No get out of jail free (Lk 12:59-12:59)

“I tell you!

You will never get out

Until you have paid

The very last penny.”

 

λέγω σοι, οὐ μὴ ἐξέλθῃς ἐκεῖθεν ἕως καὶ τὸ ἔσχατον λεπτὸν ἀποδῷς.

 

Luke said that Jesus gave a solemn pronouncement (λέγω σοι) that they would never get out of jail (οὐ μὴ ἐξέλθῃς ἐκεῖθεν) until they had paid every last lepton or penny (ως καὶ τὸ ἔσχατον λεπτὸν ἀποδῷς).  A lepton was a small Greek coin, the smallest amount of money.  Thus, it is translated as a penny.  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 5:26, indicating a Q source.  Matthew had this solemn statement of Jesus (ἀμὴν λέγω σοι), just like Luke.  They would never get out of jail (οὐ μὴ ἐξέλθῃς ἐκεῖθεν) until they had paid off the last κοδράντην (ἕως ἂν ἀποδῷς τὸν ἔσχατον κοδράντην).  This κοδράντην was a 1/10 of a drachma, about .03 cents, generally translated as a penny.  Settle your debts before you go to court!  Have you had difficult financial dealings with other people?

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Tithing (Lk 11:42-11:42)

“But woe to you!

Pharisees!

You tithe

Mint,

Rue,

And every kind

Of herb.

However,

You neglect

Justice

And the love of God!

It is these

You ought

To have practiced

Without neglecting

The others.”

 

ἀλλὰ οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς Φαρισαίοις, ὅτι ἀποδεκατοῦτε τὸ ἡδύοσμον καὶ τὸ πήγανον καὶ πᾶν λάχανον, καὶ παρέρχεσθε τὴν κρίσιν καὶ τὴν ἀγάπην τοῦ Θεοῦ· ταῦτα δὲ ἔδει ποιῆσαι κἀκεῖνα μὴ παρεῖναι.

 

Next Luke had the Lord Jesus curse the Pharisees the way that Matthew had done.  Jesus said woe to them, the Pharisees (ἀλλὰ οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς Φαρισαίοις)!  They had paid their tithes (ὅτι ἀποδεκατοῦτε) of mint (τὸ ἡδύοσμον), rue (καὶ τὸ πήγανον), and every kind of herb (καὶ πᾶν λάχανον).  However, they had neglected (καὶ παρέρχεσθε) justice (τὴν κρίσιν) and the love of God (καὶ τὴν ἀγάπην τοῦ Θεοῦ).  They ought to practice these things (ταῦτα δὲ ἔδει ποιῆσαι), without neglecting the other things (κἀκεῖνα μὴ παρεῖναι).  This is like Matthew, chapter 23:23, where Jesus cursed the Pharisees and the Scribes.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said woe to them because of their insistence on tithing.  He blamed them for their concern about the tithing of the various aromatic spices of mint, dill, and cumin plants, instead of the more serious matters of the law.  Thus, they neglected, the serious practice of justice, mercy, and faith.  They should have spent more time on these issues without neglecting the other things.  This seemed like a critique of misplaced priorities, with their legalistic sense of tithing being more important than justice, mercy, faith, and the Mosaic law itself.  Luke had almost the same critique here, but the tithing herbs are slightly different.  He also wanted their concerns to be about justice and God’s love.  Otherwise the critique was pretty much the same.  Do you neglect justice and mercy in your life?

The kingdom of God (Lk 10:9-10:9)

“Heal

Their sick people!

Say to them!

‘The kingdom of God

Has come

Near to you.’”

 

καὶ θεραπεύετε τοὺς ἐν αὐτῇ ἀσθενεῖς, καὶ λέγετε αὐτοῖς Ἤγγικεν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus told these 70 disciples to heal the sick people (καὶ θεραπεύετε τοὺς ἐν αὐτῇ ἀσθενεῖς).  There was no mention of casting out demons or evil spirits.  They were to tell the people (καὶ λέγετε αὐτοῖς) that the kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ) had come near to them (Ἤγγικεν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς).  There was no exact equivalent to this passage in the other gospels.  However, Matthew, chapter 10:8 said that the 12 apostles were to do what Jesus had been doing.  They were to heal or cure the sick or ailing people.  They were to raise up the dead, a difficult task.  They were to cleanse the lepers, and cast out the demons.  Since they had not paid to get this gift to be an apostle, so thus they should not receive any payment for their work as an apostle.  They should give freely of their own time since this was not a money-making project.  The idea of the kingdom of God coming near was also present in Matthew, chapter 10:7.  There, Jesus wanted the 12 apostles to go and proclaim that the kingdom of heaven was at hand or near.  This was exactly the same teaching as John the Baptist, word for word, as in Matthew, chapter 3:2.  This connection of the message of John and Jesus was very strong in MatthewLuke was more precise, since the kingdom of God was coming near, they ought to be alert.  Do you think that the kingdom of God is close at hand?

Remain in the same house (Lk 10:7-10:7)

“Remain

In the same house!

Eat

Whatever they provide!

Drink

Whatever they provide!

The laborer

Deserves to be paid.

Do not move about

From house to house!”

