The signs (Lk 21:25-21:25)

“There will be signs

In the sun,

The moon,

And the stars.

On the earth,

There will be

Anxious distress

Among the nations

With the roaring noise

Of the sea

And the swelling waves.”

 

Καὶ ἔσονται σημεῖα ἐν ἡλίῳ καὶ σελήνῃ καὶ ἄστροις, καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς συνοχὴ ἐθνῶν ἐν ἀπορίᾳ ἤχους θαλάσσης καὶ σάλου,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that there would be signs (Καὶ ἔσονται σημεῖα) in the sun (ἐν ἡλίῳ), in the moon (αὶ σελήνῃ), and in the stars (καὶ ἄστροις).  On the earth (καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς), there would be anxious distress among the gentile nations (συνοχὴ ἐθνῶν ἐν ἀπορίᾳ) because of the roaring noise of the sea (ἤχους θαλάσσης) and the swelling waves (καὶ σάλου).  This was a unique use of the term ἀπορίᾳ that means perplexity, anxiety, or doubt, not found elsewhere in the Greek biblical literature.  This Jesus saying is similar to Matthew, chapter 24:29, that is actually closer to Mark, chapter 13:24-25.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that in those days (Ἀλλὰ ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις), after the sufferings (μετὰ τὴν θλῖψιν), there would be a cosmic upheaval.  The sun would be darkened (ὁ ἥλιος σκοτισθήσεται).  The moon would not give its light (καὶ ἡ σελήνη οὐ δώσει τὸ φέγγος αὐτῆς).  The assumption was that the moon had its own source of light, not merely a reflection of the sun.  The stars would fall from the skies (καὶ οἱ ἀστέρες ἔσονται ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ πίπτοντες).  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that immediately after the sufferings mentioned earlier in those days (Εὐθέως δὲ μετὰ τὴν θλῖψιν τῶν ἡμερῶν ἐκείνων), there would be a cosmic upheaval.  The sun would be darkened (ὁ ἥλιος σκοτισθήσεται).  The moon would not give its light (καὶ ἡ σελήνη οὐ δώσει τὸ φέγγος αὐτῆς).  The stars would fall from the skies (καὶ οἱ ἀστέρες πεσοῦνται ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ).  This is fully in line with the great Israelite prophetic tradition of the Day of Yahweh, like Ezekiel, chapter 32:7, Joel, chapter 2:10, Amos, chapter 8:9, and Zephaniah, chapter 1:15.  Luke did not have the details that were in Mark and Matthew.  What kind of cosmic upheaval do you expect at the end times?

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House of prayer (Lk 19:46-19:46)

“Jesus said.

‘It is written,

‘My house

Shall be

A house of prayer.’

But you have made it

A den of robbers.’”

 

λέγων αὐτοῖς Γέγραπται Καὶ ἔσται ὁ οἶκός μου οἶκος προσευχῆς· ὑμεῖς δὲ αὐτὸν ἐποιήσατε σπήλαιον λῃστῶν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to them (λέγων αὐτοῖς) that it was written (Γέγραπται) that my house shall be a house of prayer (Καὶ ἔσται ὁ οἶκός μου οἶκος προσευχῆς).  However, they had made it into a den or hideout of robbers or thieves (ὑμεῖς δὲ αὐτὸν ἐποιήσατε σπήλαιον λῃστῶν).  This first citation about the house of prayer is from 3rd Isaiah, chapter 56:7, while the second citation about how they have made his Temple into a den of robbers is from Jeremiah, chapter 7:11.  These biblical citations of Jesus in the Temple can also be found in Matthew, chapter 21:13, and Mark, chapter 11:17, almost word for word.  John, chapter 2:16-17, was slightly different, since he used a citation from Psalm 69:9, where the Psalmist or David had great zeal for the house of Yahweh that he was about to construct.  Mark said that Jesus was teaching (καὶ ἐδίδασκεν).  He asked them if they knew where it was written in Scripture (καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς Οὐ γέγραπται) that his house shall be called a house of prayer (ὅτι Ὁ οἶκός μου οἶκος προσευχῆς κληθήσεται) for all the nations (πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν).  Matthew and Luke did not mention all the nations.  However, the Temple functionaries were making it into a den or hideout of robbers or bandits (ὑμεῖς δὲ πεποιήκατε αὐτὸν σπήλαιον λῃστῶν).  Likewise, Matthew said that Jesus told them that it was written in Scripture (καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς Γέγραπται) that his house shall be called a house of prayer (Ὁ οἶκός μου οἶκος προσευχῆς κληθήσεται).  However, they were making it into a den or hideout of robbers or bandits (ὑμεῖς δὲ αὐτὸν ποιεῖτε σπήλαιον λῃστῶν).  In all cases, Jesus was upset that the Jerusalem Temple house of prayer had been hijacked by a bunch of thieves and robbers.  What kind of house of prayer do you pray in?

No home for Jesus (Lk 9:58-9:58)

“Jesus said to him.

‘Foxes have holes.

