Show me the coin! (Lk 20:23-20:24)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Show me a denarius!

Whose head

And whose title

Does it bear?’

They said.

‘The Emperor Caesar’s.’”

 

εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς

Δείξατέ μοι δηνάριον· τίνος ἔχει εἰκόνα καὶ ἐπιγραφήν; οἱ δὲ εἶπαν Καίσαρος.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to them (εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς) to show him a denarius (Δείξατέ μοι δηνάριον), which was a Roman coin.  He asked them whose image or head and title or inscription did it have (τίνος ἔχει εἰκόνα καὶ ἐπιγραφήν)?  They said it was the Emperor Caesar’s head and title (οἱ δὲ εἶπαν Καίσαρος).  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 22:19-21, and in Mark, chapter 12:15-16, almost word for word.  Mark said that Jesus wanted to see the coin that was used for paying the Roman poll tax.  Thus, they brought Jesus one of these small silver Roman coins, a denarius. (φέρετέ μοι δηνάριον).  Jesus then asked them (καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς) whose image and whose inscription title (Τίνος ἡ εἰκὼν αὕτη καὶ ἡ ἐπιγραφή) were on this coin?  They answered him (οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ) that the image and inscription belonged to the Emperor Caesar (Καίσαρος).  Matthew indicated that Jesus wanted to see the coin that was used for paying the poll tax (ἐπιδείξατέ μοι τὸ νόμισμα τοῦ κήνσου).  They brought or presented him with a small silver Roman coin, a denarius (οἱ δὲ προσήνεγκαν αὐτῷ δηνάριον).  He then asked them (καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς) whose image and whose inscription title (Τίνος ἡ εἰκὼν αὕτη καὶ ἡ ἐπιγραφή) were on this coin?  They answered (λέγουσιν) that the image and inscription belonged to Emperor Caesar (Καίσαρος).  This was a simple question with a simple answer. Jesus wanted them to bring him the Roman coin, a denarius, worth a little more than a US dollar.  He wanted to see what coin was being used for paying the Roman poll tax.  What kind of money do you use?

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The Father and the Son (Lk 10:22-10:22)

“All things

Have been handed over

To me,

By my Father.

No one knows

Who the Son is

Except the Father.

No one knows

Who the Father is

Except the Son,

And anyone

To whom

The Son chooses

To reveal him.”

 

πάντα μοι παρεδόθη ὑπὸ τοῦ Πατρός μου, καὶ οὐδεὶς γινώσκει τίς ἐστιν ὁ Υἱὸς εἰ μὴ ὁ Πατήρ, καὶ τίς ἐστιν ὁ Πατὴρ εἰ μὴ ὁ Υἱὸς καὶ ᾧ ἐὰν βούληται ὁ Υἱὸς ἀποκαλύψαι

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that all things had been handed over to him (πάντα μοι παρεδόθη… μου) by his Father (ὑπὸ τοῦ Πατρός).  No one knows who the Son is (καὶ οὐδεὶς γινώσκει τίς ἐστιν ὁ Υἱὸς), except the Father (εἰ μὴ ὁ Πατήρ).  The reverse is also true.  No one knows who the Father is (καὶ τίς ἐστιν ὁ Πατὴρ) except the Son (εἰ μὴ ὁ Υἱὸς), and anyone whom the Son chooses to reveal him (καὶ ᾧ ἐὰν βούληται ὁ Υἱὸς ἀποκαλύψαι).  Matthew, chapter 11:27, also had Jesus explain his relationship to the Father in heaven, indicating a possible common Q source.  This is one of the few times that these synoptic gospel writers presented Jesus with a clear knowledge of his relationship to the heavenly Father, as the Son.  The Father was well pleased to let this be known and happen because it was his will to do so.  The Father has handed over everything to his Son.  This is a profound theological statement about the divine affiliation of Jesus as the Son of the Father.  Only he and the Father know this.  No one really knows the Son, except the Father.  The opposite is also true.  No one really knows the Father, except the Son.   However, Jesus, the Son, may decide or choose to tell or reveal this to others.  This is the gist of the gospel stories.  Jesus wanted to reveal his relationship to the Father to all his followers.   Do you understand the relationship of Jesus to the Father?

