No stones untouched (Lk 21:5-21:6)

“Jesus said.

‘As for these things

That you see,

The days will come

When not one stone

Will be left upon another.

All will be thrown down.’”

 

εἶπεν Ταῦτα ἃ θεωρεῖτε, ἐλεύσονται ἡμέραι ἐν αἷς οὐκ ἀφεθήσεται λίθος ἐπὶ λίθῳ ὃς οὐ καταλυθήσεται.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said (εἶπεν) that these things that they saw or were looking at (Ταῦτα ἃ θεωρεῖτε,) would be different in the days to come (ἐλεύσονται ἡμέραι).  Not one stone would be left upon another (ἐν αἷς οὐκ ἀφεθήσεται λίθος ἐπὶ λίθῳ ὃς οὐ).  All would be thrown down (καταλυθήσεται).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 24:2, almost word for word, with Mark, chapter 13:2.  Mark said that Jesus asked this disciple (καὶ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ) if he saw all these great buildings (Βλέπεις ταύτας τὰς μεγάλας οἰκοδομάς)?  Jesus told him that not one stone would be left on another stone of the Temple buildings (οὐ μὴ ἀφεθῇ λίθος ἐπὶ λίθον).  All of the Temple buildings would be torn down, thrown down, or destroyed (ὃς οὐ μὴ καταλυθῇ).  Matthew said that Jesus answered them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς).  He asked them if they had not seen all these buildings (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Οὐ βλέπετε ταῦτα πάντα).  Then in a solemn proclamation (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν), that was not in Luke or Mark, he told them that not one stone would be left on another stone here at the Temple (οὐ μὴ ἀφεθῇ ὧδε λίθος ἐπὶ λίθον).  All of the Temple buildings would be torn down or thrown down (ὃς οὐ καταλυθήσεται).  In fact, in 70 CE, within 40 years after the time of Jesus, the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed by the Romans in their war with Israel.  However, threats against the Jerusalem Temple had been common among the prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures, especially before the Exile in the 7th and 6th century BCE.  Have you ever seen a church or temple destroyed?

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Mosaic law of taking a dead man’s wife (Lk 20:28-20:28)

“These Sadducees

Asked him a question.

‘Teacher!’

Moses wrote for us

That if a man’s brother dies,

Leaving a wife childless,

The man shall marry

The widow.

He will raise up children

For his brother.’”

 

λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε, Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν, ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ ἔχων γυναῖκα, καὶ οὗτος ἄτεκνος ᾖ, ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke said that these Sadducees asked Jesus a question (λέγοντες), respectfully calling him “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε)!”  They said that Moses wrote for them (Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν) in Deuteronomy, chapter 25:5-10, that if a man’s brother dies (ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ), leaving a wife childless (ἔχων γυναῖκα, καὶ οὗτος ἄτεκνος ᾖ), that man should marry the widow (ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα) to raise up children or seed for his brother (καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use this word ἄτεκνος, that means childless.  Matthew, chapter 22:24, and Mark, chapter 12:19, are almost word for word as here in LukeMark said that these Sadducees addressed Jesus very respectfully as “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε).”  They quoted a Mosaic text that Moses had written for them (Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν),  If a man’s brother should die (ὅτι ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ) leaving behind a wife (καὶ καταλίπῃ γυναῖκα) without any children (καὶ μὴ ἀφῇ τέκνον), his living brother should take his dead brother’s widow as his wife (ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα).  He would then raise up the descendant children or seeds for his brother (καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ).  Matthew indicated that these Sadducees also addressed Jesus very respectfully as “Teacher” or “Rabbi (λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε).”  They quoted a Mosaic text, as Moses said (Μωϋσῆς εἶπεν).  If a man died without any children (Ἐάν τις ἀποθάνῃ μὴ ἔχων τέκνα), his brother should marry the widow (ἐπιγαμβρεύσει ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ).  He would then raise up the descendants for his brother (καὶ ἀναστήσει σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ).  This levirate law goes back as far as Tamar in Genesis, chapter 38:1-30, with the story of Judah’s 3 sons and Tamar, the original wife of Er.  The brother of the deceased was supposed to marry his brother’s widow if he had no sons.  The widow was not to marry outside her family.  It also assumes that the brother lived close by or in the same house as his brother.  There was no indication of whether the brother was married or not, but this seems to assume a younger brother.  This was an attempt to prolong the heritage and name of a person, which was common in ancient times.  The punishment for the brother’s refusal was an insult, rather than any physical punishment.  Would you marry the wife or husband or your dead brother or sister?

