The mustard seed (Lk 17:6-17:6)

“The Lord replied.

‘If you had faith

The size of

A mustard seed,

You could say

To this mulberry tree,

‘Be rooted up!

Be planted

In the sea!’’

It would obey you.’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ ὁ Κύριος Εἰ ἔχετε πίστιν ὡς κόκκον σινάπεως, ἐλέγετε ἂν τῇ συκαμίνῳ ταύτῃ Ἐκριζώθητι καὶ φυτεύθητι ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ· καὶ ὑπήκουσεν ἂν ὑμῖν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus, the Lord, replied (εἶπεν δὲ ὁ Κύριος) that if they had faith (Εἰ ἔχετε πίστιν) the size of a mustard seed (ὡς κόκκον σινάπεως), they could say (ἐλέγετε) to this mulberry or sycamore tree (ἂν τῇ συκαμίνῳ ταύτῃ), be rooted up (Ἐκριζώθητι) and planted in the sea (καὶ φυτεύθητι ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ).  Luke is the only biblical writer to use the Greek term συκαμίνῳ that means a black mulberry tree or a sycamore tree that had medicinal value.  Then this tree would obey them (καὶ ὑπήκουσεν ἂν ὑμῖν).  There are expanded faith sayings that can also be found in Mark, chapter 9:28-29, and Matthew, chapter 17:19-21, who are much closer to each other.  Matthew indicated that the disciples came to Jesus privately (Τότε προσελθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ τῷ Ἰησοῦ).  They wondered why they were not able to cast out the evil spirits from that boy (κατ’ ἰδίαν εἶπον Διὰ τί ἡμεῖς οὐκ ἠδυνήθημεν ἐκβαλεῖν αὐτό).  Jesus reminded them (ὁ δὲ λέγει αὐτοῖς) of their little faith (Διὰ τὴν ὀλιγοπιστίαν ὑμῶν), a term used predominately by Matthew.  Jesus came back with a solemn pronouncement (ἀμὴν γὰρ λέγω ὑμῖν) that if they had faith the size of a mustard seed (ἐὰν ἔχητε πίστιν ὡς κόκκον σινάπεως), like here in Luke, they could move mountains from here to there (ἐρεῖτε τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ Μετάβα ἔνθεν ἐκεῖ, καὶ μεταβήσεται).  Nothing would be impossible for them (καὶ οὐδὲν ἀδυνατήσει ὑμῖν).  If they had faith with prayer and fasting (εἰ μὴ ἐν προσευχῇ καὶ νηστείᾳ), they would be able to cast the evil spirits out (τοῦτο δὲ τὸ γένος οὐκ ἐκπορεύεται).  Matthew continued to emphasize the lack of faith or the little faith of the disciples of Jesus.  Mark said that the disciples wondered why they were not able to cast out the evil spirit from that boy (Ὅτι ἡμεῖς οὐκ ἠδυνήθημεν ἐκβαλεῖν αὐτό).  The disciples were concerned that they must have lacked something that made it impossible for them to get rid of this evil spirit that was in that boy.  Mark added the need for prayer.  There was no emphasis on faith as in Matthew, where Jesus talked about faith and the mustard seed.  Mark emphasized prayer, as he indicated that Jesus said that this kind of evil spirit could only be expelled (Τοῦτο τὸ γένος ἐν οὐδενὶ δύναται ἐξελθεῖν) through prayer (εἰ μὴ ἐν προσευχῇ).  Prayer might imply faith, but it is not explicit here in Luke.  Which is more important to you, faith or prayer?

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The finger of God (Lk 11:20-11:20)

“But if it is

By the finger of God

That I cast out

The demons,

Then the kingdom of God

Has come

To you.”

 

εἰ δὲ ἐν δακτύλῳ Θεοῦ ἐγὼ ἐκβάλλω τὰ δαιμόνια, ἄρα ἔφθασεν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that it was by the finger of God (εἰ δὲ ἐν δακτύλῳ Θεοῦ) that he cast out these demons (ἐγὼ ἐκβάλλω τὰ δαιμόνια).  Thus, the kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ) has come to them (ἄρα ἔφθασεν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς).  There is a similar statement in Matthew, chapter 12:28.  However, Luke talked about the finger of God rather than the Spirit of God, like Matthew.  In Exodus, chapter 8:19, the Egyptian magicians referred to Moses’ power as the finger of God.  Notice that Matthew said that the Kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ) had come, not the Kingdom of heaven, as he said many times earlier in this work.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that if he cast out the demons with the Spirit or breathe of God (εἰ δὲ ἐν Πνεύματι Θεοῦ ἐγὼ ἐκβάλλω τὰ δαιμόνια), then the kingdom of God had come or arrived for them (ἄρα ἔφθασεν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ).  The end times had already begun.  Have you ever experienced the finger of God?

