Prayer for the Poor in Spirit

Life_in_Tension_revision_front_20200101By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Oh dear Lord,

I give thanks that you are ever near to me—not too proud to linger with your servant and call me friend.

Bless me with your spirit of humility and generosity—generous in time, generous in friendship, and generous in sharing yourself.

Keep me safe from bad company; keep me safe from pious arrogance; keep me safe from my own sinful heart.

Let me always be ever near to you, now and always, through the power of your Holy Spirit.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Prayer for the Poor in Spirit

Also see:

Believer’s Prayer

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Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

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Oración por los Pobres en Espíritu

Vida_en_Tensión_front_20200102Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

Oh querido Señor,

Doy gracias porque siempre estás cerca de mí, no demasiado orgulloso para quedarte  con tu sirviente y llamarme amigo.

Bendíceme con tu espíritu de humildad y generosidad—generoso en tiempo, generoso en amistad, y generoso en compartir ti mismo.

Guárdame seguro de la mala compañía; guárdame seguro de la arrogancia piadosa; guárdame seguro de mi propria pecaminoso corazón.

Permíteme estar siempre cerca de tí, ahora y siempre, a través del poder de tu Espíritu Santo.

En el nombre de Jesús, Amén.

Oración por los Pobres en Espírit

Ver también:

Oración del Creyente

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Honored are the Poor in Spirit

Life_in_Tension_revision_front_20200101Honored are the poor in spirit, 

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

(Matt 5:3)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Jesus chose words carefully. If he spoke Hebrew (the language of the Old Testament) rather than Greek (the language of the first century church), then the First Beatitude could be stated in only seven (Matt 5:3 HNT) which aided memorization, a common first century practice because of the high cost of the written word. Because the disciples memorized his words, Jesus could speak playing word games with them, starting sentences and letting them finish them, much like a good preacher will pause to let his audience catch up (Crawford and Troeger 1995, 17).

Interpreting the Beatitudes

 Jesus also used this technique—common in repressive cultures—in disputing with the Pharisees, as in Matthew 21:16 where he cites the first half Psalm 8:2 and, by inference, slams them with the second half (Spangler and Tverberg 2009, 38). Jesus’ careful choice of words and use of word associations helps us interpret the Beatitudes. For example, the first word in the phrase in Matthew 5:3—“Honored are the poor in spirit”—brings to mind the first Psalm:

Honored is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. (Ps 1:1–2)

The phrase, poor in spirit, brings to mind Isaiah 61:

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.” (Isa 61:1–3)

The first text, Psalm 1, plainly references the Law of Moses and the second text, Isaiah 61, references a messianic prophecy that Jesus himself cites in his call sermon in Luke 4. Together, by using the word—μακάριος, Jesus associates with both the Law and the Prophets which for a first century Jewish audience added gravitas.

Poor?

Today’s commentators normally highlight the expression, “poor in spirit” (οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι), that is not used elsewhere in the Bible. Luke’s version of the Beatitude refers only to poor (πτωχοὶ), as in: “honored are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 6:20) Poor here refers not just to low income, but to begging destitution—someone utterly dependent on God (Neyrey 1998, 170–171). Matthew, unlike Luke, was one of Jesus’ disciples, which makes it likely that his phrase, poor in spirit, is more accurate.

Hyperbole?

Taken as a whole, the First Beatitude appears hyperbolic for two reasons. The first reason is that Jesus uses a form borrowed from case law, if X, then Y. Using a legal form suggests something like the reading of a will. Second, Jesus associates things not normally associated. Unlike princes, poor do not normally inherit kingdoms; kings (those with kingdoms) are not normally humble. Thus, the First Beatitude suggests by its form and content that Jesus is using hyperbole to warm up his audience for what is obviously a serious  discussion (Isa 42:1–3).

