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The Women Receive the First Tidings of the Resurrection (Luke 24:1–12)

This section is excerpted from The Testimony of Luke, by S. Kent Brown. It includes an introduction, the New Rendition, notes on each verse, and analysis. (On this section, compare Matt. 28:1–10; Mark 16:1–11; John 20:1–18)

Introduction

The Garden Tomb

Surprised at the empty tomb and at the appearance of two angels, the women of Galilee hastily retreat to bear the news of the Savior’s resurrection to the Apostles; surprised at this news, Peter runs to the tomb to confirm their words; surprised that the stranger does not know of events in Jerusalem, the two disciples traveling to Emmaus share the news of Jesus’ death and receive in turn an eye-opening discourse; surprised at the disappearance of the stranger after breaking bread with him, these same two disciples rapidly return to the capital city to report their experience to the Apostles and others; surprised at the sudden appearance of the Risen Jesus while the two report and the others listen, they all watch in wonder as he eats with them; surprised at his unexpected presence, the gathered disciples listen in rapt silence as he instructs them and then departs. All is packed into one day. Continue reading

Jesus Is Anointed (Mark 14:1–11)

This section is excerpted from The Gospel according to Mark, by Julie M. Smith, p. 703-726. It contains the New Rendition, notes on each verse, and analysis. 

New Rendition

1 It would be the Passover, and the feast of unleavened  bread,  after  two  days. And  the  chief  priests  and  the  scriptorians  were  looking  for  a  way  that  they  might kill him [after] having taken him by stealth. 2 For they were saying, “Not during  the  feast,  or  there  will  be  a  riot  by the people.” 3 And being in Bethany, in the house of  Simon  the  leper,  being  reclined  [at  the  table],  there  came  a  woman  having  an  alabaster  flask  of  expensive  ointment  of  pure  nard;  having  broken  the  alabaster  flask,  she  poured  it  on  his  head.  4  But  some  were  angry  among  themselves:  “Why  was  this  ointment  wasted?  5  For  this  ointment  could  have  been  sold  for  more  than  a  year’s  wages and [the money] have been given to the poor.” And they were scolding her. 6 But Jesus said, “Leave her alone.  Why  do  you bother her? She did a good work in me. 7 For ‘you always have the poor with you,’ and whenever you want to, you are able to do them good. But me you do not always  have.  8  She  did  what  she  could:  she  came  before  the  fact  to  anoint  my  body  for  burial.  9  Amen,  I  say  to  you:  wherever  the  good  news  is  proclaimed  in  the  whole  world,  what  she  has  done  will also be told in memory of her.” 10 And Judas Iscariot, the one of the Twelve,  went  away  to  the  chief  priests  that  he  might  betray  Jesus  to  them.  11  And  having  heard,  they  rejoiced  and  promised  to  give  him  money.  And  he  was  looking  for  a  good  opportunity  to  betray him.

Notes

14:1 After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: In first-century Jewish time keeping, “after two days” meant what modern readers would consider to be the next day, so Mark is describing the day before Passover (Ex. 12), or the Wednesday of the final week of Jesus’ life. Continue reading

Presentations on the Gospels, by Julie M. Smith, April 14 and 15, 2019

The John A. Widtsoe Foundation is sponsoring “Deepening Your Understanding of the Gospels” by Julie M. Smith, April 14, 2019, 7 pm, at Newport Beach Stake Center (2150 Bonita Canyon Dr, Newport Beach, CA 92660). Info: http://www.widtsoefoundation.org/2019/04/05/deepening-your-understanding-of-the-gospels/

The Fish Interfaith Center and Chapman University is sponsoring an event: “Discovering Mark’s Unique Voice: A Conversation about the Gospel of Mark,” by Julie M. Smith, April 15, 2019, 7 pm, at the FIC Chapel. Info: https://events.chapman.edu/66024  This event will be videotaped.

 

Luke 9:28-36: Transfiguration

This post is excerpted from The Testimony of Luke, by S. Kent Brown, 472-482. For this section, compare Matt. 17:1–9; Mark 9:2–10. Here are the New Rendition, Notes, and Analysis.

New Rendition

28 And it came to pass about eight days after these sayings, after he had taken Peter, John, and James aside, he went up to the mountain to pray. 29 And as he was praying the appearance of his face became different and his clothing became white, flashing like lightning. 30 And behold, two men spoke with him, who were Moses and Elijah, 31 who, appearing in glory, began to speak about his departure, which he was about to fulfill in Jerusalem.

