The Four Gospels and the Revelation

The Four Gospels and the Revelation

by Richmond A. Lattimore

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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The Four Gospels and The Revelation

By Richmond Lattimore

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Copyright © 1979 Richmond Lattimore
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-9360-3



Mark is believed to have written his gospel after Peter's death in Rome, which is presumed to have been around A.D. 64. It is generally agreed that Mark's is the earliest of the four gospels.

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: Behold, I send forth my messenger before your face, who will make ready your way. The voice of one crying in the desert: prepare the way of the Lord, make straight the roads before him. John the Baptist was in the desert preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And all the land of Judaea came out to him and all the people of Jerusalem, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. John was clothed in camel's hair, and a belt of hide around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying: He who is stronger than I is coming after me, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of his shoes. I baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.

And it happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. And as soon as he came out of the water he saw the skies split and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him; and there came a voice from the skies, saying: You are my son whom I love, with you I am well pleased. And immediately the Spirit drove him out into the desert. And he was in the desert forty days, being tested by Satan, and he lived with the wild animals, and the angels served him.

After John was betrayed Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of God, saying: The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe in the gospel. And as he went along past the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting their nets in the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them: Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And at once they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, these also in their boat mending their nets. And at once he called them. And leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired workers they went away, and followed him.

They came into Capernaum. And at once on the sabbath he went into the synagogue and taught; and they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who has authority and not like the scribes. And immediately in their synagogue there was a man possessed by an unclean spirit, and he cried out, saying: What is there between us and you, Jesus of Nazareth? Did you come to destroy us? I know you, who you are, God's holy one. Jesus reproved him, saying: Be silent and go out from him. And convulsing him and crying out in a great voice the unclean spirit went out of the man. All were amazed, so that they took counsel together, saying: What is this thing: a new kind of teaching? By his authority he gives orders even to unclean spirits, and they obey him. And immediately the rumor of him spread into the whole region about Galilee.

When they came out of the synagogue, they went immediately to the house of Simon and Andrew, along with James and John. And Simon's mother-in-law was lying in a fever, and they told him about her forthwith. He went over and took her by the hand and raised her; and the fever left her, and she served them. When it was evening, after the sun set, they brought to him all those who were ill, and those afflicted with demons, and the whole city was assembled before his door. And he healed many who were ill with various diseases, and he cast out many demons, and would not let them speak, because they knew him. Then very early in the morning he got up and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed. Simon and his companions went in search of him, and found him, and said to him: All are looking for you. He said to them: Let us go elsewhere, to the neighboring communities, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I set out to do. And he went into all of Galilee preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons.

A leper came to him and entreated him, saying: If you wish, you can make me clean. He took pity on him, and stretched out his hand and touched him, saying: I wish it; be clean. And at once the leprosy went from him, and he was made clean. Then he sent him away at once with a stern order, saying: See that you tell no one, but go and show yourself to the priest, and bring him the gift for your purification that Moses ordained, as a proof to them. But the man went out and began to talk about it at length and spread the story about, so that Jesus could no longer come openly into the city, but must remain outside in unfrequented places. And they came to him from every direction.

* * *

When he returned to Capernaum, it became known, after a few days, that he was in a house there; and so many gathered that there was no space before the door and he preached the word to them. They came bringing him a paralytic who was carried aloft by four men. When they could not reach him because of the crowd, they took away the roof from over the place where Jesus was, and when they had made an opening they lowered the bed where the paralytic lay. Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic: My child, your sins are forgiven. There were some of the scribes sitting by, and they said to themselves in their hearts: Why does this man talk this way? He blasphemes. Who can forgive sins, except God alone? Jesus knew at once in his mind what they were saying to themselves, and said: Why do you have such thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic: Your sins are forgiven, or to say: Arise, take up your bed and walk about? But so that you may know that the son of man has authority to forgive sins upon earth — he said to the paralytic: I tell you, rise, take up your bed, and go to your house. And the man arose and took up his bed and went out, in the sight of all; so that all were astonished and glorified God, saying: We have never seen the like.

He went back to the seaside; and all the multitude came to him, and he taught them. As he went by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tollhouse, and said to him: Follow me. And he stood up and followed him. And it happened that he dined in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners dined with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many of them, and they followed him. The scribes of the Pharisees, seeing that he ate with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples: Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners? Jesus heard them, and said to them: The strong do not need a physician, but those who are in poor health. I did not come to summon the just, but the sinners.

The disciples of John, and the Pharisees, were fasting. And they came and said to him: Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast? Jesus said to them: Surely the members of the wedding party cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them? For as long a time as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them; then on that day they will fast. No one sews a patch of unfulled cloth on an old coat; if he does, the new filling pulls from the old and makes the tear worse. And no one puts new wine into old skins; if he does, the wine will break the skins, and both wine and skins are lost.

It came about that on the sabbath he went walking through the sown fields, and his disciples began to pick the ears of grain as they went. And the Pharisees said to him: Why are your disciples doing what is forbidden on the sabbath? He said to them: Have you never read what David did when he was in need, and hungry, he himself and those with him? He went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the show bread, which none but the priests are permitted to eat, and gave it also to those who were with him. And he said to them: The sabbath was made for the sake of man, not man for the sake of the sabbath. Thus the son of man is lord even of the sabbath.

