The power of the law (Lk 16:17-16:17)

“It is easier

For heaven

And earth

To pass away,

Than for one stroke

Of a letter

Of the law

To be dropped.”

 

εὐκοπώτερον δέ ἐστιν τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν παρελθεῖν ἢ τοῦ νόμου μίαν κεραίαν πεσεῖν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that it was easier (εὐκοπώτερον δέ ἐστιν) for heaven (τὸν οὐρανὸν) and earth (καὶ τὴν γῆν) to pass away (παρελθεῖν), than for one stroke of a letter of the law to be dropped (ἢ τοῦ νόμου μίαν κεραίαν πεσεῖν).  Nothing in the Law or the Torah could be changed or dropped, plain and simple.  This saying is similar to Mark, chapter 13:31, and Matthew, chapter 5:18, with a few exceptions.  Matthew has this as a great Jesus solemn pronouncement for his disciples (ἀμὴν γὰρ λέγω ὑμῖν).  The next phrase is the same in Luke and Mark.  Heaven and earth would not pass away (ἕως ἂν παρέλθῃ ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ γῆ) until the law was fully accomplished (ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμου, ἕως ἂν πάντα γένηται).  Matthew, like Luke here, is even more specific with a detailed remark about the fact that not even an iota of the Law or not one stroke of a letter would go away (ἰῶτα ἓν ἢ μία κεραία οὐ μὴ παρέλθῃ ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμου), before the Law was fully accomplished.  Iota was the Greek word for the Hebrew yod, the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet.  Mark indicated that it was the words of Jesus, and not the Law, that would not change.  Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, chapter 3:31, would further expand on this idea of upholding the law.  In Matthew, chapter 24:35, and in Luke, chapter 21:33, Jesus said that heaven and earth would pass away (ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ γῆ παρελεύσονται), but his words would not pass away (οἱ δὲ λόγοι μου οὐ μὴ παρελεύσονται).  This was a simple statement about the enduring quality of the words of Jesus.  Here, however, it is the words of the law that would not pass away, not the words of Jesus.  Which is more important for you, the law or the words of Jesus?

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What can you do on the Sabbath? (Lk 6:9-6:9)

“Then Jesus

Said to them.

‘I ask you!

Is it lawful

To do good

Or to do evil

On the Sabbath?

Is it lawful

To save life

Or to destroy life

On the Sabbath?’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς πρὸς αὐτούς Ἐπερωτῶ ὑμᾶς εἰ ἔξεστιν τῷ σαββάτῳ ἀγαθοποιῆσαι ἢ κακοποιῆσαι, ψυχὴν σῶσαι ἢ ἀπολέσαι;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus asked them (εἶπεν δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς πρὸς αὐτούς Ἐπερωτῶ ὑμᾶς), using the second person plural, if it was lawful (εἰ ἔξεστιν) to do good (ἀγαθοποιῆσαι) or sin, do harm, or evil (ἢ κακοποιῆσαι) on the Sabbath (τῷ σαββάτῳ)?  Was it lawful to save a life (ψυχὴν σῶσαι) or destroy a life (ἢ ἀπολέσαι) on the Sabbath?  This was based on Mark chapter 3:4, where Jesus asked the same questions.  Mark added that they were silent and did not respond, but Luke did not say that.  Jesus wanted to know what were the exceptions to the Sabbath restrictions.  Meanwhile, Matthew, chapter 12:11-12, had Jesus speak about saving sheep on the Sabbath.

Divorced women commit adultery (Mk 10:12-10:12)

“If she divorces

Her husband,

And marries another,

She commits adultery.”

 

καὶ ἐὰν αὐτὴ ἀπολύσασα τὸν ἄνδρα αὐτῆς γαμήσῃ ἄλλον, μοιχᾶται.

