This list shows the "spoken version" of each verse of Christ's words in Matthew. It adds interactions with audiences, pauses, and other interactions you would see in a spoken presentation. The word order follows the order of the original Greek much more closely than other English so that the humor works correctly, especially the punch lines. This work is being done as part of a new version capturing the Gospel of Matthew from a different perspective.
In response to John's concern with propriety, he said, "Just let it go."
Then he gestured to the surrounding crowd.
"Because this is how," he said with a flourish. "Being conspicuous, it is for us."
Then he bent down to the water and lifted a some water in one cupped hand.
"It fulfills," he said, sprinkling it out. "All the requirements of the law."
Answering this test, he said with a chuckle, "It has written itself."
"People aren't nourished only by food," he explained, pausing in his motion.
Then looking at the rock as if suddenly seeing what it was, he dropped it suddenly.
"But by every lesson..." he said gesturing to the sky around him and spinning around, "From the opening of the Divine."
He shook his head and smiled.
"Again," he said as a teacher addressing a student. "It has written itself!"
"You can't even attempt, " he said, smiling as he shook his finger. "To test a master!
Then gesturing again to the sky above, he added, "Your Divinity!"
"Remove opposition" he said as a jolly dismissal.
He held of a finger as if explaining a point.
"And," he added casually. "You are going to work only for him."
He walk down the street announcing. "Turn yourselves around! Turn yourselves around!"
As they turned to see what he was talking about, he gestured to the sky with both hands.
"Because the realm of the stars...." he said, as if answering a question. "Is getting awfully close."
He beckoned to a group of fishermen, gesturing them to follow.
"Come aong with me," he said with a smile. "And I am going to remake you."
He gestured toward the general, and said, "Into light workers of humanity."
“Lucky! The beggars!” He said in a cheerful tenor, indicating a group of beggars who were seated near the stage area.
The teacher moved toward a pair of widows dressed for mourning.
A group of children pressed toward him, their parents trailing behind. A little girl dashed out and held her arms toward the speaker to be picked up. The speaker obliged with a smiling nod to her parents who were trying to catch her.
He then moved on toward a group of foreigners. They had a large basket of bread loaves and several full wineskins lying in front of them.
The speaker returned the wineskin to its owner. Meanwhile, the foreign women started passing out bread to some nearby children.
The smiling teacher quickly made his way toward a group of prostitutes. They were seated near the tax collectors and other detestables. Two of these women were clearly pregnant.
The audience was quiet, watching, but a few from a group of Isolationists were clearly shocked. As the speaker helped the pregnant women sit down again, two young Isolationists started complaining and getting up. A pair of their elders pulled them back down again and quieted them.
The speaker moved toward a nearby group of Ascetics. “Lucky!” He continued cheerfully, “those who hound themselves—for the sake of virtue!” He indicated the scrawny, roughly dressed men.”
“Lucky are you all,” the speaker announced to his audience. “When they criticize you and harass you and proclaim every worthless thing against you! Lying to themselves!”
“Enjoy!” He said happily. “And shine!” He said, making a shimmering motion with his hands.
“You all are,” he continued affectionately, “the salt of the earth!” He tapped his temple knowingly to make it clear he was referring to the salt of their common sense. “But—” he said, striking his forehead with his palm as if something suddenly occurred to him. “What if?” He asked, “The salt is insipid? Played for a fool?”
“You yourselves,” he announced more seriously, “are the light of the social order. It really doesn’t have the power—,” he said pausing. “The city,” he clarified, pointing toward Jerusalem. “To be kept hidden, on top of a mountain standing for itself!
Not at all!”
“Instead,” he continued, lifting his arms, raising the imaginary lamp up high, reaching up as far has he could. He rose slowly on his tip-toes, teetering precariously as he reached out.
A voice from among the Dedicated shouted, “Are you overturning our traditional laws, the writings of the shining lights?”
“This is why I tell you true,” he said, using an expression that would become one of his catchphrases, “while possibly it just might pass away.”
“Are the Dedicated wrong when they tell us we can ignore some laws if we make offerings at the temple?” An older man called out,
“Are you telling us to ignore what they tell us to do?” A young field worker near the front of the crowd asked, gesturing back toward the Dedicated.
Many in the crowd began chuckling. Most knew what was coming next.
Many snorted while others tittered.
The speaker continued in his own light-hearted manner. “I, myself, however,” he said, polishing his fingers on his chest in a mock pompous way, “teach that everyone being irritated by his brother is going to—.” He paused for dramatic effect. “Bind himself by the decision.”
The crowd laughed. The quality of people’s clothing often determined a court’s judgment. To the courts, most of the audience would have been considered the “rags” of society.
“Can an offering at the temple make up for my offenses against a brother?” A sad voice asked quietly.
“But my ‘brother’ is taking me to court!” Another man blurted out over the applause, almost before the speaker had finished.
