Surrounded on every side (Lk 19:43-19:43)

“Indeed,

The days

Will come upon you,

When your enemies

Will set up ramparts

Around you.

They will hem you in

On every side.”

 

ὅτι ἥξουσιν ἡμέραι ἐπὶ σὲ καὶ παρεμβαλοῦσιν οἱ ἐχθροί σου χάρακά σοι καὶ περικυκλώσουσίν σε καὶ συνέξουσίν σε πάντοθεν,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus remarked that bad days were coming to Jerusalem (ὅτι ἥξουσιν ἡμέραι ἐπὶ σὲ).  Jesus said that it would come to them when their enemies would put up a barricade against them (καὶ παρεμβαλοῦσιν οἱ ἐχθροί σου χάρακά σοι).  They would surround them (καὶ περικυκλώσουσίν σε) so that they would be hemmed in on every side (καὶ συνέξουσίν σε πάντοθεν).  This is the only Greek biblical use of the word περικυκλώσουσίν that means to hem them in on every side, encircle, surround, or encompass.  Jesus was using the words and images of the ancient Israelite prophets against Jerusalem.  Isaiah, chapter 29:1-3, called Jerusalem Ariel, a symbolic name for Jerusalem and its altar.  Isaiah, warned Jerusalem about what was going to happen to it.  Yahweh was going to encamp against it and set up siege works against it.  They would be able to speak only from below the earth and the dust.  Their voices would be reduced to a whisper, like a ghost in the middle of this dust pile.  Jeremiah, chapter 6:6-8, warned Jerusalem that its enemies were going to cut down trees in order to make a ramp siege against Jerusalem, because this city needed to be punished.  There was nothing but oppression and wickedness within her.  Jerusalem was a place of violence and destruction with sickness and wounded people all around.  Yahweh was going to turn away in disgust against Jerusalem. Thus, it would become a desolate uninhabited land, if it did not heed his warning.  Ezekiel, chapter 4:1-3, also condemned Jerusalem with Ezekiel’s symbolic action.  A voice told Ezekiel to be an expert model Lego builder of the siege of Jerusalem.  Ezekiel, the son of man, was to take a brick and portray the city of Jerusalem.  He was to put the siege works with a siege wall against this city.  He was to put a ramp and camps against this city with battering rams all around it.  Then he was to take an iron plate and make an iron wall between himself and the city, looking at it.  Thus, there was a state of siege, a sign for the house of Israel.  Ezekiel was part of the exiles from 598 BCE before the taking of Jerusalem and the second captivity in 587 BCE.  Of course, here this was allusion to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE by the Roman soldiers putting down a revolution in Judea.  Luke would have known about this at the time of his writing.  Have you ever seen a city destroyed?

Do not fall for false claims (Lk 17:23-17:23)

“They will say

To you.

‘Look there!”

Or

‘Look here!’

Do not go!

Do not follow them!”

 

καὶ ἐροῦσιν ὑμῖν Ἰδοὺ ἐκεῖ, Ἰδοὺ ὧδε· μὴ ἀπέλθητε μηδὲ διώξητε.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus remarked that people would tell them (καὶ ἐροῦσιν ὑμῖν) to look here (Ἰδοὺ ἐκεῖ) and there (Ἰδοὺ ὧδε).  They were not to go and follow them (μὴ ἀπέλθητε μηδὲ διώξητε).  This was similar to earlier in this chapter, 17:21.  This is also somewhat similar to Mark, chapter 13:21, and Matthew, chapter 24:23, who were almost word for word to each other.  Mark said that Jesus warned his disciples that if anyone said to them that the Messiah Christ was there (καὶ τότε ἐάν τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ Ἴδε ὧδε ὁ Χριστός), or if they said look here (Ἴδε ἐκεῖ), they were not to believe it (μὴ πιστεύετε).  They were not to be misled by rumors about the Christ Messiah.  Matthew said that Jesus warned his disciples that if anyone said to them to look because the Messiah Christ was there (τότε ἐάν τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ Ἰδοὺ ὧδε ὁ Χριστός, ἤ Ὧδε), they were not to believe it (μὴ πιστεύσητε).  Many people might lead them astray, by saying that they were the Messiah Christ in order to deceive them.  Apparently, there were many deceptive Jewish messianic leaders who were saying that they were the Christ Messiah.  John the Baptist was an example of a messianic leader in the 1st century CE.  Other political Jewish leaders had messianic ambitions also, especially those who led the revolt against the Romans in the 2nd half of the 1st century.  Jesus was warning against all of them.  Have you ever been misled by a religious leader?

