Jesus perceived their craftiness (Lk 20:23-20:23)

“But Jesus perceived

Their craftiness.”

 

κατανοήσας δὲ αὐτῶν τὴν πανουργίαν

 

Luke said that Jesus perceived, understood, or discerned (κατανοήσας) their cunning craftiness (δὲ αὐτῶν τὴν πανουργίαν).  There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 22:18, and in Mark, chapter 12:15.  Mark said that Jesus was aware of their evil intentions or hypocrisy (ὁ δὲ εἰδὼς αὐτῶν τὴν ὑπόκρισιν).  He asked them (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) why were they testing or tempting him (Τί με πειράζετε)?  This idea of testing or tricking Jesus was a common theme in the gospels.  Matthew said that Jesus was aware of their evil intentions (γνοὺς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὴν πονηρίαν αὐτῶν).  He called them hypocrites (ὑποκριταί).  He wanted to know why they were testing or tempting him (εἶπεν Τί με πειράζετε).  This idea of testing or tricking Jesus was a common theme in the Gospel of Matthew, as in chapter 4:7, at the time of his temptations at the beginning of his ministry, as well as in chapter 16:1, when the Pharisees were asking for signs, and in chapter 19:3, when they were asking about divorce.  Jesus referred to them as hypocrites in chapter 6:2-5, when they were praying in public places, and in chapter 6:16, when they were fasting, as well as in chapter 15:7, when they were dishonoring their parents in order to worship in the Temple.  Do you consider yourself crafty?

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Beware of the Pharisees (Lk 12:1-12:1)

“Meanwhile,

The crowd gathered

By the thousands,

So that they trampled

On one another.

Jesus began to speak,

First to his disciples.

‘Beware of the yeast

Of the Pharisees,

That is,

Their hypocrisy.’”

 

Ἐν οἷς ἐπισυναχθεισῶν τῶν μυριάδων τοῦ ὄχλου, ὥστε καταπατεῖν ἀλλήλους, ἤρξατο λέγειν πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ πρῶτον Προσέχετε ἑαυτοῖς ἀπὸ τῆς ζύμης, ἥτις ἐστὶν ὑπόκρισις, τῶν Φαρισαίων.

 

Luke continued with a diatribe against the Pharisees.  Luke indicated that the crowd gathered by the thousands (Ἐν οἷς ἐπισυναχθεισῶν τῶν μυριάδων τοῦ ὄχλου), so that they trampled on one another (ὥστε καταπατεῖν ἀλλήλους).  This was the first mention of a problem with crowd control.  Jesus then began first to speak to his disciples (ἤρξατο λέγειν πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ πρῶτον).  He told them that they should be aware (Προσέχετε ἑαυτοῖς) of the yeast (ἀπὸ τῆς ζύμης) that is the hypocrisy (ἥτις ἐστὶν ὑπόκρισις) of the Pharisees (τῶν Φαρισαίων).  This saying about the yeast of the Pharisees can be found in Mark, chapter 8:16, and Matthew, chapter 16:6, but there are slight differences.  Mark and Luke did not mention the Sadducees, but Matthew did.  Matthew said that Jesus told his disciples to watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.  Matthew had a clear rebuff of both these groups and their growing yeast, leaven, or power that was expanding, but there was no mention of the Scribes.  For Mark and Matthew, this discussion took place about bread on a boat trip.  The disciples discovered that they had no food when they landed on the other side of the Sea of Galilee.  However, Mark said that it took place while they were still in the boat.  Mark was the only one to mention Herod, the Roman appointed political leader in Galilee.  Mark said that Jesus cautioned or instructed his disciples.  They were to watch out for and be aware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.  This was a clear rebuff of both the Pharisees and Herod.  Their growing yeast, leaven, or power was expanding.  Here, it is a simple warning against the Pharisees only.  Do you know anybody who is a hypocrite?

The graves (Lk 11:44-11:44)

“Woe to you!

You are

Like unmarked graves.

People walk

Over them

Without realizing it.”

