The parable (Lk 21:29-21:29)

“Then he told them

A parable.

‘Look at the fig tree!

Look at all the trees!’”

 

Καὶ εἶπεν παραβολὴν αὐτοῖς Ἴδετε τὴν συκῆν καὶ πάντα τὰ δένδρα

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that he was going to tell them another parable (Καὶ εἶπεν παραβολὴν αὐτοῖς).  They were to look at the fig tree (Ἴδετε τὴν συκῆν), in fact, all the trees (καὶ πάντα τὰ δένδρα).  This is similar to Matthew, chapter 24:32, and Mark, chapter 13:28, who are word for word the same as each other.  Mark indicated that Jesus said they were to learn a lesson or parable (μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν) about the fig tree (Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς).  Earlier in Matthew, chapter 21:19-20, Jesus had cursed a fig tree for not having fruit, but here there was a lesson or a little parable to be learned (μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν) from the fig tree (Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς).  These fig trees play an important role in these stories or parables.  Have you ever seen a fig tree?

Temptations (Lk 17:1-17:1)

“Jesus

Said to his disciples.

‘Occasions

For stumbling

Are bound

To come.

But woe to anyone

By whom

They come!’”

 

Εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ Ἀνένδεκτόν ἐστιν τοῦ τὰ σκάνδαλα μὴ ἐλθεῖν, οὐαὶ δὲ δι’ οὗ ἔρχεται·

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to his disciples (Εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ) that occasions for stumbling are bound to come (Ἀνένδεκτόν ἐστιν τοῦ τὰ σκάνδαλα μὴ ἐλθεῖν).  However, woe or be cursed to anyone by whom they come (οὐαὶ δὲ δι’ οὗ ἔρχεται).  Jesus admitted that stumbling or sinning might occur, but anyone who brings them should be cursed.  This saying about causing little believing children to sin or stumble can be found in Mark, chapter 9:42, and Matthew, chapter 18:6, with some minor changes, with Matthew closer to Mark.  In Luke, there is no mention of little children until the next verse, since this warning is more generic here.  Do you cause other people to stumble?

God knows your heart (Lk 16:15-16:15)

“Jesus

Said to the Pharisees.

‘You are those

Who justify yourselves

In the sight

Of others.

However,

God knows

Your hearts.

What is prized

By human beings

Is an abomination

In the sight

Of God.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ὑμεῖς ἐστε οἱ δικαιοῦντες ἑαυτοὺς ἐνώπιον τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ὁ δὲ Θεὸς γινώσκει τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν· ὅτι τὸ ἐν ἀνθρώποις ὑψηλὸν βδέλυγμα ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

Once again, this is a unique statement of Luke, not found in the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus reproved the Pharisees.  He said to them (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that they tried to justify themselves (Ὑμεῖς ἐστε οἱ δικαιοῦντες ἑαυτοὺς) in the sight of other men (ἐνώπιον τῶν ἀνθρώπων).  However, God knows their hearts (ὁ δὲ Θεὸς γινώσκει τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν).  What is prized or exalted by humans (ὅτι τὸ ἐν ἀνθρώποις ὑψηλὸν) is an abomination or cursed in the sight of God (βδέλυγμα ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Once again, Jesus continued with his diatribe against the Pharisees.  The value system of the Pharisees was not in sync with the value system of God.  They wanted to look good before their fellow men, so as to be praised.  However, whatever humans praise, God does not.  Do you love human praise?

The places of honor (Lk 14:7-14:7)

“When Jesus noticed

How the guests

Had chosen the places

Of honor,

He told them

A parable.”

 

Ἔλεγεν δὲ πρὸς τοὺς κεκλημένους παραβολήν, ἐπέχων πῶς τὰς πρωτοκλισίας ἐξελέγοντο, λέγων πρὸς αὐτούς

 

Luke had Jesus continue with this unique dinner party with the Pharisees.  Jesus noticed how the guests had chosen the places of honor (ἐπέχων πῶς τὰς πρωτοκλισίας ἐξελέγοντο).  Thus, he told these invited guests a parable (Ἔλεγεν δὲ πρὸς τοὺς κεκλημένους παραβολήν).  This is what he said (λέγων πρὸς αὐτούς).  Apparently, the Pharisees often sought after the places of honor as indicated in the last dinner he had with the Pharisees in chapter 11:43.  There, Jesus actually cursed the Pharisees, because these Pharisees loved to have the first seats or the seats of honor in the synagogues.  There was something similar in Mark, chapter 12:39, and Matthew, chapter 23:6-7.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that these Pharisees and Scribes loved to have the chief places of honor at banquet feasts and the best or front seats in the assembled synagogues.  Mark indicated that Jesus told them to beware of the Scribes, but not the Pharisees, because these Scribes walked around in long robes and loved the front seats in the synagogues.  They loved to have the chief places of honor at banquet feasts   They were the elite social butterflies.  Are you a social butterfly who likes the front row?

