The blind beggar (Lk 18:35-18:35)

“As Jesus

Approached Jericho,

A certain blind man

Was sitting

By the roadside,

Begging.”

 

Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ ἐγγίζειν αὐτὸν εἰς Ἱερειχὼ τυφλός τις ἐκάθητο παρὰ τὴν ὁδὸν ἐπαιτῶν.

 

Luke indicated that as Jesus approached or was getting near to Jericho (Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ ἐγγίζειν αὐτὸν εἰς Ἱερειχὼ), a certain blind man was sitting (τυφλός τις ἐκάθητο) by the roadside (παρὰ τὴν ὁδὸν), begging (ἐπαιτῶν).  Jericho was about 16 miles northeast of Jerusalem and about 8 miles north of the Dead Sea.  Jesus was getting closer to Jerusalem, but not quite there.  Both Mark, chapter 10:46, and Matthew, chapter 20:29, have something similar, but with some differences.  Luke has Jesus entering or approaching Jericho, not leaving it, as in Matthew and Mark, who said that Jesus had been in Jericho (Καὶ ἔρχονται εἰς Ἰερειχώ).  However, Jesus was leaving Jericho (Καὶ ἐκπορευομένου αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ Ἰερειχὼ) with his disciples (καὶ τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ) and a large crowd (καὶ ὄχλου ἱκανοῦ), when this incident occurred.  Mark is the only gospel writer that named this blind beggar Bartimaeus (Βαρτιμαῖος), the son of Timaeus, even with the name of his father (ὁ υἱὸς Τιμαίου).  This Bartimaeus was a blind beggar (τυφλὸς προσαίτης), sitting by the way or the roadside (ἐκάθητο παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν).  On the other hand, Luke only had an unnamed blind beggar, while Matthew had two unnamed blind beggars.  Matthew also had Jesus and his apostles or disciples leaving Jericho (Καὶ ἐκπορευομένων αὐτῶν ἀπὸ Ἱερειχὼ).  As usual a large crowd followed him (ἠκολούθησεν αὐτῷ ὄχλος πολύς).  All indications are that they were on the way to Jerusalem.  Have you ever seen a blind beggar?

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Get somebody in here (Lk 14:21-14:21)

“Thus,

The slave returned.

He reported this

To his master.

Then the owner

Of the house

Became angry.

He said

To his slave.

‘Go out at once

Into the streets

And into the lanes

Of the town!

Bring in

The poor,

The crippled,

The blind,

And the lame!’”

 

καὶ παραγενόμενος ὁ δοῦλος ἀπήγγειλεν τῷ κυρίῳ αὐτοῦ ταῦτα. τότε ὀργισθεὶς ὁ οἰκοδεσπότης εἶπεν τῷ δούλῳ αὐτοῦ Ἔξελθε ταχέως εἰς τὰς πλατείας καὶ ῥύμας τῆς πόλεως, καὶ τοὺς πτωχοὺς καὶ ἀναπήρους καὶ τυφλοὺς καὶ χωλοὺς εἰσάγαγε ὧδε.

 

Luke continued this parable.  Jesus said that this slave returned (καὶ παραγενόμενος ὁ δοῦλος).  Then he reported (ἀπήγγειλεν) to his master, the lord (τῷ κυρίῳ), all these things (ταῦτα).  The owner of the house (ὁ οἰκοδεσπότης) then became very angry (τότε ὀργισθεὶς).  He told his slave (εἶπεν τῷ δούλῳ αὐτοῦ) to go out at once (Ἔξελθε ταχέως) into the streets (εἰς τὰς πλατείας) and the lanes of the town (καὶ ῥύμας τῆς πόλεως,).  He was to bring in the poor (καὶ τοὺς πτωχοὺς), the crippled (καὶ ἀναπήρους), the blind (καὶ τυφλοὺς), and the lame (καὶ χωλοὺς) in there (ὧδε).  Once again, there are some differences with Matthew, chapter 22:8-9, who was less descriptive of those who were invited this time.  Jesus said that this king told his slaves (τότε λέγει τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ) that the wedding feast was ready (Ὁ μὲν γάμος ἕτοιμός ἐστιν).  Those originally invited were not worthy or deserving of his invitation (οἱ δὲ κεκλημένοι οὐκ ἦσαν ἄξιοι).  Therefore, they were to go into the main streets or the meeting places on the roads (πορεύεσθε οὖν ἐπὶ τὰς διεξόδους τῶν ὁδῶν).  Then they should invite everyone or as many as they could find to this wedding banquet (καὶ ὅσους ἐὰν εὕρητε καλέσατε εἰς τοὺς γάμους).  This king was intent on having this wedding dinner.  However, Luke extended the new invitations to the vulnerable in our society, the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame, a slightly different perspective.  Who would you invite to a dinner feast?

