At the place
The Mount of Olives,
Two of the disciples.”
Καὶ ἐγένετο ὡς ἤγγισεν εἰς Βηθφαγὴ καὶ Βηθανίαν πρὸς τὸ ὄρος τὸ καλούμενον Ἐλαιῶν, ἀπέστειλεν δύο τῶν μαθητῶν
Luke said that Jesus drew near to Bethphage (Καὶ ἐγένετο ὡς ἤγγισεν εἰς Βηθφαγὴ), a village on the way from Jericho to Jerusalem, and Bethany (καὶ Βηθανίαν), about a mile and a half east of Jerusalem, near the place called the Mount of Olives (πρὸς τὸ ὄρος τὸ καλούμενον Ἐλαιῶν), overlooking the Kidron Valley. Jesus sent out 2 of his disciples (ἀπέστειλεν δύο τῶν μαθητῶν). Both Matthew, chapter 21:1, and Mark, chapter 11:1, are almost word for word to what is here. Mark said that when they were approaching near to Jerusalem (Καὶ ὅτε ἐγγίζουσιν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα), Jesus then sent out 2 disciples (ἀποστέλλει δύο τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ). They were at Bethphage (εἰς Βηθφαγὴ) and Bethany (καὶ Βηθανίαν), near the Mount of Olives (πρὸς τὸ ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαιῶν), not far from Jerusalem. Matthew said that when they got near to Jerusalem (Καὶ ὅτε ἤγγισαν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα), Jesus then sent out 2 disciples (τότε Ἰησοῦς ἀπέστειλεν δύο μαθητὰς). They were at Bethphage (καὶ ἦλθον εἰς Βηθφαγὴ), near the Mount of Olives (εἰς τὸ ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαιῶν). Matthew did not mention Bethany. John had nothing about this at all. Have you ever been to Jerusalem?
“As they were listening
To these things,
To tell a parable.
He was near Jerusalem.
That the kingdom of God
Was to appear
Ἀκουόντων δὲ αὐτῶν ταῦτα προσθεὶς εἶπεν παραβολὴν, διὰ τὸ ἐγγὺς εἶναι Ἱερουσαλὴμ αὐτὸν καὶ δοκεῖν αὐτοὺς ὅτι παραχρῆμα μέλλει ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ ἀναφαίνεσθαι·
Only Luke had this unique introduction to this parable. He said that as the disciples were listening to these things (Ἀκουόντων δὲ αὐτῶν ταῦτα), presumably the story about Zacchaeus, Jesus proceeded to tell another parable (προσθεὶς εἶπεν παραβολὴν). He was near his Jerusalem goal (διὰ τὸ ἐγγὺς εἶναι Ἱερουσαλὴμ αὐτὸν), which meant that he was in Jericho or between Jericho and Jerusalem. The disciples supposed or thought (καὶ δοκεῖν αὐτοὺς) that the kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ) was about to appear immediately or soon (ὅτι παραχρῆμα μέλλει…ἀναφαίνεσθαι). Somehow the disciples assumed that if they got to Jerusalem, the kingdom of God would be revealed to them. They anticipated that the messianic age would happen. Some more revolutionary followers may have even expected a political earthly kingdom to be established, in opposition to the Roman occupation. This parable was meant to tone down their expectations about an earthly kingdom and the immediacy of this new heavenly kingdom. Do you expect the the kingdom of God to come soon?
“A man was there
He was a chief tax collector.
He was rich.”
Καὶ ἰδοὺ ἀνὴρ ὀνόματι καλούμενος Ζακχαῖος, καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν ἀρχιτελώνης, καὶ αὐτὸς πλούσιος
Only Luke uniquely talked about this man in Jericho (Καὶ ἰδοὺ ἀνὴρ), named Zacchaeus (ὀνόματι καλούμενος Ζακχαῖος), who was a rich (καὶ αὐτὸς πλούσιος) chief tax collector or head of a customs house (καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν ἀρχιτελώνης). Luke was the only biblical writer to use this term ἀρχιτελώνης, that means a chief tax collector, head of a custom-house, chief tax-gatherer, or publican. Zacchaeus was an important man in Jericho because of his wealth and his position in charge of tax collecting there. His very name, Zacchaeus, meant righteous or upright in Hebrew. Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus. What do you think about people who work for the IRS and collect taxes?
“Jesus entered Jericho.
He was passing through.”
Καὶ εἰσελθὼν διήρχετο τὴν Ἱερειχώ
Luke uniquely said that Jesus entered Jericho (Καὶ εἰσελθὼν…τὴν Ἱερειχώ), but that he was only passing through (διήρχετο), not staying there. Jericho was an important customs center on a main trading route, about 16 miles northeast of Jerusalem. Just as Luke had Jesus cure the blind man while on his way into Jericho, now Luke had Jesus enter Jericho on his way to Jerusalem. What do you know about walls of Jericho?
A certain blind man
By the roadside,
Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ ἐγγίζειν αὐτὸν εἰς Ἱερειχὼ τυφλός τις ἐκάθητο παρὰ τὴν ὁδὸν ἐπαιτῶν.