 

This is unique to Mark, since in Jewish society, women could not divorce their husbands, but in Roman society or among the gentiles, women could divorce their husbands.  However, Jesus gave the same rebuke as he gave the men.  If a woman divorced her husband (καὶ ἐὰν αὐτὴ ἀπολύσασα τὸν ἄνδρα αὐτῆς), and married someone else (γαμήσῃ ἄλλον), she committed adultery (μοιχᾶται).  There were no exceptions, not even for spousal abuse.  The new marriage was adulterous.

What can you do on the Sabbath? (Mk 3:3-3:4)

“Jesus said to the man

Who had the withered hand.

‘Come here!’

Then he said to them.

‘Is it lawful

To do good

Or to do harm,

On the Sabbath?

Is it lawful

To save life

Or to kill?’

But they were silent.”

 

καὶ λέγει τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ τῷ τὴν χεῖρα ἔχοντι ξηράν Ἔγειρε εἰς τὸ μέσον.

καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς Ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν ἀγαθὸν ποιῆσαι ἢ κακοποιῆσαι, ψυχὴν σῶσαι ἢ ἀποκτεῖναι; οἱ δὲ ἐσιώπων.

 

This is similar to Luke, chapter 6:8-9, while Matthew, chapter 12:11-12, had Jesus go on to talk about saving lost sheep on the Sabbath.  Mark indicated that Jesus said to the man with the withered hand (καὶ λέγει τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ τῷ τὴν χεῖρα ἔχοντι ξηράν) to come to him (Ἔγειρε εἰς τὸ μέσον).  Then he asked “them” (καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς) if it was lawful to do good or harm or evil, on the Sabbath (Ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν ἀγαθὸν ποιῆσαι ἢ κακοποιῆσαι)?  Was it lawful to save life or kill on the Sabbath (ψυχὴν σῶσαι ἢ ἀποκτεῖναι)?  However, the “they” were silent (οἱ δὲ ἐσιώπων).  Jesus wanted to know what were the exceptions to the Sabbath restrictions.

The law remains (Mt 5:18-5:18)

“Truly,

I tell you!

‘Until heaven

And earth

Pass away,

Not an iota or yod,

Nor one stroke of a letter,

Will pass away

From the law,

Until all is accomplished.’”

 

ἀμὴν γὰρ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἕως ἂν παρέλθῃ ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ γῆ, ἰῶτα ἓν ἢ μία κεραία οὐ μὴ παρέλθῃ ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμου, ἕως ἂν πάντα γένηται.

 

This saying is similar to Mark, chapter 13:31, and Luke, chapter 16:17, with a few exceptions. Matthew has this as a great Jesus pronouncement for his disciples, since he said right at the beginning, “Truly, I tell you (ἀμὴν γὰρ λέγω ὑμῖν)! The next phrase is exactly the same in Luke and Mark. Heaven and earth would not pass away (ἕως ἂν παρέλθῃ ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ γῆ,) until the law was fully accomplished (ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμου, ἕως ἂν πάντα γένηται). Matthew is even more specific with a detailed remark about the fact that not even an iota of the Law or not one stroke of a letter would go away (ἰῶτα ἓν ἢ μία κεραία οὐ μὴ παρέλθῃ ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμου), before the Law was fully accomplished. Iota was the Greek word for the Hebrew “yod,” the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet. Nothing in the Law or the Torah could be changed, plain and simple. Mark indicated that it was the words of Jesus, and not the Law, that would not change. Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, chapter 3:31, would further expand on this idea of upholding the law.

Opening the eastern gate on the Sabbath (Ezek 46:1-46:1)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘The gate

Of the inner court

That faces east

Shall remain closed

On the six working days.

But on the Sabbath day,

It shall be opened.

On the day

Of the new moon,

It shall be opened.’”

Yahweh God spoke about the eastern gate. This eastern gate of the inner court was to remain shut at all times. There were 2 exceptions, the Sabbath and the feast of the new moon. Thus, it would be opened on these occasions, 64 times a year, 52 for the Sabbath days and 12 for the new moons.