A sign from heaven (Lk 11:16-11:16)

“Others,

To test Jesus,

Kept demanding

A sign from heaven.”

 

ἕτεροι δὲ πειράζοντες σημεῖον ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἐζήτουν παρ’ αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke said that other people tried to test Jesus (ἕτεροι δὲ πειράζοντες), by demanding or seeking from him (ἐζήτουν παρ’ αὐτοῦ) a sign from heaven (σημεῖον ἐξ οὐρανοῦ).  There were other instances about people looking for signs from heaven, but not within this context.  In Mark, chapter 8:11, the Pharisees asked Jesus to show them a sign from heaven, since they wanted to test Jesus.  Heavenly signs had been common among the prophets to prove their authenticity.  In Matthew, chapter 16:1, both the Pharisees and the Sadducees came to Jesus.  They wanted to test Jesus also.  They also asked him to show them a heavenly validation of his work.  Later in Luke, chapter 11:29, there was also talk about the sign of Jonah.  Thus, there was a continual attempt to test Jesus, by asking him to give some heavenly signs.  Do you try to test Jesus in your life?

 

The demons submit to us (Lk 10:17-10:17)

“The seventy disciples

Returned with joy,

Saying.

‘Lord!

Even the demons

Submit to us

In your name!’”

 

Ὑπέστρεψαν δὲ οἱ ἑβδομήκοντα μετὰ χαρᾶς λέγοντες Κύριε, καὶ τὰ δαιμόνια ὑποτάσσεται ἡμῖν ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου.

 

Luke uniquely said that the seventy disciples returned (Ὑπέστρεψαν δὲ οἱ ἑβδομήκοντα) with joy or grace (μετὰ χαρᾶς).  They said to Jesus, calling him Lord (λέγοντες Κύριε), the demons (καὶ τὰ δαιμόνια) had submitted to them (ὑποτάσσεται ἡμῖν) in Jesus’ name (ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου).  Only Luke had anything to say about these 70 disciples.  Like the 12 apostles when they returned, these disciples were happy.  They pointed out to Jesus that even the evil spirit demons were submitting to them when they mentioned Jesus’ name.  Thus, the power of Jesus would continue.  These apostles and disciples would carry on his work. Do you think that today’s disciples of Jesus can make evil spirits submit to them?

 

The twelve apostles (Lk 6:13-6:13)

“When day came,

He called his disciples.

He chose

Twelve of them,

Whom he named apostles.”

 

καὶ ὅτε ἐγένετο ἡμέρα, προσεφώνησεν τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐκλεξάμενος ἀπ’ αὐτῶν δώδεκα, οὓς καὶ ἀποστόλους ὠνόμασεν,

 

Luke said that when daylight or the day came (καὶ ὅτε ἐγένετο ἡμέρα), Jesus called his disciples (προσεφώνησεν τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ).  However, he chose twelve of them (καὶ ἐκλεξάμενος ἀπ’ αὐτῶν δώδεκα), whom he named apostles (οὓς καὶ ἀποστόλους ὠνόμασεν).  The number 12 corresponded to the number of sons of Jacob or the 12 tribes of Israel.  These 12 had what was later referred to as apostolic authority.  Jesus thus established or picked out these 12 disciples to carry on his work.  The distinction was that disciples were learners or followers.  The apostles, on the other hand, were to be sent out on a mission to do something.  There is something similar in Mark, chapter 3:13-14, where Jesus called these special disciples, apostles, also.  Jesus called these 12 that he wanted to be with him.  They, of course, came to him.  Matthew, chapter 10:1, said that Jesus gave these 12 apostles authority to cast out unclean spirits just as he had done.  Jesus summoned or called his 12 apostles to give them spiritual authority over unclean or impure spirits.  Thus, they could cast out or banish these evil spirits or demons.  They were also able to cure, treat, or heal all diseases and illnesses, sicknesses, or weakness.  In other words, Jesus was giving his own power or authority to cast out evil spirits and heal people to these 12 apostles.  This was a big deal.

The Pharisees seek a sign from heaven (Mk 8:11-8:11)

“The Pharisees came.

They began

To argue

With Jesus.

They were asking him

For a sign

From heaven.

They wanted

To test him.”