Luke indicated that as Jesus approached or was getting near to Jericho (Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ ἐγγίζειν αὐτὸν εἰς Ἱερειχὼ), a certain blind man was sitting (τυφλός τις ἐκάθητο) by the roadside (παρὰ τὴν ὁδὸν), begging (ἐπαιτῶν). Jericho was about 16 miles northeast of Jerusalem and about 8 miles north of the Dead Sea. Jesus was getting closer to Jerusalem, but not quite there. Both Mark, chapter 10:46, and Matthew, chapter 20:29, have something similar, but with some differences. Luke has Jesus entering or approaching Jericho, not leaving it, as in Matthew and Mark, who said that Jesus had been in Jericho (Καὶ ἔρχονται εἰς Ἰερειχώ). However, Jesus was leaving Jericho (Καὶ ἐκπορευομένου αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ Ἰερειχὼ) with his disciples (καὶ τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ) and a large crowd (καὶ ὄχλου ἱκανοῦ), when this incident occurred. Mark is the only gospel writer that named this blind beggar Bartimaeus (Βαρτιμαῖος), the son of Timaeus, even with the name of his father (ὁ υἱὸς Τιμαίου). This Bartimaeus was a blind beggar (τυφλὸς προσαίτης), sitting by the way or the roadside (ἐκάθητο παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν). On the other hand, Luke only had an unnamed blind beggar, while Matthew had two unnamed blind beggars. Matthew also had Jesus and his apostles or disciples leaving Jericho (Καὶ ἐκπορευομένων αὐτῶν ἀπὸ Ἱερειχὼ). As usual a large crowd followed him (ἠκολούθησεν αὐτῷ ὄχλος πολύς). All indications are that they were on the way to Jerusalem. Have you ever seen a blind beggar?
“But a Samaritan,
Came near him.
When he saw him,
He was moved
Σαμαρείτης δέ τις ὁδεύων ἦλθεν κατ’ αὐτὸν καὶ ἰδὼν ἐσπλαγχνίσθη,
Luke continued his unique story. Jesus said that a Samaritan (Σαμαρείτης), while traveling (δέ τις ὁδεύων), came near to this wounded man (ἦλθεν κατ’ αὐτὸν). When he saw him (καὶ ἰδὼν), he was moved with pity (ἐσπλαγχνίσθη). Who then is this Samaritan? Samaritans lived in Samaria, between Judea and Galilee. This was the territory that had been formerly assigned to Ephraim and Manasseh. The Samaritans were part of the former Northern Kingdom of Israel with the city of Samaria as their capital city, after the death of Solomon. There was an example of kindness by the northern tribes in 2 Chronicles, chapter 28:12-15, but that was long before the bitterness set in between Samaria and Judea. Over time, since the 8th century BCE, they had become a distinct ethnic group that was in dispute with the Judean Jews, since the territory of Samaria was between Judea and Galilee. They became bitter enemies with the Jews of Judea in particular. Luke showed Jesus interacting with the Samaritans more than any of the other gospel writers. Luke had uniquely mentioned that Jesus had gone into some Samaritan villages in chapter 9:52-56. It might even be questioned, why would this Samaritan be on the road between Jericho and Jerusalem? Nevertheless, this unnamed Samaritan like the unnamed priest and Levite, came on the scene. Unlike the other two prominent Jewish religious leaders, this Samaritan was moved with pity. Samaritans were the underclass among the Judeans. They worshiped a false Jewish God with their Samaritan Torah at the destroyed Mount Gerizim. They were not at the top of Jewish society, quite the opposite. Can someone at the bottom of a society do anything good?
Was going down
Into the hands
They stripped him.
They beat him up.
They went away,
Leaving him half dead.’”
ὑπολαβὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν Ἄνθρωπός τις κατέβαινεν ἀπὸ Ἱερουσαλὴμ εἰς Ἱερειχώ, καὶ λῃσταῖς περιέπεσεν, οἳ καὶ ἐκδύσαντες αὐτὸν καὶ πληγὰς ἐπιθέντες ἀπῆλθον ἀφέντες ἡμιθανῆ.
Luke uniquely had Jesus tell a story to answer the question from the lawyer. Jesus accepted (ὑπολαβὼν) this inquiry about the meaning of neighbor. He said (εἶπεν) that a man (Ἄνθρωπός), presumably Jewish, was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho (τις κατέβαινεν ἀπὸ Ἱερουσαλὴμ εἰς Ἱερειχώ), about 23 miles. However, he fell into the hands of some robbers (καὶ λῃσταῖς περιέπεσεν). They stripped him (οἳ καὶ ἐκδύσαντες αὐτὸν) and beat him up, inflicting wounds on him (καὶ πληγὰς ἐπιθέντες). Then they went away (ἀπῆλθον). They left him half dead (ἀφέντες ἡμιθανῆ). This was a simple story about a robbery that took place on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho. More than one violent robber attacked this man. They took everything, including his clothes, and beat him up. Then they left him to die, since he was badly wounded. People get robbed and beaten up all the time. Do you really care about it?