 

ἐν αὐτῇ δὲ τῇ οἰκίᾳ μένετε, ἔσθοντες καὶ πίνοντες τὰ παρ’ αὐτῶν· ἄξιος γὰρ ὁ ἐργάτης τοῦ μισθοῦ αὐτοῦ. μὴ μεταβαίνετε ἐξ οἰκίας εἰς οἰκίαν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to the 70 disciples that they were to remain in the same house (ἐν αὐτῇ δὲ τῇ οἰκίᾳ μένετε).  They should eat (ἔσθοντες) and drink (καὶ πίνοντες) whatever they were provided (τὰ παρ’ αὐτῶν).  Jesus said that the laborer deserved to be paid or was worthy of his wages (ἄξιος γὰρ ὁ ἐργάτης τοῦ μισθοῦ αὐτοῦ).  They were not to move around (μὴ μεταβαίνετε) from house to house (ἐξ οἰκίας εἰς οἰκίαν).  This is similar to what Luke, chapter 9:4 indicated that Jesus said to his 12 apostles.  There Jesus told the apostles that whatever house they entered, they were to stay there and leave from there.  Equivalent passages to this can be found in Matthew, chapter 10:11, and Mark, chapter 6:10.  Mark indicated that Jesus had a very simple message about where to stay.  Wherever they entered a house, they should stay there in one place until they left.  They should not switch places.  Matthew also had Jesus give a very simple message about where to stay when they entered a town or village.  They should try to find a place to stay with someone who was worthy, honorable, or suitable.  They should not switch places.  They should stay in that one place until they left.  They were not to go wandering around.  Find a suitable person and place!  Then stay there!  This message to the 12 apostles and 70 disciples was the same.  Matthew, chapter 10:10 also indicated that these laborers deserved their food, just like Luke here.  Luke even indicated that they should eat and drink whatever they get, and not be picky.  Where do you stay when you travel?

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.

Thirty pieces of silver (Mt 26:15-26:16)

“Judas said.

‘What will you give me

If I betray

Jesus to you?’

The chief priests

Paid him

Thirty pieces of silver.

From that moment on,

He began to look

For an opportunity

To betray him.”

 

εἶπεν Τί θέλετέ μοι δοῦναι, κἀγὼ ὑμῖν παραδώσω αὐτόν; οἱ δὲ ἔστησαν αὐτῷ τριάκοντα ἀργύρια.

καὶ ἀπὸ τότε ἐζήτει εὐκαιρίαν ἵνα αὐτὸν παραδῷ.

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 14:11, and Luke, chapter 22:5-6, but there is no mention of the exact amount of money there.  Matthew said that Judas wanted to know what these chief priests were willing to give him (εἶπεν Τί θέλετέ μοι δοῦναι) if he betrayed or handed over Jesus to them (κἀγὼ ὑμῖν παραδώσω αὐτόν).  Matthew said that these chief priests paid him 30 pieces of silver (οἱ δὲ ἔστησαν αὐτῷ τριάκοντα ἀργύρια).  This Roman silver coin was worth about 4 denarii each, so that these silver pieces were worth about 120 denarii or about $180.00 US, not an unbelievable number, but still a substantial amount since one denarius was equivalent to a day’s wages.  From that moment on (καὶ ἀπὸ τότε), Judas began to look for an opportunity to betray Jesus (ἐζήτει εὐκαιρίαν ἵνα αὐτὸν παραδῷ).

Do they pay the temple tax? (Mt 17:24-17:25)

“When they reached

Capernaum,

The collectors

Of the temple tax

Came to Peter.

They said.

‘Does your teacher

Not pay the tax?’

Peter said.

‘Yes!

He does!’”

 

Ἐλθόντων δὲ αὐτῶν εἰς Καφαρναοὺμ προσῆλθον οἱ τὰ δίδραχμα λαμβάνοντες τῷ Πέτρῳ καὶ εἶπαν Ὁ διδάσκαλος ὑμῶν οὐ τελεῖ δίδραχμα;

λέγει Ναί.

 

This section about the temple tax is unique to Matthew.  Jesus and his disciples had come back to Capernaum (Ἐλθόντων δὲ αὐτῶν εἰς Καφαρναοὺμ).  The collectors of the temple tax came to Peter (προσῆλθον οἱ τὰ δίδραχμα λαμβάνοντες τῷ Πέτρῳ).  Once again, this is an indication of Peter’s leadership.  They asked him if his teacher had paid the temple tax (καὶ εἶπαν Ὁ διδάσκαλος ὑμῶν οὐ τελεῖ δίδραχμα).  Peter responded that Jesus did pay the tax with a simple yes answer (λέγει Ναί).  What is this temple tax?  It actually was a half-shekel or “δίδραχμα – didrachma.”  All the Israelite males over the age of 20 had to pay this half-shekel tax to the Jerusalem temple, once a year, sometime in March around Passover time.  In Capernaum, there was no temple, just a synagogue.  However, this might have been a group that was collecting for the temple tax in Jerusalem for those who were not going to go to Jerusalem for the Passover.  The value of a shekel would have been around $5.00 USA, so that each male had to pay about $2.50, not a big deal for a once a year tax.  This incident probably made more sense in Jerusalem itself.