Great earthquakes (Lk 21:11-21:11)

“There will be

Great earthquakes.

There will be

Famines

And plagues

In various places.

There will be

Terrors

And great signs

From heaven.”

 

σεισμοί τε μεγάλοι καὶ κατὰ τόπους λοιμοὶ καὶ λιμοὶ ἔσονται, φόβητρά τε καὶ ἀπ’ οὐρανοῦ σημεῖα μεγάλα ἔσται.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that there would be great earthquakes (σεισμοί τε μεγάλοι).  There would also be famines (καὶ λιμοὶ ἔσονται) and plagues (λοιμοὶ) in various places (καὶ κατὰ τόπους).  There also would be terrors (φόβητρά τε) and great signs from heaven (καὶ ἀπ’ οὐρανοῦ σημεῖα μεγάλα ἔσται).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use the term φόβητρά, that means a cause of terror, a terrible sight, or an object of fear.  There is something similar in Mark, chapter 13:8, and in Matthew, chapter 24:8, almost word for word at times.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that there would be earthquakes in various places (ἔσονται σεισμοὶ κατὰ τόπους) and famines (ἔσονται λιμοί).  All of this was the mere beginning of the end (ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων ταῦτα).  Matthew indicated that Jesus said there would be famines (καὶ ἔσονται λιμοὶ) and earthquakes in various places (καὶ σεισμοὶ κατὰ τόπους).  All of this was like birth-pangs (πάντα δὲ ταῦτα ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων).  These comments and the idea of birth pains were in the Hebrew prophetic tradition of the apocalyptic literature, the Day of Yahweh, the judgment day.  Jesus was speaking like many of the ancient Israelite prophets who warned about the coming of the divine judgment at the end of days, the end times.  However, Luke did not emphasize the beginning of the end here.  What do you think that the end of the world will be like?

Pray (Lk 18:1-18:1)

“Then Jesus told them

A parable

About the need

To pray always.

Do not grow weary!”

 

Ἔλεγεν δὲ παραβολὴν αὐτοῖς πρὸς τὸ δεῖν πάντοτε προσεύχεσθαι αὐτοὺς καὶ μὴ ἐνκακεῖν,

 

Luke is the only synoptic writer with this parable about the widow and the judge to emphasize the importance of prayer.  Right from the beginning, he had Jesus tell them the purpose of the parable, rather than a secret that they would have to figure out.  Then Jesus told them a parable (Ἔλεγεν δὲ παραβολὴν αὐτοῖς) about the need or duty to always pray (πρὸς τὸ δεῖν πάντοτε προσεύχεσθαι αὐτοὺς).  They were not to lose heart or grow weary (καὶ μὴ ἐνκακεῖν).  Do you remember to always pray?

The mustard seed (Lk 17:6-17:6)

“The Lord replied.

‘If you had faith

The size of

A mustard seed,

You could say

To this mulberry tree,

‘Be rooted up!

Be planted

In the sea!’’

It would obey you.’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ ὁ Κύριος Εἰ ἔχετε πίστιν ὡς κόκκον σινάπεως, ἐλέγετε ἂν τῇ συκαμίνῳ ταύτῃ Ἐκριζώθητι καὶ φυτεύθητι ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ· καὶ ὑπήκουσεν ἂν ὑμῖν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus, the Lord, replied (εἶπεν δὲ ὁ Κύριος) that if they had faith (Εἰ ἔχετε πίστιν) the size of a mustard seed (ὡς κόκκον σινάπεως), they could say (ἐλέγετε) to this mulberry or sycamore tree (ἂν τῇ συκαμίνῳ ταύτῃ), be rooted up (Ἐκριζώθητι) and planted in the sea (καὶ φυτεύθητι ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ).  Luke is the only biblical writer to use the Greek term συκαμίνῳ that means a black mulberry tree or a sycamore tree that had medicinal value.  Then this tree would obey them (καὶ ὑπήκουσεν ἂν ὑμῖν).  There are expanded faith sayings that can also be found in Mark, chapter 9:28-29, and Matthew, chapter 17:19-21, who are much closer to each other.  Matthew indicated that the disciples came to Jesus privately (Τότε προσελθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ τῷ Ἰησοῦ).  They wondered why they were not able to cast out the evil spirits from that boy (κατ’ ἰδίαν εἶπον Διὰ τί ἡμεῖς οὐκ ἠδυνήθημεν ἐκβαλεῖν αὐτό).  Jesus reminded them (ὁ δὲ λέγει αὐτοῖς) of their little faith (Διὰ τὴν ὀλιγοπιστίαν ὑμῶν), a term used predominately by Matthew.  Jesus came back with a solemn pronouncement (ἀμὴν γὰρ λέγω ὑμῖν) that if they had faith the size of a mustard seed (ἐὰν ἔχητε πίστιν ὡς κόκκον σινάπεως), like here in Luke, they could move mountains from here to there (ἐρεῖτε τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ Μετάβα ἔνθεν ἐκεῖ, καὶ μεταβήσεται).  Nothing would be impossible for them (καὶ οὐδὲν ἀδυνατήσει ὑμῖν).  If they had faith with prayer and fasting (εἰ μὴ ἐν προσευχῇ καὶ νηστείᾳ), they would be able to cast the evil spirits out (τοῦτο δὲ τὸ γένος οὐκ ἐκπορεύεται).  Matthew continued to emphasize the lack of faith or the little faith of the disciples of Jesus.  Mark said that the disciples wondered why they were not able to cast out the evil spirit from that boy (Ὅτι ἡμεῖς οὐκ ἠδυνήθημεν ἐκβαλεῖν αὐτό).  The disciples were concerned that they must have lacked something that made it impossible for them to get rid of this evil spirit that was in that boy.  Mark added the need for prayer.  There was no emphasis on faith as in Matthew, where Jesus talked about faith and the mustard seed.  Mark emphasized prayer, as he indicated that Jesus said that this kind of evil spirit could only be expelled (Τοῦτο τὸ γένος ἐν οὐδενὶ δύναται ἐξελθεῖν) through prayer (εἰ μὴ ἐν προσευχῇ).  Prayer might imply faith, but it is not explicit here in Luke.  Which is more important to you, faith or prayer?

