The lost silver coin (Lk 15:8-15:8)

“A woman,

Had ten silver coins.

If she loses

One of them,

Does she not

Light a lamp,

Sweep the house,

And search diligently

Until she finds it?”

 

Ἢ τίς γυνὴ δραχμὰς ἔχουσα δέκα, ἐὰν ἀπολέσῃ δραχμὴν μίαν, οὐχὶ ἅπτει λύχνον καὶ σαροῖ τὴν οἰκίαν καὶ ζητεῖ ἐπιμελῶς ἕως οὗ εὕρῃ;

 

Next Luke had Jesus present 3 unique parables that do not appear elsewhere in the canonical gospels.  The first one is a short story about a lost coin, while the other two unique parables are longer.  Jesus said that this woman (Ἢ τίς γυνὴ) had 10 drachma silver coins (δραχμὰς ἔχουσα δέκα).  If she lost one of them (ἐὰν ἀπολέσῃ δραχμὴν μίαν), would she not light a lamp (οὐχὶ ἅπτει λύχνον), sweep the house (καὶ σαροῖ τὴν οἰκίαν), and search diligently or carefully (καὶ ζητεῖ ἐπιμελῶς), until she found it (ἕως οὗ εὕρῃ).  In this story, a woman with 10 drachmas lost one of them.  The Greek drachma was worth about a day’s pay so that 10 would have been about 2 weeks’ salary.  Thus, this lost drachma would roughly be about a day’s pay.  Would she not search her house with a lamp, sweeping everywhere?  Do you search for things when you lose them?

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Other women helped (Lk 8:3-8:3)

“Joanna,

The wife of Chuza,

Herod’s steward,

And Susanna,

As well as many others,

Provided for them

Out of their resources.”

 

καὶ Ἰωάνα γυνὴ Χουζᾶ ἐπιτρόπου Ἡρῴδου καὶ Σουσάννα καὶ ἕτεραι πολλαί, αἵτινες διηκόνουν αὐτοῖς ἐκ τῶν ὑπαρχόντων αὐταῖς.

 

Luke also uniquely mentioned Joanna (καὶ Ἰωάνα), the wife of Chuza (γυνὴ Χουζᾶ), Herod’s steward (ἐπιτρόπου Ἡρῴδου), and Susanna (καὶ Σουσάννα).  He also said that many other women (καὶ ἕτεραι πολλαί) provided or ministered for them at table (αἵτινες διηκόνουν αὐτοῖς) out of their means, possessions, or resources (ἐκ τῶν ὑπαρχόντων αὐταῖς).  Joanna shows up again with Mary Magdalene in the resurrection story of Luke, chapter 24:10.  She must have been a woman of means because her husband had an important role at the court of King Herod Antipas of Galilee as his head steward.  The name Susanna only appears here among all the canonical gospels, but a Susanna played a role in the Book of Daniel.  However, there were other women, not explicitly named, who provided for Jesus and his followers with their money or resources.  In other words, there was a small entourage of women who traveled with Jesus, probably providing the food for him and his disciples, since they were not called disciples themselves.  What should be the role of women as followers of Jesus?

Mary Magdalene (Lk 8:2-8:2)

“Some women

Who had been cured

Of evil spirits

And infirmities

Were with him also.

Mary,

Called Magdalene,

From whom

Seven demons

Had gone out,

Was with him also.”

 

καὶ γυναῖκές τινες αἳ ἦσαν τεθεραπευμέναι ἀπὸ πνευμάτων πονηρῶν καὶ ἀσθενειῶν, Μαρία ἡ καλουμένη Μαγδαληνή, ἀφ’ ἧς δαιμόνια ἑπτὰ ἐξεληλύθει,

 

Luke uniquely said that some women (καὶ γυναῖκές), who had been cured of evil spirits (τινες αἳ ἦσαν τεθεραπευμέναι ἀπὸ πνευμάτων πονηρῶν) and other infirmities (καὶ ἀσθενειῶν), were with him also.  Mary (Μαρία), called Magdalene (ἡ καλουμένη Μαγδαληνή), from whom 7 demons had departed (ἀφ’ ἧς δαιμόνια ἑπτὰ ἐξεληλύθει) was with him also.  This Mary Magdalene, who traveled with Jesus as one of his followers, probably came from the town of Magdala, a fishing town on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.  She was explicitly mentioned by name 12 times in the canonical gospels, more than most of the other apostles, indicating her importance.  She certainly was a key figure in the gospel stories about the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Jesus apparently healed her in some way that is not indicated, since Luke said that 7 demons had been driven out of her, a statement that Mark, chapter 16:9, also said.  She helped support Jesus’ ministry, indicating that she was probably relatively wealthy.  This Mary was a central figure in later apocryphal Gnostic Christian writings.  She had a very popular following in the Middle Ages as the repentant woman.  In the late 20th century, she became more popular with her role in the play of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Jesus Christ Super Star” (1971) and Dan Brown’s novel and movie “Da Vinci Code” (2003 and 2006).  What do you think about Mary Magdalene?

Jesus has something to say (Lk 7:40-7:40)

“Jesus spoke up.

He said to him.

‘Simon!

I have something

To say to you.’

He replied.

‘Teacher!

Speak!’”

 

καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν Σίμων, ἔχω σοί τι εἰπεῖν. ὁ δέ Διδάσκαλε, εἰπέ, φησίν.

