Woe to the false prophets! (Lk 6:26-6:26)

“Woe to you

When all speak

Well of you!

That is what

Your ancestors did

To the false prophets.”

 

οὐαὶ ὅταν καλῶς ὑμᾶς εἴπωσιν πάντες οἱ ἄνθρωποι· κατὰ αὐτὰ γὰρ ἐποίουν τοῖς ψευδοπροφήταις οἱ πατέρες αὐτῶν.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said they would be cursed (οὐαὶ), using the second person plural.  If people spoke well of them (ὅταν καλῶς ὑμᾶς εἴπωσιν πάντες οἱ ἄνθρωποι), that is what (κατὰ αὐτὰ) their ancestors or fathers (οἱ πατέρες αὐτῶν) did (γὰρ ἐποίουν) to the false or pseudo-prophets (τοῖς ψευδοπροφήταις).  This is the reverse of verses 22-23, where Jesus said that they would be blessed, happy, and fortunate (μακάριοί ἐστε), when people hated them (ὅταν μισήσωσιν ὑμᾶς οἱ ἄνθρωποι) or excluded them (καὶ ὅταν ἀφορίσωσιν ὑμᾶς) on account of the Son of Man (ἕνεκα τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου).  They would be blessed (μακάριοί ἐστε), when people insulted them (καὶ ὀνειδίσωσιν) or defamed them.  There is something equivalent to Matthew, chapter 5:11.  This persecution is precisely what (κατὰ αὐτὰ) their ancestors (οἱ πατέρες αὐτῶν) had done to the ancient prophets (γὰρ ἐποίουν τοῖς προφήταις).  In a certain sense, they were a continuation of the Old Testament persecuted prophets who had gone before them.  However, if people spoke well of them and treated them nice, perhaps they were the false prophets.

Woe to the laughers! (Lk 6:25-6:25)

“Woe to you

Who are laughing now!

You will mourn

And weep.”

 

οὐαί, οἱ γελῶντες νῦν, ὅτι πενθήσετε καὶ κλαύσετε

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said that the laughing ones now (οἱ γελῶντες νῦν) would be cursed (οὐαί), using the second person plural.  They would mourn and weep (ὅτι πενθήσετε καὶ κλαύσετε) in the future.  Once again, this unique saying of Luke is the reverse of one of his beatitudes in verse 21, where he indicated that Jesus said that those who were weeping now (οἱ κλαίοντες νῦν) would be blessed, happy or fortunate (μακάριοι) because they would later laugh (ὅτι γελάσετ), using the second person plural.  There is no equivalent to this in Matthew, except for the mourners in chapter 5:4.  Luke has Jesus say the opposite thing about those laughing now, as they would weep later.

Woe to those who are full now (Lk 6:25-6:25)

“Woe to you

Who are full now!

You will be hungry.”

 

οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, οἱ ἐμπεπλησμένοι νῦν, ὅτι πεινάσετε.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said that they would be cursed (οὐαὶ ὑμῖν) if they were full now (οἱ ἐμπεπλησμένοι νῦν), using the second person plural.  However, in the future they would be hungry (ὅτι πεινάσετε).  This is the reverse of verse 21, where Luke indicated that Jesus said that the hungry people now (οἱ πεινῶντες νῦν) would be blessed or happy (μακάριοι) and satisfied (ὅτι χορτασθήσεσθε), also using the second person plural.  Here Luke was talking about real hunger for food that would be satisfied.  Those who were not hungry now would be hungry in the future.

Woe to the rich! (Lk 6:24-6:24)

“But woe to you

Who are rich!

You have received

Your consolation.”

 

Πλὴν οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς πλουσίοις, ὅτι ἀπέχετε τὴν παράκλησιν ὑμῶν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said the rich people should be cursed (Πλὴν οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς πλουσίοις), using the second person plural.  They already had received their consolation, comfort, or happiness (ὅτι ἀπέχετε τὴν παράκλησιν ὑμῶν).  While Matthew had 8 beatitudes about the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, the righteous, the merciful, the pure of heart, the peacemakers, and the persecuted, Luke only had 4.  The blessed or fortunate ones here were the poor, the hungry, the weeping, and the. persecuted.  3 of the 4 of these categories are almost the same, but the hungry could only go with those who hunger for righteousness.  Some later 4th century Christian writers, like Ambrose of Milan (337-397), have said that theses 4 beatitudes correspond to the 4 cardinal virtues of temperance, justice, prudence, and fortitude.  However, Luke uniquely has these 4 more woes or curses in which he denounced or called out their bad behavior.  In this particular case, he challenged or criticized the rich people because they already had their consolation.

