The grandfather of Jesus (Lk 3:23-3:23)

“Jesus was the son,

As was thought,

Of Joseph,

The son of Heli.”

 

ὢν υἱός, ὡς ἐνομίζετο, Ἰωσὴφ, τοῦ Ἡλεὶ

 

Luke said that Jesus was the son (ὢν υἱός), as was thought or supposed (ὡς ἐνομίζετο), of Joseph (Ἰωσὴφ,), the son of Heli (τοῦ Ἡλεὶ).  Right off the bat, there is a problem with the differences between the genealogies of Matthew and Luke.  The end of the genealogy of Matthew, chapter 1:16, is Joseph (Ἰωσὴφ) with his father Jacob (Ἰακὼβ).  Perhaps the names of Jacob and Joseph were an attempt to connect Jesus with the great Joseph, the son of Jacob, who brought the sons of Jacob to Egypt.  However, compared to the text here in Luke, there is a difference with the father of Joseph, the grandfather of Jesus.  Luke called him “the son of Heli,” not “the son of Jacob.”  Luke said that Joseph was the so-called father of Jesus.  Thus, it might seem simple enough to compare this genealogy of Jesus with the one in Matthew, chapter 1:1-1:17.  Both the gospels of Matthew and Luke listed the family tree of Jesus.  These genealogies were theological statements with different parent genealogies and different audiences.  Matthew, went from Abraham to Jesus, so that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Jewish messianic expectations.  The theme of David was important, since Joseph was called the son of David.  Matthew explained that there were 3 sections of 14 generations.  One section went from the call of Abraham to the accession of David as king.  The second grouping went from David to the Babylonian exile.  The final section went from the Exile to the coming of the Messiah.  The Gospel of Luke genealogy, on the hand, goes from Jesus to Adam to God.  Luke’s view was more universal.  Jesus could trace his roots back to God.  Luke, who had the best Greek, was apparently writing for the gentiles of the Pauline Churches.  The Son of God was a more meaningful term.  Luke spoke of the Son of Adam, the second Adam, a theme that Paul also used.  Jesus had both divine and human origins.  This was not difficult for Greeks, since their gods were always having relations with humans in their mythical stories.  Thus, there are two different genealogies for Joseph, with only one common person, David.  This left Jesus with 2 paternal grandfathers, Jacob and Heli.  Matthew listed 52 people, but Luke has 77 ancestors because he went further back in time.  It is what it is.

Jesus matured (Lk 2:52-2:52)

“Jesus increased

In wisdom

And maturity.

He increased

In grace

Before God

And men.”

 

Καὶ Ἰησοῦς προέκοπτεν ἐν τῇ σοφίᾳ καὶ ἡλικίᾳ καὶ χάριτι παρὰ Θεῷ καὶ ἀνθρώποις.

 

Luke said that Jesus increased or progressed (Καὶ Ἰησοῦς προέκοπτεν) in wisdom (ἐν τῇ σοφίᾳ) and maturity (καὶ ἡλικίᾳ).  He also increased in grace or favor before God and men (καὶ χάριτι παρὰ Θεῷ καὶ ἀνθρώποις).  In other words, Jesus matured as a human person, just as he done earlier in verse 40, and John had done in chapter 1:80.  This also had happened to the prophet Samuel in 1 Samuel, chapter 2:26.  Matthew, in his infancy story, chapters 1-2, never mentioned any growth or increase on the part of the infant child.  Jesus truly was divine and human at the same time.  In both his divine and human nature, Jesus grew or matured.

Jesus is transfigured before the three apostles (Mt 17:2-17:2)

“Jesus was transfigured

Before them.

His face shone

Like the sun.

His clothes

Became dazzling white.”

 

καὶ μετεμορφώθη ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν, καὶ ἔλαμψεν τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ὡς ὁ ἥλιος, τὰ δὲ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο λευκὰ ὡς τὸ φῶς.

