The rejected stone (Lk 20:17-20:17)

“But Jesus

Looked at them.

He said.

‘What then does

This text mean?’

‘The very stone

That the builders rejected

Has become

The cornerstone.’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἐμβλέψας αὐτοῖς εἶπεν Τί οὖν ἐστιν τὸ γεγραμμένον τοῦτο Λίθον ὃν ἀπεδοκίμασαν οἱ οἰκοδομοῦντες, οὗτος ἐγενήθη εἰς κεφαλὴν γωνίας;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus looked at them (ὁ δὲ ἐμβλέψας αὐτοῖς).  He asked (εἶπεν) what this written biblical text meant (Τί οὖν ἐστιν τὸ γεγραμμένον τοῦτο)?  He then quoted Psalm 118, 22 that the very stone that the builders had rejected (Λίθον ὃν ἀπεδοκίμασαν οἱ οἰκοδομοῦντες) has become the chief headstone or the cornerstone (οὗτος ἐγενήθη εἰς κεφαλὴν γωνίας) of the building.  This citation of Psalm 118:22-23 can also be found in Matthew, chapter 21:42, and in Mark, chapter 12:10-11, but in a longer version.  Mark said that Jesus asked them if they had not read the scriptures (οὐδὲ τὴν γραφὴν ταύτην ἀνέγνωτε) especially Psalm 118, that was also part of the Hallel prayer.  Then Jesus quoted a few verses of this psalm about the stone that the builders had rejected (Λίθον ὃν ἀπεδοκίμασαν οἱ οἰκοδομοῦντες), because they probably thought that it was inferior.  Now, that very stone has become the cornerstone or key head stone (οὗτος ἐγενήθη εἰς κεφαλὴν γωνίας) of that building.  Then he added that this was the work of the Lord (παρὰ Κυρίου ἐγένετο αὕτη) that was amazing and marvelous to everyone’s eyes (καὶ ἔστιν θαυμαστὴ ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν).  Matthew indicated that Jesus asked them (Λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς) if they had read the scriptures (Οὐδέποτε ἀνέγνωτε ἐν ταῖς γραφαῖς)?  Then Jesus quoted a few verses of this Psalm 118: 22-23, the same as Mark, with a line more than Luke, about the stone that the builders had rejected (Οὐδέποτε ἀνέγνωτε ἐν ταῖς γραφαῖς), because they probably thought that it was inferior.  Now, that very stone has become the cornerstone or key head stone (οὗτος ἐγενήθη εἰς κεφαλὴν γωνίας) of that building.  This was the work of the Lord (παρὰ Κυρίου ἐγένετο αὕτη) that was amazing and marvelous to everyone’s eyes (καὶ ἔστιν θαυμαστὴ ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν).  The rejected cornerstone was a hint at Jesus’s own rejection by the Jewish leaders that would be a big mistake.  Have you ever misjudged the value of a person?

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Understanding the parables (Lk 8:10-8:10)

“Jesus said.

‘To you

It has been given

To know the secrets

Of the kingdom

Of God.

But to others,

I speak in parables.

Thus,

Looking,

They may not perceive!

Listening,

They may not understand!’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ὑμῖν δέδοται γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ, τοῖς δὲ λοιποῖς ἐν παραβολαῖς, ἵνα βλέποντες μὴ βλέπωσιν καὶ ἀκούοντες μὴ συνιῶσιν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν) to his disciples that they would be able to understand the secrets (Ὑμῖν δέδοται γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια) of the kingdom of God (τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ).  But to others (τοῖς δὲ λοιποῖς), he would be speaking in parables or riddles (ἐν παραβολαῖς).  Thus, these people might look (ἵνα βλέποντες), but not see (μὴ βλέπωσιν).  They might listen (καὶ ἀκούοντες), but not understand (μὴ συνιῶσιν).  This response of Jesus about the meaning of parables can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:11-12, and Matthew, chapter 13:11-15, and here.  Matthew and Mark also said that Jesus told his disciples that they had been given knowledge concerning the secret mysteries about the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of God.  However, this was not granted to others.  Matthew had Jesus explain that those who had more knowledge, even more abundant knowledge would be given to them.  However, those who had nothing, even what little they had would be taken away.  The reason that Jesus spoke in parables was that some people might see, but not perceive what they saw, while other people might hear but not understand what they have heard.  For people outside their disciple group, everything was still in parables or riddles.  Only those on the inside would understand these parables, while those outside the inner circle of Jesus would not understand these riddles.  This was almost like a gnostic interpretation of knowledge, where only the elite insiders had a true secret knowledge about the mysteries and the kingdom of God and heaven.  Matthew also had a long citation from Isaiah, chapter 6:9-10, about the people unable to understand, while Luke, and Mark had only a short summary statement.  Isaiah told the Israelite people that they were listening without comprehending.  They were looking without understanding.  Their hearts were dull and their eyes and ears were closed.  They were experiencing and listening, but they could not hear or understand.  Do you understand what you see and hear?

