Blessedness of the Twelve

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Without a knowledge of the saying’s context, Jesus' saying about eyes and ears and prophets and righteous men, seems quite prosaic. However, when it is understood that this saying deals with the Kingdom of Heaven, it becomes one of Jesus' most exciting and dramatic statements.

Revised: 2-February-2016

Matt. 13:16-17; Luke 10:23-24
(Huck 92, 142; Aland 123b, 181b; Crook 145b, 206)[1]

אַשְׁרֵי הָעֵינַיִם הָרֹאוֹת מַה שֶּׁאַתֶּם רֹאִים וְהָאָזְנַיִם הַשֹּׁמְעוֹת מַה שֶּׁאַתֶּם שֹׁמְעִים אָמֵן אֲנִי אֹמֵר לָכֶם הַרְבֵּה נְּבִיאִים וּמַלְאָכִים הִתְאַוּוּ לִרְאֹת מַה שֶּׁאַתֶּם רֹאִים וְלֹא רָאוּ וְלִשְׁמֹעַ מַה שֶּׁאַתֶּם שֹׁמְעִים וְלֹא שָׁמְעוּ

“How privileged you are because of what you are witnessing. Yes! I want you to know that many of God’s messengers would have given anything to experience what you are experiencing, but were not so fortunate as you.”[2]

Blessedness of the TwelveReconstruction

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The Blessedness of the Twelve pronouncement forms the final segment of the “Mission of the Twelve” complex. A pervasive theme throughout the complex is the redemption of Israel, which God was bringing about through Jesus and his followers. The appointment of twelve apostles to Israel signified the miraculous renewal and ingathering of the twelve tribes (Choosing the Twelve). The healings and exorcisms the apostles were commissioned to carry out signified the lifting of the curse of exile (Sending the Twelve: Commissioning). The apostles’ proclamation that the Kingdom of Heaven had arrived reverberated with the themes of the exodus from Egypt when, according to Jewish tradition, the Kingdom of Heaven had first been revealed (Sending the Twelve: Conduct in Town). When the apostles returned, rejoicing in all they had accomplished in the course of their mission, Jesus affirmed that he had seen a vision in which he saw Satan fall (Return of the Twelve). In other words, the supernatural powers that opposed the redemption of Israel had finally been cast down. Nothing now could stop the coming redemption promised by the prophets of old. Whatever resistance the diabolical powers might still mount against the Kingdom of Heaven could no longer prevail. The day of redemption had dawned, and the glories the prophets had struggled even to imagine (Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven) were now being revealed for everyone in Israel to see (Blessedness of the Twelve).