Good judgment (Lk 12:57-12:57)

“Why do you not judge

For yourselves

What is right?”

 

Τί δὲ καὶ ἀφ’ ἑαυτῶν οὐ κρίνετε τὸ δίκαιον;

 

This was another unique verse of Luke.  He indicated that Jesus asked why they were not able to judge for themselves (Τί δὲ καὶ ἀφ’ ἑαυτῶν οὐ κρίνετε) what was right (τὸ δίκαιον)?  Jesus wanted to know why they were not able to judge by themselves what was right and wrong.  Are you a good judge of right and wrong?

Beware children of Abraham! (Lk 3:8-3:9)

“Bear fruits

Worthy of repentance!

Do not begin

To say to yourselves!

‘We have Abraham

As our ancestor!’

I tell you!

‘God is able

From these stones

To raise up children

To Abraham.

Even now,

The ax is lying

At the root of the trees.

Every tree

That does not bear

Good fruit

Is cut down

And thrown

Into the fire.’”

 

ποιήσατε οὖν καρποὺς ἀξίους τῆς μετανοίας· καὶ μὴ ἄρξησθε λέγειν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς Πατέρα ἔχομεν τὸν Ἀβραάμ· λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν ὅτι δύναται ὁ Θεὸς ἐκ τῶν λίθων τούτων ἐγεῖραι τέκνα τῷ Ἀβραάμ.

ἤδη δὲ καὶ ἡ ἀξίνη πρὸς τὴν ῥίζαν τῶν δένδρων κεῖται· πᾶν οὖν δένδρον μὴ ποιοῦν καρπὸν καλὸν ἐκκόπτεται καὶ εἰς πῦρ βάλλεται.

 

Here is the first of the sayings from the so-called Q source.  Both Matthew, chapter 3:9-10, and Luke here have the exact same wording in their presentations of John’s preaching to the people.  Instead of just the Pharisees and Sadducees, Luke has John address this to all the people coming to be baptized.  This saying emphasized deeds, rather than relying on ancestry.  They were to produce fruit that was worthy of repentance (ποιήσατε οὖν καρποὺς ἀξίους τῆς μετανοίας).  They had to perform good deeds.  They should not presume that because they have had Abraham as their father, as the privileged chosen ones (καὶ μὴ ἄρξησθε λέγειν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς Πατέρα ἔχομεν τὸν Ἀβραάμ), that all would go well for them.  Then John pointedly said to them (λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν) that God had the power (ὅτι δύναται ὁ Θεὸς) to change stones and rocks into the children of Abraham (ἐκ τῶν λίθων τούτων ἐγεῖραι τέκνα τῷ Ἀβραάμ), a Hebrew play on words that was translated into Greek.  The axe was already lying at the foot of the trees, ready to go to work (ἤδη δὲ καὶ ἡ ἀξίνη πρὸς τὴν ῥίζαν τῶν δένδρων κεῖται).  Every tree that was not bearing or producing good fruit would be cut down (πᾶν οὖν δένδρον μὴ ποιοῦν καρπὸν καλὸν ἐκκόπτεται).  Then they would be thrown into the fire (καὶ εἰς πῦρ βάλλεται).

They said that they could do it (Mk 10:39-10:39)

“They replied.

‘We are able.’”

 

οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ Δυνάμεθα.

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 20:22, almost word for word.  Mark said that the 2 sons of Zebedee, James and John, responded to Jesus (οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ) that they were able (Δυνάμεθα) to drink from the cup and be baptized with the suffering.  Of course, the brothers said that they would be able to undergo the suffering cup and this difficult baptism.  They thought very highly of themselves, since they were among the elite disciples and apostles of Jesus.

Did they know what they were asking? (Mk 10:38-10:38)

“But Jesus said to them.

‘You do not know

What you are asking?

Are you able

To drink

The cup

That I drink?

Are you able

To be baptized

With the baptism

That I am baptized with?’”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Οὐκ οἴδατε τί αἰτεῖσθε. δύνασθε πιεῖν τὸ ποτήριον ὃ ἐγὼ πίνω, ἢ τὸ βάπτισμα ὃ ἐγὼ βαπτίζομαι βαπτισθῆναι;

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 20:22, but slightly different.  Jesus answered them (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) by asking if they knew what they were requesting (Οὐκ οἴδατε τί αἰτεῖσθε).  Were they able to drink the cup (δύνασθε πιεῖν τὸ ποτήριον) that he was about to drink (ὃ ἐγὼ πίνω)?  The idea of a cup as suffering or the cup of wrath could be found among the major prophets in Isaiah, chapter 51:17, Jeremiah, chapter 25:15, and Ezekiel, chapter 23:31.  Jesus asked them if they were ready to be baptized with the baptism that he was going to undergo (ἢ τὸ βάπτισμα ὃ ἐγὼ βαπτίζομαι βαπτισθῆναι)?  This baptism was a form of suffering.

All things are possible (Mk 9:23-9:23)

“Jesus said to him.

‘If you are able!

All things

Can be done

For the one

Who believes.’”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ Τὸ Εἰ δύνῃ, πάντα δυνατὰ τῷ πιστεύοντι.

 

This is unique to Mark.  Jesus said to him (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ).  If you are able (Τὸ Εἰ δύνῃ), all things can be done (πάντα δυνατὰ) for the one who believes (τῷ πιστεύοντι).  Jesus responded that belief was the key ingredient for any success in this area.

The testimony of the elders (Dan 13:36-13:41)

“The elders said.

‘While we were walking

In the garden alone,

This woman came in

With two maids.

She shut

The garden doors.

She dismissed

The maids.

Then a young man,

Who was hiding there,

Came to her.

He lay with her.

We were in a corner

Of the garden.

When we saw

This wickedness,

We ran to them.

Although we saw them

Embracing,

We could not hold the man.

He was stronger than we.

He opened the doors.

He got away.

We did,

However,

Seize this woman.

We asked her

Who the young man was.

But she would not tell us.

These things we testify.’”

The two old judges testified about their story. They were simply walking in the garden together alone. Then, this young woman with two maids came into the garden. Next, she locked the garden doors and sent the two maids away. Suddenly, a young man who had been hiding in the garden appeared. The two of them, Susanna and this young man, got together and had sex with each other. The two old judges were in a corner of the garden. They then ran over to them as they were still embracing. However, they were not strong enough to hold the young man. Instead, they were able to grab the woman, Susanna. They asked her who the young man was, but she would not tell them. Thus, the two judges finished their testimony.

The futile activities of these temple priests (Bar 6:33-6:35)

“The priests

Take some

Of the clothing

Of their gods

To clothe

Their wives

Or their children.

Whether one does

Evil

To them

Or good,

They will not be able

To repay it.

They cannot

Set up a king.

They cannot

Depose a king.

Likewise

They are not able

To give

Either wealth

Or money.

If one makes a vow

To them,

Then does not

Keep it,

They will not

Require it.”

These priests of the temple take some of the clothing from their gods to give to their wives and children. Whether anyone does good or evil to them, they are not able to return the favor or resist. They are unable to set up or depose a king as the God of Israel can. They seem to have no control over wealth or money. If someone makes a vow, they do not require them to keep their vows.