A spirit seized him (Lk 9:39-9:39)

“Suddenly,

A spirit seized

The boy.

All at once,

He cried out.

This evil spirit

Convulsed him

Until he was foaming.

It bruised him.

It would scarcely

Leave him.”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ πνεῦμα λαμβάνει αὐτόν, καὶ ἐξαίφνης κράζει καὶ σπαράσσει αὐτὸν μετὰ ἀφροῦ, καὶ μόλις ἀποχωρεῖ ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ συντρῖβον αὐτόν

 

Luke said that, a spirit seized this young boy (καὶ ἰδοὺ πνεῦμα λαμβάνει αὐτόν).  All at once (καὶ ἐξαίφνης), he shrieked or cried out (κράζει).  This evil spirit convulsed him (καὶ σπαράσσει αὐτὸν) until he was foaming (μετὰ ἀφροῦ,).  It bruised him (συντρῖβον αὐτόν), so that it would scarcely leave him alone (καὶ μόλις ἀποχωρεῖ ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ).  This story of the man with the incurable epileptic son can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 17:15, Mark, chapter 9:18, and here in Luke, but there are differences in all 3 accounts.  Apparently, this man’s son was an epileptic, possessed by the devil.  This description of the young man’s suffering in Mark and Luke differed from Matthew, who had the child suffer very badly, falling into fire and water.  However, Mark had even a more descriptive narrative of what was happening to this young man.  He said that whenever the spirit seized him, it dashed or threw him down.  This young boy would foam at the mouth.  He would grind or gnash his teeth.  He would become rigid as he was wasting or withering away.  This sounded worse than Luke.  Have you ever seen a person in an epileptic seizure?

The apostles kept silent (Lk 9:36-9:36)

“When the voice

Had spoken,

Jesus was found alone.

They kept silent.

In those days

They told no one

Any of the things

They had seen.”

 

καὶ ἐν τῷ γενέσθαι τὴν φωνὴν εὑρέθη Ἰησοῦς μόνος. καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐσίγησαν καὶ οὐδενὶ ἀπήγγειλαν ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις οὐδὲν ὧν ἑώρακαν.

 

Luke said that when the voice had spoken (καὶ ἐν τῷ γενέσθαι τὴν φωνὴν), Jesus was found alone (εὑρέθη Ἰησοῦς μόνος).  Peter, James, and John kept silent (καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐσίγησαν).  In those days (ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις), they told no one (καὶ οὐδενὶ ἀπήγγειλαν) about any of the things that they had seen (οὐδὲν ὧν ἑώρακαν).  The other two synoptics said that Jesus told them to be silent, but here they did so on their own.  This leaving of Moses and Elijah can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 17:8-9, Mark, chapter 9:8-9, and here in LukeMatthew was more elaborate than the others, but there are some differences in all 3 accounts.  Mark said that suddenly or unexpectedly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone, but only Jesus himself alone with them.  Once again, we are back at the messianic secret where Mark was closer to Matthew.  He said that Jesus and his 3 disciples came down from the mountain.  Jesus admonished them not to tell anyone about what they had seen until the Son of Man had been raised from the dead.  Matthew said that when the disciples heard this voice from the cloud, they fell face down to the ground.  They were greatly terrified.  However, Jesus came to them and touched them.  Then he told them to get up and not be afraid.  When they looked up, they saw no one, but only Jesus himself alone.  Where were Moses and Elijah?  Was this just a dream?  Matthew said that Jesus and his 3 disciples came down from the mountain.  Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone about this spectacular vision until the Son of Man had been raised from the dead.  They would be free to speak about this after the death and resurrection of Jesus, but not before that turning point among the followers of Jesus.  Have you ever had a secret for a limited time?

One of the risen prophets (Lk 9:19-9:19)

“The disciples answered.

‘John the Baptist!’

But others say.

‘Elijah!’

While others say.

‘One of the ancient prophets

Has risen!’”

 

οἱ δὲ ἀποκριθέντες εἶπαν Ἰωάνην τὸν Βαπτιστήν, ἄλλοι δὲ Ἡλείαν, ἄλλοι δὲ ὅτι προφήτης τις τῶν ἀρχαίων ἀνέστη.

