Woe to the false prophets! (Lk 6:26-6:26)

“Woe to you

When all speak

Well of you!

That is what

Your ancestors did

To the false prophets.”

 

οὐαὶ ὅταν καλῶς ὑμᾶς εἴπωσιν πάντες οἱ ἄνθρωποι· κατὰ αὐτὰ γὰρ ἐποίουν τοῖς ψευδοπροφήταις οἱ πατέρες αὐτῶν.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said they would be cursed (οὐαὶ), using the second person plural.  If people spoke well of them (ὅταν καλῶς ὑμᾶς εἴπωσιν πάντες οἱ ἄνθρωποι), that is what (κατὰ αὐτὰ) their ancestors or fathers (οἱ πατέρες αὐτῶν) did (γὰρ ἐποίουν) to the false or pseudo-prophets (τοῖς ψευδοπροφήταις).  This is the reverse of verses 22-23, where Jesus said that they would be blessed, happy, and fortunate (μακάριοί ἐστε), when people hated them (ὅταν μισήσωσιν ὑμᾶς οἱ ἄνθρωποι) or excluded them (καὶ ὅταν ἀφορίσωσιν ὑμᾶς) on account of the Son of Man (ἕνεκα τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου).  They would be blessed (μακάριοί ἐστε), when people insulted them (καὶ ὀνειδίσωσιν) or defamed them.  There is something equivalent to Matthew, chapter 5:11.  This persecution is precisely what (κατὰ αὐτὰ) their ancestors (οἱ πατέρες αὐτῶν) had done to the ancient prophets (γὰρ ἐποίουν τοῖς προφήταις).  In a certain sense, they were a continuation of the Old Testament persecuted prophets who had gone before them.  However, if people spoke well of them and treated them nice, perhaps they were the false prophets.

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Rejoice! (Lk 6:23-6:23)

“Rejoice in that day!

Leap for joy!

Surely!

Your reward

Is great

In heaven!

That is what

Their ancestors

Did to the prophets.”

 

χάρητε ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ καὶ σκιρτήσατε· ἰδοὺ γὰρ ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολὺς ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ· κατὰ αὐτὰ γὰρ ἐποίουν τοῖς προφήταις οἱ πατέρες αὐτῶν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that they should rejoice that day (χάρητε ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ).  They were to leap for joy (καὶ σκιρτήσατε) because their reward would be great in heaven (ἰδοὺ γὰρ ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολὺς ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ), This persecution is precisely what (κατὰ αὐτὰ) their ancestors (οἱ πατέρες αὐτῶν) had done to the ancient prophets (γὰρ ἐποίουν τοῖς προφήταις).  This passage is very similar to Matthew, chapter 6:11, so this may be from the Q source.  Matthew also indicated that Jesus told them to rejoice and be glad because there would be a future great reward for them in heaven.  In a certain sense, they were a continuation of the Old Testament persecuted prophets who had gone before them.  This saying was like a pep talk.

Blessed are the poor (Lk 6:20-6:20)

“Then Jesus

Looked up

At his disciples.

He said.

‘Blessed are you

Who are poor!

Yours is

The kingdom of God.”

 

Καὶ αὐτὸς ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ εἰς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ ἔλεγεν Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοί, ὅτι ὑμετέρα ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

Luke said that Jesus looked up at his disciples (Καὶ αὐτὸς ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ εἰς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ).  He said (ἔλεγεν) that the poor are blessed or happy (Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοί), using the second person plural.  Their reward would be the kingdom of God (ὅτι ὑμετέρα ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ).  This sermon on the plain is somewhat similar to the sermon on the mount in Matthew, chapters 5-7.  Most people speak about the 8 beatitudes of Jesus on the mountain, since they feature the key points of Jesus’ preaching that was founded on the Hebrew Scriptures.  What does “blessed (Μακάριοι)” mean?  This Greek word Μακάριοι appeared over 68 times in the Greek Septuagint Old Testament, especially in the Psalms.  God will bless these people, so that they will be the fortunate ones, the happy ones, the wise ones.  There are echoes of Psalm 32, where the happy and blessed ones are those who have had their sins forgiven, since they have no deceit in their hearts.  The blessed people are the poor, the hungry, the mourners, and those being persecuted.  Number one is the poor.  However, right off the bat, there is a difference with Matthew. chapter 5:3, who used the term the “poor in spirit (οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι).”  What did Matthew mean by this “poor in spirit” or spiritual poverty?  There is a whole Judaic tradition about the oppressed poor and the humble of the land, as in the prophets Isaiah, chapter 61:1 and 66:2, and Zephaniah, chapter 2:3, but that was not spiritual poverty.  Perhaps, this was more like the lack of concern for material things, whether you are actually poor or not.  For Luke, it was black or white, poor or not.  The 2nd major difference was the reward.  Matthew talked about what they would possess, the kingdom of the heavens (ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν), while Luke said it was the kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ), plain and simple.

The Temple will be thrown down (Mk 13:2-13:2)

“Then Jesus

Asked him.

‘Do you see

These great buildings?

Not one stone here

Will be left

Upon another.

All will be thrown down.’”

