Lazarus (Lk 16:20-16:20)

“At his gate,

Lay a poor man

Named Lazarus,

Covered with sores.”

 

πτωχὸς δέ τις ὀνόματι Λάζαρος ἐβέβλητο πρὸς τὸν πυλῶνα αὐτοῦ εἱλκωμένος

 

This parable story about the poor man Lazarus and an unnamed rich man is only found in Luke, not in the other gospels.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that a certain poor beggar (πτωχὸς δέ τις) lay at the gate of this rich man (ἐβέβλητο πρὸς τὸν πυλῶνα αὐτοῦ).  He was named Lazarus (ὀνόματι Λάζαρος) and was covered with sores (εἱλκωμένος).  Once again, Luke is the only one in all the biblical literature to use this Greek word εἱλκωμένος that means to wound, to ulcerate, or to suffer from sores.  It was also unusual to give a name to this poor person, since most of the Jesus parables usually had unnamed people.  The rich man was unnamed.  Was this Lazarus connected to the brother of Martha and Mary in John, chapter 11?  From this story, we know that Lazarus was poor and had many sores.  There was no attempt to line him up with the women of Bethany, Martha and Mary.  Do you personally know a poor person?

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The good news (Lk 16:16-16:16)

“The law

And the prophets

Were in effect

Until John came.

Since then,

The good news

Of the kingdom of God

Is proclaimed.

Everyone

Tries to enter it

By force.”

 

Ὁ νόμος καὶ οἱ προφῆται μέχρι Ἰωάνου· ἀπὸ τότε ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ εὐαγγελίζεται καὶ πᾶς εἰς αὐτὴν βιάζεται.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the law (Ὁ νόμος) and the prophets (καὶ οἱ προφῆται) were in effect until John came (μέχρι Ἰωάνου).  Since then (ἀπὸ τότε), the good news has been proclaimed (εὐαγγελίζεται) about the kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Everyone tries to enter it by force (καὶ πᾶς εἰς αὐτὴν βιάζεται).  The law and the prophets were the two major parts of the Hebrew Bible.  John the Baptist represented some sort of turning point.  His preaching about the kingdom of God meant that the days of the law and prophets were numbered.  There is something similar, but in a different context with a different meaning in Matthew, chapter 11:12-13.  There Jesus talked about the days of John the Baptist until the present (ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν ἡμερῶν Ἰωάνου τοῦ Βαπτιστοῦ ἕως ἄρτι), not a very long time.  The kingdom of heaven has suffered violence (ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν βιάζεται).  What kind of violence was taking place in the heavenly kingdom?  Did this mean that so many people were violently seeking the kingdom of heaven that John was talking about?  Is this some kind of violence within the kingdom of heaven?  Were these violent people trying to get into the kingdom of heaven?  The next sentence seems to support this idea that violent people wanted to seize the kingdom of heaven by force (καὶ βιασταὶ ἁρπάζουσιν αὐτήν).  In Matthew, chapter 17:11-13, Jesus compared John to Elijah.  Like here in Luke, all the prophets and the law had prophesied until the time of John the Baptist (πάντες γὰρ οἱ προφῆται καὶ ὁ νόμος ἕως Ἰωάνου ἐπροφήτευσαν).  Then Jesus said that John was the new Elijah (αὐτός ἐστιν Ἡλείας), the one who was to come (ὁ μέλλων ἔρχεσθαι).  However, they had to be willing to accept this (καὶ εἰ θέλετε δέξασθαι).  Anyone who had ears to hear should listen to this (ὁ ἔχων ὦτα ἀκουέτω).  Clearly, something fundamental changed with John the Baptist and his proclamation of the kingdom of God.  How were John and Jesus connected in their preaching?  What is your opinion about John the Baptist?

The woman with an infirmity for eighteen years (Lk 13:11-13:11)

“Just then,

There appeared

A woman

With a spirit

That had crippled her

For eighteen years.

She was bent over.

She was unable

To stand up straight.”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ γυνὴ πνεῦμα ἔχουσα ἀσθενείας ἔτη δέκα οκτώ, καὶ ἦν συνκύπτουσα καὶ μὴ δυναμένη ἀνακύψαι εἰς τὸ παντελές.

 

Luke uniquely said that there was a woman (καὶ ἰδοὺ γυνὴ) with a spirit that had crippled her (ἔχουσα ἀσθενείας) for 18 years (ἔτη δέκα οκτώ).  She was bent over (καὶ ἦν συνκύπτουσα).  This is the only appearance of the word συνκύπτουσα in the biblical literature, since it means bent forward, or doubled up.  She was unable to stand up straight or lift herself to her full height (αὶ μὴ δυναμένη ἀνακύψαι εἰς τὸ παντελές).  No one else had this story about the crippled lady, who for 18 years was possessed by some evil spirit that caused her problem.  Illness and the role of evil spirits was always connected.  Due to some evil spirit, she could not stand up straight.  Do you know anyone who is bent over?

