Bear testimony (Lk 21:13-21:13)

“This will give you

An opportunity

To testify.”

 

ἀποβήσεται ὑμῖν εἰς μαρτύριον.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that this persecution would give them an opportunity (ἀποβήσεται ὑμῖν) to testify as a witness or a martyr (εἰς μαρτύριον).  This verse is somewhat similar to Mark, chapter 13:10, with a hint of this in Matthew, chapter 24:14.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that the good news of the gospel (τὸ εὐαγγέλιον) must first be proclaimed (πρῶτον δεῖ κηρυχθῆναι) to all the gentile nations (καὶ εἰς πάντα τὰ ἔθνη).  That would be a difficult task, certainly putting the end times at a further distance.  This mission to the gentile nations was a trademark of the Gospel of Mark with its emphasis on the gentile non-Jewish Christians.  Matthew had the same idea in chapter 10:22, and also in chapter 24:14, where Jesus said that this gospel, this good news of the kingdom (τοῦτο τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς βασιλείας) would be preached (καὶ κηρυχθήσεται) throughout the whole inhabited world (ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ οἰκουμένῃ), as a witness or testimony to all the gentile nations (εἰς μαρτύριον πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν).  Then the end would come (καὶ τότε ἥξει τὸ τέλος).  Matthew seemed to set a precondition before the coming of the end times that the gospel would be preached throughout the whole known world.  Luke was more restrained here simply saying that there was an opportunity to be a witness or martyr.  Would you be a Christian martyr?

Persecution (Lk 21:12-21:12)

“But before all this occurs,

They will arrest you.

They will persecute you.

They will hand you over

To synagogues

And prisons.

You will be brought

Before kings

And governors

Because of my name.”

 

πρὸ δὲ τούτων πάντων ἐπιβαλοῦσιν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῶν καὶ διώξουσιν, παραδιδόντες εἰς τὰς συναγωγὰς καὶ φυλακάς, ἀπαγομένους ἐπὶ βασιλεῖς καὶ ἡγεμόνας ἕνεκεν τοῦ ὀνόματός μου

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that before all this occurred (πρὸ δὲ τούτων πάντων), they would arrest or lay hands on his disciples (ἐπιβαλοῦσιν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῶν).  They would persecute them (καὶ διώξουσιν) and hand them over (παραδιδόντες) to the synagogues (εἰς τὰς συναγωγὰς) and prisons (καὶ φυλακάς).  They would be brought before kings (ἀπαγομένους ἐπὶ βασιλεῖς) and governors (καὶ ἡγεμόνας) because of the name of Jesus (ἕνεκεν τοῦ ὀνόματός μου).  There was something similar in Mark, chapter 13:9, and Matthew, chapter 24:9.  Jesus said that his followers were going to be persecuted.  Mark indicated that Jesus warned them that they should be self-aware (Βλέπετε δὲ ὑμεῖς ἑαυτούς).  They would be handed over (παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς) to courts, councils, or synods (εἰς συνέδρια) and synagogues (καὶ εἰς συναγωγὰς), since some of the Jewish Christians were still part of Jewish social, political, and religious life.  They would also be beaten (δαρήσεσθε).  On the other hand, they would also have to stand before governors and kings (καὶ ἐπὶ ἡγεμόνων καὶ βασιλέων σταθήσεσθε) to give testimony as a witness to them about Jesus (ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ, εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς).  This idea of the persecution of the Jesus followers was not a new theme for Matthew, because it was mentioned earlier in chapter 10:16-25, where Jesus was more reassuring, and chapter 16:24, where Jesus spoke about bearing the cross of death.  Jesus said that his followers were going to be persecuted, distressed, or afflicted (τότε παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς θλῖψιν), even though there was no mention of this taking place in the synagogues in Matthew.  No doubt about it, they were going to be handed over to be tortured and put to death (καὶ ἀποκτενοῦσιν ὑμᾶς).  They would be hated and detested (καὶ ἔσεσθε μισούμενοι) by all the gentile nations (ὑπὸ πάντων τῶν ἐθνῶν) because of his name (διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου).  This was tough talk because it was not going to be easy to be a disciple of Jesus after he was gone.  In the Acts of the Apostles, there are many instances of the early Christians being persecuted in prisons and being brought before various magistrates.  Do you think it would be difficult to be persecuted because you were a Christian?

