He casts out demons by Beelzebul (Lk 11:15-11:15)

“But some of them said.

‘He casts out demons

By Beelzebul,

The ruler of demons.’”

 

τινὲς δὲ ἐξ αὐτῶν εἶπαν Ἐν Βεελζεβοὺλ τῷ ἄρχοντι τῶν δαιμονίων ἐκβάλλει τὰ δαιμόνια

 

Luke indicated that some anonymous people in the crowd said (τινὲς δὲ ἐξ αὐτῶν εἶπαν) that Jesus was casting out demons (ἐκβάλλει τὰ δαιμόνια) by Beelzebul (Ἐν Βεελζεβοὺλ), the ruler or the prince of the demons (τῷ ἄρχοντι τῶν δαιμονίων).  Matthew, chapter 12:24, said that it was the Pharisees, not someone in the crowd, who heard that the people were calling Jesus the “Son of David,” a messianic name.  They then accused Jesus of being in cahoots with Beelzebul, the leader of the demons.  In other words, Jesus was casting out demons because he was working with the devil, the prince of the demons, Beelzebul.  Mark, chapter 3:22, said that the Scribes came down from Jerusalem, and not the Pharisees, as in Matthew, or someone in the crowd as in Luke, that accused Jesus of working with Beelzebul.  Thus, as the leader or ruler of the demons, he was casting out other demons.  The implication was that Jesus was working with the devil, the very leader of the demons, Beelzebul, an ancient Canaanite god known as the “Lord of the flies.”  However, Beelzebul had become another name for the devil or a major demon in early Christianity and late Judaism.  What do you think the role of the devil is in your life?

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Eternal life (Lk 10:25-10:25)

“Just then,

A certain lawyer

Stood up

To test Jesus.

He said.

‘Teacher!

What must I do

To inherit eternal life?’”

 

Καὶ ἰδοὺ νομικός τις ἀνέστη ἐκπειράζων αὐτὸν λέγων Διδάσκαλε, τί ποιήσας ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσω;

 

Luke said that just then, a certain lawyer stood up (Καὶ ἰδοὺ νομικός τις ἀνέστη) to test Jesus (ἐκπειράζων αὐτὸν).  He said, calling Jesus a teacher (λέγων Διδάσκαλε), what did he have to do to inherit eternal life (τί ποιήσας ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσω)?  Although there was a question like this in all 3 synoptics, there are nuanced differences.  Matthew, chapter 22:35-36, had a Pharisee lawyer ask the question about the greatest commandment, and not about eternal life.  Mark, chapter 12:28, had a Scribe, not a Pharisee lawyer ask the same question about the greatest commandment.  In Luke, here, there was an unnamed lawyer, probably an expert in the Mosaic law, who wanted to know about how to gain eternal life.  Mark had this unnamed Scribe approach Jesus, because he had heard the disciples discussing, disputing, or arguing with each other.  He saw how Jesus had answered their questions so well.  He was not there to test him, as here in Luke and Matthew, but he did question Jesus.  Matthew had a lawyer, who was a Pharisee, question Jesus to explicitly test him.  This Pharisee lawyer probably was someone skilled in the Mosaic law.  He addressed Jesus in a very respectful tone calling him “Teacher” or rabbi (Διδάσκαλε), like Luke.  He wanted to know which commandment of the law was the greatest, since there were 613 commandments in late Judaism.  Thus, it would seem like a legitimate question with so many commandments or laws.  Luke had the question about eternal life, but the other 2 synoptics questioned Jesus about the most important commandment.  These questions were related, but not the same.  3 different people, with different motives, posed this question.  Do you question people to learn something or to test them?

Which commandment is first? (Mk 12:28-12:28)

“One of the Scribes

Came near.

He heard them

Disputing with one another.

Seeing that Jesus

Had answered them well,

He asked him.

“Which commandment

Is the first of all of them?”

 

Καὶ προσελθὼν εἷς τῶν γραμματέων, ἀκούσας αὐτῶν συνζητούντων, εἰδὼς ὅτι καλῶς ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς, ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτόν Ποία ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη πάντων;

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 22:34, but there the question was presented by a Pharisee lawyer, not a Scribe.  In Luke, chapter 10:25, there was an unnamed lawyer who wanted to know how to gain eternal life.  Here, Mark has an unnamed Scribe approach Jesus (Καὶ προσελθὼν εἷς τῶν γραμματέων) because he had heard the disciples discussing, disputing, or arguing with each other (ἀκούσας αὐτῶν συνζητούντων).  He saw how Jesus had answered their questions very well (εἰδὼς ὅτι καλῶς ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς).  He was not there to test him, but he did question Jesus (ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτόν).  He wanted to know which commandment was the first or the greatest (Ποία ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη πάντων), since there were 613 commandments in late Judaism.  Thus, it would seem like a legitimate question with so many commandments or laws.

The Scribes claim that Jesus was possessed by Beelzebul (Mk 3:22-3:22)

“The Scribes,

Who came down

From Jerusalem,

Said.

‘He has Beelzebul.

By the ruler

Of demons,

He casts out the demons.’”

 

καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς οἱ ἀπὸ Ἱεροσολύμων καταβάντες ἔλεγον ὅτι Βεελζεβοὺλ ἔχει, καὶ ὅτι ἐν τῷ ἄρχοντι τῶν δαιμονίων ἐκβάλλει τὰ δαιμόνια.

