The man with two sons (Lk 15:11-15:11)

“Then Jesus said.

‘There was a man

Who had two sons.’”

 

Εἶπεν δέ Ἄνθρωπός τις εἶχεν δύο υἱούς.

 

This unique parable in Luke continues the theme of lost things that are found.  First, it was the sheep, then the coin, but now it is a lost son.  Luke has this lovely long story about finding oneself and mending lost relationships.  He indicated that then Jesus said (Εἶπεν δέ) that there was a certain man (Ἄνθρωπός) who had 2 sons (τις εἶχεν δύο υἱούς).  This long parable story about the 2 sons can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Have you ever been estranged from a family member?

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Divide the inheritance (Lk 12:13-12:13)

“Someone in the crowd

Said to Jesus.

‘Teacher!

Tell my brother

To divide

The family inheritance

With me!’”

 

Εἶπεν δέ τις ἐκ τοῦ ὄχλου αὐτῷ Διδάσκαλε, εἰπὲ τῷ ἀδελφῷ μου μερίσασθαι μετ’ ἐμοῦ τὴν κληρονομίαν.

 

This is a unique saying in Luke, not found in the other synoptics.  Luke said that someone in the crowd yelled to Jesus (Εἶπεν δέ τις ἐκ τοῦ ὄχλου αὐτῷ), calling him respectfully teacher (Διδάσκαλε).  He wanted Jesus to tell his brother (εἰπὲ τῷ ἀδελφῷ μου) to divide up the family inheritance with him (μερίσασθαι μετ’ ἐμοῦ τὴν κληρονομίαν).  Apparently, the oldest son got twice as much as the other sons, according to Deuteronomy, chapter 21:17.  This man wanted Jesus to get involved with a family dispute.  This is the second time that someone in the crowd uniquely yelled out something here in Luke.  Have you ever been involved in a family inheritance dispute?

Say farewell (Lk 9:61-9:61)

“Another person said.

‘I will follow you!

Lord!

But let me first

Say farewell

To those at my home!’”

 

Εἶπεν δὲ καὶ ἕτερος Ἀκολουθήσω σοι, Κύριε· πρῶτον δὲ ἐπίτρεψόν μοι ἀποτάξασθαι τοῖς εἰς τὸν οἶκόν μου.

 

Luke indicated that another person said (Εἶπεν δὲ καὶ ἕτερος) that he would follow Jesus (Ἀκολουθήσω σοι), the Lord (Κύριε), but he first wanted to say farewell (πρῶτον δὲ ἐπίτρεψόν μοι ἀποτάξασθαι) to those at his home (εἰς τὸν οἶκόν μου).  This was another unique saying of Luke that was not found in Matthew.  Being a disciple of Jesus was not going to be easy.  This disciple just wanted to say goodbye to his family.  Is your belief in Jesus stronger than your family ties?

Joseph goes to Bethlehem (Lk 2:4-2:4)

“Joseph also went

From the town

Of Nazareth,

In Galilee,

To Judea.

He went

To the city

Of David,

Called Bethlehem,

Because he was

Descended

From the house

And family

Of David.”

 

Ἀνέβη δὲ καὶ Ἰωσὴφ ἀπὸ τῆς Γαλιλαίας ἐκ πόλεως Ναζαρὲθ εἰς τὴν Ἰουδαίαν εἰς πόλιν Δαυεὶδ ἥτις καλεῖται Βηθλεέμ, διὰ τὸ εἶναι αὐτὸν ἐξ οἴκου καὶ πατριᾶς Δαυείδ,

 

