The rich giving gifts (Lk 21:1-21:1)

“Jesus looked up.

He saw rich people

Putting their gifts

Into the treasury.”

 

Ἀναβλέψας δὲ εἶδεν τοὺς βάλλοντας εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον τὰ δῶρα αὐτῶν πλουσίους.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus looked up (Ἀναβλέψας δὲ).  He saw (εἶδεν τοὺς) rich people (πλουσίους) putting, casting, or dropping their gifts into the treasury (βάλλοντας εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον τὰ δῶρα αὐτῶν).  Only Mark, chapter 21:41, has something similar, but in a more expansive form, while Matthew did not mention this incident.  Mark said that Jesus sat down opposite the treasury (Καὶ καθίσας κατέναντι τοῦ γαζοφυλακίου), that was a room in the Temple.  This room probably had many large containers, probably twelve receptacles for the various Israelite tribes, to put gifts into.  He watched how the crowds of people put money into the treasury containers (ἐθεώρει πῶς ὁ ὄχλος βάλλει χαλκὸν εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον).  Many rich people put in large sums of money (καὶ πολλοὶ πλούσιοι ἔβαλλον πολλά).  There is nothing extraordinary about rich people giving lots of money to the Temple treasury.  This seemed normal enough.  Do you contribute to religious organizations?

Advertisements

Stay at Zacchaeus’ house (Lk 19:5-19:5)

“When Jesus

Came to this place,

He looked up.

He said to him.

‘Zacchaeus!

Hurry!

Come down!

I must stay

At your house today!’”

 

καὶ ὡς ἦλθεν ἐπὶ τὸν τόπον, ἀναβλέψας ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν Ζακχαῖε, σπεύσας κατάβηθι· σήμερον γὰρ ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ σου δεῖ με μεῖναι.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that when Jesus came to this place (καὶ ὡς ἦλθεν ἐπὶ τὸν τόπον), he looked up (ἀναβλέψας ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  Then, he called Zacchaeus by name (Ζακχαῖε).  Jesus told him (ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν) to quickly come down from the tree (σπεύσας κατάβηθι·), because today it was necessary or proper for Jesus to stay at his house (σήμερον γὰρ ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ σου δεῖ με μεῖναι).  How did Jesus know his name?  Had they met each other before?  Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus.  Would you stay at the house of a stranger?

Abraham and Lazarus (Lk 16:23-16:23)

“In Hades,

Where the rich man

Was being tormented,

He looked up.

He saw Abraham

Far away,

With Lazarus

By his side.”

 

καὶ ἐν τῷ Ἅιδῃ ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ, ὑπάρχων ἐν βασάνοις, ὁρᾷ Ἀβραὰμ ἀπὸ μακρόθεν καὶ Λάζαρον ἐν τοῖς κόλποις αὐτοῦ.

 

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 the rich man was living in torment (ὑπάρχων ἐν βασάνοις) in Hades (καὶ ἐν τῷ Ἅιδῃ), the Greek name for hell, a permanent place of damnation as opposed to the vague Hebrew afterlife Sheol, the place of the dead.  This rich man looked up or lifted up his eyes (ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ).  He saw Abraham (ὁρᾷ Ἀβραὰμ), far away (ἀπὸ μακρόθεν), with Lazarus in his bosom (καὶ Λάζαρον ἐν τοῖς κόλποις αὐτοῦ).  Both Abraham and Lazarus were together, but far away since there was a clear difference between where the rich man and Lazarus with Abraham were.  Just as in life, there was a difference between the rich man and Lazarus, so too in death.  Do you believe that there will be options in the afterlife?

Blessed are the poor (Lk 6:20-6:20)

“Then Jesus

Looked up

At his disciples.

He said.

‘Blessed are you

Who are poor!

Yours is

The kingdom of God.”

 

Καὶ αὐτὸς ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ εἰς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ ἔλεγεν Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοί, ὅτι ὑμετέρα ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

