When will this be? (Lk 21:7-21:7)

“They asked him.

‘Teacher!

When will this be?

What will be the sign

That this is about

To take place?’”

 

ἐπηρώτησαν δὲ αὐτὸν λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε, πότε οὖν ταῦτα ἔσται, καὶ τί τὸ σημεῖον ὅταν μέλλῃ ταῦτα γίνεσθαι;

 

Luke indicated that some vague “they” or the disciples of Jesus asked him (ἐπηρώτησαν δὲ αὐτὸν), calling him teacher (λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε) when these things would happen (πότε οὖν ταῦτα ἔσται).  What would be the sign that this was about to take place (καὶ τί τὸ σημεῖον ὅταν μέλλῃ ταῦτα γίνεσθαι)?  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 24:3.  Only Matthew brought up the question of the Parousia (παρουσία) or second coming of Jesus.  He said that Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives (Καθημένου δὲ αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τοῦ ὄρους τῶν Ἐλαιῶν), just east of Jerusalem, where he could see the Jerusalem Temple.  Some unnamed disciples came to Jesus privately (προσῆλθον αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ κατ’ ἰδίαν).  They wanted to know when would these things, like the Temple being destroyed, take place (λέγοντες Εἰπὲ ἡμῖν, πότε ταῦτα ἔσται)?  What would be the sign that Jesus was coming again in the Parousia (καὶ τί τὸ σημεῖον τῆς σῆς παρουσίας).  On top of that, they wanted to know about the end of the world or the completion of the ages (καὶ συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος).  Matthew combined the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, the Second coming of Jesus, and the end of the world together.  Rather than unnamed disciples, as in Matthew, Mark, chapter 13:3-4 explicitly mentioned the two sets of brother apostles, who were speaking privately with Jesus.  Mark, like Matthew, said that Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives (Καὶ καθημένου αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ τοῦ ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαιῶν), just east of Jerusalem, since the Temple was opposite them (κατέναντι τοῦ ἱεροῦ).  In Mark, these apostolic leaders, Peter (Πέτρος), James (καὶ Ἰάκωβος), John (καὶ Ἰωάνης), and Andrew (καὶ Ἀνδρέας), questioned Jesus privately (ἐπηρώτα αὐτὸν κατ’ ἰδίαν).  Mark did not combine the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, the Second coming of Jesus, and the end of the world together, since he concentrated on the destruction of the Temple.  Mark said that these big four apostles wanted to be told (Εἰπὸν ἡμῖν) when would these things take place (πότε ταῦτα ἔσται)?  What would be the sign (καὶ τί τὸ σημεῖον) that all these things were going to finally happen (ὅταν μέλλῃ ταῦτα συντελεῖσθαι πάντα)?  They wanted the inside scoop about what was coming up.  After all, they were the important leaders among the followers of Jesus.  Do you like information about the future?

Pilate and the Galileans (Lk 13:1-13:1)

“At that very time,

There were some present

Who told Jesus

About the Galileans,

Whose blood

Pilate had mingled

With their sacrifices.”

 

Παρῆσαν δέ τινες ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ καιρῷ ἀπαγγέλλοντες αὐτῷ περὶ τῶν Γαλιλαίων ὧν τὸ αἷμα Πειλᾶτος ἔμιξεν μετὰ τῶν θυσιῶν αὐτῶν.

 

Luke uniquely said that at that very time (ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ καιρῷ), there were some people present (Παρῆσαν δέ τινες) who told Jesus (ἀπαγγέλλοντες αὐτῷ) about the Galileans (περὶ τῶν Γαλιλαίων), whose blood (ὧν τὸ αἷμα) Pilate (Πειλᾶτος) had mingled (ἔμιξεν) with their sacrifices (μετὰ τῶν θυσιῶν αὐτῶν).  This is a unique passage of Luke that talked about a contemporary event of Jesus.  Apparently, Pontius Pilate, who was rather cruel, had killed some Galileans when they were worshiping at the Jerusalem Temple.  However, there is no other indication about this incident anywhere else, nor is it clear how many Galileans were involved.  What do you think about killing people while they are praying in a place of worship?

The Levite passed by (Lk 10:32-10:32)

“Thus,

Likewise

A Levite,

When he came

To the place

Saw him.

He passed by

On the other side.”

 

ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ Λευείτης κατὰ τὸν τόπον ἐλθὼν καὶ ἰδὼν ἀντιπαρῆλθεν

 

Luke continued his unique story.  Jesus said that a Levite also (ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ Λευείτης) came to this same place (κατὰ τὸν τόπον ἐλθὼν) on the road.  He saw the wounded man (καὶ ἰδὼν).  Then he too crossed over to the other side of the road (ἀντιπαρῆλθεν), so as not to engage with this man.  The same questions can be asked of this Jewish Levite that were asked about the priest.  Was it because of ritual purity?  Was he in a hurry, so that he did not have time to stop?  Did he simply not care?  Was it too much of a bother?  Normally, the Levites do not come in for much criticism in the gospel narratives.  Levites were sons of Levi, and tied to ritualistic practice at the Temple.  For instance, the father of John the Baptist was Zechariah and his mother Elizabeth, both of them were descendants of Aaron.  Zechariah was a priest in the Jerusalem Temple, while Elizabeth was from a Levite family.  These Levites had Temple duties.  Thus, they were religious ritual leaders in the Jewish community.  Both the priest and the Levite represented the upper religious strata of the Jewish community.  Do you think that religious leaders should set an example by their lifestyle?