 

Luke said that his disciples answered him by saying (οἱ δὲ ἀποκριθέντες εἶπαν) that people thought that he was John the Baptist (Ἰωάνην τὸν Βαπτιστήν), Elijah (ἄλλοι δὲ Ἡλείαν), or one of the ancient prophets (ἄλλοι δὲ ὅτι προφήτης τις τῶν ἀρχαίων) that has risen (ἀνέστη).  A similar response can be found in Matthew, chapter 16:14, and Mark, chapter 9:19, but there are differences.  Matthew is the only one who explicitly mentioned Jeremiah, while Mark and Luke had the more generic term of one of the prophets, rather than any individual prophet.  Mark said that the disciples responded to him that some people said he was John the Baptist, while others said Elijah.  This Elijah was a 9th century BCE northern Israel prophet whose work can be found in the Old Testament Books of 1 Kings, 2 Kings, and 1 Chronicles.  Finally, other people said that he was one of the many prophets.  No one called him the Messiah or Christ.  Matthew indicated that the disciples responded that some people said that John the Baptist was the Son of Man.  Others said that Elijah was the Son of Man.  Still others said that the Son of Man was Jeremiah, a Judean prophet active from 626 BCE to 587 BCE, around the time of the destruction of the Temple, .  The Book of Jeremiah was one of the 3 major prophetic books of Hebrew Scripture. Finally, other people said that one of the many other ancient prophets was the Son of Man.  Matthew and Mark did not mention that Jesus was the resurrected form of these people like Luke did.  Would you consider Jesus the Son of Man?

Eating with the Pharisees (Lk 7:36-7:36)

“One of the Pharisees

Asked Jesus

To eat

With him.

Jesus went

Into the Pharisee’s house.

He took his place

Reclining at the table.”

 

Ἠρώτα δέ τις αὐτὸν τῶν Φαρισαίων ἵνα φάγῃ μετ’ αὐτοῦ· καὶ εἰσελθὼν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ Φαρισαίου κατεκλίθη.

 

Luke uniquely said that one of the Pharisees asked Jesus (Ἠρώτα δέ τις αὐτὸν τῶν Φαρισαίων) to eat with him (ἵνα φάγῃ μετ’ αὐτοῦ).  Thus, Jesus went into the Pharisee’s house (καὶ εἰσελθὼν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ Φαρισαίου).  He took his place reclining at the table (κατεκλίθη).  According to Luke, this is the 1st of 3 times that Jesus ate with a Pharisee, with the others coming later in chapter 11:37 and 14:1.  In each case, the Pharisees were watching Jesus very closely.  However, he must have been on speaking terms with these Jewish leaders to get this invitation.  Thus, the hostility with the Pharisees did not seem to be personal but rather theological or philosophical over their interpretation of the divine role in Jewish life.  Do you have philosophical differences with any of your friends?

The disciples who fast (Lk 5:33-5:33)

“Then they said to Jesus.

‘John’s disciples,

Like the disciples

Of the Pharisees,

Frequently fast

And pray.

However,

Your disciples

Eat

And drink.’”

 

Οἱ δὲ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν Οἱ μαθηταὶ Ἰωάνου νηστεύουσιν πυκνὰ καὶ δεήσεις ποιοῦνται, ὁμοίως καὶ οἱ τῶν Φαρισαίων, οἱ δὲ σοὶ ἐσθίουσιν καὶ πίνουσιν.

 

Luke used the ambiguous “they” to lodge a complaint against the disciples of Jesus.  They said to Jesus (Οἱ δὲ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν) that John’s disciples (Οἱ μαθηταὶ Ἰωάνου) frequently fasted (νηστεύουσιν πυκνὰ) and often made prayers (καὶ δεήσεις ποιοῦνται).  Likewise, the disciples of the Pharisees also fasted and prayed (ὁμοίως καὶ οἱ τῶν Φαρισαίων).  However, the disciples of Jesus ate and drank (οἱ δὲ σοὶ ἐσθίουσιν καὶ πίνουσιν), since they did not fast.  Apparently, fasting was a unique Jewish practice in ancient times.  However, most religions of the world today have some kind of fasting or not eating certain foods or drinks for a specific amount of time.  Mark, chapter 2:18, and Matthew, chapter 9:14, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this incident, although there are some differences.  Mark had the disciples of John the Baptist acting together with the Pharisees, as they both agreed about fasting.  They wanted to know why the disciples of Jesus did not fast.  The disciples of John seemed to be on the side of the Pharisees, and not with the followers of Jesus.  Matthew had only the disciples of John the Baptist, without the Pharisees, show up wanting to know why the disciples of Jesus did not fast.  These disciples of John came to Jesus, since John was in jail.  They may have remained a separate group, since some people have traced followers of John the Baptist to the Mandaeans along the Iraq-Iran border.