The finger of God (Lk 11:20-11:20)

“But if it is

By the finger of God

That I cast out

The demons,

Then the kingdom of God

Has come

To you.”

 

εἰ δὲ ἐν δακτύλῳ Θεοῦ ἐγὼ ἐκβάλλω τὰ δαιμόνια, ἄρα ἔφθασεν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that it was by the finger of God (εἰ δὲ ἐν δακτύλῳ Θεοῦ) that he cast out these demons (ἐγὼ ἐκβάλλω τὰ δαιμόνια).  Thus, the kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ) has come to them (ἄρα ἔφθασεν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς).  There is a similar statement in Matthew, chapter 12:28.  However, Luke talked about the finger of God rather than the Spirit of God, like Matthew.  In Exodus, chapter 8:19, the Egyptian magicians referred to Moses’ power as the finger of God.  Notice that Matthew said that the Kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ) had come, not the Kingdom of heaven, as he said many times earlier in this work.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that if he cast out the demons with the Spirit or breathe of God (εἰ δὲ ἐν Πνεύματι Θεοῦ ἐγὼ ἐκβάλλω τὰ δαιμόνια), then the kingdom of God had come or arrived for them (ἄρα ἔφθασεν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ).  The end times had already begun.  Have you ever experienced the finger of God?

Advertisements

The power of the twelve (Lk 9:1-9:1)

“Then Jesus called

The twelve apostles together.

He gave them power

And authority

Over all the demons,

As well as

The power

And authority

To cure diseases.”

 

Συνκαλεσάμενος δὲ τοὺς δώδεκα ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς δύναμιν καὶ ἐξουσίαν ἐπὶ πάντα τὰ δαιμόνια καὶ νόσους θεραπεύειν·

 

Luke said that Jesus called the 12 apostles together (Συνκαλεσάμενος δὲ τοὺς δώδεκα).  He gave them (ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς) power (δύναμιν) and authority (καὶ ἐξουσίαν) over all the demons (πάντα τὰ δαιμόνια).  He also gave them the power and authority to cure diseases (καὶ νόσους θεραπεύειν).  This section about the power, the authority, and the mission of the 12 disciples or apostles is similar to Matthew, chapter 10:1, and Mark, chapter 6:7.  Mark said that Jesus summoned or called his 12 apostles, as he began to send them out 2 by 2.  He gave them authority over unclean or impure spirits.  Thus, they could cast out or banish these evil spirits or demons.  However, Mark did not mention curing diseases, illnesses, sicknesses, or weakness, just casting out the evil spirits that might have been the cause of their illnesses.  Matthew said that Jesus summoned or called to him his 12 disciples.  He called them disciples rather than the ambiguous “12.”  He gave them spiritual authority over unclean or impure spirits.  Thus, they could cast out or banish these evil spirits or demons.  They were also able to cure, treat, or heal all diseases, illnesses, sicknesses, or weakness.  In other words, Jesus was giving his own power or authority to cast out evil spirits and heal people to these 12 disciples or apostles.  This was a big deal.  The number 12 corresponded to the number of sons of Jacob or the 12 tribes of Israel.  This authority will be referred to later as the apostolic authority.  Jesus thus established these 12 disciples or apostles to carry on his work in casting out or exorcising evil spirits and curing people of their illnesses.  What do you think about this apostolic authority?

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.

 

Only worship the Lord (Lk 4:8-4:8)

“Jesus answered him.

‘It is written.

‘Worship

The Lord

Your God!

Serve only him!’”

 

καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ Γέγραπται Προσκυνήσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σου καὶ αὐτῷ μόνῳ λατρεύσεις.

 

Just like in Matthew, chapter 4:10, the wording is nearly the same, indicating perhaps a common Q source.  Once again, Jesus had a very direct response to the devil (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ).  He referred to another scriptural writing (Γέγραπται) from Deuteronomy, chapter 6:13.  This was again a simple statement that you should only worship the Lord your God (Προσκυνήσεις Κύριον τὸν θεόν σου).  You should serve him alone (καὶ αὐτῷ μόνῳ λατρεύσεις).  In Deuteronomy, chapter 6:13, Yahweh had said they should only fear and serve Yahweh and swear by his name only.  The only main difference with Matthew, is that Jesus told the devil to go away.  That was not here in Luke.

The Holy Spirit and Jesus (Lk 3:22-3:22)

“The Holy Spirit

Descended upon Jesus

In a bodily form,

Like a dove.”

