The baptism of John (Lk 20:4-20:4)

“Did the baptism

Of John

Come from heaven?

Or

Was it

Of human origin?”

 

Τὸ βάπτισμα Ἰωάνου ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἦν ἢ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus asked them did the baptism of John (Τὸ βάπτισμα Ἰωάνου) come from heaven (ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἦν) or was it of human origin, from men (ἢ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων)?  This question about John the Baptist and the value of his baptism can be found in Matthew, chapter 21:25, and Mark, chapter 11:30, almost word for word.  Mark said that Jesus asked this one question.  Did the baptism of John the Baptist (τὸ βάπτισμα τὸ Ἰωάνου) come from heaven (ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἦν) or was it of a human man-made origin (ἢ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων)?  He wanted an answer (ἀποκρίθητέ μοι).  This also seemed fair enough.  Matthew indicated that Jesus asked this one question.  Did the baptism of John the Baptist come from heaven or was it of human man-made origin (τὸ βάπτισμα τὸ Ἰωάνου πόθεν ἦν; ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἢ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων)?  All they had to do was answer this simple question about the baptism of John the Baptist.  What do you think the value of the baptism of John the Baptism was?

 

The Pharisee and the tax collector (Lk 18:10-18:10)

“Two men

Went up

Into the Temple

To pray.

One was

A Pharisee.

The other was

A tax collector.”

 

Ἄνθρωποι δύο ἀνέβησαν εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν προσεύξασθαι, ὁ εἷς Φαρισαῖος καὶ ὁ ἕτερος τελώνης.

 

Luke has Jesus tell a parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector that is only found in this gospel.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that two men (Ἄνθρωποι δύο) went up into the Temple (ἀνέβησαν εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν) to pray (προσεύξασθαι).  One was a Pharisee (ὁ εἷς Φαρισαῖος).  The other was a tax collector (καὶ ὁ ἕτερος τελώνης).  Both of these men were well intentioned, since they went to the Temple to pray to God, a good thing.  Socially, they were of two different strata.  The Pharisee was a pillar of Jewish society as an interpreter of the Mosaic Law.  The tax collector, on the other hand, was considered a traitor to the Jewish community, since he worked for the Roman Empire, the occupation force.  These tax collectors were often compared to public sinners.  The contrast was real and set out at the beginning of this story.  Is there a social strata in your religious culture?

Only one of two in the field (Lk 17:36-17:36)

“Two will be

In the field.

One will be taken.

The other will be left.”

 

 δύο ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ, εἷς παραληφθήσεται καὶ ὁ ἕτερος ἀφεθήσεται

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that two will be in the field (δύο ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ).  One will be taken (εἷς παραληφθήσεται), while the other will be left (καὶ ὁ ἕτερος ἀφεθήσεται).  This is like Matthew, chapter 24:40, perhaps indicating a Q source.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that there would be two men in the field (τότε ἔσονται δύο ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ).  However, only one would be taken or admitted (εἷς παραλαμβάνεται), while the other would be left or dismissed (καὶ εἷς ἀφίεται), just like here in Luke.  Thus, you had a fifty-fifty chance at the end times, just like everyday.  Will you be left behind?

Adultery (Lk 16:18-16:18)

“Anyone who divorces

His wife,

And marries another,

Commits adultery.

Whoever marries

A woman,

Divorced

From her husband,

Commits adultery.”

 

Πᾶς ὁ ἀπολύων τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ καὶ γαμῶν ἑτέραν μοιχεύει, καὶ ὁ ἀπολελυμένην ἀπὸ ἀνδρὸς γαμῶν μοιχεύει.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that anyone who put away or divorced his wife (Πᾶς ὁ ἀπολύων τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ), and married another woman (καὶ γαμῶν ἑτέραν), committed adultery (μοιχεύει).  Whoever married (γαμῶν) a woman, divorced from her husband (καὶ ὁ ἀπολελυμένην ἀπὸ ἀνδρὸς), committed adultery (μοιχεύει).  This response of Jesus to his disciples can be found also in Matthew, chapter 19:9, where there was also an emphasis on divorce as adultery.  Mark, chapter 10:11-12 indicated that Jesus said to his disciples (καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς) that whoever divorced his wife (Ὃς ἂν ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ) and married another woman (καὶ γαμήσῃ ἄλλην), committed adultery against her (μοιχᾶται ἐπ’ αὐτήν).  Jesus had taken the stronger stance of no divorce.  There was no exception about sexual misconduct as in Matthew.  In Jewish society, women could not divorce their husbands, but in Roman society or among the gentiles, women could divorce their husbands.  Mark indicated that Jesus gave the same rebuke to the women as he given to the men.  If a woman divorced her husband (καὶ ἐὰν αὐτὴ ἀπολύσασα τὸν ἄνδρα αὐτῆς), and married someone else (γαμήσῃ ἄλλον), she committed adultery (μοιχᾶται).  There were no exceptions, not even for spousal abuse.  The new marriage was adulterous.  In Matthew, Jesus responded to the Pharisees (λέγει αὐτοῖς).  He said that Moses allowed them to divorce their wives (Ὅτι Μωϋσῆς …ἐπέτρεψεν ὑμῖν ἀπολῦσαι τὰς γυναῖκας ὑμῶν) because they were so hard-hearted, perverse, and obstinate (πρὸς τὴν σκληροκαρδίαν ὑμῶν).  However, as he had noted earlier, this was not so from the beginning (ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς δὲ οὐ γέγονεν οὕτως).  Then in a solemn proclamation (λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν) he said that whoever divorced his wife and married another woman committed adultery (ὅτι ὃς ἂν ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ…καὶ γαμήσῃ ἄλλην, μοιχᾶται), except for the sexual immorality or fornication (μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ) of his wife.  Jesus had taken the stronger stance of no divorce, but gave one exception, the sexual misconduct of the wife, much like some of the stricter Jewish rabbis at that time.  This exception was not in Mark or here in Luke.  Do you think that there should be exceptions for divorce?

