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?

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Eating with a sinner (Lk 19:7-19:7)

“All who saw it

Began to grumble.

They said.

‘Jesus has gone

To be the guest,

Of one who is a sinner.’”

 

καὶ ἰδόντες πάντες διεγόγγυζον λέγοντες ὅτι Παρὰ ἁμαρτωλῷ ἀνδρὶ εἰσῆλθεν καταλῦσαι.

 

Luke indicated that everyone who saw this (καὶ ἰδόντες πάντες) began to grumble (διεγόγγυζον).  They said (λέγοντες) that Jesus had gone to stay with a sinful man (ὅτι Παρὰ ἁμαρτωλῷ ἀνδρὶ εἰσῆλθεν καταλῦσαι).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use the term διεγόγγυζον, that means to murmur among themselves, murmur greatly, or continue murmuring.  All the people knew that Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector and thus working with and for the foreign governing Romans.  These tax collectors were more political and distained because of their corruption and wealth.  Now Jesus was going to stay with what many considered a public sinner, a tax collector.  Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector.  Would you stay with someone who was a known public sinner?

Everlasting kingdom of Jacob (Lk 1:33-1:33)

“Jesus will reign

Over the house

Of Jacob forever.

There will be

No end

To his kingdom.”

 

καὶ βασιλεύσει ἐπὶ τὸν οἶκον Ἰακὼβ εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, καὶ τῆς βασιλείας αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἔσται τέλος.

 

Luke indicated that this rule of Jesus would be over the whole house of Jacob (καὶ βασιλεύσει ἐπὶ τὸν οἶκον Ἰακὼβ) forever (εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας).  No longer would it just be Judah or Judea, but all the tribes of Israel, or the sons of Jacob, would be reunited.  This sounds like a political and religious unification of Israel.  However, there would be no end to his kingdom (καὶ τῆς βασιλείας αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἔσται τέλος), since this was not a temporary rule, but an eternal one.  The house of Israel would be united under Jesus forever.  It did not exactly work out that way.

You will suffer (Mk 13:9-13:9)

“Beware!

For yourselves!

They will hand you over

To councils.

You will be beaten

In synagogues.

You will stand

Before governors

And kings

Because of me,

As a testimony

To them.”

 

Βλέπετε δὲ ὑμεῖς ἑαυτούς· παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς συνέδρια καὶ εἰς συναγωγὰς δαρήσεσθε καὶ ἐπὶ ἡγεμόνων καὶ βασιλέων σταθήσεσθε ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ, εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς.

 

There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 10:17-18 and chapter 24:9, and in Luke, chapter 21:12-13, but there is nothing about death here in Mark.  Jesus said that his followers were going to be persecuted or distressed.  Mark indicated that the followers of Jesus should be aware about themselves (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 gentile governors and gentile kings (καὶ ἐπὶ ἡγεμόνων καὶ βασιλέων σταθήσεσθε) to give testimony as a witness to them about Jesus (ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ, εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς).  This was tough talk, because it was not going to be easy to be a disciple follower of Jesus after he was gone.

Simon takes command (1 Macc 14:41-14:43)

“The Jews and their priests decided

That Simon should be their leader

And high priest forever,

Until a trustworthy prophet should arise.

He should be governor over them.

He should take charge of the sanctuary.

He should appoint officials over its tasks.

He should appoint officials over the country.

He should appoint officials over the weapons and the strongholds.

He should take charge of the sanctuary.

He should be obeyed by all.

All contracts in the country should be written in his name.

He should be clothed in purple and wear gold.”

This decree said that the Jews and the priests had decided that Simon and his family would be in charge forever. However, there was one caveat that a trustworthy prophet might rise up and challenge one of his descendents. He was the governor and the high priest combining the political and religious authority. He was in charge of the sanctuary as well as all the tasks of the government and the army. Every contract with another country had to be written in his name. He was to wear purple and gold. He was like a modern day appointed dictator benevolent ruler.

The peace of Simon (1 Macc 14:35-14:37)

“The people saw Simon’s faithfulness.

They saw the glory

That he had resolved to win for his nation.

They made him their leader and high priest.

Because he had done all these things,

Because he had been justice and loyal toward his nation,

He sought in every way to exalt his people.

In his days things prospered in his hands.

The gentiles were put out of the country.

He put out the men in the city of David in Jerusalem,

Who had built themselves a citadel

from which they used to sally forth.

They defiled the environs of the sanctuary.

They did great damage to its purity.

He settled Jews in it.

He fortified it for the safety of the country and of the city.

He built the walls of Jerusalem higher.”

This proclamation continued. Simon clearly joined his political and religious power as leader and high priest. Simon brought religious and political peace. He was faithful, just, and loyal. He exalted the people as everyone prospered. He got rid of the gentiles and those who had been in the citadel in Jerusalem. He cleaned up the sanctuary and put Jews in it and the citadel. He fortified the city with higher walls. He protected the safety of the country.