Persecution (Lk 21:12-21:12)

“But before all this occurs,

They will arrest you.

They will persecute you.

They will hand you over

To synagogues

And prisons.

You will be brought

Before kings

And governors

Because of my name.”

 

πρὸ δὲ τούτων πάντων ἐπιβαλοῦσιν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῶν καὶ διώξουσιν, παραδιδόντες εἰς τὰς συναγωγὰς καὶ φυλακάς, ἀπαγομένους ἐπὶ βασιλεῖς καὶ ἡγεμόνας ἕνεκεν τοῦ ὀνόματός μου

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that before all this occurred (πρὸ δὲ τούτων πάντων), they would arrest or lay hands on his disciples (ἐπιβαλοῦσιν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῶν).  They would persecute them (καὶ διώξουσιν) and hand them over (παραδιδόντες) to the synagogues (εἰς τὰς συναγωγὰς) and prisons (καὶ φυλακάς).  They would be brought before kings (ἀπαγομένους ἐπὶ βασιλεῖς) and governors (καὶ ἡγεμόνας) because of the name of Jesus (ἕνεκεν τοῦ ὀνόματός μου).  There was something similar in Mark, chapter 13:9, and Matthew, chapter 24:9.  Jesus said that his followers were going to be persecuted.  Mark indicated that Jesus warned them that they should be self-aware (Βλέπετε δὲ ὑμεῖς ἑαυτούς).  They would be handed over (παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς) to courts, councils, or synods (εἰς συνέδρια) and synagogues (καὶ εἰς συναγωγὰς), since some of the Jewish Christians were still part of Jewish social, political, and religious life.  They would also be beaten (δαρήσεσθε).  On the other hand, they would also have to stand before governors and kings (καὶ ἐπὶ ἡγεμόνων καὶ βασιλέων σταθήσεσθε) to give testimony as a witness to them about Jesus (ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ, εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς).  This idea of the persecution of the Jesus followers was not a new theme for Matthew, because it was mentioned earlier in chapter 10:16-25, where Jesus was more reassuring, and chapter 16:24, where Jesus spoke about bearing the cross of death.  Jesus said that his followers were going to be persecuted, distressed, or afflicted (τότε παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς θλῖψιν), even though there was no mention of this taking place in the synagogues in Matthew.  No doubt about it, they were going to be handed over to be tortured and put to death (καὶ ἀποκτενοῦσιν ὑμᾶς).  They would be hated and detested (καὶ ἔσεσθε μισούμενοι) by all the gentile nations (ὑπὸ πάντων τῶν ἐθνῶν) because of his name (διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου).  This was tough talk because it was not going to be easy to be a disciple of Jesus after he was gone.  In the Acts of the Apostles, there are many instances of the early Christians being persecuted in prisons and being brought before various magistrates.  Do you think it would be difficult to be persecuted because you were a Christian?

Lord and son (Lk 20:44-20:44)

“Thus,

David calls him

Lord!

How can he be

His son?”

 

Δαυεὶδ οὖν αὐτὸν Κύριον καλεῖ, καὶ πῶς αὐτοῦ υἱός ἐστιν;

 

Luke left this question unanswered.  Jesus asked them, since David called the Messiah Christ Lord (Δαυεὶδ οὖν αὐτὸν Κύριον καλεῖ), how can he be his son (καὶ πῶς αὐτοῦ υἱός ἐστιν)?  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 22:45-46, and Mark, chapter 12:37.  However, there it was a complete victory for Jesus.  What did David mean when he called the future Messiah Christ, a son of David?  The traditional belief was that the Messiah Christ would be the son or descendant of David.  Jesus then posed this big question.  Mark indicated that Jesus asked how could David call the Messiah Lord (αὐτὸς Δαυεὶδ λέγει αὐτὸν Κύριον) and yet be his son, the son of David (καὶ πόθεν αὐτοῦ ἐστιν υἱός)?  This was a trick question.  Why would David call his future son or descendant his own Lord or master, or consider him greater?  The implication was that Jesus, the Son of Man, and descendant of David, was greater than David.  Peter, in fact, repeated this citation of Psalm 110 in his preaching in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2:34-35, also.  Only Mark had the comment that a large crowd was listening to Jesus with delight or gladly (Καὶ ὁ πολὺς ὄχλος ἤκουεν αὐτοῦ ἡδέως).  Matthew indicated that neither the Pharisees nor anyone else were able to give him any kind of verbal response (καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐδύνατο ἀποκριθῆναι αὐτῷ λόγον).  Matthew remarked that from that day on (ἀπ’ ἐκείνης τῆς ἡμέρας), no one dared to ask him any more questions (οὐδὲ ἐτόλμησέν τις…ἐπερωτῆσαι αὐτὸν οὐκέτι), as this was a complete verbal victory for Jesus against the Pharisees.  Have you ever left anyone speechless?