Forgiveness (Lk 17:4-17:4)

“If the same person

Sins against you

Seven times

A day,

Yet turns back

To you

Seven times,

And says.

‘I repent!’

You must forgive!”

 

καὶ ἐὰν ἑπτάκις τῆς ἡμέρας ἁμαρτήσῃ εἰς σὲ καὶ ἑπτάκις ἐπιστρέψῃ πρὸς σὲ λέγων Μετανοῶ, ἀφήσεις αὐτῷ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that if the same person sinned against you (ἁμαρτήσῃ εἰς σὲ) 7 times a day (καὶ ἐὰν ἑπτάκις τῆς ἡμέρας), yet turned back to you 7 times (καὶ ἑπτάκις ἐπιστρέψῃ πρὸς σὲ), and said that he repented (Μετανοῶ, ἀφήσεις αὐτῷ), you must still forgive him (ἀφήσεις αὐτῷ).  There is something like this saying in Matthew, chapter 18:21-22, although there was no mention of Peter here in LukeMatthew indicated that Peter took on a specific leadership role.  He wanted to know how many times he should forgive his brother’s sins?  Peter wanted to know how often he should forgive his brother who had sinned against him (ποσάκις ἁμαρτήσει εἰς ἐμὲ ὁ ἀδελφός μου καὶ ἀφήσω αὐτῷ).  Peter thought that 7 would be a good number.  Was 7 times enough (ἕως ἑπτάκις)?  Most Jewish people had forgiven offenses 3 times.  3 strikes and you were out.  Peter seemed overly generous in his attempts at forgiveness.  Jesus surprised Peter with a solemn declaration (λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦ) by telling him to forgive his brother’s sins not just 7 times (Οὐ λέγω σοι ἕως ἑπτάκις) but 490 times, 7*70 (ἀλλὰ ἕως ἑβδομηκοντάκις ἑπτά).  However, this saying about 7*70 was unique to Matthew, who was the only one who ever used this number ἑβδομηκοντάκις ἑπτά in the New Testament literature.  This number, nevertheless, could be found in Genesis, chapter 4:24 when Cain and Lamech were talking about violent revenge.  Lamech wanted his vengeance 7*70.  Was this number an attempt to indicate infinity before we had that term?  490 seems overly generous in any circumstances.  However, here in Luke, it might be even more since forgiveness was expected 7 times each day.  How many times do you forgive people?

 

The son admits he is a sinner (Lk 15:21-15:21)

“Then the son

Said to him.

‘Father!

I have sinned

Against heaven

And before you.

I am no longer worthy

To be called

Your son.’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ ὁ υἱὸς αὐτῷ Πάτερ, ἥμαρτον εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ ἐνώπιόν σου, οὐκέτι εἰμὶ ἄξιος κληθῆναι υἱός σου.

 

This long parable story about the prodigal son can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that the son said to his father (εἶπεν δὲ ὁ υἱὸς αὐτῷ Πάτερ) that he had sinned (ἥμαρτον) against heaven (εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν) and his own father (καὶ ἐνώπιόν σου).  He was no longer worthy to be called his son (οὐκέτι εἰμὶ ἄξιος κληθῆναι υἱός σου).  Some of the Greek texts have the ending sentence of verse 19, where he wanted to be treated like one of his hired hands (ποίησόν με ὡς ἕνα τῶν μισθίων σου).  This seems to be a very true contrite statement, since the words are exactly what he was thinking when he decided to return home.  Thus, this prodigal son confessed his sins and asked for repentance, after his father had already accepted him back.  Have you ever confessed that you are a sinner?

