Zacchaeus defends himself (Lk 19:8-19:8)

“Zacchaeus stood there.

He said

To the Lord.

‘Look!

Lord!

I will give

To the poor

Half of my possessions.

If I have defrauded

Anyone of anything,

I will pay back

Four times as much.’”

 

σταθεὶς δὲ Ζακχαῖος εἶπεν πρὸς τὸν Κύριον Ἰδοὺ τὰ ἡμίσειά μου τῶν ὑπαρχόντων, Κύριε, τοῖς πτωχοῖς δίδωμι, καὶ εἴ τινός τι ἐσυκοφάντησα ἀποδίδωμι τετραπλοῦν.

 

Luke indicated that Zacchaeus stood there (σταθεὶς δὲ Ζακχαῖος).  He then said to the Lord Jesus (εἶπεν πρὸς τὸν Κύριον), calling him Lord (Κύριε) that he was willing to give to the poor (τοῖς πτωχοῖς δίδωμι) half of his possessions (Ἰδοὺ τὰ ἡμίσειά μου τῶν ὑπαρχόντων).  He said that if he had defrauded anyone of anything (καὶ εἴ τινός τι ἐσυκοφάντησα), he was willing to pay it back 4 times as much (ἀποδίδωμι τετραπλοῦν).  Once again, Luke used the Greek word ἐσυκοφάντησα, that means to accuse falsely or defraud people, that was not found in any of the other Greek biblical writers.  Zacchaeus made a big deal about how he was not like the other tax collectors.  Despite his wealth, he was willing to give half of it away to some unnamed poor people.  Anytime, he was accused of defrauding people, he would give them 4 times what they were claiming.  This restoration of 4 times goes back to Exodus, chapter 22:1, about stealing sheep.  The thief had to pay four sheep for any one stolen sheep.  Thus, Zacchaeus seemed like a very fair person, leaning over backwards to help people.  Yet he was still wealthy.  Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus.  How do you treat people who claim that you are defrauding them?

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Eternal reward (Lk 18:29-18:30)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Truly!

I say to you!

There is no one

Who has left house,

Or wife,

Or brothers,

Or parents,

Or children,

For the sake

Of the kingdom of God,

Who will not get back

Very much in this age,

And in the age

To come,

Eternal life.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι οὐδείς ἐστιν ὃς ἀφῆκεν οἰκίαν ἢ γυναῖκα ἢ ἀδελφοὺς ἢ γονεῖς ἢ τέκνα ἕνεκεν τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ,

ὃς οὐχὶ μὴ λάβῃ πολλαπλασίονα ἐν τῷ καιρῷ τούτῳ καὶ ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τῷ ἐρχομένῳ ζωὴν αἰώνιον.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to them (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) with a solemn pronouncement (Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν), that everyone who has left their house (ὅτι οὐδείς ἐστιν ὃς ἀφῆκεν οἰκίαν), wife (ἢ γυναῖκα), brothers (ἢ ἀδελφοὺς), parents (ἢ γονεῖς), or children (ἢ τέκνα ἕνεκεν), for the sake of the kingdom of God (τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ) will get back very much more (ὃς οὐχὶ μὴ λάβῃ πολλαπλασίονα) in this age (ἐν τῷ καιρῷ τούτῳ), and in the age to come (καὶ ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τῷ ἐρχομένῳ), eternal life (ζωὴν αἰώνιον).  This is the only use of the Greek word πολλαπλασίονα, that means manifold or many times more.  This demanding but rewarding saying of Jesus can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:29-30, and Matthew, chapter 19:29, but slightly different, especially Matthew with the apostles sitting on the 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes.  Mark said that Jesus then issued a solemn proclamation to his disciples that anyone who has left house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, or land fields for the sake of the gospel good news, would receive a hundredfold now in this age, in houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and field lands.  However, in the age to come, they would have eternal life.  In Matthew, Jesus also issued a solemn proclamation to his disciples.  He told them, if they had followed him, that at the renewal of all things, the rebirth, the end times, the Son of Man would be seated on his glorious throne.  At that same time, his followers, these 12 disciple apostles, would sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel.  Everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or lands for his name would receive a hundredfold.  They would inherit eternal life.  The reward would be great.  Don’t worry.  Are you concerned that you have left your family to follow Jesus?

The kingdom of God (Lk 17:20-17:20)

“Once,

Jesus

Was asked

By the Pharisees,

When the kingdom of God

Was coming?

He answered.

‘The kingdom of God

Is not coming

With observable signs.’”

 

Ἐπερωτηθεὶς δὲ ὑπὸ τῶν Φαρισαίων πότε ἔρχεται ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς καὶ εἶπεν Οὐκ ἔρχεται ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ μετὰ παρατηρήσεως,

 

Luke uniquely indicated that the Pharisees questioned Jesus (Ἐπερωτηθεὶς δὲ ὑπὸ τῶν Φαρισαίων) about when the kingdom of God was coming (πότε ἔρχεται ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ).  He answered them by saying (ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς καὶ εἶπεν) that the kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ) was not coming with observable signs or careful watching (Οὐκ ἔρχεται…μετὰ παρατηρήσεως).  Once again, Luke used a Greek word παρατηρήσεως, meaning observation or careful watching, that was only found here and nowhere else in the Greek biblical literature.  Thus, no amount of careful watching or looking for signs would help them discover when the kingdom of God was coming.  This discussion between the Pharisees and Jesus about the meaning of the kingdom of God and when it was to come was, of course, of interest to the followers of Jesus also.  When do you think that the kingdom of God is coming?

Ten lepers (Lk 17:12-17:12)

“As Jesus

Entered a village,

Ten lepers

Approached him.

They kept

Their distance.”