The blood of the prophets (Lk 11:50-11:50

“Thus,

This generation

Will be charged

With the bloodshed

Of all the prophets,

Since the foundation

Of the world.”

 

ἵνα ἐκζητηθῇ τὸ αἷμα πάντων τῶν προφητῶν τὸ ἐκκεχυμένον ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that this generation (ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης) will be charged (ἵνα ἐκζητηθῇ) with the blood (τὸ αἷμα) of all the prophets (πάντων τῶν προφητῶν) that has been shed (τὸ ἐκκεχυμένον), since the foundation of the world (ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου).  In Matthew, chapter 23:35, perhaps a Q source, Jesus said to these Pharisees and Scribes that all the righteous blood that was shed on earth (πᾶν αἷμα δίκαιον ἐκχυννόμενον ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς) would come upon them (ὅπως ἔλθῃ ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς).  Luke indicated that it was all on this generation, while Matthew was more specific as he mentioned the Pharisees and the Scribes.  This is a startling statement.  The blood of all the righteous people from the beginning of time would be on this generation of Scribes and Pharisees.  How are you connected to the people who shed the blood of others before you came to exist?

Everyone was astonished (Lk 9:43-9:43)

“All were astonished

At the greatness of God.

Everyone

Was amazed

At all that

Jesus was doing,”

 

ἐξεπλήσσοντο δὲ πάντες ἐπὶ τῇ μεγαλειότητι τοῦ Θεοῦ. Πάντων δὲ θαυμαζόντων ἐπὶ πᾶσιν οἷς ἐποίει

 

Luke uniquely said that all were astonished (ἐξεπλήσσοντο δὲ πάντες) at the greatness of God (ἐπὶ τῇ μεγαλειότητι τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Everyone was amazed (Πάντων δὲ θαυμαζόντων) at all that Jesus was doing (ἐπὶ πᾶσιν οἷς ἐποίει).  Once again, Luke had all the people amazed or astonished at the various healings that Jesus was doing.  Mark and Matthew did not mention this.  Jesus was a celebrity with great powers.  However, everyone could see that it was connected to the greatness of God.  Do you see the greatness of God in your life?

The old guys (Lk 3:35-3:35)

“The son of Serug,

The son of Reu,

The son of Peleg,

The son of Eber,

The son of Shelah.”

 

τοῦ Σεροὺχ τοῦ Ῥαγαῦ τοῦ Φάλεκ τοῦ Ἔβερ τοῦ Σαλὰ

 

This section is based on Genesis, chapter 11:14-23, which has more details about these people.  Luke listed the names without indicating how they are connected, Nahor was the son of Serug (τοῦ Σεροὺχ), the son of Reu (τοῦ Ῥαγαῦ), the son of Peleg (τοῦ Φάλεκ), the son of Eber (τοῦ Ἔβερ), the son of Shelah (τοῦ Σαλὰ), just as he has done throughout this genealogy.  According to Genesis, Shelah, had a son, Eber, who had a son, Peleg.  There was no mention of his brother Joktan and his 13 Arab sons here, since Peleg seems more important.  Peleg had a son, Reu, who had a son, Serug, who in turn had a son, named Nahor, who was the grandfather of Abraham.  1 Chronicles, chapter 1:24-27 has the same genealogy.

The salt of the earth (Mt 5:13-5:13)

“You are

The salt of the earth!

But if salt

Has lost its taste,

How can saltiness

Be restored?

It is no longer good

For anything,

But is thrown out.

It is trampled

Under foot.”

 

Ὑμεῖς ἐστε τὸ ἅλας τῆς γῆς· ἐὰν δὲ τὸ ἅλας μωρανθῇ, ἐν τίνι ἁλισθήσεται; εἰς οὐδὲν ἰσχύει ἔτι εἰ μὴ βληθὲν ἔξω καταπατεῖσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων.

 

This saying of Jesus can be found in Mark, chapter 9:49-50, and Luke, chapter 14:34-35, but not connected to the Beatitudes at all and with different phraseology. Salt was important not just as a spice and preservative but it represented wisdom and purity in the ancient world and Judaism. Matthew has Jesus turn to his disciples to remind them that they are the salt of the earth or the land (Ὑμεῖς ἐστε τὸ ἅλας τῆς γῆς). Meanwhile, the other two gospel writers just had statements about salt, rather than speaking explicitly to the disciples. Matthew then switched to the 3rd person from the 2nd person, when he explained about salt losing its taste (ἐὰν δὲ τὸ ἅλας μωρανθῇ). How can the taste be restored to the salt (ἐν τίνι ἁλισθήσεται)? That salt was now useless, impotent, and not good for anything (εἰς οὐδὲν ἰσχύει ἔτι). The end result of this tasteless salt was that it should either be thrown away (εἰ μὴ βληθὲν ἔξω) or have people trample it down (καταπατεῖσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων).