The scroll of Isaiah (Lk 4:17-4:17)

“The scroll

Of the prophet Isaiah

Was given to Jesus.

He unrolled

The scroll.

He found the place

Where it was written.”

 

καὶ ἐπεδόθη αὐτῷ βιβλίον τοῦ προφήτου Ἡσαΐου, καὶ ἀνοίξας τὸ βιβλίον εὗρεν τὸν τόπον οὗ ἦν γεγραμμένον

 

This is unique to Luke, who described in detail what was happening at a Sabbath service in Nazareth.  The question would be whether this small town could afford a synagogue or have a special scroll of the prophet Isaiah.  Luke said that a scroll of the prophet Isaiah (βιβλίον τοῦ προφήτου Ἡσαΐου) was given to Jesus (καὶ ἐπεδόθη αὐτῷ).  Although the Greek word for a book βιβλίον was used, it would have been extremely rare to have a book, since even today, the scroll is used more often.  Jesus then unrolled this scroll (καὶ ἀνοίξας τὸ βιβλίον), until he found the place where it was written (εὗρεν τὸν τόπον οὗ ἦν γεγραμμένον) about what he was looking for.  This would have been the common practice at a synagogue, but it certainly was not a book, but rather a scroll.

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Jesus taught in the synagogues (Lk 4:15-4:15)

“He began

To teach

In their synagogues.

He was praised

By everyone.”

 

καὶ αὐτὸς ἐδίδασκεν ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν, δοξαζόμενος ὑπὸ πάντων.

 

Luke said that Jesus began to teach (καὶ αὐτὸς ἐδίδασκεν) in their synagogues (ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν).  This is a unique statement of Luke, but the idea was present in the other gospel stories.  Matthew mentioned synagogues 9 times, in chapters 4:23, 6:2, 6:5, 9:35, 10:17, 12:9, 13:54, 23:6, and 23:34, while Mark mentioned them 11 times, in chapters 1:21, 1:23, 1:29, 1:39, 3:1, 5:22, 5:36, 5:38, 12:38, 12:39, and 13:9.  The synagogue was a new developing Jewish established gathering place.  An assembly of Jewish people might take place in a building, since some places may not have been able to afford a special multi-purpose building.  Synagogues were a new thing in the first century BCE, becoming something like a local Jewish town hall meeting place as a center of study and worship, obviously outside of Jerusalem and its Temple.  There may have been some sort of Sabbath worship taking place there with readings from the Torah and the prophets, with perhaps a sermon or explanation.  Jesus with his disciples went there, which would not have been unusual.  However, the fact that he taught there might seem a little strange, if he was not invited.  However, Luke said that Jesus was praised or glorified by everyone (δοξαζόμενος ὑπὸ πάντων).

The sacrifice offering (Lk 2:24-2:24)

“They offered

A sacrifice,

According to

What is stated

In the law

Of the Lord.

‘A pair of turtledoves,

Or two young pigeons.’”

 

καὶ τοῦ δοῦναι θυσίαν κατὰ τὸ εἰρημένον ἐν τῷ νόμῳ Κυρίου, ζεῦγος τρυγόνων ἢ δύο νοσσοὺς περιστερῶν.

 

Luke said that Mary and Joseph offered a sacrifice (καὶ τοῦ δοῦναι θυσίαν), according to what was stated in the law of the Lord (κατὰ τὸ εἰρημένον ἐν τῷ νόμῳ Κυρίου).  They were offering a pair of turtledoves (ζεῦγος τρυγόνων) or 2 young pigeons (ἢ δύο νοσσοὺς περιστερῶν.).  Leviticus, chapter 12:5-8, said that when the days of purification were completed, the new mother had to bring a lamb and a pigeon to the entrance of the tent of meeting for a sin offering and a burnt offering.  If she could not afford a lamb, she could bring two pigeons or two turtledoves, which was the case here, since Mary was giving the offering of a poor person.  The priest then made atonement on her behalf to make her clean.  Thus, the unclean mother’s birth had to become clean with a burnt and sin offering, since childbirth was considered an unclean action.  Her period of uncleanness was much longer than merely touching a dead unclean animal.

Jesus taught in the Galilee synagogues (Mk 1:39-1:39)

“Jesus went

Throughout Galilee.

He proclaimed

The message

In their synagogues.

He was casting out

Demons.”

 

καὶ ἦλθεν κηρύσσων εἰς τὰς συναγωγὰς αὐτῶν εἰς ὅλην τὴν Γαλιλαίαν καὶ τὰ δαιμόνια ἐκβάλλων.

 

This was another of Mark’s summary statements.  Luke, chapter 4:44, has something similar, but Luke said that it was Judea and not Galilee.  Besides, Luke did not mention anything about casting out demons.  Matthew, chapter 4:23, is also somewhat similar.  Matthew implied that Jesus went all over Galilee, as he was teaching in their synagogues.  He said that Jesus was proclaiming the good news or the gospel about the kingdom, without saying whether it was the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, or even an earthly kingdom.  Here Mark said that Jesus went throughout the whole of Galilee (καὶ ἦλθεν…εἰς ὅλην τὴν Γαλιλαίαν), as he proclaimed or preached this unspecified message in their synagogues (κηρύσσων εἰς τὰς συναγωγὰς αὐτῶν).  The synagogue was a new developing Jewish gathering place that might mean a group or assembly of Jewish people rather than a building, since some places may not have been able to afford a building.  At the same time, Jesus was casting out demons (καὶ τὰ δαιμόνια ἐκβάλλων).  Mark seemed very intent on emphasizing that Jesus was casting out demons along with his undefined preaching.  He gave the impression that this took place all over Galilee without mentioning any particular place.

The generous spirit of sacrifice (Sir 35:6-35:12)

“Do not appear

Before the Lord

Empty-handed!

All that you offer

Is a fulfillment of the commandments.

The offering of a righteous person

Enriches the altar.

Its pleasing odor

Rises before the Most High.

The sacrifice of the righteous

Is acceptable.

It will never be forgotten.

Be generous

When you worship the Lord!

Do not stint

The first fruits of your hands!

With every gift

Show a cheerful face!

Dedicate your tithe

With gladness!

Give to the Most High

As he has given to you!

Be as generous

As you can afford!”

Sirach wanted every Temple sacrificial offering to be generous. You should never appear before the Lord empty-handed. You should fulfill the commandments. Your offering should enrich the altar with a pleasing odor that reaches to the Most High God. The acceptable sacrifices of the righteous will never be forgotten. Thus, you should be generous when you worship the Lord. You should not be stingy with your offering of the first fruits. Every tithe gift that you bring should be with a cheerful glad face. Remember that you are giving to the Most High God as he has given to you. You should be as generous as you can afford to be.