The nobleman (Lk 19:12-19:12)

 

“Thus,

Jesus said.

‘A nobleman

Went

To a distant country

To get royal power

For himself.

Then he would return.’”

 

εἶπεν οὖν Ἄνθρωπός τις εὐγενὴς ἐπορεύθη εἰς χώραν μακρὰν λαβεῖν ἑαυτῷ βασιλείαν καὶ ὑποστρέψαι.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said (εἶπεν οὖν) that a nobleman (Ἄνθρωπός τις εὐγενὴς) went to a distant country (ἐπορεύθη εἰς χώραν μακρὰν) to get royal power for himself (λαβεῖν ἑαυτῷ βασιλείαν).  After that, he would return later (καὶ ὑποστρέψαι).  This might have been a hint about the local leaders going to Rome to get their royal powers.  It may also be about Jesus going to heaven and then returning at the last judgment or the Second Coming.  However, there was the overriding theme of the need for responsibility, productivity, and not laziness.  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 25:14, where the story is about a man with a household of slaves and not a nobleman as here.  The slaves were given money to take care of things while the rich man was gone.  In Matthew, Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven would be like a man going on a journey (Ὥσπερ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος ἀποδημῶν).  This very generous man called or summoned his slaves (ἐκάλεσεν τοὺς ἰδίους δούλους) to entrust them or give them his property and possessions, while he was gone (καὶ παρέδωκεν αὐτοῖς τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ).  In Mark, 13:34, Jesus said that the end times would be like a man going on a journey (ὡς ἄνθρωπος ἀπόδημος).  He left his house (ἀφεὶς τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ).  He gave his slaves the authority (καὶ δοὺς τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ τὴν ἐξουσίαν) to perform their own individual tasks (ἑκάστῳ τὸ ἔργον αὐτοῦ).  He commanded a doorkeeper to stand watch over this whole situation (καὶ τῷ θυρωρῷ ἐνετείλατο ἵνα γρηγορῇ).  However, the story for Mark ended there, unlike Luke and Matthew that have more details about the slaves in this household.  What do you do when you go on a long journey?

Advertisements

The tax collector prayer (Lk 18:13-18:13)

“But the tax collector,

Standing far off,

Would not even

Look up to heaven.

But he was beating

His breast.

Saying.

‘God!

Be merciful to me

A sinner!’”

 

ὁ δὲ τελώνης μακρόθεν ἑστὼς οὐκ ἤθελεν οὐδὲ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς ἐπᾶραι εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν, ἀλλ’ ἔτυπτεν τὸ στῆθος αὐτοῦ λέγων Ὁ Θεός, ἱλάσθητί μοι τῷ ἁμαρτωλῷ

 

Luke has Jesus continue with this parable about a Pharisee and this tax collector that is only found in this gospel.  Luke indicated that Jesus then turned to the tax collector (ὁ δὲ τελώνης), who was standing far off or a distance away (μακρόθεν ἑστὼς).  He would not even look up or lift his eyes to heaven (οὐκ ἤθελεν οὐδὲ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς ἐπᾶραι εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν).  He was beating his breast (ἀλλ’ ἔτυπτεν τὸ στῆθος αὐτοῦ), a common form of penance.  He prayed to God (λέγων Ὁ Θεός) that God would be merciful to him (ἱλάσθητί μοι) a sinner (τῷ ἁμαρτωλῷ).  Instead of thanking God for being good, this tax collector admitted his guilt, not looking up, but striking his breast, asking God to be merciful to him because he was a sinner.  We have two different regular activities, and two different attitudes.  The Pharisee was a better actor in doing the right thing, but had a bad attitude.  The tax collector was not doing the right thing, but had a better attitude.  Are you a good doer or do you have a good attitude?

Lot and the Son of Man (Lk 17:29-17:30)

“But on the day

When Lot

Left Sodom,

It rained

Fire

And sulphur

From heaven.

It destroyed

All of them.

