The fall of Jerusalem (Lk 21:24-21:24)

“They will fall

By the edge

Of the sword.

They will be

Taken away

As captives

Among all the gentile nations.

Jerusalem

Will be trampled on

By the gentiles,

Until the time

Of the gentiles

Was fulfilled.”

 

καὶ πεσοῦνται στόματι μαχαίρης καὶ αἰχμαλωτισθήσονται εἰς τὰ ἔθνη πάντα, καὶ Ἱερουσαλὴμ ἔσται πατουμένη ὑπὸ ἐθνῶν, ἄχρι οὗ πληρωθῶσιν καιροὶ ἐθνῶν.

 

Only Luke has this unique saying of Jesus.  Jesus said that these people would fall by the edge of their swords (καὶ πεσοῦνται στόματι μαχαίρης).  They would be taken away as captives among all the gentile nations (καὶ αἰχμαλωτισθήσονται εἰς τὰ ἔθνη πάντα).  Jerusalem would be trampled on by the gentiles (καὶ Ἱερουσαλὴμ ἔσται πατουμένη ὑπὸ ἐθνῶν), until the time of the gentiles was completed (ἄχρι οὗ πληρωθῶσιν καιροὶ ἐθνῶν).  Falling by the edge of the sword meant death.  It is not clear what is meant by this time of the gentiles.  Perhaps this was when the foreign armies, the Roman army invaded and overwhelmed Jerusalem in 70 CE.  Luke seemed to tie the end times to the fall of Jerusalem.  What do you think the end of the world will be like?

Remember the covenant (Lk 1:72-1:72)

“Thus,

God has shown

The mercy

That he promised

To our ancestors.

He has remembered

His holy covenant.”

 

ποιῆσαι ἔλεος μετὰ τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν καὶ μνησθῆναι διαθήκης ἁγίας αὐτοῦ,

 

Luke continued Zechariah’s canticle with an instance on the holy covenant with their ancestors.  Zechariah said that God has shown or fulfilled his mercy or compassion (ποιῆσαι ἔλεος) that he had promised to their ancestors or fathers (μετὰ τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν).  God has remembered his ancient holy covenant with his people (καὶ μνησθῆναι διαθήκης ἁγίας αὐτοῦ).

Zechariah returns home (Lk 1:23-1:23)

“When his time

Of liturgical service

Was completed,

He went

To his home.”

 

καὶ ἐγένετο ὡς ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι τῆς λειτουργίας αὐτοῦ, ἀπῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke remarked that Zechariah had fulfilled his time or days (καὶ ἐγένετο ὡς ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι) of priestly Levite liturgical service (τῆς λειτουργίας αὐτοῦ) at the Jerusalem Temple.  As his two-week duty was over, he went home (ἀπῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ).  There was nothing strange about this.  Obviously, Zechariah did not live at the Temple, since his home was elsewhere.

Mute Zechariah (Lk 1:20-1:20)

“Now,

You will become mute!

You will be

Unable to speak

Until the day

That these things

Will happen!

You did not

Believe my words!

They will be fulfilled

In their due time!”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ ἔσῃ σιωπῶν καὶ μὴ δυνάμενος λαλῆσαι ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας γένηται ταῦτα, ἀνθ’ ὧν οὐκ ἐπίστευσας τοῖς λόγοις μου, οἵτινες πληρωθήσονται εἰς τὸν καιρὸν αὐτῶν

 

Luke pointed out that Zechariah would receive a punishment, because he doubted that he and his wife would have a son, as in verse 18.  Thus, the angel Gabriel told Zechariah that he would become silent or mute (καὶ ἰδοὺ ἔσῃ σιωπῶν).  He would not be able to speak (καὶ μὴ δυνάμενος λαλῆσαι) until the day when all these things would happen (ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας γένηται ταῦτα).  This was his punishment for not believing the words of the angel Gabriel (ἀνθ’ ὧν οὐκ ἐπίστευσας τοῖς λόγοις μου).  He did not believe that they would come to pass or be fulfilled in the right or correct season or time (οἵτινες πληρωθήσονται εἰς τὸν καιρὸν αὐτῶν).  He would be punished, but not with a permanent punishment or death penalty.  Zechariah would be mute for a short period of time.

 

One of you will betray me (Mk 14:18-14:18)

“They took

Their places,

Reclining

At the table.