The final two apostles (Lk 6:16-6:16)

“The last two were

Judas,

The son of James,

And Judas Iscariot,

Who became a traitor.”

 

καὶ Ἰούδαν Ἰακώβου, καὶ Ἰούδαν Ἰσκαριὼθ, ὃς ἐγένετο προδότης,

 

Luke said that the last two apostles were both called Judas (καὶ Ἰούδαν), the son of James (Ἰακώβου), and Judas Iscariot (καὶ Ἰούδαν Ἰσκαριὼθ), who became a traitor (ὃς ἐγένετο προδότης).  These last two are problematic for different reasons.  One of these names is similar to Mark, chapter 3:18-19 and Matthew, chapter 10:4, Judas Iscariot, who was on all 3 lists of apostles, with some unfavorable comment about him as a traitor.  However, he was excluded from the list in the in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 1:13.  As far the other Judas was concerned, there is some more confusion, since he does not appear in Matthew and Mark, who only list a Thaddeus.  Luke and the Acts listed him as Jude or Judas, the son of James, not Thaddeus.  Are these two-different people or just two different names?  Is this Jude Thaddeus like Simon Peter and Levi Matthew?  Did he have both a Jewish and a Greek name?

 

Four more apostles (Lk 6:15-6:15)

“Four more were

Matthew,

Thomas,

James,

The son of Alphaeus,

And Simon,

Who was called the Zealot.”

 

καὶ Μαθθαῖον καὶ Θωμᾶν, καὶ Ἰάκωβον Ἀλφαίου καὶ Σίμωνα τὸν καλούμενον Ζηλωτὴν,

 

This section about naming the 12 apostles is similar to Matthew, chapter 10:3-4, and Mark, chapter 3:18.  This list can also be compared to the list in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 1:13.  Matthew (καὶ Μαθθαῖον), or Levi, the tax collector, and doubting Thomas (καὶ Θωμᾶν) in John, chapter 20:19-29, are mentioned elsewhere in the gospels.  However, the other 2 apostles are not mentioned by name elsewhere in the gospels, James, the son of Alphaeus (καὶ Ἰάκωβον Ἀλφαίου), and Simon the Zealot (καὶ Σίμωνα τὸν καλούμενον Ζηλωτὴν).  Both of these men have some confusing comments about them in the other listings of the apostles.  In Mark 2:14, Levi or Matthew was called the son of Alphaeus just as James is here.  However, in the list of Mark, chapter 3:18, he also called James, the son of Alphaeus as here.  Were they brothers?  Mark also called this Simon the Cananaean.  Either this Simon was a Jewish zealot or a Cananaean.  Besides Simon, the leader called Peter, there was a mention of a Simon who was a leper and Pharisee Simon.  So that there were a lot of Simons in the gospel stories.

The top six apostles (Lk 6:14-6:14)

“They were

Simon,

Whom he named Peter,

And his brother

Andrew,

James,

John,

Philip,

And Bartholomew.”

 

Σίμωνα, ὃν καὶ ὠνόμασεν, Πέτρον καὶ Ἀνδρέαν τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ, καὶ Ἰάκωβον καὶ Ἰωάνην, καὶ Φίλιππον καὶ Βαρθολομαῖον,

 

