The signs (Lk 21:25-21:25)

“There will be signs

In the sun,

The moon,

And the stars.

On the earth,

There will be

Anxious distress

Among the nations

With the roaring noise

Of the sea

And the swelling waves.”

 

Καὶ ἔσονται σημεῖα ἐν ἡλίῳ καὶ σελήνῃ καὶ ἄστροις, καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς συνοχὴ ἐθνῶν ἐν ἀπορίᾳ ἤχους θαλάσσης καὶ σάλου,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that there would be signs (Καὶ ἔσονται σημεῖα) in the sun (ἐν ἡλίῳ), in the moon (αὶ σελήνῃ), and in the stars (καὶ ἄστροις).  On the earth (καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς), there would be anxious distress among the gentile nations (συνοχὴ ἐθνῶν ἐν ἀπορίᾳ) because of the roaring noise of the sea (ἤχους θαλάσσης) and the swelling waves (καὶ σάλου).  This was a unique use of the term ἀπορίᾳ that means perplexity, anxiety, or doubt, not found elsewhere in the Greek biblical literature.  This Jesus saying is similar to Matthew, chapter 24:29, that is actually closer to Mark, chapter 13:24-25.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that in those days (Ἀλλὰ ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις), after the sufferings (μετὰ τὴν θλῖψιν), there would be a cosmic upheaval.  The sun would be darkened (ὁ ἥλιος σκοτισθήσεται).  The moon would not give its light (καὶ ἡ σελήνη οὐ δώσει τὸ φέγγος αὐτῆς).  The assumption was that the moon had its own source of light, not merely a reflection of the sun.  The stars would fall from the skies (καὶ οἱ ἀστέρες ἔσονται ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ πίπτοντες).  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that immediately after the sufferings mentioned earlier in those days (Εὐθέως δὲ μετὰ τὴν θλῖψιν τῶν ἡμερῶν ἐκείνων), there would be a cosmic upheaval.  The sun would be darkened (ὁ ἥλιος σκοτισθήσεται).  The moon would not give its light (καὶ ἡ σελήνη οὐ δώσει τὸ φέγγος αὐτῆς).  The stars would fall from the skies (καὶ οἱ ἀστέρες πεσοῦνται ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ).  This is fully in line with the great Israelite prophetic tradition of the Day of Yahweh, like Ezekiel, chapter 32:7, Joel, chapter 2:10, Amos, chapter 8:9, and Zephaniah, chapter 1:15.  Luke did not have the details that were in Mark and Matthew.  What kind of cosmic upheaval do you expect at the end times?

The parable about the rented vineyard (Lk 20:9-20:9)

“Jesus began

To tell the people

This parable.

‘A man planted

A vineyard.

He leased it

To tenants.

He went to another country

For a long time.’”

 

