Feed the pigs (Lk 15:15-15:15)

“Thus,

He went

And hired himself out

To one of the citizens

Of that country.

He sent him

To his fields

To feed the pigs.”

 

καὶ πορευθεὶς ἐκολλήθη ἑνὶ τῶν πολιτῶν τῆς χώρας ἐκείνης, καὶ ἔπεμψεν αὐτὸν εἰς τοὺς ἀγροὺς αὐτοῦ βόσκειν χοίρους·

 

This long parable story about the prodigal son can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that this young prodigal son went and hired himself out (καὶ πορευθεὶς ἐκολλήθη) to one of the citizens of that country (ἑνὶ τῶν πολιτῶν τῆς χώρας ἐκείνης), where he was living.  This land owner sent him to his fields (καὶ ἔπεμψεν αὐτὸν εἰς τοὺς ἀγροὺς αὐτοῦ) to feed the pigs (βόσκειν χοίρους).  Obvious, this was a non-Jewish country where pigs were raised for food, not a Jewish country where there would be no pork eaten.  What could be more humiliating for a Jewish person than taking care of unclean swine or pigs?  Have you ever had a job that you felt was degrading to you?

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Tower of Siloam (Lk 13:4-13:4)

“Or those eighteen,

Who were killed

When the tower

Of Siloam

Fell on them,

Do you think

That they were

Worse offenders

Than all the others

Living in Jerusalem?”

 

ἢ ἐκεῖνοι οἱ δέκα οκτὼ ἐφ’ οὓς ἔπεσεν ὁ πύργος ἐν τῷ Σιλωὰμ καὶ ἀπέκτεινεν αὐτούς, δοκεῖτε ὅτι αὐτοὶ ὀφειλέται ἐγένοντο παρὰ πάντας τοὺς ἀνθρώπους τοὺς κατοικοῦντας Ἱερουσαλήμ;

 

Luke uniquely had Jesus present another contemporary event that is not attested elsewhere.  This time it was about a difficult to ascertain tower of Siloam in the old southern part of Jerusalem that accidently killed 18 people.  Jesus wanted to know if these 18 people (ἢ ἐκεῖνοι οἱ δέκα οκτὼ) upon whom the tower of Siloam fell and killed (ἐφ’ οὓς ἔπεσεν ὁ πύργος ἐν τῷ Σιλωὰμ καὶ ἀπέκτεινεν αὐτούς) were worse sinners (δοκεῖτε ὅτι αὐτοὶ ὀφειλέται ἐγένοντο) than all the other people living in Jerusalem (παρὰ πάντας τοὺς ἀνθρώπους τοὺς κατοικοῦντας Ἱερουσαλήμ)?  Did this accidental death mean that these people were sinners?  Are people who die an accidental death worse than people who die at home in bed?  Do you know anyone who died in an accident?

Love your enemies! (Lk 6:35-6:35)

“But love your enemies!

Do good!

Lend!

Expect nothing

In return!

Your reward

Will be great!

You will be

Children

Of the Most-High!”

 

πλὴν ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν καὶ ἀγαθοποιεῖτε καὶ δανίζετε μηδὲν ἀπελπίζοντες· καὶ ἔσται ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολύς, καὶ ἔσεσθε υἱοὶ Ὑψίστου,

 

Matthew, chapter 5:44 was more forceful when Jesus said that they were to love their enemies (ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν) and even pray for those who were persecuting them.  Here Luke indicated that Jesus said that they were to love their enemies (πλὴν ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν), as in Matthew.  However, they were to do good (καὶ ἀγαθοποιεῖτε).  They were expected to lend to others (καὶ δανίζετε), expecting nothing in return (μηδὲν ἀπελπίζοντες).  This was based on Exodus, chapter 22:25 that if they lent money, they should not charge interest to the poor.  Leviticus, chapter 25:27, said that if any of their relatives fall into difficulties and become dependent on them, they should support them as though they were resident aliens.  They were not to take interest or profit from them while they are living and eating in their house.  Yahweh would provide.  Their reward would be great (καὶ ἔσται ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολύς) because they would be children of the Most-High God (καὶ ἔσεσθε υἱοὶ Ὑψίστου).  Have you ever lent money to relatives?

The shepherds (Lk 2:8-2:8)

“In that region

There were shepherds

Camping out

In the fields.

They were

Keeping watch

Over their flock

At night.”

 

Καὶ ποιμένες ἦσαν ἐν τῇ χώρᾳ τῇ αὐτῇ ἀγραυλοῦντες καὶ φυλάσσοντες φυλακὰς τῆς νυκτὸς ἐπὶ τὴν ποίμνην αὐτῶν.

 

Luke had a special emphasis on these common shepherds in the fields, while Matthew had the important Magi get a special sign or star.  Luke said that in that same region of Bethlehem (ἐν τῇ χώρᾳ τῇ αὐτῇ), there were shepherds (Καὶ ποιμένες ἦσαν) living or camping out in the fields (ἀγραυλοῦντες).  They were keeping watch over their flock of sheep at night (καὶ φυλάσσοντες φυλακὰς τῆς νυκτὸς ἐπὶ τὴν ποίμνην αὐτῶν).  They were doing their jobs as shepherds watching their sheep at nighttime.  Perhaps there was a connection between these shepherds and the young shepherd David in the fields of Bethlehem in 1 Samuel, chapter 16:6-13.  This may have been Luke showing concern for the common people as expressed in these shepherds.