Luke clearly indicated why Joseph went (Ἀνέβη δὲ καὶ Ἰωσὴφ) from the town of Nazareth, in Galilee (ἀπὸ τῆς Γαλιλαίας ἐκ πόλεως Ναζαρὲθ), to Judea (εἰς τὴν Ἰουδαίαν).  He went to the city of David (εἰς πόλιν Δαυεὶδ), that is called Bethlehem (ἥτις καλεῖται Βηθλεέμ), because he was descended from the house (διὰ τὸ εἶναι αὐτὸν ἐξ οἴκου) and family of David (καὶ πατριᾶς Δαυείδ).  Luke never mentioned King Herod like Matthew, chapter 2:1.  However, both Matthew and Luke agreed on the place of Bethlehem, in the territory of Judah, about 5-6 miles south of Jerusalem, with a current population of about 25,000 in present day Palestinian territory.  They also both agreed that Joseph was a descendant of King David, from Bethlehem.  Matthew had first mentioned Joseph in chapter 1:27 as the engaged partner of Mary.  The Messiah had been predicted to be from Bethlehem as in Micah, chapter 5:2.  Matthew, chapter 2:5-6, had the Jewish priests and scribes tell King Herod that the place for the birth of this new king had to be Bethlehem in Judea.  The prophet Micah, had written this ode about the small town of Bethlehem, where King David came from.  Obviously, this new ruler of Israel would be from this same place and be also part of the Davidic bloodline.  Matthew and Luke made the clear connection between David, Bethlehem, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus.  However, Luke, unlike Matthew had very little information about Joseph.

The brother’s wife (Mk 12:19-12:19)

“‘Teacher!

Moses wrote

For us

That if a man’s brother

Dies,

Leaving a wife,

But no child,

The man shall

Marry the widow

And raise up children

For his brother.’”

 

Διδάσκαλε, Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν ὅτι ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ καὶ καταλίπῃ γυναῖκα καὶ μὴ ἀφῇ τέκνον, ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ.  

 

Matthew, chapter 22:24, and Luke, chapter 20:28, are almost word for word as here in MarkMark said that these Sadducees addressed Jesus very respectfully as “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε).”  These Sadducees quoted a Mosaic text that Moses had written for them (Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν), from Deuteronomy, chapter 25:5-10.  If a man’s brother should die (ὅτι ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ) leaving behind a wife (καὶ καταλίπῃ γυναῖκα) without any children (καὶ μὴ ἀφῇ τέκνον), his living brother should take his dead brother’s widow as his wife (ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα).  He would then raise up the descendant children or seeds for his brother (καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ).  This levirate law goes back as far as Tamar in Genesis, chapter 38:1-30, with the story of Judah’s 3 sons and Tamar, the original wife of Er.  The brother of the deceased was supposed to marry his brother’s widow if he had no sons.  The widow was not to marry outside her family.  It also assumes that the brother lived close by or in the same house as his brother.  There was no indication of whether the brother was married or not, but this seems to assume a younger brother.  This was an attempt to prolong the heritage and name of a person, which was common in ancient times.  The punishment for the brother’s refusal was an insult rather than any physical punishment.

The sake of Jesus and the gospel (Mk 10:29-10:30)

“Jesus said.

‘Truly!

I say to you!

There is no one

Who has left house,

Or brothers or sisters,

Or mother or father,

Or children,

Or lands,

For my sake

And for the sake

Of the gospel good news,

Who will not receive

A hundredfold now

In this age,

Houses,

Brothers and sisters,

Mothers,

Children,

And field lands,

With persecutions,

In the age to come,

Eternal life.’”

 

ἔφη ὁ Ἰησοῦς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐδείς ἐστιν ὃς ἀφῆκεν οἰκίαν ἢ ἀδελφοὺς ἢ ἀδελφὰς ἢ μητέρα ἢ πατέρα ἢ τέκνα ἢ ἀγροὺς ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ καὶ ἕνεκεν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου,

ἐὰν μὴ λάβῃ ἑκατονταπλασίονα νῦν ἐν τῷ καιρῷ τούτῳ οἰκίας καὶ ἀδελφοὺς καὶ ἀδελφὰς καὶ μητέρας καὶ τέκνα καὶ ἀγροὺς μετὰ διωγμῶν, καὶ ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τῷ ἐρχομένῳ ζωὴν αἰώνιον.

