Matthew 16:24-17:8

Matthew 16:24-17:8
Narrative Lectionary 129


16:24 Then JesusA told his disciples,B “If any wishC

Notes on verse 16:24a

A “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
B “disciples” = mathetes. From matheteuo (to make a disciple of); from manthano (to learn key facts, gain knowledge from experience; generally implies reflection as part of the learning process); from math– (thinking things through). This is a disciple, learner, or student. It is where we get “mathematics” from.
C “wish” = thelo. This is to wish, desire, will, or intend. It is to choose or prefer in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean inclined toward or take delight in. It can have a sense of being ready to act on the impulse in question.

to comeD afterE me, let them denyF themselves

Notes on verse 16:24b

D “come” = erchomai. This is to come or go.
E “after” = opiso. From the same as opisthen (after, back, from the rear); probably from opis (back); from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (become, seem, appear). This is back, behind, after.
F “deny” = aparneomai. 11x in NT– 8x of Peter’s denial of Jesus, 2x “let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mt 16:24 & Mk 8:34), 1x “whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God” (Lk 12:9). From apo (from, away from) + arneomai (to deny, disown, refuse, repudiate someone or a previously held belief, to contradict); {from a (not) + rheo (say, speak of)}. This is a strong denial or rejection – utter denial, disowning, or repudiation.

and take upG their crossH and followI me. 

Notes on verse 16:24c

G “take up” = airo. This is to lift up in a literal or figurative sense. So, it could mean to lift, carry, or raise. It could also imply lifting something in order to take it away or remove it. Figuratively, this can be used for raising the voice or level of suspense. It can mean sailing off as raising the anchor. It can also correspond to a Hebrew expression for atonement of sin (lift/remove sin).
H “cross” = stauros. From the same as histemi (to stand, cause to stand). This is an upright stake, cross. Literally refers to the horizontal beam of a Roman cross, generally carried by the one convicted to die.
I “follow” = akoloutheo. From a (with, fellowship, union) + keleuthos (road, way). This is to accompany or follow someone, especially the way a disciple does.

25 For those who wantJ to saveK their lifeL will loseM it, and those who lose their life for my sake will findN it. 

Notes on verse 16:25

J “want” = thelo. Same as “wish” in v16:24. See note C above.
K “save” = sozo. From sos (safe, rescued, well). This is to save, heal, preserve, or rescue. Properly, this is taking someone from danger to safety. It can be delivering or protecting literally or figuratively. This is the root that “savior” and “salvation” come from in Greek.
L “life” = psuche. From psucho (to breathe, blow). This is breath, the breath of life, the self, individual, soul. This is the word for that which makes a person unique – their identity, will, personality, affections. This isn’t the soul as the immortal part of us, but as our individuality. It is also not life as a general concept, but specific to people. This is where the words psyche and psychology come from.
M “lose” = apollumi. From apo (from, away from) + ollumi (to destroy or ruin; the loss that comes from a major ruination). This is to destroy, cut off, to perish – perhaps violently. It can also mean to cancel or remove.
N “find” = heurisko. This is to find, learn, or obtain. It is to discover something, which generally implies a period of searching for it. This is to find in a literal or figurative sense. This is where the word “heuristic” comes from.

26 For what will it profitO themP if they gainQ

Notes on verse 16:26a

O “profit” = opheleo. 15x in NT. From ophelos (help, gain, profit); from ophello (to heap up or increase). This is to help, benefit, do good, or be useful.
P “them” = anthropos. Related to “after” in v16:24. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (see note E above)}. This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.
Q “gain” = kerdaino. 17x in NT. From kerdos (profit, gain, advantage). This is to gain, win, or acquire. It is a word from the sphere of bartering and trading. Figuratively, it can mean trading up.

the wholeR worldS but forfeitT their life? Or what will they giveU in return forV their life?

Notes on verse 16:26b

R “whole” = holos. This is whole, complete, or entire. It is a state where every member is present and functioning in concert. This is the root of the word “whole.”
S “world” = kosmos. Perhaps from the base of komizo (to carry, convey, recover); from komeo (to take care of). This is order, the world, the universe, including its inhabitants. Literally, this is something that is ordered so it can refer to all creation. It can also refer to decoration in the sense that something is better ordered and, thus, made more beautiful. This is where “cosmos” and “cosmetics” come from.
T “forfeit” = zemioo. 6x in NT. From zemia (damage, loss, failed deal; business matter ending in fine or penalty or loss); probably related to damazo (to tame or subdue). This is to damage, cause a loss, punish, forfeit, be damaged or cast away.
U “give” = didomi. To give, offer, place, bestow, deliver. This is give in a literal or figurative sense.
V “in return for” = antallagma. 2x in NT. From anti (opposite, instead of, against) + allasso (to change, transform) {from allos (other, another; another of a similar kind or type)}. This is to exchange, an equivalent, a ransom.

