Eats with sinners (Lk 15:2-15:2)

“Both the Pharisees

And the Scribes

Were grumbling.

They said.

‘This Jesus fellow

Welcomes sinners.

He eats with them.’”

 

καὶ διεγόγγυζον οἵ τε Φαρισαῖοι καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς λέγοντες ὅτι Οὗτος ἁμαρτωλοὺς προσδέχεται καὶ συνεσθίει αὐτοῖς

 

Luke uniquely talked about Jesus and his coziness with sinners that upset the Pharisees and the Scribes.  Luke said that both the Pharisees (οἵ τε Φαρισαῖοι) and the Scribes (καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς) were grumbling (καὶ διεγόγγυζον), saying (λέγοντες), that this fellow, Jesus, welcomes sinners (ὅτι Οὗτος ἁμαρτωλοὺς προσδέχεται) and eats with them (καὶ συνεσθίει αὐτοῖς).  Eating with sinners and tax collectors was a form of fellowship.  Perhaps the Pharisees and Scribes were correct in indicating that Jesus was approving their lifestyle.  He was giving tacit acceptance to these sinners and their deeds, scandalizing the people of Israel.  Listening to sinners was one thing.  Eating with them was another thing.  Would you welcome and eat with a public sinner?

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Tax collectors and sinners (Lk 15:1-15:1)

“Now all

The tax collectors

And sinners

Were coming near

To listen

To Jesus.”

 

Ἦσαν δὲ αὐτῷ ἐγγίζοντες πάντες οἱ τελῶναι καὶ οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἀκούειν αὐτοῦ

 

Luke uniquely talked about Jesus and his closeness to sinners and tax collectors, although there are indications like this elsewhere.  Luke said that all the tax collectors (πάντες οἱ τελῶναι) and sinners (καὶ οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ) were coming near (Ἦσαν δὲ αὐτῷ ἐγγίζοντες) to listen to Jesus (ἀκούειν αὐτοῦ).  Perhaps this was an exaggeration when he said all tax collectors, but certainly quite a few.  These sinners were the ones willing to listen to Jesus.  Tax collectors were considered tools of the Roman authorities and linked with the public sinners as not part of the righteous social strata in Israel.  Do you know any public sinners?

The mute demon (Lk 11:14-11:14)

“Jesus was casting out

A demon

Who was mute.

When the demon

Had left him.

The mute person

Spoke.

The crowds

Were amazed.”

 

Καὶ ἦν ἐκβάλλων δαιμόνιον, καὶ αὐτὸ ἦν κωφόν· ἐγένετο δὲ τοῦ δαιμονίου ἐξελθόντος ἐλάλησεν ὁ κωφός. καὶ ἐθαύμασαν οἱ ὄχλοι·

 

Luke said that Jesus was casting out a demon (Καὶ ἦν ἐκβάλλων δαιμόνιον) who was in a mute person (καὶ αὐτὸ ἦν κωφόν).  When the demon had left (ἐγένετο δὲ τοῦ δαιμονίου ἐξελθόντος), the mute person spoke (ἐλάλησεν ὁ κωφός).  The crowds were amazed (καὶ ἐθαύμασαν οἱ ὄχλοι).  There was something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 9:32-33, and Matthew, chapter 12:22-23.  In chapter 9, Matthew said that Jesus was going on his way, when someone brought a mute or non-speaking demoniac person to him.  Jesus then cast out the demon from this man, so that this mute person began to speak.  The crowds marveled in awe at this happening.  They said that nothing like this had ever happened in Israel.  However, in chapter 8:28-33, Matthew had Jesus cast out demons from the demoniacs and send them into the pigs, but that was on the east side of the Jordan River.  In chapter 12 of Matthew, a man, possessed by the devil was both mute and blind.  Jesus then healed him, but there was no mention of casting out a demon from this man, although that could be assumed.  Then this mute and blind person began to speak and see, with the emphasis on healing, not on exorcising.  This crowd was also amazed or astonished about what they saw.  They wondered whether Jesus was the Son of David.  The historical son of David was Solomon, who also had healing powers.  “Son of David (υἱὸς Δαυείδ)” was also a royal or messianic name.  However, here in Luke, exorcising the demon was important, rather than healing or any messianic expectation.  Have you ever seen a mute person speak?

The great commandment to love God (Lk 10:27-10:27)

“The lawyer answered.

‘You shall love

The Lord,

Your God,

With all your heart,

With all your soul,

With all your strength,

And with all your mind.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Ἀγαπήσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σου ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ἰσχύϊ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου,

 

Luke said that the lawyer answered Jesus (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν) by citing Deuteronomy, chapter 6:4-5, where it said that you were to love the Lord, your God (Ἀγαπήσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σου), with all your heart (ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου), with all your soul (καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ σου), with all your strength (καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ἰσχύϊ σου), and with all your mind (καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου).  Mark, chapter 12:39-40, said that Jesus answered this Scribe, instead of the other way around as here in Luke.  The first commandment was “Hear this O Israel!  The Lord our God is one.  He should love the Lord, his God with his whole heart, his whole soul, his whole mind, and with all his strength.  This Shema cry for Israel to listen can be found in Deuteronomy, chapter 6:4-5.  These verses have had a great influence on the Israelites as the great commandment that was recited often and written all over the place on their hands, forehead, and door posts.  It was both a morning and an evening prayer, something you could say at home and when you were away from home.  The Israelites taught their children this simple prayer.  Jesus and the early Christian followers repeated this prayer in the gospel stories of the New Testament as the great commandment of love of God.  This “Shema” became the basis of the Abrahamic religions, the great commandment of monotheism and love that must always be remembered.  In Matthew, chapter 22:37-38, Jesus also responded, rather than the lawyer.  Jesus told this lawyer that he should love the Lord, his God with his whole heart, his whole soul, and his whole mind   This was the greatest and the first commandment.  Just be a good human Jewish person and love God above all else with your whole being, heart, soul, and mind.  Do you totally love God?

