Persecution (Lk 21:12-21:12)

“But before all this occurs,

They will arrest you.

They will persecute you.

They will hand you over

To synagogues

And prisons.

You will be brought

Before kings

And governors

Because of my name.”

 

πρὸ δὲ τούτων πάντων ἐπιβαλοῦσιν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῶν καὶ διώξουσιν, παραδιδόντες εἰς τὰς συναγωγὰς καὶ φυλακάς, ἀπαγομένους ἐπὶ βασιλεῖς καὶ ἡγεμόνας ἕνεκεν τοῦ ὀνόματός μου

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that before all this occurred (πρὸ δὲ τούτων πάντων), they would arrest or lay hands on his disciples (ἐπιβαλοῦσιν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῶν).  They would persecute them (καὶ διώξουσιν) and hand them over (παραδιδόντες) to the synagogues (εἰς τὰς συναγωγὰς) and prisons (καὶ φυλακάς).  They would be brought before kings (ἀπαγομένους ἐπὶ βασιλεῖς) and governors (καὶ ἡγεμόνας) because of the name of Jesus (ἕνεκεν τοῦ ὀνόματός μου).  There was something similar in Mark, chapter 13:9, and Matthew, chapter 24:9.  Jesus said that his followers were going to be persecuted.  Mark indicated that Jesus warned them that they should be self-aware (Βλέπετε δὲ ὑμεῖς ἑαυτούς).  They would be handed over (παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς) to courts, councils, or synods (εἰς συνέδρια) and synagogues (καὶ εἰς συναγωγὰς), since some of the Jewish Christians were still part of Jewish social, political, and religious life.  They would also be beaten (δαρήσεσθε).  On the other hand, they would also have to stand before governors and kings (καὶ ἐπὶ ἡγεμόνων καὶ βασιλέων σταθήσεσθε) to give testimony as a witness to them about Jesus (ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ, εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς).  This idea of the persecution of the Jesus followers was not a new theme for Matthew, because it was mentioned earlier in chapter 10:16-25, where Jesus was more reassuring, and chapter 16:24, where Jesus spoke about bearing the cross of death.  Jesus said that his followers were going to be persecuted, distressed, or afflicted (τότε παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς θλῖψιν), even though there was no mention of this taking place in the synagogues in Matthew.  No doubt about it, they were going to be handed over to be tortured and put to death (καὶ ἀποκτενοῦσιν ὑμᾶς).  They would be hated and detested (καὶ ἔσεσθε μισούμενοι) by all the gentile nations (ὑπὸ πάντων τῶν ἐθνῶν) because of his name (διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου).  This was tough talk because it was not going to be easy to be a disciple of Jesus after he was gone.  In the Acts of the Apostles, there are many instances of the early Christians being persecuted in prisons and being brought before various magistrates.  Do you think it would be difficult to be persecuted because you were a Christian?

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Your eye (Lk 11:34-11:34)

“Your eye

Is the lamp

Of your body.

If your eye

Is sound,

Your whole body

Is full of light.

But if it is evil,

Your body

Is full of darkness.”

 

ὁ λύχνος τοῦ σώματός ἐστιν ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου. ὅταν ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου ἁπλοῦς ᾖ, καὶ ὅλον τὸ σῶμά σου φωτεινόν ἐστιν· ἐπὰν δὲ πονηρὸς ᾖ, καὶ τὸ σῶμά σου σκοτεινόν

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that their eye (ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου) was the lamp of their body (ὁ λύχνος τοῦ σώματός ἐστιν).  If their eye was clear, sound, or healthy (ὅταν ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου ἁπλοῦς ᾖ), their whole body would be full of light (καὶ ὅλον τὸ σῶμά σου φωτεινόν ἐστιν).  But if it was evil (ἐπὰν δὲ πονηρὸς ᾖ), their body was then full of darkness (καὶ τὸ σῶμά σου σκοτεινόν).  This saying of Jesus is similar to what was in Matthew, chapter 6:22-23, so that it may be from the Q source.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that the eye was the lamp of the body (Ὁ λύχνος τοῦ σώματός ἐστιν ὁ ὀφθαλμός).  If there was a healthy clear sound eye (ἐὰν οὖν ᾖ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου ἁπλοῦς), then you would have a whole body full of light (ὅλον τὸ σῶμά σου φωτεινὸν ἔσται).  This is the only time that the word “ἁπλοῦς” is used in the New Testament literature.  Both Luke and Matthew used it here, since it means simple, sound, clear, or perfect.  If, on the other hand, your eye was not healthy or evil (ἐὰν δὲ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου πονηρὸς ᾖ), your whole body would be full of darkness (ὅλον τὸ σῶμά σου σκοτεινὸν ἔσται).  Notice that Matthew and Luke did not use the opposite of clear, but chose the more common word for evil, “πονηρὸς.”  Thus, you had an evil eye.  On the other hand, both Luke and Matthew used a word that appears only here, “σκοτεινὸν,” to talk about a full total darkness.  If the light that is in you is dark (εἰ οὖν τὸ φῶς τὸ ἐν σοὶ σκότος ἐστίν), that is a really great darkness (τὸ σκότος πόσον).  Light and darkness was a common theme among the early Christians.  Light was good, but darkness was evil.  The connection of light to the eye was natural, since the sense of blindness and darkness centered around the eyes.  The good-eyed person, like the good-hearted person, was compassionate, while the evil-eyed person, like a hard-hearted person, was selfish and miserly.  Do you have good eyes or evil eyes?