The citation from Isaiah (Lk 4:18-4:19)

“The Spirit of the Lord

Is upon me.

Because

He has anointed me

To bring good news

To the poor.

He has sent me

To proclaim release

To the captives.

He has sent me

To give recovery

Of sight

To the blind.

He has sent me

To let the oppressed

Go free.

He has sent me

To proclaim the year

Of the Lord’s favor.’”

 

Πνεῦμα Κυρίου ἐπ’ ἐμέ, οὗ εἵνεκεν ἔχρισέν με εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῖς, ἀπέσταλκέν με κηρῦξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν, ἀποστεῖλαι τεθραυσμένους ἐν ἀφέσει,

κηρῦξαι ἐνιαυτὸν Κυρίου δεκτόν.

 

This is unique to Luke, who used this citation from Isaiah, chapter 61:1.  Jesus read or said that the Spirit of the Lord was upon him (Πνεῦμα Κυρίου ἐπ’ ἐμέ), because God had anointed him (ὗ εἵνεκεν ἔχρισέν με) to bring good news to the poor or oppressed (εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῖς).  Some Orthodox texts have the healing of the brokenhearted (συντετριμμένους τὴν καρδίαν) also.  God has sent him (ἀπέσταλκέν με) to proclaim the release to the captives (κηρῦξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν).  He has sent him to give recovery or sight to the blind (καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν), although there was no mention of the blind in Isaiah.  He has sent him to let the oppressed go free (ἀποστεῖλαι τεθραυσμένους ἐν ἀφέσει).  He has sent him to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (κηρῦξαι ἐνιαυτὸν Κυρίου δεκτόν), which is exactly the same as Isaiah, chapter 61:2.  The Spirit of Yahweh was upon him, who had been anointed, either like a priestly or a royal anointing.  However, the primary mission was not cultic, but rather social in nature, what we might call social justice.  Having been called by the Spirit and anointed by Yahweh, he was sent out with a simple generic mission.  Bring good news to the oppressed.  This good news concept was later adapted by the early followers of Jesus who talked about the good news of the gospel.  This basic mission included binding up the broken hearted and freeing prisoners.  This servant or prophet was sent out to proclaim a year of Yahweh’s favor.

Jesus goes to Galilee (Lk 4:14-4:14)

“Then Jesus,

Filled with

The power

Of the Spirit,

Returned to Galilee.

A report

About him

Spread through

All the surrounding

Countryside.”

 

Καὶ ὑπέστρεψεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐν τῇ δυνάμει τοῦ Πνεύματος εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν· καὶ φήμη ἐξῆλθεν καθ’ ὅλης τῆς περιχώρου περὶ αὐτοῦ.

 

There is no doubt that Jesus taught in Galilee, since this was his home base.  Much like Matthew, chapter 4:12, and Mark, chapter 1:14, after his temptations, Luke had Jesus return to Galilee.  However, Luke had no mention of the arrest of John, since he had already mentioned that earlier in chapter 3:19-20.  John had Jesus also go back to Galilee in chapter 4:3.  Luke said that Jesus was filled with the power of the Spirit (ἐν τῇ δυνάμει τοῦ Πνεύματος), a favorite and unique statement by Luke.  He said that Jesus returned to Galilee (Καὶ ὑπέστρεψεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς…εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν).  Matthew had Jesus going to Galilee, just like his father Joseph had done years earlier.  He used a citation from Isaiah to explain why Jesus was in Galilee.  Galilee was about 80 miles north of Jerusalem and the Dead Sea area, originally part of the Israelite tribal territories of Issachar, Zebulun, Naphtali, and Asher, the northern tribes.  Mark said that Jesus went into Galilee preaching the gospel or good news about God, while the message of Matthew was about the good news of the kingdom of heaven.  Luke said that a report (καὶ φήμη) about Jesus (περὶ αὐτοῦ) spread throughout or over (ἐξῆλθεν) all the surrounding countryside (καθ’ ὅλης τῆς περιχώρου), but there was no indication in Luke what the message of Jesus was.  Clearly, Jesus was active in Galilee.

John baptizes with water (Lk 3:16-3:16)

“John answered

All of them.