 

This is similar to Luke, chapter 11:15 and Matthew, chapter 12:24.  Beelzebul was an ancient Canaanite god known as the “Lord of the flies,” but had become another name for the devil or demons in early Christianity and late Judaism.  Mark said that the Scribes came down from Jerusalem (καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς οἱ ἀπὸ Ἱεροσολύμων καταβάντες), and not the Pharisees, as in Matthew.  They said (ἔλεγον) or accused Jesus of being in cahoots with Beelzebul.  He had Beelzebul in him (ὅτι Βεελζεβοὺλ ἔχει).  Thus, as the leader or ruler of the demons (καὶ ὅτι ἐν τῷ ἄρχοντι τῶν δαιμονίων), he was casting out demons (ἐκβάλλει τὰ δαιμόνια).  Jesus was working with the devil, the leader of the demons, the ancient Canaanite god, Beelzebul.

What is the greatest commandment? (Mt 22:35-22:36)

“One of the Pharisees,

A lawyer,

Asked Jesus a question,

To test him.

‘Teacher!

Which commandment

In the law

Is the greatest?’”

 

καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν εἷς ἐξ” αὐτῶν νομικὸς πειράζων αὐτόν

Διδάσκαλε, ποία ἐντολὴ μεγάλη ἐν τῷ νόμῳ;

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 12:28, but there the question was presented by a Scribe, not a Pharisee lawyer.  However, in Luke, chapter 10:25, there was an unnamed lawyer who wanted to know how to gain eternal life.  Here, Matthew has a lawyer (νομικὸς), who was a Pharisee, question Jesus (καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν εἷς ἐξ” αὐτῶν) to test him (πειράζων αὐτόν).  He probably was someone skilled in the Mosaic law.  He addressed Jesus in a very respectful tone calling him “Teacher” or rabbi (Διδάσκαλε).  He wanted to know which commandment of the law was the greatest (ποία ἐντολὴ μεγάλη ἐν τῷ νόμῳ), since there were 613 commandments in late Judaism.  Thus, it would seem like a legitimate question with so many commandments or laws.

The Pharisees compare Jesus to Beelzebul (Mt 12:24-12:24)

“But the Pharisees heard it.

They said.

‘It is only by Beelzebul,

The ruler of the demons,

That this man

Casts out the demons.’”

 

οἱ δὲ Φαρισαῖοι ἀκούσαντες εἶπον Οὗτος οὐκ ἐκβάλλει τὰ δαιμόνια εἰ μὴ ἐν τῷ Βεελζεβοὺλ ἄρχοντι τῶν δαιμονίων.

 

This seems a little out of context since Matthew did not mention casting out a demon, but only curing the mute and blind demoniac.  However, this is similar to Luke, chapter 11:15 and Mark, chapter 3:22, as well as the earlier passages from Matthew, chapters 9:34 and 10:24-25.  Beelzebul was an ancient Canaanite god known as the “Lord of the flies,” but had become another name for the devil or demons in early Christianity and late Judaism.  The Pharisees heard (οἱ δὲ Φαρισαῖοι ἀκούσαντες) that the people were calling Jesus the “Son of David,” a messianic name.  However, they accused Jesus of being in cahoots with Beelzebul (εἶπον Οὗτος…εἰ μὴ ἐν τῷ Βεελζεβοὺλ), the leader of the demons (ἄρχοντι τῶν δαιμονίων).  In other words, Jesus was casting out (οὐκ ἐκβάλλει τὰ δαιμόνια) demons because he was working with the devil, the leader of the demons, the ancient Canaanite god, Beelzebul.

The teacher and his disciples (Mt 10:24-10:25)

“A disciple is not above

His teacher.

A slave is not above

His master.

It is enough

That the disciple is

To be like his teacher.

The slave is

To be like his master.

If they have called

The master of the house

Beelzebul,

How much more

Will they malign

Those of his household.”

 

Οὐκ ἔστιν μαθητὴς ὑπὲρ τὸν διδάσκαλον οὐδὲ δοῦλος ὑπὲρ τὸν κύριον αὐτοῦ.

ἀρκετὸν τῷ μαθητῇ ἵνα γένηται ὡς ὁ διδάσκαλος αὐτοῦ, καὶ ὁ δοῦλος ὡς ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ. εἰ τὸν οἰκοδεσπότην Βεελζεβοὺλ ἐπεκάλεσαν, πόσῳ μᾶλλον τοὺς οἰκιακοὺς αὐτοῦ.

 

Something similar can be found in Luke, chapter 7:40, and in John, 13:16.  Obviously, no disciple is greater than his teacher (Οὐκ ἔστιν μαθητὴς ὑπὲρ τὸν διδάσκαλον).  A slave or servant is not greater than his master or lord (οὐδὲ δοῦλος ὑπὲρ τὸν κύριον αὐτοῦ).  The student or disciple of the teacher should become like his teacher (ἀρκετὸν τῷ μαθητῇ ἵνα γένηται ὡς ὁ διδάσκαλος αὐτοῦ).  The servant or slave should be like his master or lord (καὶ ὁ δοῦλος ὡς ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ).  If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul (εἰ τὸν οἰκοδεσπότην Βεελζεβοὺλ ἐπεκάλεσαν), how much more will they malign those of his household (πόσῳ μᾶλλον τοὺς οἰκιακοὺς αὐτοῦ).  Thus, the disciples of Jesus should expect some of the same bad treatment that Jesus endured.  Just as earlier, Jesus was called the leader of the demons in 9:34.  Beelzebul was an ancient Canaanite god known as the “Lord of the flies,” but had become another name for the devil or demons in early Christianity and late Judaism.