 

καὶ καταβῆναι τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον σωματικῷ εἴδει ὡς περιστερὰν ἐπ’ αὐτόν,

 

The role of the Holy Spirit after the baptism of Jesus was very important. Matthew, chapter 3:16, Mark, chapter 1:10, and John, chapter 1:32, are almost the same as here.  Luke said that the Holy Spirit (τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον) descended (καὶ καταβῆναι) upon Jesus (ἐπ’ αὐτόν) in a bodily form (σωματικῷ εἴδει), like a dove (ὡς περιστερὰν).  John did not mention a dove, but he said that John the Baptist saw the Holy Spirit descend and remain on Jesus.  In Matthew and Mark, Jesus saw the Holy Spirit as a dove descend on him.  This all took place after the baptism itself.   Just as the dove after the great flood in Genesis, chapter 8:8-12, heralded a new age, so too Jesus would preach the good news in this new age.  With his prophetic vocation, Jesus had the power to begin his public ministry of healing and exorcising.  The later concept of the anointing of Jesus with the Spirit referred to this action of the dove, after his baptism in the Jordan River.  There was a clear distinction between the baptism of Jesus himself, and the specific dove bestowal of the Spirit that followed.  Despite the fact that there was no indication of any real anointing in any of these baptismal accounts of Jesus, the coming of the Spirit, in the form of a dove, was considered a symbolic anointing of Jesus within the Judaic prophetic line.  This incident functioned as the basis for an understanding of Jesus’ metaphorical anointing to become “the anointed one,” “Christ.”  This symbolic metaphorical anointing action gathered many of the Hebrew bible strands of a messianic king, a sacerdotal high priest, a servant, and a prophet into this one event.  Within this process, the messianic time began with a pre-figuration of what was going to take place at the later Pentecost event, when the fullness of the Spirit came to all the followers of Jesus.

The decree of Caesar Augustus (Lk 2:1-2:1)

“In those days,

A decree went out

From the Emperor

Caesar Augustus

That all the world

Should be registered.”

 

Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις ἐξῆλθεν δόγμα παρὰ Καίσαρος Αὐγούστου ἀπογράφεσθαι πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην.

 

Luke tried to put these events within a historical perspective.  He said that in those days (Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις), a decree or dogma went out (ἐξῆλθεν δόγμα) from the Emperor, Caesar Augustus (παρὰ Καίσαρος Αὐγούστου), that all the world should be registered (ἀπογράφεσθαι πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην).  Could all the world be registered in a census?  Luke referred to the Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus, who ruled the Roman empire with his famous Pax Romana, or peace everywhere, from 27 BCE to 14 CE, precisely the time of these events.  Augustus was born in 63 BCE so that he would have been 77 years old when he died.  He was sometimes called god, son of god, savior, or father.  As the adopted son of Julius Caesar, he defeated Mark Anthony and Cleopatra to gain sole control of the empire.  He set up an intricate set of taxes for the empire, so that there was a consent source of income.  Thus, the local tax collectors or publicans became rich, but disliked, official people in the empire.  The month of August was named after him, just as July was named after Julius Caesar.  However, there is no evidence of any call to register the whole world.  However, this would not have been inconsistent with his taxing plans, since the main reason for any registration or census would be for tax purposes.  Thus, this is possible, but unlikely.

No sign will be given to this generation (Mk 8:12-8:12)

“Jesus sighed deeply

In his spirit.

He said.

‘Why does this generation

Seek a sign?

Truly!

I say to you!

No sign will be given

To this generation.’”

 

καὶ ἀναστενάξας τῷ πνεύματι αὐτοῦ λέγει Τί ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη ζητεῖ σημεῖον; ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, εἰ δοθήσεται τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ σημεῖον

 

While both Matthew, chapter 12:39, and Luke, chapter 11:29-30, perhaps using a Q source, said that Jesus would only give them the sign of Jonah, Mark said here that Jesus was not going to give them any sign at all.  He said that Jesus sighed deeply in his spirit (καὶ ἀναστενάξας τῷ πνεύματι αὐτοῦ).  He asked them why was this generation seeking a sign (λέγει Τί ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη ζητεῖ σημεῖον)?  With a rare solemn proclamation (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) in Mark, Jesus told them point blank that no sign would be given to this generation in this convoluted phrase (εἰ δοθήσεται τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ σημεῖον).  Sometimes miracles were considered heavenly signs, but Mark continued to call miracles works of power and not signs, as other gospel writers sometimes referred to them.