The parable (Lk 21:29-21:29)

“Then he told them

A parable.

‘Look at the fig tree!

Look at all the trees!’”

 

Καὶ εἶπεν παραβολὴν αὐτοῖς Ἴδετε τὴν συκῆν καὶ πάντα τὰ δένδρα

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that he was going to tell them another parable (Καὶ εἶπεν παραβολὴν αὐτοῖς).  They were to look at the fig tree (Ἴδετε τὴν συκῆν), in fact, all the trees (καὶ πάντα τὰ δένδρα).  This is similar to Matthew, chapter 24:32, and Mark, chapter 13:28, who are word for word the same as each other.  Mark indicated that Jesus said they were to learn a lesson or parable (μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν) about the fig tree (Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς).  Earlier in Matthew, chapter 21:19-20, Jesus had cursed a fig tree for not having fruit, but here there was a lesson or a little parable to be learned (μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν) from the fig tree (Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς).  These fig trees play an important role in these stories or parables.  Have you ever seen a fig tree?

The disciples of John the Baptist (Lk 7:18-7:18)

“The disciples of John

Reported

All these things

To him.”

 

Καὶ ἀπήγγειλαν Ἰωάνει οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ περὶ πάντων τούτων.

 

Luke said that the disciples of John the Baptist (οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ) reported to John (Καὶ ἀπήγγειλαν Ἰωάνει) all these things (περὶ πάντων τούτων).  Matthew, chapter 11:2, had something similar.  John the Baptist heard about the works or deeds of Jesus the Christ, the anointed one, the Messiah, while he was in a prison.  Clearly John still had a number of disciples, despite his imprisonment.  Here Luke does not explicitly mention that John was in prison, just that a few of his disciples reported back to John the Baptist about Jesus and his activities.  How do you learn about Jesus?

Even sinners do some good (Lk 6:33-6:33)

“If you do good

To those who do good

To you,

What credit is that

To you?

Even sinners

Do the same.”

 

καὶ γὰρ ἐὰν ἀγαθοποιῆτε τοὺς ἀγαθοποιοῦντας ὑμᾶς, ποία ὑμῖν χάρις ἐστίν; καὶ οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ τὸ αὐτὸ ποιοῦσιν.

 

Luke had Jesus continue in the same vain.  If they did good (καὶ γὰρ ἐὰν ἀγαθοποιῆτε) to those who did good to them (τοὺς ἀγαθοποιοῦντας ὑμᾶς), what credit or gift was that to them (ποία ὑμῖν χάρις ἐστίν)?  Even sinners did the same (καὶ οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ τὸ αὐτὸ ποιοῦσιν).  Matthew, chapter 5:44, has something similar to this, but Matthew was more forceful there.  Matthew indicated that Jesus told them to do good to those who were spitefully accusing them, hating them, and persecuting them.  These early Christians were asked to be generous to their enemies and persecutors.  Maybe later Christians might learn a little bit from the early followers of Jesus.

Righteous and sinners (Lk 5:32-5:32)

“I have not come

To call

The righteous,

But sinners

To repentance.’”

 

οὐκ ἐλήλυθα καλέσαι δικαίους ἀλλὰ ἁμαρτωλοὺς εἰς μετάνοιαν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that he had not come (οὐκ ἐλήλυθα) to call the righteous (καλέσαι δικαίους), but rather sinners to repentance (ἀλλὰ ἁμαρτωλοὺς εἰς μετάνοιαν).  This response of Jesus is almost the same as in Mark, chapter 2:17, and Matthew, chapter 9:13.  However, Matthew was more expansive.  There Jesus explained that they ought to learn what he means, because he desired mercy and not sacrifices, based on Hosea, chapter 6:6.  The essential message was that Yahweh wanted real faithful love, not mere sacrifices.  Hosea wanted the Israelites to have real knowledge of God, rather than worry about burnt offerings.  Jesus had come not to call the people who were righteous already, but to call the sinners to repentance, not the good righteous people.

The parable of the fig tree (Mk 13:28-13:28)

“From the fig tree,

Learn its lesson!

As soon as its branches

Becomes tender,

It puts forth

Its leaves.

