Hard for rich people (Lk 18:24-18:24)

“Jesus looked

At this ruler.

He said.

‘How hard it is

For those

Who have wealth

To enter

The kingdom of God!’”

 

ἰδὼν δὲ αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν Πῶς δυσκόλως οἱ τὰ χρήματα ἔχοντες εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσπορεύονται·

 

Luke indicated that Jesus looked at this ruler (ἰδὼν δὲ αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  He said (εἶπεν) that how hard or difficult it was for those who have wealth (Πῶς δυσκόλως οἱ τὰ χρήματα ἔχοντες) to enter the kingdom of God (εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσπορεύονται).  This saying about the difficulty of rich people trying to get into the kingdom of God can be found in Mark, chapter 10:25, and Matthew, chapter 19:23, almost word for word.  Mark said that Jesus looked around (Καὶ περιβλεψάμενος ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  Then he said to his disciples (λέγει τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ) that it would be hard or difficult for a rich person, those having a lot of wealth (Πῶς δυσκόλως οἱ τὰ χρήματα ἔχοντες) to enter the kingdom of God (εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσελεύσονται).  In Matthew, Jesus told his disciples (Ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ) with a strong harsh solemn proclamation (Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  It would be hard or difficult for a wealthy rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven (ὅτι πλούσιος δυσκόλως εἰσελεύσεται εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν).  As usual, Matthew spoke about entrance into the kingdom of heaven, while Mark and Luke spoke about entrance into the kingdom of God.  Wealth would clearly be an obstacle to those who wanted to enter the heavenly divine kingdom.  Do you see wealth as an obstacle to entering the kingdom of God?

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Half will be taken away (Lk 17:34-17:34)

“I tell you!

On that night,

There will be two

In one bed.

One will be taken.

The other left.”

 

λέγω ὑμῖν, ταύτῃ τῇ νυκτὶ ἔσονται δύο ἐπὶ κλίνης μιᾶς, ὁ εἷς παραλημφθήσεται καὶ ὁ ἕτερος ἀφεθήσεται·

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said with a solemn pronouncement that he told them (λέγω ὑμῖν) on that night (ταύτῃ τῇ νυκτὶ), there would be two in one bed (ἔσονται δύο ἐπὶ κλίνης μιᾶς).  One would be taken (ὁ εἷς παραλημφθήσεται), but the other would be left (καὶ ὁ ἕτερος ἀφεθήσεται).  Only half the people would be taken during the end times, even from the same house.  It is difficult to discover what criteria would be used to determine one from the other.  Will it be completely random?

The narrow door (Lk 13:23-13:24)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Strive to enter

Through the narrow door!

I tell you!

Many will try

To enter

And will not be able.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς

Ἀγωνίζεσθε εἰσελθεῖν διὰ τῆς στενῆς θύρας, ὅτι πολλοί, λέγω ὑμῖν, ζητήσουσιν εἰσελθεῖν καὶ οὐκ ἰσχύσουσιν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to them (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς) that they were to strive (Ἀγωνίζεσθε) to enter (εἰσελθεῖν) through the narrow door (διὰ τῆς στενῆς θύρας).  With a solemn pronouncement (λέγω ὑμῖν), Jesus said that many people (ὅτι πολλοί) would try to enter (ζητήσουσιν εἰσελθεῖν), but not be able to do so (καὶ οὐκ ἰσχύσουσιν).  This saying of Jesus is somewhat similar to Matthew, chapter 7:13-14, where it was part of the Sermon on the Mount, not a response to a question.  Matthew had Jesus go into great detail about the narrow gate and not a door.  Jesus wanted them to enter the narrow gate (ἰσέλθατε διὰ τῆς στενῆς πύλης).  Matthew in his description of the wide or spacious gate (ὅτι πλατεῖα ἡ πύλη καὶ εὐρύχωρος) used two words for wide and spacious, “πλατεῖα” and “εὐρύχωρος,” that never appear elsewhere in the New Testament.  The easy way of the wide gate led to destruction (ἡ ὁδὸς ἡ ἀπάγουσα εἰς τὴν ἀπώλειαν).  Many people were entering through this wide destructive easy gate (καὶ πολλοί εἰσιν οἱ εἰσερχόμενοι δι’ αὐτῆς).  On the other hand, the narrow gate (ὅτι στενὴ ἡ πύλη) had a difficult way, leading to life (καὶ τεθλιμμένη ἡ ὁδὸς ἡ ἀπάγουσα εἰς τὴν ζωήν).  Only a few people were able to find their way through this difficult hard narrow life filled gate (καὶ ὀλίγοι εἰσὶν οἱ εὑρίσκοντες αὐτήν).  This idea of two ways can be found also in Deuteronomy, chapter 30:15-20, and among other religions with the way of death and the way of life.  The early Christian teachings of the Didache used this concept, as did many other dualistic religions that pointed to the choice of life or death, good or bad.  As you had basic choices in life, God was giving you this choice, life and prosperity with the narrow gate or death and adversity with the wide gate.  You had a choice between two gates.  The choice of path was yours.  Do you prefer the wide or the narrow door?

Settle your case (Lk 12:58-12:58)

“Thus,

When you go

Before a magistrate,

With your accuser,

On the way there,

Make an effort

To settle the case.

Otherwise,

You may be dragged

Before the judge.

The judge

Might hand you over

To the officer.

The officer might

Throw you in prison.”

