Pilate and the Galileans (Lk 13:1-13:1)

“At that very time,

There were some present

Who told Jesus

About the Galileans,

Whose blood

Pilate had mingled

With their sacrifices.”

 

Παρῆσαν δέ τινες ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ καιρῷ ἀπαγγέλλοντες αὐτῷ περὶ τῶν Γαλιλαίων ὧν τὸ αἷμα Πειλᾶτος ἔμιξεν μετὰ τῶν θυσιῶν αὐτῶν.

 

Luke uniquely said that at that very time (ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ καιρῷ), there were some people present (Παρῆσαν δέ τινες) who told Jesus (ἀπαγγέλλοντες αὐτῷ) about the Galileans (περὶ τῶν Γαλιλαίων), whose blood (ὧν τὸ αἷμα) Pilate (Πειλᾶτος) had mingled (ἔμιξεν) with their sacrifices (μετὰ τῶν θυσιῶν αὐτῶν).  This is a unique passage of Luke that talked about a contemporary event of Jesus.  Apparently, Pontius Pilate, who was rather cruel, had killed some Galileans when they were worshiping at the Jerusalem Temple.  However, there is no other indication about this incident anywhere else, nor is it clear how many Galileans were involved.  What do you think about killing people while they are praying in a place of worship?

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Jesus’ face changes (Lk 9:29-9:29)

“While Jesus

Was praying,

The appearance

Of his face

Changed.

His clothes

Became dazzling white.”

 

καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ προσεύχεσθαι αὐτὸν τὸ εἶδος τοῦ προσώπου αὐτοῦ ἕτερον καὶ ὁ ἱματισμὸς αὐτοῦ λευκὸς ἐξαστράπτων.

 

Luke said that while Jesus was praying (καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ προσεύχεσθαι αὐτὸν), the appearance of his face changed or altered (τὸ εἶδος τοῦ προσώπου αὐτοῦ ἕτερον).  Also, his clothes became dazzling white (καὶ ὁ ἱματισμὸς αὐτοῦ λευκὸς ἐξαστράπτων).  This description of the face and clothing of Jesus can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 17:2, Mark, chapter 9:3, and here in Luke, but there are minor differences in all 3 accounts.  Mark said that Jesus was transfigured in front of the 3 apostles.  There was a metamorphosis, as the appearance of Jesus changed right before their very eyes.  There was no mention of the face of Jesus changing, as in Matthew and Luke.  However, Mark indicated that Jesus’ clothes or garments became a dazzling white, so white that not even any cleaner on earth could bleach them any whiter.  Matthew also said that Jesus was transfigured in front of the 3 apostles.  He said that Jesus’ face was shining like the sun, just like what happened to Moses, in Exodus, chapter 34:35.  There the face of Moses was so bright that he had to put a veil on after talking to Yahweh, before he could talk to Aaron, his brother.  Jesus’ clothes or garments also became a dazzling white, like a bright light or white snow.  Suddenly, the human Jesus seemed more brightly divine.  White and light were good, while black and darkness were bad.  What is the whitest white that you have seen?

Zechariah cannot speak (Lk 1:22-1:22)

“When he did come out,

Zechariah

Could not speak

To them.

They realized

That he had seen

A vision

In the sanctuary.

He kept motioning

To them.

However,

He remained

Unable to speak.”

 

ἐξελθὼν δὲ οὐκ ἐδύνατο λαλῆσαι αὐτοῖς, καὶ ἐπέγνωσαν ὅτι ὀπτασίαν ἑώρακεν ἐν τῷ ναῷ· καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν διανεύων αὐτοῖς, καὶ διέμενεν κωφός.

 

Luke indicated that the people praying in the Temple, outside the sanctuary, were surprised when Zechariah finally came out (ἐξελθὼν δὲ) of the sanctuary.  They saw that Zechariah could not speak to them (οὐκ ἐδύνατο λαλῆσαι αὐτοῖς) or give his blessing.  They realized or recognized (καὶ ἐπέγνωσαν) that he had seen a vision or had a supernatural experience (ὅτι ὀπτασίαν ἑώρακεν) while he was in the sanctuary (ἐν τῷ ναῷ).  Zechariah kept motioning or making signs to them (καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν διανεύων αὐτοῖς).  However, he could not communicate with them, since he was unable to speak as he remained mute (καὶ διέμενεν κωφός).

The children (Mk 10:13-10:13)

“People were bringing

Little children

To Jesus.

Thus,

He might touch them.

However,

The disciples

Spoke sternly

To them.”

 

Καὶ προσέφερον αὐτῷ παιδία ἵνα αὐτῶν ἅψηται· οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ ἐπετίμησαν αὐτοῖς.

