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Jesus Traditions

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Material in red = Mark .. in blue =   Q   .. in green = Special Matthew .. in fuchsia = Special Luke

 

Contents of Jesus Traditions

 

End-of-Time Texts

 

Kingdom of God Sayings

 

Mark 1:14-15

What distinguishes Jesus’ proclamation to the people is his declaration that they are living in a time of fulfillment. 

Matthew 4:12, 17

Mark 1:14-15

Luke 4:14-15

      14Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. 
12Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee... .       
14
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, 
     
17
From that time Jesus began to
proclaim,
 “Repent, for the kingdom of
heaven has come near.”

     

proclaiming the good news of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” cp. Luke 4:21, “Today this scripture [Isaiah 61:1-2] has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
15He began to teach in the synagogues and was praised by everyone.   

In Mark’s epitome of Jesus’ preaching, we find a summary announcement of the near approach of the Kingdom. Jesus and his people are living in a time of fulfillment, but we are not told how close is the Kingdom’s coming. 

Matthew in his typical editorial fashion prefers Kingdom of heaven. It may also be significant that Matthew, in abbreviating Mark’s text, omits the phrase which sounds the note of present fulfillment, “The time is fulfilled.This observation seems to confirm Matthew’s tendency to heighten the future element in Jesus’ end-of-time teaching, at the expense of the present element.

     

Mark 9:1

Matthew 16:28

Mark 9:1

Luke 9:27

                              Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.

   

And he said to them, Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power. But truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.

   

 

In Mark this saying is placed between Peter’s messianic acclamation (Mark 8:27-33) and the Transfiguration episode (Mark 9:2-8). Jesus is represented as announcing that within the lifetime of some of his listeners they will see (or perhaps, recognize) that God’s reign has begun, with manifestations of his power. Thus the saying can be interpreted as illustrating the presence of the Kingdom of God in the events of Jesus’ work. What is less certain is the extent to which the saying originated with Mark, or with the tradition, or goes back to Jesus. (This writer is of the opinion that it is a saying of Jesus, but the cautious reader may want to keep her/his options open.)

In Luke 9:27, Mark’s saying is abbreviated, and the nuanced statement of an already present kingdom becomes a somewhat general statement about seeing the kingdom. (In leaving the time reference unspecified, was the author avoiding the embarrassment of a prediction which in his generation was unfulfilled and unfulfillable? See further, Luke and Apocalyptic.)

But in Matthew 16:28 Mark’s saying about an already present kingdom becomes a full-blown prediction of the second coming, yet to happen in the future.     
   

Son of Man Sayings

 

Son of man is the characteristic self-designation of Jesus in the synoptic gospels. In some sayings, there is no particular end-of-time reference; these are of several types:
   •  Son of man may be used as a circumlocution, common in Semitic usage, as an equivalent of “I,” the first person singular pronoun. 

Matthew 16:13

Mark 8:27

Luke 9:18

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, ‘Who do the crowds say that I am?’

   •  Son of man occurs in two sayings where Jesus is represented as exercising his authority in a particular way: in one case asserting his authority to forgive sins, and in another case declaring his authority as lord of the Sabbath.

Matthew 9:6

Mark 2:10

Luke 5:24

But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins ... But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins  ... But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins ...

 

Matthew 12:8

Mark 2:28

Luke 6:5

For the Son of Man is lord of the sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath. Then he said to them, ‘The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.’

 

   •  Further, Son of man occurs in the context of a call to radical discipleship.
     

Matthew 8:19-22

Luke 9:57-62

               19A scribe then approached and said, Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.’ 20And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’ 21Another of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ 22But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.’ 57As they were going along the road, someone said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ 58And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’ 59To another he said, ‘Follow me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ 60But Jesus said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead;
           but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’ 61Another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.’ 62Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’

 

   •  Son of man is also used in a context of suffering and humiliation, i.e. the three formulaic predictions of the passion: Mark 8:31 ( || Luke 9:22, but not in Matthew 16:21); 9:31 ; and 10:33-34.

In other sayings, the Son of man figures prominently in end-of-time events, as the agent for realizing the Kingdom of God.

It is beyond the scope of this discussion to deal with R. Bultmann’s proposal that in these end-of-time sayings Son of Man is not a self-designation of Jesus, referring to himself, but a reference to an apocalyptic figure other than himself, whose glorious coming Jesus announces.

     

Mark 8:38

Matthew 16:27

Mark 8:38

Luke 9:26

 

 

Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, Those who are ashamed of me and of my words,
For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father,  of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. of them the Son of Man will be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
and then he will repay everyone for what has been done.

 

Mark 13:24-27

Matthew 24:29-31

Mark 13:24-27

Luke 21:25-28

29Immediately after the suffering of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken.  24‘But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.  25There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, 
and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 
30Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, 
and they will see “the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven” with power and great glory.  26Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in clouds” with great power and glory.  27Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud” with power and great glory. 
31And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call,  27Then he will send out the angels, 
and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
28Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

 

A number of points may be noted:
   •  This section, from the “little apocalypse” in Mark 13, is connected (editorially?) with the end-of-time sufferings, and with what is probably the fall of Jerusalem. The reader is probably to understand that these events are (were) to take place in the lifetime of Jesus’ audience (Mark 13:30; but note 13:32).
   •  Familiar apocalyptic motifs appear: the disruption of the upper story of the three story universe; the appearance of the Son of Man on glorious clouds; the trumpet call (in Matthew); and actions of angels. 
     

Mark 14:62

 

Matthew 26:63-64

Mark 14:61-62

Luke 22:67-70

63But Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him, ‘I put you under oath before the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.’  61But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’  67They said, ‘If you are the Messiah, tell us.’ 
He replied, ‘If I tell you, you will not believe; 68and if I question you, you will not answer. 
64Jesus said to him, ‘You have said so. But I tell you, From now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.’ 62Jesus said, ‘I am; and “you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power,” and “coming with the clouds of heaven.”’ 69But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.’ 
70All of them asked, ‘Are you, then, the Son of God?’ He said to them, ‘You say that I am.’

Jesus is represented as acknowledging his messiahship and announcing his glorious coming again in that generation, when presumably he will be visible to his judges. 

Luke 17:23-24; cp. Matthew 24:26-27

Matthew 24:26-27

Luke 17:23-24

26So, if they say to you, “Look! He is in the wilderness,” do not go out. If they say, “Look! He is in the inner rooms,” do not believe it. 27For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 23They will say to you, “Look there!” or “Look here!” Do not go, do not set off in pursuit. 

24For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.

 

Revised January 3, 2004

 

Contents of Jesus Traditions

 

 

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