“Then they will see
The Son of Man
Coming in a cloud
And great glory.”
καὶ τότε ὄψονται τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐρχόμενον ἐν νεφέλῃ μετὰ δυνάμεως καὶ δόξης πολλῆ
Luke indicated that Jesus said that then they would see (καὶ τότε ὄψονται) the Son of Man (τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) coming in a cloud (ἐρχόμενον ἐν νεφέλῃ) with power (μετὰ δυνάμεως) and great glory (καὶ δόξης πολλῆ). This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 24:30, and in Mark, chapter 13:26. Mark said that they would all see or experience the Son of Man (καὶ τότε ὄψονται τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) coming in the clouds (ἐρχόμενον ἐν νεφέλαις) with his great power (μετὰ δυνάμεως πολλῆς) and glory (καὶ δόξης). Matthew indicated that Jesus had an introductory comment that the sign of the Son of Man would appear in the heavens (καὶ τότε φανήσεται τὸ σημεῖον τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν οὐρανῷ). Then all the tribes or races of people on the earth would mourn or lament (καὶ τότε κόψονται πᾶσαι αἱ φυλαὶ τῆς γῆς). After these phrases, then came the common element that they would all see or experience the Son of Man (καὶ ὄψονται τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) coming on the clouds of heaven (ἐρχόμενον ἐπὶ τῶν νεφελῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ) with his power (μετὰ δυνάμεως) and great glory (καὶ δόξης πολλῆς). The clouds were the common place where theophanies in the Old Testament occurred, as Yahweh often appeared in a cloud on a mountain. The Son of Man is a reference to Jesus himself as a Hebrew Messianic figure. What do you know about the Second Coming of Jesus?
Said to him.
‘If they do not listen
And the prophets,
Neither will they
Even if someone
From the dead.’”
εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ Εἰ Μωϋσέως καὶ τῶν προφητῶν οὐκ ἀκούουσιν, οὐδὲ ἐάν τις ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστῇ πεισθήσονται.
This parable story about the poor man Lazarus and an unnamed rich man is only found in Luke, not in the other gospels. Luke indicated that Jesus concluded that Abraham said to the rich man (εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ) that if his brothers had not listened to Moses and the prophets (Εἰ Μωϋσέως καὶ τῶν προφητῶν οὐκ ἀκούουσιν), neither would they be convinced or persuaded (πεισθήσονται), if someone rose from the dead (οὐδὲ ἐάν τις ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστῇ). Abraham was clear. They had the Torah of Moses and the written teachings of the prophets. What else did they need? Thus, they would not be moved to repentance even if a dead man appeared to them. This is of course was an indication of what would happen with Jesus in his resurrection. Would you change your mind if a dead person appeared to you?
With a spirit
That had crippled her
For eighteen years.
She was bent over.
She was unable
To stand up straight.”
καὶ ἰδοὺ γυνὴ πνεῦμα ἔχουσα ἀσθενείας ἔτη δέκα οκτώ, καὶ ἦν συνκύπτουσα καὶ μὴ δυναμένη ἀνακύψαι εἰς τὸ παντελές.
Luke uniquely said that there was a woman (καὶ ἰδοὺ γυνὴ) with a spirit that had crippled her (ἔχουσα ἀσθενείας) for 18 years (ἔτη δέκα οκτώ). She was bent over (καὶ ἦν συνκύπτουσα). This is the only appearance of the word συνκύπτουσα in the biblical literature, since it means bent forward, or doubled up. She was unable to stand up straight or lift herself to her full height (αὶ μὴ δυναμένη ἀνακύψαι εἰς τὸ παντελές). No one else had this story about the crippled lady, who for 18 years was possessed by some evil spirit that caused her problem. Illness and the role of evil spirits was always connected. Due to some evil spirit, she could not stand up straight. Do you know anyone who is bent over?
