Parables and gospels, Sections 8 to 10. Critical study of parables of Jesus in the Q source and the gospels of Matthew & Luke
Parables and gospels: Part 2
Critical study of parables of Jesus in the Q source and the gospels of Matthew & Luke
Front page: Jesus, a historical reconstruction (with website search function)
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Note: all emphases are mine.

It is assumed here that Part 1 has been read as a prerequisite.


8. The six "Q" parables explained:

Note: for explanations on the later dating (after Mark's gospel) of elements of "Q", refer to the Q source

A) Faithful and wise servants:
Lk12:42-46 "And the Lord said, "Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master [Jesus] will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season [when the kingdom is here]? Blessed is that servant [good presbyter] whom his master will find so doing when he comes ["second coming"]. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has [in the Kingdom].
But if that servant says in his heart, 'My master is delaying his coming
[allusion to the tardy "second coming"],' and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk,
[it seems that some Christian (cult) leaders were abusing their flock and became great sinners. They had to be dissuaded! That comes next]
` the master of that servant will come [second coming] on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware,
[from the Markan parable of the watchful servant (Mk13:35-36). "Matthew" did not copy it in his gospel, probably because of redundancy. Once again, some Markan material is included in "Q"]
` and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers."

B) Talents (minas):
Mt25:14-28: "For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country [Jesus going to heaven], who called his own servants [apostles] and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey [allusion to Jesus' early "departure"].
Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money.
After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents
besides them.'
[doubling the investment. "Luke" multiplied by ten the investment in mina for the first servant!]
` His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things [when the kingdom of God comes]. Enter [the Kingdom] into the joy of your lord.'
He also who had received two talents came and said, 'Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.'

[again doubling the investment. "Luke" multiplied by five the investment in mina for the second servant!]
` His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'
Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown,

[not realistic. This is a reference to Jesus having not preached in places like Syria, etc.]
` and gathering where you have not scattered seed.
[notice the seed & harvest theme again!]
` 'And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.'
But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming
[the "second coming"] I would have received back my own with interest.
[it is rather hard to imagine Jesus telling poor peasants of large amount of money to be deposited in banks in order to make huge profit!]
` Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.'
[apostles (or presbyters who succeeded them) NOT spreading the "word" & making new converts will not be rewarded!]"
The next verse is:
Mt25:29 "For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away." (Also in Mt13:12)
The last verse appears to be copied from Mk4:25 by a "Q" author, indicating that the parable was also generated to illustrate a rather obscure "saying" from GMark.

C) Lost sheep:
Lk15:4-6 "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, `Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.'"
Let's note the two very different interpretations of the parable from each author:
a) Lk15:7 "I [allegedly Jesus] tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."
Note: Greek root 'metaneo' (repent/repentance): Mk = 4, Mt = 8, Lk = 14
b) Mt18:14 "[allegedly Jesus saying] In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost."
You choose!
However, because "Q" has many militant directives (seemingly for itinerant missionaries or/and sedentary presbyters), it looks the "Q" author stressed the need for Christian leaders to go after whoever was defecting from their flock (as indicated in Mt18:14). This is still practiced by some sects and cults, making it very hard for individuals to leave.

D) The great banquet:
Lk14:16-24 "Jesus replied: "A certain man [God] was preparing a great banquet [kingdom of God] and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who have been invited, 'Come, for everything is now ready.' But they [the prominent Jews of Palestine] all alike began to make excuses. The first said, 'I have bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.' Another said, 'I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.'
[the first to be invited are not the poor Jews. Jesus (or the "Nazarenes") could not have said that]
` Still another said, 'I just got married, and so I can't come.' The servant came back and reported this to his master.
Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town
[Jerusalem/Palestine], and bring in the poor,
[allusion to the "Nazarenes" & followers (the church of Jerusalem)?]
` the crippled, the blind and the lame.' Sir,' the servant said, 'What you ordered has been, but there is still room.'
Then the master told his servant, 'Go out on the roads and country lanes
[outside of Jerusalem/Palestine?] and make them come in, so my house may be filled. I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will taste my banquet'
[that's rather obvious: they turned down the offer! This statement probably refer to the Jews of Palestine who rejected Christianity and, consequently, would not enter the Kingdom. Again, this is not teaching material, but alleged prophecy in disguise]."

E) Wise and foolish builders:
Lk6:47-49 " [Allegedly Jesus saying to his disciples (6:20)] Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like:
He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great."