Kingdom of Heaven

The seriousness arises because the phrase, “kingdom of heaven,” was previously associated with judgment, as in: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 3:2, 4:17). Judgment may be implied in the converse of this Beatitude—do those who refuse to be poor in spirit (the proud) stand in opposition to the “kingdom of heaven”? Potentially, yes. Two candidates for judgment are almost immediately given:

Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments [in the Law and the Prophets] and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 5:19–20)

Those least in the kingdom of heaven are those who teach against the law and those not to be admitted are those less righteous than the scribes and the Pharisees, according to Jesus’ own words (Matt 5:20).

Jesus chose words carefully.

References

Crawford, Evans E. and Thomas H. Troeger. 1995. The Hum: Call and Response in African American Preaching. Nashville: Abingdon Press.

Neyrey, Jerome H. 1998. Honor and Shame in the Gospel of Matthew. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press.

Spangler, Ann and Lois Tverberg. 2009. Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Honored are the Poor in Spirit

Also see:

Preface to a Life in Tension

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/Corner_2020  

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Honrado Son los Pobres en Espíritu

Vida_en_Tensión_front_20200102Honrado son los pobres en espíritu, 

pues de ellos es el reino de los cielos. 

(Matt 5:3)

Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

Jesús elige palabras cuidadosamente. Si hablaba hebreo (la idioma del Antiguo Testamento) en lugar de griego (la idioma de la iglesia primitiva), entonces la primera Bienaventuranza podría explicarse en solo siete palabras (Matt 5:3 HNT), que facilita memorización, una practica comuna en el premer siglo debido de la alta costa de la palabra escrita. Debido a que los discípulos memorizaron su palabras, Jesús podría hablar jugando juegos de palabras con ellos, comenzando frases y dejándo que su audiencia los termine, al igual que un buen predicador se detendrá para dejar que su audiencia se ponga al día (Crawford y Troeger 1995, 17).

Interpretar las Bienaventuranzas

Jesús usó esta tecnica—común en las culturas represivas—también en disputar con los fariseos, como en Mateo 21:16 donde cita la primera mitad de Salmo 8:2 y, por inferencia, los golpea en la segunda mitad (Spangler y Tverberg 2009, 38). La selección cuidadosa de palabras de Jesus y su uso de asociaciones de palabras nos ayudan a interpretar las Bienaventuranzas.

Por ejemplo, la primera palabra en la frase en Mateo 5:3—“Honrado son los pobres en espíritu”—trae a mente al primero Salmo:

¡Cuán bienaventurado [honrado] es el hombre que no anda en el consejo de los impíos, Ni se detiene en el camino de los pecadores, Ni se sienta en la silla de los escarnecedores, sino que en la ley del SEÑOR está su deleite, Y en Su ley medita de día y de noche! (Ps 1:1-2)

La frase, los pobres en espíritu, trae a mente Isaías 61:

El Espíritu del Señor Dios está sobre mí, porque me ha ungido el Señor para traer buenas nuevas a los afligidos. Me ha enviado para vendar a los quebrantados de corazón, para proclamar libertad a los cautivos y liberación a los prisioneros; para proclamar el año favorable del Señor, y el día de venganza de nuestro Dios; para consolar a todos los que lloran, para conceder que a los que lloran esion se les dé diadema en vez de ceniza, aceite de alegría en vez de luto, manto de alabanza en vez de espíritu abatido; para que sean llamados robles de justicia, plantío del Señor, para que el sea glorificado. (Isa 61:1-3)

El primero texto, Salmo 1, claramente refiere a la Ley de Moises y el segundo texto, Isaías 61, refiere una profecía mesiánica que Jesús mismo citó en su llamado sermón de  en Lucas 4. Junto, por a usar la palabra—μακάριος, Jesús asociaó con ambos la Ley y las Profetas las cuales añaria seriedad en el contexto de una audiencia Judia del siglo primero.

Pobre?

Los comentaristas de hoy destacan normalmente por la expresión, “los pobres en espíritu” (οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι), que no se usa en ningua otra parte en la Biblia. La versión de las Bienaventuranzas de Lucas refiere solamente a la pobre (πτωχοὶ), como en: “Honrados son ustedes los pobres, porque de ustedes es el reino de Dios” (Luke 6:20). Pobre aquí se refiere no solo a los bajos ingresos, sino a la mendicidad de la indigencia: alguien completamente dependiente de Dios (Neyrey 1998, 170–171).  Mateo, a diferencia de Lucas, fue un discípulo de Jesus, que hace probable lo que su frase, “los pobres en espíritu,” sea más precisa.