“On the next day,
When they had come down
From the mountain,
A great crowd
Ἐγένετο δὲ τῇ ἑξῆς ἡμέρᾳ κατελθόντων αὐτῶν ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄρους συνήντησεν αὐτῷ ὄχλος πολύς
Luke said that on the next day (Ἐγένετο δὲ τῇ ἑξῆς ἡμέρᾳ), after the transfiguration, when they had come down from the mountain (κατελθόντων αὐτῶν ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄρους), a great crowd met Jesus (συνήντησεν αὐτῷ ὄχλος πολύς). Mark, chapter 9:14-15, and Matthew, chapter 17:14 are somewhat similar. Jesus came to his disciples and saw a great crowd around them. Mark said that some Scribes were arguing or discussing with them, but there was no indication what they were discussing or arguing about. As Jesus left his small group of disciples, a large crowd came towards him. Mark said that suddenly a large crowd saw Jesus, so that they were amazed or overcome with awe, since he was like a celebrity. They all ran forward to greet him. Have you ever been in a crowd when a celebrity appeared?
They were speaking
Of his departure
Jesus was to accomplish this
οἳ ὀφθέντες ἐν δόξῃ ἔλεγον τὴν ἔξοδον αὐτοῦ, ἣν ἤμελλεν πληροῦν ἐν Ἱερουσαλήμ
Luke said that the 3 men, Jesus, Moses, and Elijah, all appeared in their glory (οἳ ὀφθέντες ἐν δόξῃ). They were speaking about the departure of Jesus (ἔλεγον τὴν ἔξοδον αὐτοῦ) and how it was about to be accomplished (ἣν ἤμελλεν πληροῦν) in Jerusalem (ἐν Ἱερουσαλήμ). This is a unique statement by Luke, since the other synoptics did not mention this. Luke said that these 3 transfigured men, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus, talked about the future departure of Jesus from Jerusalem, in other words, his upcoming death. Have you ever discussed your future death with anyone?
“Some others said
That Elijah had appeared.
That one of the ancient prophets
ὑπό τινων δὲ ὅτι Ἡλείας ἐφάνη, ἄλλων δὲ ὅτι προφήτης τις τῶν ἀρχαίων ἀνέστη.
Luke said that some people said Jesus was the appearance of Elijah (ὑπό τινων δὲ ὅτι Ἡλείας ἐφάνη). Others said that Jesus was one of the ancient prophets who had risen (ἄλλων δὲ ὅτι προφήτης τις τῶν ἀρχαίων ἀνέστη). There was nothing about this speculation in Matthew. However, Mark, chapter 6:15, had something similar, almost word for word. Some people said that Jesus was Elijah. Still others said that he was a prophet, like the former ancient prophets. Elijah was a 9th century BCE northern Israelite prophet whose work can be found in the Old Testament Books of 1 Kings, 2 Kings, and 1 Chronicles. There was no doubt that the role of Elijah dominated late Jewish thought at the time of Jesus, with his name appearing around John the Baptist, the transfiguration, and the death of Jesus. The prophets were the holy men of Hebrew scripture who brought the word of Yahweh to his people. Who would you compare Jesus to?
At his disciples.
‘Blessed are you
Who are poor!
The kingdom of God.”
Καὶ αὐτὸς ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ εἰς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ ἔλεγεν Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοί, ὅτι ὑμετέρα ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ.
Luke said that Jesus looked up at his disciples (Καὶ αὐτὸς ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ εἰς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ). He said (ἔλεγεν) that the poor are blessed or happy (Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοί), using the second person plural. Their reward would be the kingdom of God (ὅτι ὑμετέρα ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ). This sermon on the plain is somewhat similar to the sermon on the mount in Matthew, chapters 5-7. Most people speak about the 8 beatitudes of Jesus on the mountain, since they feature the key points of Jesus’ preaching that was founded on the Hebrew Scriptures. What does “blessed (Μακάριοι)” mean? This Greek word Μακάριοι appeared over 68 times in the Greek Septuagint Old Testament, especially in the Psalms. God will bless these people, so that they will be the fortunate ones, the happy ones, the wise ones. There are echoes of Psalm 32, where the happy and blessed ones are those who have had their sins forgiven, since they have no deceit in their hearts. The blessed people are the poor, the hungry, the mourners, and those being persecuted. Number one is the poor. However, right off the bat, there is a difference with Matthew. chapter 5:3, who used the term the “poor in spirit (οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι).” What did Matthew mean by this “poor in spirit” or spiritual poverty? There is a whole Judaic tradition about the oppressed poor and the humble of the land, as in the prophets Isaiah, chapter 61:1 and 66:2, and Zephaniah, chapter 2:3, but that was not spiritual poverty. Perhaps, this was more like the lack of concern for material things, whether you are actually poor or not. For Luke, it was black or white, poor or not. The 2nd major difference was the reward. Matthew talked about what they would possess, the kingdom of the heavens (ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν), while Luke said it was the kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ), plain and simple.