Scripture fulfilled (Lk 4:21-4:21)

Then Jesus began

To say to them.

‘Today

This scripture

Has been fulfilled

In your hearing.’”

 

ἤρξατο δὲ λέγειν πρὸς αὐτοὺς ὅτι Σήμερον πεπλήρωται ἡ γραφὴ αὕτη ἐν τοῖς ὠσὶν ὑμῶν

 

This is unique to Luke, as he presented the teaching of Jesus.  Luke indicated that Jesus began to say to the assembled crowd (ἤρξατο δὲ λέγειν πρὸς αὐτοὺς) in this Nazareth synagogue, that today (ὅτι Σήμερον) this scripture has been fulfilled (πεπλήρωται ἡ γραφὴ αὕτη) in their hearing (ἐν τοῖς ὠσὶν ὑμῶν).  Scripture fulfilled was a common theme of the gospel writers.  Jesus implied that the Scripture passage he had just read referred to him.

 

The call of John (Lk 3:2-3:2)

“The word of God

Came to John,

The son of Zechariah,

In the wilderness.”

 

ἐγένετο ῥῆμα Θεοῦ ἐπὶ Ἰωάνην τὸν Ζαχαρίου υἱὸν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ.

 

Luke presented John like a prophet who was called like the other Israelite prophets.  The word of God came or happened to John (ἐγένετο ῥῆμα Θεοῦ ἐπὶ Ἰωάνην), the son of Zechariah (τὸν Ζαχαρίου υἱὸν), in the wilderness or desert (ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ), just like it had come to many other ancient Jewish prophets.  There should be no confusion about whom this John is because he was the son of Zechariah that was described in chapter 1.  There is something similar, but not quite the same in all 4 gospel stories.  In Mark, chapter 1:4, John appeared on the scene immediately after a citation from the prophet IsaiahMatthew, chapter 3:1-2, seemed to follow Mark, since Mark began his gospel with this story.  Matthew had John the Baptizer preaching in the wilderness or desert in Judea, southeast of Jerusalem and west of the Dead Sea.  John, chapter 1:19, also introduced John the Baptist immediately after his prologue.  Only Matthew and Luke have the infancy narratives before the introduction of John, who was central to the work of Jesus.

 

Turn to God (Lk 1:16-1:16)

“John would turn

Many of the people

Of Israel

To the Lord,

Their God.”

 

καὶ πολλοὺς τῶν υἱῶν Ἰσραὴλ ἐπιστρέψει ἐπὶ Κύριον τὸν Θεὸν αὐτῶν·

 

This angel, as presented by Luke, said that John would have a profound influence on the Israelites.  He would turn many of sons of Israel (καὶ πολλοὺς τῶν υἱῶν Ἰσραὴλ ἐπιστρέψει) to the Lord, their God (ἐπὶ Κύριον τὸν Θεὸν αὐτῶν).  This foreshadowed the call of John for repentance to the Israelites.

Jesus spoke in parables (Mk 4:33-4:34)

“Jesus spoke the word

To them

With many such parables.

Thus,

They were able

To hear it.

He did not speak

To them

Except in parables.

But he explained

Everything in private

To his disciples.”

 

Καὶ τοιαύταις παραβολαῖς πολλαῖς ἐλάλει αὐτοῖς τὸν λόγον, καθὼς ἠδύναντο ἀκούειν·

χωρὶς δὲ παραβολῆς οὐκ ἐλάλει αὐτοῖς, κατ’ ἰδίαν δὲ τοῖς ἰδίοις μαθηταῖς ἐπέλυεν πάντα.