It will be like that

On the day

That the Son of Man

Is revealed.”

 

ᾗ δὲ ἡμέρᾳ ἐξῆλθεν Λὼτ ἀπὸ Σοδόμων, ἔβρεξεν πῦρ καὶ θεῖον ἀπ’ οὐρανοῦ καὶ ἀπώλεσεν πάντας

κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ ἔσται ᾗ ἡμέρᾳ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἀποκαλύπτεται.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus also mentioned Lot from Genesis, chapter 19:24.  Jesus said that on the day when Lot left Sodom (ᾗ δὲ ἡμέρᾳ ἐξῆλθεν Λὼτ ἀπὸ Σοδόμων), it rained fire (ἔβρεξεν πῦρ) and sulphur or brimstone (καὶ θεῖον) from heaven (ἀπ’ οὐρανοῦ).  It destroyed all of them (καὶ ἀπώλεσεν πάντας).  It would be like those days on the day (κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ ἔσται ᾗ ἡμέρᾳ) that the Son of Man would be revealed (ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἀποκαλύπτεται).  In other words, the destruction of the world at the time of Noah and the destruction of the town of Sodom at the time of Lot were a foretaste of the end times.  It would come unexpectedly.  However, the conclusion was to be expected.  The comparison was explicit.  The Son of Man would come like in the olden days of destruction.  Are you prepared for the coming of the Son of Man at the end times?

No switching places (Lk 16:26-16:26)

“Besides all this,

Between you

And us

A great chasm

Has been fixed.

Thus,

Those who might want

To pass

From here

To you

Cannot do so.

No one can cross

From there

To us.”

 

καὶ ἐν πᾶσι τούτοις μεταξὺ ἡμῶν καὶ ὑμῶν χάσμα μέγα ἐστήρικται, ὅπως οἱ θέλοντες διαβῆναι ἔνθεν πρὸς ὑμᾶς μὴ δύνωνται, μηδὲ ἐκεῖθεν πρὸς ἡμᾶς διαπερῶσιν.

 

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 Abraham continued with his talk to the rich man.  He said that besides all this (καὶ ἐν πᾶσι τούτοις), between him and Abraham with Lazarus (μεταξὺ ἡμῶν καὶ ὑμῶν), there was a great chasm that had been established (χάσμα μέγα ἐστήρικται).  Thus, those who might want to pass from here to there cannot do so (ὅπως οἱ θέλοντες διαβῆναι ἔνθεν πρὸς ὑμᾶς μὴ δύνωνται).  No one can cross from there to here (μηδὲ ἐκεῖθεν πρὸς ἡμᾶς διαπερῶσιν).  He had no way out.  Abraham pointed out that there was a big chasmic difference between where the rich man was and where Lazarus and Abraham were.  No one could, even if they wanted to, cross over from one to the other.  Somehow, they were able to talk to each other.  Yet they were in two distinct milieus that could not meet and exchange personal contacts.  What is your vision of hell and heaven?

The power of the law (Lk 16:17-16:17)

“It is easier

For heaven

And earth

To pass away,

Than for one stroke

Of a letter

Of the law

To be dropped.”

 

