Abundance versus necessities (Lk 21:4-21:4)

“All of them

Have contributed

Out of their abundance.

But she has contributed

Out of her poverty.

She has put in

All that she had

To live on.”

 

πάντες γὰρ οὗτοι ἐκ τοῦ περισσεύοντος αὐτοῖς ἔβαλον εἰς τὰ δῶρα, αὕτη δὲ ἐκ τοῦ ὑστερήματος αὐτῆς πάντα τὸν βίον ὃν εἶχεν ἔβαλεν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that all of them had contributed their gifts out of their abundance (πάντες γὰρ οὗτοι ἐκ τοῦ περισσεύοντος αὐτοῖς ἔβαλον εἰς τὰ δῶρα).  However, she had contributed out of her poverty (αὕτη δὲ ἐκ τοῦ ὑστερήματος αὐτῆς).  She put in all that she had to live on (πάντα τὸν βίον ὃν εἶχεν ἔβαλεν).  Thus, she would be destitute.  Only Mark, chapter 12:44, had something similar, while Matthew did not mention this incident.  Mark said that Jesus explained how this poor widow had given more than others, since it was not numerically correct.  All of the other rich people had contributed out of their abundance or overflowing wealth (πάντες γὰρ ἐκ τοῦ περισσεύοντος αὐτοῖς ἔβαλον).  However, she had contributed out of her poverty (αὕτη δὲ ἐκ τῆς ὑστερήσεως αὐτῆς).  She put into the Temple treasury everything that she had to live on (πάντα ὅσα εἶχεν ἔβαλεν), her whole livelihood (ὅλον τὸν βίον αὐτῆς).  This was a strange explanation.  This widow became destitute by contributing to the Temple treasury.  Was that a good idea?  Someone should have advised her to keep her money.  Was this a false sense of generosity?  Was this part of the idea of giving up everything for Christ?  Would you give up everything?

The poor widow (Lk 21:2-21:2)

“Jesus saw

A poor widow

Put in

Two small copper coins.”

 

εἶδεν δέ τινα χήραν πενιχρὰν βάλλουσαν ἐκεῖ λεπτὰ δύο,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus saw a poor widow (εἶδεν δέ τινα χήραν πενιχρὰν) put in two small copper coins (βάλλουσαν ἐκεῖ λεπτὰ δύο).  Only Mark, chapter 12:42, has something similar, since Matthew did not mention this incident.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that this one poor widow came to the treasury (καὶ ἐλθοῦσα μία χήρα πτωχὴ).  She put in two small copper coins (ἔβαλεν λεπτὰ δύο).  A λεπτὰ “lepton” copper coin was the smallest Greek coin and often called a “mite”.  Two of these “lepton” copper coins was worth a penny or a κοδράντης (ὅ ἐστιν κοδράντης).  This κοδράντης “quadrans” was the smallest Roman copper coin.  This was a very small amount of money that this poor widow put into the Temple treasury.  Do you give pennies away?

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?

Show me the coin! (Lk 20:23-20:24)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Show me a denarius!

Whose head

And whose title

Does it bear?’

They said.

‘The Emperor Caesar’s.’”

 

εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς

Δείξατέ μοι δηνάριον· τίνος ἔχει εἰκόνα καὶ ἐπιγραφήν; οἱ δὲ εἶπαν Καίσαρος.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to them (εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς) to show him a denarius (Δείξατέ μοι δηνάριον), which was a Roman coin.  He asked them whose image or head and title or inscription did it have (τίνος ἔχει εἰκόνα καὶ ἐπιγραφήν)?  They said it was the Emperor Caesar’s head and title (οἱ δὲ εἶπαν Καίσαρος).  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 22:19-21, and in Mark, chapter 12:15-16, almost word for word.  Mark said that Jesus wanted to see the coin that was used for paying the Roman poll tax.  Thus, they brought Jesus one of these small silver Roman coins, a denarius. (φέρετέ μοι δηνάριον).  Jesus then asked them (καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς) whose image and whose inscription title (Τίνος ἡ εἰκὼν αὕτη καὶ ἡ ἐπιγραφή) were on this coin?  They answered him (οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ) that the image and inscription belonged to the Emperor Caesar (Καίσαρος).  Matthew indicated that Jesus wanted to see the coin that was used for paying the poll tax (ἐπιδείξατέ μοι τὸ νόμισμα τοῦ κήνσου).  They brought or presented him with a small silver Roman coin, a denarius (οἱ δὲ προσήνεγκαν αὐτῷ δηνάριον).  He then asked them (καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς) whose image and whose inscription title (Τίνος ἡ εἰκὼν αὕτη καὶ ἡ ἐπιγραφή) were on this coin?  They answered (λέγουσιν) that the image and inscription belonged to Emperor Caesar (Καίσαρος).  This was a simple question with a simple answer. Jesus wanted them to bring him the Roman coin, a denarius, worth a little more than a US dollar.  He wanted to see what coin was being used for paying the Roman poll tax.  What kind of money do you use?

Wrapped in cloth (Lk 19:20-19:20)

“Then another slave

Came.

He said.

‘Lord!

Here is your mina!

I wrapped it up

In a piece of cloth.’”

 

καὶ ὁ ἕτερος ἦλθεν λέγων Κύριε, ἰδοὺ ἡ μνᾶ σου, ἣν εἶχον ἀποκειμένην ἐν σουδαρίῳ·

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that another slave came in (καὶ ὁ ἕτερος ἦλθεν) and said to this lord, nobleman (λέγων Κύριε), that he had saved his mina (ἰδοὺ ἡ μνᾶ σου).  He had wrapped it up in a piece of cloth, a handkerchief or a napkin (ἣν εἶχον ἀποκειμένην ἐν σουδαρίῳ).  Instead of trading with this money, he simply wrapped it up to keep it safe.  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 25:25, perhaps indicating a Q source.  Unlike the first 2 slaves, this third slave did something else with his one talent.  Jesus said this slave who had received one talent came forward to his master (προσελθὼν δὲ καὶ ὁ τὸ ἓν τάλαντον εἰληφὼς).  However, this slave said that he was afraid (καὶ φοβηθεὶς), so he went and hid his talent in the ground (ἀπελθὼν ἔκρυψα τὸ τάλαντόν σου ἐν τῇ γῇ).  Then he seemed happy to return this one talent back to his master.  He said “Look! here it is (ἴδε ἔχεις τὸ σόν)!”  He was glad to be rid of this burden of protecting this money from possible thieves or robbers.  Sometimes people are too cautious, as they fear that they will lose something, as here in this parable story.  Are you too cautious with your money?

Five minas (Lk 19:18-19:18)

“Then the second slave

Came in.

He said.

‘Lord!

Your mina

Has made five minas.’”

 

καὶ ἦλθεν ὁ δεύτερος λέγων Ἡ μνᾶ σου, κύριε, ἐποίησεν πέντε μνᾶς.

 

Luke indicated that the second slave came in (καὶ ἦλθεν ὁ δεύτερος) and told this nobleman, his lord (λέγων Ἡ μνᾶ σου, κύριε), that he had bargained his one mina into 5 minas (ἐποίησεν πέντε μνᾶς).  This second slave had made 5 times more than what he had originally had.  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 25:22, perhaps indicating a Q source.  However, in Matthew, the slave only doubled his investment.  Jesus said that the one who had received the 2 talents (προσελθὼν καὶ ὁ τὰ δύο τάλαντα) came forward.  He explained to his lord and master (εἶπεν Κύριε) that he had given him 2 talents (δύο τάλαντά μοι παρέδωκας), but now he had made, acquired, or gained 2 more talents (ἴδε ἄλλα δύο τάλαντα ἐκέρδησα).  He had doubled his talents as a wise trader.  Are you wise with your money?