Ἤρξατο δὲ πρὸς τὸν λαὸν λέγειν τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην. ἄνθρωπος ἐφύτευσεν ἀμπελῶνα, καὶ ἐξέδετο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς, καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν χρόνους ἱκανούς.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus began to tell the people another parable (Ἤρξατο δὲ πρὸς τὸν λαὸν λέγειν τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην) about a certain man who planted a vineyard (ἄνθρωπος ἐφύτευσεν ἀμπελῶνα).  He then leased it to farmer tenants (καὶ ἐξέδετο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς).  However, he went abroad to another country for a long time (καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν χρόνους ἱκανούς).  This parable about the absentee vineyard landowner can also be found in Matthew, chapter 21:33, and Mark, chapter 12:1, with more details about this vineyard.  Mark said that Jesus began to speak to them in parables (Καὶ ἤρξατο αὐτοῖς ἐν παραβολαῖς λαλεῖν).  This story was about a male landowner who planted a vineyard (ἀμπελῶνα ἄνθρωπος ἐφύτευσεν).  He then put a fence around this vineyard (καὶ περιέθηκεν φραγμὸν) and dug a wine press (καὶ ὤρυξεν ὑπολήνιον).  He even built a fortified watchtower (καὶ ᾠκοδόμησεν πύργον), so that it was a very nice vineyard.  This story is reminiscent of the allegory of the vineyard from Isaiah, chapter 5:1-2.  Isaiah had a song about a friend’s fertile field.  He also dug out stones and planted choice vines.  He put a tower in the middle to look over the vineyard with a carved wine vat there also.  However, he got bad grapes instead of good grapes.  Clearly, he did not get what he expected.  However, this landowner here leased his land or rented it to farmer tenants (καὶ ἐξέδετο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς).  Then he left that region and went away to another country (καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν).  Matthew also indicated that Jesus wanted them to listen to another parable (Ἄλλην παραβολὴν ἀκούσατε) about a male landowner (Ἄνθρωπος ἦν οἰκοδεσπότης), who planted a vineyard (ὅστις ἐφύτευσεν ἀμπελῶνα).  He then put a fence around it (καὶ φραγμὸν αὐτῷ περιέθηκεν) and dug a wine press in it (καὶ ὤρυξεν ἐν αὐτῷ ληνὸν).  He even built a fortified watchtower (καὶ ᾠκοδόμησεν πύργον).  This seemed like a very nice vineyard, much like in Mark.  However, this landowner also leased or rented this land to farmer tenants (καὶ ἐξέδετο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς).  Then he left that region and went away to another country (ἀπεδήμησεν).  These last two things, renting and leaving the land, will cause him a problem.  Have you had a problem with tenants?

Jesus enters the Temple (Lk 19:45-19:45)

“Jesus entered

The Temple.

He began

To drive out

Those who were

Selling things there.”

 

Καὶ εἰσελθὼν εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν ἤρξατο ἐκβάλλειν τοὺς πωλοῦντας,

 

Luke simply said that Jesus entered the Temple in Jerusalem (Καὶ εἰσελθὼν εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν).  Then he began to drive out those who were selling things there (ἤρξατο ἐκβάλλειν τοὺς πωλοῦντας).  This description of Jesus in the Temple can also be found in Matthew, chapter 21:12, almost word for word with Mark, chapter 11:15.  However, they had more details in both of these accounts than the short summary here in Luke.  In John, chapter 2:14-16, there was an even more elaborate description, but this action took place at the beginning of the ministry of Jesus, not at the end as here and other synoptics.  Mark described how Jesus and his disciples entered Jerusalem (Καὶ ἔρχονται εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα).  When they entered the Temple (Καὶ εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸ ἱερόν), Jesus began to drive out or throw out (ἤρξατο ἐκβάλλειν) those who was selling (τοὺς πωλοῦντας), or buying (καὶ τοὺς ἀγοράζοντας) animals for the sacrifice offerings in the Temple (ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ).  John said that Jesus had whips.  He overturned the tables of the money-changers (καὶ τὰς τραπέζας τῶν κολλυβιστῶν), who converted foreign coins into the Temple shekels for the Temple offerings.  He also overturned the chairs or the seats of those who were selling doves (καὶ τὰς καθέδρας τῶν πωλούντων τὰς περιστεράς κατέστρεψεν) for the Temple sacrifices.  Matthew described how Jesus entered the Jerusalem Temple (Καὶ εἰσῆλθεν Ἰησοῦς εἰς τὸ ἱερόν).  Then Jesus drove out or threw out everyone who was selling, exchanging, or buying animals for the sacrifice offerings in the Temple (καὶ ἐξέβαλεν πάντας τοὺς πωλοῦντας καὶ ἀγοράζοντας ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ).  He overturned the tables of the money-changers (καὶ τὰς τραπέζας τῶν κολλυβιστῶν κατέστρεψεν).  He also overturned the chairs or the seats of those who were selling doves (καὶ τὰς καθέδρας τῶν πωλούντων τὰς περιστεράς) for the Temple sacrifices.  All these people were functionaries of the Temple.  They were trying to help people make the right sacrificial offerings there.  Obviously, they made money from these sales, but this was the normal customary thing in the Temple.  Jesus upset these people with this somewhat violent action.  Up until this point, Jesus had been very mild mannered.  Are you mild mannered or violent in your reactions to things that displease you?