Your judges (Lk 11:19-11:19)

“If I cast out demons

By Beelzebul,

By whom do

Your exorcist sons

Cast them out?

Therefore,

Let them be

Your judges!”

 

εἰ δὲ ἐγὼ ἐν Βεελζεβοὺλ ἐκβάλλω τὰ δαιμόνια, οἱ υἱοὶ ὑμῶν ἐν τίνι ἐκβάλλουσιν; διὰ τοῦτο αὐτοὶ ὑμῶν κριταὶ ἔσονται.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus turned the questions back on his inquisitors.  If Jesus was casting out demons by Beelzebul (εἰ δὲ ἐγὼ ἐν Βεελζεβοὺλ ἐκβάλλω τὰ δαιμόνια), how were their own exorcist sons able to cast out evil spirits (οἱ υἱοὶ ὑμῶν ἐν τίνι ἐκβάλλουσιν)?  Let them be your judges (διὰ τοῦτο αὐτοὶ ὑμῶν κριταὶ ἔσονται).  Matthew, chapter 12:27 noted that if Satan was casting out Satan, then he was divided against himself.  If Jesus was casting out demons by Beelzebul, how were their own sons or other exorcists able to cast out demons?  Therefore, their own sons would be their judges.  Mark did not have this question and the argument about how their own sons or other exorcists were able to cast out demons.  What do you think about exorcism?

The power of the twelve (Lk 9:1-9:1)

“Then Jesus called

The twelve apostles together.

He gave them power

And authority

Over all the demons,

As well as

The power

And authority

To cure diseases.”

 

Συνκαλεσάμενος δὲ τοὺς δώδεκα ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς δύναμιν καὶ ἐξουσίαν ἐπὶ πάντα τὰ δαιμόνια καὶ νόσους θεραπεύειν·

 

Luke said that Jesus called the 12 apostles together (Συνκαλεσάμενος δὲ τοὺς δώδεκα).  He gave them (ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς) power (δύναμιν) and authority (καὶ ἐξουσίαν) over all the demons (πάντα τὰ δαιμόνια).  He also gave them the power and authority to cure diseases (καὶ νόσους θεραπεύειν).  This section about the power, the authority, and the mission of the 12 disciples or apostles is similar to Matthew, chapter 10:1, and Mark, chapter 6:7.  Mark said that Jesus summoned or called his 12 apostles, as he began to send them out 2 by 2.  He gave them authority over unclean or impure spirits.  Thus, they could cast out or banish these evil spirits or demons.  However, Mark did not mention curing diseases, illnesses, sicknesses, or weakness, just casting out the evil spirits that might have been the cause of their illnesses.  Matthew said that Jesus summoned or called to him his 12 disciples.  He called them disciples rather than the ambiguous “12.”  He gave them spiritual authority over unclean or impure spirits.  Thus, they could cast out or banish these evil spirits or demons.  They were also able to cure, treat, or heal all diseases, illnesses, sicknesses, or weakness.  In other words, Jesus was giving his own power or authority to cast out evil spirits and heal people to these 12 disciples or apostles.  This was a big deal.  The number 12 corresponded to the number of sons of Jacob or the 12 tribes of Israel.  This authority will be referred to later as the apostolic authority.  Jesus thus established these 12 disciples or apostles to carry on his work in casting out or exorcising evil spirits and curing people of their illnesses.  What do you think about this apostolic authority?

The swine go into the lake (Lk 8:33-8:33)

“Then the demons

Came out

Of the man.

They entered

The pigs.

The swine herd

Rushed down

The steep bank

Into the lake.

They were drowned.”

 

ἐξελθόντα δὲ τὰ δαιμόνια ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου εἰσῆλθον εἰς τοὺς χοίρους, καὶ ὥρμησεν ἡ ἀγέλη κατὰ τοῦ κρημνοῦ εἰς τὴν λίμνην καὶ ἀπεπνίγη.