Hiperbólica?

En conjunto, la primera Bienaventuranza aparece hiperbólica por dos razones. La primera razón es que Jesús usa una forma prestada de ley de caso, si X entonces Y. Usar una forma legal sugiere algo como la lectura de un testamento. La segunda razón es que Jesús asocia cosas las que ninguna se asocia normalmente. A diferencia de los príncipes, los pobres generalmente no heredan reinos; reyes (aquellos con reinos) no son normalmente humildes. Por esta razón, la primera Bienaventuranza sugiere por su forma y contenido que Jesús esta usando hipérbole para calentar a su audiencia por cual es obviamente una discusión seria (Isa 42:1–3).

Reino de los Cielos

La seriedad surge porque la frase, “reino de los cielos,” previamente se asoció con juicio, como en:  “Arrepiéntanse, porque el reino de los cielos se ha acercado” (Matt 3:2, 4:17). El juicio puede estar implícito en el reverso de esta Bienaventuranza—son aquellos que se niegan a ser pobre en espíritu (los orgullosos) se oponen del “reino de  los cielos”? Potencialmente, si. Dos candidatos para juicio son dados casi de inmediato:  

Cualquiera, pues, que anule uno solo de estos mandamientos, aun de los más pequeños, y así lo enseñe a otros, será llamado muy pequeño en el reino de los cielos; pero cualquiera que los guarde y los enseñe, éste será llamado grande en el reino de los cielos. Porque les digo a ustedes que si su justicia no supera la de los escribas y Fariseos, no entrarán en el reino de los cielos. (Matt 5:19-20)

Los menos en el reinos del cielos son los quien enseñan contra la ley y los que no deben ser admitido son los menos justos que los escribas y fariseos, según las propias palabras de Jesús  (Matt 5:20).

Jesús elige palabras cuidadosamente.

Referencias

Crawford, Evans E. and Thomas H. Troeger. 1995. The Hum: Call and Response in African American Preaching. Nashville: Abingdon Press.

Neyrey, Jerome H. 1998. Honor and Shame in the Gospel of Matthew. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press.

Spangler, Ann and Lois Tverberg. 2009. Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Honrado Son los Pobres en Espírit

Ver también:

Gospel as Divine Template

Otras formas de participar en línea:

Sitio del autor: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Sitio del editor: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Boletín informativo: http://bit.ly/Corner_2020  

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Lester: Threats to Self and Values Evoke Anger

Lester_review_20200128 Andrew D. Lester. 2007. Anger: Discovering Your Spiritual Ally. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

During my chaplaincy training in a psych ward, I had an elderly patient who had an anger management problem. He frequently got into altercations with other patients and would get violently angry when staff members served him the wrong foods. In talking with him, he claims to have murdered a man and have served 7 years in jail for this crime. He also ruminated about assaulting annoying patients but, being partially paralyzed with a stroke, was physically incapable of acting on his ruminations. Efforts to work with him on his anger problem proved ineffective.

Introduction

Being curious on how to work more effectively with such patients led me to Andrew Lester’s book, Anger: Discovering Your Spiritual Ally.  This book is a popular version of a more detailed and technical book: The Angry Christian: A Theology of Care and Counseling also by Westminster John Knox Press (2003).

Defining Anger

Lester observes that we get angry when we feel threatened.  While we could be angry because of a physical threat, most often we get angry because of psychological threats:  threats to our values, our beliefs about right and wrong, our expectations about the way good people should act… (14). When threatened: The intensity of our response depends on the amount of personal investment we have in the values, beliefs, and means that are being threatened (28).  Following this “threat model” of anger, our first responsibility when we get angry is to recognize that we feel threatened and to identify the nature of the threat (29).  Anger always has an object.