Ten times as much (Lk 19:16-19:16)

“The first slave

Came forward.

He said.

‘Lord!

Your mina

Has produced

Ten more minas.’”

 

παρεγένετο δὲ ὁ πρῶτος λέγων Κύριε, ἡ μνᾶ σου δέκα προσηργάσατο μνᾶς.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the first slave came forward (παρεγένετο δὲ ὁ πρῶτος) and said to the nobleman lord (λέγων Κύριε), that he turned his original mina into 10 more minas (ἡ μνᾶ σου δέκα προσηργάσατο μνᾶς).  Once again, this is the only Greek biblical use of the word προσηργάσατο, that means to work or gain besides, or produce in addition.  This nobleman’s original investment had made 10 times more than what he had originally.  This first slave had turned his one mina into 10 minas.  Matthew, chapter 25:20, had something similar, as if a Q source.  In Matthew, the first slave only doubled his investment.  Jesus said that the one slave who had received the five talents (καὶ προσελθὼν ὁ τὰ πέντε τάλαντα λαβὼν) came forward with 5 more talents (προσήνεγκεν ἄλλα πέντε τάλαντα).  He explained to his lord and master (λέγων Κύριε) that he had been given 5 talents (πέντε τάλαντά μοι παρέδωκας), but now he had made, acquired, or gained 5 more talents (ἴδε ἄλλα πέντε τάλαντα ἐκέρδησα).  He had doubled his investment as a wise trader.  However, Luke’s trader had a higher rate of return with less money.  Have you ever traded money in investments?

The results of trading (Lk 19:15-19:15)

“This nobleman

Received royal power.

When he returned,

He ordered those slaves,

To whom

He had given the money,

To be summoned.

Thus,

He might find out

What they had gained

By trading.”

 

καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ ἐπανελθεῖν αὐτὸν λαβόντα τὴν βασιλείαν καὶ εἶπεν φωνηθῆναι αὐτῷ τοὺς δούλους τούτους οἷς δεδώκει τὸ ἀργύριον, ἵνα γνοῖ τίς τί διεπραγματεύσατο.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that this nobleman did receive his royal power (καὶ ἐγένετο…αὐτὸν λαβόντα τὴν βασιλείαν) and then he returned home (ἐν τῷ ἐπανελθεῖν).  Once again, only Luke used this term ἐπανελθεῖν that means to return or come back again.  This nobleman ordered those 10 slaves, to whom he had given the money, to be summoned to him (καὶ εἶπεν φωνηθῆναι αὐτῷ τοὺς δούλους τούτους οἷς δεδώκει τὸ ἀργύριον).  He wanted to find out what they had gained by trading (ἵνα γνοῖ τίς τί διεπραγματεύσατο).  Sure enough, this is the only use of the word διεπραγματεύσατο, in all the Greek biblical literature that means to examine thoroughly, to gain by trading, or doing business.  There is an equivalent in Matthew, chapter 25:19, perhaps indicating a Q source.  Jesus said that after a long time (μετὰ δὲ πολὺν χρόνον), the master or lord of these slaves came back (ἔρχεται ὁ κύριος τῶν δούλων ἐκείνων).  He then wanted to settle his accounts with his slaves (καὶ συναίρει λόγον μετ’ αὐτῶν).  Luke had the more colorful language to explain the returning rich man who wanted to see how his slaves had done in their business dealings.  Have you ever traded stocks or other assets to make money?

The nobleman (Lk 19:12-19:12)

 

“Thus,

Jesus said.

‘A nobleman

Went

To a distant country

To get royal power

For himself.

Then he would return.’”

