The nobleman (Lk 19:12-19:12)

 

“Thus,

Jesus said.

‘A nobleman

Went

To a distant country

To get royal power

For himself.

Then he would return.’”

 

εἶπεν οὖν Ἄνθρωπός τις εὐγενὴς ἐπορεύθη εἰς χώραν μακρὰν λαβεῖν ἑαυτῷ βασιλείαν καὶ ὑποστρέψαι.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said (εἶπεν οὖν) that a nobleman (Ἄνθρωπός τις εὐγενὴς) went to a distant country (ἐπορεύθη εἰς χώραν μακρὰν) to get royal power for himself (λαβεῖν ἑαυτῷ βασιλείαν).  After that, he would return later (καὶ ὑποστρέψαι).  This might have been a hint about the local leaders going to Rome to get their royal powers.  It may also be about Jesus going to heaven and then returning at the last judgment or the Second Coming.  However, there was the overriding theme of the need for responsibility, productivity, and not laziness.  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 25:14, where the story is about a man with a household of slaves and not a nobleman as here.  The slaves were given money to take care of things while the rich man was gone.  In Matthew, Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven would be like a man going on a journey (Ὥσπερ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος ἀποδημῶν).  This very generous man called or summoned his slaves (ἐκάλεσεν τοὺς ἰδίους δούλους) to entrust them or give them his property and possessions, while he was gone (καὶ παρέδωκεν αὐτοῖς τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ).  In Mark, 13:34, Jesus said that the end times would be like a man going on a journey (ὡς ἄνθρωπος ἀπόδημος).  He left his house (ἀφεὶς τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ).  He gave his slaves the authority (καὶ δοὺς τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ τὴν ἐξουσίαν) to perform their own individual tasks (ἑκάστῳ τὸ ἔργον αὐτοῦ).  He commanded a doorkeeper to stand watch over this whole situation (καὶ τῷ θυρωρῷ ἐνετείλατο ἵνα γρηγορῇ).  However, the story for Mark ended there, unlike Luke and Matthew that have more details about the slaves in this household.  What do you do when you go on a long journey?

Zacchaeus defends himself (Lk 19:8-19:8)

“Zacchaeus stood there.

He said

To the Lord.

‘Look!

Lord!

I will give

To the poor

Half of my possessions.

If I have defrauded

Anyone of anything,

I will pay back

Four times as much.’”

 

σταθεὶς δὲ Ζακχαῖος εἶπεν πρὸς τὸν Κύριον Ἰδοὺ τὰ ἡμίσειά μου τῶν ὑπαρχόντων, Κύριε, τοῖς πτωχοῖς δίδωμι, καὶ εἴ τινός τι ἐσυκοφάντησα ἀποδίδωμι τετραπλοῦν.

 

Luke indicated that Zacchaeus stood there (σταθεὶς δὲ Ζακχαῖος).  He then said to the Lord Jesus (εἶπεν πρὸς τὸν Κύριον), calling him Lord (Κύριε) that he was willing to give to the poor (τοῖς πτωχοῖς δίδωμι) half of his possessions (Ἰδοὺ τὰ ἡμίσειά μου τῶν ὑπαρχόντων).  He said that if he had defrauded anyone of anything (καὶ εἴ τινός τι ἐσυκοφάντησα), he was willing to pay it back 4 times as much (ἀποδίδωμι τετραπλοῦν).  Once again, Luke used the Greek word ἐσυκοφάντησα, that means to accuse falsely or defraud people, that was not found in any of the other Greek biblical writers.  Zacchaeus made a big deal about how he was not like the other tax collectors.  Despite his wealth, he was willing to give half of it away to some unnamed poor people.  Anytime, he was accused of defrauding people, he would give them 4 times what they were claiming.  This restoration of 4 times goes back to Exodus, chapter 22:1, about stealing sheep.  The thief had to pay four sheep for any one stolen sheep.  Thus, Zacchaeus seemed like a very fair person, leaning over backwards to help people.  Yet he was still wealthy.  Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus.  How do you treat people who claim that you are defrauding them?

They left their homes (Lk 18:28-18:28)

“Then Peter said.

‘Look!

We have left

Our homes

And followed you.’”