Eat what they give you (Lk 10:8-10:8)

“Whenever you enter a town,

And its people

Welcome you,

Eat

What is set before you!”

 

καὶ εἰς ἣν ἂν πόλιν εἰσέρχησθε καὶ δέχωνται ὑμᾶς, ἐσθίετε τὰ παρατιθέμενα ὑμῖν,

 

Luke uniquely had Jesus continue to emphasize what he had just said.  Whenever they entered a town (καὶ εἰς ἣν ἂν πόλιν εἰσέρχησθε) where people welcomed them (καὶ δέχωνται ὑμᾶς), they were to eat (ἐσθίετε) what was set before them (τὰ παρατιθέμενα ὑμῖν).  Luke was the only one of the gospel writers to mention that these 70 disciples should eat what they were given, instead of being picky and demanding special food.  Perhaps this was also an indication that they might be able to accept non-kosher food if that is all that somebody had available. Are you picky about what you eat?

A parable for the crowd (Lk 8:4-8:4)

“A great crowd

Gathered.

People

From town

After town

Came to him.

He spoke

In a parable.”

 

Συνιόντος δὲ ὄχλου πολλοῦ καὶ τῶν κατὰ πόλιν ἐπιπορευομένων πρὸς αὐτὸν εἶπεν διὰ παραβολῆς

 

Luke continued to emphasize the popularity of Jesus.  He said that a great crowd gathered around Jesus (Συνιόντος δὲ ὄχλου πολλοῦ).  People from many towns came to him (καὶ τῶν κατὰ πόλιν ἐπιπορευομένων πρὸς αὐτὸν) so that he spoke to them in a parable (εἶπεν διὰ παραβολῆς).  A similar statement can be found in Matthew, chapter 13:1, and Mark, chapter 4:1.  Mark indicated that Jesus began to teach beside the Sea of Galilee.  As a great crowd assembled around him, Jesus got into a boat.  He then sat there in the boat, while the whole crowd was on the beach shore land.  Matthew said that Jesus sat beside the Sea of Galilee, in the usual gesture of teaching.  But he also had Jesus get into a boat because of the crowds.  Luke did not indicate where Jesus was, except that there was a large crowd from many different towns.  He never mentioned the Sea of Galilee or any boat, since he was more concerned about this parable.  Do you like parables?

The covenant with Abraham (Lk 1:73-1:73)

“God has remembered

The oath

That he swore

To our ancestor

Abraham.”

 

ὅρκον ὃν ὤμοσεν πρὸς Ἀβραὰμ τὸν πατέρα ἡμῶν, τοῦ δοῦναι ἡμῖν

 

In case there was any doubt about what covenant or agreement Zechariah was talking about, he made it clear, via this canticle in Luke, that this was the covenant or agreement with Abraham to have him and his many descendants be prosperous as in Genesis, chapter 22:16-18.  Zechariah said that God had remembered or given them (τοῦ δοῦναι ἡμῖν) the oath (ὅρκον) that he swore (ὃν ὤμοσεν) to Abraham (πρὸς Ἀβραὰμ), their ancestor or father (τὸν πατέρα ἡμῶν).  The covenant was coming about right before their very eyes.  Notice it was not the Mosaic, but the older Abrahamic covenant that Luke emphasized.

Jesus prays (Mk 14:35-14:35)

“Going a little farther,

Jesus threw himself

On the ground.

He prayed that,

If it were possible,

That this hour might pass

From him.”

 

καὶ προελθὼν μικρὸν ἔπιπτεν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, καὶ προσηύχετο ἵνα εἰ δυνατόν ἐστιν παρέλθῃ ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ ἡ ὥρα,

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 26:39.  In Luke, chapter 22:41, it is somewhat similar, while in John, chapter 22, there were no indications of this prayer in the garden.  Mark recounted that Jesus went a little farther away (καὶ προελθὼν μικρὸν).  He threw himself on the ground (ἔπιπτεν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς).  Then he prayed (καὶ προσηύχετο), but not explicitly to the Father, as in Matthew.  He said that he wondered if it was possible (ἵνα εἰ δυνατόν ἐστιν) that this hour might pass from him or be disregarded (παρέλθῃ ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ ἡ ὥρα).  This was slightly different from what Matthew had Jesus say, since he did not emphasize the hour as here.