 

This story about the little children can be found in Matthew, chapter 19:13, and Luke, chapter 18:15.  Mark said that people were bringing little children to Jesus (Καὶ προσέφερον αὐτῷ παιδία), so that he might touch them (ἵνα αὐτῶν ἅψηται).  Matthew had mentioned hand laying and praying for them, but that is not here.  However, the disciples spoke sternly or admonished those people (οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ ἐπετίμησαν αὐτοῖς) who brought these children to Jesus.  There seemed to be a conflict between Jesus, who valued little children in the Jewish tradition, and his disciples, who wanted to keep them away from Jesus.

Short prayers (Mt 6:7-6:8)

“When you are praying,

Do not heap up empty phrases,

As the gentiles do.

They think

That they will be heard

Because of their many words.

Do not be like them!

Your Father knows

What you need

Before you ask him.”

 

Προσευχόμενοι δὲ μὴ βατταλογήσητε ὥσπερ οἱ ἐθνικοί· δοκοῦσιν γὰρ ὅτι ἐν τῇ πολυλογίᾳ αὐτῶν εἰσακουσθήσονται.

μὴ οὖν ὁμοιωθῆτε αὐτοῖς· οἶδεν γὰρ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὧν χρείαν ἔχετε πρὸ τοῦ ὑμᾶς αἰτῆσαι αὐτόν.

 

This is another saying of Jesus, only found in Matthew, that serves as the introduction to the “Our Father” prayer.  When the followers of Jesus were praying (Προσευχόμενοι δὲ), they should not babble or use vain empty words (μὴ βατταλογήσητε).  Matthew used this Greek word “βατταλογήσητε” that only appears here in all the biblical literature.  This was a kind of long babbling stammering rote type of prayer that some gentiles used (ὥσπερ οἱ ἐθνικοί).  Thus, once again Matthew indicated that these gentles were not part of the Jesus followers.  These long-winded gentile non-Jewish people thought that they had to use a lot of words to be heard (δοκοῦσιν γὰρ ὅτι ἐν τῇ πολυλογίᾳ αὐτῶν εἰσακουσθήσονται).  The Jesus followers should not be the same or like them (μὴ οὖν ὁμοιωθῆτε αὐτοῖς), since their divine Father (οἶδεν γὰρ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν) knew what they needed before they even asked (ὧν χρείαν ἔχετε πρὸ τοῦ ὑμᾶς αἰτῆσαι αὐτόν).

Enforce the edict against Daniel (Dan 6:11-6:13)

“The conspirators came.

They found Daniel praying,

Seeking mercy

Before his God.

Then they approached the king.

They said

Concerning the interdict.

‘O king!

Did you not sign

An interdict,

That anyone

Who prays to anyone,

Divine or human,

Within thirty days,

Except to you,

O king!

Shall be thrown

Into a den of lions?’

The king answered.

‘The thing stands fast,

According to the law

Of the Medes,

Of the Persians,

That cannot be revoked.’

Then they responded

To the king.

‘Daniel,

One of the exiles

From Judah,

Pays no attention

To you!

O king!

Or the interdict

You have signed.

But he is saying his prayers

Three times a day.’”

These conspirators, once they had the decree signed, found Daniel praying and seeking mercy from his God. They went to the king to remind him that he had signed this interdiction about no one being allowed to pray to any human or divine person for 30 days, except to the king. The punishment was to be thrown into a den of lions. The king said that he understood that this was the law according to the Medes and the Persians. Then they said that Daniel, one of the Judean exiles, was not paying attention to him and his decree, since he was praying 3 times a day to his God in his house.

The letter suggests that they assimilate into Babylon (Jer 29:4-29:7)

“The letter said.

‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

To all the exiles

Whom I have sent

Into exile

From Jerusalem

To Babylon.

Build houses!

Live in them!

Plant gardens!

Eat what they produce!

Take wives!

Have sons!

Have daughters!

Take wives for your sons!

Give your daughters

In marriage!

Thus they may bear sons.

Thus they may bear daughters.

Multiply there!

Do not decrease!

But seek the welfare

Of the city

Where I have sent you

Into exile.

Pray to Yahweh

On its behalf.

In its welfare

You will find your welfare.’”

Interesting enough, this letter is very favorable to the Babylonians. After all, it was going to the king of Babylon. Once again it is the classical Jeremiah oracle with Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel, as the source of this letter. They were to build houses, live in them, plant gardens, and eat from their produce. They were to have wives and children. They were to take wives for their sons and give their daughters in marriage, so that they could become grandparents. They should multiply there, not decrease. In fact, they were to get involved in the city there by praying to Yahweh for its welfare. After all, if the city did well, so would they. This seems like a clear attempt to assimilate into the Babylonian culture and society.