 

Εἶπεν δὲ ὁ Πέτρος Ἰδοὺ ἡμεῖς ἀφέντες τὰ ἴδια ἠκολουθήσαμέν σοι.

 

Luke indicated that Peter said to Jesus (Εἶπεν δὲ ὁ Πέτρος), that they had left their homes and possessions (Ἰδοὺ ἡμεῖς ἀφέντες τὰ ἴδια) and followed him (ἠκολουθήσαμέν σοι).  This saying by the pragmatic leader of the disciples showed that Peter was concerned about himself and his fellow disciples.  What was in it for them?  Something similar can be found in Mark, chapter 10:26, and Matthew, chapter 19:27, but slightly different.  Mark said that Peter began to complain to Jesus (Ἤρξατο λέγειν ὁ Πέτρος αὐτῷ).  He said that he and the other disciples had left everything that they had (Ἰδοὺ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν πάντα).  They were willing to follow Jesus (καὶ ἠκολουθήκαμέν σοι), but what was going to be their reward?  In Matthew, Peter responded or complained to Jesus also like in Mark (Τότε ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Πέτρος εἶπεν αὐτῷ).  He said that he and the other disciples had left everything that they had (Ἰδοὺ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν πάντα), including their families.  They were willing to follow Jesus (καὶ ἠκολουθήσαμέν σοι), but what was going to be their reward (τί ἄρα ἔσται ἡμῖν).  Would they be left empty-handed?  Are you worried about your life if you followed Jesus?

Follow me! (Lk 18:22-18:22)

“When Jesus

Heard this,

He said to him.

‘There is one thing

Still lacking.

Sell all

That you own!

Distribute

The money

To the poor!

You will have treasure

In heaven.

Then come!

Follow me!’”

 

ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ἔτι ἕν σοι λείπει· πάντα ὅσα ἔχεις πώλησον καὶ διάδος πτωχοῖς, καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι.

 

Luke indicated that when Jesus heard this (ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς), he said to this ruler (εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that there was only one thing still lacking (Ἔτι ἕν σοι λείπει).  He should go and sell all that he owned (πάντα ὅσα ἔχεις πώλησον) and distribute this money to the poor (καὶ διάδος πτωχοῖς).  Thus, he would have treasure in heaven (καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς).  Then he should come and follow Jesus (καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι).  This call to perfection can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:21, and Matthew, chapter 19:21, but slightly different.  Mark said that Jesus looked at this man (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἐμβλέψας αὐτῷ) and loved him (ἠγάπησεν αὐτὸν).  Jesus said to him (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that he only lacked one thing or he fell short in one area (Ἕν σε ὑστερεῖ).  This man would have to go (ὕπαγε) and sell his possessions or whatever he had (ὅσα ἔχεις πώλησον).  Then he should give this money or the proceeds to the poor or destitute people (καὶ δὸς πτωχοῖς).  He no longer would have earthly wealth, but he would then have a treasure in heaven (καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν οὐρανῷ).  Finally, he could become a follower or accompany Jesus (καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι).  In Matthew, Jesus issued his ultimatum (ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς) on how to be perfect or complete (Εἰ θέλεις τέλειος εἶναι).  The young man would have to sell his possessions (ὕπαγε πώλησόν σου τὰ ὑπάρχοντα).  Then he would have to give the money proceeds to the poor or destitute people (καὶ δὸς πτωχοῖς).  He no longer would have earthly wealth, but he would then have a treasure in heaven (καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν οὐρανοῖς).  Finally, he could become a follower or accompany Jesus (καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι).  Like many of these sayings, Jesus had very high standards and difficult demands.  There was no equivocation.  Are you willing to sell everything and follow Jesus?

Not serve two masters (Lk 16:13-16:13)

“No household servant

Can serve

Two masters!

A servant

Will hate

The one.

He will love

The other.

He will be devoted

To the one.

He will despise

The other.

You cannot serve

God

And wealth.”

