Zacchaeus defends himself (Lk 19:8-19:8)

“Zacchaeus stood there.

He said

To the Lord.

‘Look!

Lord!

I will give

To the poor

Half of my possessions.

If I have defrauded

Anyone of anything,

I will pay back

Four times as much.’”

 

σταθεὶς δὲ Ζακχαῖος εἶπεν πρὸς τὸν Κύριον Ἰδοὺ τὰ ἡμίσειά μου τῶν ὑπαρχόντων, Κύριε, τοῖς πτωχοῖς δίδωμι, καὶ εἴ τινός τι ἐσυκοφάντησα ἀποδίδωμι τετραπλοῦν.

 

Luke indicated that Zacchaeus stood there (σταθεὶς δὲ Ζακχαῖος).  He then said to the Lord Jesus (εἶπεν πρὸς τὸν Κύριον), calling him Lord (Κύριε) that he was willing to give to the poor (τοῖς πτωχοῖς δίδωμι) half of his possessions (Ἰδοὺ τὰ ἡμίσειά μου τῶν ὑπαρχόντων).  He said that if he had defrauded anyone of anything (καὶ εἴ τινός τι ἐσυκοφάντησα), he was willing to pay it back 4 times as much (ἀποδίδωμι τετραπλοῦν).  Once again, Luke used the Greek word ἐσυκοφάντησα, that means to accuse falsely or defraud people, that was not found in any of the other Greek biblical writers.  Zacchaeus made a big deal about how he was not like the other tax collectors.  Despite his wealth, he was willing to give half of it away to some unnamed poor people.  Anytime, he was accused of defrauding people, he would give them 4 times what they were claiming.  This restoration of 4 times goes back to Exodus, chapter 22:1, about stealing sheep.  The thief had to pay four sheep for any one stolen sheep.  Thus, Zacchaeus seemed like a very fair person, leaning over backwards to help people.  Yet he was still wealthy.  Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus.  How do you treat people who claim that you are defrauding them?

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The bad manager wasting things (Lk 16:1-16:1)

“Jesus said

To the disciples.

‘There was a rich man

Who had a house manager.

Charges were brought

To the rich man

That this manager

Was squandering

His property.’”

 

Ἔλεγεν δὲ καὶ πρὸς τοὺς μαθητάς Ἄνθρωπός τις ἦν πλούσιος ὃς εἶχεν οἰκονόμον, καὶ οὗτος διεβλήθη αὐτῷ ὡς διασκορπίζων τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ.

 

This parable story about the dishonest household manager or steward can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said to his disciples (Ἔλεγεν δὲ καὶ πρὸς τοὺς μαθητάς) that there was a rich man (Ἄνθρωπός τις ἦν πλούσιος).  He had a manager of his affairs, a household manager, a steward, or a guardian (ὃς εἶχεν οἰκονόμον).  Luke used this unique Greek word οἰκονομεῖν, meaning household manager.  Although traditionally, he has been called a steward in English, household manager seems more correct.  However, charges were brought to the rich man (καὶ οὗτος διεβλήθη αὐτῷ).  This Greek word διεβλήθη is found once in the New Testament literature, only here in this story or parable of Luke.  The word διεβλήθη means slander, complaint, or accusation.  Someone had accused this manager of squandering or wasting this rich man’s property or possessions (ὡς διασκορπίζων τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ).  This rich man had a house manager taking care of his possessions.  Apparently, it was reported to him, that his manager was not doing a good job and may have been taking some of his property.  It is not exactly clear, but there were some problems.  Have you ever had a problem with someone who was to manage something for you?

He casts out demons by Beelzebul (Lk 11:15-11:15)

“But some of them said.

‘He casts out demons

By Beelzebul,

The ruler of demons.’”

 

τινὲς δὲ ἐξ αὐτῶν εἶπαν Ἐν Βεελζεβοὺλ τῷ ἄρχοντι τῶν δαιμονίων ἐκβάλλει τὰ δαιμόνια

 

Luke indicated that some anonymous people in the crowd said (τινὲς δὲ ἐξ αὐτῶν εἶπαν) that Jesus was casting out demons (ἐκβάλλει τὰ δαιμόνια) by Beelzebul (Ἐν Βεελζεβοὺλ), the ruler or the prince of the demons (τῷ ἄρχοντι τῶν δαιμονίων).  Matthew, chapter 12:24, said that it was the Pharisees, not someone in the crowd, who heard that the people were calling Jesus the “Son of David,” a messianic name.  They then accused Jesus of being in cahoots with Beelzebul, the leader of the demons.  In other words, Jesus was casting out demons because he was working with the devil, the prince of the demons, Beelzebul.  Mark, chapter 3:22, said that the Scribes came down from Jerusalem, and not the Pharisees, as in Matthew, or someone in the crowd as in Luke, that accused Jesus of working with Beelzebul.  Thus, as the leader or ruler of the demons, he was casting out other demons.  The implication was that Jesus was working with the devil, the very leader of the demons, Beelzebul, an ancient Canaanite god known as the “Lord of the flies.”  However, Beelzebul had become another name for the devil or a major demon in early Christianity and late Judaism.  What do you think the role of the devil is in your life?