Family members will be divided (Lk 12:53-12:53)

“They will be divided!

Father against son!

Son against father!

Mother against daughter!

Daughter against mother!

Mother-in-law

Against her daughter-in-law!

Daughter-in-law

Against her mother-in-law!”

 

διαμερισθήσονται, πατὴρ ἐπὶ υἱῷ καὶ υἱὸς ἐπὶ πατρί, μήτηρ ἐπὶ θυγατέρα καὶ θυγάτηρ ἐπὶ τὴν μητέρα, πενθερὰ ἐπὶ τὴν νύμφην αὐτῆς καὶ νύμφη ἐπὶ τὴν πενθεράν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that there would be divisions within families.  They would be divided (διαμερισθήσονται) father against son (πατὴρ ἐπὶ υἱῷ) and son against father (καὶ υἱὸς ἐπὶ πατρί).  They would be divided mother against daughter (μήτηρ ἐπὶ θυγατέρα) and daughter against mother (καὶ θυγάτηρ ἐπὶ τὴν μητέρα).  A mother-in-law would be against her daughter-in-law (πενθερὰ ἐπὶ τὴν νύμφην αὐτῆς) and vice versa, the daughter-in-law would be against her mother-in-law (καὶ νύμφη ἐπὶ τὴν πενθεράν).  This verse is similar to Matthew, chapter 10:35, indicating a Q source.  However, it is also similar to what Jesus, via Matthew, had said in chapter 10:21, and Mark, chapter 13:12, as well as much like the Old Testament prophet Micah, chapter 7:6, where this prophet warned that they should not trust anyone in their own family.  Jesus may be the disrupter in their own family, not the peacemaker.  Jesus said that he came to set a man against his father (ἦλθον γὰρ διχάσαι ἄνθρωπον κατὰ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ), a daughter against her mother (καὶ θυγατέρα κατὰ τῆς μητρὸς αὐτῆς), and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law (καὶ νύμφην κατὰ τῆς πενθερᾶς αὐτῆς).  Thus, the most ferocious enemies will be members of their own household (καὶ ἐχθροὶ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οἱ οἰκιακοὶ αὐτοῦ).  People always look outside for enemies, but sometimes they may be right beside them in their own family.  Do you have divisions in your own family?

The division of five (Lk 12:52-12:52)

“From now on,

Five in one household

Will be divided

Three against two,

And two against three.”

 

ἔσονται γὰρ ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν πέντε ἐν ἑνὶ οἴκῳ διαμεμερισμένοι, τρεῖς ἐπὶ δυσὶν καὶ δύο ἐπὶ τρισίν

 

This is a unique saying of Jesus only found here in Luke.  Jesus said that from now on (ἔσονται γὰρ ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν), if there are 5 people in a house (πέντε ἐν ἑνὶ οἴκῳ), they would be divided (διαμεμερισμένοι) 3 against 2 (τρεῖς ἐπὶ δυσὶν) and 2 against 3 (καὶ δύο ἐπὶ τρισίν).  There will not be uniformity in households.  The time of division had come.  Do you think that Jesus was a divider?

The parable of the rich man (Lk 12:16-12:16)

“Then he told them

A parable.

He said.

‘The land

Of a rich man

Produced abundantly.”

 

Εἶπεν δὲ παραβολὴν πρὸς αὐτοὺς λέγων Ἀνθρώπου τινὸς πλουσίου εὐφόρησεν ἡ χώρα

 

Next Luke uniquely had Jesus say that he was going to tell them a parable (Εἶπεν δὲ παραβολὴν πρὸς αὐτοὺς λέγων) about a certain rich man (Ἀνθρώπου τινὸς πλουσίου) who had land that produced abundantly (εὐφόρησεν ἡ χώρα).  Luke was the strongest synoptic against wealth and reliance on it.  Here the story is about a rich land owner with a fertile farm.  What do you know about farms?