Be ready

“Be on guard!

Thus,

Your hearts

Will not be weighed down

With dissipation,

Drunkenness,

And the worries

Of this life.

Then that day

Will not catch you

Unexpectedly.”

 

Προσέχετε δὲ ἑαυτοῖς μή ποτε βαρηθῶσιν ὑμῶν αἱ καρδίαι ἐν κραιπάλῃ καὶ μέθῃ καὶ μερίμναις βιωτικαῖς, καὶ ἐπιστῇ ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς αἰφνίδιος ἡ ἡμέρα ἐκείνη

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to be on guard or aware (Προσέχετε δὲ ἑαυτοῖς), so that their hearts should not be weighed down (μή ποτε βαρηθῶσιν ὑμῶν αἱ καρδίαι) with dissipation (ἐν κραιπάλῃ), drunkenness (καὶ μέθῃ), and the daily worries of this life (καὶ μερίμναις βιωτικαῖς).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use this term κραιπάλῃ, that means drunken nausea or drunken dissipation.  Thus, the day of the end times would not suddenly catch you unexpectedly (καὶ ἐπιστῇ ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς αἰφνίδιος ἡ ἡμέρα ἐκείνη).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 24:43 and Mark, chapter 13:35.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that they were to be aware (Βλέπετε) and alert all the time (ἀγρυπνεῖτε), because they did not know (οὐκ οἴδατε) when the end times (γὰρ πότε ὁ καιρός ἐστιν) would come.  Luke, chapter 12:39-40, also had something similar about the thief at night.  Jesus warned his disciples to be vigilant.  They were to stay awake (γρηγορεῖτε οὖν), because they did not know on what day (ὅτι οὐκ οἴδατε ποίᾳ ἡμέρᾳ) the Lord was coming (ὁ κύριος ὑμῶν ἔρχεται).  Therefore, they had to be ready or prepared (διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ὑμεῖς γίνεσθε ἕτοιμοι) for the coming of the Son of Man (ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἔρχεται) because he would be coming at an unexpected hour (ὅτι ᾗ οὐ δοκεῖτε ὥρᾳ).  This is also similar to the parable ending in Matthew, chapter 25:13, about the virgins at the wedding being vigilant.  This was a simple message to be vigilant all the time, because your end or the end of the world could happen at any time.  Are you ready to go?

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Jerusalem surrounded (Lk 21:20-21:20)

“When you see Jerusalem

Surrounded

By army camps,

Then know

That its desolation

Has come near.”

 

Ὅταν δὲ ἴδητε κυκλουμένην ὑπὸ στρατοπέδων Ἱερουσαλήμ, τότε γνῶτε ὅτι ἤγγικεν ἡ ἐρήμωσις αὐτῆς.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that when they would see Jerusalem (Ἱερουσαλήμ) surrounded by military army camps (Ὅταν δὲ ἴδητε κυκλουμένην ὑπὸ στρατοπέδων), then they should know (τότε γνῶτε) that its desolation was near (ὅτι ἤγγικεν ἡ ἐρήμωσις αὐτῆς).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer that used the word στρατοπέδων that meant a military camp, an army, or an encamped army.  Perhaps, this was a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE.  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 24:15, and in Mark, chapter 13:14.  Mark said that Jesus warned them that when they saw the desolating sacrilege or cursed devastation (Ὅταν δὲ ἴδητε τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως) standing or set up in the place where it should not be (ἑστηκότα ὅπου οὐ δεῖ), those reading this should understand (ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω) what was happening.  Matthew indicated that Jesus warned that when they saw the desolating sacrilege or cursed devastation (Ὅταν οὖν ἴδητε τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως) standing in the holy place (ἑστὸς ἐν τόπῳ ἁγίῳ), they would understand (ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω) what was happening.  Only Matthew explicitly and specifically mentioned the prophet Daniel (τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Δανιὴλ τοῦ προφήτου), chapter 9:27 and chapter 11:31, talking about the desolating abomination in the Temple.  In 175 BCE, the prince, King Antiochus IV Epiphanes came to destroy the high priest Onias III, and the city of Jerusalem with its sanctuary during the war against the Maccabees uprising.  During that time, the sacrifices and offerings ceased in the Temple.  Instead, they had these terrible abominations and desolations of the false idols.  Thus, the reference to Daniel is both eschatological, about the end times, as well as a reference to the political religious revolt of the Maccabees nearly two centuries earlier.  Have you ever seen a religious shrine or church destroyed?