* * *

Once again he entered the synagogue, and there was a man there with an arm that was withered. They were watching him to see if he would heal him on the sabbath, so that they might bring a charge against him. Jesus said to the man with the withered arm: Come out into our midst. Then he said to them: Is it permitted to do good or evil on the sabbath, to save a life or destroy it? They were silent. He looked around at them in anger, exasperated at the hardness of their hearts, and said to the man: Stretch out your arm. And he stretched it out, and it became sound again. Then the Pharisees went out and immediately began plotting against him, together with the Herodians, to destroy him.

Then Jesus with his disciples withdrew to the seashores, and a great multitude followed from Galilee, and from Judaea and from Jerusalem and from Idumaea and from beyond the Jordan and the region of Tyre and Sidon; a great multitude came to him when they heard what he was doing. And he told his disciples that they should secure a boat for him, because of the crowd, so that they should not crush him; for he healed many, so that they thrust in upon him, to have those who were in torment touch him. And the unclean spirits when they saw him fell down before him and cried out, saying: You are the son of God. And he charged them many times not to divulge what he was doing.

Then he went up on the mountain and summoned to him those whom he had chosen; and they went forth and joined him. He made the number twelve, whom he named apostles, so that they might be with him, and so that he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to cast out demons. He established the twelve, Peter, the name he gave to Simon, and James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (and he gave them the name Boanerges, which means sons of thunder), and Andrew and Philip and Bartholomew and Matthew and Thomas and James the son of Alphaeus and Thaddeus and Simon the Cananaean and Judas Iscariot, who in fact betrayed him.

Then he went into a house; and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat their bread. When his own people heard of this, they went forth to get control of him, for they said that he was out of his mind. And the scribes who had come down from Jerusalem said that Beelzebub had hold of him, and that it was through the prince of the demons that he drove out demons. He called them to him and said to them through parables: How can Satan drive out Satan? And if a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan rises up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand but comes to an end. But no one can go into the house of the strong man and seize his goods, unless first he binds the strong man; then he can plunder his house. Truly I tell you, all shall be forgiven the sons of men, their sins and such blasphemies as they may speak; but if one blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, he shall have no forgiveness ever, but shall be guilty of everlasting sin. This was because they said he had an unclean spirit. Then his mother and his brothers came and stood outside and sent one in to summon him. The crowd was seated around him, and they said to him: See, your mother and your brothers are outside looking for you. He answered and said to them: Who is my mother and who are mybrothers? And looking about at those who were sitting in a circle around him, he said: Here is my mother, here are my brothers; whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.

* * *

Once again he began to teach beside the seashore. And the greatest multitude gathered to hear him, so that he went aboard the ship and was seated out to sea, and all the multitude was on shore facing the sea. He taught them a great deal in parables, and said to them in his discourse: Listen. Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened as he sowed that some of the grain fell beside the way, and birds came and ate it. Some fell on stony ground where there was not much soil, and it shot up quickly because there was no depth of soil; and when the sun came up it was parched and because it had no roots it dried away. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and stifled it, and it bore no fruit. But some fell upon the good soil, and it bore fruit, and shot up and increased, and yielded thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold. And he said: He who has ears, let him hear. When they were alone, his followers along with the twelve asked him about the parables. He said to them: To you are given the secrets of the Kingdom of God; but to those who are outside all comes through parables, so that they may have sight but not see, and hear but not understand, lest they be converted and forgiven. And he said to them: You did not read this parable? Then how shall you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones beside the way where the word is sown, and as soon as they hear it Satan comes and snatches the word that has been sown among them. And there are some who are as if sown on stony ground, who when they hear the word accept it with joy; and they have no roots in themselves but are men of the moment, and when there comes affliction and persecution, because of the word, they do not stand fast. And others are those who were sown among thorns; these are the ones who hear the word, and concern for the world and the beguilement of riches and desires for other things come upon them and stifle the word, and it bears no fruit. And the others are those who were sown upon the good soil, who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold. Then he said to them: Surely the lamp is not brought in so as to be set under a basket or under the bed rather than to be set on a stand; for there is nothing hidden except to be shown, nor anything concealed except to be brought to light. He who has ears to hear, let him hear. And he said to them: Consider what you hear. Your measure will be made by the measure by which you measure, and more shall be added for you. When a man has, he shall be given; when one has not, even what he has shall be taken away from him. And he said: The Kingdom of God is as when a man sows his seed in the ground, and sleeps and wakes night and day, and the seed grows and increases without his knowing it; for of itself the earth bears fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain gives its yield, he puts forth the sickle, for the time of harvesting is come. And he said: To what shall we liken the Kingdom of God, and in what parable shall we place it? It is like the seed of mustard, which when it is sown in the ground is smaller than all the seeds on earth, but when it has been sown, it shoots up and becomes greater than all the other greens, and puts forth great branches, so that the birds of the air may nest in its shadow. With many such parables he spoke the word to them, according to what they could comprehend; but he did not talk with them except in parables; but privately with his own disciples he expounded all.

That same day when it was evening he said to them: Let us cross over to the other side. They sent away the multitude and took him along on the ship just as he was, and there were other ships with him. There came a sudden great storm of wind, and waves dashed against the ship so that it was beginning to fill. He was in the stern asleep with his head on his pillow; and they woke him and said: Master, do you not care whether we perish? He woke and scolded the wind and said to the sea: Silence, be still. And the sea subsided and there was a great calm. Then he said to them: Why are you frightened? Do you not yet have faith? And they were seized with a great fear and said to each other: Who is this, that the wind and sea obey him?


Excerpted from The Four Gospels and The Revelation by Richmond Lattimore. Copyright © 1979 Richmond Lattimore. Excerpted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
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