The Pharisee and the tax collector (Lk 18:10-18:10)

“Two men

Went up

Into the Temple

To pray.

One was

A Pharisee.

The other was

A tax collector.”

 

Ἄνθρωποι δύο ἀνέβησαν εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν προσεύξασθαι, ὁ εἷς Φαρισαῖος καὶ ὁ ἕτερος τελώνης.

 

Luke has Jesus tell a parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector that is only found in this gospel.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that two men (Ἄνθρωποι δύο) went up into the Temple (ἀνέβησαν εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν) to pray (προσεύξασθαι).  One was a Pharisee (ὁ εἷς Φαρισαῖος).  The other was a tax collector (καὶ ὁ ἕτερος τελώνης).  Both of these men were well intentioned, since they went to the Temple to pray to God, a good thing.  Socially, they were of two different strata.  The Pharisee was a pillar of Jewish society as an interpreter of the Mosaic Law.  The tax collector, on the other hand, was considered a traitor to the Jewish community, since he worked for the Roman Empire, the occupation force.  These tax collectors were often compared to public sinners.  The contrast was real and set out at the beginning of this story.  Is there a social strata in your religious culture?

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Pray (Lk 18:1-18:1)

“Then Jesus told them

A parable

About the need

To pray always.

Do not grow weary!”

 

Ἔλεγεν δὲ παραβολὴν αὐτοῖς πρὸς τὸ δεῖν πάντοτε προσεύχεσθαι αὐτοὺς καὶ μὴ ἐνκακεῖν,

 

Luke is the only synoptic writer with this parable about the widow and the judge to emphasize the importance of prayer.  Right from the beginning, he had Jesus tell them the purpose of the parable, rather than a secret that they would have to figure out.  Then Jesus told them a parable (Ἔλεγεν δὲ παραβολὴν αὐτοῖς) about the need or duty to always pray (πρὸς τὸ δεῖν πάντοτε προσεύχεσθαι αὐτοὺς).  They were not to lose heart or grow weary (καὶ μὴ ἐνκακεῖν).  Do you remember to always pray?

Not see the Son of Man (Lk 17:22-17:22)

“Then Jesus

Said to the disciples.

‘The days are coming

When you will long

To see one of the days

Of the Son of Man.

You will not experience it.’”

 

Εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς τοὺς μαθητάς Ἐλεύσονται ἡμέραι ὅτε ἐπιθυμήσετε μίαν τῶν ἡμερῶν τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἰδεῖν καὶ οὐκ ὄψεσθε.

 

Luke indicated that that Jesus said to the disciples (Εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς τοὺς μαθητάς) that the days were coming (Ἐλεύσονται ἡμέραι) when they would long to see (ὅτε ἐπιθυμήσετε…ἰδεῖν) one of the days of the Son of Man (μίαν τῶν ἡμερῶν τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου).  However, they would not experience it (καὶ οὐκ ὄψεσθε).  This hints at something that Mark, chapter 13:19, had Jesus say that there would be rough period before the end times arrived.  His wording had a hint of Daniel, chapter 12:1 and Joel, chapter 2:2, who talked about the Day of Yahweh.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that at the end times that there would be such suffering or tribulation (ἐκεῖναι θλῖψις) that no one had ever seen anything like it since the beginning of the world until now (οἵα οὐ γέγονεν τοιαύτη ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως ἣν ἔκτισεν ὁ Θεὸς ἕως τοῦ νῦν).  In fact, there never will be any kind of suffering like this at any time (καὶ οὐ μὴ γένηται).  This was going to be bad, nothing like it had ever happened before.  This would be the unique end times.  Luke was not as foreboding here.  What do you expect the end times to be like?

Adultery (Lk 16:18-16:18)

“Anyone who divorces

His wife,

And marries another,

Commits adultery.

Whoever marries

A woman,

Divorced

From her husband,

Commits adultery.”

 