Great earthquakes (Lk 21:11-21:11)

“There will be

Great earthquakes.

There will be

Famines

And plagues

In various places.

There will be

Terrors

And great signs

From heaven.”

 

σεισμοί τε μεγάλοι καὶ κατὰ τόπους λοιμοὶ καὶ λιμοὶ ἔσονται, φόβητρά τε καὶ ἀπ’ οὐρανοῦ σημεῖα μεγάλα ἔσται.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that there would be great earthquakes (σεισμοί τε μεγάλοι).  There would also be famines (καὶ λιμοὶ ἔσονται) and plagues (λοιμοὶ) in various places (καὶ κατὰ τόπους).  There also would be terrors (φόβητρά τε) and great signs from heaven (καὶ ἀπ’ οὐρανοῦ σημεῖα μεγάλα ἔσται).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use the term φόβητρά, that means a cause of terror, a terrible sight, or an object of fear.  There is something similar in Mark, chapter 13:8, and in Matthew, chapter 24:8, almost word for word at times.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that there would be earthquakes in various places (ἔσονται σεισμοὶ κατὰ τόπους) and famines (ἔσονται λιμοί).  All of this was the mere beginning of the end (ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων ταῦτα).  Matthew indicated that Jesus said there would be famines (καὶ ἔσονται λιμοὶ) and earthquakes in various places (καὶ σεισμοὶ κατὰ τόπους).  All of this was like birth-pangs (πάντα δὲ ταῦτα ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων).  These comments and the idea of birth pains were in the Hebrew prophetic tradition of the apocalyptic literature, the Day of Yahweh, the judgment day.  Jesus was speaking like many of the ancient Israelite prophets who warned about the coming of the divine judgment at the end of days, the end times.  However, Luke did not emphasize the beginning of the end here.  What do you think that the end of the world will be like?

Noble stones of the Temple (Lk 21:5-21:5)

“Some were speaking

About the Temple.

It was adorned

With beautiful stones.

These were gifts

Dedicated to God.”

 

Καί τινων λεγόντων περὶ τοῦ ἱεροῦ, ὅτι λίθοις καλοῖς καὶ ἀναθήμασιν κεκόσμηται,

 

Luke said that some people were speaking about the Temple (Καί τινων λεγόντων περὶ τοῦ ἱεροῦ), since it was adorned with beautiful stones (ὅτι λίθοις καλοῖς), gifts dedicated to God (καὶ ἀναθήμασιν κεκόσμηται).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use the word ἀναθήμασιν that means a gift or offering dedicated in a temple by a worshipper or a gift or offering consecrated to God.  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 24:1, and Mark, chapter 13:1.  Mark said that Jesus was leaving the Temple (Καὶ ἐκπορευομένου αὐτοῦ ἐκ τοῦ ἱεροῦ).  Then one of his disciples (λέγει αὐτῷ εἷς τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ) pointed out to him the beautiful Temple buildings.  This unnamed disciple called him teacher (Διδάσκαλε).  He wanted Jesus to see and look at the wonderful or great stones and buildings (ἴδε ποταποὶ λίθοι καὶ ποταπαὶ οἰκοδομαί).  Matthew, like Mark, indicated that Jesus came out of the Temple (Καὶ ἐξελθὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἀπὸ τοῦ ἱεροῦ).  As he was going away (ἐπορεύετο), his disciples came up to him to point out the beautiful Temple buildings (καὶ προσῆλθον οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἐπιδεῖξαι αὐτῷ τὰς οἰκοδομὰς τοῦ ἱεροῦ).  The Jerusalem Temple had been under reconstruction since the time of Herod the Great in 19 BCE, but would not have been completed at the time of Jesus, since it was only finished in 63 CE.  However, most of the work would have been done by the time of Jesus.  Just like many churches, this Temple was not completed in a few years.  Do you know of any churches that took a long time to build or rebuild?