When they were

Eating,

Jesus said.

‘Truly!

I say to you!

One of you

Will betray me.

He is one

Of those eating

With me.’”

 

καὶ ἀνακειμένων αὐτῶν καὶ ἐσθιόντων ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι εἷς ἐξ ὑμῶν παραδώσει με, ὁ ἐσθίων μετ’ ἐμοῦ.

 

This is similar, almost word for word, to Matthew, chapter 26:20-21, and somewhat similar to John, chapter 13:21, but this verse is not found in Luke.  First, they all took their places reclining at the table (καὶ ἀνακειμένων αὐτῶν).  Did this mean that Peter, James, John, and Andrew had preferential seating?  While they were eating (καὶ ἐσθιόντων), Jesus gave a solemn declaration or proclamation (εἶπεν Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  He said that one of his 12 leading apostles would betray him (ὅτι εἷς ἐξ ὑμῶν παραδώσει με).  Differing from Matthew, Mark indicated that Jesus said that the betrayer was one of those eating with him at this very table with him (ὁ ἐσθίων μετ’ ἐμοῦ).  This seems like a strange time to bring this up.  However, Jesus was clear, he knew what was going to happen.  This may harken back to Psalm 49:9 where David complained that even some friend, whom he trusted and broke bread with, had lifted his heel against him.  Thus, this prophecy would be fulfilled when one of his beloved trusted 12 apostles betrayed him.

 

Fifth narrative

Jesus traveled toward Jerusalem and taught in the Temple there, debating with the chief priests and religious leaders.  Then he spoke about the coming kingdom of heaven and the future end times.

Jesus finally went to Judea, where he cured large crowds of people.  The Pharisees questioned him about divorce.  Jesus reiterated the importance of marriage, as he spoke about Moses and divorce.  After hearing the response of Jesus about divorce, his disciples wondered why they should marry at all.  Jesus explained about different kind of eunuchs.

The children came forward to Jesus and he blessed them.  He warned against wealth.  To gain eternal life you had to keep the commandments.  They wanted to know which commandments?  The great commandment was not a problem.  However, Jesus asked them to give up their possessions, so that the rich young man walked away.  It was hard for rich people to enter the kingdom like a camel going through the eye of a needle.  Who could be saved?  The response was that all things are possible with God.  Peter wanted to know about the disciples and the eternal life reward, so that Jesus told them that the first shall be last and vice versa.

Then Jesus presented the parable of the laborers in the vineyard.  He hired the first laborers, and then late in the day a second group, a third group and finally a fourth group of laborers.  The last group hired got a full day’s pay.  The first group hired were upset when they got the same as the last group hired.  This brought up the problem of generosity versus fairness, as Jesus explained the parable.

On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus predicted what was going to happen to him in Jerusalem.  The mother of the sons of Zebedee wanted to know if her two sons, James and John, could be the greatest, on either side of Jesus.  Jesus pointed out the difficulties and said that only the Father set up the seating arrangements.  This led to ten angry men as they resented the two trying to be first.  Jesus reminded them about servant leadership, as the Son of Man was going to give up his life.

There were great crowds at Jericho where Jesus found two blind men asking for mercy, so he healed them.  Then began the final ministry in Jerusalem with a triumphal entry.  Jesus sent two disciples from Bethpage to get a donkey and a colt because he needed them.  Thus, the prophecy of Zechariah might be fulfilled.  They brought the donkey and the colt to Jesus.  Then crowds welcomed the Son of David into Jerusalem as they began to wonder who this man was?

Jesus went into the Temple and chased out the money changers to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah.  When he cured people in the Temple, the chief priests were angry, but the little children praised him.

Then Jesus went to Bethany.  The next morning, he was hungry.  He saw a fig tree, but it had no figs, so he cursed the fig tree as it withered because of his faith.

People began to question where did Jesus get his authority?  Jesus responded with a question for a question.  He asked them about the value of the baptism of John.  They gave a timid response.  Then he told the parable about the two sons.  The first son said no at first, and then did the work, while the second son said yes and did not do the work.  Which son did the will of his father?  Thus, they did not believe John the Baptist.

