Be like a child (Lk 18:17-18:17)

“Truly!

I say to you!

Whoever does not receive

The kingdom of God

As a little child

Will never enter it.”

 

ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ὃς ἂν μὴ δέξηται τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ ὡς παιδίον, οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθῃ εἰς αὐτήν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to them with a solemn proclamation (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) that whoever did not receive (ὃς ἂν μὴ δέξηται) the kingdom of God (τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ) as a little child (ὡς παιδίον) would never enter it (οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθῃ εἰς αὐτήν).  This Jesus saying put an emphasis on becoming a child to enter the kingdom.  Similar comments can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:15, as well as Matthew, chapters 18:3, with some minor changes.  Mark said that Jesus made a solemn proclamation “Truly! I say to you!’ (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).”  They had to receive the kingdom of God (ὃς ἂν μὴ δέξηται τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ) like a little child (ὡς παιδίον).  Otherwise, they would never enter the kingdom of God (οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθῃ εἰς αὐτήν).  Pure and simple, they had to have the attitude of a young child to enter the kingdom of God, just Luke mentioned here, almost word for word.  Matthew indicated that Jesus called or summoned a little child (καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος παιδίον).  He placed this little child in the middle of his disciples (ἔστησεν αὐτὸ ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῶν).  Then he made a solemn proclamation ‘Truly! I say to you!’ (καὶ εἶπεν Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  They had to change or convert to become like little children (ἐὰν μὴ στραφῆτε καὶ γένησθε ὡς τὰ παιδία).  Otherwise, they would never enter the kingdom of heaven (οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθητε εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν).  Whoever became humble like this little child in their midst (ὅστις οὖν ταπεινώσει ἑαυτὸν ὡς τὸ παιδίον τοῦτο), would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ μείζων ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν).  The greatest in heaven would be the simple humble little children or those who acted like children, without power and dependent on other people.  Luke and Mark did not have a long explanation about being humble like this little child to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Notice also that once again, Matthew emphasized the kingdom of heaven and not the kingdom of God.  Are you humble like a little child?

 

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The younger son squanders his property (Lk 15:13-15:13)

“A few days later,

The younger son

Gathered all he had.

He traveled

To a distant country.

There he squandered

His property

In dissolute living.”

 

καὶ μετ’ οὐ πολλὰς ἡμέρας συναγαγὼν πάντα ὁ νεώτερος υἱὸς ἀπεδήμησεν εἰς χώραν μακράν, καὶ ἐκεῖ διεσκόρπισεν τὴν οὐσίαν αὐτοῦ ζῶν ἀσώτως.

 

This long parable story about the 2 sons can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that a few days later or not too many days later (καὶ μετ’ οὐ πολλὰς ἡμέρας), this younger son gathered all that he had (συναγαγὼν πάντα ὁ νεώτερος υἱὸς), without any indication of how much stuff he actually had.  He then traveled or went away to a distant country (ἀπεδήμησεν εἰς χώραν μακράν), since he did not stay close to home.  There he squandered his property in dissolute living (καὶ ἐκεῖ διεσκόρπισεν τὴν οὐσίαν αὐτοῦ ζῶν ἀσώτως).  Luke was the only biblical writer to use this term ἀσώτως that means prodigal or extravagantly wasteful, because of loose living in a debauched, profligate lifestyle.  Thus, this story came to be known as the prodigal son.  In other words, this young son took off for a Las Vegas kind of city in a faraway place.  There he spent his new-found inheritance very quickly in a number of stupid ways.  It is not clear how he was able to convert his inheritance property into cash, but presumably he did.  Have you ever thought about running away and spending a lot of money foolishly?

The little child (Lk 9:47-9:47)

“But Jesus

Became aware

Of their inner thoughts.

He took

A little child.

He put this child

By his side.”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἰδὼς τὸν διαλογισμὸν τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν, ἐπιλαβόμενος παιδίον ἔστησεν αὐτὸ παρ’ ἑαυτῷ,

 

Luke said that Jesus became aware of their inner heart thoughts (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἰδὼς τὸν διαλογισμὸν τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν).  He took a little child (ἐπιλαβόμενος παιδίον).  He put this child by his side (ἔστησεν αὐτὸ παρ’ ἑαυτῷ).  This talk about Jesus and the little child can also be found in Matthew, chapter 18:2, as well as Mark, chapters 9:36, with some changes.  Mark said that Jesus took a little child.  He then placed this little child in the middle or among his disciples.  He held the child in his arms and then he spoke to his apostles.  Matthew indicated that Jesus put an emphasis on becoming like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus called or summoned a little child.  He placed this little child in the middle of his disciples.  Then he made a solemn proclamation that they had to change or convert to become like little children.  Otherwise, they would never enter the kingdom of heaven   Whoever became humble like this little child in their midst, would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  The greatest in heaven would be the simple humble little children or those who acted like children, without power and depending on other people.  What do you think the role of children should be?

A child is the greatest (Mt 18:2-18:4)

“Jesus summoned a little child.

He put him

Among them.

He said.

‘Truly!

I say to you!

Unless you change,

Unless you become

Like little children,

You will never enter

The kingdom of heaven.