The speaker gripped imaginary bars, stared with a woe-be-gone face at the audience, and said sadly, “Honestly, I’m telling you. Never are you getting out of there, until—possibly.” He paused. “You have turned over—. ” He reached into his belt and pulled out a copper coin. “Your last penny!” He kissed the coin good-bye and tossed it into a group of children.
“Drop it off there,” he said, pretending to put his offering on the ground, “That gift of yours, in front of the altar and take off.” He turned and walked away from his imaginary gift, checking it over his shoulder and waving good-bye to it.
“My last penny went to wine,” complained a slightly drunken voice, getting a few hoots.
“When it comes to women, my right eye has a mind of its own!” The joker responded.
The audience groaned and laughed.
But another joker, a tall tradesman, called out, “My problem isn’t my eye! It’s my right hand!” He raised his fist and pumped it up and down suggestively.
“So,” the speaker responded officially, “it has been proclaimed!”
Then several people asked about marriage and divorce.
“And if anyone marries a loosened woman,” the speaker responded easily. “He makes and adulterer of himself.”
“I myself, however, am telling you,” The speaker continued easily, with an air of braggadocio, “that everyone gazing at—,” ” He then went silent, pretending that something caught his eye. He turned his head to stare. “A woman!” He said as if in awe while drawing the shape of a woman in the air.
The another woman complained loudly, “Marriage is the one promise that people can cancel with a note.”
“I myself, however,” the speaker continued, pretending arrogance, “am telling you all, you don’t want—anyone of you—to swear for your own benefit at all! Neither on the sky—seeing that a judge’s bench is for the Divine.”
“Nor on the ground,” The teacher continued. “Because a footstool—,” he explained, pointing at a small mound of dirt, “is for those feet of His.” He lifted one of his feet and rested it on the mound to illustrate.This brought a chuckle from the crowd.
“Don’t our oaths fall upon our own heads?” A man in the crowd asked indicating his head of gray hair.
“Stand up for yourselves!” He continued. “It must be—that thinking of yours—Yes!” He said nodding his head enthusiastically. “Or really no!” He added shaking his head just as enthusiastically. “Because more than this is from—.” Using one hand to hide an accusing finger pointed at the Dedicated, he said, “The worthless!”
“So if people don’t keep their word to us,” someone suggested, “can we beat them up?”
“I myself, however,” the speaker said, thumping his chest, “am telling you all, you do not want to compare—.” He pretended to pluck out an eye with one hand and a tooth with the other. He held both hands out to the crowd, palms up, as if balancing a scale. “The worthless!” He announced, tossing both away casually over his shoulders.
Amid the mirth, another male voice called out, “Isn’t settling differences man-to-man better than losing our shirts in court?”
“What about when the powerful force us to bear their burdens?” Someone asked.
“To the one asking from you, give!” The speaker explained, holding his hands out like a beggar.
“What if someone who hates me asks me to give?” Another man challenged.
“I myself, however, am telling you all,” he intoned.
In order that you might become children of your Father, the one in the skies.”
“If maybe—,” he started, then he corrected himself. “Since you all—,” the teacher continued, indicating the whole crowd, “care for those caring for you.” He hugged himself. “Why? Are you paid? Never! And the uh—,” he said, gesturing toward the prostitutes. “Uh—tax collectors? They do the same.”
“Also, if you all hug those brothers of yours alone,” he continued, hugging himself again. “What out of the ordinary are you doing?” He paused, letting the question sink in. Then he answered it. “Nothing,” he suggested, gesturing toward a group of Greeks. “Don’t even the foreigners act the same?”
“You are going to be, really,” he continued earnestly, indicating the whole crowd again, “your yourselves, complete. As your Father, the sky one completely is.”
“Does the Divine repay us for our generosity?” An older woman asked.
“But I want others to see how kind I am!” She protested.
“For you, however,” the speaker said, turning again to the woman, “performing a kindness of yours—.” He mimicked the voice of the child that had shouted out earlier. “Don’t let your left,” he said, holding his left hand up, “know what it is doing—that right hand of yours.” His right hand furtively tossed a penny toward a group of children.
“In this way, it might be that,” he said, returning to his own voice, “your kindness is hidden!” He held his fingers up to his lips. “And that Father of yours, the one seeing into the hidden,” he said, “is going to give back to you.”
“What about getting recognition for being pious and praying?” One of the Dedicated asked.
“You, however,” he continued more seriously, addressing the man who asked the question, “when you pray, go in that inner sanctum of yours. And shutting that door of yours.” He pretended to shut a door. “Pray to that Father of yours—the one within the hidden. And that Father of yours—the one seeing into the hidden—is going to pay you back.”
The audience clapped, but a foreigner complained loudly, “What about religious pageantry? Magnificence? Flamboyance?”
“You all don’t want,” he continued more seriously, “really, to become like them. Because He has seen, the Divine—that Father of yours—what needs you all have before anyone.”