Many accusations (Mk 15:3-15:3)

“Then the chief priests

Accused Jesus

Of many things.”

 

καὶ κατηγόρουν αὐτοῦ οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς πολλά.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 27:12-13.  However, in Luke, chapter 23:9-10, this dialogue took place before Governor Herod Antipas in Galilee, instead of here before Governor Pontius Pilate in Judea.  Mark said that the chief priests accused Jesus of many things (καὶ κατηγόρουν αὐτοῦ οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς πολλά).  Each gospel writer had their own way of telling this story.  Do you tell stories differently?

 

Peter was confronted a third time (Mk 14:70-14:70)

“Then after a little while,

The bystanders again

Said to Peter.

‘Certainly!

You are one of them!

You are a Galilean!’”

 

καὶ μετὰ μικρὸν πάλιν οἱ παρεστῶτες ἔλεγον τῷ Πέτρῳ Ἀληθῶς ἐξ αὐτῶν εἶ· καὶ γὰρ Γαλιλαῖος εἶ.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 26:73, Luke, chapter 22:59, and John, chapter 18:26, with some changes.  Peter was confronted a 3rd time.  John said that a man recognized, Peter, because he was a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off.  Matthew said that after a little while some of the bystanders approached Peter.  Luke said that it was about an hour later when another person came up to Peter.  Mark, like Matthew, said that that after a little while (καὶ μετὰ μικρὸν), some bystanders again said to Peter (ἔλεγον τῷ Πέτρῳ) that he certainly was one of those followers of Jesus (Ἀληθῶς ἐξ αὐτῶν εἶ), because he was from Galilee (καὶ γὰρ Γαλιλαῖος εἶ), a Galilean.  Matthew added that Peter’s accent in his speech betrayed him as a man from Galilee.  For a 3td time, Peter was accused of being a man from Galilee, a follower of Jesus of Nazareth.  You can never escape your accent.

 

The Scribes claim that Jesus was possessed by Beelzebul (Mk 3:22-3:22)

“The Scribes,

Who came down

From Jerusalem,

Said.

‘He has Beelzebul.

By the ruler

Of demons,

He casts out the demons.’”

 

καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς οἱ ἀπὸ Ἱεροσολύμων καταβάντες ἔλεγον ὅτι Βεελζεβοὺλ ἔχει, καὶ ὅτι ἐν τῷ ἄρχοντι τῶν δαιμονίων ἐκβάλλει τὰ δαιμόνια.

 

This is similar to Luke, chapter 11:15 and Matthew, chapter 12:24.  Beelzebul was an ancient Canaanite god known as the “Lord of the flies,” but had become another name for the devil or demons in early Christianity and late Judaism.  Mark said that the Scribes came down from Jerusalem (καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς οἱ ἀπὸ Ἱεροσολύμων καταβάντες), and not the Pharisees, as in Matthew.  They said (ἔλεγον) or accused Jesus of being in cahoots with Beelzebul.  He had Beelzebul in him (ὅτι Βεελζεβοὺλ ἔχει).  Thus, as the leader or ruler of the demons (καὶ ὅτι ἐν τῷ ἄρχοντι τῶν δαιμονίων), he was casting out demons (ἐκβάλλει τὰ δαιμόνια).  Jesus was working with the devil, the leader of the demons, the ancient Canaanite god, Beelzebul.

Jesus does not respond (Mt 27:12-27:14)

“But when Jesus

Was accused

By the chief priests

And the elders,

He did not answer.

Then Pilate said to him.

‘Do you not hear

How many accusations

They have made

Against you?’

But he gave him

No answer,

Not even

To a single charge.

Thus,

The governor

Was greatly amazed.”

 

καὶ ἐν τῷ κατηγορεῖσθαι αὐτὸν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀρχιερέων καὶ πρεσβυτέρων οὐδὲν ἀπεκρίνατο.

τότε λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Πειλᾶτος Οὐκ ἀκούεις πόσα σου καταμαρτυροῦσιν;

καὶ οὐκ ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῷ πρὸς οὐδὲ ἓν ῥῆμα, ὥστε θαυμάζειν τὸν ἡγεμόνα λίαν.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:3-5.  In Luke, chapter 23:9-10, this dialogue took place before Governor Herod Antipas in Galilee, instead of here before Governor Pontius Pilate in Judea.  When Jesus was accused (καὶ ἐν τῷ κατηγορεῖσθαι αὐτὸν) by the chief priests and the elders (ὑπὸ τῶν ἀρχιερέων καὶ πρεσβυτέρων), he did not answer them (οὐδὲν ἀπεκρίνατο).  Then Pilate said to Jesus (τότε λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Πειλᾶτος).  He wondered if Jesus had not heard how many accusations they had made against him (Οὐκ ἀκούεις πόσα σου καταμαρτυροῦσιν).  However, Jesus, did not give any answer (καὶ οὐκ ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῷ), not even to a single charge (οὐδὲ ἓν ῥῆμα,).  Thus, Governor Pilate was greatly amazed (ὥστε θαυμάζειν τὸν ἡγεμόνα λίαν).