 

This transfiguration can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 9:2-3, Luke, chapter 9:29, and here in Matthew, but there are minor differences in all 3 accounts.  Jesus was transfigured in front of the 3 apostles (καὶ μετεμορφώθη ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν).  There was a metamorphism, as the appearance of Jesus changed right before their very eyes.  His face was shining like the sun (καὶ ἔλαμψεν τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ὡς ὁ ἥλιος,), just like what happened to Moses, in Exodus, chapter 34:35.  There the face of Moses was so bright that he had to put a veil on after talking to Yahweh, before he could talk to Aaron, his brother.  Jesus’ clothes or garments became a dazzling white, like a bright light or white snow (τὰ δὲ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο λευκὰ ὡς τὸ φῶς).  Suddenly, the human Jesus seemed more brightly divine.  White and light were good, while black and darkness were bad.

Jesus is recognized as the Son of God (Mt 14:32-14:33)

When they got

Into the boat,

The wind ceased.

Those in the boat

Worshiped Jesus.

They said.

‘Truly,

You are

The Son of God.’”

 

καὶ ἀναβάντων αὐτῶν εἰς τὸ πλοῖον ἐκόπασεν ὁ ἄνεμος.

οἱ δὲ ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ προσεκύνησαν αὐτῷ λέγοντες Ἀληθῶς Θεοῦ Υἱὸς εἶ.

 

While both Mark, chapter 6:51, and John, chapter 6:21, have Jesus enter the boat, only Matthew has this revelation about Jesus as the Son of God, no longer just the Son of Man.  When Jesus and Peter got into the boat (καὶ ἀναβάντων αὐτῶν εἰς τὸ πλοῖον), the wind stopped or abated (ἐκόπασεν ὁ ἄνεμος).  Those in the boat worshiped Jesus (οἱ δὲ ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ προσεκύνησαν αὐτῷ).  They said he truly was the Son of God (λέγοντες Ἀληθῶς Θεοῦ Υἱὸς εἶ), no questions asked.  This was a clear proclamation by his followers that Jesus was divine, the Son of God.  Apparently, the multiplication of the bread and fishes plus the walking on water had finally convinced them that Jesus was more than a mere mortal.

 

Different genealogies

Both the gospels of Matthew and Luke listed the family tree of Jesus. However, only David and Joseph were on both lists. These genealogies were theological statements with different parent genealogies and different audiences. Matthew, as just shown, went from Abraham to Jesus, so that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Jewish messianic expectations. The theme of David was important, since Joseph was called the son of David. Matthew explained that there were 3 sections of 14 generations. One section went from the call of Abraham to the accession of David as king. The second grouping went from David to the Babylonian exile. The final section went from the Exile to the coming of the Messiah. Matthew also has the Magi story, where Herod’s appearance has echoes of the Old Testament with various references to Old Testament prophecies. The Gospel of Luke genealogy, on the hand, went from Jesus to Adam to God. Luke’s view was more universal. Jesus could trace his roots back to God. Luke, who had the best Greek, was writing for the gentiles of the Pauline Churches. The Son of God was a more meaningful term. Luke spoke of the Son of Adam, the second Adam, a theme that Paul also used. Jesus had both divine and human origins. This was not difficult for Greeks, since their gods were always having relations with humans in their mythical stories. Thus, there are two different genealogies for Joseph, with only one common person, David.

Christian Shared Experiences

A believing community has a creed, a code, and a ceremony that they share.  Roman Catholics respect their teachers, who are presumed to be telling the truth, so that there is docility to Church teaching, admitting the ability to be taught.  There are central beliefs which all Catholics must give the fullest level of assent, the defined dogma, such as the Trinity, One God with three persons, and belief in Jesus Christ, two natures both divine and human.  Jesus was a real person who died and rose from the dead.  The magisterium comes in the form of papal documents and ecumenical worldwide councils.