Πᾶς ὁ ἀπολύων τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ καὶ γαμῶν ἑτέραν μοιχεύει, καὶ ὁ ἀπολελυμένην ἀπὸ ἀνδρὸς γαμῶν μοιχεύει.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that anyone who put away or divorced his wife (Πᾶς ὁ ἀπολύων τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ), and married another woman (καὶ γαμῶν ἑτέραν), committed adultery (μοιχεύει).  Whoever married (γαμῶν) a woman, divorced from her husband (καὶ ὁ ἀπολελυμένην ἀπὸ ἀνδρὸς), committed adultery (μοιχεύει).  This response of Jesus to his disciples can be found also in Matthew, chapter 19:9, where there was also an emphasis on divorce as adultery.  Mark, chapter 10:11-12 indicated that Jesus said to his disciples (καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς) that whoever divorced his wife (Ὃς ἂν ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ) and married another woman (καὶ γαμήσῃ ἄλλην), committed adultery against her (μοιχᾶται ἐπ’ αὐτήν).  Jesus had taken the stronger stance of no divorce.  There was no exception about sexual misconduct as in Matthew.  In Jewish society, women could not divorce their husbands, but in Roman society or among the gentiles, women could divorce their husbands.  Mark indicated that Jesus gave the same rebuke to the women as he given to the men.  If a woman divorced her husband (καὶ ἐὰν αὐτὴ ἀπολύσασα τὸν ἄνδρα αὐτῆς), and married someone else (γαμήσῃ ἄλλον), she committed adultery (μοιχᾶται).  There were no exceptions, not even for spousal abuse.  The new marriage was adulterous.  In Matthew, Jesus responded to the Pharisees (λέγει αὐτοῖς).  He said that Moses allowed them to divorce their wives (Ὅτι Μωϋσῆς …ἐπέτρεψεν ὑμῖν ἀπολῦσαι τὰς γυναῖκας ὑμῶν) because they were so hard-hearted, perverse, and obstinate (πρὸς τὴν σκληροκαρδίαν ὑμῶν).  However, as he had noted earlier, this was not so from the beginning (ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς δὲ οὐ γέγονεν οὕτως).  Then in a solemn proclamation (λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν) he said that whoever divorced his wife and married another woman committed adultery (ὅτι ὃς ἂν ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ…καὶ γαμήσῃ ἄλλην, μοιχᾶται), except for the sexual immorality or fornication (μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ) of his wife.  Jesus had taken the stronger stance of no divorce, but gave one exception, the sexual misconduct of the wife, much like some of the stricter Jewish rabbis at that time.  This exception was not in Mark or here in Luke.  Do you think that there should be exceptions for divorce?

How many will be saved? (Lk 13:23-13:23)

“Someone asked him.

‘Lord!

‘Will only a few

Be saved?’”

 

Εἶπεν δέ τις αὐτῷ Κύριε, εἰ ὀλίγοι οἱ σῳζόμενοι;

 

Luke uniquely indicated that someone along the way asked Jesus (Εἶπεν δέ τις αὐτῷ), as he traveled, addressing him as the “Lord (Κύριε).”  They wanted to know if only a few people would be saved (εἰ ὀλίγοι οἱ σῳζόμενοι)?  This was a main concern among apocalyptic people who were concerned about the end times.  Will they be left behind?  Was salvation for many or just a few?  This has been a continuing question among Christians since the very beginning, but emphasized with John Calvin (1509-1564) and around millennium moments.  Do you think that many or few people will be saved?

Do not fear! (Lk 8:50-8:50)

“When Jesus

Heard this,

He replied.

‘Do not fear!

Only believe!

She will be saved!’”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἀκούσας ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῷ Μὴ φοβοῦ· μόνον πίστευσον, καὶ σωθήσεται.

 

Luke said that when Jesus heard this (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἀκούσας), he replied to the synagogue leader (ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῷ) that he should not fear (Μὴ φοβοῦ), but only believe (μόνον πίστευσον), because she would be saved (καὶ σωθήσεται).  Mark chapter 5:36, was similar to Luke here, almost word for word.  However, Matthew did not have this conversation, since the child was dead from the beginning.  Mark said that Jesus overheard what they were talking about.  He then turned to this synagogue leader and told him not to fear, but only believe.  Belief was a key element in many of these healing cases with Jesus.  Would you believe in Jesus at a time of death?

My messenger (Lk 7:27-7:27)

“This is the one

About whom

It is written.

‘See!

I am sending

My messenger

Ahead of you.

He will prepare

Your way

Before you.’”

 

οὗτός ἐστιν περὶ οὗ γέγραπται Ἰδοὺ ἀποστέλλω τὸν ἄγγελόν μου πρὸ προσώπου σου, ὃς κατασκευάσει τὴν ὁδόν σου ἔμπροσθέν σου.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus saw a special role for John the Baptist.  He said that John was the one about whom Malachi, the prophet, chapter 3:1, had written (οὗτός ἐστιν περὶ οὗ γέγραπται), without mentioning the prophet’s name.  Malachi had said that he was sending his messenger ahead of him or before his face (δοὺ ἀποστέλλω τὸν ἄγγελόν μου πρὸ προσώπου σου) to prepare the way before him (ὃς κατασκευάσει τὴν ὁδόν σου ἔμπροσθέν σου).  This Scripture written passage about the role of John was from the prophet Malachi, although not explicitly mentioned here.  This saying about John the Baptist can be found word for word in Matthew, chapter 11:10.  Thus, this may have been a Q source about John, like many of the other passages about John.  Actually, Mark, chapter 1:2, had part of this saying as the beginning of his gospel when he introduced John.  In Malachi, Yahweh was going to send his messenger or angel before him or his face to prepare the way for him.  Originally, Yahweh would re-enter into his Temple, because the messenger of the delightful covenant had prepared things for him.  There is no mention of the Temple here.  John was clearly inferior to Jesus, since he was there to prepare the way for Jesus as his messenger, much like an angel of God.  Who prepared the way to Jesus for you?