Peter responds (Lk 9:20-9:20)

“Jesus said to them.

‘But who do you say

That I am?’

Peter answered.

‘The Messiah,

The Christ

Of God.’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς Ὑμεῖς δὲ τίνα με λέγετε εἶναι; Πέτρος δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Τὸν Χριστὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ

 

Luke indicated that Jesus asked his disciples (εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς) who did they say that he was (Ὑμεῖς δὲ τίνα με λέγετε εἶναι)?  Peter answered (Πέτρος δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς) that he was the Messiah, the Christ of God (εἶπεν Τὸν Χριστὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  This same question and response of Peter can be found in Matthew, chapter 16:15-17, Mark, chapter 6:29 and John, 6:69, but all slightly different.  Mark said that Jesus was questioning his disciples who was it that they thought or said that he was.  Jesus thus put them to the test.  This was not about what others said or thought, but about their understanding of Jesus.  Who did they think Jesus was?  Mark said that Peter replied to the generic question of Jesus immediately.  He said that Jesus was the Christ or the Messiah that they were expecting in Israel.  Matthew indicated that Jesus asked his disciples who they thought or said that he was.  Was he the Son of Man or someone else?  Simon Peter replied to the question of Jesus immediately.  He said that Jesus was the Christ or the Messiah that they were expecting in Israel.  Jesus was the son of the living God, not just merely the son of God.  Peter, as the leader of this new group of Jesus followers, asserted this important belief about Jesus.  For the first time, Jesus was called the Christ, the Messiah.  Here Peter, in the name of the nascent Christian community, proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ.  Are the Greek “Christ” and the Hebrew “Messiah” the same?  Matthew was the only one who had Peter say that Jesus was the son of the living God.  Matthew was also the only one that mentioned the special relationship that Peter had with his Father in heaven.  However, Peter gave a strong positive response in all four versions.  Matthew also had Jesus respond to Peter, but that was not in Mark or Luke.  Jesus said that Simon was blessed, because flesh and blood or humans had not revealed this saying of his, but Jesus’ heavenly Father had done so.  Thus, Peter had a special relationship with the Father in heaven.  Peter, as the leader of this new group of Jesus followers, asserted this important belief about Jesus.  Matthew, more than any of the other gospel writers, emphasized the role of Peter as the leader of the early Christian community, the disciples, and the apostles of Jesus.  Who is your human Christian leader?

The faith of the centurion (Lk 7:9-7:9)

“When Jesus heard this.

He was amazed at him.

He turned

To the crowd

That followed him.

He said.

‘I tell you!

Not even in Israel

Have I found such faith.’”

 

ἀκούσας δὲ ταῦτα ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐθαύμασεν αὐτόν, καὶ στραφεὶς τῷ ἀκολουθοῦντι αὐτῷ ὄχλῳ εἶπεν Λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐδὲ ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ τοσαύτην πίστιν εὗρον.

 

Luke said that when Jesus heard all this (ἀκούσας δὲ ταῦτα ὁ Ἰησοῦς), he was amazed or marveled at him (ἐθαύμασεν αὐτόν).  He turned to the crowd that followed him (καὶ στραφεὶς τῷ ἀκολουθοῦντι αὐτῷ ὄχλῳ).  He said (εἶπεν) with a solemn pronouncement (Λέγω ὑμῖν) that he had not found any such great faith in Israel (οὐδὲ ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ τοσαύτην πίστιν εὗρον).  This response of Jesus to the centurion was exactly the same as in Matthew, chapter 8:10, perhaps indicating a Q source.  Matthew said that when Jesus heard the response of this centurion, he marveled, wondered, admired, or was amazed.  He then turned to speak to his followers with a solemn pronouncement.  He had not found anyone in Israel with so great of faith like this Roman, non-Jewish, centurion.  His great belief, faith, and trust in the power of Jesus would be demanded of all the Jesus followers.  Do you have faith like this Roman centurion?

The lepers at the time of Elisha (Lk 4:27-4:27)

“There were also many lepers

In Israel

At the time

Of the prophet Elisha.

None of them

Was cleansed,

Except Naaman,

The Syrian.”

 

καὶ πολλοὶ λεπροὶ ἦσαν ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ ἐπὶ Ἑλισαίου τοῦ προφήτου, καὶ οὐδεὶς αὐτῶν ἐκαθαρίσθη εἰ μὴ Ναιμὰν ὁ Σύρος.

 

Luke then cited another unique story about the prophet Elisha, the prophet who followed Elijah in the 9th century BCE.  He too was well known for his exploits in the first 13 chapters of 2 Kings.  This episode was about Naaman, the commander of the Aramean army, who suffered from some kind of leprosy.  Naaman asked his king if he could go get a cure from a prophet he had heard about.  Elisha told the king to send Naaman to him so that he could cure him.  He told Naaman to wash himself 7 times in the Jordan River.  This made Naaman very upset.  Finally, he went and immersed himself 7 times in the Jordan River.  Thus, he was cured of his leprosy, as found in 2 Kings, 5:1-14.  Luke said that there were also many lepers (καὶ πολλοὶ λεπροὶ ἦσαν) in Israel (ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ) at the time of the prophet Elisha (ἐπὶ Ἑλισαίου τοῦ προφήτου).  None of them were cleansed (καὶ οὐδεὶς αὐτῶν ἐκαθαρίσθη), except Naaman, the Syrian (εἰ μὴ Ναιμὰν ὁ Σύρος).  Syrian and Aramean are almost the same.  The key idea was that someone other than an Israelite was cured.