Tribute to Caesar (Lk 20:22-20:22)

“Is it lawful

For us

To pay taxes

To Caesar,

The Roman Emperor,

Or not?”

 

ἔξεστιν ἡμᾶς Καίσαρι φόρον δοῦναι ἢ οὔ;

 

Luke indicated this group asked whether it was lawful for them (ἔξεστιν ἡμᾶς) to pay taxes (φόρον δοῦναι) to Caesar (Καίσαρι), the Roman Emperor, or not (ἢ οὔ)?  This is similar to Matthew, chapter 22:17, and Mark, chapter 12:14, but slightly different.  They wanted to know what Jesus thought about the Roman tax law.  Mark said that they asked him whether it was lawful to pay the poll tax to Caesar or not (ἔξεστιν δοῦναι κῆνσον Καίσαρι ἢ οὔ)?  They wanted to know the practical answer about whether they should pay this tax or not (δῶμεν ἢ μὴ δῶμεν)?  Matthew indicated that these Pharisee disciples and the Herodians tried to trick Jesus.  They wanted to know what Jesus thought about the Roman tax.  They asked him (εἰπὸν οὖν ἡμῖν) what did he think (τί σοι δοκεῖ).  Was it lawful to pay the poll tax to Caesar or not (ἔξεστιν δοῦναι κῆνσον Καίσαρι ἢ οὔ)?  Rome had an annual personal census tax of one denarius worth about $1.50 USA, not that much.  However, many of the Roman tax collectors were considered sinners.  Jesus, on the other hand, had a milder view of these tax collectors.  He appeared to accept the Roman rule and its taxing policies.  As the political party of the Romans, the Herodians were there.  The Israelites with the Pharisees were there also.  Thus, his answer might offend someone.  In fact, some Jewish zealots refused to pay any civil tax to the emperor.  Do you like to pay taxes?

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I am not going to tell you (Lk 20:8-20:8)

“Then Jesus

Said to them.

‘Neither will I tell you

By what authority

I am doing

These things.’”

 

καὶ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Οὐδὲ ἐγὼ λέγω ὑμῖν ἐν ποίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ ταῦτα ποιῶ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus then said to these Jerusalem religious leaders (καὶ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that he was not going to tell them (Οὐδὲ ἐγὼ λέγω ὑμῖν) by what authority he was doing these things (ἐν ποίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ ταῦτα ποιῶ).  Matthew, chapter 21:27, and Mark, chapter 11:33 have something similar, almost word for word.  Mark indicated that Jesus then told them (καὶ ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγει αὐτοῖς) that he would not tell them by what authority he was doing these things (Οὐδὲ ἐγὼ λέγω ὑμῖν ἐν ποίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ ταῦτα ποιῶ).  Matthew also indicated that Jesus then told them (ἔφη αὐτοῖς καὶ αὐτός) that he would not tell them by what authority he was doing these things (Οὐδὲ ἐγὼ λέγω ὑμῖν ἐν ποίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ ταῦτα ποιῶ).  Jesus had made his point, pure and simple.  They could not answer his question, so that he was not going to answer their question.  Have you ever refused to answer a question?

 

No regard for God or man (Lk 18:4-18:4)

“For a while

The bad judge

Refused.

But afterward,

He said to himself.

‘I have

No fear of God.

I have no respect

For anyone.’”

 

καὶ οὐκ ἤθελεν ἐπὶ χρόνον· μετὰ ταῦτα δὲ εἶπεν ἐν ἑαυτῷ Εἰ καὶ τὸν Θεὸν οὐ φοβοῦμαι οὐδὲ ἄνθρωπον ἐντρέπομαι,

 

Luke is the only synoptic writer with this parable about the widow and the bad judge.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that for a time (ἐπὶ χρόνον), this judge refused her (καὶ οὐκ ἤθελεν).  However, after a while (μετὰ ταῦτα), he reevaluated his position.  He said to himself (δὲ εἶπεν ἐν ἑαυτῷ) that he had no fear of God (Εἰ καὶ τὸν Θεὸν οὐ φοβοῦμαι) and no respect for anyone (οὐδὲ ἄνθρωπον ἐντρέπομαι).  Why should he worry about this poor widow?  Do you worry about poor old women?