In the already quoted extract from the Franciscan Cyberspot ("HJ-2a", Section 11): "Local volcanic basalt stones in their natural state were used to build walls and pavements [in Capernaum]. Walls were built without true foundations, [the same was likely true for the other villages in Galilee] ..."
Why does Jesus feature a (bad) house without foundations, when his disciples & followers were probably living in those? That would be rather confusing and rather insulting, especially considering that only people with some wealth could afford to have ("good") foundations under their houses.
However later, (strong and right) foundation of the Christian faith will be stressed to avoid God's wrath:
Paul in 1Co3:10-13 "According to the grace of God which was given to me [Paul], as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. ... For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. ... each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, ..."

F) Yeast:
Lk13:20-21 NASB "And again He said, "To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like leaven [yeast], which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.''"
There are three earlier "source" occurrences of "yeast" in the New Testament:
Mk8:15 ""Be careful," Jesus warned them. "Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees [this saying is likely authentic: see "HJ-2b"] and that of Herod.""
1Co5:6-8 "[Paul, a Jew, writing to Gentile Christians]
Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? [notice the similarities with Lk13:21] Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast --as you really are. ... Therefore let us keep the Festival,
[of the unleavened bread, starting with the Passover meal]
` not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth."
Gal5:9 "A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough."
In all cases, the yeast is "bad": "the yeast of the Pharisees" is something to "watch out for", the yeast in the bread is a symbol of "malice and wickedness".
However in Lk13:20-21, the same yeast is "good", as the kingdom of God. But because of the feast of the unleavened bread (symbol of purity), a Jew (as Jesus and Paul) could not have featured a "good" yeast. Even if, in these days (and now), most Gentiles and Jews alike preferred to eat leavened bread.
Consequently, the parable was likely composed by a Gentile, who had not accepted Jewish traditions (more on this topic in next Section).

Note: generally speaking, very little trace of Judaism can be found in the six "Q" parables. However, in the parables of the faithful & wise servants and the talents (minas), the faithful servants (apostles, presbyters) become rulers after the "second coming", which brings back among the servants (that is on earth!) the "master"/"lord" of the parable.

The meaning of the parable is rather obscure and can be interpreted a number of ways. The "yeast" could be the "word" of those presbyters "hidden" among the multitude, slowly permeating & changing the community then. Again, that would be another alleged prophecy in disguise.


9. Two Matthew's parables explained:

The weeds:
Mt13:24-30: "Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed weeds
[I replaced all 'tares' from the NKJV translation by 'weeds']
` among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the weeds also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds ?'
He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, 'Do you want us then to go and gather them up?'
But he said, 'No, lest while you gather up the weeds you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather together the weeds"

[impossible to do without thrashing the wheat]
` and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.
[no problem! As long as you spend a lot more money to pay the harvesters and you are happy with a drastically reduced crop. The author of this parable could not have been familiar with farm work, or he cared more about theological implications than facts]'""

The alleged explanation by Jesus:
Mt13:37-43 "He answered and said to them: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man [Jesus]. The field is the [known] world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom,
["kingdom": Mk = 21, Mt = 56, Lk = 45, Jn = 3. Note: all word searches based on NKJV]
` but the weeds are the sons of the wicked one.
["the wicked": Mk = 0, Mt = 9, Lk = 2, Jn = 0]
` The enemy who sowed them is the devil,
["devil": Mk = 0, Mt = 6, Lk = 6, Jn = 3]
` the harvest is the end of the age,
["end of the age": Mk = 0, Mt = 4, Lk = 0, Jn = 0]
` and the reapers are the angels.
["angels": Mk = 5, Mt = 13, Lk = 9, Jn = 2]
` Therefore as the weeds are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.
The Son of Man will send out His angels,

["son of man": Mk = 14, Mt = 32, Lk = 25, Jn = 12]
` and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,
["lawlessness": Mk = 0, Mt = 4, Lk = 0, Jn = 0]
` and will cast them into the furnace of fire
["furnace of fire": Mk = 0, Mt = 2, Lk = 0, Jn = 0]
` There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
["wailing": Mk = 0, Mt = 3, Lk = 1, Jn = 0;
"gnashing of teeth": Mk = 0, Mt = 6, Lk = 1, Jn = 0]
` Then the righteous
["righteous" or "righteousness: "Mk = 1, Mt = 15, Lk = 6, Jn = 5]
` will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father ...""
The wording of the explanation is quintessential "Matthew"! Compare this phraseology with the explanation of the sower and the soils parable in Mk4:13-20 quoted earlier in Section 5, and copied by "Matthew": Mt13:18-23. It is very different!

