Will the Son of Man find faith on earth? (Lk 18:8-18:8)

“I tell you!

He will quickly

Grant justice

To them.

Nevertheless,

When the Son of Man

Comes,

Will he find faith

On earth?”

 

λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ποιήσει τὴν ἐκδίκησιν αὐτῶν ἐν τάχει. πλὴν ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐλθὼν ἆρα εὑρήσει τὴν πίστιν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς;

 

Luke is the only synoptic writer with this parable about the widow and the bad judge.  Luke indicated that Jesus concluded this story with a solemn pronouncement (λέγω ὑμῖν) that God will quickly grant justice to them (ὅτι ποιήσει τὴν ἐκδίκησιν αὐτῶν ἐν τάχει).  When the Son of Man comes (πλὴν ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐλθὼν), will he find faith (ἆρα εὑρήσει τὴν πίστιν) on earth (ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς)?  What will the Son of Man find on the judgment day?  His justice will be quick.  The solution, be ready at all times.  Are you ready for the Son of Man to return?

 

Will God delay? (Lk 18:7-18:7)

“Will not God

Grant justice

To his chosen ones

Who cry to him

Day and night?

Will he delay long

In helping them?”

 

ὁ δὲ Θεὸς οὐ μὴ ποιήσῃ τὴν ἐκδίκησιν τῶν ἐκλεκτῶν αὐτοῦ τῶν βοώντων αὐτῷ ἡμέρας καὶ νυκτός, καὶ μακροθυμεῖ ἐπ’ αὐτοῖς;

 

Luke is the only synoptic writer with this parable about the widow and the bad judge.  Luke had Jesus bring this parable to a conclusion with a comment about God.  He wondered whether God (ὁ δὲ Θεὸς) would grant justice (οὐ μὴ ποιήσῃ τὴν ἐκδίκησιν) to his chosen ones (τῶν ἐκλεκτῶν αὐτοῦ) who cried to him (τῶν βοώντων αὐτῷ) day and night (ἡμέρας καὶ νυκτός)?  Would God delay long in helping them (καὶ μακροθυμεῖ ἐπ’ αὐτοῖς)?  The comparison was explicit.  Jesus said that God would grant justice to his chosen ones who petitioned him day and night.  Their persistence prayer would pay off.  God would not delay in helping them and answering their prayers for justice.  Has God answered your persistent prayers?

The unrighteous judge (Lk 18:6-8:6)

“The Lord said.

‘Listen

To what

the unjust says!’”

 

Εἶπεν δὲ ὁ Κύριος Ἀκούσατε τί ὁ κριτὴς τῆς ἀδικίας λέγει·

 

Luke is the only synoptic writer with this parable about the widow and the bad judge.  Luke indicated that the Lord Jesus said to them (Εἶπεν δὲ ὁ Κύριος) that they were to listen (Ἀκούσατε) to what this unjust judge just said (τί ὁ κριτὴς τῆς ἀδικίας λέγει).  Despite being unjust (ἀδικίας), Jesus wanted his disciples to listen to what he had to say.  If this callous unjust judge granted justice to this persistent widow, what do you think that a wonderful caring just God would do for them with their persistent pleadings and prayers?  Notice that Luke now called Jesus Lord (ὁ Κύριος).  Do you think that bad unjust people can do some good deeds once in a while?

The widow’s petition (Lk 18:3-18:3)

“In that city,

There was a widow

Who kept coming

To him.

Saying.

‘Grant me justice

Against my opponent!’”

 

χήρα δὲ ἦν ἐν τῇ πόλει ἐκείνῃ, καὶ ἤρχετο πρὸς αὐτὸν λέγουσα Ἐκδίκησόν με ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀντιδίκου μου.

 

Luke is the only synoptic writer with this parable about the widow and the bad judge.  Luke indicated that Jesus said there was a widow in that city (χήρα δὲ ἦν ἐν τῇ πόλει ἐκείνῃ).  She kept coming to this bad judge (καὶ ἤρχετο πρὸς αὐτὸν).  She said (λέγουσα) that she wanted justice or restitution (Ἐκδίκησόν με) against her opponent or adversary (ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀντιδίκου μου).  Widows were the powerless and vulnerable in Jewish society, since they had lost the support of their husbands.  People would always be reminded to help the poor and the widows, as they were considered the same class of people, since generally, older women without husbands were poor.  This particular widow had a case against someone, so that she kept coming back to his bad judge to achieve justice or vengeance on her part.  Have you ever sued anyone?

Tithing (Lk 11:42-11:42)

“But woe to you!

Pharisees!