Birds of the air

Have nests.

But the Son of Man

Has nowhere

To lay his head.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Αἱ ἀλώπεκες φωλεοὺς ἔχουσιν καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνώσεις, ὁ δὲ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἔχει ποῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν κλίνῃ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus responded to this man (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς) who wanted to follow him.  He said to him that foxes have their holes (Αἱ ἀλώπεκες φωλεοὺς ἔχουσιν).  Birds of the air have their nests (καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνώσεις).  But the Son of Man (ὁ δὲ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) has nowhere to lay his head (οὐκ ἔχει ποῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν κλίνῃ).  He was homeless.  This saying of Jesus is exactly the same in Matthew, chapter 8:20, indicating a possible Q source.  Matthew indicated that Jesus responded to this Scribe by telling him that he was homeless.  Foxes had foxholes.  Birds of the air had nests.  However, the Son of Man had nowhere to put his head.  The term “Son of Man” expression might be based on the Book of Daniel, chapter 7:13.  This Son of Man was given dominion, glory and kingship over all people, nations, and languages.  Everyone would serve him, since his kingdom would last forever, and never be destroyed.  This has been often interpreted as the coming of the Messiah, the savior.  Jesus and his disciples clearly used this term.  However, in the Book of Ezekiel, Yahweh used this term for Ezekiel.  So that, the “Son of Man” may also mean that Jesus was trying to point out his humanity, like everyone else.  Jesus continued to refer to himself in the 3rd person as the Son of Man.  Here Jesus had less than foxes or birds, since he had no permanent home on earth.  Have you ever been homeless?

The authority of the world (Lk 4:6-4:6)

“The devil

Said to Jesus.

‘I will give

To you

Their glory

And all this authority.

It has been delivered

To me.

I can give it

To anyone

I please.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ διάβολος Σοὶ δώσω τὴν ἐξουσίαν ταύτην ἅπασαν καὶ τὴν δόξαν αὐτῶν, ὅτι ἐμοὶ παραδέδοται καὶ ᾧ ἐὰν θέλω δίδωμι αὐτήν·

 

Luke indicated that the devil said to Jesus (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ διάβολος) that he would give him all this authority (Σοὶ δώσω τὴν ἐξουσίαν ταύτην ἅπασαν) and glory of these kingdoms (δόξαν αὐτῶν).  Then the devil said a remarkable thing.  He said that all the kingdoms of the earth had been given or turned over to him (ὅτι ἐμοὶ παραδέδοται).  He could do whatever he pleased with them (καὶ ᾧ ἐὰν θέλω δίδωμι αὐτήν).  Just like Matthew, chapter 4:9, the devil would then give all these kingdoms with their glory to Jesus.  Somehow this devil thought and implied that he was in control over all the nations in the world.  Perhaps the early followers of Jesus thought that the world outside Jerusalem was under the power of the devil.

A house of prayer (Mk 11:17-11:17)

“Jesus was teaching.

He said.

‘Is it not written?

‘My house

Shall be called

A house of prayer

For all the nations.’

But you have made it

A den of robbers.’”

 

καὶ ἐδίδασκεν καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς Οὐ γέγραπται ὅτι Ὁ οἶκός μου οἶκος προσευχῆς κληθήσεται πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν; ὑμεῖς δὲ πεποιήκατε αὐτὸν σπήλαιον λῃστῶν.

 

This biblical citation of Jesus in the Temple can be found in Matthew, chapter 21:13, and Luke, chapter 19:46, almost word for word.  Mark said that Jesus was teaching (καὶ ἐδίδασκεν).  He asked them if they knew where it was written in Scripture (καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς Οὐ γέγραπται) that his house shall be called a house of prayer (ὅτι Ὁ οἶκός μου οἶκος προσευχῆς κληθήσεται) for all the nations (πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν).  Matthew did not mention all the nations.  However, they were making it into a den or hideout of robbers or bandits (ὑμεῖς δὲ πεποιήκατε αὐτὸν σπήλαιον λῃστῶν).  This first citation is from Isaiah, chapter 56:7, while the second citation is from Jeremiah, chapter 7:11.

 

Conclusion: Passion, Resurrection and Great Commission

 

This gospel concluded with the events of the last week of Jesus, a main preoccupation of all four gospels.  Jesus had entered Jerusalem in triumph.  He held a last supper and prayed to be spared.  He was betrayed by Judas.  Then he was tried by the Jewish leaders and before The roman governor Pontius Pilate.  Jesus was crucified as king of the Jews and mocked by all.  At his death, there was an earthquake, when the veil of the Temple was cut in two, and the saints rose from their tombs.  Mary Magdalene and the other women discovered the empty tomb.  Jesus told them to tell the disciples to meet him in Galilee.