The sign of Jonah (Lk 11:29-11:29)

“When the crowds

Were increasing,

Jesus began to say.

‘This generation

Is an evil generation.

It asks for a sign.

But no sign

Will be given to it,

Except the sign of Jonah.’”

 

Τῶν δὲ ὄχλων ἐπαθροιζομένων ἤρξατο λέγειν Ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη γενεὰ πονηρά ἐστιν· σημεῖον ζητεῖ, καὶ σημεῖον οὐ δοθήσεται αὐτῇ εἰ μὴ τὸ σημεῖον Ἰωνᾶ.

 

Luke said that the crowds were increasingly pressing (Τῶν δὲ ὄχλων ἐπαθροιζομένων) around Jesus.  Thus, he began to talk (ἤρξατο λέγειν).  He said that this generation was an evil generation (Ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη γενεὰ πονηρά ἐστιν).  They seek signs (σημεῖον ζητεῖ), but no sign will be given to them (καὶ σημεῖον οὐ δοθήσεται αὐτῇ), except the sign of Jonah (εἰ μὴ τὸ σημεῖον Ἰωνᾶ).  This seeking of signs was common among all the synoptic gospel writers, Matthew, chapter 12:38-39, Mark, chapter 8:11-12, and Luke, here.  Matthew said that the Scribes and Pharisees wanted a sign rather than the vague “they” here in Luke.  They called Jesus a teacher or rabbi (Διδάσκαλε).  They wanted to see a sign from Jesus (θέλομεν ἀπὸ σοῦ σημεῖον ἰδεῖν).  Mark said that Jesus was not going to give them any sign at all.  He said that Jesus sighed deeply in his spirit.  He asked them why was this generation seeking a sign?  With a rare solemn proclamation in Mark, Jesus told them point blank that no sign would be given to this generation.  Sometimes miracles were considered heavenly signs, but Mark continued to call miracles works of power and not signs, as other gospel writers sometimes referred to them.  Are you always looking for signs from heaven on what to do?

A sign from heaven (Lk 11:16-11:16)

“Others,

To test Jesus,

Kept demanding

A sign from heaven.”

 

ἕτεροι δὲ πειράζοντες σημεῖον ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἐζήτουν παρ’ αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke said that other people tried to test Jesus (ἕτεροι δὲ πειράζοντες), by demanding or seeking from him (ἐζήτουν παρ’ αὐτοῦ) a sign from heaven (σημεῖον ἐξ οὐρανοῦ).  There were other instances about people looking for signs from heaven, but not within this context.  In Mark, chapter 8:11, the Pharisees asked Jesus to show them a sign from heaven, since they wanted to test Jesus.  Heavenly signs had been common among the prophets to prove their authenticity.  In Matthew, chapter 16:1, both the Pharisees and the Sadducees came to Jesus.  They wanted to test Jesus also.  They also asked him to show them a heavenly validation of his work.  Later in Luke, chapter 11:29, there was also talk about the sign of Jonah.  Thus, there was a continual attempt to test Jesus, by asking him to give some heavenly signs.  Do you try to test Jesus in your life?

 

Pray to the Father (Lk 11:2-11:2)

“Jesus said to them.

‘When you pray,

Say!

‘Father,

Hallowed be

Your name!