It will be revealed (Lk 12:2-12:2)

“Nothing is concealed,

That will not be uncovered.

Nothing is secret

That will not become known.”

 

οὐδὲν δὲ συγκεκαλυμμένον ἐστὶν ὃ οὐκ ἀποκαλυφθήσεται, καὶ κρυπτὸν ὃ οὐ γνωσθήσεται

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that nothing was covered up or concealed (οὐδὲν δὲ συγκεκαλυμμένον) that would not be uncovered or revealed (ἐστὶν ὃ οὐκ ἀποκαλυφθήσεται).  Nothing was a secret or hidden (καὶ κρυπτὸν) that would not become known (ὃ οὐ γνωσθήσετα).  Although there are other sayings similar to this, Luke uniquely used the word συγκεκαλυμμένον, meaning concealed.  This saying is like Matthew, chapter 10:26, Mark, chapter 4:22, and Luke, chapter 8:17.  Jesus, via Matthew, said that they had nothing to fear, because anything hidden, covered up, concealed, or veiled would be uncovered, brought to light, or revealed.  Anything hidden or secret would be known or ascertained.  Jesus, via Mark, said that there was nothing hidden, that would not be brought to light, disclosed, revealed, or made known.  Anything hidden or secret would come to light or be apparent.  It is not clear what is meant by this saying, except that at some future point they would understand things that they did not know now.  Luke earlier indicated that Jesus said that nothing was hidden that would not be disclosed.  Nothing was secret that would not become known.  It would all come to light.  The mysteries of the kingdom would be hidden from most people, but only revealed later.  They should not fear to profess the gospel truth in the light of persecution.  They should show off the true light of Jesus to everyone.  Do you show off the light of Jesus to others?

No more secrets (Lk 8:17-8:17)

“Nothing is hidden

That will not be disclosed.

Nothing is secret

That will not become known.

It will all come to light.”

 

οὐ γάρ ἐστιν κρυπτὸν ὃ οὐ φανερὸν γενήσεται, οὐδὲ ἀπόκρυφον ὃ οὐ μὴ γνωσθῇ καὶ εἰς φανερὸν ἔλθῃ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that nothing is hidden (οὐ γάρ ἐστιν κρυπτὸν) that will not be disclosed (ὃ οὐ φανερὸν γενήσεται).  Nothing is secret (οὐδὲ ἀπόκρυφον) that will not become known (ὃ οὐ μὴ γνωσθῇ).  It will all come to light (καὶ εἰς φανερὸν ἔλθῃ).  This is similar to Mark, chapter 4:22, Luke, chapter 12:2, and Matthew, chapter 10:26.  Mark indicated that there was nothing hidden that would not later be brought disclosed, revealed, or made known.  Anything hidden or secret would be known, or become apparent.  At some future point, they would understand things that they did not know now.  Matthew had a unique first phrase about not being afraid.  Jesus said that anything hidden, covered up, or concealed would be uncovered or revealed.  Anything hidden or secret would be known or ascertained.  The mysteries of the kingdom would be hidden from most people but only revealed later.  They should not fear to profess the gospel truth in the light of persecution.  They should show off the true light of Jesus to everyone.  Do you show off the light of Jesus to others?

The seeds on the rock have no roots (Lk 8:13-8:13)

“The seeds

On the rock

Are those who,

When they hear

The word,

Receive it with joy.

But they have no roots.

They believe

Only for a while.

In a time of temptation,

They fall away.”