The nobleman (Lk 19:12-19:12)

 

“Thus,

Jesus said.

‘A nobleman

Went

To a distant country

To get royal power

For himself.

Then he would return.’”

 

εἶπεν οὖν Ἄνθρωπός τις εὐγενὴς ἐπορεύθη εἰς χώραν μακρὰν λαβεῖν ἑαυτῷ βασιλείαν καὶ ὑποστρέψαι.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said (εἶπεν οὖν) that a nobleman (Ἄνθρωπός τις εὐγενὴς) went to a distant country (ἐπορεύθη εἰς χώραν μακρὰν) to get royal power for himself (λαβεῖν ἑαυτῷ βασιλείαν).  After that, he would return later (καὶ ὑποστρέψαι).  This might have been a hint about the local leaders going to Rome to get their royal powers.  It may also be about Jesus going to heaven and then returning at the last judgment or the Second Coming.  However, there was the overriding theme of the need for responsibility, productivity, and not laziness.  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 25:14, where the story is about a man with a household of slaves and not a nobleman as here.  The slaves were given money to take care of things while the rich man was gone.  In Matthew, Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven would be like a man going on a journey (Ὥσπερ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος ἀποδημῶν).  This very generous man called or summoned his slaves (ἐκάλεσεν τοὺς ἰδίους δούλους) to entrust them or give them his property and possessions, while he was gone (καὶ παρέδωκεν αὐτοῖς τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ).  In Mark, 13:34, Jesus said that the end times would be like a man going on a journey (ὡς ἄνθρωπος ἀπόδημος).  He left his house (ἀφεὶς τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ).  He gave his slaves the authority (καὶ δοὺς τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ τὴν ἐξουσίαν) to perform their own individual tasks (ἑκάστῳ τὸ ἔργον αὐτοῦ).  He commanded a doorkeeper to stand watch over this whole situation (καὶ τῷ θυρωρῷ ἐνετείλατο ἵνα γρηγορῇ).  However, the story for Mark ended there, unlike Luke and Matthew that have more details about the slaves in this household.  What do you do when you go on a long journey?

Jesus calms the sea (Lk 8:24-8:24)

“They went

To Jesus.

They woke him up.

Shouting.

‘Master!

Master!

We are perishing!’

Jesus woke up.

He rebuked the wind

And the raging waves.

They ceased.

So that

There was a calm.”

 

προσελθόντες δὲ διήγειραν αὐτὸν λέγοντες Ἐπιστάτα ἐπιστάτα, ἀπολλύμεθα. ὁ δὲ διεγερθεὶς ἐπετίμησεν τῷ ἀνέμῳ καὶ τῷ κλύδωνι τοῦ ὕδατος· καὶ ἐπαύσαντο, καὶ ἐγένετο γαλήνη.

 