32 And Peter and those with him were overcome with sleep, but when they were awake they beheld his glory and the two men standing with him. 33 And it came to pass as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here. And let us build booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah,” not knowing what he was saying. Continue reading

Luke 9:1–6: Sending the Twelve

This post is excerpted from The Testimony of Luke, by S. Kent Brown, pages 443-449. Here are the New Rendition, Notes, and Analysis. For this section, compare Matt. 10:1-15; Mark 6:7-13.

New Rendition

1 And when he had called together the Twelve, he gave them power and authority over all demons and to heal sicknesses. 2 And he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 And he said to them, “Do not take anything for your journey, neither staff, nor a traveler’s bag, nor bread, nor money. Do not even have two shirts. 4 And whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. 5 And whoever does not welcome you, as you are leaving that town, shake the dust from your feet for a testimony against them.” 6 And departing, they traveled through the villages, proclaiming the good news and healing everywhere.

Notes

9:1 called his twelve disciples together: This scene does not frame the formal calling of the Twelve. Jesus calls them earlier (see the Note on 6:13) and then ordains them (see JST 8:1). At their ordination, of course, they receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, the right to serve as the presiding authority in his nascent church (see D&C 107:8, 18–19).[1] This authority, of course, comes by the laying on of hands, a very old practice (see Num. 27:18–23; Deut. 34:9).[2] In this setting, Jesus gives the Twelve their first charge. It is also possible that the Twelve are not all with him at the healing of Jairus’s daughter (see 8:41–42, 49–56) and that therefore he is summoning them to gather.[3]

gave them power and authority: The verb “to give” (Greek didōmi) stands in the past (aorist) tense, pointing to a single act of granting authority, that is, to the ordination of the Twelve under the hands of Jesus himself.[4] The Greek nouns are dynamis and exousia, common terms in Luke’s record to describe divine power and authority (see the Notes on 1:35; 4:6, 14, 36; the Analysis on 4:1–13).[5] Importantly, the Joseph Smith Translation points to events noted in 8:1 as the occasion for featuring the ordination of the Twelve, and possibly others. To what are they ordained on that earlier occasion? Evidently, to the Melchizedek Priesthood. In this latter instance, which is underlined in our current verse, they receive the full authority of the Apostleship (see the Notes on 8:1 and 9:2). Hence, they apparently receive priesthood authority in steps. Their newly received authority is underscored by their complaint about others exercising priesthood powers (see the Notes on 9:49–50). Continue reading

“Jesus Walks on Water” (Mark 6:45-52)

This text is excerpted from The Gospel according to Mark, by Julie M. Smith, 424-432. It includes the New Rendition, Notes, and Analysis. 

New Rendition

45 And immediately he required his disciples to enter into the boat and to go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismisses the crowd. 46 And having left them, he went to the mountain to pray. 47 And evening having come, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 And having seen them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them, as the night was ending, he comes to them walking on the sea and intending to pass by them. 49 And having seen him walking on the sea, they thought that it is a ghost and screamed. 50 For all saw him and were terrified. And immediately he spoke with them and says to them, “Have courage. I am [here]. Do not fear.” 51 And he went up into the boat to them, and the wind stopped. And they were extremely, utterly amazed. 52 For they did not understand about the loaves, but their heart was hardened. Continue reading

The Coexistence of Opposites: The Wheat and Tares Together

This text is excerpted from The Parables of Jesus: Revealing the Plan of Salvation, by John W. Welch and Jeannie S. Welch, with art by Jorge Cocco Santangelo and art commentary by Herman du Toit. The book is available from Amazon here. Used by permission. 

Following directly after the parable of the sower comes the parable of the wheat and tares. It adds one more cruelty to the list of things that the sower’s enemy will perpetrate in trying to diminish or destroy the efforts of the sower.

Jesus can be found quite clearly in this parable as the master of the household (see Matthew 13:27), the one who planted the field with good seed. The enemy who comes as men sleep and who then sows the field with the seed of a certain kind of weed called zizania is identified and referred to in the parable of the sower as the evil one, Satan, or the devil.

Jesus’s surprising but highly sensible solution to this problem is to allow the wheat and the tares to grow together.

SETTING AND CONTEXT

This parable is found only in what is sometimes called the “parable sermon” in Matthew 13 and is the second in that series of kingdom parables. As such it can be most specifically understood as a sequel to the parable of the sower. In the context of the historical playing out of the plan of salvation, the parable of the wheat and tares makes it prophetically clear that problems will arise shortly after the sower plants the field. Continue reading

Mark 2:23-28: Jesus Teaches about the Sabbath

Excerpted from The Gospel according to Mark, by Julie M. Smith, p. 188-196.