‘I baptize you

With water.

But one who is

More powerful

Than I

Is coming.

I am not worthy

To untie

The thong

Of his sandals.’”

 

ἀπεκρίνατο λέγων πᾶσιν ὁ Ἰωάνης Ἐγὼ μὲν ὕδατι βαπτίζω ὑμᾶς· ἔρχεται δὲ ὁ ἰσχυρότερός μου, οὗ οὐκ εἰμὶ ἱκανὸς λῦσαι τὸν ἱμάντα τῶν ὑποδημάτων αὐτοῦ·

 

This citation of John seems to be a response to an unasked question, although it is similar to Matthew, chapter 3:11, Mark, chapter 1:7, and John, chapter 1:26, where there was an explicit question.  Luke seemed closer to Mark, as he indicated that John answered all of the people (ἀπεκρίνατο λέγων πᾶσιν ὁ Ἰωάνης).  He said that he baptized them with water (Ἐγὼ μὲν ὕδατι βαπτίζω ὑμᾶς).  However, one more powerful than him was coming (ἔρχεται δὲ ὁ ἰσχυρότερός μου).  John was not worthy (οὗ οὐκ εἰμὶ ἱκανὸς) to untie the thong or the strap of his sandals (λῦσαι τὸν ἱμάντα τῶν ὑποδημάτων αὐτοῦ).  John the Baptist said that he was anticipating a messianic figure greater than himself.  He clearly baptized in water.  However, after him there would be a messianic one more powerful than him.  Matthew had John unfit to carry the sandal of Jesus rather than untie the sandal.  Mark, John, and Luke here had John speak about being unfit to untie the tong or strap of his sandals.  John the Baptist saw himself as subservient or unworthy as compared to the Messiah to come.

The call of John (Lk 3:2-3:2)

“The word of God

Came to John,

The son of Zechariah,

In the wilderness.”

 

ἐγένετο ῥῆμα Θεοῦ ἐπὶ Ἰωάνην τὸν Ζαχαρίου υἱὸν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ.

 

Luke presented John like a prophet who was called like the other Israelite prophets.  The word of God came or happened to John (ἐγένετο ῥῆμα Θεοῦ ἐπὶ Ἰωάνην), the son of Zechariah (τὸν Ζαχαρίου υἱὸν), in the wilderness or desert (ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ), just like it had come to many other ancient Jewish prophets.  There should be no confusion about whom this John is because he was the son of Zechariah that was described in chapter 1.  There is something similar, but not quite the same in all 4 gospel stories.  In Mark, chapter 1:4, John appeared on the scene immediately after a citation from the prophet IsaiahMatthew, chapter 3:1-2, seemed to follow Mark, since Mark began his gospel with this story.  Matthew had John the Baptizer preaching in the wilderness or desert in Judea, southeast of Jerusalem and west of the Dead Sea.  John, chapter 1:19, also introduced John the Baptist immediately after his prologue.  Only Matthew and Luke have the infancy narratives before the introduction of John, who was central to the work of Jesus.

 

The corner stone (Mk 12:10-12:11)

“Have you not read

This scripture?

‘The stone

That the builders rejected

Has become

The cornerstone.

This was the Lord’s doing.

It is amazing

In our eyes.’”

 

οὐδὲ τὴν γραφὴν ταύτην ἀνέγνωτε Λίθον ὃν ἀπεδοκίμασαν οἱ οἰκοδομοῦντες, οὗτος ἐγενήθη εἰς κεφαλὴν γωνίας·

παρὰ Κυρίου ἐγένετο αὕτη, καὶ ἔστιν θαυμαστὴ ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν;

 

This citation of Psalm 118 can be found in Matthew, chapter 21:42, and in Luke, chapter 20:17, in an abbreviated fashion.  Mark said that Jesus asked them if they had not read the scriptures (οὐδὲ τὴν γραφὴν ταύτην ἀνέγνωτε) especially Psalm 118, that was also part of the Hallel prayer.  Then Jesus quoted a few verses of this Psalm 118: 22-23, about the stone that the builders had rejected (Λίθον ὃν ἀπεδοκίμασαν οἱ οἰκοδομοῦντες), because they probably thought that it was inferior.  Now, that very stone has become the cornerstone or key head stone (οὗτος ἐγενήθη εἰς κεφαλὴν γωνίας) of that building.  This was the work of the Lord (παρὰ Κυρίου ἐγένετο αὕτη) that was amazing and marvelous to everyone’s eyes (καὶ ἔστιν θαυμαστὴ ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν).  The rejected cornerstone was a hint at Jesus’s own rejection by the Jewish leaders.