 

οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, ὅτι ἐστὲ ὡς τὰ μνημεῖα τὰ ἄδηλα, καὶ οἱ ἄνθρωποι οἱ περιπατοῦντες ἐπάνω οὐκ οἴδασιν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus continued to pick on his dinner guests, the Pharisees.  Jesus cursed these Pharisees without naming them.  He said woe to them (οὐαὶ ὑμῖν) because they were like unmarked graves (ὅτι ἐστὲ ὡς τὰ μνημεῖα τὰ ἄδηλα) that people or men would walk over without realizing it (καὶ οἱ ἄνθρωποι οἱ περιπατοῦντες ἐπάνω οὐκ οἴδασιν).  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 23:27, where Jesus continued to curse the Pharisees and the Scribes.  There was no doubt that Jesus was cursing the Scribes and the Pharisees because of their false hearts.  They were like whitewashed tombs, that looked outwardly beautiful.  However, the inside of these unmarked tombs was full of the bones of dead people and other kinds of filth or impure things.  Thus, the Pharisees appear to look righteous on the outside to others.  However, on the inside, in their hearts, they were full of hypocrisy, iniquity, and lawlessness.  Matthew went into more detail than Luke did here, sitting with them at dinner.  Have you ever complained directly to people at a dinner party?

Bring me a coin (Mk 12:15-12:15)

“But knowing

Their hypocrisy,

Jesus said to them.

‘Why are you

Putting me

To the test?

Bring me

A denarius!

Let me see it!’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἰδὼς αὐτῶν τὴν ὑπόκρισιν εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Τί με πειράζετε; φέρετέ μοι δηνάριον ἵνα ἴδω.

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 22:18-19, and in Luke, chapter 20:23-24.  Mark said that Jesus was aware of their evil intentions or hypocrisy (ὁ δὲ εἰδὼς αὐτῶν τὴν ὑπόκρισιν).  He asked them (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) why were they testing or tempting him (Τί με πειράζετε)?  This idea of testing or tricking Jesus was a common theme in the gospels.  Jesus wanted them to bring him the Roman coin, a denarius (φέρετέ μοι δηνάριον), worth a little more than a US dollar.  He wanted to see (ἵνα ἴδω) what coin was being used for paying the Roman poll tax.

Fourth narrative

The fourth narrative section revealed the increasing opposition to Jesus.  Thus, his disciples had to prepare for his absence.  These instructions emphasized responsibility and humility.  Simon was renamed Peter, the rock upon which he was going to build his church, especially the mystery of the kingdom of heaven.

While Jesus was preaching in the various towns, John the Baptist was put in prison.  The disciples of John questioned Jesus and Jesus responded.  Jesus then asked questions about John.  Was John more than a prophet?  Then Matthew had a series of Old Testament scriptural quotations about John.  How great was John the Baptist?  Was John Elijah?

Jesus warned that this was a childish generation that was indifferent as they kept on eating and drinking, as if nothing important was happening.  Jesus was against the various Galilean cities and towns, especially Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum.  Jesus explained that there were hidden things from the wise ones, especially the relationship of the Father with the Son, but that the disciples had an easy yoke to bear.

Next came the question of eating on the Sabbath.  The Pharisees reacted against Jesus, but he used the example of David and the priests in the Temple to respond to them.  God was the Lord of the Sabbath.  Thus, when Jesus went into the synagogue, they asked him if he would heal anyone on the Sabbath?  Jesus compared sheep to human beings and then healed the man’s hand.  Thus, the Pharisees conspired against Jesus, while he took a low profile.

Jesus said that the fulfillment of the prophesy of Isaiah was at hand in the servant of Yahweh.  Jesus cured the blind and mute man as the crowds were amazed.  However, the Pharisees compared Jesus to Beelzebul, the devil.  Jesus responded that a divided kingdom would not stand.  The Spirit of God was with Jesus.  The bandits tied up people before stealing from them.  You were either for or against Jesus.  They should be aware of the sin against the Holy Spirit.

Jesus then issued a series of sayings about a tree and its fruit.  He compared the Pharisees to a brood of vipers.  There could be good and bad treasures.  Words would either save or condemn them.

Jesus told them about the sign for this evil generation that was always seeking signs.  He was only going to give them the sign of Jonah.  Notice how the men of Nineveh reacted.  The Queen of Sheba brought gifts to Solomon.  The unclean spirit would return with other evil spirits.  The relatives of Jesus, his mother and brothers showed up, but Jesus said that he had a new family.