Your kingdom come!’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς Ὅταν προσεύχησθε, λέγετε Πάτερ, ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου· ἐλθάτω ἡ βασιλεία σου

 

Luke indicated that Jesus responded to his disciples (εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς).  He told them how to pray (Ὅταν προσεύχησθε).  They were to say Father (λέγετε Πάτερ)!  Hallowed or holy be your name (ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά)!  Your kingdom come (σου· ἐλθάτω ἡ βασιλεία σου)!  Matthew, chapter 6:9, also had the “Lord’s Prayer,” “The Our Father,” with slightly different variations, perhaps indicating a Q source.  However, the text here in Luke is shorter than Matthew, since Matthew had 7 demands or requests of God, but Luke had only 5.  The first part of the prayer was about the glory of God himself, the Father.  Jesus simply tells them to pray this way.  The Greek word for praying προσεύχεσθε means an exchange of wishes.  Jesus opened this prayer with a call to their common “our” Father (Πάτερ ἡμῶν) who was in the heavens (ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς).  Luke did not have “Our Father who was in heaven,” since that only appeared in the later Byzantine text of Luke, but simply “Father”.  The heavenly father was a major theme throughout Matthew.  His name should be holy (Ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου), just as in the Hebrew scriptures where the name of Yahweh was holy, especially Psalm 105:1-5.  His kingdom should come (ἐλθάτω ἡ βασιλεία σου).  Then Matthew had the unique statement about the will of the Father should be done (γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου) here on earth (καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς), just as it is done in heaven (ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ).  Obviously following the will of God, Yahweh, was a common theme of Judaic life.  The followers of Jesus would not be exempt from following the will of their heavenly Father.  However, Luke did not mention this in his prayer to the Father, except that it was in the later Byzantine text also.  Do you know the Lord’s prayer by heart?

A true family member hears and does the word (Lk 8:21-8:21)

“But Jesus said to them.

‘My mother

And my brothers

Are those

Who hear the word

Of God

And do it.’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς Μήτηρ μου καὶ ἀδελφοί μου οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ ἀκούοντες καὶ ποιοῦντες.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus replied to them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς) that his mother (Μήτηρ μου) and his brothers (καὶ ἀδελφοί μου) were those who heard (οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ…ἀκούοντες) the word of God (τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ) and did it (καὶ ποιοῦντες).  Mark, chapter 3:33-35, and Matthew, chapter 12:48-50, have something similar, but Matthew was closer to Mark.  Luke had this simple concluding statement that sounded like a repudiation of his biological family.  Mark said that Jesus made a distinction between his biological family and his new spiritual family, as he replied to the person who told him about his relatives.  He asked him who his mother was and who were his brothers?  He looked at those who were sitting around him in a circle.  Then he said that they were his mother and his brothers.  Anyone who did the will of God, would be his brother, his sister, and his mother.  Matthew also said that Jesus asked them who his mother was and who his brothers were?  He stretched out his hand pointing to his disciples and said that they were his mother and his brothers.  Anyone who did the will of his Father in heaven would be his brother, his sister, and his mother.  This idea of a new faith family was common among many religious groups, since their fellow believers were now their new family.  No longer was a biological family important, because there was now a new spiritual family of Jesus believers.  How important is your biological family to you?

The amazing Jesus (Lk 2:47-2:47)

“All who heard him

Were amazed

At his understanding

And his answers.”

 

ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες οἱ ἀκούοντες αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τῇ συνέσει καὶ ταῖς ἀποκρίσεσιν αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke made a comment that will be often repeated here and in all the other gospel stories about how people were amazed or marveled at Jesus.  He said that everyone, especially these religious teachers in Jerusalem, who heard this 12-year-old Jesus was amazed or astonished (ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες οἱ ἀκούοντες αὐτοῦ) at his understanding or intellect (ἐπὶ τῇ συνέσει) and his answers (καὶ ταῖς ἀποκρίσεσιν αὐτοῦ).  He was a bright kid for his age.  What else would you expect from Jesus?  The idea of a brilliant youth was common among all ancient heroes.  However, the gospel writers were restrained in this area, since this is the only canonical story or episode about the young Jesus.