Faith, not the law (Rom 3:28)

“We hold

That a man

Is justified

By faith

Apart from the works

Prescribed by the law.”

λογιζόμεθα γὰρ δικαιοῦσθαι πίστει ἄνθρωπον χωρὶς ἔργων νόμου.

Paul said that we hold (λογιζόμεθα) that a man (ἄνθρωπον) is justified (γὰρ δικαιοῦσθαι) by faith (πίστει) apart from the works prescribed by the law (χωρὶς ἔργων νόμου).  Paul left little doubt.  We are made holy or justified by faith and not from the works in the law of Moses.  One had to be faithful to Jesus, then they would be justified.  The law was not that necessary, since salvation was separate from the law.  How strong is your faith in Jesus Christ?

Faith (Lk 17:19-17:19)

“Jesus said to him.

‘Get up!

Go on your way!

Your faith

Has made you well!’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ἀναστὰς πορεύου· ἡ πίστις σου σέσωκέν σε.

 

Only Luke has this story about the curing of the ten lepers.  Luke indicated that Jesus said to this cured Samaritan leper (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that he was to get up (Ἀναστὰς) and go on his way (πορεύου), because his faith has made him well or saved him (ἡ πίστις σου σέσωκέν σε).  Actually, he had been cured earlier with the other 9 lepers.  However, this is a further emphasis on faith as an ingredient in the healing process.  How do you connect faith and healing?

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?

Tithing (Lk 11:42-11:42)

“But woe to you!

Pharisees!

You tithe

Mint,

Rue,

And every kind

Of herb.

However,

You neglect

Justice

And the love of God!

It is these

You ought

To have practiced

Without neglecting

The others.”

 

ἀλλὰ οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς Φαρισαίοις, ὅτι ἀποδεκατοῦτε τὸ ἡδύοσμον καὶ τὸ πήγανον καὶ πᾶν λάχανον, καὶ παρέρχεσθε τὴν κρίσιν καὶ τὴν ἀγάπην τοῦ Θεοῦ· ταῦτα δὲ ἔδει ποιῆσαι κἀκεῖνα μὴ παρεῖναι.

 

Next Luke had the Lord Jesus curse the Pharisees the way that Matthew had done.  Jesus said woe to them, the Pharisees (ἀλλὰ οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς Φαρισαίοις)!  They had paid their tithes (ὅτι ἀποδεκατοῦτε) of mint (τὸ ἡδύοσμον), rue (καὶ τὸ πήγανον), and every kind of herb (καὶ πᾶν λάχανον).  However, they had neglected (καὶ παρέρχεσθε) justice (τὴν κρίσιν) and the love of God (καὶ τὴν ἀγάπην τοῦ Θεοῦ).  They ought to practice these things (ταῦτα δὲ ἔδει ποιῆσαι), without neglecting the other things (κἀκεῖνα μὴ παρεῖναι).  This is like Matthew, chapter 23:23, where Jesus cursed the Pharisees and the Scribes.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said woe to them because of their insistence on tithing.  He blamed them for their concern about the tithing of the various aromatic spices of mint, dill, and cumin plants, instead of the more serious matters of the law.  Thus, they neglected, the serious practice of justice, mercy, and faith.  They should have spent more time on these issues without neglecting the other things.  This seemed like a critique of misplaced priorities, with their legalistic sense of tithing being more important than justice, mercy, faith, and the Mosaic law itself.  Luke had almost the same critique here, but the tithing herbs are slightly different.  He also wanted their concerns to be about justice and God’s love.  Otherwise the critique was pretty much the same.  Do you neglect justice and mercy in your life?

They were amazed at Jesus (Lk 8:25-8:25)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Where is your faith?’

They were afraid.

Yet they were amazed.

They said

To one another.

‘Who then is this?

He commands

Even the winds

And the water!