You tithe

Mint,

Rue,

And every kind

Of herb.

However,

You neglect

Justice

And the love of God!

It is these

You ought

To have practiced

Without neglecting

The others.”

 

ἀλλὰ οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς Φαρισαίοις, ὅτι ἀποδεκατοῦτε τὸ ἡδύοσμον καὶ τὸ πήγανον καὶ πᾶν λάχανον, καὶ παρέρχεσθε τὴν κρίσιν καὶ τὴν ἀγάπην τοῦ Θεοῦ· ταῦτα δὲ ἔδει ποιῆσαι κἀκεῖνα μὴ παρεῖναι.

 

Next Luke had the Lord Jesus curse the Pharisees the way that Matthew had done.  Jesus said woe to them, the Pharisees (ἀλλὰ οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς Φαρισαίοις)!  They had paid their tithes (ὅτι ἀποδεκατοῦτε) of mint (τὸ ἡδύοσμον), rue (καὶ τὸ πήγανον), and every kind of herb (καὶ πᾶν λάχανον).  However, they had neglected (καὶ παρέρχεσθε) justice (τὴν κρίσιν) and the love of God (καὶ τὴν ἀγάπην τοῦ Θεοῦ).  They ought to practice these things (ταῦτα δὲ ἔδει ποιῆσαι), without neglecting the other things (κἀκεῖνα μὴ παρεῖναι).  This is like Matthew, chapter 23:23, where Jesus cursed the Pharisees and the Scribes.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said woe to them because of their insistence on tithing.  He blamed them for their concern about the tithing of the various aromatic spices of mint, dill, and cumin plants, instead of the more serious matters of the law.  Thus, they neglected, the serious practice of justice, mercy, and faith.  They should have spent more time on these issues without neglecting the other things.  This seemed like a critique of misplaced priorities, with their legalistic sense of tithing being more important than justice, mercy, faith, and the Mosaic law itself.  Luke had almost the same critique here, but the tithing herbs are slightly different.  He also wanted their concerns to be about justice and God’s love.  Otherwise the critique was pretty much the same.  Do you neglect justice and mercy in your life?

Woe to the rich! (Lk 6:24-6:24)

“But woe to you

Who are rich!

You have received

Your consolation.”

 

Πλὴν οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς πλουσίοις, ὅτι ἀπέχετε τὴν παράκλησιν ὑμῶν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said the rich people should be cursed (Πλὴν οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς πλουσίοις), using the second person plural.  They already had received their consolation, comfort, or happiness (ὅτι ἀπέχετε τὴν παράκλησιν ὑμῶν).  While Matthew had 8 beatitudes about the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, the righteous, the merciful, the pure of heart, the peacemakers, and the persecuted, Luke only had 4.  The blessed or fortunate ones here were the poor, the hungry, the weeping, and the. persecuted.  3 of the 4 of these categories are almost the same, but the hungry could only go with those who hunger for righteousness.  Some later 4th century Christian writers, like Ambrose of Milan (337-397), have said that theses 4 beatitudes correspond to the 4 cardinal virtues of temperance, justice, prudence, and fortitude.  However, Luke uniquely has these 4 more woes or curses in which he denounced or called out their bad behavior.  In this particular case, he challenged or criticized the rich people because they already had their consolation.

Soldiers (Lk 3:14-3:14)

“Soldiers

Also asked him.

‘What shall we do?’

John said to them.

‘Do not intimidate

People!

Do not falsely

Accuse people!

Be content

With your wages!’”

 

ἐπηρώτων δὲ αὐτὸν καὶ στρατευόμενοι λέγοντες Τί ποιήσωμεν καὶ ἡμεῖς; καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Μηδένα διασείσητε μηδὲ συκοφαντήσητε, καὶ ἀρκεῖσθε τοῖς ὀψωνίοις ὑμῶν.

 

This final unique saying of Luke about John and his preaching was a dialogue with some soldiers, that is not found elsewhere in the biblical writings.  Luke said that some soldiers also asked John (ἐπηρώτων δὲ αὐτὸν καὶ στρατευόμενοι λέγοντες) what they should do (Τί ποιήσωμεν καὶ ἡμεῖς).  John told them (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) not to intimidate people or use false accusations (Μηδένα διασείσητε μηδὲ συκοφαντήσητε).  They should be content with their wages (καὶ ἀρκεῖσθε τοῖς ὀψωνίοις ὑμῶν).  Once again Luke has John respond with a call for justice, fairness, and honesty.  These Jewish soldiers of Herod Antipas were perhaps a little cruel or crude in their everyday life activities.