Anger Model

In copying with anger, Lester presents a 6 step model:

  1. Recognize anger;
  2. Acknowledge anger;
  3. Calming our bodies;
  4. Understanding why we are threatened;
  5. Evaluating the validity of the threat; and
  6. Communicating anger appropriately (62).

This list sounds suspiciously like how other authors suggest speakers cope with hostile questions—anger is often suppressed and expressed in a devious manner [1].  Lester notes that anger is often camouflaged as procrastination; actions that frustrate, embarrass or causes others pain; nasty humor; nagging; silence; sexual deviance; and passive-aggressive behavior (88-89).  My chronically angry patient, for example, was probably abused at some point—probably in prison—and this abuse returned as uncontrolled anger (84).

Does God Express Anger?

Does God get angry?  Did Jesus get angry? [2]  Lester notes that Jesus was fully human and is portrayed in the New Testament as a person with the full range of human emotion, including anger (46)  For example, Jesus asks:

Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill? But they were silent.  And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, Stretch out your hand. He stretched it out, and his hand was restored (Mark 3:4-5 ESV).

Lester observes that God is not normally thought to be vulnerable, but following the threat model of anger God’s values—justice and love [3]—are sometimes threatened in ways that could evoke anger.  Lester believes that God’s wrath is particularly associated with defense of his compassion and love—neither arbitrary nor capricious like other gods of antiquity (56).

A biblical scholar would note that God wrath (in the form of curses) is required by the Mosaic covenant:   

But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you (Deuteronomy 28:15 ESV). 

If covenantal obligations require God’s response to transgressions by the Nation of Israel [4] in the form of curses, then how much more would God’s wrath be poured out on those Gentiles, such as the Canaanites, that ignore him and trample on his law and gospel?  Lester’s threat model is helpful in biblical interpretation, for example, in the conquest of Canaan and, later, the Jewish exile to Babylon—even if postmodern sentiments are offended.  In effect, values (laws and treaties) undefended are not really values.

Outline of Book

Lester’s Anger is a short book written in 7 chapters, including:

  1. Reconsidering Anger;
  2. Why Do We Get Angry;
  3. What Does the Bible Say?
  4. Did Jesus Get Angry?  (And What about God?);
  5. Dealing with Anger Creatively;
  6. Anger Can Be Destructive; and
  7. Anger as a Spiritual Friend.

These chapters are preceded by a preface and followed by conclusions.

Assessment

A lot more could be said about Lester’s work.  I was impressed by Lester’s comment about the role of anger.  Anger always has an object.  Some objects of anger are righteous; many are not [5].  Like Jesus himself, a good Christian should express appropriate anger at injustice, idolatry, and innocent suffering (58,109).  Looking around today at the blatant immorality and abuses of human dignity, where is the indignation?  Where is the outrage?  Anger is sometimes appropriate.

Footnotes

[1] See, for example, review (http://wp.me/p3Xeut-8o).

[2] Also see post (http://wp.me/p3Xeut-75).

[3] Lester (55) cites:  O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8 ESV)

[4] Consider the commissioning of the Prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 3:18-21 ESV).  Even God’s prophet must honor the boundaries that God lays out for him or his salvation will be at risk. [5] The Apostle Paul reminds us:  Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil (Ephesians 4:26-27 ESV).

Lester: Threats to Self and Values Evoke Anger

Also see:

Elliott: God’s Emotions Inform Our Emotions

Crucial Conversations Target Productive Dialog

Plueddemann Demystified Leadership Across Culture

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/Corner_2020

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The Beatitudes: Monday Monologues, Podcast on February 10, 2020

Stephen_W_Hiemstra_20200125b
Stephen W. Hiemstra 2020 (Ken Burtram Photography)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

This morning I will share a  prayer and reflect on the Beatitudes. After listening, please click here to take a brief listener survey (10 questions).

To listen, click on this link.Beatitude

Hear the words; Walk the steps; Experience the joy!

