The commandments (Lk 18:20-18:20)

“You know the commandments.

‘Do not commit adultery!

Do not murder!

Do not steal!

Do not bear false witness!

Honor your father

And mother!’”

 

τὰς ἐντολὰς οἶδας Μὴ μοιχεύσῃς, Μὴ φονεύσῃς, Μὴ κλέψῃς, Μὴ ψευδομαρτυρήσῃς, Τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to this ruler that he knew the commandments (τὰς ἐντολὰς οἶδας).  Then he listed a few that were “Do not commit adultery (Μὴ μοιχεύσῃς,)!”  “Do not murder (Μὴ φονεύσῃς)!”  “Do not steal (Μὴ κλέψῃς)!”  “Do not bear false witness (Μὴ ψευδομαρτυρήσῃς)!”  “Honor your father and your mother (Τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα)!”  Thus, Jesus emphasized which commandments he wanted this man to keep.  This can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:19, and Matthew, chapter 19:17-19, but slightly different, since Luke and Mark are closer to each other.  Mark said that Jesus gave the classic answer for those who wanted to enter eternal life.  They knew the commandments or laws (τὰς ἐντολὰς οἶδας).  Follow them!  Mark did not have any question about which commandments to follow.  Jesus just mentioned some of the commandments.  You shall not kill or murder (Μὴ φονεύσῃς)!  You shall not commit adultery (Μὴ μοιχεύσῃς)!  You shall not steal (Μὴ κλέψῃς)!  You shall not bear false witness (Μὴ ψευδομαρτυρήσῃς)!  You shall not defraud (Μὴ ἀποστερήσῃς)!  Honor your father (Τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου)!  Honor your mother (καὶ τὴν μητέρα)!  All of these are from the Ten Commandments in Exodus, chapter 20:12-16, and Deuteronomy, chapter 5:16-20.  Mark added the comment about not defrauding others that was not in Luke.  In Matthew, this person asked Jesus which commandments (λέγει αὐτῷ Ποίας) should he follow.  Thus, Jesus responded to him (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔφη) directly citing which commandments.  You shall not kill or murder (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔφη)!  You shall not commit adultery (Οὐ μοιχεύσεις)!  You shall not steal (Οὐ κλέψεις)!  You shall not bear false witness (Οὐ ψευδομαρτυρήσεις)!  Honor your father (Τίμα τὸν πατέρα)!  Honor your mother (καὶ τὴν μητέρα)!  All of these are the same as in Mark and Luke.  However, Matthew added something not in the other two gospel stories.  This man was to love or esteem his neighbor as himself (καὶ Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν), that was from Leviticus, chapter 19:18.  Do you think that the Ten Commandments are important?

Nothing to serve (Lk 11:6-11:6)

“A friend of mine

Has arrived

From a long journey

At my house.

I have nothing

To set before him.”

 

ἐπειδὴ φίλος μου παρεγένετο ἐξ ὁδοῦ πρός με καὶ οὐκ ἔχω ὃ παραθήσω αὐτῷ·

 

Luke uniquely had this parable story about waking up a friend in the middle of the night.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that this man went to his neighbor friend and said that his other friend (ἐπειδὴ φίλος μου) had just arrived (παρεγένετο) from a long journey (ἐξ ὁδοῦ) at his house (πρός με), but he said that he had nothing to set before him (καὶ οὐκ ἔχω ὃ παραθήσω αὐτῷ).  Tough luck!  This certainly was a strange request at midnight.  At least this guy had 2 friends, at least for now.  One friend just showed up at his house in the middle of the night and the other friend was his close neighbor.  One of these 2 friends is not going to be happy.  Perhaps, there should have been some planning along the line here.  He has nothing to serve his long-lost friend, and assumes that this neighbor friend has something to give him to eat.  Do you always have extra food on hand?

The right answer (Lk 10:28-10:28)

“Jesus said to him.

‘You have given

The right answer.

Do this!

Then you will live!’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ Ὀρθῶς ἀπεκρίθης· τοῦτο ποίει καὶ ζήσῃ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to the lawyer (εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ) that he had given the correct right answer (Ὀρθῶς ἀπεκρίθης).  Jesus told him to do that (τοῦτο ποίει) and then he would live (καὶ ζήσῃ).  Mark, chapter 12:32-33, indicated that this Scribe said to Jesus, rather than the other way around, that Jesus was right.  He, in fact, respectfully called Jesus Teacher (Διδάσκαλε).  This Scribe agreed that Jesus had spoken according to the truth.  God was one, so that there was no other God but him alone. Thus, the Scribe and Jesus were on the same page as regards God and his commandments.  Then the Scribe pointed out that these 2 commandments were more important than all the Temple sacrifices.  He said that to love God with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all your strength, as well as to love your neighbor as yourself was much more important than all the various sacrificial burnt offerings.  This Scribe recognized the value of love of God and neighbor.  Do you love God with your whole being and your neighbor as yourself?