Luke said that the disciples went to Jesus (προσελθόντες).  They woke him up (δὲ διήγειραν αὐτὸν), shouting at him (λέγοντες) “Master (Ἐπιστάτα)!  Master (Ἐπιστάτα)!  We are perishing (ἀπολλύμεθα)!”  Jesus then woke up (ὁ δὲ διεγερθεὶς).  He rebuked (ἐπετίμησεν) the wind (τῷ ἀνέμῳ) and the raging water waves (καὶ τῷ κλύδωνι τοῦ ὕδατος), so that they ceased (καὶ ἐπαύσαντο).  Finally, there was a calm sea (καὶ ἐγένετο γαλήνη).  This waking of Jesus and calming the waters can be found in Matthew, chapter 8:25-26, and Mark chapter 4:38-39, in a somewhat similar fashion.  Matthew said that these disciples went to wake up Jesus.  They cried out to him calling him “the Lord (Κύριε)”.  They wanted to be saved or rescued, because they were dying or facing certain death.  They were definitely afraid and scared.  After waking up, Jesus then turned to his followers and asked them why they were afraid.  Was it because they had little faith?  The unfaithful “ὀλιγόπιστοι” was a favorite word of Matthew.  Then Jesus got up.  He then rebuked or admonished the winds and the sea itself, so that there was a great calm in the air and on the sea.  Jesus called out his disciples for their lack of faith or trust, while showing his great power.  Mark was not as frantic, but he had more details.  He said that Jesus was in the stern or the back of the boat, sleeping on a cushion.  The disciples woke up Jesus as Mark said that they called Jesus “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε).”  They said that Jesus did not care if they were perishing, or facing certain death.  They were definitely afraid and scared.  Notice that they did not call Jesus “Lord, Κύριε” as in Matthew, but rather “Teacher, Διδάσκαλε.”  Mark said that after Jesus woke up, he then rebuked or admonished the wind.  Then he spoke to the sea itself, as he told the sea to be silent, peaceful, and still   Thus, the wind abated or was still.  There was a great calmness in the sea.  Do you believe that God controls the wind and the sea?

Jesus sat down (Lk 4:20-4:20)

“He rolled up

The scroll.

He gave it back

To the attendant.

He sat down.

The eyes of all

In the synagogue

Were fixed on him.”

 

καὶ πτύξας τὸ βιβλίον ἀποδοὺς τῷ ὑπηρέτῃ ἐκάθισεν· καὶ πάντων οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ ἦσαν ἀτενίζοντες αὐτῷ.

 

This is unique to Luke, as he once again explained details about this Nazareth Sabbath synagogue service.  After Jesus had finished reading the passage from Isaiah, he rolled up the scroll (καὶ πτύξας τὸ βιβλίον).  Then he gave it back or delivered it to the attendant (ἀποδοὺς τῷ ὑπηρέτῃ).  Finally, he sat down (ἐκάθισεν), which was the common practice of teachers.  Meanwhile, the eyes of everyone (καὶ πάντων οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ) in the synagogue (ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ) were fixed on him (ἦσαν ἀτενίζοντες αὐτῷ) to see what he was going to say.

Jesus walks on the sea (Mk 6:48-6:48)

“When Jesus saw

That they were straining

At the oars

Against an adverse wind,

Jesus came towards them.

Early in the morning

Jesus was walking

On the sea.

He intended

To pass them by.”

 

καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτοὺς βασανιζομένους ἐν τῷ ἐλαύνειν, ἦν γὰρ ὁ ἄνεμος ἐναντίος αὐτοῖς, περὶ τετάρτην φυλακὴν τῆς νυκτὸς ἔρχεται πρὸς αὐτοὺς περιπατῶν ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης· καὶ ἤθελεν παρελθεῖν αὐτούς. 

 

This incident about Jesus walking on water can be found in Matthew, chapter 14:24-25, and John, chapter 6:18-19, but without some of the details here.  Mark said that Jesus saw that they were straining at their rowing oars (καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτοὺς βασανιζομένους ἐν τῷ ἐλαύνειν).  They had an adverse wind against them (ἦν γὰρ ὁ ἄνεμος ἐναντίος αὐτοῖς).  In other words, they were in a little trouble. Early in the morning, or the 4th watch of the night (περὶ τετάρτην φυλακὴν τῆς νυκτὸς), Jesus came walking towards them on the sea (ἔρχεται πρὸς αὐτοὺς περιπατῶν ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης).  He intended to pass them by (καὶ ἤθελεν παρελθεῖν αὐτούς).  There is no indication in any of these stories why Jesus was walking on the water.