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?
Finally, Luke uniquely had Jesus turn to his Pharisee host. Jesus spoke to the one who had invited him (Ἔλεγεν δὲ καὶ τῷ κεκληκότι αὐτόν). He told him that when he would give a luncheon or dinner (Ὅταν ποιῇς ἄριστον ἢ δεῖπνον), he should not invite (μὴ φώνει) his friends (τοὺς φίλους σου), his brothers (μηδὲ τοὺς ἀδελφούς σου), his relatives (μηδὲ τοὺς συγγενεῖς σου), nor rich neighbors (μηδὲ γείτονας πλουσίους). Otherwise, they might invite him back in return (μή ποτε καὶ αὐτοὶ ἀντικαλέσωσίν σε), in order to repay him (καὶ γένηται ἀνταπόδομά σοι). In other words, do not invite your friends or relatives because they would probably invite you back again as a repayment. That actually is the normal course of things. Dinner parties usually circulate so that there is no undue burden on any one person. But Jesus, via Luke, did not like that way of doing things. Who do you invite to your parties?
Next Luke uniquely had this story of the crippled woman at the Sabbath worship service. Luke said that Jesus was teaching (Ἦν δὲ διδάσκων) in one of the synagogues (ἐν μιᾷ τῶν συναγωγῶν) on the Sabbath (ἐν τοῖς σάββασιν). There is no direct reference to a specific individual synagogue. However, this was fairly normal for Jesus to be teaching on the Sabbath in a synagogue. Do you normally attend a church worship service?
Luke uniquely had this story about the Samaritan villages, since Mark and Matthew had Jesus not go into Samaria, but pass over to the other side of the Jordan on the east bank of the Jordan River. Luke said that Jesus sent messengers (καὶ ἀπέστειλεν ἀγγέλους) ahead of him or before his face (πρὸ προσώπου αὐτοῦ), that would have been normal for a traveling large group. On their way (καὶ πορευθέντες), they entered (εἰσῆλθον) a village of the Samaritans (εἰς κώμην Σαμαρειτῶν), to make things ready for Jesus (ὥστε ἑτοιμάσαι αὐτῷ). The Samaritans were part of the former northern kingdom of Israel with Samaria their capital. However, over time, since the 8th century BCE, they had become a distinct ethnic group that was in dispute with the Judean Jews, since the territory of Samaria was between Judea and Galilee. Luke, like here, showed Jesus interacting with the Samaritans more than any of the other gospel writers. Have you ever told people that you were just passing by on your way to some place else?
Luke has the angel Gabriel appear to Mary, as opposed to Matthew, chapter 1:20, who had an unnamed angel appear to Joseph in a dream. This angel Gabriel went to a virgin (πρὸς παρθένον), who was engaged (ἐμνηστευμένην) to a man named Joseph (ἀνδρὶ ᾧ ὄνομα Ἰωσὴφ) from the house of David (ἐξ οἴκου Δαυείδ). The name of this virgin was Mary (καὶ τὸ ὄνομα τῆς παρθένου Μαριάμ). Thus, both stories from these 2 gospels concur that Mary and Joseph were the parents of Jesus. Matthew said that Joseph had resolved to get rid of Mary, instead of taking her as his wife until the angel of the Lord appeared to him. This unnamed angel reassured Joseph that he should not be afraid to take Mary as his wife. Thus, God, via his angel, was trying to show Joseph that everything would be alright. Here the emphasis is on Mary, a common name in first century Judaism based on the name of Mariam, the sister of Moses. Mary was a virgin (παρθένου), someone who did not have sexual relations with the opposite sex, which would have been normal at this time for young girls before they were married. However, she was engaged or betrothed to Joseph, who had Davidic ancestry. In other words, the wedding contact had not been signed. Thus, they were still involved with prenuptial arrangements.
A similar statement can be found in Matthew, chapter 13:1, and Luke, chapter 8:4. However, Luke does not indicate where he was, except that there was a large crowd. Mark indicated that Jesus began to teach (Καὶ πάλιν ἤρξατο διδάσκειν) beside the Sea of Galilee (παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν). A great crowd gathered or assembled around him (καὶ συνάγεται πρὸς αὐτὸν ὄχλος πλεῖστος), so that Jesus entered or got into a boat (ὥστε αὐτὸν εἰς πλοῖον ἐμβάντα). He then sat there in the boat (καθῆσθαι) that was in the sea (ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ), while the whole crowd was on the beach shore land near the sea (καὶ πᾶς ὁ ὄχλος πρὸς τὴν θάλασσαν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἦσαν). Sitting was the normal way that teachers taught.
Amos asked a series of questions. Certain things happen because it is the normal thing for them to do. People who walk together have usually set up a time to do so. A lion roars in the forest when it has taken some prey. A young lion in a den has found something when it cries out. A bird does not fall into a snare if there was no trap set up. A snare does not spring up without being set. Thus, there is a natural reaction that takes place in all these cases.
This passage seems out of place here, since the healing of King Hezekiah is at the end of this chapter. This backwards moving of the sundial is the sign that Isaiah was to give to King Hezekiah. Instead of Isaiah crying out, this is an abbreviated version of what appeared to 2 Kings, chapter 20, with just the simple statement of Isaiah. This sundial had been installed by King Hezekiah’s father, King Ahaz (736-716 BCE). Since moving forward would not be difficult and was normal. However, if the shadow moved backward, that would be a strange. Thus the sundial moved back 10 intervals, indicating that the sun had moved backwards, which would have been miraculous. If they only knew that the earth was moving and not the sun, they would have been even more astonished.
To the choirmaster leader, a psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone into Bathsheba
“Have mercy on me!
According to your steadfast love,
According to your abundant mercy,
Blot out my transgressions!
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity!
Cleanse me from my sin!”
Psalm 51 is the great penitential psalm when David was confronted by the prophet Nathan for his sexual encounter with Bathsheba in 2 Samuel, chapters 11 and 12. Eventually, David and Bathsheba were punished with the death of their first born. David wanted God’s mercy because of God’s steadfast love. This psalm is like Psalm 6 as a lament that is addressed to God directly. David wanted his transgressions blotted out. He wanted his iniquities washed away. He wanted to be cleansed from his sin. He wanted everything back to normal.