Friday, January 5, 2024

Saying 98


Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of the Father is like a man who wished to kill a noble. At home, he unsheathed his sword and stabbed it into the wall to test if his hand would be strong enough. Then he killed the noble.’


Similar to last passage, Saying 98 has no parallel in the New Testament, yet closely fits the feeling and form of other parables in Thomas and the synoptic gospels that it may plausibly go back to the historical Jesus. The choice of imagery seems to have been inspired by the political turmoil happening in Jesus’ homeland of Galilee during the early first century CE. Following from the previous two parables, this one seems to illustrate that the disciples need to prepare themselves for the arrival of God’s kingdom. The analogy of an assassin does not necessarily mean the parable’s creator (whether that was Jesus or a later follower) morally approved of assassinations, similar to the thief in the parable from Saying 21. The message here was likely not that Jesus’ disciples should resort to violence, but that, like the assassin in the story, they must have resolve and determination.

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