εὐκοπώτερον δέ ἐστιν τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν παρελθεῖν ἢ τοῦ νόμου μίαν κεραίαν πεσεῖν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that it was easier (εὐκοπώτερον δέ ἐστιν) for heaven (τὸν οὐρανὸν) and earth (καὶ τὴν γῆν) to pass away (παρελθεῖν), than for one stroke of a letter of the law to be dropped (ἢ τοῦ νόμου μίαν κεραίαν πεσεῖν).  Nothing in the Law or the Torah could be changed or dropped, plain and simple.  This saying is similar to Mark, chapter 13:31, and Matthew, chapter 5:18, with a few exceptions.  Matthew has this as a great Jesus solemn pronouncement for his disciples (ἀμὴν γὰρ λέγω ὑμῖν).  The next phrase is the same in Luke and Mark.  Heaven and earth would not pass away (ἕως ἂν παρέλθῃ ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ γῆ) until the law was fully accomplished (ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμου, ἕως ἂν πάντα γένηται).  Matthew, like Luke here, is even more specific with a detailed remark about the fact that not even an iota of the Law or not one stroke of a letter would go away (ἰῶτα ἓν ἢ μία κεραία οὐ μὴ παρέλθῃ ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμου), before the Law was fully accomplished.  Iota was the Greek word for the Hebrew yod, the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet.  Mark indicated that it was the words of Jesus, and not the Law, that would not change.  Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, chapter 3:31, would further expand on this idea of upholding the law.  In Matthew, chapter 24:35, and in Luke, chapter 21:33, Jesus said that heaven and earth would pass away (ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ γῆ παρελεύσονται), but his words would not pass away (οἱ δὲ λόγοι μου οὐ μὴ παρελεύσονται).  This was a simple statement about the enduring quality of the words of Jesus.  Here, however, it is the words of the law that would not pass away, not the words of Jesus.  Which is more important for you, the law or the words of Jesus?

The son admits he is a sinner (Lk 15:21-15:21)

“Then the son

Said to him.

‘Father!

I have sinned

Against heaven

And before you.

I am no longer worthy

To be called

Your son.’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ ὁ υἱὸς αὐτῷ Πάτερ, ἥμαρτον εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ ἐνώπιόν σου, οὐκέτι εἰμὶ ἄξιος κληθῆναι υἱός σου.

 

This long parable story about the prodigal son can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that the son said to his father (εἶπεν δὲ ὁ υἱὸς αὐτῷ Πάτερ) that he had sinned (ἥμαρτον) against heaven (εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν) and his own father (καὶ ἐνώπιόν σου).  He was no longer worthy to be called his son (οὐκέτι εἰμὶ ἄξιος κληθῆναι υἱός σου).  Some of the Greek texts have the ending sentence of verse 19, where he wanted to be treated like one of his hired hands (ποίησόν με ὡς ἕνα τῶν μισθίων σου).  This seems to be a very true contrite statement, since the words are exactly what he was thinking when he decided to return home.  Thus, this prodigal son confessed his sins and asked for repentance, after his father had already accepted him back.  Have you ever confessed that you are a sinner?

Joy over a repentant sinner (Lk 15:7-15:7)

“Just so,

I tell you!

There will be more joy

In heaven

Over one sinner

Who repents

Than over ninety-nine

Righteous persons

Who need no repentance.”

 

λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι οὕτως χαρὰ ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ἔσται ἐπὶ ἑνὶ ἁμαρτωλῷ μετανοοῦντι ἢ ἐπὶ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα δικαίοις οἵτινες οὐ χρείαν ἔχουσιν μετανοίας.

 

Luke had Jesus conclude this parable about the lost sheep.  Jesus said with a solemn pronouncement (λέγω ὑμῖν) that there would be more joy in heaven (ὅτι οὕτως χαρὰ ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ἔσται) over one repentant sinner (ἐπὶ ἑνὶ ἁμαρτωλῷ μετανοοῦντι) than over the 99 righteous people (ἢ ἐπὶ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα δικαίοις) who do not need repentance (οἵτινες οὐ χρείαν ἔχουσιν μετανοίας).  This explanation of the lost sheep parable can also be found in Matthew, chapter 18:14, with some minor changes, indicating a Q source.  Luke compared this lost sheep to a repentant sinner.  In Matthew, Jesus explained that it was not the will of his heavenly Father (οὕτως οὐκ ἔστιν θέλημα ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ Πατρὸς ὑμῶν τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς) that these little ones should be lost or perish (ἵνα ἀπόληται ἓν τῶν μικρῶν τούτων).  The heavenly Father did not want to lose anyone, just like the good shepherd did not want to lose any one of his wandering sheep.  Have you ever lost someone close to you?