Then Jesus spoke in parables siting in a boat by the sea.  There was the parable of the sower with his lost seeds, where only a few of the seeds fell on good soil.  His disciples wanted to know why he was speaking in parables, so that Jesus explained why he used parables.  Once again, he referred to a prophecy of Isaiah.  He explained about the seeds on the rocky ground and the seeds among the thorns.  Finally, he explained the meaning of the seeds on good ground or path since they were the blessed ones.

Then there was the parable about the weeds among the wheat.  The slaves let the weeds grow and then separated them at harvest time.  There were other parables about the mustard seed and the yeast.  Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, but he explained these parables to his disciples, especially the sower, the field, and the seeds.  He explained the enemy and the burning of the weeds.  The punishment for the weeds came at the harvest end times.  Thus, the reward for the righteous will be at the end times.

The kingdom of heaven was like a treasure, like pearls, and like a fishing net.  Jesus explained the parables because the disciples did not understand them.  They were like new and old treasures.

Jesus was an astonishment in his own home town.  They all knew the family of Jesus.  Thus, he was a prophet without honor in his own country.

Herod thought that Jesus was a resurrected John the Baptist, but he was afraid of John the Baptist.  At his birthday party, Herod granted the wish to have the head of John the Baptist on a platter.  Meanwhile, John the Baptist’s disciples buried him.

Jesus was worried as he was healing the sick people.  The disciples complained about the crowds, so that Jesus told them to give them something to eat.  However, they only had five loaves and two fish.  Then Jesus blessed the five loaves of bread and distributed them to the crowd.  There were even leftovers from this crowd of five thousand people.

The disciples left in a boat, so that Jesus prayed alone.  The boat was in the middle of the sea when Jesus walked on water to come to them.   Peter talked to Jesus and then attempted to walk on the water.  Jesus then saved Peter who recognized Jesus as the Son of God.  Then there were the healings at Gennesaret, where Jesus cured the sick.

The Pharisees from Jerusalem came to Jesus to ask him why his disciples did not wash their hands before eating.  Jesus responded by telling them to honor their parents since there was hypocrisy in their traditions.  He cited Isaiah about vain worship.  He told them to hear and understand.  They should watch what came out of their mouth rather than what went into their mouth as defilement.  The Pharisees were offended, but Jesus called them blind guides.  Peter wanted to understand more so that Jesus explained the mouth should speak from the heart.

Jesus went to the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon where he met a Canaanite woman.  He said that he was only going to the lost sheep of Israel, but this Canaanite woman persistently asked for help.  Jesus refused again saying that he could not feed the dogs.  However, she responded that dogs eat crumbs from the table.  Jesus said that she had great faith and healed her.

As Jesus healed the crowds of people in the mountain near the Sea of Galilee, he had compassion for them.  Where will they get food?  His disciples said that they had seven loaves.  Jesus then gave thanks over them and distributed the bread to four thousand men as there was a second multiplication of bread loaves.

Jesus went to Magadan.  There the Pharisees asked for a sign from heaven.  Once again, Jesus said that there are weather signs, but he would only give this evil generation the sign of Jonah.

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, but Jesus warned them about the yeast of the Pharisees.  He reprimanded his disciples for their lack of faith as he reminded them about the multiplication of the loaves of bread.  They should be worried about the Pharisees not food.

What was the role of Peter?  Jesus asked about the Son of Man as the disciples responded.  Then Jesus asked them about himself.  Peter gave a very positive response, so that Jesus rewarded him.  The Messianic secret was tied to the future of Jesus in this conversation between Peter and Jesus.  He would have to take up his cross if wanted to save his life because the Son of Man in his kingdom would be coming soon.

Jesus took three of his apostles up a mountain where he was transfigured before them.  Moses and Elijah appeared with him.  Peter wanted to set up three tents for them.  A voice from the cloud came as the three apostles adored him.  Jesus asked them to be silent about this.  What was the role of Elijah and John the Baptist?

An epileptic man knelt before Jesus that his disciples were unable to heal.  Jesus then healed him, so that his disciples wondered why they were unable to heal this epileptic?  Jesus spoke about the future of the Son of Man.  Should they pay the Temple tax?  Jesus responded that the son of the king did not pay taxes, but he told Peter to pay them anyway.