God knows your heart (Lk 16:15-16:15)

“Jesus

Said to the Pharisees.

‘You are those

Who justify yourselves

In the sight

Of others.

However,

God knows

Your hearts.

What is prized

By human beings

Is an abomination

In the sight

Of God.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ὑμεῖς ἐστε οἱ δικαιοῦντες ἑαυτοὺς ἐνώπιον τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ὁ δὲ Θεὸς γινώσκει τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν· ὅτι τὸ ἐν ἀνθρώποις ὑψηλὸν βδέλυγμα ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

Once again, this is a unique statement of Luke, not found in the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus reproved the Pharisees.  He said to them (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that they tried to justify themselves (Ὑμεῖς ἐστε οἱ δικαιοῦντες ἑαυτοὺς) in the sight of other men (ἐνώπιον τῶν ἀνθρώπων).  However, God knows their hearts (ὁ δὲ Θεὸς γινώσκει τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν).  What is prized or exalted by humans (ὅτι τὸ ἐν ἀνθρώποις ὑψηλὸν) is an abomination or cursed in the sight of God (βδέλυγμα ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Once again, Jesus continued with his diatribe against the Pharisees.  The value system of the Pharisees was not in sync with the value system of God.  They wanted to look good before their fellow men, so as to be praised.  However, whatever humans praise, God does not.  Do you love human praise?

Wait for the master (Lk 12:36-12:36)

“Be like men

Who are waiting

For their master

To return

From the wedding banquet!

Thus,

They may open

The door

For him

As soon as

He comes

And knocks.”

 

καὶ ὑμεῖς ὅμοιοι ἀνθρώποις προσδεχομένοις τὸν κύριον ἑαυτῶν πότε ἀναλύσῃ ἐκ τῶν γάμων, ἵνα ἐλθόντος καὶ κρούσαντος εὐθέως ἀνοίξωσιν αὐτῷ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that they should be like servant men who were waiting for their master or lord (καὶ ὑμεῖς ὅμοιοι ἀνθρώποις προσδεχομένοις τὸν κύριον ἑαυτῶν) to return from the wedding banquet or feast (πότε ἀναλύσῃ ἐκ τῶν γάμων).  Thus, they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks (ἵνα ἐλθόντος καὶ κρούσαντος εὐθέως ἀνοίξωσιν αὐτῷ).  Notice that the returning person was called lord (τὸν κύριον).  Matthew chapter 25:1-12 had a wedding theme, but it was about 10 virgins waiting for the bridegroom.  Here Luke has servant men waiting for their master to return from a wedding.  They should be ready to open the door for him as soon as he arrived.  Would you be a good servant?

The fool (Lk 12:20-12:20)

“But God said to him.

‘Fool!

This very night

Your life

Is being demanded

Of you.

The things

You have prepared,

Whose will they be?’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ Θεός Ἄφρων, ταύτῃ τῇ νυκτὶ τὴν ψυχήν σου ἀπαιτοῦσιν ἀπὸ σοῦ· ἃ δὲ ἡτοίμασας, τίνι ἔσται;

 

Luke uniquely continued with this story as Jesus indicated that God said to this rich land owner (εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ Θεός) that he was a fool, calling him that (Ἄφρων).  A fool was a harsh title, meaning that someone who had no concern for God.  That very night (ταύτῃ τῇ νυκτὶ), God would demand or require the soul or the life of this rich fool (τὴν ψυχήν σου ἀπαιτοῦσιν ἀπὸ σοῦ).  Who would get all the things that he had prepared (ἃ δὲ ἡτοίμασας, τίνι ἔσται)?  The best laid plans of men and mice often go astray.  Instead of enjoying his long indulgent luxurious life, this rich man was about to die.  Then the question remained, who would enjoy all the riches that he had attained?  Death is the only certainty in life.  The only question is when?  Work as if you were going to live forever, but live your life and pray as if you are going to die tonight.  Time’s up!  When do you anticipate your death?