Love your enemies! (Lk 6:27-6:27)

“But I say to you!

Listen!

Love your enemies!

Do good

To those

Who hate you!”

 

Ἀλλὰ ὑμῖν λέγω τοῖς ἀκούουσιν Ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν, καλῶς ποιεῖτε τοῖς μισοῦσιν ὑμᾶς,

 

Luke then indicated that Jesus issued a solemn pronouncement (Ἀλλὰ ὑμῖν λέγω τοῖς) that they should listen (ἀκούουσιν).  He clearly unambiguously said to love your enemies (Ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν) and do good to those who hate you (καλῶς ποιεῖτε τοῖς μισοῦσιν ὑμᾶς).  This was a very strong statement that can be also found in Matthew, chapter 5:44, so that it might be from the Q source.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that they were to love their enemies (ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν), word for word as here in Luke.  Jesus added that they should even pray for those who were persecuting them (καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν διωκόντων ὑμᾶς).  Perhaps, many of the followers of Jesus at that time were actually being persecuted.  They were to do good to those who were spitefully accusing them, hating them, and persecuting them (καλῶς ποιεῖτε τοῖς μισοῦσιν ὑμᾶς, καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐπηρεαζόντων ὑμᾶς, καὶ διωκόντων ὑμᾶς).  These early Christians were asked to be generous to their enemies and persecutors, as both Matthew and Luke indicated here.  This was a radical statement of love that went beyond loving your neighbor.  Love your enemy.  Do good to him.

The value of the commandments (Mk 12:33-12:33)

“‘To love God

With all the heart,

With all the understanding,

With all the strength,

As well as

To love one’s neighbor

As oneself,’

This is much more

Important than

Than all the burnt offerings

And sacrifices.”

 

καὶ τὸ ἀγαπᾶν αὐτὸν ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς συνέσεως καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ἰσχύος, καὶ τὸ ἀγαπᾶν τὸν πλησίον ὡς ἑαυτὸν περισσότερόν ἐστιν πάντων τῶν ὁλοκαυτωμάτων καὶ θυσιῶν.

 

This monologue of the Scribe to Jesus is unique to Mark.  This Scribe pointed out that these 2 commandments were more important that all the Temple sacrifices of burnt offerings.  He said that to love God (καὶ τὸ ἀγαπᾶν αὐτὸν) with all your heart (ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας), with all your understanding (καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς συνέσεως), with all your strength (καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ἰσχύος), as well as to love your neighbor as yourself (καὶ τὸ ἀγαπᾶν τὸν πλησίον ὡς ἑαυτὸν) was much more important (περισσότερόν ἐστιν) than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices (πάντων τῶν ὁλοκαυτωμάτων καὶ θυσιῶν).  This Scribe recognized the value of love of God and neighbor.

Worship of God

Some worship the almighty dollar that they can see.  Others worship the unknown, the unseen.  No religion is purely transcendent centered, but also involves to some extent the here and now, immanence.  Our happiness comes in becoming part of others, caring for one’s neighbor with an ego-transcending embrace of others.  If we say that God is love, love is many splendid things.  The difficulty is always the ideal versus the reality of what we experience.  We are striving for perfection, not necessarily reaching it.  Thus, we worship this transcendent God in our lives.

Oracle about Egypt (Isa 19:1-19:4)

“An oracle concerning Egypt.

See!

Yahweh is riding on a swift cloud.

He comes to Egypt.

The idols of Egypt

Will tremble at his presence.

The heart of the Egyptians

Will melt within them.

‘I will stir up

Egyptians against Egyptians.

They will fight

One against the other,

Neighbor against neighbor,

City against city,

Kingdom against kingdom.

The spirit of the Egyptians,

Within them,

Will be emptied out.

I will confound their plans.

They will consult

The idols,

The spirits of the dead,

The ghosts,

The mediums,

The wizards,

And the familiar spirits.

I will destroy the Egyptians

Into the hand of a hard master.

A fierce king will rule over them.’

So says the Sovereign,

Yahweh of hosts.”

Isaiah presents an oracle of Yahweh about Egypt. He said that Yahweh was riding high on a cloud as he came to Egypt as the false idols of Egypt trembled. The hearts of the Egyptians began to melt. Then Yahweh said that he was going to stir up fighting among the Egyptians themselves against each other, brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor, city against city, and kingdom against kingdom. They would all lose their spirit. They would be confused. Then they would consult their idols, their dead spirits, their ghosts, their mediums, their wizards, and all kinds of their strange spirits. Yahweh said that he was going to destroy the Egyptians as he was going to hand them over to a fierce king. Clearly Yahweh has spoken.