Who can forgive sins? (Lk 7:49-7:49)

“Those who were

At the table

With Jesus

Began to say

Among themselves.

‘Who is this?

Who even forgives sins?’”

 

καὶ ἤρξαντο οἱ συνανακείμενοι λέγειν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς Τίς οὗτός ἐστιν, ὃς καὶ ἁμαρτίας ἀφίησιν;

 

Luke uniquely had this response from those at this dinner party.  Luke said that those who were reclining at the table with Jesus began to say among themselves (καὶ ἤρξαντο οἱ συνανακείμενοι λέγειν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς) who was this who even forgives sins (Τίς οὗτός ἐστιν, ὃς καὶ ἁμαρτίας ἀφίησιν)?  This was a common topic among the Pharisees, since they maintained that only God could forgive sins, not this itinerant Galilean preacher.  Do you believe that Jesus can forgive your sins?

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A great prophet (Lk 7:16-7:16)

“Fear seized

All of them.

They glorified God.

Saying.

‘A great prophet

Has arisen among us!

God has looked favorably

On his people!’”

 

ἔλαβεν δὲ φόβος πάντας, καὶ ἐδόξαζον τὸν Θεὸν λέγοντες ὅτι Προφήτης μέγας ἠγέρθη ἐν ἡμῖν, καὶ ὅτι Ἐπεσκέψατο ὁ Θεὸς τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke said that fear seized all the people (ἔλαβεν δὲ φόβος πάντας) there in Nain.  They glorified God (καὶ ἐδόξαζον τὸν Θεὸν).  They said that a great prophet had arisen among them (λέγοντες ὅτι Προφήτης μέγας ἠγέρθη ἐν ἡμῖν).  God had visited or looked favorably on his people (καὶ ὅτι Ἐπεσκέψατο ὁ Θεὸς τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ).  This was truly a shocking development.  The people of Nain were fear struck and felt privileged at the same time.  They began to praise God.  They called Jesus a great prophet like Elijah in 1 Kings, chapter 17:17-24, and Elisha in 2 Kings, chapter 4:32-37, who restored life to dead young people about 1,000 years prior.  This was a big deal.  Would you be afraid or amazed if you saw a dead man rise up from a casket?

Be merciful! (Lk 6:36-6:36)

“Be merciful!

Even as your Father

Is merciful.”

 

Γίνεσθε οἰκτίρμονες, καθὼς ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν οἰκτίρμων ἐστίν

 

The result of the kindness of God was that the followers of Jesus should also be merciful (Γίνεσθε οἰκτίρμονες), even as their Father is merciful (καθὼς ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν οἰκτίρμων ἐστίν).  Matthew, chapter 5:48, had Jesus say that they should be perfect, like their heavenly Father by loving and greeting everyone.  Only Matthew had this emphasis on perfection, completeness, or maturity, while Luke had Jesus emphasize mercy.  Would you rather be merciful or perfect?

God is kind (Lk 6:35-6:35)

“God is kind

To the ungrateful

And the selfish.”

 

ὅτι αὐτὸς χρηστός ἐστιν ἐπὶ τοὺς ἀχαρίστους καὶ πονηρούς.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said that the Most-High God is kind (ὅτι αὐτὸς χρηστός ἐστιν), even to the ungrateful (ἐπὶ τοὺς ἀχαρίστους) and the selfish evil ones (καὶ πονηρούς).  The goodness of God extends even to the wicked.  Does that surprise you?

Blessed are the poor (Lk 6:20-6:20)

“Then Jesus

Looked up

At his disciples.

He said.

‘Blessed are you

Who are poor!

Yours is

The kingdom of God.”