 

οἱ δὲ ἐπὶ τῆς πέτρας οἳ ὅταν ἀκούσωσιν μετὰ χαρᾶς δέχονται τὸν λόγον, καὶ οὗτοι ῥίζαν οὐκ ἔχουσιν, οἳ πρὸς καιρὸν πιστεύουσιν καὶ ἐν καιρῷ πειρασμοῦ ἀφίστανται.

 

Luke said that that the seeds on the rock (οἱ δὲ ἐπὶ τῆς πέτρας) are like those who, when they heard (οἳ ὅταν ἀκούσωσιν) the word (τὸν λόγον), received it with joy (μετὰ χαρᾶς δέχονται).  However, they did not have any roots (καὶ οὗτοι ῥίζαν οὐκ ἔχουσιν).  They believed, but only for a while (οἳ πρὸς καιρὸν πιστεύουσιν).  In a time of temptation or testing (καὶ ἐν καιρῷ πειρασμοῦ), they would fall away (ἀφίστανται).  This explanation of the seeds sown on the rocky ground can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 13:20-21, Mark, chapter 4:16-17, and here, almost word for word.  Mark and Matthew said that Jesus explained that the seeds sown on the rocky ground were like the people who heard the word and immediately received it with joy.  Yet these seedlings did not have their own roots, but only temporary roots.  When trouble, tribulation, or persecution arose, because of the word, they immediately stumbled and fell away.  Once again, the seeds were the word.  Listening to the word was not enough, if it did not resonate or take root.  Due to this rocky ground, the early excitement of receiving the word was not good enough to sustain a continual adherence to the word.  There had to be good circumstances or pre-depositions to hearing and understanding for the word or the seed to be effective.  How deep are your believing roots?

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.

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.

The cry of Jesus at three o’clock (Mk 15:34-15:34)

“At three o’clock,

The ninth hour,

Jesus cried out

With a loud voice.

‘Eloi!

Eloi!

Lema sabachthani?’

This translated means.

‘Oh my God!

Oh my God!

Why have you

Forsaken me?’”

 

καὶ τῇ ἐνάτῃ ὥρᾳ ἐβόησεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς φωνῇ μεγάλῃ Ἐλωῒ λαμὰ σαβαχθανεί; ὅ ἐστιν μεθερμηνευόμενον Ὁ Θεός μου ὁ Θεός μου, εἰς τί ἐγκατέλιπές με;

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 27:46.  Luke, chapter 23, and John, chapter 19, did not have these words of Jesus hanging on the cross.  Mark said that at three o’clock in the afternoon, the ninth hour (καὶ τῇ ἐνάτῃ ὥρᾳ), Jesus cried with a loud voice saying (ἐβόησεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς φωνῇ μεγάλῃ), “Eloi!  Eloi!  Lema sabachthani (Ἐλωῒ Ἐλωῒ λαμὰ σαβαχθανεί)?”  This cry is slightly different than Matthew.  Then Mark explained what this meant with a translation (ὅ ἐστιν μεθερμηνευόμενον), since this was a mixture of the Hebrew and Aramaic word for God in the first verse from Psalm 22:1. “Oh my God!  Oh my God (Ὁ Θεός μου ὁ Θεός μου)!  Why have you forsaken, abandoned, or deserted me (εἰς τί ἐγκατέλιπές με)?”  This Psalm 22 was a psalm of David asking for help or deliverance from a serious illness or persecution, much like the suffering servant in Isaiah, chapters 52-53.  Thus, Jesus, the suffering servant, the son of David, quoted the first verse of this psalm as he hung on the cross.  Why was there no help coming from God?

Explaining the seeds on rocky ground (Mk 4:16-4:17)

“These are the seeds sown

On rocky ground.

When they hear

The word,

Immediately,

They receive it

With joy.

But they did not have

Their own roots,

Only temporary ones.

Then,

When trouble

Or persecution

Arises

On account of the word,

Immediately,

They fall away.”