27 “For the SonW of ManX is toY come with his angelsZ in the gloryAA

Notes on verse 16:27a

W “Son” = huios. This is son, descendant – a son whether natural born or adopted. It can be used figuratively for other forms of kinship.
X “Man” = anthropos. Same as “them” in v16:26. See note P above.
Y “is to” = mello. Perhaps from melo (something that one is worried or concerned about, something one pays attention to or thinks about). Properly, this is ready, about to happen, to intend, delay, or linger. This is just on the point of acting.
Z “angels” = aggelos. Probably from ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide) + agele (flock, herd, drove); {also from ago (see above)}. This is angel or messenger. Properly, it is one sent with news or to perform a specific task. This messenger can be human or an angel from heaven. More commonly, it is used for angels in the New Testament.
AA “glory” = doxa. From dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); from dokos (opinion). This is literally something that evokes a good opinion – something that connects to our understanding of intrinsic worth. The ultimate expression of this is, of course, God and God’s manifestation. So, this is opinion, honor, and dignity, but also praise, glory, renown, and worship.

of his Father,BB and then he will repayCC everyoneDD for what has been done.EE 

Notes on verse 16:27b

BB “Father” = pater. This is father in a literal or figurative sense. Could be elder, senior, ancestor, originator, or patriarch.
CC “repay” = apodidomi. Related to “give” in v16:26. From apo (from, away from) + didomi (see note U above). This is to give back, return, give away. It is to restore as when one makes payment – to rend what is due, to sell.
DD “everyone” = hekastos. Perhaps from hekas (separate). This is each one, any, every. It is every individual as a distinct entity as opposed to those counted as a group in small sets.
EE “done” = praxis. 6x in NT. From prasso (to do or practice – something done on an on-going basis or by habit; to accomplish, attend, or commit). This is an action, deed, business, practice, or function. It implies ongoing activity or responsibility.

28 TrulyFF I tell you, there are some standingGG here who will not tasteHH deathII before they seeJJ the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”KK

Notes on verse 16:28

FF “truly” = amen. From Hebrew amen (verily, truly, amen, truth, so be it, faithfulness); from aman (to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful, put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid). This word is literally firmness, but figuratively fidelity, faithfulness, honesty, responsibility, trust, truth, steadfastness. Properly, it is to be sure, certain, or firm. This is a word of emphasis indicating that something crucial follows.
GG “standing” = histemi. Related to “cross” in v16:24. See note H above.
HH “taste” = geuomai. 15x in NT. This is to taste, which implies eating. It can be used figuratively to mean experience, whether positively or negatively.
II “death” = thanatos. From thnesko (to die, be dead). This is death, whether literal or spiritual. It can also refer to something that is fatal.
JJ “see” = horao. Related to “after” in v16:24 & “them” in v16:26. See note E above.
KK “kingdom” = basileia. From basileus (king, emperor, sovereign); probably from basis (step, hence foot; a pace); from baino (to walk, to go). This is kingdom, rule, authority, sovereignty, royalty, a realm.

17:1 SixLL daysMM later, Jesus tookNN with him PeterOO and JamesPP

Notes on verse 17:1a

LL “six” = hex. 13x in NT. This is six. It is part of where “hexagon” comes from
MM “days” = hemera. Perhaps from hemai (to sit). This is day, time, or daybreak.
NN “took” = paralambano. From para (beside, by, in the presence of) + lambano (active acceptance/taking of what is available or what has been offered; emphasizes the choice and action of the individual). This is to receive, take, acknowledge, associate with. It can also mean to take on an office or to learn.
OO “Peter” = Petros. Related to petra (large rock that is connected and or projecting like a rock, ledge, or cliff; can also be cave or stony ground). This is Peter, a stone, pebble, or boulder.
PP “James” = Iakobos. From Hebrew Yaaqob (Jacob); from the same as aqeb (heel, hind part, hoof, rear guard of an army, one who lies in wait, usurper). This is James, meaning heel grabber or usurper.

and his brotherQQ JohnRR and ledSS them

Notes on verse 17:1b

QQ “brother” = adelphos. From a (with, community, fellowship) + delphus (womb). This is a brother in a literal or figurative sense. It is also used of another member of the Church.
RR “John” = Ioannes. Related to “Jesus” in v16:24. From Hebrew yochanan (Johanan); from Yehochanan (“the Lord has been gracious”); {from YHVH (see note A above)} + chanan (beseech, show favor, be gracious; properly, to bend in kindness to someone with less status). This is John, meaning “the Lord has been gracious.”
SS “led” = anaphero. 10x in NT. From ana (up, back, among, again, anew) + phero (to bear, bring, lead, make known publicly; to carry in a literal or figurative sense). This is to carry or lead up as to a goal or particular destination. It can also be used for offering a sacrifice.