But what can be said about the parable itself?
First, let's examine its location within the gospel and compare it with the corresponding layout in GMark:
Mk4:1 Jesus teach from a boat > Mt13:1-2 Same
Mk4:2-9 Parable of the sower > Mt13:3-9 Same
Mk4:10-12 The secret of the Kingdom > Mt13:10-17 Same, plus Matthean and "Q" material
Mk4:13-20 Parable of the sower explained > Mt13:18-23 Same
Mk4:21 Parable of a lamp on a stand > (Moved to Mt5:15)
Mk4:22-23 Hidden to be disclosed > (Moved to Mt10:26)
Mk4:24 Measure you use ... > (Moved to Mt7:2)
Mk4:25 Given more ... > (Moved to Mt25:29)
Mk4:26-29 Parable of the growing seed > Mt13:24-30 Parable of the weeds
Mk4:30-32 Parable of the mustard seed > Mt13:31-32 Same
With the exception of Mk:4:21-29 material which "Matthew" dispatched in small pieces to other parts of his gospel, both layouts are the same. And Matthew's parable of the weeds is at the corresponding location of Mark's parable of the growing seed.
Now, let's search for any common element in the two parables:

The whole growing seed parable:
Mk4:26-29 "And He said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.""
The beginning of the weeds parable:
Mt4:24-26a "Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop,""
It seems that "Matthew" incorporated most of Mark's parable into his own. However, "Matthew", like "Luke" (who did not include it), had little use for Mark's parable of the growing seed, mainly because of its redundancy with the sower and the soils parable: Mk4:3-8 and Mt13:3-8.
Therefore, "Matthew" added on the "negative" element of the weeds, and from that point on, it became the focus of the expanded parable. And then "Matthew" could have been inspired by the following "Q" material:
Mt3:12 "His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he [Jesus] will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

Of course, "Matthew" was inclined to emphasize the punishments to be inflicted upon the "undesirables" at the second coming:
"furnace of fire", "hell fire" and "everlasting fire": Mk = 0, Mt = 7, Lk = 0, Jn = 0
"gnashing of teeth": Mk = 0, Mt = 6, Lk = 1, Jn = 0
"outer darkness": Mk = 0, Mt = 3, Lk = 1, Jn = 0
"wailing": Mk = 0, Mt = 3, Lk = 1, Jn = 0
"weeping": Mk = 0, Mt = 5, Lk = 2, Jn = 0
The Matthean parable of the net Mt13:47-50 is on of the same subject:
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away.
So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

And at the end of the "Q" parable of the great (here a wedding) banquet Mt22:12-13, "Matthew" added:
"So he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
[there is no love of enemy here, not even friend!]"

According to the above, "Matthew" used Mark's parable of the growing seed, to expand on the treatment of the "undesirables" (the "weeds") at the second coming, a notion very dear to the author.

Who were these "undesirables"?

According to Mt13:37-38 "He answered and said to them: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man [Jesus]. The field is the [known] world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom , but the weeds are the sons of the wicked one""
When the gospel was written (around 85-95C.E., in Antioch, the traditional center of Jewish Christianity), Christian communities had sprung over most of the whole known world, from toward the Atlantic ocean (at least Rome) to (very likely) India and Ethiopia. The "weeds" got planted right after the good seeds (righteous Christians) were sown supposedly by Jesus (through the apostles). Let's compare this with:
"Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to [Gentile] Greeks also, telling them the good news ..." (Ac11:19-20a)
"the disciples [converts of the aforementioned Grecian Jews] were called Christians first at Antioch [around 40-45C.E.]." (Ac11:26b)

According to Mt22:12-14:
"So he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless.
[because he did not know it is a requirement (or/and is contrary to what he had been told)]
` Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' For many are called, but few are chosen."
Those "undesirables" are called (inside the Christian world) but won't be among the chosen ones (even if they are called "friends"). They did not dress properly: is the (wedding) garment a reference to the Jewish customs and the (Mosaic) law that the majority of Gentile Christians did not adopt?