Whoever becomes humble

Like this little child,

Will be the greatest

In the kingdom of heaven.’”

 

καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος παιδίον ἔστησεν αὐτὸ ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῶν

καὶ εἶπεν Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐὰν μὴ στραφῆτε καὶ γένησθε ὡς τὰ παιδία, οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθητε εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν.

ὅστις οὖν ταπεινώσει ἑαυτὸν ὡς τὸ παιδίον τοῦτο, οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ μείζων ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν.

 

This saying about the humble child as the greatest in heaven can also be found in Mark, chapters 9:36 and 10:15, as well as Luke, chapters 9:47 and 18:16-17, with some minor changes.  Jesus put an emphasis on becoming like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus called or summoned a little child (καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος παιδίον).  He placed this little child in the middle of his disciples (ἔστησεν αὐτὸ ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῶν).  Then he made a solemn proclamation ‘Truly! I say to you!’ (καὶ εἶπεν Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  They had to change or convert to become like little children (ἐὰν μὴ στραφῆτε καὶ γένησθε ὡς τὰ παιδία).  Otherwise, they would never enter the kingdom of heaven (οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθητε εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν).  Whoever became humble like this little child in their midst (ὅστις οὖν ταπεινώσει ἑαυτὸν ὡς τὸ παιδίον τοῦτο), would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ μείζων ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν).  The greatest in heaven would be the simple humble little children or those who acted like children, without power and dependent on other people.

The call to conversion (Zeph 2:1-2:3)

“Gather together!

Gather!

O shameless nation!

Before you are driven away

Like the drifting chaff,

Before there comes

Upon you

The fierce anger of Yahweh,

Before there comes

Upon you

The day

Of Yahweh’s wrath.

Seek Yahweh!

All you humble

Of the land!

You do his commands.

You seek righteousness.

You seek humility.

Perhaps,

You may be hidden

On the day

Of Yahweh’s wrath.”

Yahweh gave them one last chance to convert to him.  He wanted this shameless country to gather together to seek him.  If they did not, they would be driven away like useless chaff.  If they did not, the anger of Yahweh would come upon them on the day of his wrath.  The humble or the poor of the land should seek Yahweh.  All they had to do was to follow his commandments.  They had to seek righteousness and humility.  Then perhaps, on the day of Yahweh’s wrath, they would be hidden or stored away from his anger.  There still was a chance for these righteous humble poor people.

Yahweh in control of Egypt (Isa 19:19-19:22)

“On that day,

There will be an altar to Yahweh

In the center of the land of Egypt.

There will be a pillar to Yahweh

At its border.

It will be a sign.

It will be a witness

To Yahweh of hosts

In the land of Egypt.

When they cry to Yahweh

Because of oppressors,

He will send them a savior.

He will defend them.

He will deliver them.

Yahweh will make himself known

To the Egyptians.

The Egyptians will know Yahweh.

On that day,

They will worship with sacrifice.

They will worship with burnt offering.

They will make vows to Yahweh.

They will perform them.

Yahweh will strike Egypt,

Striking and healing.

They will return to Yahweh.

He will listen to their supplications.

He will heal them.”

On that special day, the Egyptians will convert to Yahweh. They will build an altar to Yahweh in the center of Egypt, much like another Jerusalem. There will even be a pillar to Yahweh at the borders of Egypt. This would indicate and witness that Egypt was under the protection of Yahweh. If they had any oppressors, all that they had to do was to cry out to Yahweh for help. Then he would send a savior to them in order to defend and deliver them. They were also going to be the people of Yahweh as the Egyptians would worship with sacrifices and burnt offerings to Yahweh. They would make vows and perform them for Yahweh. Yahweh would listen to them and heal them. He even would forgive them like the Israelites. Thus we have a new people of Yahweh in Egypt. How different this is from the idea of a few remnant Israelites in Jerusalem.

Tobit predicts the rebuilding of Jerusalem (Tob 14:5-14:7)

“But God will again have mercy on the Israelites.

He will bring them back into their land.

They will rebuild the temple of God,

Although it will not be like the first one

Until the times of the fulfillment shall come.

After this, they will return from their exile.

They will rebuild Jerusalem in splendor.

They will rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem,

Just as the prophets of Israel have said concerning it.

Then the nations of the whole world will all be converted

They will worship God in truth.

They will all abandon their idols,

The idols that deceitfully have led them into their error.

In righteousness,

They will praise the eternal God.

All the Israelites who are saved in those days

All who are truly mindful of God will be gathered together.

They will go to Jerusalem.

They will live safely forever in the land of Abraham,

As it will be given over to them.

Those who sincerely love God will rejoice.

However, those who commit sin and injustice,

They will vanish from the earth.”

God will have mercy on the Israelites. He will bring them back to their land. They will rebuild the Temple, but not as nice as the first Temple, just as the prophets have predicted. The Israelites will return from their captivity and rebuild a splendid Jerusalem. All the nations of the world will convert to the true God. They will abandon their idols and praise the eternal God. All the Israelites will gather in Jerusalem, where they will live safely in the land of Abraham. However, sinners and unjust people will vanish from the earth.