A parable near Jerusalem (Lk 19:11-19:11)

“As they were listening

To these things,

Jesus proceeded

To tell a parable.

He was near Jerusalem.

Thus,

They supposed

That the kingdom of God

Was to appear

Immediately.”

 

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?

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Eternal reward (Lk 18:29-18:30)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Truly!

I say to you!

There is no one

Who has left house,

Or wife,

Or brothers,

Or parents,

Or children,

For the sake

Of the kingdom of God,

Who will not get back

Very much in this age,

And in the age

To come,

Eternal life.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι οὐδείς ἐστιν ὃς ἀφῆκεν οἰκίαν ἢ γυναῖκα ἢ ἀδελφοὺς ἢ γονεῖς ἢ τέκνα ἕνεκεν τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ,

ὃς οὐχὶ μὴ λάβῃ πολλαπλασίονα ἐν τῷ καιρῷ τούτῳ καὶ ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τῷ ἐρχομένῳ ζωὴν αἰώνιον.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to them (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) with a solemn pronouncement (Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν), that everyone who has left their house (ὅτι οὐδείς ἐστιν ὃς ἀφῆκεν οἰκίαν), wife (ἢ γυναῖκα), brothers (ἢ ἀδελφοὺς), parents (ἢ γονεῖς), or children (ἢ τέκνα ἕνεκεν), for the sake of the kingdom of God (τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ) will get back very much more (ὃς οὐχὶ μὴ λάβῃ πολλαπλασίονα) in this age (ἐν τῷ καιρῷ τούτῳ), and in the age to come (καὶ ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τῷ ἐρχομένῳ), eternal life (ζωὴν αἰώνιον).  This is the only use of the Greek word πολλαπλασίονα, that means manifold or many times more.  This demanding but rewarding saying of Jesus can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:29-30, and Matthew, chapter 19:29, but slightly different, especially Matthew with the apostles sitting on the 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes.  Mark said that Jesus then issued a solemn proclamation to his disciples that anyone who has left house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, or land fields for the sake of the gospel good news, would receive a hundredfold now in this age, in houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and field lands.  However, in the age to come, they would have eternal life.  In Matthew, Jesus also issued a solemn proclamation to his disciples.  He told them, if they had followed him, that at the renewal of all things, the rebirth, the end times, the Son of Man would be seated on his glorious throne.  At that same time, his followers, these 12 disciple apostles, would sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel.  Everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or lands for his name would receive a hundredfold.  They would inherit eternal life.  The reward would be great.  Don’t worry.  Are you concerned that you have left your family to follow Jesus?

Camel and the eye of a needle (Lk 18:25-18:25)

“It is easier

For a camel

To go through

The eye of a needle

Than for a rich man

To enter

The kingdom of God.”

 

εὐκοπώτερον γάρ ἐστιν κάμηλον διὰ τρήματος βελόνης εἰσελθεῖν ἢ πλούσιον εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that it was easier for a camel (εὐκοπώτερον γάρ ἐστιν κάμηλον) to go through the eye of a needle (διὰ τρήματος βελόνης εἰσελθεῖν) than for a rich man (ἢ πλούσιον) to enter the kingdom of God (εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν).  This saying about wealth and the camel going through the eye of a needle can be found in Mark, chapter 10:25, and Matthew, chapter 19:24, almost word for word.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that it would be easier (εὐκοπώτερόν ἐστιν) for a camel to go or pass through the eye of a needle (κάμηλον διὰ τῆς τρυμαλιᾶς τῆς ῥαφίδος διελθεῖν), that was used for sewing, than for a wealthy rich man to enter the kingdom of God (ἢ πλούσιον εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν).  In Matthew, once again, this was a solemn proclamation of Jesus (πάλιν δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν).  He said that it would be easier (εὐκοπώτερόν ἐστιν) for a camel to go through the eye of a sewing needle (κάμηλον διὰ τρήματος ῥαφίδος εἰσελθεῖν) than for a wealthy rich man to enter the kingdom of God (ἢ πλούσιον εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  This was a follow up to the obstacles of wealth.  Notice that Matthew followed the other two gospels by using kingdom of God (τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ) rather than his usual kingdom of heaven (τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν), as in the preceding verses.  Everyone knew that it would be impossible for a camel to go through a sewing needle eye or a needle opening.  There was no needle gate in Jerusalem, since this was about a sewing needle.  Do you see wealth as a problem?