As will be shown from the following quotes, Matthew's gospel was addressed to Jewish Christians and potential converts among Jews (of Israelite descent), proselytes and (possibly) God fearers:
- Proselytes: Gentiles fully converted to Judaism. Generally, a proselyte was considered to have become a Jew.
- God fearers: Gentiles who adopted and practiced Judaism with the exception of circumcision.

a) St. Irenaeus, "Lost Writings", XXIX:
"The Gospel according to Matthew was written to the Jews."

b) Mt24:14 "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations ..."
replacing:
Mk13:10 "And the gospel must first be preached to all nations."

c) Mt10:5-6a "These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not go among the Gentiles, or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, preach this message, 'The kingdom of heaven is near.'"

d) Mt15:22b-24 "My daughter [of a Gentile Syrian woman] is suffering terribly from demon-possession. Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keep crying out after us. He answered "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."
[consider Mt1:21b "Jesus, because he will save his people ..."]"
And if the children are the Jews:
Mt13:43 "Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father."

e) Mt24:19-20 "How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath."

f) Mt2:1b-2a "wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?""

g) Mt2:6b "...a ruler [Jesus] who will be the shepherd of my people Israel."

h) Jesus and Peter pay the temple tax according to Mt17:27b.

i) Mt5:18-19 "I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear [end of the ages], not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law
[of Moses, allegedly given by God to implement his will]
` until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

Note: the wording strongly suggests only those obeying the Judaic law at its fullest extent (with one very minor break tolerated) will enter the Kingdom. But those who are not circumcised (breaking a major law!) will not!

So what about the Gentile Christians? Those who were not following the Judaic law:
Ro2:14a "for when [Christian] Gentiles, who do not have the law, ..."
Gal2:16b " we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified."
Col2:14 "having canceled the written code [Mosaic law], with its regulations, that was against us [Gentile Christians] and that stood opposed to us: he [God] took it away ..."

Would these Gentile Christians find themselves among the many "not chosen" ones, according to "Matthew"?
By comparing Paul's position:
Ro10:12-13 "For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile --the same Lord is Lord of all ... for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.""
with the one of "Matthew":
Mt7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me [Jesus], 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
[obey the law, supposedly given to Moses by God]"
the answer is most likely YES.

We can safely say that many of these "undesirables" were (in the author's mind) the Gentile Christians.

But did "Matthew" wanted to scare off the existing Gentile Christians out of the new faith?
Not necessarily so: these Christians are still called "friend" (Mt22:12).
Furthermore, there are signs that the author accommodated some key Gentile Christian beliefs, at the risk of having his gospel rejected by the Jews:
a) Jesus is the (biological but not pre-existent) Son of God (Mt1:18-21). Even the apostles testify of it (Mt14:33) and also Peter (Mt16:16). However, before that, and for the Jewish Christians, it is emphasized that Jesus is a descendant of David (Mt1:1,16).
b) Jesus' future sacrifice for atonement of sins is alluded to:
Mt1:21b "... because he will save his people for their sins."
Mt20:28 "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (copied from Mk10:45)
Mt26:28 "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."
Let's compare the later with Mk14:24a
"This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,"

Note: there is a possibility the above quoted words in bold & purple might come from a later interpolation. If so, the previous observation, "the author accommodated some key Gentile Christian beliefs", is still valid: through Mt20:28 & the rest of Mt26:28, the idea of sacrifice is expressed, although without mention of atonement for sins.

"Matthew" tried to make it easy for the existing Gentile Christians to join the Jewish ones: they did not have to abandon their key beliefs, just accept and obey the Law.
Or else!

One question may be asked:
What about the "Great Commission" to the Gentiles?
Mt28:19a "... Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, ..."

Note: by the way, the disciples are reported NOT to go to the Gentiles, some 25 years later:
Gal2:9b "... [the leadership of the "Nazarenes" decided] that we [Paul and Barnabas] should go to the Gentiles and they [Jesus' disciples: Peter, John, etc.] to the circumcised."

Would the "great commission to the Gentiles" be conflicting with all this pro-Jewish coloring of the gospel?
Certainly, especially relative to:
Mt10:5b-6a "These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not go among the Gentiles, ... Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel ...'"