The Beatitudes: Monday Monologues, Podcast on February 10, 2020

Also see:

Monday Monologue On March 26, 2018 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/Corner_2020

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Prayer and Blessing

Life_in_Tension_revision_front_20200101By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Lord of Lords, Prince of Peace, Spirit of Holiness,

We praise you for blessing us with life, a vision of how to live it, and a family to share it with.

We praise you for your faithful presence on good days and not so good days.

Forgive our pride and willfulness.

Forgive us for sins against you and sins against those around us.

Plant in us the seeds of forgiveness and the patience to watch them grow.

Plant in us the desire to follow you and to prosper your kingdom.

Let us use our blessings to bless others (Gen 12:2–3)—blessing not only those easy to love but also those who need our love.

Grant us strength for the day, grace for those we meet, and peace in all things.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Prayer and Blessing

Also see:

Believer’s Prayer

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/Corner_2020

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Oración y Bendición

Vida_en_Tensión_front_20200102Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

Señor de Señores, Principe de Paz, Espíritu de Santidad,

Te alabamos por bendecirnos con vida, una visión de cómo vivirla y una familia con quien compartirla.

Te alabamos por tu presencia fiel en días buenos y no tan buenos.

Perdona nuestro orgullo y obstinación. Perdónanos por pecados contra tí y pecados contra aquellos que nos rodean.

Planta las semillas de perdón en nosotros y la paciencia para verlos crecer.

Planta en nosotros el deseo de seguirte y prosperar tu reino.

Usemos nuestras bendiciones a bendecir a los demás (Gen 12:2-3)—no solo bendecir aquellos que son fáciles de amar sino también aquellos quienes necesitan nuestro amor.

Concédenos fortaleza para el día, gracia para aquellos con quienes nos encontramos y paz en todas las cosas.

En el nombre de Jesús, Amén.

Oración y Bendición

Ver también:

Oración del Creyente

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Sitio del autor: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Sitio del editor: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

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The Beatitudes

Life_in_Tension_revision_front_20200101Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 

Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, 

for his wrath is quickly kindled. 

Blessed are all who take refuge in him. 

(Ps 2:11-12)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

The Beatitudes poetically introduce Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5–7), which sets priorities, redefines honor among disciples, and commissions his disciples. The sermon offers the lengthiest statement of Jesus’ teaching and the early church cited it more frequently than any other passage in scripture (Guelich (1982, 14). As an introduction, the Beatitudes interpret the Old Testament in ways that surprised his disciples then and continue to surprise us now, suggesting that the Beatitudes deserve careful study.

Gospel Context

In both Matthew and Luke, the Beatitudes appear immediately after Jesus calls his disciples and addresses the disciples, serving as a preamble for the sermon that follows.

The sermon addresses the disciples personally, much like Jesus’ earlier call to ministry—“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt 4:19). This is not a passive call to be spectators, but an active call for disciples who will share in his suffering, at a time when the arrest and beheading of John (who baptized Jesus) was still fresh in their minds (Matt 4:12; 14:10).

Suffering—extreme tension—is an obvious theme in the sermon both because of John’s recent death and because of the ongoing threats to Jesus’ life that began even before his birth (Matt 1:18-25; 2:1-13). Suffering, we learn in the Beatitudes, is part of being a faithful disciple and we know that the disciples got the message because ten out of the eleven faithful disciples died a martyr’s death (Fox and Chadwick, 2001, 10).

Literary Context

The Beatitudes take their name from the Latin translation (beati) of the Greek word for honor (μακάριος) which means “humans privileged recipients of divine favor” or “favored, blessed, fortunate, happy,  privileged“ (BDAG 4675, 2, 2a). Jesus repeats μακάριος nine times.

The Bible uses repetition for emphasis—twice is emphasis; three times is highly emphatic; and nine times is unprecedented. This emphatic repetition reinforces the sermon’s content. The sermon in Matthew pictures Jesus as the new Moses issuing a new law of grace on a mountain (like Mount Sinai), while in Luke the sermon presents both blessings and curses (woes), a pattern associated with covenantal law (Deut 28). In other words, the literary style and content of the text are both attention-grabbers for a Jewish audience.

