The Levite passed by (Lk 10:32-10:32)

“Thus,

Likewise

A Levite,

When he came

To the place

Saw him.

He passed by

On the other side.”

 

ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ Λευείτης κατὰ τὸν τόπον ἐλθὼν καὶ ἰδὼν ἀντιπαρῆλθεν

 

Luke continued his unique story.  Jesus said that a Levite also (ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ Λευείτης) came to this same place (κατὰ τὸν τόπον ἐλθὼν) on the road.  He saw the wounded man (καὶ ἰδὼν).  Then he too crossed over to the other side of the road (ἀντιπαρῆλθεν), so as not to engage with this man.  The same questions can be asked of this Jewish Levite that were asked about the priest.  Was it because of ritual purity?  Was he in a hurry, so that he did not have time to stop?  Did he simply not care?  Was it too much of a bother?  Normally, the Levites do not come in for much criticism in the gospel narratives.  Levites were sons of Levi, and tied to ritualistic practice at the Temple.  For instance, the father of John the Baptist was Zechariah and his mother Elizabeth, both of them were descendants of Aaron.  Zechariah was a priest in the Jerusalem Temple, while Elizabeth was from a Levite family.  These Levites had Temple duties.  Thus, they were religious ritual leaders in the Jewish community.  Both the priest and the Levite represented the upper religious strata of the Jewish community.  Do you think that religious leaders should set an example by their lifestyle?

Advertisements

The gospel preaching of John (Lk 3:18-3:18)

“Thus,

With many other exhortations,

John proclaimed

The good news gospel

To the people.”

 

Πολλὰ μὲν οὖν καὶ ἕτερα παρακαλῶν εὐηγγελίζετο τὸν λαόν·

 

Only Luke has this explanation that John the Baptist with many other exhortations (Πολλὰ μὲν οὖν καὶ ἕτερα παρακαλῶν), other than those recounted here, proclaimed the good news to the people (εὐηγγελίζετο τὸν λαόν).  Was this the same good news or gospel (εὐηγγελίζετο) that Jesus would later preach?  Luke was the only one among the other gospel writers who linked John and Jesus as relatives in chapter 1:36.  John’s mother, Elizabeth, and Jesus’ mother, Mary, were relatives of some sort, thus making their children relatives or cousins also.  They could be compared in some ways to Aaron and Moses or the later Peter and Paul.  One was superior to the other, but the other played an indispensable role.  John the Baptist was a Jewish itinerant preacher in the early first century CE.  He used baptism, some kind of dipping in water, as the central symbol or sacrament of his messianic movement.  Thus, he became known as the one who baptizes, the Baptizer, John the Baptist.  This John certainly had a relationship with Jesus, but the exact relationship between John and Jesus is also problematic.  They may have originally been co-workers.  However, they separated as Jesus went along a different route.  However, the shadow of John the Baptist appeared again and again in the biblical stories about Jesus and his apostles.  Some believe that Jesus may have been an early follower or disciple of John, but the textual indications are that John saw himself as clearly subservient to Jesus.  Some of Jesus’ early followers had previously been followers of John, such as the apostle Andrew, the brother of Simon, in John, chapter 1:40, and in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 19:2-6.  There may have been also some contact between John the Baptist and the Qumran-Essene community, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.  John might have been associated with them or part of their community for a while.  Thus, John the Baptist has been revered as a prophet and a Christian saint throughout the centuries.

Simeon (Lk 2:25-2:25)

“Now there was a man

In Jerusalem,

Whose name

Was Simeon.

This man

Was righteous

And devout.

He was looking forward

To the consolation

Of Israel.

The Holy Spirit

Rested upon him.”

 

Καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπος ἦν ἐν Ἰερουσαλὴμ ᾧ ὄνομα Συμεών, καὶ ὁ ἄνθρωπος οὗτος δίκαιος καὶ εὐλαβής, προσδεχόμενος παράκλησιν τοῦ Ἰσραήλ, καὶ Πνεῦμα ἦν Ἅγιον ἐπ’ αὐτόν·

 

Next Luke brought a man named Simeon into this scene in the Jerusalem Temple.  We know nothing else about him, except what is written here in Luke.  Simeon (ᾧ ὄνομα Συμεών,) was a righteous (καὶ ὁ ἄνθρωπος οὗτος δίκαιος) and devout God-fearing man (καὶ εὐλαβής) living in Jerusalem (Καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπος ἦν ἐν Ἰερουσαλὴμ).  He was looking forward to the consolation of Israel (προσδεχόμενος παράκλησιν τοῦ Ἰσραήλ).  The Holy Spirit rested upon him (καὶ Πνεῦμα ἦν Ἅγιον ἐπ’ αὐτόν).  Once again, Luke emphasized that the Holy Spirit was on Simeon, just he had been on John, Mary, Elizabeth, and Zechariah, 5 people filled with the Holy Spirit.  The consolation that Simeon was expecting was the redemption of Israel or the messianic happening of the end times.