Would Mt28:16-20 be interpolated? Likely so, as confirmed by other signs:
a) The location into Galilee not specified:
Mt28:16-19 "Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go."
But earlier in the same gospel:
Mt26:32 ""But after I have risen, I [Jesus] will go ahead of you into Galilee.""
AND
Mt28:6 "... tell his disciples: 'he has risen ... and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him ...'"
AND
Mt28:10 "Then Jesus said to them [the women at the empty tomb], "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.""
there is no mention, within three opportunities, of a particular mountain as the meeting place, just Galilee! A same author would not have been so inept & maladroit!
b) Jesus' sudden promotion:
Mt28:17-18 "When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me."
Prior to that, the resurrected Jesus is described as (only) the future "king of the Jews" (Mt2:2), sitting on a glorious throne in heaven (Mt19:28) and King (and Son of Man) of the second coming (Mt26:34,40). This "promotion" for Jesus, not even conditional to the enactment of the Kingdom on earth, is at odd with the rest of the gospel, but may be inspired by:
Eph1:20b-22a "... [God] seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, ..."
c) The Trinity:
Mt28:19 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, ..."
This clear expression of the Trinity is the only one found in the whole N.T. (1Jn5:7b "the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one." does not occur in any ancient Greek manuscripts).

This analysis points to the fact this alleged Jesus' appearance to the disciples was added by a different author well after the gospel was published. And then, if "Matthew" had the disciples going together on the mountain to meet Christ, why would he carry from GMark the following:
Mt26:31 "Then Jesus told them, "This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'""

As for the apparition to the women (Mt28:8b-11a), it is also highly doubtful as being written by the original gospel author:
a) "Matthew" wrote "His disciples came during the night and stole him away" (28:13) and "this story had been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day" (28:15b).
This must have started when GMark got known. In it (Mk15:46-16:4), there is nothing to prevent human "body snatching"; not only that, but suspiciously, the tomb is also found open.
That would also tell us the "proof" of Jesus' resurrection was mainly based, in Matthew's community, on the "empty tomb" and not on any post-mortem appearance(s).
b) "Matthew" made the empty tomb "fool proof" by having it sealed and guarded (only in GMatthew!):
Why would "Matthew" bother with that, if he had planned (as "Luke") to feature a resurrected Jesus? Which would have taken out the rumor (of body removal by followers) as the reason to contest the resurrection.
c) GLuke describes the women coming back from the tomb, but NOT meeting Jesus on their way. Because the gospel as a whole is very much pro-feminist, the author would have gladly written about the encounter if a "tradition" existed then.
d) In the uncanonical gospel of Peter (only the Passion fragment is preserved), written 110?-140?C.E. we read:
"Then the women were affrighted and fled.
[no apparition to them! As in:
Mk16:8a "Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb ...."]
` ... But we, the twelve disciples of the Lord, were weeping and were in sorrow, and each one being grieved for that which had befallen departed unto his own house.
[and no apparition to them in Jerusalem!]"
e) Mt28:10 "Then Jesus said to them [the women at the empty tomb], "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.""
"Matthew" never used "brothers" as referring to the twelve disciples.

The insertion was probably made by a copyist after GLuke and then GJohn came out with reappearance stories. Then later on, another one added up the apparition in Galilee, as called by Jesus & the angel in the same gospel (26:32,28:7,10).

I also strongly suspect Mt12:17-21 to be an early interpolation. This passage seems to be an out-of-context insertion, a digression where "Matthew" would write favorably about Gentiles, which would be a first (and last!).
RSV "This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: "Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not wrangle or cry aloud, nor will any one hear his voice in the streets; he will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick, till he brings justice to victory; and in his name will the Gentiles hope.""

When was the gospel widely published?
Taking in consideration:
a) "John" did not seem to know about GMatthew, but was aware of GMark, GLuke & 'Acts' (see "John's gospel, from original to canonical").
b) Papias and his community appear to be ignorant of GMatthew, but most likely knew about GMark, GLuke & 'Acts' (see "Gospels, the external evidence and dating").
c) The author of the addition at the end of GMark (16:19-20) borrowed from GLuke & GJohn (possibly 'Acts' and Papias also -- see "HJ-3a"), but not GMatthew.
The original GMatthew appears to have been limited to copies circulating only in the Jewish Christian communities (primarily Syria & Palestine).
Because afterwards GMatthew became the most important gospel in early Christianity and widely used among Gentile Christians, we can assume efforts were made to have all copies "complete" (with the "Great Commission" to the Gentiles!). The earliest ones available to us date from the late third and fourth century.
In conclusion, the initial gospel might have been written and published as early as 85C.E., but the post-mortem apparitions were added on much later (as late as 130-140 for the last one).