 

This explanation of the importance of parables is similar to Matthew, chapter 13:34.  Jesus, via Mark, presented the word (ἐλάλει αὐτοῖς τὸν λόγον), using many parables (Καὶ τοιαύταις παραβολαῖς πολλαῖς) so that they were able to hear them (καθὼς ἠδύναντο ἀκούειν).  In fact, he told hem nothing that was not a parable (χωρὶς δὲ παραβολῆς οὐκ ἐλάλει αὐτοῖς).  He only spoke in parables.  However, he explained everything in private for his disciples (κατ’ ἰδίαν δὲ τοῖς ἰδίοις μαθηταῖς ἐπέλυεν πάντα).  Both Mark and Matthew underlined the role of parables in their gospel stories.  Matthew, chapter 13:35, uniquely cited a prophecy from Psalm 78:2, that Mark had not mentioned.  Jesus was going to open his mouth in parables about the old-fashioned sayings, like the wisdom writers.  The parables were a way of conveying wisdom, with only the initiated, his disciples, able to understand them.

Fifth narrative

Jesus traveled toward Jerusalem and taught in the Temple there, debating with the chief priests and religious leaders.  Then he spoke about the coming kingdom of heaven and the future end times.

Jesus finally went to Judea, where he cured large crowds of people.  The Pharisees questioned him about divorce.  Jesus reiterated the importance of marriage, as he spoke about Moses and divorce.  After hearing the response of Jesus about divorce, his disciples wondered why they should marry at all.  Jesus explained about different kind of eunuchs.

The children came forward to Jesus and he blessed them.  He warned against wealth.  To gain eternal life you had to keep the commandments.  They wanted to know which commandments?  The great commandment was not a problem.  However, Jesus asked them to give up their possessions, so that the rich young man walked away.  It was hard for rich people to enter the kingdom like a camel going through the eye of a needle.  Who could be saved?  The response was that all things are possible with God.  Peter wanted to know about the disciples and the eternal life reward, so that Jesus told them that the first shall be last and vice versa.

Then Jesus presented the parable of the laborers in the vineyard.  He hired the first laborers, and then late in the day a second group, a third group and finally a fourth group of laborers.  The last group hired got a full day’s pay.  The first group hired were upset when they got the same as the last group hired.  This brought up the problem of generosity versus fairness, as Jesus explained the parable.

On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus predicted what was going to happen to him in Jerusalem.  The mother of the sons of Zebedee wanted to know if her two sons, James and John, could be the greatest, on either side of Jesus.  Jesus pointed out the difficulties and said that only the Father set up the seating arrangements.  This led to ten angry men as they resented the two trying to be first.  Jesus reminded them about servant leadership, as the Son of Man was going to give up his life.

There were great crowds at Jericho where Jesus found two blind men asking for mercy, so he healed them.  Then began the final ministry in Jerusalem with a triumphal entry.  Jesus sent two disciples from Bethpage to get a donkey and a colt because he needed them.  Thus, the prophecy of Zechariah might be fulfilled.  They brought the donkey and the colt to Jesus.  Then crowds welcomed the Son of David into Jerusalem as they began to wonder who this man was?

Jesus went into the Temple and chased out the money changers to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah.  When he cured people in the Temple, the chief priests were angry, but the little children praised him.

Then Jesus went to Bethany.  The next morning, he was hungry.  He saw a fig tree, but it had no figs, so he cursed the fig tree as it withered because of his faith.

People began to question where did Jesus get his authority?  Jesus responded with a question for a question.  He asked them about the value of the baptism of John.  They gave a timid response.  Then he told the parable about the two sons.  The first son said no at first, and then did the work, while the second son said yes and did not do the work.  Which son did the will of his father?  Thus, they did not believe John the Baptist.

Then Jesus told the parable about the wicked tenants.  This absentee land owner of the vineyard sent people to collect his rent.  Instead, the tenants beat and killed the landowner’s slaves.  He sent a second group that was also killed.  Then the tenants killed the landowner’s son.  Finally, the landowner came to take back his vineyard, citing Psalm 118 about the kingdom of God and the falling cornerstone.  The Pharisees understood this parable and tried to arrest Jesus.