up a highTT mountain,UU by themselves.VV 

Notes on verse 17:1c

TT “high” = hupselos. 12x in NT– in Matthew’s and Luke’s Temptation story as well as Matthew and Mark’s Transfiguration accounts. From hupsos (height, high position, heaven, dignity, eminence; elevation, altitude; to be exalted); from hupsi (on high, aloft); from huper (over, above, beyond). This is high, lofty, or exalted. It can be lofty in elevation or in character.
UU “mountain” = oros. Related to “take up” in v16:24. Perhaps from oro (to rise); perhaps akin to airo (see note G above). This is mountain or hill.
VV “themselves” = idios. This is something that belongs to you or that is personal, private, apart. It indicates a stronger sense of possession than a simple possessive pronoun. This is where “idiot” comes from (denoting someone who hasn’t had formal training or education and so they rely on their own understanding).

And he was transfiguredWW before them, and his faceXX shoneYY like the sun,ZZ

Notes on verse 17:2a

WW “transfigured” = metamorphoo. 4x in NT. From meta (with among, behind, beyond; implies a change following contact or action) + morpho (to form, mold, shape; coming into the shape that signified inner essence) {from morphe (form, shape, external appearance; an appearance that embodies inner essence; figuratively, the nature of something); {perhaps from meros (a part or share, portion); {from meiromai (to get one’s allotment or portion)}. This is to transform or change. It is the root that “metamorphosis” comes from.
XX “face” = prosopon. Related to “after” in v16:24 & “them” in v16:26 & “see” in v16:28. From pros (at, towards, with) + ops (see note P above). This is the face, surface, or front. It can imply presence more generally.
YY “shone” = lampoo. 7x in NT. This is to shine or beam in a literal or figurative sense. This is the root that the word “lamp” comes from.
ZZ “sun” = helios. This is sun, which would imply light in general or the east.

and his clothesAAA becameBBB brightCCC as light.DDD 

Notes on verse 17:2b

AAA “clothes” = himation. From heima (garment) OR from ennumi (to put on). This is the outer garment, cloak, robe, or mantle. It is worn loosely over a tunic.
BBB “became” = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.
CCC “bright” = leukos. Related to luke (light). This is bright, white, or brilliant
DDD “light” = phos. From phao (to shine or make visible, especially with rays of light); from the same as phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear). This is light, a source of light, fire, or radiance. This is light with specific reference to what it reveals. It is luminousness whether natural or artificial, abstract or concrete, literal or figurative.

SuddenlyEEE there appearedFFF to them MosesGGG and Elijah,HHH talking with him. 

Notes on verse 17:3

EEE “suddenly” = idou. From eido (to be aware, see, know, remember, appreciate). This is see! Lo! Behold! Look! Used to express surprise and or draw attention to the statement.
FFF “appeared” = horao. Same as “see” in v16:28. See note JJ above.
GGG “Moses” = Mouses. From Hebrew Mosheh (Moses); from mashah (to pull out in a literal or figurative sense, to draw out) OR from Egyptian mes or mesu (child, son i.e. child of…). This is Moses – the one drawn out from the water, which is to say, rescued. If derived from the Egyptian, his name would share a root with Rameses and Thutmose.
HHH “Elijah” = Elias. Related to “Jesus” in v16:24 & “John” in v17:1. From Hebrew Eliyyah (Elijah) {from el (God, god) + Yah (the shortened form of the name of the God of Israel; God, Lord); {from YHVH (see note A above)}. This is Elijah, “The Lord is God.”

Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord,III it is goodJJJ for us to be here; if you wish, I will set upKKK threeLLL tentsMMM here, oneNNN for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 

Notes on verse 17:4

III “Lord” = Kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
JJJ “good” = kalos. This is good, noble, beautiful, correct, or worthy. This is external signs of goodness like beauty, demonstrations of honorable character, showing moral virtues. A different word, agathos, speaks of intrinsic good.
KKK “set up” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
LLL “three” = treis. This is three.
MMM “tents” = skene. Perhaps related to skeuos (vessel, tool, container, implement; also vessel in a figurative or literal sense) or perhaps related to skia (shadow, thick darkness, outline; figurative for a spiritual situation that is good or bad). This is a tent, booth, tabernacle, or dwelling. It could be a cloth hut. This is a tent in a literal or figurative sense.
NNN “one” = heis. This is one, a person, only, some.