We made a long journey away from Matthew's parables!


10. Four Luke's parables explained:

Lending without expecting to be repaid is certainly one of the themes in Luke's gospel.

Lk6:34-35 "And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back [what about interest (Lk19:23)?]. But love your enemies,
[debtors who do not repay would be considered enemies]
` do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return;
[my bank does not apply this policy. Do you know any (Christian) lender who does?]
` and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High [and go to heaven!]."

Creditor and debtors are featured in the Lukan parable of the moneylender:
Lk7:41-43 "There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more? Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And He said to him, "You have rightly judged.""

That bring us to the puzzling Lukan parable of the shrewd manager:
Lk16:1-8a "Jesus told his disciples: "There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him and asked him, 'What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.' The manager said to himself, 'What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I'm not strong enough to dig and I'm ashamed to beg - 'I know what I'll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.'
So he called each one of his master's debtors. He asked the first, 'How much do you owe my master?'

[not very realistic: the manager should know, he had the "I owe you" bill]
` 'Eight hundred gallons of olive oil.' he replied. The manager told him, 'Take your bill, sit down quickly and make it [rewrite it] four hundred.
[if I was the debtor, I would not invite that person (after he lost his job) at my place, certainly not hire him as my manager. Would you?]
` 'Then he asked the second, 'And how much do you owe?' 'A thousand bushels of wheat.' he replied. He told him, 'Take your bill and make eight hundred.'
[here comes the awkward part. Don't blame me, blame "Luke"!]
` The master
[who must be "loaded" with money, because he does not care about the losses! Very likely, in Luke's mind, the master, at that stage of the parable, had become God (and was behaving as God would, as far as "Luke" wanted others to believe)]
` commended the dishonest manager
[ "dishonest": acknowledgment that the manager is not acting in the best interest of his (human) boss!]
` because he had acted shrewdly.
[to be welcome in other homes after losing his job!]""

What follows is a general statement which has little to do with the parable story but helps in figuring out its conclusion:
Lk16:8b "For the people of this world [like the manager, or his boss] are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind
[other people of the "world" of material wealth]
` than are the people of the light.
[God's people (as in 1Th5:5 "sons of the light"), Christians and/or local presbyters, who thought they were not meant (or gifted) to deal with the "world". That will be explained next]"

The next verse goes back to the parable and clarifies everything:
Lk16:9 "I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends
[Christians and/or their presbyters according to what follows]
` for yourselves, so when it is gone,
[wealth or life? For the dishonest manager, a well-paid job]
` you will be welcome into eternal dwellings.
[in heaven. Close parallel of the manager befriending the debtors in order to be welcome in their dwellings. The Christian presbyters were evidently the ones who could help you go to heaven]"

The parable main message can then be stated as follows:
"Worldly" benevolence benefitting "the people of the light" (Christians and/or their presbyters) could get you into heaven eternally.
And did "Luke" have some specific (dishonest) manager(s) in mind with some real hard-pressed Christians as debtors?

The parable, with its flaws, has all the markings of having been concocted "on the fly" for a very "worldly" purpose. It seems also unethical and subversive. "Luke" knew it, and in the next three verses, the author acknowledged the negative impact of the "commended" dishonest manager by forcefully compensating for it, in a complete about turn:
Lk16:10-12 "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches [in heaven]? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own?"

A similar idea is expressed in the Lukan parable of the rich fool:
Lk12:16-21: "And he told them this parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, saying, 'What shall I do, I have no place to store my crops?' Then he said, 'This is what I'll do: I will tear down my barns and build greater ones,
[to keep everything for himself]
` and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 'And I'll say to myself, "You have many good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink, and be merry."
But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you
[you'll die]; then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'
This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.

[the parable ending appears to be a threat: you give to us (God's people) or else! It seems also to be a close parallel of the Ananias & Sapphira's story (Ac5:1-11)]"

The emphasis on donation and cancellation of debt can be clearly understood:
For rich people in the community (and not necessarily Christians!), giving generously (or cancelling debts) to the people of the light was extolled as a way to go to heaven (and also stay alive! 12:21).
Paul talked about this notion to the Christians of Philippi (and later on benefitted from it!):
Php4:15-17 "Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia [Philippi was a Roman colony in Macedonia], not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica [Macedonia] you sent aid again and again when I was in need.
[it does not seem the other Macedonians were giving Paul any money, or any other Christians (2Co11:9, Ac18:5)]
` Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account [in order to go to heaven]. I [Paul] have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.
[most of the time, in the O.T., refers to burnt animal offering for atonement of sins]
` And my God
[Paul, as a Jewish priest, is interceding between the Christians of Philippi and his God! Also, it is reminiscent of Lk16:9 where "the people of the light" are implied to do the same for the donors of "worldly wealth"]
` will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches [in heaven] in Christ Jesus."

