributive, limiting "mountain" possibly emphasizing Jesus' view of the temple and therefore identifying the focus of his words as fulfilling Ezekiel 11:23, God's abandonment of the temple.
επηρωτα (επερωταω) imperf. sing. "asked" - the imperfect tense may indicate ongoing questioning, although where there is speech content the imperfect properly reflects the action associated with a series of words. The singular indicates that the questioners are being taken collectively, or that possibly Peter is doing the asking.
κατ ιδιαν "privately
v4 ποτε .... τι "when [will these things happen? and] what [will be the sign]" - The two interrogatives + the fut. ind. of the verb to-be, εσται, defy convention. The two conjoined questions direct the following discourse, in that Jesus sets out to answer them. The first part of the question is probably not seeking an actual date for the destruction of the temple, since in Aramaic idiom the next phrase in this construction serves to exegete the first, so the two questions are probably best treated as one, "what will be the end of the old order of things, ie. what signs will herald its accomplishment?" The question concerns the "what", ie. the preliminary signals that will serve to warn disciples "when" Jerusalem is about to be destroyed, cf. Dan.12:6,7.
ταυτα "these things" – this Greek word is repeated in the second half of the verse, but it is argued that it does not refer to the same event, the first being the destruction of the temple and the second, the end of the world. Matthew's account drives this view, but Mark's focus is on one event, the destruction of the temple. 

συντελεισθαι (συντελεω) pas. inf. "to be fulfilled" – brought to completion. Rather than describing the end of all things, the word serves to identify the end of a process. 
v5 βλεπετε (βλεπω) imp. "watch out" – idiom, look carefully. Without the direct object it means "take note, be discerning, be alert." 
πλανηση (πλαναω) aor. subj. "deceive"- cause someone to hold a wrong view and be mistaken. 
v6 επι + dat. "in [my name]" - spacial, “acting under the authority of”  in the sense of claiming to represent him. 
λεγοντες (λεγω) pres. part. "claiming" - attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "will come".
εγω ειμι "I am” {he}. It is unlikely that these deceivers can claim divinity by using the "I AM." It is more likely they are claiming a special association with Jesus. Josephus indicated that there were many self-proclaimed prophets before the rebellion in 66AD.
v7 πολεμων (ος) gen. "[rumors] of wars" - indicates hearing with understanding as against the hearing followed by the accusative πολεμους, indicating a hearing without understanding. 
θροεισθε (θροεω) imp. "do not be alarmed" - 2Thes.2:2, literally do not be "shaken in your mind" an idiom, "Don't jump to hasty conclusions."
γενεσθαι (γινομαι) aor. inf. "[such things must] happen" - infinitive serves as the subject of the verb "It is necessary".
ουπω το τελοσ "the end is not yet. Violence and sensational rumors are not a sign of the fulfilment of "these things" and so the disciple should not jump to hasty conclusions.

v8 εγερθησεται (εγειρω) fut. "will rise" future tense is not indicating a future sign, but rather that these conflicts will go on happening up till "these things" are fulfilled.
κατα τοπους "in various places" - distributive; "from place to place."
ωδινων (ιν ινος) gen. "[these are the beginning] of the birth-pains" - genitive is adjectival, partitive. The birthing imagery illustrates the sufferings of the interim. The wars etc. are but a taste of the future "abomination", not a sign of its nearness. "The birth- pangs of the Messiah" is a rabbinic expression, regarded by some as an obvious source for Jesus' words, although many commentators date the expression later than the New `Testament era.
Passages like this are more than a little weird, rather off-putting, and unfailingly difficult to preach. Our folks aren’t intimately familiar with an apocalyptic worldview but they do have a passing acquaintance with it. I would describe this phenomenon with three words: The Walking Dead. So even if we find it odd and off-putting it is not unfamiliar. The question we might ask is what drives authors –biblical times and now – to seek to peer into the future and describe the end. More often than not, the answer rests in the belief that knowing the future sheds light on the present; especially in confusing and uncertain times. Which means, among other things, that the passage for this Sunday was not intended to give concrete hints about the end of the world but rather to frame and interpret the challenges Jesus’ followers were facing in their present; including the social and religious upheavals caused by the destruction of the Temple, persecution by authorities, confusion about whether they had missed the second coming, and some good old fashion church fights. Apparently life was messy for Mark’s community, so he used the symbols and metaphors of apocalyptic to put their struggles and questions in a larger context and, in this way, offer them a measure of perspective and comfort. All of which, I think, invites us to do the same. 
One thing that draws my attention in this text is Jesus’ warning that “many will come claiming to be him” in order to lead them astray. That is an interesting caution, if you think about it, and may testify to the defection of some in community to other teachers or traditions. Perhaps we aren’t likely to be tempted away from the faith b the same things that lured Mark’s sheep from the fold, there are still many things competing for our attention and allegiance; the lure of possessions, this consumer economy, a higher position at work or acceptance at school, the dream of the perfect relationship (or just being in a relationship) or any of those “smaller” temptations like being super competent, or the ideal child, or giving our children everything we never had. But the interesting thing is that all these claimants for our allegiance have this in common: there’s nothing inherently wrong with them. In fact, there is much to be admired about some of them; yet not one of them can save us. Not one can bear the weight of meaning we ask and desperately need. Because we are at heart insecure and confused creatures, craving a level of certainty, we tend to take these good gifts of God and turn them into idols; we worship the gifts rather than the Giver.  
Living in uncertainty was hard for those first century-followers of Christ but it’s hard for us twenty-first century disciples as well. The Christian faith does not offer an end to uncertainty; no it promises we can discover who we are in relation to Whose we are; beloved children of the God who creates and sustains all things. 

The antidote to uncertainty isn’t certainty, it’s courage; and the best response to insecurity is a confidence that comes from knowing that God thinks we are worthy of His love and sacrifice in Christ.

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