They obey him!’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς Ποῦ ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν; φοβηθέντες δὲ ἐθαύμασαν, λέγοντες πρὸς ἀλλήλους Τίς ἄρα οὗτός ἐστιν, ὅτι καὶ τοῖς ἀνέμοις ἐπιτάσσει καὶ τῷ ὕδατι, καὶ ὑπακούουσιν αὐτῷ;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus asked his disciples (εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς) where was their faith (Ποῦ ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν)?  They were afraid (φοβηθέντες), but amazed (δὲ ἐθαύμασαν) at the same time.  They said to one another (λέγοντες πρὸς ἀλλήλους).  Who is this (Τίς ἄρα οὗτός ἐστιν) that commands (ἐπιτάσσει) even the winds (ὅτι καὶ τοῖς ἀνέμοις) and the water (καὶ τῷ ὕδατι)?  Both the winds and the water obey him (καὶ ὑπακούουσιν αὐτῷ).  This rebuke of Jesus can also be found in Matthew, chapter 8:26-27, and Mark, chapter 4:40-41, in a somewhat similar manner.  Mark said that Jesus then turned to his followers and asked them why they were afraid?  Was it because they still had no faith?  Jesus called out his disciples for their lack of faith or trust, while showing his great power.  Perhaps, this was a slap at some of the early Christian followers of Jesus, who lacked a strong belief in him.  These male disciples of Jesus were filled with great fear or awe.  They said to one another who is this man?  Both the winds and the seas obey or listen to him.  Matthew said that these disciples of Jesus marveled or were amazed at what they had just seen take place.  They wondered out loud what kind of man that Jesus was?  Both the winds and the seas obey him.  Jesus was the Lord of nature and weather.  Do you believe that Jesus can control the winds and the water?

Believe in your prayer (Mk 11:24-11:24)

“Thus,

I tell you!

Whatever you ask for

In prayer,

Believe

That you are receiving it,

And it will be yours.”

 

διὰ τοῦτο λέγω ὑμῖν, πάντα ὅσα προσεύχεσθε καὶ αἰτεῖσθε, πιστεύετε ὅτι ἐλάβετε, καὶ ἔσται ὑμῖν.

 

This Jesus saying about faith and prayer can also be found in Matthew, chapter 21:22, sometimes word for word.  Mark indicated that Jesus told his disciples (διὰ τοῦτο λέγω ὑμῖν) that whatever they asked for in prayer (πάντα ὅσα προσεύχεσθε καὶ αἰτεῖσθε), they would receive it or it would be theirs (καὶ ἔσται ὑμῖν).  If they believed (πιστεύετε), they would receive it (ὅτι ἐλάβετε), it would happen.  The essential ingredient of effective prayer was faith.

 

Jesus said they needed to pray (Mk 9:29-9:29)

“Jesus said

To his disciples.

‘This kind

Can come out

Only through prayer.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Τοῦτο τὸ γένος ἐν οὐδενὶ δύναται ἐξελθεῖν εἰ μὴ ἐν προσευχῇ.

 

Mark added the need for prayer.  There is no emphasis on faith as in Matthew, chapter 17:20, where Jesus talked about faith and the mustard seed.  Here the emphasis is on prayer.  Mark indicated that Jesus said to his disciples (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) 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.

Jesus cures her daughter (Mk 7:29-7:30)

“Jesus said to her.

‘For saying that,

You may go!

The demon

Has left your daughter.’

Thus,

She went home.

She found her child

Lying in bed.

The demon was gone.”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῇ Διὰ τοῦτον τὸν λόγον ὕπαγε, ἐξελήλυθεν ἐκ τῆς θυγατρός σου τὸ δαιμόνιον.

καὶ ἀπελθοῦσα εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτῆς εὗρεν τὸ παιδίον βεβλημένον ἐπὶ τὴν κλίνην καὶ τὸ δαιμόνιον ἐξεληλυθός.

 

A similar response can be found in Matthew, chapter 15:28.  There was no mention of faith here as there was in MatthewMark said that Jesus answered her (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῇ).  Jesus said that she had by her words accepted her position as a dog under the table, so that she could go home (Διὰ τοῦτον τὸν λόγον ὕπαγε).  Jesus said that the demon had come out of her daughter (ἐξελήλυθεν ἐκ τῆς θυγατρός σου τὸ δαιμόνιον).  Thus, she then went away from Jesus to her home (καὶ ἀπελθοῦσα εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτῆς).  There she found that her child was lying in bed (εὗρεν τὸ παιδίον βεβλημένον ἐπὶ τὴν κλίνην), but the demon was gone or expelled from her (καὶ τὸ δαιμόνιον ἐξεληλυθός).  Despite the reluctance of Jesus to go outside of the Israelites, this Canaanite woman persuaded him to cure her daughter of her demonic illness.  Jesus cured her child without touching her or being in her presence.