New Rendition

23 And it happened on the Sabbath that he went through the grain fields. And his disciples began to make their way, plucking the grain. 24 And the Pharisees said to him, “Look, why do they do on the Sabbath that which is against the law?” 25 And he says to them, “Did you never read what David did, when he had need and was hungry, him and those with him, 26 how he went in to the house of God in the time of Abiathar, the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread—which is unlawful for any to eat except the priests—and he gave some to those who were with him?” 27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for the sake of people, and not people for the Sabbath.” 28 So the son of man is even master of the Sabbath.

Notes

2:23 And it came to pass: It is likely that Mark used this phrase to create a biblical sound to his text, making it another example of Mark’s irony: “a passage in which Jesus’ disciples are to be accused of violating a biblical law begins with the Old Testament formula ‘and it came to pass.’”[1] For the perceptive reader or listener, this phrase would contribute to the redefinition of what it means to be scriptural.

that he went through the corn fields: The KJV’s “corn” is likely misleading to American readers since the grain would have been wheat or barley and not maize, which is a New World crop and was therefore unknown to the biblical world. Continue reading

Jesus Heals a Lame Man (Mark 2:1-12)

This section is excerpted from The Gospel according to Mark, by Julie M. Smith, p. 156-171. It includes the New Rendition, Notes on each verse, and an Analysis.

Controversies: Jesus Heals a Lame Man (2:1–12)

New Rendition

1 And having entered again into Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he is at home. 2 And many were gathered, so there was no more room, not even near the door. And he spoke about the word to them. 3 And they come, bringing to him a man who could not walk, carried by four people. 4 And not being able to come near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof where he was. And having torn it off, they lowered the mat on which the lame man was lying. 5 And Jesus, having seen their trust, says to the lame man, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” 6 But there were some scriptorians there, sitting and questioning in their minds, 7 “Why does this one speak this way? He blasphemes! Who is able to forgive sins except one, God?” 8 And immediately Jesus, recognizing in his spirit that they are questioning within themselves this way, he says to them, “Why are you questioning about these things in your minds? 9 What is easier: to say to the lame man, ‘Your sins have been forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and take your mat and walk’? 10 But so you may know that the son of man has authority to forgive sins on earth—” He says to the lame man, 11 “I say to you: Rise. Take up your mat and go into your home.” 12 And immediately he rose, and having taken up the mat, went in front of all of them, so that all were amazed and honored God, saying, “We never saw this before!”

Notes

2:1 And again he entered into Capernaum after some days: It is unclear whether “after some days” modifies “entered” (he entered after some days) or “noised” (his presence was not widely known until some days after he entered). Either way, the phrase prevents a conflict with 1:45 (where Jesus couldn’t enter into the towns), either by indicating that enough time had passed so that the crowd had died down (if it modifies “enters”) or that Jesus entered the town quietly so that no crowd gathered (if it modifies “noised”).

and it was noised that he was in the house: The “that” (Greek: hoti) can indicate direct speech, so this part of the verse could be translated as, “It was said, ‘He was in the house.’” The house could be

  1. Peter’s house, since that was the last house mentioned (1:29).
  2. any (unspecified) house.
  3. Jesus’ own home.[1]

2:2 And straightway: Most ancient manuscripts do not include “straightway” (Greek: euthys) here.[2] Continue reading

Luke 6:20-49, The Sermon on the Plain

This post is excerpted from The Testimony of Luke, by S. Kent Brown, pp. 330-54. It begins with an introduction, the New Rendition (a new version of the Greek text by Eric D. Huntsman), a verse-by-verse commentary,  and finally an analysis.

Introduction

The Sermon on the Plain, it seems, is aimed as much at the Twelve as it is at the crowd, plainly setting out the rules for his community. He intends that the Twelve do as he will teach, offering them his guidelines as he and they step off together in their joint efforts to reach the hearts of others in both word and deed (see 6:47-49; also Matt. 5:19-20).

The sermon itself stands as a sleepless sentinel within the recorded words of the Savior, casting its reassuring gaze across his disciples and their lives. Its robust requirements touch much of how people live their lives and interact with others, lifting away the dazzle and heartache of this world and allowing a peek into the life to come. The command to love one’s enemies in imitation of the Father graces the most important part of the sermon (see the Notes on 6:27, 35-36). His command to “do good,” and then his illustrations of what it means to do exactly that, impart an enabling power and dignity into the lives of anyone who will follow this directive (see 6:27-34; the Analysis below). The differences in the content and recoverable setting between this sermon and the Sermon on the Mount point to the distinctiveness of the two sermons rather than to their unity (see the Analysis on 6:20-49 below).

Mediterranean landscape.

New Rendition

20And when he raised his eyes on his disciples, he said,

“Blessed are the poor,

because yours is the kingdom of God.

21Blessed are those who are now hungry,

because you will eat your fill.

Blessed are those who now weep,

for you will laugh. Continue reading