John Dominic Crossan
Crossan draws upon this cluster in his discussion of the Kingdom and Riches complex [Historical Jesus] (276) within the broader cluster of sayings connected to the "brokerless kingdom" theme. He notes several clusters that contribute to the Kingdom and Riches complex, including:
- 094 The Rich Farmer [1/2],
- 099 Treasure in Heaven [1/2],
- 086 Serving Two Masters [1/2],
- 103 Give Without Return [1/2],
- 031 First and Last [1/3], and
- 040 Have and Receive [1/3]
The last two sayings are "twin paradoxes" which anticipate a situation where the rich and powerful are classed as poor and powerless, while the reverse applies to those who have been poor and powerless.
This is one of those sayings that was reconsidered by the Seminar. In this case, the original outcome of a uniform Gray result for all versions of the saying was replaced by a Pink result in Thomas, Mark and Q (Luke). For observers of the Seminar it is interesting to note that while 25% of the Fellows gave the saying a Red vote in the original round, not a single Red vote was cast for any version of the saying in the second round. Despite this, the overall weighted average for each version increased from 0.37 to either 0.49 or 0.51.
The commentary in [The Five Gospels] does not acknowledge this dramatic shift in opinion, but it does observe that "Fellows who voted gray or black regarded the saying as a maxim of conventional wisdom that had been attributed to Jesus" while others understood the saying as a "radical reversal of expectations" and thus a "plausible part of Jesus' repertoire." (58)
Lüdemann [Jesus] (30) regards the saying as a traditional Jewish maxim that has been attributed to Jesus. He notes the parallel saying in IV Ezra 7:25: "Empty for the empty, but fullness for the full."
John P. Meier
Meier does not comment on this saying in the first three volumes of [A Marginal Jew].