Woe to the betrayer! (Mk 14:21-14:21)

“The Son of Man

Goes

As it is written

Of him.

But woe

To that one

By whom

The Son of man

Is betrayed!

It would have been better

For that man

Not to have been born.”

 

ὅτι ὁ μὲν Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ὑπάγει καθὼς γέγραπται περὶ αὐτοῦ· οὐαὶ δὲ τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ ἐκείνῳ δι’ οὗ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδίδοται· καλὸν αὐτῷ εἰ οὐκ ἐγεννήθη ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖνος.

 

This is similar, exactly word for word, to Matthew, chapter 26:24, but more summarized in Luke, chapter 22:22.  Mark, like Matthew, indicated that Jesus said that the Son of Man would go to death (ὅτι ὁ μὲν Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ὑπάγει), as it was written about him (καθὼς γέγραπται περὶ αὐτοῦ).  Was this a reference to the Suffering Servant in Isaiah, chapters 52-53, and Psalm 22?  However, then Jesus cursed the man who would betray the Son of Man (οὐαὶ δὲ τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ ἐκείνῳ δι’ οὗ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδίδοται).  He said that it would have been better if that man had never been born (καλὸν αὐτῷ εἰ οὐκ ἐγεννήθη ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖνος).  This was a very strong curse, but without an exact identification for whom it was meant.

Peter remembered the curse (Mk 11:21-11:21)

“Then Peter

Remembered it.

He said

To Jesus.

‘Rabbi!

Look!

The fig tree

That you cursed

Has withered.’”

 

καὶ ἀναμνησθεὶς ὁ Πέτρος λέγει αὐτῷ Ῥαββεί, ἴδε ἡ συκῆ ἣν κατηράσω ἐξήρανται

 

This is a unique saying of Mark.  Peter, as the leader of the 12 apostles, remembered (καὶ ἀναμνησθεὶς ὁ Πέτρος) about what had happened the day before.  He then called Jesus “Rabbi” (λέγει αὐτῷ Ῥαββεί).  He told Jesus to look at the cursed fig tree from the previous day that had already withered (ἴδε ἡ συκῆ ἣν κατηράσω ἐξήραντα).  For Mark, it took a day, but for Matthew, it was immediate.

 

Fifth narrative

Jesus traveled toward Jerusalem and taught in the Temple there, debating with the chief priests and religious leaders.  Then he spoke about the coming kingdom of heaven and the future end times.

Jesus finally went to Judea, where he cured large crowds of people.  The Pharisees questioned him about divorce.  Jesus reiterated the importance of marriage, as he spoke about Moses and divorce.  After hearing the response of Jesus about divorce, his disciples wondered why they should marry at all.  Jesus explained about different kind of eunuchs.

The children came forward to Jesus and he blessed them.  He warned against wealth.  To gain eternal life you had to keep the commandments.  They wanted to know which commandments?  The great commandment was not a problem.  However, Jesus asked them to give up their possessions, so that the rich young man walked away.  It was hard for rich people to enter the kingdom like a camel going through the eye of a needle.  Who could be saved?  The response was that all things are possible with God.  Peter wanted to know about the disciples and the eternal life reward, so that Jesus told them that the first shall be last and vice versa.

Then Jesus presented the parable of the laborers in the vineyard.  He hired the first laborers, and then late in the day a second group, a third group and finally a fourth group of laborers.  The last group hired got a full day’s pay.  The first group hired were upset when they got the same as the last group hired.  This brought up the problem of generosity versus fairness, as Jesus explained the parable.

On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus predicted what was going to happen to him in Jerusalem.  The mother of the sons of Zebedee wanted to know if her two sons, James and John, could be the greatest, on either side of Jesus.  Jesus pointed out the difficulties and said that only the Father set up the seating arrangements.  This led to ten angry men as they resented the two trying to be first.  Jesus reminded them about servant leadership, as the Son of Man was going to give up his life.

There were great crowds at Jericho where Jesus found two blind men asking for mercy, so he healed them.  Then began the final ministry in Jerusalem with a triumphal entry.  Jesus sent two disciples from Bethpage to get a donkey and a colt because he needed them.  Thus, the prophecy of Zechariah might be fulfilled.  They brought the donkey and the colt to Jesus.  Then crowds welcomed the Son of David into Jerusalem as they began to wonder who this man was?