Then Jesus told the parable about the wicked tenants.  This absentee land owner of the vineyard sent people to collect his rent.  Instead, the tenants beat and killed the landowner’s slaves.  He sent a second group that was also killed.  Then the tenants killed the landowner’s son.  Finally, the landowner came to take back his vineyard, citing Psalm 118 about the kingdom of God and the falling cornerstone.  The Pharisees understood this parable and tried to arrest Jesus.

Jesus continued to speak in parables.  This parable was about the king who gave a great wedding banquet.  However, the invited guests refused to come to the wedding banquet.  He sent out a second invitation to the wedding banquet, but they refused the second invitation also.  They treated his slaves badly.  The king was angry and sent out new invitations to the wedding feast.  Finally, a man without a wedding garment showed up, but he threw him out of the feast.  The explanation of this parable was that many are called, but few are chosen.

Next the Pharisees tried to trick Jesus by flattering him.  They asked him a question about taxes.  Jesus gave a harsh response as he had a dialogue about the Roman coin about whose image was on it.  Give Caesar his due.  The Pharisees and their disciples left.

However, the Sadducees asked a question about the resurrection.  There was a law about marrying the brother of a dead man.  There was a woman who married seven brothers, who was her husband in the resurrection?  Jesus responded that there was no marriage in the resurrection.  The living God of their ancestors would show them the way.  The crowd was astonished.

The Pharisees regrouped and wanted to know what is the greatest commandment?  Jesus responded about the two great commandments to love God and your neighbor.  Then Jesus asked the Pharisees a question.  Was the Christ the son of David?  Then who was the Lord for David?  After that there were no more questions for Jesus.

Jesus then cursed the Scribes and Pharisees.  He told his disciples to do what they say, but not what they do.  They tied up heavy burdens on the people.  They wore special clothing and sought the places of honor.  They want to be called Rabbis.  No one was your father or master.  Greatness comes with humility.  They tried to lock people out of heaven as they shut it off.  Even when they tried to make converts, they are like blind guides and fools.  They swore by the altar or the gift of the altar.  They swore by heaven, but they had forgotten the law.  They wanted the gnat out your eye but had a camel in their own eye.  They worried about the outside of the cup instead of the inside.  They were like whitewashed tombs.  They proclaimed reverence for the tombs of the prophets, but they were like their sinning ancestors. They were like serpents.  They would kill the prophets.  They spread innocent blood.  Soon the house of Jerusalem would be desolate.

Finally, there were the predictions about the end times.  Jesus left the Temple as he predicted its destruction.  What are the signs of the Parousia?  There would be the beginning of the great suffering so that they should not be lead astray.  There would be rumors of wars in those troubled times.  They would be persecuted for the sake of Jesus.  There would be betrayals and false prophets.  Love would grow cold.  Endurance would be necessary.  The importance of Daniel the prophet was emphasized.  In Judea, they would flee to the housetops.  It would be too late for the people in the fields.  This would be the wrong time to be pregnant or nursing.  There would be great tribulation, but the days would be short.

The end was coming because there would be false Christs and people looking for the Messiah.  The Son of Man would come on the clouds as the darkness in the skies appeared.  There would be a gathering of the chosen ones.  Using the parable of the fig tree, they could tell that the end was near.  This generation would pass away, but Jesus’ words would not pass away.  No one knew the day, since it would be like in the days of Noah.  Only one would be taken and the other left, so be ready.  Be a wise and faithful slave, not a wicked slave.

Jesus told the parable of the ten bridesmaids where half were wise and half foolish.  They all fell asleep.  When the bridegroom came, they all got up.  However, the foolish ones had no oil and wise ones said that there was not enough oil for both of them.  When the foolish left to get oil, they shut the door.  When they came back, the bridegroom said that he did not know them.  Thus, you do not know the day.

Next Jesus told the parable of the talents.  A man entrusted his assets to his slaves.  He gave them money.  One slave added five more talents, another added two more talents, but the third slave dug a hole and buried his money.  The master settled their accounts.  The slave with five talents got five more talents.  The slave with two talents got two more talents.  The slave with one talent was rebuked and punished.  Thus, there will be rewards and punishments at the end times.

In the last judgment, the Son of Man would appear in glory.  There would be sheep and goats, with the sheep on the right hand.  They had taken care of him.  They wondered when they had done this.  The Son of Man replied that they took care of him when they cared for the least of his brothers.  Then he told the goats on his left side to depart from him because they had not taken care of him when they did not care for the lowly people.  Thus, there would be eternal punishment or eternal reward.