Hard for rich people (Lk 18:24-18:24)

“Jesus looked

At this ruler.

He said.

‘How hard it is

For those

Who have wealth

To enter

The kingdom of God!’”

 

ἰδὼν δὲ αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν Πῶς δυσκόλως οἱ τὰ χρήματα ἔχοντες εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσπορεύονται·

 

Luke indicated that Jesus looked at this ruler (ἰδὼν δὲ αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  He said (εἶπεν) that how hard or difficult it was for those who have wealth (Πῶς δυσκόλως οἱ τὰ χρήματα ἔχοντες) to enter the kingdom of God (εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσπορεύονται).  This saying about the difficulty of rich people trying to get into the kingdom of God can be found in Mark, chapter 10:25, and Matthew, chapter 19:23, almost word for word.  Mark said that Jesus looked around (Καὶ περιβλεψάμενος ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  Then he said to his disciples (λέγει τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ) that it would be hard or difficult for a rich person, those having a lot of wealth (Πῶς δυσκόλως οἱ τὰ χρήματα ἔχοντες) to enter the kingdom of God (εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσελεύσονται).  In Matthew, Jesus told his disciples (Ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ) with a strong harsh solemn proclamation (Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  It would be hard or difficult for a wealthy rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven (ὅτι πλούσιος δυσκόλως εἰσελεύσεται εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν).  As usual, Matthew spoke about entrance into the kingdom of heaven, while Mark and Luke spoke about entrance into the kingdom of God.  Wealth would clearly be an obstacle to those who wanted to enter the heavenly divine kingdom.  Do you see wealth as an obstacle to entering the kingdom of God?

.

Be like a child (Lk 18:17-18:17)

“Truly!

I say to you!

Whoever does not receive

The kingdom of God

As a little child

Will never enter it.”

 

ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ὃς ἂν μὴ δέξηται τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ ὡς παιδίον, οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθῃ εἰς αὐτήν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to them with a solemn proclamation (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) that whoever did not receive (ὃς ἂν μὴ δέξηται) the kingdom of God (τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ) as a little child (ὡς παιδίον) would never enter it (οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθῃ εἰς αὐτήν).  This Jesus saying put an emphasis on becoming a child to enter the kingdom.  Similar comments can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:15, as well as Matthew, chapters 18:3, with some minor changes.  Mark said that Jesus made a solemn proclamation “Truly! I say to you!’ (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).”  They had to receive the kingdom of God (ὃς ἂν μὴ δέξηται τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ) like a little child (ὡς παιδίον).  Otherwise, they would never enter the kingdom of God (οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθῃ εἰς αὐτήν).  Pure and simple, they had to have the attitude of a young child to enter the kingdom of God, just Luke mentioned here, almost word for word.  Matthew indicated that Jesus called or summoned a little child (καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος παιδίον).  He placed this little child in the middle of his disciples (ἔστησεν αὐτὸ ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῶν).  Then he made a solemn proclamation ‘Truly! I say to you!’ (καὶ εἶπεν Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  They had to change or convert to become like little children (ἐὰν μὴ στραφῆτε καὶ γένησθε ὡς τὰ παιδία).  Otherwise, they would never enter the kingdom of heaven (οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθητε εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν).  Whoever became humble like this little child in their midst (ὅστις οὖν ταπεινώσει ἑαυτὸν ὡς τὸ παιδίον τοῦτο), would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ μείζων ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν).  The greatest in heaven would be the simple humble little children or those who acted like children, without power and dependent on other people.  Luke and Mark did not have a long explanation about being humble like this little child to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Notice also that once again, Matthew emphasized the kingdom of heaven and not the kingdom of God.  Are you humble like a little child?