 

Repent, the Kingdom of God is at hand (Mk 1:15-1:15)

“Jesus said.

‘The time is fulfilled!

The kingdom of God

Is at hand!

Repent!

Believe

In the gospel.’”

 

καὶ λέγων ὅτι Πεπλήρωται ὁ καιρὸς καὶ ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ· μετανοεῖτε καὶ πιστεύετε ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ

 

The preaching of Jesus was like that of John the Baptist.  Matthew said that Jesus was proclaiming the same message as John the Baptist.  It almost seemed like Jesus had become a disciple of John.  The preaching messages of John the Baptist and Jesus were very simple and exactly the same.  They both said that people should repent (μετανοεῖτε).  People should turn their lives around, with a profound metanoia, a change of their spirit.  Matthew, chapter 4:17, was very close to Mark here, except that Matthew always used the term “kingdom of heaven (ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν)”, not “the kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ),” as Mark does here.  Matthew used this apocalyptic phrase, “kingdom of heaven” over 30 times, but he was the only one of the canonical gospel writers to use this term.  Luke and John did not mention the content of Jesus’ initial preaching.  Mark recounted that Jesus said (καὶ λέγων) that the time was completed or fulfilled (ὅτι Πεπλήρωται ὁ καιρὸς).  The kingdom of God was at hand or coming near (καὶ ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ).  They had to repent or change their ways in a metanoia (μετανοεῖτε).  They had to believe in the gospel or good news (καὶ πιστεύετε ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ).  Belief or faith could be a noun, something believed or a verb, acting in a certain belief style.

Third narrative

This third narrative centered around a variety of miracles and various comments to his disciples.  Jesus cured the leper before great crowds, but then told him to keep it a secret.  Then he cured the centurion’s paralyzed servant at Capernaum.  This Roman soldier understood the role of authority since he had faith.  Jesus chastised the failure of the sons of Abraham but healed the Roman centurion’s servant.

Jesus also cured other sick and possessed people, including Peter’s mother-in-law.  He thus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah.  He had some scribe followers, even though Jesus was homeless.  Was the death of a father enough to disrupt a disciple?  During a stormy boat ride, they woke up Jesus.  Thus, he responded by showing them his power by calming the storm.

Jesus cured the two possessed demoniacs who were calling out to him as the Son of God.  These demons wanted to be pigs, so that they died in the sea, jumping off a cliff.  However, the herdsmen in the city were upset so that the people asked Jesus to leave.

Jesus then went home and cured a paralytic.  Did Jesus blaspheme?  What was the difference between sin and sickness?  The people were amazed at his powers.  Jesus then called Matthew, the tax collector.  Jesus hung out with these tax collectors and sinners, so that the Pharisees complained.  Jesus responded by asking if well people needed doctors?  Then there was a citation from Hosea about mercy.

The Pharisees wanted to know why his disciples were not fasting, but the disciples of John the Baptist were.  Jesus explained that there would be no fasting while he, the bridegroom, was present.  You did not use old cloth to mend clothes or put new wine in old wineskins.

Then Jesus cured the woman with hemorrhages, because she was a woman of faith.  Then he cured the dead girl who was only sleeping.  He cured the two blind men because they were believers also.  He cured the mute person so that he could speak again.  The Pharisees questioned the power of Jesus.  However, Jesus had compassion for the sheep because there would be a need for many laborers at the harvest time.

Then Jesus began his apostolic talk to his disciples, in particular about the authority of the twelve disciples, with four major apostles.  Matthew then listed the twelve apostles that would be sent to the Jews and what their work was.  Jesus told them what to bring with them and where to stay.  He told them how to enter a house.  Those unhospitable towns who did not accept them would be punished.  These apostles should be like wise simple sheep.  When they would be persecuted, the Holy Spirit would speak through them.  They would be involved in family disputes and hated.  Both the teacher and his disciples would suffer, but they should not be afraid.  They should proclaim the message.  They were to worry about their souls, since they had more value than sparrows.  They should acknowledge Jesus whether in peace or with the sword.  Who was worthy of Jesus?  You had to pick up your cross and lose your life to find it.  Receive Jesus and be a prophet as the righteous disciple of Jesus.