Tribute to Caesar (Lk 20:22-20:22)

“Is it lawful

For us

To pay taxes

To Caesar,

The Roman Emperor,

Or not?”

 

ἔξεστιν ἡμᾶς Καίσαρι φόρον δοῦναι ἢ οὔ;

 

Luke indicated this group asked whether it was lawful for them (ἔξεστιν ἡμᾶς) to pay taxes (φόρον δοῦναι) to Caesar (Καίσαρι), the Roman Emperor, or not (ἢ οὔ)?  This is similar to Matthew, chapter 22:17, and Mark, chapter 12:14, but slightly different.  They wanted to know what Jesus thought about the Roman tax law.  Mark said that they asked him whether it was lawful to pay the poll tax to Caesar or not (ἔξεστιν δοῦναι κῆνσον Καίσαρι ἢ οὔ)?  They wanted to know the practical answer about whether they should pay this tax or not (δῶμεν ἢ μὴ δῶμεν)?  Matthew indicated that these Pharisee disciples and the Herodians tried to trick Jesus.  They wanted to know what Jesus thought about the Roman tax.  They asked him (εἰπὸν οὖν ἡμῖν) what did he think (τί σοι δοκεῖ).  Was it lawful to pay the poll tax to Caesar or not (ἔξεστιν δοῦναι κῆνσον Καίσαρι ἢ οὔ)?  Rome had an annual personal census tax of one denarius worth about $1.50 USA, not that much.  However, many of the Roman tax collectors were considered sinners.  Jesus, on the other hand, had a milder view of these tax collectors.  He appeared to accept the Roman rule and its taxing policies.  As the political party of the Romans, the Herodians were there.  The Israelites with the Pharisees were there also.  Thus, his answer might offend someone.  In fact, some Jewish zealots refused to pay any civil tax to the emperor.  Do you like to pay taxes?

Advertisements

The original invited ones (Lk 14:24-14:24)

“I tell you!

None of those men

Who were invited

Will taste

My dinner banquet.”’

 

λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν ὅτι οὐδεὶς τῶν ἀνδρῶν ἐκείνων τῶν κεκλημένων γεύσεταί μου τοῦ δείπνου.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that this house owner told his slave (λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν) that none of those men who were invited (ὅτι οὐδεὶς τῶν ἀνδρῶν ἐκείνων τῶν κεκλημένων) would taste his dinner banquet (γεύσεταί μου τοῦ δείπνου).  Once again, this is similar to Matthew, chapter 22:8, where this king told his slaves (τότε λέγει τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ) that the wedding feast was ready (Ὁ μὲν γάμος ἕτοιμός ἐστιν), but those originally invited were not worthy or deserving of his invitation (οἱ δὲ κεκλημένοι οὐκ ἦσαν ἄξιοι).  In either case, those originally invited would not be able to eat at this banquet.  Was this a hint about the originally invited Israelites?  Notice the original chosen ones, the Israelites, were not considered worthy.  Now the invitation went out to all people to come to the banquet feast of the son, Jesus.  Have you turned down the invitation of Jesus?

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?

Lord of the Sabbath (Lk 6:5-6:5)

“Then Jesus said to them.

‘The Son of Man is

Lord of the Sabbath.’”

 

καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς Κύριός ἐστιν τοῦ σαββάτου ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus then said to them (καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς) that the Son of Man (ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) is Lord of the Sabbath (Κύριός ἐστιν τοῦ σαββάτου).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 12:8, and Mark, chapter 2:28, probably indicating that Mark was the source of this comment.  However, the other 2 gospels had more elaboration.  Mark had Jesus say to those around him that the Sabbath was made for man, humans, or mankind, not humans for the Sabbath.  Then he added the comment that is here in Luke that the Son of Man was the Lord of the Sabbath, which was picked up by the other two synoptic gospels.  Matthew had Jesus begin with a solemn proclamation that someone greater than the Temple was here, a clear reference to Jesus himself.  They did not know what the saying about mercy was all about.  Matthew then used the same citation of Hosea chapter 6:6, that he had earlier in chapter 9:13.  Jesus explained that he desired mercy, just as Yahweh wanted real faithful love, not mere sacrifices.  Hosea wanted the Israelites to have real knowledge of God, rather than worry about burnt offerings.  Thus, the Pharisees should not have condemned the innocent or guiltless ones, since Jesus and his disciples had done nothing wrong.  He then concluded with the saying that the Son of Man was the Lord of the Sabbath.  Jesus then could control the Sabbath, not the other way around.  Instead of the Sabbath as a gift to humans, Jesus would reinterpret the laws of the Sabbath as the Lord of the Sabbath.

Righteous and sinners (Lk 5:32-5:32)

“I have not come

To call

The righteous,

But sinners

To repentance.’”

 

οὐκ ἐλήλυθα καλέσαι δικαίους ἀλλὰ ἁμαρτωλοὺς εἰς μετάνοιαν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that he had not come (οὐκ ἐλήλυθα) to call the righteous (καλέσαι δικαίους), but rather sinners to repentance (ἀλλὰ ἁμαρτωλοὺς εἰς μετάνοιαν).  This response of Jesus is almost the same as in Mark, chapter 2:17, and Matthew, chapter 9:13.  However, Matthew was more expansive.  There Jesus explained that they ought to learn what he means, because he desired mercy and not sacrifices, based on Hosea, chapter 6:6.  The essential message was that Yahweh wanted real faithful love, not mere sacrifices.  Hosea wanted the Israelites to have real knowledge of God, rather than worry about burnt offerings.  Jesus had come not to call the people who were righteous already, but to call the sinners to repentance, not the good righteous people.

The forty day fast (Lk 4:2-4:2)

“For forty days,

Jesus was tempted

By the devil.

He ate nothing

At all

During those days.

When these days

Were over,

He was very hungry.”

 

ἡμέρας τεσσεράκοντα πειραζόμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ διαβόλου. Καὶ οὐκ ἔφαγεν οὐδὲν ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις, καὶ συντελεσθεισῶν αὐτῶν ἐπείνασεν.

 

This text is like Matthew, chapter 4:2, almost word for word, indicating a common source, perhaps Q.  Luke said that Jesus was tempted (πειραζόμενος) for 40 days (ἡμέρας τεσσεράκοντα) by the devil (ὑπὸ τοῦ διαβόλου).  During this time or in those days (ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις), Jesus did not eat anything at all (Καὶ οὐκ ἔφαγεν οὐδὲν), since he was fasting.  When the 40 days were over or completed (καὶ συντελεσθεισῶν αὐτῶν), Jesus was really hungry or famished (ἐπείνασεν).  There was a symbolism in this fast of 40 days.  Luke did not mention 40 nights, like Matthew.  Fasting was a common Hebrew exercise, while 40 was the same number of years that the Israelites were in the wilderness during the Exodus.  Jesus was really hungry at the end of his 40 day fast.  The devil, the personification of evil, tempted Jesus.  Mark, chapter 1:13, has an abbreviated description of the temptations of Jesus compared to Matthew, and Luke.  All 3 synoptics agreed that Jesus was in the wilderness 40 symbolic days.  All agreed that Jesus was tempted by Satan or the devil, the adversary or the accuser.  This concept of the adversary showed the Persian influence on the Israelites after the exile.  The older devil concept was considered a fallen angel without all the powers of God, but nevertheless very strong.  Mark said that Jesus was with the wild beasts, but this remark was not found in the other longer detailed descriptions of Matthew and Luke.  Mark made it seem like the temptation was physical, like the fear of wild animals, as he then said that the good angels ministered to Jesus, waiting on him and taking caring for him.