 

This demanding saying of Jesus, talking about giving up family and land for eternal life, can be found in Matthew, chapter 19:29, and Luke, chapter 18:29-30, but slightly different.  There is nothing here about the apostles sitting on the 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes, since that was not important to the gentile Christians that Mark was addressing.  Mark said that Jesus then issued a solemn proclamation to his disciples (ἔφη ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  Anyone who has left house (οὐδείς ἐστιν ὃς ἀφῆκεν οἰκίαν), brothers (ἢ ἀδελφοὺς), sisters (ἢ ἀδελφὰς), mother (ἢ μητέρα), father (ἢ πατέρα), children (ἢ τέκνα), or land fields (ἢ ἀγροὺς) for his sake and the sake of the gospel good news (ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ καὶ ἕνεκεν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου), would receive a hundredfold now in this age (ἐὰν μὴ λάβῃ ἑκατονταπλασίονα νῦν ἐν τῷ καιρῷ τούτῳ), in houses (οἰκίας), brothers (καὶ ἀδελφοὺς), sisters (καὶ ἀδελφὰς), mothers (καὶ μητέρας), children (καὶ τέκνα), and field lands (καὶ ἀγροὺς), with persecutions (μετὰ διωγμῶν), in the age to come, (καὶ ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τῷ ἐρχομένῳ) and eternal life (ζωὴν αἰώνιον).

The family of Jesus (Mk 6:3-6:3)

“‘Is not this the carpenter,

The son of Mary,

The brother of James,

Joses,

Judas,

And Simon?

Are not his sisters

Here with us?’

They took offense

At Jesus.”

 

οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τέκτων, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς Μαρίας καὶ ἀδελφὸς Ἰακώβου καὶ Ἰωσῆτος καὶ Ἰούδα καὶ Σίμωνος; καὶ οὐκ εἰσὶν αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ ὧδε πρὸς ἡμᾶς; καὶ ἐσκανδαλίζοντο ἐν αὐτῷ.

 

This story about the relatives of Jesus can be found in Matthew, chapter 13:55-56, while Luke does not go into this problem.  Mark said that the local people asked, whether Jesus was a carpenter (οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ῦ τέκτων), not a carpenter’s son as in Matthew?  A carpenter could also mean a builder or artisan.  However, Mark explicitly mentioned the name of Jesus’ mother, Mary (ὁ υἱὸς τῆς Μαρίας).  Were not his brothers there James, Joses, Simon, and Judas (καὶ ἀδελφὸς Ἰακώβου καὶ Ἰωσῆτος καὶ Ἰούδα καὶ Σίμωνος)?  There is a difference in one brother’s name mentioned by Matthew and Mark.  Could Joses be the same as Joseph with a simple letter mistake?  Were not all his sisters there with them also (καὶ οὐκ εἰσὶν αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ ὧδε πρὸς ἡμᾶς)?  These relatives took offense or were scandalized by Jesus (καὶ ἐσκανδαλίζοντο ἐν αὐτῷ).  Once again there is the question of the brothers and sisters of Jesus.  These brothers and sisters could be biological brothers or sisters, half-brothers and half-sisters from a first marriage of Joseph, or kissing cousins or other close cousins of the family.  The Hebrew and Aramaic language did not have a distinctive word for cousins, so that the words “brother” and “sister” were often used to mean more than a biological brother.  Just as today, people sometimes refer to others as brothers or sisters, when there is no biological link.  However, the Greek language did have a word for cousins.  Half-brothers often refer to themselves as brothers or sisters today also.  The traditional belief of Christians, even though the Reformation period, has been that Mary was a virgin, so that Jesus was her only son.  Here there are explicit names for the brothers of Jesus, James, Joses, Simon, and Judas, who may have been leaders in the early Christian community but were never mentioned as disciples.  They clearly were relatives of Jesus, exactly how is not clear