Peace (Lk 1:79-1:79)

“God will give light

To those who

Sit in darkness.

He will give light

To those who

Sit in the shadow

Of death.

He will

Guide our feet

Into the way

Of peace.”

 

ἐπιφᾶναι τοῖς ἐν σκότει καὶ σκιᾷ θανάτου καθημένοις, τοῦ κατευθῦναι τοὺς πόδας ἡμῶν εἰς ὁδὸν εἰρήνης.

 

Luke concluded Zechariah’s canticle with a call to peace for all Israelites.  Zechariah said that God would give light or shine upon those who sat in darkness (ἐπιφᾶναι τοῖς ἐν σκότει).  He would also give light to those who sat in the shadow of death (καὶ σκιᾷ θανάτου καθημένοις).  He would guide their feet (τοῦ κατευθῦναι τοὺς πόδας ἡμῶν) into the way of peace (εἰς ὁδὸν εἰρήνης).  Once again, returning to prophetic expectations, Zechariah said that things would be good for those living in darkness or the shadow of death.  Hope or the messiah would come so that they would have the lasting peace that they so desired.

 

The sick mother-in-law of Simon (Mk 1:30-1:30)

“Simon’s mother-in-law

Was lying sick

In bed

With a fever.

They told Jesus

About her at once.”

 

ἡ δὲ πενθερὰ Σίμωνος κατέκειτο πυρέσσουσα, καὶ εὐθὺς λέγουσιν αὐτῷ περὶ αὐτῆς.

 

Matthew, chapter 8:14, and Luke, chapter 4:38, have something similar.  Mark said that Simon’s mother-in-law (ἡ δὲ πενθερὰ Σίμωνος) was lying sick in bed with a fever (κατέκειτο πυρέσσουσα).  They, the people in the house, immediately told Jesus about her (καὶ εὐθὺς λέγουσιν αὐτῷ περὶ αὐτῆς).  No one explained why Peter’s mother-in-law was living in this house.  Was this a permanent arrangement?  There were no indications of where Simon’s wife was, even if she was there.  Matthew said that Jesus saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed sick with a fever, so that no one had to tell him about it.  He saw it himself.  In Luke, they asked Jesus about her.  In all three gospel stories she was sick with a fever, lying in bed.  There is no indication of what kind of illness this was or whether it was chronic or severe.

Jewish religious leaders want to have the tomb secure (Mt 27:63-27:64)

“They said.

‘Lord!

We remember what

This impostor said

While he was still alive.

‘After three days,

I will rise again.’

Therefore,

Command

That the tomb

Be made secure

Until the third day.

Otherwise,

His disciples may go.

They may steal him away.

Then they will tell

The people.

‘He has risen

From the dead.’

The last deception

Would be worse

Than the first.”

 

λέγοντες Κύριε, ἐμνήσθημεν ὅτι ἐκεῖνος ὁ πλάνος εἶπεν ἔτι ζῶν Μετὰ τρεῖς ἡμέρας ἐγείρομαι.

κέλευσον οὖν ἀσφαλισθῆναι τὸν τάφον ἕως τῆς τρίτης ἡμέρας, μή ποτε ἐλθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ κλέψωσιν αὐτὸν καὶ εἴπωσιν τῷ λαῷ Ἠγέρθη ἀπὸ τῶν νεκρῶν, καὶ ἔσται ἡ ἐσχάτη πλάνη χείρων τῆς πρώτης.

 

This is unique to Matthew, who remarked that this group of high priests and Pharisees called Pilate “Lord (λέγοντες Κύριε)!”  They said that they remembered (ἐμνήσθημεν) what this impostor or deceiver had said (ὅτι ἐκεῖνος ὁ πλάνος εἶπεν), while he was still alive or living (ἔτι ζῶν).  He had said that after three days (Μετὰ τρεῖς ἡμέρας), he would rise up again (ἐγείρομαι).  Thus, they wanted Pilate to command (κέλευσον οὖν) that the tomb be made secure (ἀσφαλισθῆναι τὸν τάφον) until the third day (ἕως τῆς τρίτης ἡμέρας).  Otherwise, Jesus’ disciples might come and steal him away (μή ποτε ἐλθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ κλέψωσιν αὐτὸν).  Then they would tell the people (καὶ εἴπωσιν τῷ λαῷ) that he had risen from the dead (Ἠγέρθη ἀπὸ τῶν νεκρῶν).  Finally, this last deception or sin would be worse than the first deceptions (καὶ ἔσται ἡ ἐσχάτη πλάνη χείρων τῆς πρώτης).  In other words, these Jewish leaders wanted Pilate to have guards around the tomb of Jesus because they remembered that while he was alive he said that he would arise in 3 days.  Mathew has these chief priests and Pharisees predict the resurrection of Jesus.