While he was still speaking, suddenly a brightOOO cloudPPP overshadowedQQQ them, andRRR

Notes on verse 17:5a

OOO “bright” = photeinos. Related to “light” in v17:2. 5x in NT – all in Matthew and Luke. From phos (see note DDD above). This is light, shining, transparent, full of light.
PPP “cloud” = nephele. From nephos (cloud; figurative for a great crowd or multitude). This is cloud or cloudiness.
QQQ “overshadowed” = episkiazo. Related to “tents” in v17:4. 5x in NT– 3x in the Transfiguration, 1x of the annunciation, 1x of Peter healing the sick with his shadow. From epi (on, upon, against, what is fitting) + skia (see note MMM above). This is to envelop, cast a shadow on.
RRR {untranslated} = idou. Same as “suddenly’ in v17:3. See note EEE above.

a voiceSSS from the cloud said, “This is my Son, the Beloved;TTT with him I am well pleased;UUU listenVVV to him!” 

Notes on verse 17:5b

SSS “voice” = phone. Related to “light” in v17:2 & “bright” in v17:5. Probably from phemi (to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view); {from phao (see note DDD above) or phaino (see note DDD above). This is a voice, sound, tone or noise. It can also be a language or dialect.
TTT “Beloved” = agapetos. From agape (love, goodwill, benevolence; God’s divine love); from agapao (to love, take pleasure in, esteem; to prefer). This is Beloved or very dear one. It is a title for the Messiah, but also for Christians. Properly, this is one who personally experiences God’s love.
UUU “am well pleased” = eudokeo. Related to “glory” in v16:27. From eu (good, well, well done) + dokeo (see note AA above). This is to think well of, to be pleased or resolved. Properly, this is what someone finds good or acceptable – approving of some action or generally thinking well of.
VVV “listen” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.

When the disciples heardWWW this, they fellXXX to the groundYYY and were overcome by fear.ZZZ 

Notes on verse 17:6

WWW “heard” = akouo. Same as “listen” in v17:5. See note VVV above.
XXX “fell” = pipto. This is to fall literally or figuratively.
YYY “to the ground” = epi + prosopon + autos. Literally, “fell on their face.” Prosopon is the same as “face” in v17:2. See note XX above.
ZZZ “overcome by fear” = phobeo + sphodra. Phobeo is from phobos (panic flight, fear, fear being caused, terror, alarm, that which causes fear, reverence, respect); from phebomai (to flee, withdraw, be put to flight). This is also to put to flight, terrify, frighten, dread, reverence, to withdraw or avoid. It is sometimes used in a positive sense to mean the fear of the Lord, echoing Old Testament language. More commonly, it is fear of following God’s path. This is where the word phobia comes from. Sphodra is 11x in NT. From sphodros (exceeding, very much, all out, violent). This is exceedingly, greatly, deeply. This is going all out, with total effort, done to the fullest extent.

But Jesus cameAAAA and touchedBBBB them, saying, “Get upCCCC and do not be afraid.”DDDD 

Notes on verse 17:7

AAAA “came” = proserchomai. Related to “become” in v16:24. From pros (for, at, towards) + erchomai (see note D above). This is to approach, draw near, come up to. It is also used figuratively to mean worship.
BBBB “touched” = haptomai. From hapto (to touch, handle, kindle, lay hold of). This is a touch that has an impact on what is being touched – it has an influence on the recipient so that the recipient is changed.
CCCC “get up” = egeiro. This is to awake, raise up or lift up. It can be to get up from sitting or lying down, to get up from sleeping, to rise from a disease or from death. Figuratively, it can be rising from inactivity or from ruins.
DDDD “be afraid” = phobeo. Same as “overcome by fear” in v17:6. See note ZZZ above.

And when they raisedEEEE their eyes,FFFF they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.GGGG

Notes on verse 17:8

EEEE “raised” = epairo. Related to “take up” in v16:24 & “mountain” in v17:1. 19x in NT. From epi (on, upon, among, what is fitting) + airo (see note G above). This is to lift up or raise in a literal or figurative sense. Figuratively, it could mean to exalt oneself.
FFFF “eyes” = ophthalmos. Related to “after” in v16:24 & “them” in v16:26 & “see” in v16:28 & “face” in v17:2. From optanomai (see note E above). This is eye or sight. It is used figuratively for the mind’s eye, a vision, or for envy.
GGGG “alone” = monon. From monos (alone, single, remaining, mere, desolate); from meno (to stay, abide, wait, endure). This is merely, only, simply, sole. It can also imply alone.

Image credit: “Transfiguration of Jesus Christ” of the Five Luminous Mysteries by Michael Franke. Photo by Frank Vincentz, 2018.

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