The parable about the places of honor (Lk 14:8-14:8)

“When you are invited

By someone

To a wedding banquet,

Do not sit down

At the place of honor!

Otherwise,

Someone more distinguished

Than you may

Had been invited

By your host.”

 

Ὅταν κληθῇς ὑπό τινος εἰς γάμους, μὴ κατακλιθῇς εἰς τὴν πρωτοκλισίαν, μή ποτε ἐντιμότερός σου ᾖ κεκλημένος ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ,

 

Luke uniquely had Jesus tell this parable about being invited by someone to a wedding banquet (Ὅταν κληθῇς ὑπό τινος εἰς γάμους).  He told them not to sit down or recline (μὴ κατακλιθῇς) in the place of honor (εἰς τὴν πρωτοκλισίαν).  Luke was the only gospel writer who used this word κατακλιθῇς, that means to recline a table.  He used it more than 5 times.  Otherwise, someone more distinguished than them (μή ποτε ἐντιμότερός σου) may have been invited by their host (ᾖ κεκλημένος ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ).  This is similar or based on Proverbs 6:7, where they were told not to put themselves forward in a great place before the king.  It was much better to be told to come up than to be put lower in the presence of a noble person.  In other words, let the host realize and show that you are important, rather than pretend that you are more important than you are.  Have you ever sat at the wrong place at some banquet?

Jesus tells the young man to rise up (Lk 7:14-7:14)

“Then the Lord

Came forward.

He touched the bier.

The pall bearers

Stood still.

The Lord said.

‘Young man!

 I say to you!

Arise!’”

 

καὶ προσελθὼν ἥψατο τῆς σοροῦ, οἱ δὲ βαστάζοντες ἔστησαν, καὶ εἶπεν Νεανίσκε, σοὶ λέγω, ἐγέρθητι.

 

Luke uniquely said that the Lord Jesus came forward (καὶ προσελθὼν) and touched the funeral bier (ἥψατο τῆς σοροῦ).  The pall bearers stood still (οἱ δὲ βαστάζοντες ἔστησαν).  The Lord told the young man (καὶ εἶπεν Νεανίσκε) with a solemn pronouncement of I say to you (σοὶ λέγω), rise up (ἐγέρθητι).  Luke used the pronoun he to speak about the Lord.  This would have been a shocking thing to touch the funeral bier, since it made people unclean to touch a dead person.  Thus, the pall bearers were taken back.  However, the command of Jesus telling the young man to get up meant that he was not dead.  This is the first instance of a man being raised from the dead, but it is only found here in Luke, not elsewhere.  This would be a big deal, not just curing people of illness and diseases, or chasing demons out of people.  This was a raising from the dead, a foretaste of the resurrection.  Have you ever heard of a young man getting up from a funeral casket?

Against Gog (Ezek 39:1-39:2)

“You!

Son of man!

Prophesy against Gog!

Say!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I am against you!

O Gog!

Chief prince

Of Meshech

With Tubal!

I will turn you around!

I will drive you forward!

I will bring you up

From the remotest parts

Of the north!

I will lead you

Against the mountains

Of Israel!’”

As if one chapter were not enough, Ezekiel has another chapter about Gog.   Yahweh God, as usual, came to the prophet Ezekiel, the son of man. This time, he wanted Ezekiel to prophesy against Gog, who is now called the prince of Meshech and Tubal and not from Magog. Like in the last chapter, Gog was clearly an enemy of Yahweh. Yet Yahweh used him for his own purposes. Yahweh was going to turn Gog around and drive him forward from the remotest parts of the northern area. In fact, Yahweh was going to lead Gog against the mountains of Israel. The only possible historical basis for this Gog, might be the supposedly chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, two 7th century BCE kingdoms in Asia Minor of Turkey.

The disobedience of their ancestors (Jer 7:24-7:26)

“However their ancestors

Did not obey.

They did not

Incline their ears.

But in the stubbornness

Of their evil will,

They walked

In their own counsels.

They looked backward

Rather than forward.

From the day

That your ancestors came out

Of the land of Egypt

To this day,

I have persistently sent

All my servants,

The prophets,

To them,

Day after day.

Yet they did not listen to me.

They did not pay attention.

But stiffened their necks.

They did worse

Than their ancestors.”

Yahweh points out to Jeremiah that their ancestors did not obey God’s commands. They did not listen because they were stubborn in their evil ways. They relied on their own counsels, looking backward rather than forward. Yet since the day that they left Egypt, Yahweh has sent his prophet servants to them on a daily basis. However, they still have not listened or paid attention. Instead they stiffened their necks and were more disobedient than their ancestors.

The acceptance response of Isaiah (Isa 6:8-6:8)

“I heard

The voice of Yahweh

Saying.

‘Whom shall I send?

Who will go for us?’

Then I said.

‘Here am I!

Send me!’”

Here we have the famous first person singular acceptance of Isaiah that has become a rallying cry for many Christians. Yahweh, the Lord wanted to know whom he should send. Who should go forward? His response is the great acceptance, ‘Here I am. Send me.’ This is the clear clarion call that the prophet Isaiah is ready to go.

The ruin of the vineyard (Isa 5:5-5:6)

“Now I will tell you

What I will do

To my vineyard.

I will remove its hedge.

It shall be devoured.

I will break down its wall.

It shall be trampled down.

I will make it a waste.

It shall not be pruned.

It shall not be hoed.

It shall be overgrown

With briers.

It shall be overgrown

With thorns.

I will also command the clouds

That they rain no rain upon it.”

Now Isaiah carries this metaphor forward. What should he do with this wild grape vineyard? He decided to remove the hedges and walls that protected this vineyard from other animals and wild growth. He wanted this vineyard to be devoured and trampled on, so that it would go to waste. He was not going to prune or hoe it. He wanted it to be overgrown with wild briers and thorns. He even was going so far as to command the clouds not to rain on this vineyard. That was a stretch.

Keep on the straight and narrow (Prov 4:20-4:27)

“My child!

Be attentive to my words!

Incline your ear to my sayings.

Do not let them escape from your sight.

Keep them within your heart!

They are life to those who find them.

They are healing to all their flesh.

Keep your heart with all vigilance!

The springs of life flow from your heart.

Put away from you crooked speech!

Put devious talk far from you!

Let your eyes look directly forward.

Your gaze should be straight before you.

Keep straight the path of your feet!

Then all your ways will be sure.

Do not swerve to the right or to the left!

Turn your foot away from evil!”

The parental fatherly advice concludes this chapter. They are to keep on the straight and narrow path. Once again, he asks his children to be attentive and listen to his words. They are not to let his words escape, but rather keep them in their hearts. If they do that, then they will have life and healing. The heart is where all life comes from, so that your heart had to be vigilant. They were not to have crooked or devious speech. Their eyes should always be looking forward with a gaze straight ahead. They had to keep their feet on the straight path, never swerving to the right or the left. They were, of course, to stay away from evil.