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?

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Those who rise from the dead (Lk 16:31-16:31)

“Abraham

Said to him.

‘If they do not listen

To Moses

And the prophets,

Neither will they

Be convinced,

Even if someone

Rises

From the dead.’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ Εἰ Μωϋσέως καὶ τῶν προφητῶν οὐκ ἀκούουσιν, οὐδὲ ἐάν τις ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστῇ πεισθήσονται.

 

This parable story about the poor man Lazarus and an unnamed rich man is only found in Luke, not in the other gospels.  Luke indicated that Jesus concluded that Abraham said to the rich man (εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ) that if his brothers had not listened to Moses and the prophets (Εἰ Μωϋσέως καὶ τῶν προφητῶν οὐκ ἀκούουσιν), neither would they be convinced or persuaded (πεισθήσονται), if someone rose from the dead (οὐδὲ ἐάν τις ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστῇ).  Abraham was clear.  They had the Torah of Moses and the written teachings of the prophets.  What else did they need?  Thus, they would not be moved to repentance even if a dead man appeared to them.  This is of course was an indication of what would happen with Jesus in his resurrection.  Would you change your mind if a dead person appeared to you?

They have Moses (Lk 16:29-16:29)

“Abraham replied.

‘They have Moses

And the prophets!

They should listen

To them!’”

 

λέγει δὲ Ἀβραάμ Ἔχουσι Μωϋσέα καὶ τοὺς προφήτας· ἀκουσάτωσαν αὐτῶν.

 

This parable story about the poor man Lazarus and an unnamed rich man is only found in Luke, not in the other gospels.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that Abraham replied to this tormented rich man (λέγει δὲ Ἀβραάμ) that his brothers had Moses (Ἔχουσι Μωϋσέα) and the prophets (καὶ τοὺς προφήτας).  Why wouldn’t they listen to them (ἀκουσάτωσαν αὐτῶν).  Abraham had a sharp response to this rich man.  They already had Moses and prophets.  What more do they want?  They, like him, were not listening.  Do you listen to religious authorities?

 

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?

No party for the older brother (Lk 15:29-15:29)

“But he answered

His father.

‘Listen!

All these years

I have been working

Like a slave

For you.

I never disobeyed

Your command.

Yet you never given me

Even a young goat

So that

I might celebrate

With my friends.’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν τῷ πατρὶ Ἰδοὺ τοσαῦτα ἔτη δουλεύω σοι καὶ οὐδέποτε ἐντολήν σου παρῆλθον, καὶ ἐμοὶ οὐδέποτε ἔδωκας ἔριφον ἵνα μετὰ τῶν φίλων μου εὐφρανθῶ

 

This long parable story about the 2 sons can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that the older son answered his father by saying (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν τῷ πατρὶ) that all these years he had been working like a slave or servant for his father (Ἰδοὺ τοσαῦτα ἔτη δουλεύω σοι).  He never disobeyed any of his commands (καὶ οὐδέποτε ἐντολήν σου παρῆλθον).  Yet his father had never even given him a young goat (καὶ ἐμοὶ οὐδέποτε ἔδωκας ἔριφον) so that he could celebrate with his friends (ἵνα μετὰ τῶν φίλων μου εὐφρανθῶ).  The older son was mad at his father because he had done everything right for many years, but he was never allowed to have any celebrations with his friends.  He had tried to do the right thing, but he was never rewarded for that.  Do you ever feel taken for granted because you always try to do what is right?

 

Tax collectors and sinners (Lk 15:1-15:1)

“Now all

The tax collectors

And sinners

Were coming near

To listen

To Jesus.”

 

Ἦσαν δὲ αὐτῷ ἐγγίζοντες πάντες οἱ τελῶναι καὶ οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἀκούειν αὐτοῦ

 

Luke uniquely talked about Jesus and his closeness to sinners and tax collectors, although there are indications like this elsewhere.  Luke said that all the tax collectors (πάντες οἱ τελῶναι) and sinners (καὶ οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ) were coming near (Ἦσαν δὲ αὐτῷ ἐγγίζοντες) to listen to Jesus (ἀκούειν αὐτοῦ).  Perhaps this was an exaggeration when he said all tax collectors, but certainly quite a few.  These sinners were the ones willing to listen to Jesus.  Tax collectors were considered tools of the Roman authorities and linked with the public sinners as not part of the righteous social strata in Israel.  Do you know any public sinners?

Throw the bad salt away (Lk 14:35-14:35)

“This salt is fit

Neither

For the soil,

Nor for the manure pile.

Throw it away!

Let anyone

With ears

To hear,

Listen!”

 

οὔτε εἰς γῆν οὔτε εἰς κοπρίαν εὔθετόν ἐστιν· ἔξω βάλλουσιν αὐτό. ὁ ἔχων ὦτα ἀκούειν ἀκουέτω

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that this salt was fit (εὔθετόν ἐστιν) neither for the soil (οὔτε εἰς γῆν), nor for the manure pile (οὔτε εἰς κοπρίαν).  It should be thrown away (ἔξω βάλλουσιν αὐτό).  Let anyone with ears to hear (ὁ ἔχων ὦτα ἀκούειν), listen (ἀκουέτω)!  This saying of Jesus can be found somewhat similar in Matthew, chapter 5:13, and Mark, chapter 9:50.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that tasteless salt was now useless, impotent, and not good for anything (εἰς οὐδὲν ἰσχύει ἔτι).  The end result of this insipid salt was that it should either be thrown away (εἰ μὴ βληθὲν ἔξω) or have people trample it down (καταπατεῖσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων).  Mark indicated that Jesus then turned to his followers.  He told them that they should have salt within themselves (ἔχετε ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἅλα), not exactly the salt of the earth, but close enough.  They should be at peace with one another (καὶ εἰρηνεύετε ἐν ἀλλήλοις).  There was no indication here about throwing salt away because it had become useless, as in Matthew and Luke.  Salt would bring about brotherly peace or love.  Only Luke had the admonition to listen to what Jesus was saying.  How much salt do you use?