Pantheism

Pantheism is close to polytheism, but goes one step further.  Pantheists proclaim that the transcendent God is imminent in everything.  Everything is divine, since there is no separation between all reality and God.  God is everywhere and in everything.  This is a long way from the monotheism mentioned earlier.

Enforce the edict against Daniel (Dan 6:11-6:13)

“The conspirators came.

They found Daniel praying,

Seeking mercy

Before his God.

Then they approached the king.

They said

Concerning the interdict.

‘O king!

Did you not sign

An interdict,

That anyone

Who prays to anyone,

Divine or human,

Within thirty days,

Except to you,

O king!

Shall be thrown

Into a den of lions?’

The king answered.

‘The thing stands fast,

According to the law

Of the Medes,

Of the Persians,

That cannot be revoked.’

Then they responded

To the king.

‘Daniel,

One of the exiles

From Judah,

Pays no attention

To you!

O king!

Or the interdict

You have signed.

But he is saying his prayers

Three times a day.’”

These conspirators, once they had the decree signed, found Daniel praying and seeking mercy from his God. They went to the king to remind him that he had signed this interdiction about no one being allowed to pray to any human or divine person for 30 days, except to the king. The punishment was to be thrown into a den of lions. The king said that he understood that this was the law according to the Medes and the Persians. Then they said that Daniel, one of the Judean exiles, was not paying attention to him and his decree, since he was praying 3 times a day to his God in his house.

How a carpenter makes false idols (Wis 13:11-13:16)

“A skilled woodcutter

May saw down a tree

That is easy to handle.

He skillfully strips off all its bark.

Then with pleasing workmanship

He makes a useful vessel

That serves life’s needs.

He burns the castoff pieces of his work.

Thus he prepares his food.

He eats his fill.

But he takes a castoff piece

From among them,

That is useful for nothing,

A crooked stick,

Full of knots.

He carves with care in his leisure.

He shapes it with skill gained in idleness.

He forms it in the likeness of a human being.

He makes it like some worthless animal.

He gives it a coat of red paint.

He colors its surface red.

He covers every blemish in it with paint.

Then he makes a suitable niche for it.

He sets it in the wall.

He fastens it there with iron.

He takes thought for it.

Thus it may not fall.

Because he knows

That it cannot help itself.

It is only an image.

It has need of help.”

This is a satirical description of how these false images were made by a skilled woodcutter or carpenter. Obviously this carpenter makes some useful vessels for eating and other purposes. He takes a tree and strips the bark. He then burns the left over wood for cooking. However, he may take some of this useless crooked knotted wood and carve some images in his spare time. He will probably make an image of a human (εἰκόνι ἀνθρώπου) or an animal. Then he will paint it red to cover all the blemishes. After that, he will fasten it with iron on a wall niche in an area so that it will not fall off. He knows that his carved image needs help to sit on a wall. Clearly there is nothing divine about this process or the resulting useless image (εἰκὼν).

The visitation (Wis 3:7-3:9)

“In the time of their visitation

They will shine forth.

They will run

Like sparks through the stubble.

They will govern nations.

They will rule over peoples.

The Lord will reign over them forever.

Those who trust in him

Will understand truth.

The faithful will abide

With him in love.

Because grace is upon his elect.

Mercy is upon his elect.

He watches over his elect.”

In some future time, there will be some kind of divine visitation (ἐν καιρῷ ἐπισκοπῆς αὐτῶν). At that time they will shine forth (ἀναλάμψουσι). They will run like fire sparks on dry stubble. They will govern nations and peoples (ἔθνη καὶ λαῶν). The Lord will have his kingdom reign forever (βασιλεύσει αὐτῶν Κύριος εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας). Those who trust him will understand. The faithful believing ones will remain in love with him (οἱ πιστοὶ ἐν ἀγάπῃ). The Lord gives grace and mercy (χάρις καὶ ἔλεος), as he watches over his elect (τοῖς ἐκλεκτοῖς αὐτοῦ).