Old Testament Context

Jesus’ repeated use of μακάριος in the sermon alludes to Psalm 1 in the  Greek translation (most familiar to first century readers), where it says:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. (Ps 1:1-2)

Psalm 1 pictures God’s shalom, a call to holiness, and integration (the opposite of tension) within ourselves, with God (through obedience to the law), and with others with an amazing economy of words. Other references to μακάριος speak, not of integration, but of tension, such as political tension (Psalm 2) and affliction (Isaiah 30). In Isaiah 30, for example, God makes an interesting promise to those that wait for him:

And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. (Isa 30:20)

The teacher here is the Messiah who blesses those who suffer “the bread of adversity and the water of affliction”—a poetic phrase meaning persecution, while the word for teacher (‎מוֹרֶ֔יךָ) also means early rain, a form of blessing in a desert region like Israel.

Commissioning Purpose

In his sermon, Jesus redefines the meaning of honor, an important, but neglected, translation of μακάριος (Neyrey 1998, 164). If Jesus had wanted to convey the idea of blessed—the usual translation of μακάριος, then the more conventional word in Greek would eulogetos (France 2007, 161). Honored is a more appropriate translation  because the ancient world had an honor-shame culture where even a small insult requires an immediate and sometimes deadly response—Jesus forbids such responses. When Jesus taught forgiveness, enemy love, and turning the other cheek, he radically confronted the honor-shame culture, where masters had honor and slaves had mostly shame.

Dishonor in the ancient world Jesus redefined as honor among his disciples. Jesus said:

Honored are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matt 5:11–12)

In other words, heavenly rewards follow from earthly persecution. In a culture obsessed with glory and honor—especially family honor, the preferred translation for μακάριος here is honor, not blessing. It is more consistent with the rest of Jesus’ sermon and less consistent with the law of Moses with blessings and curses as in Psalm 1.

The Beatitude

Also see:

Preface to a Life in Tension

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

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Las Bienaventuradas

Vida_en_Tensión_front_20200102Adoren al señor con reverencia, y alégrense con temblor.

 Honren al hijo para que no se enoje y perezcan en el camino, 

Pues puede inflamarse de repente su ira. 

¡Cuán bienaventurados son todos los que en el se refugian!

(Ps 2:11-12)

Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

Las Bienaventuradas introducen poéticamente el Sermón de la Monte (Matt 5-7), que establecen prioridades, redefinen honra entre discípulos, y encargan su discípulos.  El sermón ofrece la declaración más larga de la enseñanza de Jesus y la iglesia primitiva la citó más frecuentemente que cualquiera otra pasaje en las escrituras (Guelich 1982, 14). Como una introducción, las Bienaventuradas interpretan el Antiguo Testamento de manera que sorpresó sus discípulos entonces y continúan a sorpresernos ahora, que sugir que las Bienaventuradas merecen un estudio cuidadoso.

Contexto del Evangelio

En ambos Mateo y Lucas, las Bienaventuradas aparecen inmediatamente despues Jesús llamó sus discípulos y se dirige a los discípulos, sirviendo como un preámbulo para el sermon que sigue.

El sermón se dirge a los disciples personalmente, al igual que el anterior llamado de Jesus al ministerio—“Vengan en pos de mí, y yo los haré pescadores de hombres” (Matt 4:19). No es un llamado pasivo a ser espectadores, sino un activo llamado para discípulos quienes compartirán en su sufrimiento, en un momento en que el arresto y decapitación de Juan (quien baptizó Jesús) fue todavía fresco en sus mentes (Matt 4:12; 14:10). Sufrimiento—tensión extrema—es un tema obvio en el sermón tanto por el muerte reciénte de Juan como por razón de las continuas amenazas a la vida de Jesus que empezaran aun antes su nacimiento (Matt 1:18-25; 2:1-13).

Sufrimiento, como aprendimos en las Bienaventuradas, es parte de ser un discípulo fiel y sabemos que los discípulos fieles recibieron esta mensaje porque diez de los once discípulos murieron como mártires (Fox and Chadwick, 2001, 10).