 

Καὶ ἐξῆλθον οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ ἤρξαντο συνζητεῖν αὐτῷ, ζητοῦντες παρ’ αὐτοῦ σημεῖον ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, πειράζοντες αὐτόν.

 

This seeking of signs was common among the gospel writers, in Luke, chapter 11:16, and especially in Matthew, chapters 12:38 and 16:1-4.  The Pharisees wanted a sign.  There was no mention of the Scribes here, as in Matthew.  These Pharisees were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that became the basis for later Rabbinic Judaism.  They had they own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with the letter of the law above its spirit.  They had a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple.  The Pharisees in the New Testament, often engaged in discussion and disputes with Jesus and his disciples, as here.  Mark said that some of these Pharisees came to Jesus (Καὶ ἐξῆλθον οἱ Φαρισαῖοι).  They began to argue, dispute, or discuss with Jesus (καὶ ἤρξαντο συνζητεῖν αὐτῷ).  They asked him to show them a sign from heaven or a heavenly validation of his work (ζητοῦντες παρ’ αὐτοῦ σημεῖον ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ).  They wanted to test or tempt Jesus (πειράζοντες αὐτόν).  Heavenly signs had been common among the prophets to prove their authenticity.

Jesus sends out the apostles (Mk 6:7-6:7)

“Jesus called

The twelve.

He began

To send them out

Two by two.

He gave them authority

Over the unclean spirits.”

 

Καὶ προσκαλεῖται τοὺς δώδεκα, καὶ ἤρξατο αὐτοὺς ἀποστέλλειν δύο, καὶ ἐδίδου αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τῶν πνευμάτων τῶν ἀκαθάρτων,

 

This section about the authority and mission of the 12 disciples or apostles is similar to Matthew, chapter 10:1 and Luke, chapter 9:1.  Mark said that Jesus summoned or called (Καὶ προσκαλεῖται) his 12 apostles (τοὺς δώδεκα).  He began to send them out two by two (καὶ ἤρξατο αὐτοὺς ἀποστέλλειν δύο δύο).  He gave them authority over unclean or impure spirits (καὶ ἐδίδου αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τῶν πνευμάτων τῶν ἀκαθάρτων).  Thus, they could cast out or banish these evil spirits or demons, but there was no mention of curing diseases, illnesses, sicknesses, or weakness, just casting out the evil spirits that might have been the cause of their illnesses.  Jesus was giving his own power or authority to cast out evil spirits to these 12 apostles.  This was a big deal.  The number 12 corresponded to the number of sons of Jacob or the 12 tribes of Israel.  Jesus thus established these 12 apostles to carry on his work in casting out evil spirits.

The Pharisees ask for a sign from heaven (Mt 16:1-16:1)

“The Pharisees

And the Sadducees came.

They wanted

To test Jesus.

They asked him

To show them

A sign from heaven.”

 

Καὶ προσελθόντες οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ Σαδδουκαῖοι πειράζοντες ἐπηρώτησαν αὐτὸν σημεῖον ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἐπιδεῖξαι αὐτοῖς.

 

The asking for signs can be found in Mark, chapter 8:11, and Luke, chapter 11:16, and earlier in Matthew, chapter 12:38, plus here, but there are slight differences.  The Pharisees and the Sadducees came to Jesus (Καὶ προσελθόντες οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ Σαδδουκαῖοι).  They wanted to test or tempt him (πειράζοντες).  They asked him to show them a sign from heaven or a heavenly validation of his work (ἐπηρώτησαν αὐτὸν σημεῖον ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἐπιδεῖξαι αὐτοῖς).  Instead of the Scribes and Pharisees wanting a sign, as earlier in this work, here it is the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  There had been no mention of the Sadducees since the story about John the Baptist in chapter 3:7, while the Pharisees were present all over the place.  The Pharisees were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that followed the Law of Moses, but with a number of oral traditions.  They had they own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with the letter of the law above its spirit, with a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple.  The Sadducees, on the other hand, were generally aristocratic priestly officials, tied to the Temple and ritual purifications.  They were less concerned about oral traditions, so that they might have been political religious rivals to the Pharisees.  Rarely did they agree on anything, since there may have been only about 6.000 in each group.  However, here both these groups wanted to see a sign from Jesus.  John the Baptist had been critical of both the Pharisees and the Sadducees earlier in Matthew, chapter 3:7.