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?

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Who is my neighbor? (Lk 10:29-10:29)

“But wanting

To justify himself,

This lawyer

Asked Jesus.

‘Who is my neighbor?’”

 

ὁ δὲ θέλων δικαιῶσαι ἑαυτὸν εἶπεν πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν Καὶ τίς ἐστίν μου πλησίον

 

Luke alone went on to a further explanation about the question or meaning of neighbor.  He said that this lawyer wanted to justify himself (ὁ δὲ θέλων δικαιῶσαι ἑαυτὸν) and his earlier question.  He asked Jesus (εἶπεν πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν) point blank, ‘Who is my neighbor (Καὶ τίς ἐστίν μου πλησίον)?’  This question has haunted Christians for centuries.  Were these very Jewish people their neighbors?  Were only those who believed exactly like them their neighbors?  The answer will be clear as this story unfolds.  Who do you think your neighbor is?

Preaching (Lk 9:2-9:2)

“Jesus sent them out

To preach

The kingdom of God

And to heal.”

 

καὶ ἀπέστειλεν αὐτοὺς κηρύσσειν τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ ἰᾶσθαι,

 

Luke said that Jesus sent these 12 apostles out to preach (καὶ ἀπέστειλεν αὐτοὺς κηρύσσειν) the kingdom of God (τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ) and to heal people (καὶ ἰᾶσθαι).  A Byzantine text added to heal the sick people (τοὺς ἀσθενοῦντας).  There was no exact equivalent in the other synoptic stories.  Mark did not mention anything about preaching, while Matthew, chapter 10:7, mentioned that they should preach the kingdom of heaven to the house of Israel only.  Is preaching important for Christians?

The mother and brothers of Jesus (Lk 8:19-8:19)

“Then Jesus’ mother

And his brothers

Came to him.

But they could not reach him

Because of the crowd.”

 

Παρεγένετο δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν ἡ μήτηρ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ οὐκ ἠδύναντο συντυχεῖν αὐτῷ διὰ τὸν ὄχλον.

 

Luke said that Jesus’ mother (ἡ μήτηρ) and his brothers (καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ) came to him (Παρεγένετο δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν).  However, they could not reach him (καὶ οὐκ ἠδύναντο συντυχεῖν αὐτῷ) because of the crowd (διὰ τὸν ὄχλον).  Mark, chapter 3:31, and Matthew, chapter 12:46, have something similar.  Mark said that his mother and brothers came to see Jesus, but apparently, they could not reach him because of the crowd, so that they were standing outside.  Matthew said that while Jesus was still speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers were standing outside.  They wanted to speak to him.  This brings up all kinds of questions.  Who were these unnamed brothers?  To what extent was Jesus estranged from his family?  According to Matthew, Jesus had been near to John the Baptist and his early apostles Peter, Andrew, John, James and Matthew.  These brothers could be biological brothers, half-brothers from a first marriage of Joseph, or cousin relatives.  The Hebrew and Aramaic language did not have a distinctive word for cousins, so that the word “brother” was often used to mean more than a true biological brother.  However, the Greek language did have a specific word for cousins.  Just as today, people sometimes refer to others as brothers or sisters, when there is no biological link.  The traditional belief of Christians, even through the Reformation period, had been that Mary was a virgin, so that Jesus was her only divine son.  Thus, here the unnamed mother and the unnamed brothers of Jesus were outside wanting to speak to Jesus.  In Mark, chapter 6:3, and Matthew, chapter 13:55–56, there are explicit names for the brothers of Jesus.  They clearly were relatives of Jesus, but exactly how close a relative is not clear.  Do you know all your relatives?

Worship me (Lk 4:7-4:7)

“‘If you,

Then,

Will worship me,

It will all be yours.’”

 

σὺ οὖν ἐὰν προσκυνήσῃς ἐνώπιον ἐμοῦ, ἔσται σοῦ πᾶσα.

 

Here then is the kicker.  The devil thought that he controlled the whole world.  He asked Jesus to worship him (σὺ οὖν ἐὰν προσκυνήσῃς ἐνώπιον ἐμοῦ).  If Jesus did that, then the devil would give Jesus all these kingdoms (ἔσται σοῦ πᾶσα).  This is much the same as Matthew, chapter 4:9.  For many Christians, this seemed like a stupid temptation, since God, the Father and his Son, already controlled the world.  Why would Jesus worship the devil?  That made no sense.

The naming of the child (Lk 1:59-1: 59)

“They were going

To name him

Zechariah,

After his father.”

 

καὶ ἐκάλουν αὐτὸ ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ Ζαχαρίαν.

 

Luke said that they were going to name him (καὶ ἐκάλουν αὐτὸ) Zechariah (Ζαχαρίαν), after the name of his father (ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ).  The naming of the child was not associated with the circumcision until later.  Christians often call the baptizing of their infants Christening when they give a Christian name to the child, after infant baptism became popular in the early Middle Ages.  Interesting enough, the Hispanic or Sephardic Jews name their children after their parents, while the Ashkenazic or Eastern European Jews name their children after dead relatives or grandparents.  However, today, naming a Jewish boy and circumcision take place at the same time.  For girls, it had become usual to name the girl at a Torah reading on the Sabbath.

The short ending of Mark (Mk 16:9-16:9)

“These women

Briefly

And promptly told

Those around Peter

All that had been

Instructed to them.

Afterward,

Jesus himself

Sent out

Through them,

From east to west,

The sacred

And imperishable proclamation

Of eternal salvation.”

Πάντα δὲ τὰ παρηγγελμένα τοῖς περὶ τὸν Πέτρον συντόμως ἐξήγγειλαν. Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα καὶ αὐτὸς ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἀπὸ ἀνατολῆς καὶ ἄχρι δύσεως ἐξαπέστειλεν δι’ αὐτῶν τὸ ἱερὸν καὶ ἄφθαρτον κήρυγμα τῆς αἰωνίου σωτηρίας

The oldest know Latin text was the Codex Bobiensis, from the Bobbio monastery in northern Italy, during the 4th or 5th century CE.  Obviously, this was a later edition, certainly not in the 1st or 2nd century after Jesus.  Nevertheless, it was an attempt to fix up the last sentence of the preceding verse or the original ending of Mark.  This was an attempt to put Peter in charge of a universal church that was present at the time of the original writing of this gospel.  This text says that the women at the tomb reported to the people around Peter briefly and promptly (τοῖς περὶ τὸν Πέτρον συντόμως ἐξήγγειλαν) all that had been instructed or commanded to them (Πάντα δὲ τὰ παρηγγελμένα) at the tomb.  Afterward, Jesus himself, without saying how, sent the followers of Jesus out from east to west (Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα καὶ αὐτὸς ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἀπὸ ἀνατολῆς καὶ ἄχρι δύσεως ἐξαπέστειλεν δι’ αὐτῶν) to proclaim a sacred and imperishable eternal salvation (τὸ ἱερὸν καὶ ἄφθαρτον κήρυγμα τῆς αἰωνίου σωτηρίας).  This was an attempt to show why the Christians were all over the place.