Sunday, January 03, 2010

Mt 4 for Jan 4

In the same way that any walk of life develops its own lingo, which makes special sense and the most sense to those who constantly use it among themselves, although it is not a foreign language but a way of speaking, the Lord's words in this section are marked in a couple places with a way of speaking that identifies Him with a walk of life. R.T. France's commentary on Matthew [2007] makes an interesting point, quoting my old professor Davies as saying that the Lord's words in Mt 4:19 are similar in effect to what students of Rabbis did during those times: they followed the Rabbi around because they wanted to learn from the Rabbi -- but by their own decision alone, not by being called by the rabbi -- a kind of paparazzi life. Here, Jesus calls them Himself (4:19): and it is to a kind of life. However, France rightly points out that this is not their first meeting: Jesus knows whom He calls here in 4:19.

It's good to notice there in 4:19, pointed out by the literal and the Greek, that the word "follow" is not the more abstract word as used in, say, Jn 10:27, but a picture word, maybe a lingo word among fishermen, sort of like "come up behind Me."

In a second example, Matthew also directly points out by using the exact wording in both places (4:17, cf. 3:2) that Jesus says the exact same thing in part that John said in his ministry. Books and books have gone into this phrase. I only point out now that one of the ways to identify with someone publicly is the adoption of the characteristic phrases they use. In most cases, the follower adopts the phrases of the leader/pioneer. In this case, it is the Son of God leading, yet adopting the lingo of the pioneer who pointed to Him, John's influence will wane, and the Lord's will wax more (Jn 3:30).

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