Contexto Literario

En inglés, las Bienaventuradas (Beatitudes) toman su nombre de la traducción de latin (beati) de la palabra en griego para honra (μακάριος) que significa “humanos privilegiados receptores del favor divino” o “favorecidos, bendicido, afortunados, felices, privilegiado” (BDAG 4675, 2, 2a). Jesus repite μακάριος por nueve veces.

La Biblia usa la repetición para enfatizar—dos veces es enfasis; tres veces es muy enfatico; y nueve veces no tiene precedentes.

Esta enfatica repetición refuerza el contenido del sermón.  El sermón en Mateo representa Jesús como el nuevo Moisés quien emite un nuevo ley sobre la montaña (después el Monte de Sinaí), mientras en Lucas el sermón presenta ambas bendeciones y maldecienes (problemas), un patrón como del pacto (Deut 28). En otras palabras, el estilo literario y contenido del texto atraerían la atención de un público judío.

Contexto del Antiguo Testamento

El uso repetido de Jesús de μακάριος en el sermon alude a Salmo 1 en la traducción de griego (el más familiar para los lectores del primer siglo), donde dice:

¡Cuán bienaventurado es el hombre que no anda en el consejo de los impíos, ni se detiene en el camino de los pecadores, ni se sienta en la silla de los escarnecedores, sino que en la ley del señor está su deleite, y en su ley medita de día y de noche! (Ps 1:1-2)

Salmo 1 presenta la paz de Dios, un llamado a la santidad, y una integración (lo opuesto a tensión) dentro de nosotros mismos, con Dios (a través de la obediencia a la ley), y con los demás con una sorprendente economía de palabras. 

Otras referencias de μακάριος hablan, no a integración, sino de tensión, como la tensión política (Salmo 2) y  la aflicción (Isaiah 30). En Isaías 30, por ejemplo, Dios hace una promesa interesante a los que esperan por él.

Aunque el Señor les ha dado pan de escasez y agua de opresión, el, tu maestro, no se esconderá más, sino que tus propios ojos contemplarán a tu maestro. (Isa 30:20)

El maestro aquí es el Mesías quien bendica los quienes sufren “el pan de escasez y la agua de opresión”—una expresión poética que significa persecución, mientras la palabra por maestro (‎מוֹרֶ֔יךָ) también significa la lluvia temprana, una forma de bendición en una región desértica como Israel.

Propósito de Comisionar

En su sermon, Jesus redefine la significado de honra que es una importante, pero neglectada, translación de μακάριος (Neyrey 1998, 164). Si Jesús hubiera querido transmitir la idea de bendito, la traducción habitual de μακάριος, entonces la palabra más convencional en griego sería eulogetos (France 2007, 161). Honrado es una translación más apropriado porque el mundo antiguo tenía una cultura de honor y vergüenza donde incluso un pequeño insulto require una respuesta inmediata y ya veces mortal—Jesús prohíbe tales respuestas. Cuando Jesús enseñó el perdón, el amor enemigo y poner la otra mejilla, él confrontó radicalmente la cultura de honor y vergüenza, donde los amos tuvieron el honor y los esclavos tuvieron la  vergüenza.

Deshonra en el mundo antiguo Jesús redefinió como honor entre sus discípulos. Jesús dijo:

Honrados serán cuando los insulten y persigan, y digan todo género de mal contra ustedes falsamente, por causa de mí. Regocíjense y alégrense, porque la recompensa de ustedes en los cielos es grande, porque así persiguieron a los profetas que fueron antes que ustedes. (Matt 5:11–12)

En otras palabras, las recompensas celestiales siguen de la persecución terrenal. En una cultural obsesionada con la gloria y honor—especialmente honor de la familiar—la traducción preferida para μακάριος aqui es honor, no bendición. Este es más consistente con el resto del sermón de Jesus y menos consistente con la ley de Moisés con bendiciones y maldiciones como en Salmo 1.

Las Bienaventurada

Ver también:

Gospel as Divine Template

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Sitio del autor: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Sitio del editor: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Boletín informativo: http://bit.ly/Corner_2020  

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