Jesus went into the Temple and chased out the money changers to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah.  When he cured people in the Temple, the chief priests were angry, but the little children praised him.

Then Jesus went to Bethany.  The next morning, he was hungry.  He saw a fig tree, but it had no figs, so he cursed the fig tree as it withered because of his faith.

People began to question where did Jesus get his authority?  Jesus responded with a question for a question.  He asked them about the value of the baptism of John.  They gave a timid response.  Then he told the parable about the two sons.  The first son said no at first, and then did the work, while the second son said yes and did not do the work.  Which son did the will of his father?  Thus, they did not believe John the Baptist.

Then Jesus told the parable about the wicked tenants.  This absentee land owner of the vineyard sent people to collect his rent.  Instead, the tenants beat and killed the landowner’s slaves.  He sent a second group that was also killed.  Then the tenants killed the landowner’s son.  Finally, the landowner came to take back his vineyard, citing Psalm 118 about the kingdom of God and the falling cornerstone.  The Pharisees understood this parable and tried to arrest Jesus.

Jesus continued to speak in parables.  This parable was about the king who gave a great wedding banquet.  However, the invited guests refused to come to the wedding banquet.  He sent out a second invitation to the wedding banquet, but they refused the second invitation also.  They treated his slaves badly.  The king was angry and sent out new invitations to the wedding feast.  Finally, a man without a wedding garment showed up, but he threw him out of the feast.  The explanation of this parable was that many are called, but few are chosen.

Next the Pharisees tried to trick Jesus by flattering him.  They asked him a question about taxes.  Jesus gave a harsh response as he had a dialogue about the Roman coin about whose image was on it.  Give Caesar his due.  The Pharisees and their disciples left.

However, the Sadducees asked a question about the resurrection.  There was a law about marrying the brother of a dead man.  There was a woman who married seven brothers, who was her husband in the resurrection?  Jesus responded that there was no marriage in the resurrection.  The living God of their ancestors would show them the way.  The crowd was astonished.

The Pharisees regrouped and wanted to know what is the greatest commandment?  Jesus responded about the two great commandments to love God and your neighbor.  Then Jesus asked the Pharisees a question.  Was the Christ the son of David?  Then who was the Lord for David?  After that there were no more questions for Jesus.

Jesus then cursed the Scribes and Pharisees.  He told his disciples to do what they say, but not what they do.  They tied up heavy burdens on the people.  They wore special clothing and sought the places of honor.  They want to be called Rabbis.  No one was your father or master.  Greatness comes with humility.  They tried to lock people out of heaven as they shut it off.  Even when they tried to make converts, they are like blind guides and fools.  They swore by the altar or the gift of the altar.  They swore by heaven, but they had forgotten the law.  They wanted the gnat out your eye but had a camel in their own eye.  They worried about the outside of the cup instead of the inside.  They were like whitewashed tombs.  They proclaimed reverence for the tombs of the prophets, but they were like their sinning ancestors. They were like serpents.  They would kill the prophets.  They spread innocent blood.  Soon the house of Jerusalem would be desolate.

Finally, there were the predictions about the end times.  Jesus left the Temple as he predicted its destruction.  What are the signs of the Parousia?  There would be the beginning of the great suffering so that they should not be lead astray.  There would be rumors of wars in those troubled times.  They would be persecuted for the sake of Jesus.  There would be betrayals and false prophets.  Love would grow cold.  Endurance would be necessary.  The importance of Daniel the prophet was emphasized.  In Judea, they would flee to the housetops.  It would be too late for the people in the fields.  This would be the wrong time to be pregnant or nursing.  There would be great tribulation, but the days would be short.

The end was coming because there would be false Christs and people looking for the Messiah.  The Son of Man would come on the clouds as the darkness in the skies appeared.  There would be a gathering of the chosen ones.  Using the parable of the fig tree, they could tell that the end was near.  This generation would pass away, but Jesus’ words would not pass away.  No one knew the day, since it would be like in the days of Noah.  Only one would be taken and the other left, so be ready.  Be a wise and faithful slave, not a wicked slave.

Jesus told the parable of the ten bridesmaids where half were wise and half foolish.  They all fell asleep.  When the bridegroom came, they all got up.  However, the foolish ones had no oil and wise ones said that there was not enough oil for both of them.  When the foolish left to get oil, they shut the door.  When they came back, the bridegroom said that he did not know them.  Thus, you do not know the day.