 

Luke uniquely said that Jesus responded (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς) to this Pharisee.  He called him Simon (εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν Σίμων).  He said he had something to say to him (ἔχω σοί τι εἰπεῖν).  This Simon responded respectfully, calling him teacher (ὁ δέ Διδάσκαλε), and asking him to speak (εἰπέ, φησίν).  Who is this Simon the Pharisee?  He was not mentioned in the other canonical gospels. There are similarities between this Simon the Pharisee and the Simon the leper mentioned in Matthew, chapter 26:6, and Mark, chapter 14:3, but those occasions were later in Bethany.  The identity of that Simon the leper is also unknown.  However, it could have been someone whom Jesus had cured from leprosy, who became his disciple.   Nevertheless, this was a very respectful conversation here between Simon and Jesus.  Are you respectful in your conversations?

 

 

Jesus sees Simon and Andrew (Mk 1:16-1:16)

“As Jesus

Passed along

The Sea of Galilee,

He saw Simon,

And his brother

Andrew.

They were casting a net

Into the sea.

They were fishermen.”

 

Καὶ παράγων παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν τῆς Γαλιλαίας εἶδεν Σίμωνα καὶ Ἀνδρέαν τὸν ἀδελφὸν Σίμωνος ἀμφιβάλλοντας ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ· ἦσαν γὰρ ἁλεεῖς.

 

Mark, as well as the other 3 canonical gospels, has Jesus meeting Simon for the first time at the beginning of his ministry.  Luke, chapter 5:1:11, has an elaborate story about Simon, where there was no mention of his brother Andrew, as Jesus and Simon went out fishing together.  In John, chapter 1:35-42, Andrew and Simon were disciples of John the Baptist, from the town of Bethsaida, about 5 miles north of Capernaum, near the Sea of Galilee.  However, here as in Matthew, chapter 4:18, which is almost word for word, there are only the simple comments about the brothers Simon and Andrew being fishermen.  Mark recounts that as Jesus was passing by, walking, or strolling along the Sea of Galilee (Καὶ παράγων παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν τῆς Γαλιλαίας), he saw Simon and his brother Andrew (εἶδεν Σίμωνα καὶ Ἀνδρέαν τὸν ἀδελφὸν Σίμωνος) casting or dropping a net into the sea (ἀμφιβάλλοντας ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ), since they were fishermen (ἦσαν γὰρ ἁλεεῖς).  Mark did not mention the other name of Simon as Peter, like Matthew did.  However, it was common for people to have both a Hebrew name like Simon and a Greek name like Peter.  Both these brothers were casting their large fishing nets into the Sea of Galilee, which was about 13 miles long by 8 miles wide, about 80 miles north of the Dead Sea, at the north end of the Jordan River.

The two brother fishermen, Simon and Andrew (Mt 4:18-4:18)

“As Jesus walked

By the Sea of Galilee,

He saw two brothers,

Simon,

Who is called Peter,

With Andrew,

His brother.

They were casting a net

Into the sea.

They were fishermen.”

 

Περιπατῶν δὲ παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν τῆς Γαλιλαίας εἶδεν δύο ἀδελφούς, Σίμωνα τὸν λεγόμενον Πέτρον καὶ Ἀνδρέαν τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ, βάλλοντας ἀμφίβληστρον εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν· ἦσαν γὰρ ἁλεεῖς.

 

Matthew, as well as the other 4 canonical gospels, has Jesus meeting Simon Peter for the first time at the beginning of his ministry.  However, here Matthew is following the simple comment of Mark, chapter 1:16, rather than the elaborate story of Luke, chapter 5:1:9, where there is no mention of Peter’s brother Andrew.  As Jesus was walking or strolling along the Sea of Galilee (Περιπατῶν δὲ παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν τῆς Γαλιλαίας), he saw two brothers (εἶδεν δύο ἀδελφούς).  One of these men was called Simon or Peter (Σίμωνα τὸν λεγόμενον Πέτρον), since it was common for people to have both a Hebrew name like Simon and a Greek name like Peter.  His brother, on the other hand seemed to have only a Greek name, Andrew.  This may account for the different names of the apostles in the various gospel stories.  Both these brothers were casting their large fishing nets into the sea (βάλλοντας ἀμφίβληστρον εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν).  Thus, they were called fisherman (ἦσαν γὰρ ἁλεεῖς).  John, chapter 1:40-42, had these two brothers from the town of Bethsaida, about 5 miles north of Capernaum, where the Jordan River runs into the Sea of Galilee.

John the Baptist (Mt 3:1-3:1)

“In those days,

John the Baptist

Appeared

In the wilderness

Of Judea,

Preaching.”

 

Ἐν δὲ ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις παραγίνεται Ἰωάνης ὁ βαπτιστὴς κηρύσσων ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ τῆς Ἰουδαίας,

 

Matthew now switched to more common material about Jesus and his life. John the Baptist is mentioned in all four canonical gospels. In fact, if anything, Matthew seemed to be following Mark, chapter 1:4, since Mark began his gospel with this story. Matthew began this episode with his trademark transitional phrase, “In those days it happened (Ἐν δὲ ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις).” John the Baptizer (Ἰωάνης ὁ βαπτιστὴς) came preaching (παραγίνεται…κηρύσσων) in the wilderness or desert in Judea (ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ τῆς Ἰουδαίας). This wilderness was southeast of Jerusalem and west of the Dead Sea. Apparently, 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. He certainly had a relationship with Jesus, but the exact relationship between John and Jesus is also problematic. According to the Gospel of Luke, chapter 1:36, John’s mother and Jesus’ mother were relatives of some sort. Both John and Jesus 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 a follower or disciple of John, but the textual indications are that John saw himself as subservient to Jesus. Some of Jesus’ early followers had previously been followers of John, as in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 19:2-6. There may have been some contact between John the Baptist and the Qumran-Essene community, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Thus, John might have been associated with them or part of their community for a while. John the Baptist died by beheading, as explained later in this gospel, chapter 14:10. Thus, John the Baptist has been revered as a prophet and a Christian saint throughout the centuries.