Jesus continued to speak in parables.  This parable was about the king who gave a great wedding banquet.  However, the invited guests refused to come to the wedding banquet.  He sent out a second invitation to the wedding banquet, but they refused the second invitation also.  They treated his slaves badly.  The king was angry and sent out new invitations to the wedding feast.  Finally, a man without a wedding garment showed up, but he threw him out of the feast.  The explanation of this parable was that many are called, but few are chosen.

Next the Pharisees tried to trick Jesus by flattering him.  They asked him a question about taxes.  Jesus gave a harsh response as he had a dialogue about the Roman coin about whose image was on it.  Give Caesar his due.  The Pharisees and their disciples left.

However, the Sadducees asked a question about the resurrection.  There was a law about marrying the brother of a dead man.  There was a woman who married seven brothers, who was her husband in the resurrection?  Jesus responded that there was no marriage in the resurrection.  The living God of their ancestors would show them the way.  The crowd was astonished.

The Pharisees regrouped and wanted to know what is the greatest commandment?  Jesus responded about the two great commandments to love God and your neighbor.  Then Jesus asked the Pharisees a question.  Was the Christ the son of David?  Then who was the Lord for David?  After that there were no more questions for Jesus.

Jesus then cursed the Scribes and Pharisees.  He told his disciples to do what they say, but not what they do.  They tied up heavy burdens on the people.  They wore special clothing and sought the places of honor.  They want to be called Rabbis.  No one was your father or master.  Greatness comes with humility.  They tried to lock people out of heaven as they shut it off.  Even when they tried to make converts, they are like blind guides and fools.  They swore by the altar or the gift of the altar.  They swore by heaven, but they had forgotten the law.  They wanted the gnat out your eye but had a camel in their own eye.  They worried about the outside of the cup instead of the inside.  They were like whitewashed tombs.  They proclaimed reverence for the tombs of the prophets, but they were like their sinning ancestors. They were like serpents.  They would kill the prophets.  They spread innocent blood.  Soon the house of Jerusalem would be desolate.

Finally, there were the predictions about the end times.  Jesus left the Temple as he predicted its destruction.  What are the signs of the Parousia?  There would be the beginning of the great suffering so that they should not be lead astray.  There would be rumors of wars in those troubled times.  They would be persecuted for the sake of Jesus.  There would be betrayals and false prophets.  Love would grow cold.  Endurance would be necessary.  The importance of Daniel the prophet was emphasized.  In Judea, they would flee to the housetops.  It would be too late for the people in the fields.  This would be the wrong time to be pregnant or nursing.  There would be great tribulation, but the days would be short.

The end was coming because there would be false Christs and people looking for the Messiah.  The Son of Man would come on the clouds as the darkness in the skies appeared.  There would be a gathering of the chosen ones.  Using the parable of the fig tree, they could tell that the end was near.  This generation would pass away, but Jesus’ words would not pass away.  No one knew the day, since it would be like in the days of Noah.  Only one would be taken and the other left, so be ready.  Be a wise and faithful slave, not a wicked slave.

Jesus told the parable of the ten bridesmaids where half were wise and half foolish.  They all fell asleep.  When the bridegroom came, they all got up.  However, the foolish ones had no oil and wise ones said that there was not enough oil for both of them.  When the foolish left to get oil, they shut the door.  When they came back, the bridegroom said that he did not know them.  Thus, you do not know the day.

Next Jesus told the parable of the talents.  A man entrusted his assets to his slaves.  He gave them money.  One slave added five more talents, another added two more talents, but the third slave dug a hole and buried his money.  The master settled their accounts.  The slave with five talents got five more talents.  The slave with two talents got two more talents.  The slave with one talent was rebuked and punished.  Thus, there will be rewards and punishments at the end times.

In the last judgment, the Son of Man would appear in glory.  There would be sheep and goats, with the sheep on the right hand.  They had taken care of him.  They wondered when they had done this.  The Son of Man replied that they took care of him when they cared for the least of his brothers.  Then he told the goats on his left side to depart from him because they had not taken care of him when they did not care for the lowly people.  Thus, there would be eternal punishment or eternal reward.