 

Καὶ αὐτὸς ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ εἰς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ ἔλεγεν Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοί, ὅτι ὑμετέρα ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

Luke said that Jesus looked up at his disciples (Καὶ αὐτὸς ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ εἰς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ).  He said (ἔλεγεν) that the poor are blessed or happy (Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοί), using the second person plural.  Their reward would be the kingdom of God (ὅτι ὑμετέρα ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ).  This sermon on the plain is somewhat similar to the sermon on the mount in Matthew, chapters 5-7.  Most people speak about the 8 beatitudes of Jesus on the mountain, since they feature the key points of Jesus’ preaching that was founded on the Hebrew Scriptures.  What does “blessed (Μακάριοι)” mean?  This Greek word Μακάριοι appeared over 68 times in the Greek Septuagint Old Testament, especially in the Psalms.  God will bless these people, so that they will be the fortunate ones, the happy ones, the wise ones.  There are echoes of Psalm 32, where the happy and blessed ones are those who have had their sins forgiven, since they have no deceit in their hearts.  The blessed people are the poor, the hungry, the mourners, and those being persecuted.  Number one is the poor.  However, right off the bat, there is a difference with Matthew. chapter 5:3, who used the term the “poor in spirit (οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι).”  What did Matthew mean by this “poor in spirit” or spiritual poverty?  There is a whole Judaic tradition about the oppressed poor and the humble of the land, as in the prophets Isaiah, chapter 61:1 and 66:2, and Zephaniah, chapter 2:3, but that was not spiritual poverty.  Perhaps, this was more like the lack of concern for material things, whether you are actually poor or not.  For Luke, it was black or white, poor or not.  The 2nd major difference was the reward.  Matthew talked about what they would possess, the kingdom of the heavens (ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν), while Luke said it was the kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ), plain and simple.

Jesus at prayer (Lk 6:12-6:12)

“Now during those days,

Jesus went out

To the mountain

To pray.

He spent the night

In prayer

To God.”

 

Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ταύταις ἐξελθεῖν αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ ὄρος προσεύξασθαι, καὶ ἦν διανυκτερεύων ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

Luke said that during those days (Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ταύταις), Jesus went out to the mountain to pray (ἐξελθεῖν αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ ὄρος προσεύξασθαι).  He spent the night (καὶ ἦν διανυκτερεύων) in prayer to God (ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Mark, chapter 3:13, also said that Jesus went up a mountain, much like Moses.  Going to a mountain was a way of getting closer to God in the high heavens.  Here Luke emphasized the prayerful solitary preparation of Jesus before his decision about the 12 apostles, as he spent the night praying to God.  This also brings up the separation between Jesus and God,the Father.

Lord of the Sabbath (Lk 6:5-6:5)

“Then Jesus said to them.

‘The Son of Man is

Lord of the Sabbath.’”

 

καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς Κύριός ἐστιν τοῦ σαββάτου ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus then said to them (καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς) that the Son of Man (ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) is Lord of the Sabbath (Κύριός ἐστιν τοῦ σαββάτου).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 12:8, and Mark, chapter 2:28, probably indicating that Mark was the source of this comment.  However, the other 2 gospels had more elaboration.  Mark had Jesus say to those around him that the Sabbath was made for man, humans, or mankind, not humans for the Sabbath.  Then he added the comment that is here in Luke that the Son of Man was the Lord of the Sabbath, which was picked up by the other two synoptic gospels.  Matthew had Jesus begin with a solemn proclamation that someone greater than the Temple was here, a clear reference to Jesus himself.  They did not know what the saying about mercy was all about.  Matthew then used the same citation of Hosea chapter 6:6, that he had earlier in chapter 9:13.  Jesus explained that he desired mercy, just as Yahweh wanted real faithful love, not mere sacrifices.  Hosea wanted the Israelites to have real knowledge of God, rather than worry about burnt offerings.  Thus, the Pharisees should not have condemned the innocent or guiltless ones, since Jesus and his disciples had done nothing wrong.  He then concluded with the saying that the Son of Man was the Lord of the Sabbath.  Jesus then could control the Sabbath, not the other way around.  Instead of the Sabbath as a gift to humans, Jesus would reinterpret the laws of the Sabbath as the Lord of the Sabbath.