 

καὶ εἰσερχομένου αὐτοῦ εἴς τινα κώμην ἀπήντησαν δέκα λεπροὶ ἄνδρες, οἳ ἔστησαν πόρρωθεν

 

Only Luke has this story about the curing of the ten lepers, although Luke had Jesus cure a leper earlier in chapter 5:12-16, that can be found in the other synoptics, Matthew, chapter 8:1-4, and Mark, chapter 1:40-45.  Luke indicated that Jesus entered a village (καὶ εἰσερχομένου αὐτοῦ εἴς τινα κώμην), where 10 lepers approached or met him (ἀπήντησαν δέκα λεπροὶ ἄνδρες).  However, these lepers kept their distance (οἳ ἔστησαν πόρρωθεν).  Leprosy was some kind of skin disease that was usually found among poor people.  Today, there are about 2,000,000 people with leprosy or Hansen’s disease, mostly in India, Indonesia, and Brazil.  The Greek word “λέπρας” used here is a broader definition of leprosy than just Hansen’s disease.  Leprosy was a Jewish religious problem also.  What to do about it was clearly defined in Leviticus, chapters 13-14.  Leprosy in the wide sense was considered unclean and had religious connotations, since only a priest could declare a person clean, with a distinct ritual for cleansing the leper.  As a leper, they were considered unclean and not fit to live in normal communal life.  Thus, there were spiritual, physical, social, and religious implications with being a leper.  Here there were 10 lepers in this village, so that they might have been a small leper colony.  They approached Jesus, but kept their appropriate distance from him, since they were quarantined from being with other non-leper people.  Have you ever met a leper?

Father Abraham (Lk 16:24-16:24)

“The rich man

Called out.

‘Father Abraham!

Have mercy on me!

Send Lazarus

To dip

The tip

Of his finger

In water,

To cool my tongue!

I am in agony

In these flames.’”

 

καὶ αὐτὸς φωνήσας εἶπεν Πάτερ Ἀβραάμ, ἐλέησόν με καὶ πέμψον Λάζαρον ἵνα βάψῃ τὸ ἄκρον τοῦ δακτύλου αὐτοῦ ὕδατος καὶ καταψύξῃ τὴν γλῶσσάν μου, ὅτι ὀδυνῶμαι ἐν τῇ φλογὶ ταύτῃ

 

This parable story about the poor man Lazarus and an unnamed rich man is only found in Luke, but not in the other gospels.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that the rich man called out (καὶ αὐτὸς φωνήσας εἶπεν) to Abraham, calling him father (Πάτερ Ἀβραάμ).  He wanted Abraham to have mercy on him (ἐλέησόν με).  He wanted him to send Lazarus (καὶ πέμψον Λάζαρον) to dip the tip of his finger (ἵνα βάψῃ τὸ ἄκρον τοῦ δακτύλου αὐτοῦ) in water (ὕδατος) to cool his tongue (καὶ καταψύξῃ τὴν γλῶσσάν μου) because he was suffering in agony (ὅτι ὀδυνῶμαι) from all those flames (ἐν τῇ φλογὶ ταύτῃ).  Once again, Luke has a unique use among the biblical writers of the Greek word καταψύξῃ, meaning to cool or refresh.  This rich man was suffering in a burning hell.  He wanted Abraham to send Lazarus to make life easier for him.  Are you afraid of a burning hell?

 

The dogs licked his sores (Lk 16:21-16:21)

“Lazarus longed

To satisfy

His hunger

With what fell

From the rich man’s table.

Even the dogs

Would come

And lick his sores.”

 

καὶ ἐπιθυμῶν χορτασθῆναι ἀπὸ τῶν πιπτόντων ἀπὸ τῆς τραπέζης τοῦ πλουσίου· ἀλλὰ καὶ οἱ κύνες ἐρχόμενοι ἐπέλειχον τὰ ἕλκη αὐτοῦ.

 

This parable story about the poor man Lazarus and an unnamed rich man is only found in Luke, not in the other gospels.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that Lazarus longed to satisfy his hunger or to be fed (καὶ ἐπιθυμῶν χορτασθῆναι) with what fell from the rich man’s table (ἀπὸ τῆς τραπέζης τοῦ πλουσίου).  Even the dogs would come and lick his sores (ἀλλὰ καὶ οἱ κύνες ἐρχόμενοι ἐπέλειχον τὰ ἕλκη αὐτοῦ).  Once again, Luke has a unique word use among the biblical writers of the Greek word ἐπέλειχον to lick off, lick clean, or lick up.  Lazarus was treated like a dog, getting the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table.  However, he was even worse, since the dogs were licking his sores.  Do you associate dogs with poverty?

 

Lazarus (Lk 16:20-16:20)

“At his gate,

Lay a poor man

Named Lazarus,

Covered with sores.”

 

πτωχὸς δέ τις ὀνόματι Λάζαρος ἐβέβλητο πρὸς τὸν πυλῶνα αὐτοῦ εἱλκωμένος

 

This parable story about the poor man Lazarus and an unnamed rich man is only found in Luke, not in the other gospels.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that a certain poor beggar (πτωχὸς δέ τις) lay at the gate of this rich man (ἐβέβλητο πρὸς τὸν πυλῶνα αὐτοῦ).  He was named Lazarus (ὀνόματι Λάζαρος) and was covered with sores (εἱλκωμένος).  Once again, Luke is the only one in all the biblical literature to use this Greek word εἱλκωμένος that means to wound, to ulcerate, or to suffer from sores.  It was also unusual to give a name to this poor person, since most of the Jesus parables usually had unnamed people.  The rich man was unnamed.  Was this Lazarus connected to the brother of Martha and Mary in John, chapter 11?  From this story, we know that Lazarus was poor and had many sores.  There was no attempt to line him up with the women of Bethany, Martha and Mary.  Do you personally know a poor person?