And their Scribes
To Jesus’ disciples.
‘Why do you eat
With tax collectors
καὶ ἐγόγγυζον οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς αὐτῶν πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ λέγοντες Διὰ τί μετὰ τῶν τελωνῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν ἐσθίετε καὶ πίνετε;
Luke said that the Pharisees and their Scribes were complaining or grumbling (καὶ ἐγόγγυζον οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς αὐτῶν) to Jesus’ disciples (πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ). They wondered (λέγοντες) why they were with Jesus eating and drinking (ἐσθίετε καὶ πίνετε) with tax collectors and sinners (Διὰ τί μετὰ τῶν τελωνῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν). Mark, chapter 2:16, and Matthew, chapter 9:11, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this incident. In Matthew, it was only the Pharisees and not the Scribes who are complaining. Mark and Luke have both these Pharisees and their Scribes grumble about this dinner party. They saw that Jesus and his disciples was eating and drinking with these sinners and tax collectors. Then they asked the disciples of Jesus, and not Jesus himself, why was Jesus eating with these tax collectors and sinners? These Pharisees were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that became the basis for later Rabbinic Judaism. They had they own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with the letter of the law above its spirit. They had a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple. The Pharisees in the New Testament engaged in conflicts with Jesus and his disciples, as here. However, Paul the Apostle may have been a Pharisee before his conversion. Maybe Jesus and some of his followers were Pharisees, so that these arguments with the Pharisees may have been internal arguments. Or is this portrait of the Pharisees in the New Testament a caricature, since the late first century Christians were fighting with the emerging Rabbinic Pharisees? Their position towards the Scribes was a mixed bag. These Scribes were religious experts who determined the traditions to be followed, as professional copiers of manuscript documents, although they had a wider role in Jewish society.
Into all the region
Around the Jordan River.
He was proclaiming
For the forgiveness
καὶ ἦλθεν εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν περίχωρον τοῦ Ἰορδάνου κηρύσσων βάπτισμα μετανοίας εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν,
This section of Luke is very similar to all the other 4 gospel stories. Luke explicitly said that John went into all the region around the Jordan River (καὶ ἦλθεν εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν περίχωρον τοῦ Ἰορδάνου). Mark, chapter 1:4, had the simple statement that John the Baptizer, appeared in the wilderness or desert, without mentioning the Jordan River. However, Luke was actually closer to Mark, since he used the exact same words about John’s preaching. He indicated that John was proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (κηρύσσων βάπτισμα μετανοίας εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν). Matthew, chapter 3:2, said that the preaching message of John was very simple. They should repent, turn their lives around, with a profound metanoia, a change of their spirit. The equivalent about repentance, metanoia, or the change of heart can also be found in both Mark and Luke. Matthew had John say that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, coming near. The other canonical gospel writers did not use this term “kingdom of heaven.” John, chapter l:19-29, had a long dialogue with John and the priests and Levites about what he was doing. How and what John did before or after this preaching in the wilderness did not matter. He was there proclaiming a baptism of repentance, a life change, or a metanoia, to have sins or faults forgiven or wiped away.
“The child grew.
He became strong
In the wilderness
Until the day
He appeared openly
Τὸ δὲ παιδίον ηὔξανεν καὶ ἐκραταιοῦτο πνεύματι, καὶ ἦν ἐν ταῖς ἐρήμοις ἕως ἡμέρας ἀναδείξεως αὐτοῦ πρὸς τὸν Ἰσραήλ.
Luke concluded his remarks about John by saying that this child, John, continued to grow (Τὸ δὲ παιδίον ηὔξανεν), just like every other child. This concept of the growing child will also be present with Jesus in the next chapter. John became strong in spirit (καὶ ἐκραταιοῦτο πνεύματι) as he grew stronger spiritually. He was in the wilderness or desert (καὶ ἦν ἐν ταῖς ἐρήμοις), just like the Israelites during the Exodus, until the day he appeared openly to Israel (ἕως ἡμέρας ἀναδείξεως αὐτοῦ πρὸς τὸν Ἰσραήλ). It is hard to figure out what an open or public appearance was, since there would be no big announcement or advertisement like today.