Next Jesus told the parable of the talents.  A man entrusted his assets to his slaves.  He gave them money.  One slave added five more talents, another added two more talents, but the third slave dug a hole and buried his money.  The master settled their accounts.  The slave with five talents got five more talents.  The slave with two talents got two more talents.  The slave with one talent was rebuked and punished.  Thus, there will be rewards and punishments at the end times.

In the last judgment, the Son of Man would appear in glory.  There would be sheep and goats, with the sheep on the right hand.  They had taken care of him.  They wondered when they had done this.  The Son of Man replied that they took care of him when they cared for the least of his brothers.  Then he told the goats on his left side to depart from him because they had not taken care of him when they did not care for the lowly people.  Thus, there would be eternal punishment or eternal reward.

Depart from me (Mt 25:41-25:41)

“Then the king

Will say to those

At his left hand.

‘You are cursed!

Depart from me!

Enter into the eternal fire

Prepared for the devil

And his angels!’”

 

τότε ἐρεῖ καὶ τοῖς ἐξ εὐωνύμων Πορεύεσθε ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ κατηραμένοι εἰς τὸ πῦρ τὸ αἰώνιον τὸ ἡτοιμασμένον τῷ διαβόλῳ καὶ τοῖς ἀγγέλοις αὐτοῦ.

 

This last judgment section is unique to Matthew.  Jesus said that the king turned to those goats on his left side (τότε ἐρεῖ καὶ τοῖς ἐξ εὐωνύμων).  He wanted these goat people to leave him and go away (Πορεύεσθε ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ).  He called them cursed (κατηραμένοι). They were to go into the eternal fire (εἰς τὸ πῦρ τὸ αἰώνιον) that had been prepared for the devil and his angels (τὸ ἡτοιμασμένον τῷ διαβόλῳ καὶ τοῖς ἀγγέλοις αὐτοῦ).  They were to depart from the king and be cursed to join the devil and his angels in the eternal fire that had been prepared for the devil.  Thus, we have the basis for the classic Christian teaching of eternal heaven with God, the Father, Jesus, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for the righteous or the eternal fire of hell with the devil and his companions for the evil or wicked people.  This was the final judgment awaiting all people.

The parable of the fig tree (Mt 24:32-24:32)

“From the fig tree,

Learn its lesson!

As soon as its branch

Becomes tender,

It puts forth its leaves.

Then you know

That summer

Is near.”

 

Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν· ὅταν ἤδη ὁ κλάδος αὐτῆς γένηται ἁπαλὸς καὶ τὰ φύλλα ἐκφύῃ, γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐγγὺς τὸ θέρος

 

This is exactly the same, word for word, in Mark, chapter 13:28, but in Luke, chapter 21:29-30, almost word for word.  Earlier in 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).  As soon as its branches or shoots became tender (ὅταν ἤδη ὁ κλάδος αὐτῆς γένηται ἁπαλὸς), it would put forth its leaves (καὶ τὰ φύλλα ἐκφύῃ).  Then you would know that summer was near (γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐγγὺς τὸ θέρος).  In other words, the early leaves on a tree indicated that summer was coming.  Let’s hope that summer keeps coming.

Blind guides (Mt 23:16-23:16)

“Woe to you!

Blind guides!

You say.

‘Whoever swears

By the temple,

Is bound by nothing.

But whoever swears

By the gold

Of the Temple,

Is bound

By the oath.’”

 

Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, ὁδηγοὶ τυφλοὶ οἱ λέγοντες Ὃς ἂν ὀμόσῃ ἐν τῷ ναῷ, οὐδέν ἐστιν· ὃς δ’ ἂν ὀμόσῃ ἐν τῷ χρυσῷ τοῦ ναοῦ, ὀφείλει.

 

This unique diatribe against the Scribes and Pharisees continued in Matthew alone.  But here they are called blind guides, as Matthew had earlier mentioned in chapter 15:14.  Jesus cursed (Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν) these blind guides (ὁδηγοὶ τυφλοὶ) because they were saying (οἱ λέγοντες) that whoever swore by the Temple (Ὃς ἂν ὀμόσῃ ἐν τῷ ναῷ) were not bound by it since it was considered nothing (οὐδέν ἐστιν).  However, anyone who swore by the gold of the Temple (ὃς δ’ ἂν ὀμόσῃ ἐν τῷ χρυσῷ τοῦ ναοῦ) were bound (ὀφείλει) by that oath.  In other words, the only thing that they were bound to fulfill was the money that they said they were going to contribute, not other vows or promises.  This goes back to the question of whether you should swear to do anything or not, as posed earlier in this work in chapter 5:33-37.