He will get up (Lk 11:8-11:8)

“I tell you!

Even though

He will not get up

And give him anything,

Because he is his friend,

At least,

Because of his persistence,

He will get up.

He will give him

Whatever he needs.”

 

λέγω ὑμῖν, εἰ καὶ οὐ δώσει αὐτῷ ἀναστὰς διὰ τὸ εἶναι φίλον αὐτοῦ, διά γε τὴν ἀναιδίαν αὐτοῦ ἐγερθεὶς δώσει αὐτῷ ὅσων χρῄζει.

 

Luke uniquely brought this parable story about waking up a friend at midnight to a surprise ending.  In this conclusion, Jesus proclaimed solemnly (λέγω ὑμῖν), that even though this friend will not get up and give him anything (εἰ καὶ οὐ δώσει αὐτῷ ἀναστὰς), because he was his friend (διὰ τὸ εἶναι φίλον αὐτοῦ), at least, because of his persistence (διά γε τὴν ἀναιδίαν αὐτοῦ), he will get up (ἐγερθεὶς) and give him whatever he needed (δώσει αὐτῷ ὅσων χρῄζει).  Problem solved, as persistence was better than friendship.  In a complete turnaround, this friend offered his requesting persistent neighbor friend whatever he wanted.  That’s what friends are for.  However, it was the persistence rather than the friendship that led him to act.  So that is the moral of this story.  Perseverance in prayer to the Father will lead to success.  Do you persist in prayer to God?

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Which was a neighbor? (Lk 10:36-10:36)

“Which of these three,

Do you think,

Was a neighbor

To the man

Who fell

Among the robbers?”

 

τίς τούτων τῶν τριῶν πλησίον δοκεῖ σοι γεγονέναι τοῦ ἐμπεσόντος εἰς τοὺς λῃστάς;

 

Luke continued his unique story.  Jesus asked the obvious question.  Which one of these three people (τίς τούτων τῶν τριῶν) did he think was a neighbor to this man (πλησίον δοκεῖ σοι γεγονέναιn) who fell among the robbers (τοῦ ἐμπεσόντος εἰς τοὺς λῃστάς)?  Like most of the parables of Jesus, the moral is usually very clear.  This was no exception.  Jesus then asked this lawyer who had asked the question about who his neighbor was, what did he think?  Who did the neighborly thing?  Which one of these 3 individuals, the priest, the Levite, or the Samaritan did the right thing?  A neighbor is not a physical presence but an active deed done to someone in need.  Are you a good neighbor?

A big haul of fish (Lk 5:6-5:6)

“When they had done this,

They caught

So many fish

That their nets

Were beginning

To break.”

 

καὶ τοῦτο ποιήσαντες συνέκλεισαν πλῆθος ἰχθύων πολύ· διερήσσετο δὲ τὰ δίκτυα αὐτῶν.

 

This is similar to John, chapter 21:6, where the nets were filled to capacity.  Luke said that when they did what Jesus had told them to do (καὶ τοῦτο ποιήσαντες), they caught so many fish (συνέκλεισαν πλῆθος ἰχθύων πολύ) that their nets were beginning to break (διερήσσετο δὲ τὰ δίκτυα αὐτῶν).  The moral was to do what Jesus said.  Then all will be well for you in abundance.

Throw him out of the feast (Mt 22:12-22:13)

“The king said to him.

‘Friend!

How did you get in here

Without a wedding garment?’

He was speechless.

Then the king said

To the attendants,

‘Bind him

Hand and foot!

Throw him

Into the outer darkness.

There will be weeping.

There will be gnashing

Of teeth.’”

 

καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Ἑταῖρε, πῶς εἰσῆλθες ὧδε μὴ ἔχων ἔνδυμα γάμου; ὁ δὲ ἐφιμώθη.

τότε ὁ βασιλεὺς εἶπεν τοῖς διακόνοις Δήσαντες αὐτοῦ πόδας καὶ χεῖρας ἐκβάλετε αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον· ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων.

 

This is unique to Matthew.  Jesus said that the king addressed this man (καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ) without a wedding garment with a sarcastic greeting of “Friend (Ἑταῖρε).”  How had he gotten into the wedding banquet without a wedding garment (ὧδε μὴ ἔχων ἔνδυμα γάμου)?  The man without the wedding robe was speechless or silent (ὁ δὲ ἐφιμώθη).  Then the king told his serving attendants (ότε ὁ βασιλεὺς εἶπεν τοῖς διακόνοις) to tie him up hand and foot (Δήσαντες αὐτοῦ πόδας καὶ χεῖρας) and throw him into the extreme darkness (ἐκβάλετε αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον).  There would be weeping gnashing of teeth out there in this darkness (ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων), the traditional way of mourning.  The moral of this parable was always wear the right clothes for every occasion.

Daniel’s accusers were put in the lion’s den (Dan 6:24-6:24)

“The king

Gave a command.

Those men,

Who had accused Daniel,

Were brought to him.

He threw them

Into the den of lions.

He not only threw them,

But their children,

With their wives.

Before they reached

The bottom

Of the den,

The lions

Overpowered them.

The lions broke

All their bones

Into pieces.”

In a reversal of fortunes, which is common among the biblical writings, like in Esther, chapter 6, the conspirators and their families were put into the lion’s den. Before they hit the bottom of the den, the lions had overpowered them, their children, and their wives. All their bones were broken into pieces. The moral of the story is not to be a conspirator.

Adultery (Prov 30:20-30:20)

“This is the way of an adulterous woman.

She eats.

She wipes her mouth.

She says.

‘I have done no wrong.’”

This female adulterer eats and wipes her face, saying that she has not done anything wrong. This is the ancient belief that the female was somehow more responsible for adultery than the male. The old moral saying is that once you get accustomed to doing something, you no longer think that it is wrong. The first few times you might be worried, but then it becomes a habit with no sense of sin or evil involved.

Job responds that God is powerful (Job 9:1-9:12)

“Then Job answered.

‘Indeed I know that it is so.

But how can a man be just before God?

If one wished to contend with him,

One could not answer him once in a thousand times.

God has a wise heart.

He is mighty in strength.

Who has resisted God?

Who has succeeded?

He removes mountains.

They do not know it,

When he overturns them in his anger.

Who shakes the earth out of its place?

Who makes its pillars tremble?

Who commands the sun?

It does not rise without him.

Who seals up the stars?

Who alone stretched out the heavens?

Who trampled the waves of the sea?

Who made the Bear?

Who made the Orion?

Who made the Pleiades?

Who made the chambers of the south?

Who does great things beyond understanding?

Who does marvelous things without number?

Look!

He passes by me.

I do not see him.

He moves on.

But I do not perceive him.

He snatches away.

Who can stop him?

Who will say to him?

‘What are you doing?’”

Job posed the basic question of how could a mere moral become just before God? What is righteousness? In a sense he is answering Eliphaz rather than Bildad. God is a thousand times better than man. He is wise and strong. Who could resist God successfully? He moves mountains in his anger and they do not even know it. He commands the sun, the stars, and the waves of the sea.  He makes all the heavenly constellations of stars like the Bear, the Orion, and the Pleiades. In fact these clusters of stars were sometimes thought of as gods. God stretches out the heavens like a tent. He does great marvelous things that we sometimes do not understand. He passes by and we don’t see him. No one asks him what he is doing. He just does it. No one can stop him.