 

εἶπεν οὖν Ἄνθρωπός τις εὐγενὴς ἐπορεύθη εἰς χώραν μακρὰν λαβεῖν ἑαυτῷ βασιλείαν καὶ ὑποστρέψαι.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said (εἶπεν οὖν) that a nobleman (Ἄνθρωπός τις εὐγενὴς) went to a distant country (ἐπορεύθη εἰς χώραν μακρὰν) to get royal power for himself (λαβεῖν ἑαυτῷ βασιλείαν).  After that, he would return later (καὶ ὑποστρέψαι).  This might have been a hint about the local leaders going to Rome to get their royal powers.  It may also be about Jesus going to heaven and then returning at the last judgment or the Second Coming.  However, there was the overriding theme of the need for responsibility, productivity, and not laziness.  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 25:14, where the story is about a man with a household of slaves and not a nobleman as here.  The slaves were given money to take care of things while the rich man was gone.  In Matthew, Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven would be like a man going on a journey (Ὥσπερ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος ἀποδημῶν).  This very generous man called or summoned his slaves (ἐκάλεσεν τοὺς ἰδίους δούλους) to entrust them or give them his property and possessions, while he was gone (καὶ παρέδωκεν αὐτοῖς τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ).  In Mark, 13:34, Jesus said that the end times would be like a man going on a journey (ὡς ἄνθρωπος ἀπόδημος).  He left his house (ἀφεὶς τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ).  He gave his slaves the authority (καὶ δοὺς τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ τὴν ἐξουσίαν) to perform their own individual tasks (ἑκάστῳ τὸ ἔργον αὐτοῦ).  He commanded a doorkeeper to stand watch over this whole situation (καὶ τῷ θυρωρῷ ἐνετείλατο ἵνα γρηγορῇ).  However, the story for Mark ended there, unlike Luke and Matthew that have more details about the slaves in this household.  What do you do when you go on a long journey?

Follow me! (Lk 18:22-18:22)

“When Jesus

Heard this,

He said to him.

‘There is one thing

Still lacking.

Sell all

That you own!

Distribute

The money

To the poor!

You will have treasure

In heaven.

Then come!

Follow me!’”

 

ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ἔτι ἕν σοι λείπει· πάντα ὅσα ἔχεις πώλησον καὶ διάδος πτωχοῖς, καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι.

 

Luke indicated that when Jesus heard this (ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς), he said to this ruler (εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that there was only one thing still lacking (Ἔτι ἕν σοι λείπει).  He should go and sell all that he owned (πάντα ὅσα ἔχεις πώλησον) and distribute this money to the poor (καὶ διάδος πτωχοῖς).  Thus, he would have treasure in heaven (καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς).  Then he should come and follow Jesus (καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι).  This call to perfection can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:21, and Matthew, chapter 19:21, but slightly different.  Mark said that Jesus looked at this man (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἐμβλέψας αὐτῷ) and loved him (ἠγάπησεν αὐτὸν).  Jesus said to him (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that he only lacked one thing or he fell short in one area (Ἕν σε ὑστερεῖ).  This man would have to go (ὕπαγε) and sell his possessions or whatever he had (ὅσα ἔχεις πώλησον).  Then he should give this money or the proceeds to the poor or destitute people (καὶ δὸς πτωχοῖς).  He no longer would have earthly wealth, but he would then have a treasure in heaven (καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν οὐρανῷ).  Finally, he could become a follower or accompany Jesus (καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι).  In Matthew, Jesus issued his ultimatum (ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς) on how to be perfect or complete (Εἰ θέλεις τέλειος εἶναι).  The young man would have to sell his possessions (ὕπαγε πώλησόν σου τὰ ὑπάρχοντα).  Then he would have to give the money proceeds to the poor or destitute people (καὶ δὸς πτωχοῖς).  He no longer would have earthly wealth, but he would then have a treasure in heaven (καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν οὐρανοῖς).  Finally, he could become a follower or accompany Jesus (καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι).  Like many of these sayings, Jesus had very high standards and difficult demands.  There was no equivocation.  Are you willing to sell everything and follow Jesus?