 

ὡς γὰρ ὑπάγεις μετὰ τοῦ ἀντιδίκου σου ἐπ’ ἄρχοντα, ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ δὸς ἐργασίαν ἀπηλλάχθαι ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ, μή ποτε κατασύρῃ σε πρὸς τὸν κριτήν, καὶ ὁ κριτής σε παραδώσει τῷ πράκτορι, καὶ ὁ πράκτωρ σε βαλεῖ εἰς φυλακήν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that if they were to go (ὡς γὰρ ὑπάγεις) before a magistrate (π’ ἄρχοντα), with their accuser or advisory (μετὰ τοῦ ἀντιδίκου σου), they should make an effort to settle the case (δὸς ἐργασίαν ἀπηλλάχθαι ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ) on the way there (ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ).  Otherwise, they may be dragged before the judge (μή ποτε κατασύρῃ σε πρὸς τὸν κριτήν).  Then the judge might hand them over to the officer (καὶ ὁ κριτής σε παραδώσει τῷ πράκτορι), who might throw them in prison (καὶ ὁ πράκτωρ σε βαλεῖ εἰς φυλακήν).  Matthew, chapter 5:25, had some similar common-sense advice that seems to come from the common Q source.  Jesus said that if they had a court case, try to settle it quickly before they got to court with the person that they owed money to.  They should be agreeable to their accuser (ἴσθι εὐνοῶν τῷ ἀντιδίκῳ σου).  They should try to solve this case with their accuser on the way to court (ἕως ὅτου εἶ μετ’ αὐτοῦ ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ).  Otherwise, this accuser would turn them over to a judge (μή ποτέ σε παραδῷ ὁ ἀντίδικος τῷ κριτῇ), who would in turn send them to a guard (καὶ ὁ κριτὴς τῷ ὑπηρέτῃ), who would throw them into jail or a prison (καὶ εἰς φυλακὴν βληθήσῃ).  Try to settle your cases out of court, because you could lose in court.  Have you ever had a court case that was difficult?

The widow’s dead son (Lk 7:12-7:12)

“As Jesus approached

The gate of the town,

He saw

A dead man

Being carried out.

He was his mother’s

Only son.

She was also a widow.

A large crowd

From the town

Was with her.”

 

ὡς δὲ ἤγγισεν τῇ πύλῃ τῆς πόλεως, καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐξεκομίζετο τεθνηκὼς μονογενὴς υἱὸς τῇ μητρὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ αὐτὴ ἦν χήρα, καὶ ὄχλος τῆς πόλεως ἱκανὸς ἦν σὺν αὐτῇ.

 

Luke has this unique story about the widow at Nain, since he had a soft spot for widows.  Luke said that as Jesus approached (ὡς δὲ ἤγγισεν) the gate of the town of Nain (ῇ πύλῃ τῆς πόλεως), he saw a dead man being carried out (καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐξεκομίζετο τεθνηκὼς).  He was his mother’s only son (μονογενὴς υἱὸς τῇ μητρὶ αὐτοῦ).  She was also a widow (καὶ αὐτὴ ἦν χήρα).  There was a large crowd of mourners from the town with her (καὶ ὄχλος τῆς πόλεως ἱκανὸς ἦν σὺν αὐτῇ).  They would bury people in cemeteries outside the town gates.  Thus, Jesus and his entourage saw this take place outside the town.  There were many people with his poor widow, mourning his death, as they prepared to bury him.  They must have learned somehow that she was a widow burying her only son.  Is losing an only child that difficult?  Or is losing a husband more difficult?

Lending money (Lk 6:34-6:34)

“If you lend

To those from whom

You hope

To receive,

What credit is that

To you?

Even sinners

Lend to sinners,

To receive

As much again.”

 

καὶ ἐὰν δανίσητε παρ’ ὧν ἐλπίζετε λαβεῖν, ποία ὑμῖν χάρις ἐστίν; καὶ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἁμαρτωλοῖς δανίζουσιν ἵνα ἀπολάβωσιν τὰ ἴσα.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus continued that if they lent money (καὶ ἐὰν δανίσητε παρ’) to those from whom they hoped to receive it back (παρ’ ὧν ἐλπίζετε λαβεῖν), what credit or gift was that to them (ποία ὑμῖν χάρις ἐστίν).  Even sinners lend to sinners (καὶ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἁμαρτωλοῖς δανίζουσιν), to receive as much back again (ἵνα ἀπολάβωσιν τὰ ἴσα).  Matthew, chapter 5:42, had something similar about lending money.  If someone wished to borrow money from them, they should not refuse them or turn them away.  These were tough difficult recommendations, but actually based on the Torah.  People were expected to give charity and at the same time offer interest free loans.  How generous are you with your money?

Do not ask for your goods back! (Lk 6:30-6:30)

“If anyone

Takes away

Your goods,

Do not ask

For them again.”

 

καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ αἴροντος τὰ σὰ μὴ ἀπαίτει.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that if anyone was taking away their goods (καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ αἴροντος τὰ σὰ), they were not to ask for them back again (μὴ ἀπαίτει).  Matthew, chapter 5:42, was somewhat similar when he indicated that Jesus said that if someone wished to borrow money from you, you should not refuse them or turn them away (καὶ τὸν θέλοντα ἀπὸ σοῦ δανίσασθαι μὴ ἀποστραφῇς).  These were tough difficult recommendations, but actually based on the Torah.  Would you be so tolerant?