Finally, we have the ecclesiastical discourse about who is the greatest.  A child is the greatest because when you welcome a little child, you welcome Jesus.  They were not to cause children to sin.  They were not to tempt people.  It would be better to be maimed and blind than suffer eternal fire.  They were not to despise the little ones.  Jesus explained the parable of the lost sheep and fraternal correction.  What were you to do with a sinning brother.  Let him become a gentile, if he does not listen.  Common prayer was important so that they should gather in his name.  How often should they forgive?  The response was the seventy times seven.

Then there was the parable of the unforgiving servant slave.  The master settled accounts with servant slaves.  One owed ten thousand talents, so that the king forgave him his debt.  However, this servant slave would not forgive the debt of his fellow slaves, who were angry.  Thus, this unforgiving slave was tortured.  This parable explanation was simple, forgive your brothers.

Whitewashed tombs (Mt 23:27-23:28)

“Woe to you!

Scribes!

Woe to you!

Pharisees!

Hypocrites!

You are like

Whitewashed tombs,

Which outwardly

Look beautiful.

But inside,

They are full

Of the bones

Of the dead

With all kinds of filth.

Thus,

You also on the outside

Look righteous

To others.

However,

Inside you

Are full of hypocrisy

And iniquity.”

 

Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι ὑποκριταί, ὅτι παρομοιάζετε τάφοις κεκονιαμένοις, οἵτινες ἔξωθεν μὲν φαίνονται ὡραῖοι, ἔσωθεν δὲ γέμουσιν ὀστέων νεκρῶν καὶ πάσης ἀκαθαρσίας.

οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς ἔξωθεν μὲν φαίνεσθε τοῖς ἀνθρώποις δίκαιοι, ἔσωθεν δέ ἐστε μεστοὶ ὑποκρίσεως καὶ ἀνομίας.

 

There is something similar in Luke, chapter 11:44.  Jesus continued to curse the Pharisees and the Scribes, much like earlier in verses 13, 14, 15 and 25.  The first part of this diatribe is exactly the same as those earlier verses.  Woe to you (Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν)!  Scribes (γραμματεῖς)!  Woe to you!  Pharisees (καὶ Φαρισαῖοι)!  Hypocrites (ὑποκριταί)!  There is no doubt that here Jesus was cursing the Scribes and the Pharisees.  This time it was a continuation against the false hearts of the Pharisees.  They were like whitewashed tombs (ὅτι παρομοιάζετε τάφοις κεκονιαμένοις), that looked outwardly beautiful (οἵτινες ἔξωθεν μὲν φαίνονται ὡραῖοι).  However, the inside of these unmarked tombs was full of the bones of dead people and other kinds of filth or impure things (ἔσωθεν δὲ γέμουσιν ὀστέων νεκρῶν καὶ πάσης ἀκαθαρσίας).  Thus, the Pharisees appear to look righteous on the outside to others (οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς ἔξωθεν μὲν φαίνεσθε τοῖς ἀνθρώποις δίκαιοι).  However, on the inside of them, in their hearts, they are full of hypocrisy and iniquity or lawlessness (ἔσωθεν δέ ἐστε μεστοὶ ὑποκρίσεως καὶ ἀνομίας).

A Community of Believers

No man is an island.  We exist in a society, in a community.  We grow up in a family, in a community of people.  As a Christian, we must live in a Christian community.  The Christian religious experience is always lived within a community.  Individual spirituality leads to a commitment not merely as an individual, but to the larger community of Christian believers.  Even the hermits understood that they shared in the larger Christian community.  Just as there is no religious practice without a religion, there cannot be any Christian belief except within a Christian community, a Christian Church.  An individual and communal faith goes hand in hand, not face to face.  God created us out of love, so faith is within a community.  If faith is not communal it is not complete.  Nevertheless, nearly half of American Christian believers are not affiliated with a church, because we live in a highly individualist country.  There is a certain hypocrisy that allows each of us to define our morality as what we would like to do.  We have lost the sense of personal and social responsibility for the common good as “me” and my individual personal experience becomes more important.  We are social by nature and need the common experience of worship.