 

καὶ οὗτοί εἰσιν ὁμοίως οἱ ἐπὶ τὰ πετρώδη σπειρόμενοι, οἳ ὅταν ἀκούσωσιν τὸν λόγον εὐθὺς μετὰ χαρᾶς λαμβάνουσιν αὐτόν,

καὶ οὐκ ἔχουσιν ῥίζαν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἀλλὰ πρόσκαιροί εἰσιν, εἶτα γενομένης θλίψεως ἢ διωγμοῦ διὰ τὸν λόγον εὐθὺς σκανδαλίζονται.

 

This explanation of the seeds sown on the rocky ground can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 13:20-21, and Luke, chapter 8:13, almost word for word to here.  Mark said that Jesus explained that the seeds sown on the rocky ground (καὶ οὗτοί εἰσιν ὁμοίως οἱ ἐπὶ τὰ πετρώδη σπειρόμενοι) were like the people who heard the word (οἳ ὅταν ἀκούσωσιν τὸν λόγον), and immediately received it with joy (εὐθὺς μετὰ χαρᾶς λαμβάνουσιν αὐτόν).  Yet these seedlings did not have their own roots (καὶ οὐκ ἔχουσιν ῥίζαν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς), but only temporary roots (ἀλλὰ πρόσκαιροί εἰσιν).  When trouble, tribulation, or persecution arose (εἶτα γενομένης δὲ θλίψεως ἢ διωγμοῦ), because of the word (διὰ τὸν λόγον), they immediately stumbled and fell away (εὐθὺς σκανδαλίζεται).  Once again, the seeds are the word.  Listening to the word was not enough if it did not resonate or take root.  Due to this rocky ground, the early excitement of receiving the word was not good enough to sustain a continual adherence to the word.  There had to be good circumstances or pre-depositions to hearing and understanding for the word or the seed to be effective.

Second narrative

This second narrative centered around the Sermon on the Mount and the famous so-called Beatitudes.  The first beatitude was about poverty, while the second beatitude was about mourning.  The third beatitude was about the meek or the humble.  The fourth beatitude was about righteousness.  The fifth beatitude was on mercy, while the sixth beatitude was about the pure of heart.  The seventh beatitude was on peacemakers, while the eighth beatitude was on persecution.  There was a grand blessing for the persecuted Christians, who were the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  They had to value and become the lighted lamp.

Next came the law and the prophets.  The law with all its commandments remained.  The righteous ones would not murder, nor would they get angry with insults.  They would offer their gifts at the Temple.  They would pay their debts and not commit adultery.  Jesus warned against the sinning eye and the sinning right hand.  He favored the traditional divorce stance, but warned about marrying a divorced woman.  They should not bear false witness, nor swear at all, since they should have a simple speech.  No longer was it an eye for an eye, but rather turn the other cheek with unusual kindness.  They were to love their enemies and their heavenly Father with a perfect love.

The followers of Jesus should fast and pray.  We should have piety with almsgiving.  Our charity and prayer should be secret with short prayers.  Thus, there was the famous “Our Father” prayer.  The first part of the Lord’s prayer was about God the Father.  The second part of the Lord’s prayer was about our human problems.  We should seek forgiveness and fast in secret.  We should not want earthly treasures, but heavenly treasures.  We need to have a healthy eye because we cannot serve two masters.

We should trust in Providence.  We do not need to worry.  Just look at the birds who do not worry.  The lilies of the field have more beauty than Solomon in all his glory.  Seek the kingdom of heaven first and you will not have to worry about tomorrow.

As far as judgment was concerned, do not judge the speck in the eye of your neighbor.  Be careful with your holy treasures.  Be seekers and give to your sons.  Pray to your heavenly Father and follow the golden rule.  The gate was narrow and there were many false prophets.  Know them by their fruits.  The sound tree has good fruits.  Cut down the bad tree.  Seek the kingdom of heaven.  Stay away from evildoers.  Wise men build on a rock foundation, while the foolish ones build on a sand foundation.  The crowds were astonished at the authority of Jesus.