Mosaic law of taking a dead man’s wife (Lk 20:28-20:28)

“These Sadducees

Asked him a question.

‘Teacher!’

Moses wrote for us

That if a man’s brother dies,

Leaving a wife childless,

The man shall marry

The widow.

He will raise up children

For his brother.’”

 

λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε, Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν, ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ ἔχων γυναῖκα, καὶ οὗτος ἄτεκνος ᾖ, ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke said that these Sadducees asked Jesus a question (λέγοντες), respectfully calling him “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε)!”  They said that Moses wrote for them (Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν) in Deuteronomy, chapter 25:5-10, that if a man’s brother dies (ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ), leaving a wife childless (ἔχων γυναῖκα, καὶ οὗτος ἄτεκνος ᾖ), that man should marry the widow (ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα) to raise up children or seed for his brother (καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use this word ἄτεκνος, that means childless.  Matthew, chapter 22:24, and Mark, chapter 12:19, are almost word for word as here in LukeMark said that these Sadducees addressed Jesus very respectfully as “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε).”  They quoted a Mosaic text that Moses had written for them (Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν),  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).  Matthew indicated that these Sadducees also addressed Jesus very respectfully as “Teacher” or “Rabbi (λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε).”  They quoted a Mosaic text, as Moses said (Μωϋσῆς εἶπεν).  If a man died without any children (Ἐάν τις ἀποθάνῃ μὴ ἔχων τέκνα), his brother should marry the widow (ἐπιγαμβρεύσει ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ).  He would then raise up the descendants for his brother (καὶ ἀναστήσει 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.  Would you marry the wife or husband or your dead brother or sister?

Eating with a sinner (Lk 19:7-19:7)

“All who saw it

Began to grumble.

They said.

‘Jesus has gone

To be the guest,

Of one who is a sinner.’”

 

καὶ ἰδόντες πάντες διεγόγγυζον λέγοντες ὅτι Παρὰ ἁμαρτωλῷ ἀνδρὶ εἰσῆλθεν καταλῦσαι.

 

Luke indicated that everyone who saw this (καὶ ἰδόντες πάντες) began to grumble (διεγόγγυζον).  They said (λέγοντες) that Jesus had gone to stay with a sinful man (ὅτι Παρὰ ἁμαρτωλῷ ἀνδρὶ εἰσῆλθεν καταλῦσαι).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use the term διεγόγγυζον, that means to murmur among themselves, murmur greatly, or continue murmuring.  All the people knew that Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector and thus working with and for the foreign governing Romans.  These tax collectors were more political and distained because of their corruption and wealth.  Now Jesus was going to stay with what many considered a public sinner, a tax collector.  Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector.  Would you stay with someone who was a known public sinner?

Sycamore tree (Lk 19:4-19:4)

“Thus,

Zacchaeus ran ahead.

He climbed up

A sycamore tree

To see Jesus,

Because Jesus

Was going

To pass that way.”

 

καὶ προδραμὼν εἰς τὸ ἔμπροσθεν ἀνέβη ἐπὶ συκομορέαν, ἵνα ἴδῃ αὐτόν, ὅτι ἐκείνης ἤμελλεν διέρχεσθαι.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Zacchaeus ran ahead (καὶ προδραμὼν εἰς τὸ ἔμπροσθεν) of everyone.  He then climbed up a sycamore tree (ἀνέβη ἐπὶ συκομορέαν) in order to see Jesus (ἵνα ἴδῃ αὐτόν), because Jesus was about to pass that way (ὅτι ἐκείνης ἤμελλεν διέρχεσθαι).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use the word συκομορέαν, that means a fig-mulberry tree, a sycamore fig, or a sycamore tree.  This small rich tax collector ran ahead of everybody and climbed up a tree so that he could see Jesus when he passed by, an ingenious way to get a look at the celebrity who was in town.  Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus.  Would you climb a tree to see a celebrity?