 

The good news (Lk 16:16-16:16)

“The law

And the prophets

Were in effect

Until John came.

Since then,

The good news

Of the kingdom of God

Is proclaimed.

Everyone

Tries to enter it

By force.”

 

Ὁ νόμος καὶ οἱ προφῆται μέχρι Ἰωάνου· ἀπὸ τότε ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ εὐαγγελίζεται καὶ πᾶς εἰς αὐτὴν βιάζεται.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the law (Ὁ νόμος) and the prophets (καὶ οἱ προφῆται) were in effect until John came (μέχρι Ἰωάνου).  Since then (ἀπὸ τότε), the good news has been proclaimed (εὐαγγελίζεται) about the kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Everyone tries to enter it by force (καὶ πᾶς εἰς αὐτὴν βιάζεται).  The law and the prophets were the two major parts of the Hebrew Bible.  John the Baptist represented some sort of turning point.  His preaching about the kingdom of God meant that the days of the law and prophets were numbered.  There is something similar, but in a different context with a different meaning in Matthew, chapter 11:12-13.  There Jesus talked about the days of John the Baptist until the present (ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν ἡμερῶν Ἰωάνου τοῦ Βαπτιστοῦ ἕως ἄρτι), not a very long time.  The kingdom of heaven has suffered violence (ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν βιάζεται).  What kind of violence was taking place in the heavenly kingdom?  Did this mean that so many people were violently seeking the kingdom of heaven that John was talking about?  Is this some kind of violence within the kingdom of heaven?  Were these violent people trying to get into the kingdom of heaven?  The next sentence seems to support this idea that violent people wanted to seize the kingdom of heaven by force (καὶ βιασταὶ ἁρπάζουσιν αὐτήν).  In Matthew, chapter 17:11-13, Jesus compared John to Elijah.  Like here in Luke, all the prophets and the law had prophesied until the time of John the Baptist (πάντες γὰρ οἱ προφῆται καὶ ὁ νόμος ἕως Ἰωάνου ἐπροφήτευσαν).  Then Jesus said that John was the new Elijah (αὐτός ἐστιν Ἡλείας), the one who was to come (ὁ μέλλων ἔρχεσθαι).  However, they had to be willing to accept this (καὶ εἰ θέλετε δέξασθαι).  Anyone who had ears to hear should listen to this (ὁ ἔχων ὦτα ἀκουέτω).  Clearly, something fundamental changed with John the Baptist and his proclamation of the kingdom of God.  How were John and Jesus connected in their preaching?  What is your opinion about John the Baptist?

They will come from all directions (Lk 13:29-13:29)

“People will come

From east

And west,

From north

And south.

They will eat

In the kingdom of God.”

 

καὶ ἥξουσιν ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν καὶ δυσμῶν καὶ ἀπὸ βορρᾶ καὶ νότου, καὶ ἀνακλιθήσονται ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that people would come from (καὶ ἥξουσιν ἀπὸ) the east (ἀνατολῶν), the west (καὶ δυσμῶν), the north (καὶ ἀπὸ βορρᾶ), and the south (καὶ νότου).  They would recline and eat (καὶ ἀνακλιθήσονται) in the kingdom of God (ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ Θεοῦ).  They would come from everywhere.  This is somewhat similar to Matthew, chapter 8:11, perhaps a Q source, who had Jesus say that many people would come from the east and the west (ὅτι πολλοὶ ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν καὶ δυσμῶν ἥξουσιν), but not the north or the south, to recline at table (καὶ ἀνακλιθήσονται) during the Messianic feast with the 3 great Hebrew Jewish leaders, Abraham (μετὰ Ἀβραὰμ), Isaac (καὶ Ἰσαὰκ), and Jacob (καὶ Ἰακὼβ) in the kingdom of the heavens (ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν).  Do you think that you will have a place at the Messianic feast?