Monday, August 29, 2016

Anahit Arustamyan writes


God! Your Son cherishes this world. He left His blood in the soil. That’s why a poppy is red on a green slope. No lightning is a burning rope. The sky’s nerves may float in any raindrop. God! Your Son’s glow is on the highest top. His glow reaches a small snowdrop. Rainy days come and go to let the sun show its gold comb. O, sins, whose skin is ironed instead of the clothes? God! Your Son makes a candle give its light to a newborn hope. There are billions of pillows beneath the soil. The soil takes nothing to spoil. The soil turns a snowflake to a snowdrop. God! Your Son gave His heart to the world. That’s why there’s a pulse even in the smallest pond.


  1. “The Gospel According to Mark” (to kata Markon euangelion) (and thus, chronologically at least, the New Testament itself) began, “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way’ – ‘a voice of one calling in the wilderness, “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.”’ And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” [Mark 1-11; New International Version]. Papias, the 2nd-century bishop of Hierapolis (modern Pamukkale, Turkey) who was described by Irenaeus of Lyons as "an ancient man who was a hearer of John” (who lived in nearby Ephesus), claimed that John had informed him that “Mark, in his capacity as Peter’s interpreter, wrote down accurately as many things as he recalled from memory -- though not in an ordered form -- of the things either said or done by the Lord. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied him.” Most of Papius’ writings are lost, though he was quoted extensively in the 4th century by Eusebius of Caesarea, who wrote that Papius cited the “First Epistle of Peter” as collaboration (since Peter referred to "my son Mark").

  2. However, most modern Biblical scholars reject the association of the Gospel with Mark the Evangelist. “Mark,” usually placed as the second book of the New Testament, was probably the oldest of the four canonical Gospels, although for nearly two millennia it was regarded as a mere summary of the first one, “Matthew.” All three synoptic Gospels (“Matthew,” “Mark,” and “Luke”) strongly resembled each other, though “Matthew” and “Luke” contained additional material; however, “Matthew” and “Luke” agreed with each other in their sequence of stories and events only when they also agreed with “Mark.” The correct chronological placement of the Gospels shows how quickly the underlying tenor of Jesus’ mission evolved – according to “Mark” and “Matthew,” Jesus died saying, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (though “Matthew” also made it clear that Jesus' death was the beginning of the rebirth of Israel); “Luke” replaced his cry of despair with one of submission to God's will ("Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"); and “John,” the last Gospel (ca. 80-110), had Jesus dying without apparent suffering, in fulfillment of a divine plan, declaring that the Gospel itself was written so "that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God" [John 29:31]. “Mark” was written in Greek for a gentile audience, to present a theological message rather than a chronological history, probably ca. 66-70, some three decades after the crucifixion of Jesus; all its references came from the Jewish scriptures, mostly in their Greek versions. It related the ministry of Jesus from his baptism to his death and burial and, in its original version, the discovery of his empty tomb. [The earliest and most reliable manuscripts end at Mark 16:8, with the fearful women fleeing from the tomb. Some later manuscripts expanded 16:8 slightly, saying the women told "those around Peter" everything the angel had commanded and that Jesus himself then delivered the message of eternal life (or the "proclamation of eternal salvation"); but most later manuscripts, perhaps from the early 2nd century, added 12 verses (9–20) that related the resurrection and ascension of Jesus and his commissioning of his disciples to inform the people of his message.] Markon portrayed Jesus as a heroic man of action, an exorcist, healer, and miracle worker as well as the Son of God who kept this identity ambiguous, concealing it in parables that even his disciples failed to understand. Indeed, in the Old Testament, the phrase often referred to those with special relationships with God: angels, just and pious men, the descendants of Seth, and the kings of Israel were all called "sons of God." And even in the New Testament, the term was applied to the first man, Adam [Luke 3:38].

  3. But Jesus was frequently referred to as the Son of God. Before he was born, an angel told Mary that her child "shall be called the Son of God" [Luke 1:35]. As a boy, he called the Temple “my Father’s house” [Luke 2:49]. At the beginning of his ministry, John the Baptist referred to him as “the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth…. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known” [John 1: 14, 18]. After Jesus walked on the water, his disciples exclaimed, "You really are the Son of God!" [Matthew 14:33]. And when Jesus asked, “’Who do you say that I am?’ Peter replied: ‘You are Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.’" [Matthew 16:15–17]. As the Son of God, he was able to know and reveal the truth about his Father, change divine law, judge and forgive sins, and serve as the vehicle for others to become “children of God.” His claims also opened the way for the Jewish religious establishment to regard him as a blasphemer; when the high priest asked him, "Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?," Jesus responded, "I am,” causing the high priest to tear his robe [Mark 14:61-64] and demand his death. However, though John the Baptist had referred to him as “the one and only Son,” and John the Apostle famously wrote, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” [John 3: 16-18], Jesus himself never claimed to be the “only” son, though he consistently differentiated between his own “sonship” and the “sonship” of his disciples and others.


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