The hope that generous donations were atoning for sins & paving the way to heaven might explain why the Christians of Philippi were, in Paul times, very generous not only for Paul, but also for the "Nazarenes" (the saints):
Paul in 2Co8:3-4 "For I testifies that they [the Philippians and other Macedonian Christians] gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints [the "Nazarenes"]."

In Luke's gospel, we have two illustrations about wealthy persons donating for "the people of the light":
A) Lk8:2-3 "... and certain women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases; Mary (called Magdalene), from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's household [a wealthy lady!]; Susanna, and many others. These women were helping to support them [Jesus and his disciples] out of their own means."

Note: only in Luke's gospel, it is written that Jesus and his disciples, when "on the road", are partly financed by women followers! In Mark's gospel, the women care for Jesus needs (and not the ones of his disciples) (Mk15:41).

B) A woman, donating to God's people (here Jesus himself) for forgiveness of sins, is featured in the following Lukan story:
Lk7:37-38 "When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume,
[very expensive according to Mk14:5: this woman has money!]
` and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kiss them and poured perfume on them."
Lk7:45-47a "You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much.
[the woman never says a word! And she does not have to, in order to be forgiven for her past sins!]"

Note: I never heard of a practice of pouring oily perfume on feet of living persons, anywhere and at anytime! However, for a Roman nobleman, as a preparation for burial, oil would be rubbed over his (dead) body. Let's compare that with:
Mk14:3-8 "... She poured perfume [pure nard from a whole jar, from the head down] on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial."
That would have made Jesus the most perfumed person in Jerusalem, all the way to the cross! But then, no washing for days to keep on that oily & sticky stuff!

More about "Luke" and the "woman" connection in "the great omission in Luke's gospel"

The good Samaritan:

Note: Samaritans were considered hostile and heretical, hated by orthodox Jews, and remnant of the Jews inhabiting the ancient northern kingdom of Israel, destroyed by the Assyrians. They did not accept Jerusalem & its temple as holy and instead considered their Mount Gerizzim as sacred.

The introduction to the parable:
Lk10:27-29 "So he [a teacher of the law] answered and said, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and 'your neighbor as yourself.'" And He said to him, "You have answered rightly; do this and you will live." But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

The parable, Lk10:30-37:
Then Jesus answered and said: "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
Now by chance a certain priest
[supposedly among the holiest Jews] came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite,
[a lay associate, whom ancestors, long ago, were the priests of the temple]
` when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.'
So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?
And he said, "He who showed mercy on him."
Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise.""


I love the good Samaritan parable (as almost everyone do). It is by far the most warm-hearted parable in the gospels. But is it authentic?
Projecting a Samaritan as a "good guy" was very bold but it seems the Galileans had other ideas:
In Josephus' Wars, II, XII, 3:
"After this [48-52C.E.] there happened a fight between the Galileans and the Samaritans; it happened at a village called Geman, which is situate in the great plain of Samaria; where, as a great number of Jews were going up to Jerusalem to the feast [of tabernacles,] a certain Galilean was slain; and besides, a vast number of people ran together out of Galilee, in order to fight with the Samaritans.
But the principal men among them came to Cumanus, and besought him that, before the evil became incurable, he would come into Galilee, and bring the authors of this murder to punishment; for that there was no other way to make the multitude separate without coming to blows."

As I explained in "Appendix A", "Luke" had Josephus' Wars and most likely picked up on this story. And probably because of it, the author was led to believe that Samaria had to be crossed by the Galileans in order to go to Jerusalem.
So, it is not surprising that "Luke" (and the only one among gospel authors) had Jesus and his companions making their way through hostile Samaria in order to reach the holy city (and Jericho!):
Lk9:51b-53 "... Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem."
Notes:
a) Going to Jerusalem through the hills of Samaria would make Galilean travelers miss Jericho (in the Jordan valley), but according to "Luke", NOT Jesus & company (Lk18:35-19:9)!
b) For the eastern Galileans, the easiest and safest route to Jerusalem was to follow the Jordan on the east side (avoiding Samaria totally), then ford the river and go west through Jericho.