 

Luke said that the demons came out of that man (ἐξελθόντα δὲ τὰ δαιμόνια ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου).  They entered the pigs (εἰσῆλθον εἰς τοὺς χοίρους).  The whole swine herd rushed down the steep bank (καὶ ὥρμησεν ἡ ἀγέλη κατὰ τοῦ κρημνοῦ) into the lake (εἰς τὴν λίμνην), where they drowned (καὶ ἀπεπνίγη).  All three synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 8:32, Mark, chapter 5:13, and Luke here, have Jesus cast out the demons into the nearby herd of pigs, with slight nuances in each story.  Mark said that Jesus allowed these evil spirits to have what they wanted.  However, Jesus showed his power.  The unclean spirit demons left the demoniac and entered the herd of pigs.  This herd then rushed down a steep bank into the sea.  Mark was the only synoptic to mention the number of pigs, 2,000, who were drowned or died in the sea.  Matthew said that Jesus then accommodated these evil spirits.  He told them to leave the 2 humans and go into the swine or pigs, which the demons did.  They entered the herd of pigs, but this herd then rushed down a steep bank into the sea, where they died in the water.  There is one problem, pigs can swim, so some might have survived.  Perhaps the unfamiliarity of these Jewish authors with pigs may have led to this harsh ending.  Anyway, the pig herd, without a particular size or 2,000 of them as mentioned by Mark, with the unclean spirits, ran into the sea off a steep bank and perished.  Have you ever seen anyone or any animal drown?

The twelve apostles (Lk 6:13-6:13)

“When day came,

He called his disciples.

He chose

Twelve of them,

Whom he named apostles.”

 

καὶ ὅτε ἐγένετο ἡμέρα, προσεφώνησεν τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐκλεξάμενος ἀπ’ αὐτῶν δώδεκα, οὓς καὶ ἀποστόλους ὠνόμασεν,

 

Luke said that when daylight or the day came (καὶ ὅτε ἐγένετο ἡμέρα), Jesus called his disciples (προσεφώνησεν τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ).  However, he chose twelve of them (καὶ ἐκλεξάμενος ἀπ’ αὐτῶν δώδεκα), whom he named apostles (οὓς καὶ ἀποστόλους ὠνόμασεν).  The number 12 corresponded to the number of sons of Jacob or the 12 tribes of Israel.  These 12 had what was later referred to as apostolic authority.  Jesus thus established or picked out these 12 disciples to carry on his work.  The distinction was that disciples were learners or followers.  The apostles, on the other hand, were to be sent out on a mission to do something.  There is something similar in Mark, chapter 3:13-14, where Jesus called these special disciples, apostles, also.  Jesus called these 12 that he wanted to be with him.  They, of course, came to him.  Matthew, chapter 10:1, said that Jesus gave these 12 apostles authority to cast out unclean spirits just as he had done.  Jesus summoned or called his 12 apostles to give them spiritual authority over unclean or impure spirits.  Thus, they could cast out or banish these evil spirits or demons.  They were also able to cure, treat, or heal all diseases and illnesses, sicknesses, or weakness.  In other words, Jesus was giving his own power or authority to cast out evil spirits and heal people to these 12 apostles.  This was a big deal.

The demons recognize Jesus (Lk 4:41-4:41)

“Demons also

Came out

Of many people.

They were shouting.

‘You are the Son of God!’

But he rebuked them.

He would not allow them

To speak,

Because they knew

That he was the Messiah,

The Christ.”

 

ἐξήρχετο δὲ καὶ δαιμόνια ἀπὸ πολλῶν, κραυγάζοντα καὶ λέγοντα ὅτι Σὺ εἶ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ. καὶ ἐπιτιμῶν οὐκ εἴα αὐτὰ λαλεῖν, ὅτι ᾔδεισαν τὸν Χριστὸν αὐτὸν εἶναι.

 

Luke also had Jesus cast out demons.  He said that these demons came out of many people (ἐξήρχετο δὲ καὶ δαιμόνια ἀπὸ πολλῶν).  They were saying or shouting out (κραυγάζοντα καὶ λέγοντα) that Jesus was the Son of God (ὅτι Σὺ εἶ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ).  But Jesus rebuked, admonished, or warned them (καὶ ἐπιτιμῶν).  He would not allow them to speak (οὐκ εἴα αὐτὰ λαλεῖν), because they knew that he was the Messiah, the Christ (ὅτι ᾔδεισαν τὸν Χριστὸν αὐτὸν εἶναι).  Matthew, chapter 8:16, has something similar, but Jesus cast out these demons with simply a word.  Mark, chapter 1:34, is also similar.  However, there like here, the cast out demons also knew and spoke out that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God.  This idea of not telling people that Jesus was the Christ or Messiah has come to be known as the Messianic secret.  Those who knew about the true role of Jesus were told to be quiet about it.  Why did the demons know about this?