 

Οὐδεὶς οἰκέτης δύναται δυσὶ κυρίοις δουλεύειν· ἢ γὰρ τὸν ἕνα μισήσει καὶ τὸν ἕτερον ἀγαπήσει, ἢ ἑνὸς ἀνθέξεται καὶ τοῦ ἑτέρου καταφρονήσει. οὐ δύνασθε Θεῷ δουλεύειν καὶ μαμωνᾷ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that no household servant (Οὐδεὶς οἰκέτης) is able to serve 2 masters or lords (δύναται δυσὶ κυρίοις δουλεύειν).  This household servant will hate one (ἢ γὰρ τὸν ἕνα μισήσει) and love the other (καὶ τὸν ἕτερον ἀγαπήσει).  He will be devoted to one (ἢ ἑνὸς ἀνθέξεται) and despise the other (καὶ τοῦ ἑτέρου καταφρονήσει).  They cannot serve (οὐ δύνασθε… δουλεύειν) both God (Θεῷ) and wealth (καὶ μαμωνᾷ).  This μαμωνᾷ referred to an old Semitic word for treasures.  It is often translated as “mammon,” but means wealth, riches, money, or possessions.  This saying of Jesus can also be found in Matthew, chapter 6:24, almost word for word, perhaps indicating a common Q source.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that no one was able to slavishly serve two masters or lords (Οὐδεὶς δύναται δυσὶ κυρίοις δουλεύειν).  The word κυρίοις was used for lord, as in Luke.  You will hate one (ἢ γὰρ τὸν ἕνα μισήσει) and love the other (καὶ τὸν ἕτερον ἀγαπήσει).  You will be devoted to one (ἢ ἑνὸς ἀνθέξεται) and despise the other one (καὶ τοῦ ἑτέρου καταφρονήσει).  Therefore, the conclusion was that you could not slavishly serve both God (οὐ δύνασθε Θεῷ δουλεύειν) and money or wealth (καὶ μαμωνᾷ).  The choice was yours.  The options were clear.  You cannot serve both.  Would you serve God or wealth?

The bad manager wasting things (Lk 16:1-16:1)

“Jesus said

To the disciples.

‘There was a rich man

Who had a house manager.

Charges were brought

To the rich man

That this manager

Was squandering

His property.’”

 

Ἔλεγεν δὲ καὶ πρὸς τοὺς μαθητάς Ἄνθρωπός τις ἦν πλούσιος ὃς εἶχεν οἰκονόμον, καὶ οὗτος διεβλήθη αὐτῷ ὡς διασκορπίζων τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ.

 

This parable story about the dishonest household manager or steward can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said to his disciples (Ἔλεγεν δὲ καὶ πρὸς τοὺς μαθητάς) that there was a rich man (Ἄνθρωπός τις ἦν πλούσιος).  He had a manager of his affairs, a household manager, a steward, or a guardian (ὃς εἶχεν οἰκονόμον).  Luke used this unique Greek word οἰκονομεῖν, meaning household manager.  Although traditionally, he has been called a steward in English, household manager seems more correct.  However, charges were brought to the rich man (καὶ οὗτος διεβλήθη αὐτῷ).  This Greek word διεβλήθη is found once in the New Testament literature, only here in this story or parable of Luke.  The word διεβλήθη means slander, complaint, or accusation.  Someone had accused this manager of squandering or wasting this rich man’s property or possessions (ὡς διασκορπίζων τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ).  This rich man had a house manager taking care of his possessions.  Apparently, it was reported to him, that his manager was not doing a good job and may have been taking some of his property.  It is not exactly clear, but there were some problems.  Have you ever had a problem with someone who was to manage something for you?

Renounce all things! (Lk 14:33-14:33)

“Therefore,

None of you

Can become

My disciple,

If you do not

Give up

Your possessions.”

 

οὕτως οὖν πᾶς ἐξ ὑμῶν ὃς οὐκ ἀποτάσσεται πᾶσιν τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ ὑπάρχουσιν οὐ δύναται εἶναί μου μαθητής.

 

Once again, this is a stark unique saying of Jesus, only found in Luke.  Jesus said that none of them (οὕτως οὖν πᾶς ἐξ ὑμῶν) could become his disciples (οὐ δύναται εἶναί μου μαθητής), if they did not give up their possessions (ὃς οὐκ ἀποτάσσεται πᾶσιν τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ ὑπάρχουσιν).  Quite clearly, Jesus said that the only people who could be his disciples were those who gave up their possessions, no ifs or buts.  Are you willing to give up all your possessions for Jesus?