Luke then gave a list of these 12 apostles.  The first six named were Simon (Σίμωνα), whom he renamed Peter (ὃν καὶ ὠνόμασεν, Πέτρον), his brother Andrew (καὶ Ἀνδρέαν τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ), as well as James (καὶ Ἰάκωβον), John (καὶ Ἰωάνην), Philip (καὶ Φίλιππον), and Bartholomew (καὶ Βαρθολομαῖον).  This section about the names of the 12 apostles is similar to Mark, chapter 3:16-19 and Matthew, chapter 10:2-4.  This list can also be compared to the list in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 1:13.  There are some discrepancies with these names.  First on all the lists was Simon.  Luke said that Jesus named him Peter, not merely known as Peter.  Next Luke had Andrew, the brother of Peter, but he never mentioned him in the call of the first disciples in chapter 5:1-11.  Next were the 2 brothers James and John, who were mentioned earlier.  James was always listed first.  However, they were not called the sons of Zebedee, as they were in the other gospel stories.  Mark had a longer explanation about them, calling them the sons of thunder.  Clearly, these 4 apostles were considered the most important with Peter at the top of this group, while James played an important role also.  The role of Andrew, the brother of Peter, was more ambiguous.  They are no longer called the 12 disciples (δώδεκα μαθητὰς) but the 12 apostles (δὲ δώδεκα ἀποστόλων).  They had changed from being mere followers (μαθητὰς) to now being sent out as apostles (ἀποστόλων).  Matthew had already mentioned, the call of the first 4 disciples in chapter 4:18-22.  Now they became the first 4 named apostles.  Philip and Bartholomew came next as 5 and 6 in all the lists of the apostles, without any other information about them.

The gospel preaching of John (Lk 3:18-3:18)

“Thus,

With many other exhortations,

John proclaimed

The good news gospel

To the people.”

 

Πολλὰ μὲν οὖν καὶ ἕτερα παρακαλῶν εὐηγγελίζετο τὸν λαόν·

 

Only Luke has this explanation that John the Baptist with many other exhortations (Πολλὰ μὲν οὖν καὶ ἕτερα παρακαλῶν), other than those recounted here, proclaimed the good news to the people (εὐηγγελίζετο τὸν λαόν).  Was this the same good news or gospel (εὐηγγελίζετο) that Jesus would later preach?  Luke was the only one among the other gospel writers who linked John and Jesus as relatives in chapter 1:36.  John’s mother, Elizabeth, and Jesus’ mother, Mary, were relatives of some sort, thus making their children relatives or cousins also.  They could be compared in some ways to Aaron and Moses or the later Peter and Paul.  One was superior to the other, but the other played an indispensable role.  John the Baptist was a Jewish itinerant preacher in the early first century CE.  He used baptism, some kind of dipping in water, as the central symbol or sacrament of his messianic movement.  Thus, he became known as the one who baptizes, the Baptizer, John the Baptist.  This John certainly had a relationship with Jesus, but the exact relationship between John and Jesus is also problematic.  They may have originally been co-workers.  However, they separated as Jesus went along a different route.  However, the shadow of John the Baptist appeared again and again in the biblical stories about Jesus and his apostles.  Some believe that Jesus may have been an early follower or disciple of John, but the textual indications are that John saw himself as clearly subservient to Jesus.  Some of Jesus’ early followers had previously been followers of John, such as the apostle Andrew, the brother of Simon, in John, chapter 1:40, and in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 19:2-6.  There may have been also some contact between John the Baptist and the Qumran-Essene community, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.  John might have been associated with them or part of their community for a while.  Thus, John the Baptist has been revered as a prophet and a Christian saint throughout the centuries.

Zechariah is filled with the Holy Spirit (Lk 1:67-1:67)

“Then his father,

Zechariah,

Was filled with

The Holy Spirit.

He spoke

This prophesy.”

 

Καὶ Ζαχαρίας ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ ἐπλήσθη Πνεύματος Ἁγίου καὶ ἐπροφήτευσεν λέγων

 

Luke indicated that Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit, just like John, Mary, and Elizabeth, earlier in this chapter, in verses 15, 35, and 41.  This gift of the Holy Spirit was tied to prophecy just as in Joel, chapter 2:28, where there was an outpouring of the Spirit upon all humans, the young men, the sons, the young women, and the daughters.  These young people would prophesize, while the old men would dream dreams.  The young men would see visions.  Even the male and female slaves would receive this outpouring of the Spirit.  Luke has this outpouring of the Spirit when Peter talked in the Acts of the Apostles.  Here Luke said that John’s father (ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ), Zechariah (Καὶ Ζαχαρίας), was filled with the Holy Spirit (ἐπλήσθη Πνεύματος Ἁγίου).  Thus, Zechariah spoke this prophesy (καὶ ἐπροφήτευσεν λέγων).