The lawyers take away knowledge (Lk 11:52-11:52)

“Woe to you!

Lawyers!

You have taken away

The key of knowledge.

You did not enter yourselves.

But you hindered

Those who were entering.”

 

οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς νομικοῖς, ὅτι ἤρατε τὴν κλεῖδα τῆς γνώσεως· αὐτοὶ οὐκ εἰσήλθατε καὶ τοὺς εἰσερχομένους ἐκωλύσατε.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus cursed these Mosaic lawyers (οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς νομικοῖς) who had taken away the key to knowledge (ὅτι ἤρατε τὴν κλεῖδα τῆς γνώσεως).  They never entered the knowledge themselves (αὐτοὶ οὐκ εἰσήλθατε), but they also hindered others from entering (καὶ τοὺς εἰσερχομένους ἐκωλύσατε) into this knowledge.  This is similar to Matthew, chapter 23:13, perhaps a Q source, where Jesus said woe to these (Οὐαὶ δὲ ὑμῖν) Scribes and the Pharisees.  Here in Luke, Jesus cursed just the Pharisees and the lawyers, without any mention of the Scribes.  In Matthew, there was no doubt that Jesus was cursing the Scribes and the Pharisees (γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι), who he also called hypocrites (ὑποκριταί).  Jesus said that they locked people out of the kingdom of heaven (ὅτι κλείετε τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων).  Although they could not get into or enter heaven themselves (ὑμεῖς γὰρ οὐκ εἰσέρχεσθε), they were stopping or not allowing others to enter (οὐδὲ τοὺς εἰσερχομένους ἀφίετε εἰσελθεῖν) the kingdom of heaven.  Not only were they not going to heaven, they were stopping others from going to heaven, a serious charge.  Here Luke was the against the lawyers who kept knowledge away from people.  Was this knowledge of the kingdom, that they did not enter, and even hindered others from entering?  Have you hindered other people from gaining knowledge?

Loaded with burdens (Lk 11:46-11:46)

“Jesus said.

‘Woe to you!

Lawyers!

You load people

With burdens

Hard to bear!

You,

Yourselves,

Do not lift

A finger

To ease them.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Καὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς νομικοῖς οὐαί, ὅτι φορτίζετε τοὺς ἀνθρώπους φορτία δυσβάστακτα, καὶ αὐτοὶ ἑνὶ τῶν δακτύλων ὑμῶν οὐ προσψαύετε τοῖς φορτίοις.

 

Then Luke indicated that Jesus turned on these lawyers, also.  Jesus cursed them also (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Καὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς νομικοῖς οὐαί).  They had loaded people with hard burdens to bear (ὅτι φορτίζετε τοὺς ἀνθρώπους φορτία δυσβάστακτα).  At the same time, they did not lift a finger to ease their burdens (καὶ αὐτοὶ ἑνὶ τῶν δακτύλων ὑμῶν οὐ προσψαύετε τοῖς φορτίοις).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 23:4, where Jesus said that the Pharisees and the Scribes, not the lawyers, tied up heavy burdens on the people that were hard or oppressive to bear.  They put these burdens on the shoulders of other men, but they themselves were unwilling to lift a finger to help them remove these burdens.  These heavy burdens of the Torah may have been their multiple perplexing oral interpretations of the law rather than the law itself that was usually considered a blessing.  Here in Luke, Jesus was talking about lawyers, who may have been Pharisaic lawyers of the Law of Moses, who also would not help others in any way.  Do you know any religious lawyers?

The graves (Lk 11:44-11:44)

“Woe to you!

You are

Like unmarked graves.

People walk

Over them

Without realizing it.”

 

οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, ὅτι ἐστὲ ὡς τὰ μνημεῖα τὰ ἄδηλα, καὶ οἱ ἄνθρωποι οἱ περιπατοῦντες ἐπάνω οὐκ οἴδασιν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus continued to pick on his dinner guests, the Pharisees.  Jesus cursed these Pharisees without naming them.  He said woe to them (οὐαὶ ὑμῖν) because they were like unmarked graves (ὅτι ἐστὲ ὡς τὰ μνημεῖα τὰ ἄδηλα) that people or men would walk over without realizing it (καὶ οἱ ἄνθρωποι οἱ περιπατοῦντες ἐπάνω οὐκ οἴδασιν).  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 23:27, where Jesus continued to curse the Pharisees and the Scribes.  There was no doubt that Jesus was cursing the Scribes and the Pharisees because of their false hearts.  They were like whitewashed tombs, that looked outwardly beautiful.  However, the inside of these unmarked tombs was full of the bones of dead people and other kinds of filth or impure things.  Thus, the Pharisees appear to look righteous on the outside to others.  However, on the inside, in their hearts, they were full of hypocrisy, iniquity, and lawlessness.  Matthew went into more detail than Luke did here, sitting with them at dinner.  Have you ever complained directly to people at a dinner party?