The Son of Man (Lk 11:30-11:30)

“Just as Jonah

Became a sign

To the people

Of Nineveh,

So,

The Son of Man

Will be a sign

To this generation.”

 

καθὼς γὰρ ἐγένετο Ἰωνᾶς τοῖς Νινευείταις σημεῖον, οὕτως ἔσται καὶ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh (καθὼς γὰρ ἐγένετο Ἰωνᾶς τοῖς Νινευείταις σημεῖον), so, too, the Son of Man will be a sign to this generation (οὕτως ἔσται καὶ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ).  This saying about the sign of Jonah can also be found in Matthew, chapter 12:39-40.  Perhaps this was a Q source, going back to Hebrew scripture roots.  Jesus used this story of the prophet Jonah, chapter 1:17, where he was in the belly of the whale or the sea monster for 3 days and 3 nights.  The obvious comparison between the 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of the fish and Jesus in the tomb was not lost on the early Christians.  Matthew was even more specific than Luke.  He indicated that Jesus said that the only sign they were going to get was the sign of the prophet Jonah, who had been in the belly of the sea monster or whale that swallowed him for 3 days and 3 nights.  Thus, the Son of Man would be 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth.  This was a clear allusion to the death of Jesus in the tomb for 3 days and 3 nights before his resurrection.  Luke was not as clear or specific.  What do you know about Jonah and the whale?

Even sinners do some good (Lk 6:33-6:33)

“If you do good

To those who do good

To you,

What credit is that

To you?

Even sinners

Do the same.”

 

καὶ γὰρ ἐὰν ἀγαθοποιῆτε τοὺς ἀγαθοποιοῦντας ὑμᾶς, ποία ὑμῖν χάρις ἐστίν; καὶ οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ τὸ αὐτὸ ποιοῦσιν.

 

Luke had Jesus continue in the same vain.  If they did good (καὶ γὰρ ἐὰν ἀγαθοποιῆτε) to those who did good to them (τοὺς ἀγαθοποιοῦντας ὑμᾶς), what credit or gift was that to them (ποία ὑμῖν χάρις ἐστίν)?  Even sinners did the same (καὶ οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ τὸ αὐτὸ ποιοῦσιν).  Matthew, chapter 5:44, has something similar to this, but Matthew was more forceful there.  Matthew indicated that Jesus told them to do good to those who were spitefully accusing them, hating them, and persecuting them.  These early Christians were asked to be generous to their enemies and persecutors.  Maybe later Christians might learn a little bit from the early followers of Jesus.

Pray for those who abuse you! (Lk 6:28-6:28)

“Pray for those

Who abuse you!”

 

προσεύχεσθε περὶ τῶν ἐπηρεαζόντων ὑμᾶς

 

Luke indicated that Jesus asked his followers to pray (προσεύχεσθε) for those who were abusing or mistreating them (περὶ τῶν ἐπηρεαζόντων ὑμᾶς), using the second person plural.  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 5:44, where a Byzantine text added that these followers of Jesus were asked to pray for those who were abusing them (καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐπηρεαζόντων ὑμᾶς), just like here.  These early Christians were asked to pray for people who were taking advantage of them.

Love your enemies! (Lk 6:27-6:27)

“But I say to you!

Listen!

Love your enemies!

Do good

To those

Who hate you!”

 

Ἀλλὰ ὑμῖν λέγω τοῖς ἀκούουσιν Ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν, καλῶς ποιεῖτε τοῖς μισοῦσιν ὑμᾶς,

 

Luke then indicated that Jesus issued a solemn pronouncement (Ἀλλὰ ὑμῖν λέγω τοῖς) that they should listen (ἀκούουσιν).  He clearly unambiguously said to love your enemies (Ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν) and do good to those who hate you (καλῶς ποιεῖτε τοῖς μισοῦσιν ὑμᾶς).  This was a very strong statement that can be also found in Matthew, chapter 5:44, so that it might be from the Q source.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that they were to love their enemies (ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν), word for word as here in Luke.  Jesus added that they should even pray for those who were persecuting them (καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν διωκόντων ὑμᾶς).  Perhaps, many of the followers of Jesus at that time were actually being persecuted.  They were to do good to those who were spitefully accusing them, hating them, and persecuting them (καλῶς ποιεῖτε τοῖς μισοῦσιν ὑμᾶς, καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐπηρεαζόντων ὑμᾶς, καὶ διωκόντων ὑμᾶς).  These early Christians were asked to be generous to their enemies and persecutors, as both Matthew and Luke indicated here.  This was a radical statement of love that went beyond loving your neighbor.  Love your enemy.  Do good to him.