Then you know

That summer is near.”

 

Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν· ὅταν ἤδη ὁ κλάδος αὐτῆς ἁπαλὸς γένηται καὶ ἐκφύῃ τὰ φύλλα, γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐγγὺς τὸ θέρος ἐστίν

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 24:32, and similar in Luke, chapter 21:29-30.  Mark indicated that Jesus said they were to learn a lesson or parable (μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν) about the fig tree (Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς).  As soon as its branches or shoots became tender (ὅταν ἤδη ὁ κλάδος αὐτῆς ἁπαλὸς γένηται), it would put forth its leaves (καὶ ἐκφύῃ τὰ φύλλα).  Then you would know that summer was near (γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐγγὺς τὸ θέρος ἐστίν).  In other words, the early leaves on a tree indicated that summer was coming.  Let’s hope that summer keeps coming.

The parable of the fig tree (Mt 24:32-24:32)

“From the fig tree,

Learn its lesson!

As soon as its branch

Becomes tender,

It puts forth its leaves.

Then you know

That summer

Is near.”

 

Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν· ὅταν ἤδη ὁ κλάδος αὐτῆς γένηται ἁπαλὸς καὶ τὰ φύλλα ἐκφύῃ, γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐγγὺς τὸ θέρος

 

This is exactly the same, word for word, in Mark, chapter 13:28, but in Luke, chapter 21:29-30, almost word for word.  Earlier in chapter 21:19-20, Jesus had cursed a fig tree for not having fruit, but here there was a lesson or a little parable to be learned (μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν) from the fig tree (Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς).  As soon as its branches or shoots became tender (ὅταν ἤδη ὁ κλάδος αὐτῆς γένηται ἁπαλὸς), it would put forth its leaves (καὶ τὰ φύλλα ἐκφύῃ).  Then you would know that summer was near (γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐγγὺς τὸ θέρος).  In other words, the early leaves on a tree indicated that summer was coming.  Let’s hope that summer keeps coming.

The easy yoke of labor (Mt 11:28-11:30)

“Come to me!

All you who are

Growing weary!

All you who are

Laden with a heavy burden!

I will give you rest.

Take my yoke!

Learn from me!

I am gentle.

I am lowly in heart.

You will find rest

For your souls.

My yoke is easy.

My burden is light.”

 

Δεῦτε πρός με πάντες οἱ κοπιῶντες καὶ πεφορτισμένοι, κἀγὼ ἀναπαύσω ὑμᾶς.

ἄρατε τὸν ζυγόν μου ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς καὶ μάθετε ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ, ὅτι πραΰς εἰμι καὶ ταπεινὸς τῇ καρδίᾳ, καὶ εὑρήσετε ἀνάπαυσιν ταῖς ψυχαῖς ὑμῶν·

 ὁ γὰρ ζυγός μου χρηστὸς καὶ τὸ φορτίον μου ἐλαφρόν ἐστιν.

 

Matthew concluded this chapter with a unique saying of Jesus.  Jesus wanted his followers to pick up the yoke of his message.  A yoke was put on the shoulders of farm animals to help with plowing and planting.  The term was also used to represent the yoke of the Torah on the shoulders of many Israelites.  Jesus invited all those who were growing weary to come to him (Δεῦτε πρός με πάντες οἱ κοπιῶντες).  He wanted all those with a heavy burden (καὶ πεφορτισμένοι), so that he might give them rest (κἀγὼ ἀναπαύσω ὑμᾶς).  They were to take his yoke (ἄρατε τὸν ζυγόν μου ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς) and learn from him (καὶ μάθετε ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ).  He was gentle and lowly in heart (ὅτι πραΰς εἰμι καὶ ταπεινὸς τῇ καρδίᾳ).  They would find rest for their souls (καὶ εὑρήσετε ἀνάπαυσιν ταῖς ψυχαῖς ὑμῶν) because his yoke was easy (ὁ γὰρ ζυγός μου χρηστὸς) and his burden light (καὶ τὸ φορτίον μου ἐλαφρόν ἐστιν).  The yoke of Jesus was light in comparison to the yoke of the Torah.