 

The holy child (Lk 2:23-2:23)

“As it is written

In the law

Of the Lord.

‘Every firstborn male

Shall be designated

As holy

To the Lord.”

 

καθὼς γέγραπται ἐν νόμῳ Κυρίου ὅτι Πᾶν ἄρσεν διανοῖγον μήτραν ἅγιον τῷ Κυρίῳ κληθήσεται,

 

Luke further elaborated about the written Law of the Lord (καθὼς γέγραπται ἐν νόμῳ Κυρίου).  In a paraphrase of Exodus, chapter 13:2, he said that every male born or opening the womb (ὅτι Πᾶν ἄρσεν διανοῖγον μήτραν) shall be designated or called holy to the Lord (ἅγιον τῷ Κυρίῳ κληθήσεται).  It no longer is the Law of Moses, but the Law of the Lord God.  Notice that Luke did not say first born, but just male.  This presentation of the male child is similar to Hannah presenting Samuel in 1 Samuel, chapter 1:24-27.  Hannah brought her young son Samuel to the Temple of Yahweh at Shiloh.  There they saw the prophet Eli.  Thus, she gave or lent Samuel to Yahweh and the prophet Eli.  Luke made sure to point out that Elizabeth, Zechariah, Joseph, and Mary were all very good law-abiding Jewish parents.

Mary goes too (Lk 2:5-2:5)

“Joseph went

To be registered

With Mary,

To whom

He was engaged.

She was expecting

A child.”

 

ἀπογράψασθαι σὺν Μαριὰμ τῇ ἐμνηστευμένῃ αὐτῷ, οὔσῃ ἐγκύῳ.

 

Luke explained that Joseph went to be registered with Mary (ἀπογράψασθαι σὺν Μαριὰμ).  He said that Joseph was engaged to be married, betrothed to Mary (τῇ ἐμνηστευμένῃ αὐτῷ), not yet married, but Mary was expecting or with child (οὔσῃ ἐγκύῳ), as his fiancée.  The divine circumstances of that pregnancy had been laid out in the preceding chapter.  Matthew pointed out in chapter 1 or his work that Joseph had been disturbed about this pregnancy.  It was about an 85-mile trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem.  This was the third time that Mary had made this trip from Nazareth to the Jerusalem area in the last six months, after going to visit Elizabeth in the Judean hill country outside Jerusalem, and then returning, as mentioned in the preceding chapter.  On top of that, her pregnancy was near its end.  Today, she would have been refused an air flight, so that this land trip of about a week would have been very dangerous for her and her child.

Zechariah is filled with the Holy Spirit (Lk 1:67-1:67)

“Then his father,

Zechariah,

Was filled with

The Holy Spirit.

He spoke

This prophesy.”

 

Καὶ Ζαχαρίας ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ ἐπλήσθη Πνεύματος Ἁγίου καὶ ἐπροφήτευσεν λέγων

 

Luke indicated that Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit, just like John, Mary, and Elizabeth, earlier in this chapter, in verses 15, 35, and 41.  This gift of the Holy Spirit was tied to prophecy just as in Joel, chapter 2:28, where there was an outpouring of the Spirit upon all humans, the young men, the sons, the young women, and the daughters.  These young people would prophesize, while the old men would dream dreams.  The young men would see visions.  Even the male and female slaves would receive this outpouring of the Spirit.  Luke has this outpouring of the Spirit when Peter talked in the Acts of the Apostles.  Here Luke said that John’s father (ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ), Zechariah (Καὶ Ζαχαρίας), was filled with the Holy Spirit (ἐπλήσθη Πνεύματος Ἁγίου).  Thus, Zechariah spoke this prophesy (καὶ ἐπροφήτευσεν λέγων).

 

Talking in the hill country (Lk 1:65-1:65)

“Fear came over

All their neighbors.

All these things

Were talked about

Throughout

The entire hill country

Of Judea.”

 

Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐπὶ πάντας φόβος τοὺς περιοικοῦντας αὐτούς, καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ὀρεινῇ τῆς Ἰουδαίας διελαλεῖτο πάντα τὰ ῥήματα ταῦτα,

 

Luke said that the gossip began.  All the neighbors of Zechariah and Elizabeth were afraid, as fear came over them (Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐπὶ πάντας φόβος τοὺς περιοικοῦντας αὐτούς).  They talked about or discussed all these things (διελαλεῖτο πάντα τὰ ῥήματα ταῦτα) throughout the entire the hill country of Judea (καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ὀρεινῇ τῆς Ἰουδαίας).  Something amazing had happened to this old couple of Zechariah and Elizabeth with their new born child, John.