Luke said that Jesus looked up at his disciples (Καὶ αὐτὸς ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ εἰς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ).  He said (ἔλεγεν) that the poor are blessed or happy (Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοί), using the second person plural.  Their reward would be the kingdom of God (ὅτι ὑμετέρα ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ).  This sermon on the plain is somewhat similar to the sermon on the mount in Matthew, chapters 5-7.  Most people speak about the 8 beatitudes of Jesus on the mountain, since they feature the key points of Jesus’ preaching that was founded on the Hebrew Scriptures.  What does “blessed (Μακάριοι)” mean?  This Greek word Μακάριοι appeared over 68 times in the Greek Septuagint Old Testament, especially in the Psalms.  God will bless these people, so that they will be the fortunate ones, the happy ones, the wise ones.  There are echoes of Psalm 32, where the happy and blessed ones are those who have had their sins forgiven, since they have no deceit in their hearts.  The blessed people are the poor, the hungry, the mourners, and those being persecuted.  Number one is the poor.  However, right off the bat, there is a difference with Matthew. chapter 5:3, who used the term the “poor in spirit (οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι).”  What did Matthew mean by this “poor in spirit” or spiritual poverty?  There is a whole Judaic tradition about the oppressed poor and the humble of the land, as in the prophets Isaiah, chapter 61:1 and 66:2, and Zephaniah, chapter 2:3, but that was not spiritual poverty.  Perhaps, this was more like the lack of concern for material things, whether you are actually poor or not.  For Luke, it was black or white, poor or not.  The 2nd major difference was the reward.  Matthew talked about what they would possess, the kingdom of the heavens (ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν), while Luke said it was the kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ), plain and simple.

The stone was rolled back (Mk 16:4-16:4)

“When they looked up,

They saw

That the stone,

Which was very large,

Had already

Been rolled back.”

 

καὶ ἀναβλέψασαι θεωροῦσιν ὅτι ἀνακεκύλισται ὁ λίθος· ἦν γὰρ μέγας σφόδρα.

 

However, just like in the other gospel stories, Luke, chapter 24:2, and John, chapter 20:1, the stone had been removed when they got there.  Matthew, chapter 28:2, had the women watch as an earthquake and an angel rolled back the stone at the entrance to the tomb.  Mark said that when the 3 women looked up (καὶ ἀναβλέψασαι), they saw (θεωροῦσιν) that the stone had already been rolled away (ὅτι ἀνακεκύλισται ὁ λίθος), even though it was very large (ἦν γὰρ μέγας σφόδρα).  Thus, that was another problem solved.

The man could see (Mk 8:24-8:24)

“The blind man

Looked up.

He said.

‘I see people.

However,

They look

Like walking trees.’”

 

καὶ ἀναβλέψας ἔλεγεν Βλέπω τοὺς ἀνθρώπους, ὅτι ὡς δένδρα ὁρῶ περιπατοῦντας.

 

This story of the healing of the blind man at Bethsaida was unique to Mark.  This was a little different healing that did not take place immediately.  Instead there seemed to be a two-step process.  At first, the blind man looked up or recovered his sight (καὶ ἀναβλέψας).  He then said (ἔλεγεν) that he could see people (Βλέπω τοὺς ἀνθρώπους).  However, they looked like trees that were walking or walking trees (ὅτι ὡς δένδρα ὁρῶ περιπατοῦντας), not humans.

Jesus blessed and broke the bread (Mk 6:41-6:41)

“Taking

The five loaves

And the two fish,

Jesus looked up to heaven.

He blessed

And broke

The loaves.

He gave them

To his disciples

To set

Before the people.

He divided

The two fish

Among them all.”

 

καὶ λαβὼν τοὺς πέντε ἄρτους καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας ἀναβλέψας εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν εὐλόγησεν καὶ κατέκλασεν τοὺς ἄρτους καὶ ἐδίδου τοῖς μαθηταῖς ἵνα παρατιθῶσιν αὐτοῖς, καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας ἐμέρισεν πᾶσιν.

 

This is the only blessing miracle that is recorded in all four gospels, Matthew, chapter 14:19, Luke, chapter 9:16, and John, chapter 6:12, plus here.  The blessing of the bread and the fish is exactly the same in the synoptic gospels, but merely summarized in John.  This feeding of a large group of people harkens back to the Exodus story, chapter 16:1-36, about the manna and the quails in the wilderness.  Yet the blessing itself has almost a foretaste of the Eucharistic Last Supper of Jesus, when he blessed and broke the bread.  Mark said that Jesus took (καὶ λαβὼν) the 5 loaves (τοὺς πέντε ἄρτους) and the 2 fish (καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας).  He looked up to heaven (ἀναβλέψας εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν).  He blessed them (εὐλόγησεν).  Then he broke up the loaves of bread into pieces (καὶ κατέκλασεν τοὺς ἄρτους).  He gave the loaves of bread to his disciples (καὶ ἐδίδου τοῖς μαθηταῖς).  They, in turn, set the broken pieces of bread or served them to the crowd (ἵνα παρατιθῶσιν αὐτοῖς).  Jesus also divided or shared the 2 fish among them all (καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας ἐμέρισεν πᾶσιν).  This almost sounds like a large later distribution of Holy Communion.