There was a plot to kill Jesus.  Jesus spoke to his disciples and gave his fourth prediction about the death of the Son of Man.  Then the chief priests and the elders gathered to plot the arrest of Jesus.  However, before that, there was an anointing by the unnamed women in Bethany as she poured oil on Jesus.  Others wanted to know why she was wasting oil.  Jesus said that she had done a good thing by anointing him for burial.  Thus, she would be remembered.  Meanwhile, Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

Then they made the preparations for the Passover.  Where would the Passover be?  There was a house for the Passover meal, as the disciples prepared for the Passover evening meal.  Jesus announced the betrayal.  Who would betray Jesus?  This betrayer would be cursed, as Judas spoke out.  At the Last Supper Eucharist, Jesus said that this was his body and blood with eschatological implications.

They went to the Mount of Olives.  Jesus predicted that the apostles would scatter.  He was going to go to Galilee.  Peter said that he would never desert Jesus.  Then Jesus warned Peter about his desertion, but Peter was adamant that he would never deny Jesus.

They went to Gethsemane as Jesus took his three favorite apostles.  He prayed to his Father while these apostles slept.  There was a second prayer of Jesus, as he came a second time to the sleeping apostles.  He prayed a third time.  Then Jesus woke them up.

Judas arrived and kissed Jesus, as they then seized Jesus.  Someone cut off the ear of the high priest’s slave.  However, Jesus told them to put their swords away as the disciples fled.

Jesus went before Caiaphas the high priest, while Peter followed Jesus to the courtyard of the high priest.  They were looking for false testimony.  Finally, two witnesses came forward.  The high priest spoke and Jesus responded.  He called the words of Jesus blasphemy, as they mocked Jesus.  Peter’s denied Jesus three time and then he remembered Jesus’ words.

The elders and Pharisees planned to kill Jesus.  They would deliver Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor.  Meanwhile, Judas repented, but he hung himself.  He returned the pieces of silver to the Temple, but it was used to purchase a graveyard called the Field of Blood to fulfill a prophecy of Jeremiah.

Jesus went before Pilate as he asked him if he was the king of the Jews?  However, Jesus did not respond.  The governor was going to release one prisoner at the festival time.  However, the people wanted the prisoner Barabbas rather than Jesus.  Pilate got a warning from his wife.  Nevertheless, the crowd wanted to crucify Jesus.  Pilate claimed that he was innocent of his blood but the crowds said that his blood be on us.  Barabbas was then released.  Jesus went to the governor’s head quarters where the Roman soldiers mocked him.

They prepared Jesus for the crucifixion.  They got Simon of Cyrene to help with the cross as they went to Golgotha.  They divided his garments and wrote on the cross Jesus, King of the Jews.  There were two robbers who derided and and taunted Jesus, just like the Jewish religious leaders had mocked Jesus.

Darkness fell over the land as Jesus died.  The cry of Jesus was interpreted as a call to Elijah.  They gave him sour wine to drink.  Would Elijah save Jesus?  When Jesus died, the Temple curtain was torn in two.  Tombs opened and the dead rose and appeared in Jerusalem.  He truly was  the Son of God.

There were women from Galilee, especially the women called Mary.  Joseph of Arimathea got the body of Jesus and put it in his tomb as the women called Mary were vigilant.  Meanwhile, there was a gathering with Pilate, since the Jewish religious leaders wanted to have the tomb secure.  Thus, a custodial guard was set up at the tomb.

The two Marys visited the tomb, where there was another earthquake with an angel at the tomb.  The guards were afraid, but the angel speaks to the women to tell them to let the disciples know what happened.  The women left the tomb and Jesus appeared to them.  Meanwhile, the guards told the chief priests in Jerusalem what had happened.  These religious leaders paid the guards to tell everyone that someone stole the body of Jesus while they were sleeping.  Thus, this stolen body story spread.

After the resurrection, the remaining eleven disciples returned to an unnamed mountain in Galilee.  There the post-resurrection Jesus gave them authority in heaven and on earth with his great commission:  They were to make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them with a Trinitarian formula.  They were to follow his commandments because Jesus would be with them until the end of time.

The Son of Man in glory (Mt 25:31-25:31)

“When the Son of Man

Comes in his glory,

All the angels

Will be with him.

Then he will sit

On the throne

Of his glory.”

 

Ὅταν δὲ ἔλθῃ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ καὶ πάντες οἱ ἄγγελοι μετ’ αὐτοῦ, τότε καθίσει ἐπὶ θρόνου δόξης αὐτοῦ·

 

This last judgment section is unique to Matthew.  The Son of Man theme was a favorite theme for Matthew as well as the Old Testament prophet Daniel, especially chapter 7:13-14, where it might have been messianic also.  Daniel said that the Son of Man would be given dominion, glory, and kingship over all people, nations, and languages.  Everyone would serve him, since his kingdom would last forever, and never be destroyed.  Jesus said that the Son of Man would come in his glory or splendor (Ὅταν δὲ ἔλθῃ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ), with all his angels (καὶ πάντες οἱ ἄγγελοι μετ’ αὐτοῦ), seated on the throne of his glory or splendor (τότε καθίσει ἐπὶ θρόνου δόξης αὐτοῦ).  The Son of Man was a clear reference to the return of Jesus himself.