Possible and impossible things (Lk 18:27-18:27)

“But Jesus replied.

‘What is impossible

For mortals

Is possible

With God.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Τὰ ἀδύνατα παρὰ ἀνθρώποις δυνατὰ παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ ἐστιν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said or replied (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν) that what was impossible for mortal men (Τὰ ἀδύνατα παρὰ ἀνθρώποις) was possible with God (δυνατὰ παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ ἐστιν).  This saying about the power of God and the impotence of humans can be found in Mark, chapter 10:27, and Matthew, chapter 19:26, but slightly different, although Mark and Matthew were similar.  Mark said that Jesus looked at them (ἐμβλέψας αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  Then he told them (λέγει) that this would be impossible for mortal men (Παρὰ ἀνθρώποις ἀδύνατον), but not with God (ἀλλ’ οὐ παρὰ Θεῷ).  All things are possible with God (πάντα γὰρ δυνατὰ παρὰ τῷ θεῷ), since he could do everything.  In Matthew, Jesus looked at them (ἐμβλέψας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς) and told them (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that this would be impossible for mortal men (Παρὰ ἀνθρώποις τοῦτο ἀδύνατόν ἐστιν), but with God, all things were possible (παρὰ δὲ Θεῷ πάντα δυνατά), since he could do everything.  This could be an allusion to Genesis, chapter 18:14, when Sarah laughed when she was told she was going to have a son or the prophet Jeremiah, chapter 32:17, when he was talking about creation.  What humans are not able to do, God is able to do.  Does God save wealthy people?

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The strength of God (Lk 1:51-1:51)

“God

Has shown strength

With his arm.

He has scattered

The proud thinking

In their hearts.”

 

Ἐποίησεν κράτος ἐν βραχίονι αὐτοῦ, διεσκόρπισεν ὑπερηφάνους διανοίᾳ καρδίας αὐτῶν·

 

This canticle of Mary was modeled on that of Hannah in 1 Samuel, chapter 2:3-4, that praised Yahweh for her son, Samuel the prophet.  Hannah said that the mighty and the rich would stumble but the low and the poor would succeed.  Here Luke indicated that Mary said that God had shown strength with his arm (Ἐποίησεν κράτος ἐν βραχίονι αὐτοῦ).  Thus, he has scattered the proud thinking in their hearts (διεσκόρπισεν ὑπερηφάνους διανοίᾳ καρδίας αὐτῶν).  The power of God would scatter the proud people.

You do not know scriptures (Mk 12:24-12:24)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Is this not the reason

That you are wrong?

You know neither

The scriptures

Nor the power of God.’”

 

ἔφη αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς Οὐ διὰ τοῦτο πλανᾶσθε μὴ εἰδότες τὰς γραφὰς μηδὲ τὴν δύναμιν τοῦ Θεοῦ

 

This comment or reprimand by Jesus is similar to Matthew, chapter 22:29, but not in Luke.  Mark said that Jesus responded to the Sadducees (ἔφη αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς) by telling them that they were wrong, deceived, or led astray (Οὐ διὰ τοῦτο πλανᾶσθε).  They did not know scriptures or the writings (μὴ εἰδότες τὰς γραφὰς).  They also did not know the power or purpose of God (μηδὲ τὴν δύναμιν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Simply put, they were ill-informed or stupid.

Jesus responds (Mt 22:29-22:29)

“Jesus answered them.

‘You are wrong!

Because you know

Neither the scriptures

Nor the power of God.’”

 

ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Πλανᾶσθε μὴ εἰδότες τὰς γραφὰς μηδὲ τὴν δύναμιν τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

This comment or reprimand by Jesus is similar to Mark, chapter 12:24, but not in Luke.  Jesus answered the Sadducees (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς) by telling them that they were wrong, deceived, or lead astray (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Πλανᾶσθε).  They did not know scriptures or the writings (μὴ εἰδότες τὰς γραφὰς).  They did not know the power or purpose of God (μηδὲ τὴν δύναμιν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  They were ill-informed.

Divine grandeur (Isa 40:12-40:14)

“Who has measured the waters

In the hollow of his hand?

Who has marked off the heavens

With a span?

Who has enclosed the dust of the earth

In a measure?

Who has weighed the mountains

In scales?

Who has weighed

The hills in a balance?

Who has directed the Spirit of Yahweh?

What counselor has instructed him?

Whom did he consult for his enlightenment?

Who taught him the path of justice?

Who taught him knowledge?

Who showed him the way of understanding?”

In a series of questions, Second Isaiah shows the power of God, his greatness. Yahweh is like a great superman. Who is able to measure the great waters in his hand? Who can span the heavens? Who can measure the earth or weigh the mountains and hills? Who has directed the Spirit of Yahweh? Who are his counselors? Who taught him enlightenment, justice, knowledge, and understanding? The obvious answer is no one because he could do and know all this by himself, without the help of anyone, since he is the great God.

Water and vegetation (Job 8:11-8:19)

“Can papyrus grow where there is no marsh?

Can reeds flourish where there is no water?

While yet in flower and not cut down,

They wither before any other plant.

Such are the paths of all who forget God.

The hope of the godless shall perish.

Their confidence is gossamer.

Their trust is a spider’s web.

If one leans against its house,

It will not stand.

If one lays hold of it,

It will not endure.

The wicked thrive before the sun,

Their shoots spread over the garden.

Their roots twine about the stone heap.

They live among the rocks.

If they are destroyed from their place,

Then it will deny them, saying,

‘I have never seen you.’

See!

These are their happy ways.

Out of the earth still others will spring.”

Here the power of God is seen in the growth of vegetation. Without water nothing will happen. Water your plants! If you forget God you are like a plant without water. Your hope will disappear. Your confidence will be delicate. Your trust will be like that in a spider web. If you lean on a house, it will fall. The wicked seem to be fine in the sun, but their roots are stuck in stone. They will be destroyed from their place. They will say that I have no idea who they are. However, others will sprout from the earth who are not wicked.

The cruel painful illness of King Antiochus IV (2 Macc 9:5-9:10)

“But the all-seeing Lord, the God of Israel, struck him an incurable and unseen blow. As soon as he stopped speaking he was seized with a pain in his bowels with sharp internal tortures, for which there was no relief. That was very just, for he had tortured the bowels of others with many and strange inflictions. Yet he did not in any way stop his insolence. He was even more filled with arrogance, breathing fire in his rage against the Jews. He gave orders to drive even faster. So it came about that he fell out of his chariot as it was rushing along. The fall was so hard as to torture every limb of his body. Thus only a little while before, he had thought in his super human arrogance that he could command the waves of the sea. He imagined that he could weigh the high mountains in a balance. Finally, he was brought down to earth. He was carried in a litter, making the power of God manifest to all. Worms swarmed all over the ungodly man’s body. While he was still living in anguish and pain, his flesh rotted away. Because of the stench, the whole army felt revulsion at his decay. Because of his intolerable stench, no one was able to carry the man who a little while before had thought that he could touch the stars of heaven.”

Here the cause of the illness of King Antiochus IV was not depression but the God of Israel who struck him down. Notice that it is the God of Israel not the almighty Shaddai God who struck him down. This biblical author went into great detail about his illness. The king had a bowel problem because he had tortured others with infliction of various stomach disorders. He still wanted to get to Jerusalem so he asked his chariot to go faster. However, then he fell out of the chariot causing him even more pain. King Antiochus IV had been arrogant so that he thought that he could command the sea waves, measure the height of mountains, and touch the stars. However, his body swarmed with worms as it rotted away. There was a terrible smell about him that kept people away from him. The great king was reduced to a smelly sick pain filled old man.