Simeon addressed Mary (Lk 2:34-2:34)

“Then Simeon

Blessed them.

He said to Mary,

His mother,

‘This child

Is destined

For the falling

And rising

Of many

In Israel.

He will be a sign

That will be opposed.”

 

καὶ εὐλόγησεν αὐτοὺς Συμεὼν καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς Μαριὰμ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ Ἰδοὺ οὗτος κεῖται εἰς πτῶσιν καὶ ἀνάστασιν πολλῶν ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ καὶ εἰς σημεῖον ἀντιλεγόμενον

 

Luke said that this holy and devout Simeon turned to Mary and her family.  Simeon blessed them (καὶ εὐλόγησεν αὐτοὺς Συμεὼν), presumably Mary, Joseph, and Jesus.  Was this a priestly blessing?  There was no indication that Simeon was a priest, but only an old devout righteous man, but he could have been a old Levite priest also.  Then he said to Mary (καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς Μαριὰμ), the mother of Jesus (τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ) that this child would be destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel (Ἰδοὺ οὗτος κεῖται εἰς πτῶσιν καὶ ἀνάστασιν πολλῶν ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ).  He would be a sign that would be a contraction, as some would oppose him (καὶ εἰς σημεῖον ἀντιλεγόμενον).  Everything would not be smooth sailing for her and this child.  However, this was not as bad as what Matthew, chapter 2:13-18, had Joseph suffer.  There the intention of King Herod was to destroy all the young children in Bethlehem that led him to flee into Egypt.  Luke had none of that here.  Instead, Joseph and Mary are law abiding Jewish parents active in the Jerusalem Temple, where a holy man came and told them how wonderful Jesus was.  There were no Magi here, just shepherds visiting the baby child.  King Herod was not even in the picture here in Luke.

Blessed God (Lk 2:28-2:28)

“Simeon took

Jesus

In his arms.

He blessed God.”

 

καὶ αὐτὸς ἐδέξατο αὐτὸ εἰς τὰς ἀγκάλας καὶ εὐλόγησεν τὸν Θεὸν

 

Luke said that Simeon took Jesus into his arms (καὶ αὐτὸς ἐδέξατο αὐτὸ εἰς τὰς ἀγκάλας).  He then blessed God (καὶ εὐλόγησεν τὸν Θεὸν).  It would seem a little odd for an old man to take a small child under two-months old into his arms without asking the mother if it was okay.  However, the blessing of God did not seem out of place here in the Jerusalem Temple.

The parents of Jesus appear (Lk 2:27-2:27)

“Guided

By the Spirit,

Simeon came

Into the temple.

The parents

Brought in

Their child Jesus,

To do for him

What was customary

Under the law.”

 

καὶ ἦλθεν ἐν τῷ Πνεύματι εἰς τὸ ἱερόν· καὶ ἐν τῷ εἰσαγαγεῖν τοὺς γονεῖς τὸ παιδίον Ἰησοῦν τοῦ ποιῆσαι αὐτοὺς κατὰ τὸ εἰθισμένον τοῦ νόμου περὶ αὐτοῦ,

 

Luke said that Simeon, guided by the Holy Spirit (ἐν τῷ Πνεύματι), went into the Jerusalem Temple (καὶ ἦλθεν…εἰς τὸ ἱερόν).  Then the parents of the child Jesus brought him into the Temple (καὶ ἐν τῷ εἰσαγαγεῖν τοὺς γονεῖς τὸ παιδίον Ἰησοῦν τοῦ ποιῆσαι αὐτοὺς) for the customary actions under the Law (κατὰ τὸ εἰθισμένον τοῦ νόμου περὶ αὐτοῦ).  Unfortunately, there were no ordinary customs for the children, since the purification ritual was for the mother.  It was rare for a mother to offer up her son to God.  Normally, the 2 birds were sufficient as an offering for the first-born male child.  Nevertheless, Simeon was there in the Temple when Mary, Joseph, and the child Jesus came into the Jerusalem Temple.

Zechariah returns home (Lk 1:23-1:23)

“When his time

Of liturgical service

Was completed,

He went

To his home.”

 

καὶ ἐγένετο ὡς ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι τῆς λειτουργίας αὐτοῦ, ἀπῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke remarked that Zechariah had fulfilled his time or days (καὶ ἐγένετο ὡς ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι) of priestly Levite liturgical service (τῆς λειτουργίας αὐτοῦ) at the Jerusalem Temple.  As his two-week duty was over, he went home (ἀπῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ).  There was nothing strange about this.  Obviously, Zechariah did not live at the Temple, since his home was elsewhere.