Eternal life (Lk 18:18-18:18)

“A certain ruler

Asked Jesus.

‘Good Teacher!

What must I do

To inherit

Eternal life?’”

 

Καὶ ἐπηρώτησέν τις αὐτὸν ἄρχων λέγων Διδάσκαλε ἀγαθέ, τί ποιήσας ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσω;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that a certain ruler questioned Jesus (Καὶ ἐπηρώτησέν τις αὐτὸν ἄρχων), calling him a good teacher (λέγων Διδάσκαλε ἀγαθέ).  What did he have to do to inherit eternal life (τί ποιήσας ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσω)?  This incident about the man asking about eternal life can be found in Mark, chapter 10:17, and Matthew, chapter 19:16, but slightly different.  Mark had Jesus setting out on a journey (Καὶ ἐκπορευομένου αὐτοῦ εἰς ὁδὸν), when a man, not a ruler as in Luke, came running up to Jesus (προσδραμὼν εἷς).  He knelt down before Jesus (καὶ γονυπετήσας αὐτὸν).  He then questioned Jesus (ἐπηρώτα αὐτόν), calling him a good teacher (Διδάσκαλε ἀγαθέ), like in Luke.  He wanted to know what he had to do (τί ποιήσω) to inherit, possess, or acquire eternal life (ἵνα ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσω).  Matthew said this person was not a ruler as in Luke, but he also came to Jesus (Καὶ ἰδοὺ εἷς προσελθὼν αὐτῷ).  He called Jesus a teacher (εἶπεν Διδάσκαλε), but not a good teacher as in Luke and Mark.  He wanted to know what one good deed he could do (τί ἀγαθὸν ποιήσω) to achieve eternal life (ἵνα σχῶ ζωὴν αἰώνιον).  This person wanted to know about his own personal eternal salvation, while the normal Jewish attitude would have been to talk about how they could all be saved.  Are you worried about your eternal life?

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They mocked Jesus (Mk 15:19-15:19)

“They struck

His head

With a reed.

They spat

Upon him.

They knelt down

In homage to him.”

 

καὶ ἔτυπτον αὐτοῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν καλάμῳ καὶ ἐνέπτυον αὐτῷ, καὶ τιθέντες τὰ γόνατα προσεκύνουν αὐτῷ.

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 27:30, but not in Luke.  In John, chapter 19:3, there is something similar.  Mark said that these Roman soldiers kept striking him on the head (καὶ ἔτυπτον αὐτοῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν) with a reed or stick (καλάμῳ).  Then they spat on Jesus (καὶ ἐνέπτυον αὐτῷ).  Finally, these Roman soldiers bent their knees (καὶ τιθέντες τὰ γόνατα) and knelt before him (προσεκύνουν αὐτῷ as they were mockingly paying homage to this pretended king of the Jews.

The leper (Mt 8:2-8:2)

“There was a leper

Who came to Jesus.

He knelt before him.

Saying.

‘Lord!

If you choose,

You can make me clean.’”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ λεπρὸς προσελθὼν προσεκύνει αὐτῷ λέγων Κύριε, ἐὰν θέλῃς δύνασαί με καθαρίσαι.

 

This leper story can be found in Luke, chapter 5:12, and Mark, chapter 1:40, perhaps indicating Mark as the source, since Matthew was closer to Mark.  A leper came to Jesus (καὶ ἰδοὺ λεπρὸς προσελθὼν).  Leprosy was some kind of skin disease that was usually found among poor people.  Today, there are about 2,000,000 people with leprosy or Hansen’s disease, mostly in India, Indonesia, and Brazil.  The Greek word “λεπρὸς” used here is a broader definition of leprosy than just Hansen’s disease.  Leprosy was a religious problem also.  What to do about it was clearly defined in Leviticus, chapters 13-14.  Leprosy in the wide sense was considered unclean and had religious connotations, since only a priest could declare a person clean with a distinct ritual for cleansing the leper.  As a leper, you were considered unclean and not fit to live in normal communal life.  This leper then knelt down before Jesus as to offer obedience to him (προσεκύνει αὐτῷ).  Then he spoke to Jesus, calling him Lord (λέγων Κύριε).  Then the leper asked Jesus to cure him if he wanted to (ἐὰν θέλῃς).  He knew that Jesus had the power to do this, since many prophets had cured lepers.  The leper was asking Jesus to perform as a prophet and make him clean (δύνασαί με καθαρίσαι), so that he could join normal Jewish society again.