 

καὶ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ Βλέπεις ταύτας τὰς μεγάλας οἰκοδομάς; οὐ μὴ ἀφεθῇ λίθος ἐπὶ λίθον ὃς οὐ μὴ καταλυθῇ.

 

There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 24:2, almost word for word, and in Luke, chapter 21:6, but slightly different.  Mark said that Jesus asked this disciple (καὶ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ) if he saw all these great buildings (Βλέπεις ταύτας τὰς μεγάλας οἰκοδομάς)?  There is no solemn proclamation here, as in Matthew.  However, Jesus told him that not one stone would be left on another stone at the Temple (οὐ μὴ ἀφεθῇ λίθος ἐπὶ λίθον).  All of the Temple buildings would be torn down, thrown down, or destroyed (ὃς οὐ μὴ καταλυθῇ).  In fact, in 70 CE, less than 40 years after the time of Jesus, the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed by the Romans in their war with Israel.  However, threats against the original Jerusalem Temple had been common among the prophets in the Old Testament, especially before the Exile in the 7th and 6th century BCE.

The Son of Man came to serve (Mk 10:45-10:45)

“The Son of man

Came

Not to be served,

But to serve.

He came

To give his life

As a ransom for many.”

 

καὶ γὰρ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἦλθεν διακονηθῆναι ἀλλὰ διακονῆσαι καὶ δοῦναι τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ λύτρον ἀντὶ πολλῶν

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 20:28, almost word for word.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that the Son of Man came not to be served (καὶ γὰρ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἦλθεν διακονηθῆναι), but to serve others (ἀλλὰ διακονῆσαι).  He was going to give his life (καὶ δοῦναι τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ) as a ransom for many people (λύτρον ἀντὶ πολλῶν).  This ransom or freeing of slaves was a divine liberation from the slavery of sin.  Quite often in the Old Testament, Yahweh said that he was going to save his people, the Israelites.  Jesus was going to pay the penalty of death.  Thus, he ransomed a great number of people from their sins or their debts.  Thus, this is an indication of redemptive salvation.

The three disciples go to the mountain (Mk 9:2-9:2)

“Six days later,

Jesus took with him

Peter,

James,

And John.

He led them up

A high mountain,

Alone by themselves.

He was transfigured

Before them.”

 

Καὶ μετὰ ἡμέρας ἓξ παραλαμβάνει ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὸν Πέτρον καὶ τὸν Ἰάκωβον καὶ Ἰωάνην, καὶ ἀναφέρει αὐτοὺς εἰς ὄρος ὑψηλὸν κατ’ ἰδίαν μόνους. καὶ μετεμορφώθη ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν

 

Going to a special mountain can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 17:1, Luke, chapter 9:28, and here in MarkMark and Matthew are exactly the same, almost word for word, but Luke talked about 8 days and going to pray on the mountain.  Mark said that this activity took place 6 days later (Καὶ μετὰ’ ἡμέρας ἓξ), probably after the proclamation of Peter about Jesus being the Christ messiah.  Jesus took with him (παραλαμβάνει ὁ Ἰησοῦς) Peter (τὸν Πέτρον), and the 2 sons of Zebedee, James (καὶ τὸν Ἰάκωβον) and John (καὶ Ἰωάνην).  There was no mention of Peter’s brother Andrew.  Jesus brought these 3 disciples to an unnamed high mountain (καὶ ἀναφέρει αὐτοὺς εἰς ὄρος ὑψηλὸν), presumably near the Sea of Galilee, probably Mount Tabor in lower Galilee or Mount Hermon near Caesarea Philippi, much further north.  They were alone by themselves (κατ’ ἰδίαν μόνους), not with any of the other apostles or disciples.  Going up a high mountain was an attempt to have a special communication with God, just as Moses had done in the Old Testament.  Jesus was transfigured or transformed in front of the 3 apostles (καὶ μετεμορφώθη ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν).  Was this a foretaste of the resurrected Christ?

The prophet (Mk 8:28-8:28)

“They answered him.

‘John the Baptist!’

Others say.

‘Elijah!’

Still others.

‘One of the prophets.’”

 

οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ λέγοντες ὅτι Ἰωάνην τὸν Βαπτιστήν, καὶ ἄλλοι Ἡλείαν, ἄλλοι δὲ ὅτι εἷς τῶν προφητῶν.

 

This same response can be found in Matthew, chapter 16:14, and Luke, chapter 9:19, but there are slight differences.  Matthew is the only one who explicitly mentioned Jeremiah, who was a Judean prophet active from 626 BCE to 587 BCE, around the time of the destruction of the Temple.  Mark and Luke only had the more generic term of one of the prophets, rather than any individual prophet.  Mark said that the disciples responded to him (οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ λέγοντες) that some people said he was John the Baptist (ὅτι Ἰωάνην τὸν Βαπτιστήν).  Others said Elijah (καὶ ἄλλοι δὲ Ἡλείαν).  This Elijah was a 9th century BCE northern Israel prophet whose work can be found in the Old Testament Books of 1 Kings, 2 Kings, and 1 Chronicles.  Finally, other people said that he was one of the many prophets (ἄλλοι δὲ ὅτι εἷς τῶν προφητῶν).  No one called him the Messiah or Christ.