Sounds Like Greek to Me

The following is a bit lengthy, but well worth reading if you are interested in a bit of Bible background as it relates to you.

God arranged for there to be a definitive language in which the New Testament should be written. He did so in a most unusual way.

Years before the writing of the New Testament a redheaded boy named Alexander sat on a mountain overviewing a battle formation that was revolutionary called a phalanx. Instead of lining up in a straight line and marching into each other, one army was formed like a large human wedge and drove through the opposing army dividing it and conquering them.

Later a more mature Alexander the Great used the style to conquer vast territories. When he first united his various Greek tribes, they all spoke different dialects. Alexander called his scholars together and ordered them to devise a definitive language to be used to unite his forces. The new form was Koine. He spread it throughout the Mediterranean Basin including Israel. It was so definitive there were seven Greek words for our one word, love: Eros: romantic, passionate love. … Philia: intimate, authentic friendship. …Ludus: playful, flirtatious love. … Storge: unconditional, familial love. …Philautia: self-love. …  Pragma: committed, companionate love. …Agápe: the highest form of love, selfless, unconditional “God” love.

God  chose agape for use in John 3:16. He wanted it known His love is unconditional and boundless. It is the word Jesus used most often when speaking of love.

Now begins a bit of conjecture. Jesus spoke more than one language, but one He spoke was Greek. There are three internal Bible examples where Greek would have been the logical language He used..

In Mark 5 he encounters and has an exchange with the demoniac of Gadara. Alexander the Great and a large contingency of his army populated this area for some time and a large remnant remained. The language of that region was Greek. It is logical that Jesus used the language of the people.

In Matthew 15 Jesus encounters the Syro-Phoenician woman. Again for the same reason Greek was the popular language of the region and logically their interchange would have been Greek.

The third and most convincing reason for concluding Jesus spoke Greek was His trial before Pontius Pilate. All diplomatic and government business in the court was in Greek. Jesus response to Pilate would have had to be in Greek.

On the cross one of the languages in which the inscription over Jesus’ head was written was Greek.

If Jesus spoke Greek He had to learn it like any other youth. When and how did He learn it? His home town of Nazareth was so small and inconsequential that when the historian Josephus listed 250 villages in Galilee, he did not even include Nazareth. The village was about two hundred yards long and many of the citizens dwelt in caves. That is why when Nathaniel met Jesus he asked if anything good could come out of Nazareth.  Logically Jesus would not have learned Greek there. 

Nearby, less that four miles, was the thriving sophisticated Roman city of Sepphoris.  Seeking work and engaging in commerce, it is logical Joseph would have visited there often. It would not have been uncommon for the young Jesus to have accompanied him.

Today, as in that era, it is not uncommon in parts of the world that when a family of means encounters a less fortunate family with an obviously gifted child, they offer to take the child and see that he is educated.  

Joanna, the wife of Chuza, who was from Sepphoris and the steward of Herod Antipas, King of Judea, might have been such a wealthy benefactor.  Sepphoris was known as “the ornament of all Galilee. One of the duties of Chuza was to serve as the treasurer for King Herod Antipas. She is mentioned in Scripture as a person Jesus had healed. Later it is noted Joanna was one of the women who ministered to Jesus out of her private means. She is also indicated as having been one of the women who came to the tomb on the morning of Jesus’ resurrection.

She might very well have been the person responsible for Jesus having been taught  Greek during His adolescence. 

When Jesus said, “For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him might have everlasting life,” He was using agape, the highest form of love, selfless, unconditional “God” love. He wanted to make it clear that you are loved.

Often overlooked is the fact agape is the love we are to have for Jesus. Do you?