Later, in Lk10:1 "After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others also, and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go."
Note: any interest of Jesus for the Samaritans is in conflict with Mt10:5:
"These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not go among the Gentiles, or enter any town of the Samaritans.""
And in Mark's gospel, Samaritans and Samaria are not mentioned.

Another crusade among the Samaritans is also described in Ac8:5-13:
"... But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized ..."
None of these alleged crusades appears to have produced any long lasting results: Samaria did not get Christianized any sooner than the rest of Palestine.
Also in Lk17:11 (and in no other gospels):
"Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee . As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!". When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back, praising God, in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet, and thanked him - and he was a Samaritan."

Very likely, "Luke" had to deal with the accepted "understanding" that Jesus did not interact with Gentiles, as strongly suggested by Paul much earlier:
Gal4:4b-5a "[Jesus], born of a woman, born under law [as a Jew], to redeem those under law [Jews], ..."
Ro15:8a "For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God's truth, ..."
Consequently, "Luke" had to find oblique ways to show God & Jesus' interest for Gentiles and their salvation. For example, when Jesus is a baby:
Lk2:28-32 "Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: "Sovereign Lord, ... For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.""
Then, as an introduction to the "ministry", we are reminded that Jesus' predecessors (as healers) did go to Gentiles and forsaken Jews (and Jesus is not disapproving!):
Lk4:25-27 "I [Jesus] assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed -- only Naaman the Syrian."

Notes:
a) In 'Acts', the first conversion among Gentiles (a Roman centurion) happened more than ten years after Jesus' crucifixion. This alleged event is stretched over sixty-two verses (Ac10:1-48,11:1-14, 6% of 'Acts').
b) In Mark's gospel, except for Mk5:1-19 (but here Jesus is rejected!), Jesus' forays in Gentile territories, Phoenicia, Decapolis and Cesarea Philippi, are all in "The great omission" (Mk6:47-8:27a), which "Luke" did not have (see later on this website).

Luke's opportunity to have Jesus dealing with one of them was provided by the story of the centurion in Capernaum (from the "Q" source, which seemed to have credibility in the community), which the author evidently relished:
Lk7:2-5 "And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue."
Let's compare this with the corresponding verses in Matthew's gospel:
Mt8:5b-6 "a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.""

This centurion is described here as the good neighbor and foreigner.
And who else is considered a (good) foreigner?
Let's go back to Luke's story of the ten cured lepers:
Lk17:17-19 "So Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?"
[the Samaritan! But it is very unlikely that the Jews of Palestine would consider as foreigners the Samaritans living among them (and for many centuries)]
` And He said to him, "Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well."
[the Samaritan is already well, as the nine others. Consequently, the statement is superfluous and seemingly directed to latter Christians]"

It is clear that "Luke" used Samaritans (Lk10:33-37;17:15-19) to "prove" Jesus' appreciation and interest for non-Jews, as the good neighbor & foreigner praising God and thankful to Jesus (symbolizing the Christian Gentiles). In other words, the Gentiles were substituted by the Samaritans.
And Jesus is bent to save them from destruction (as he was expected to do regarding the Gentile Christians!):
Lk9:54-55a "When the disciples James and John saw this [the Samaritan villagers stopping Jesus (9:52)] , they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?"
[in any gospel, this is the only time where some disciples are assumed to have these powers, as some Greek gods!]
` But he turned and rebuked them,"
Certainly, if Jesus cared so much about the (hated) Samaritans, he would be well disposed towards the Gentiles!
Jesus sends only twelve apostles to the Jewish villages (Lk9:6), but in Luke's gospel (and only in this one), he appoints as many as seventy two others to go in the Samaritan towns (Lk10:1). This is certainly demonstrating Jesus' interest for non-Jews!

Note: "Samaritan towns" is suggested by comparing:
Lk9:52-53a "And he sent messengers on ahead, who went in a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading ..."
with
Lk10:1 "After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others also, and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go."

Also, to be noted: in Luke's gospel, the Samaritans are never treated as heretics, the main thing they were known for. Also, any hostility is considerably played down:
Lk9:53a "but the people [Samaritans] there did not welcome him ..."
Let's note the analogy with the Gentiles of:
Lk8:37 "Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, ..."