The older brother was angry (Lk 15:28-15:28)

“Then the older brother

Became angry.

He refused

To go in.

His father came out.

He began

To plead with him.”

 

ὠργίσθη δὲ καὶ οὐκ ἤθελεν εἰσελθεῖν· ὁ δὲ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ ἐξελθὼν παρεκάλει αὐτόν.

 

This long parable story about the 2 sons can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that the older brother became angry (ὠργίσθη).  He refused to go in to the celebration (δὲ καὶ οὐκ ἤθελεν εἰσελθεῖν).  His father came out of the celebration (ὁ δὲ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ ἐξελθὼν).  He began to plead with him (παρεκάλει αὐτόν).  Now the conflict begins.  This seemed like such a nice happy story about a sinner who repented and was taken back by his father.  But now there was the other son who really did not want to go along with this plan.  He had been a hard-working farmer, while his brother went away carousing and wasting money.  Do you feel closer to the hard-working brother or the loose living brother?

The excuse of new property (Lk 14:18-14:18)

“But they all alike

Began

To make excuses.

The first said to him.

‘I have bought

A piece of land.

I must go out

To see it.

Please!

Accept my regrets!”

 

καὶ ἤρξαντο ἀπὸ μιᾶς πάντες παραιτεῖσθαι. ὁ πρῶτος εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ἀγρὸν ἠγόρασα, καὶ ἔχω ἀνάγκην ἐξελθὼν ἰδεῖν αὐτόν· ἐρωτῶ σε, ἔχε με παρῃτημένον.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that they all began to make excuses, to excuse themselves (καὶ ἤρξαντο ἀπὸ μιᾶς πάντες παραιτεῖσθαι).  The first one said to the slave (ὁ πρῶτος εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that he had just bought a piece of land (Ἀγρὸν ἠγόρασα).  Thus, he had to go out to see it (καὶ ἔχω ἀνάγκην ἐξελθὼν ἰδεῖν αὐτόν).  Therefore, he politely (ἐρωτῶ σε) wanted to be excused from going to the banquet (ἔχε με παρῃτημένον).  Matthew, chapter 22:3-5, said that they would not come or did not wish to come (καὶ οὐκ ἤθελον ἐλθεῖν), without giving excuses.  Now, this was a problem.  They have refused an invitation to the wedding banquet of God, the Father, the king.  He had sent his slaves, the prophets or the apostles, to call them, but they still did not want to come to the wedding feast.  In fact, Matthew said that the invitees made light of these inviting slaves.  They disregarded or disrespected (οἱ δὲ ἀμελήσαντες) the invitation.  They simply went on with their daily lives.  They went (ἀπῆλθον) either to their own farm field (ὃς μὲν εἰς τὸν ἴδιον ἀγρόν), or to their trading business (ὃς δὲ ἐπὶ τὴν ἐμπορίαν αὐτοῦ).  They were too busy to go to a wedding feast.  Have you ever been too busy to go to a wedding reception?

Proclaim Jesus in your home area (Lk 8:39-8:39)

“Jesus said.

‘Return to your home!

Declare

How much

God has done

For you!’

Thus,

He went away,

Proclaiming

Throughout the whole city

How much

Jesus had done

For him.”

 

Ὑπόστρεφε εἰς τὸν οἶκόν σου, καὶ διηγοῦ ὅσα σοι ἐποίησεν ὁ Θεός. καὶ ἀπῆλθεν καθ’ ὅλην τὴν πόλιν κηρύσσων ὅσα ἐποίησεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus told the former demoniac to return to his home (Ὑπόστρεφε εἰς τὸν οἶκόν σου).  There he was to declare how much God had done for him (καὶ διηγοῦ ὅσα σοι ἐποίησεν ὁ Θεός).  Thus, he went away (καὶ ἀπῆλθεν), proclaiming throughout the whole city (καθ’ ὅλην τὴν πόλιν κηρύσσων) how much Jesus had done for him (ὅσα ἐποίησεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  There is something similar in Mark, chapter 5:19-20, while there is nothing like this in MatthewMark said that Jesus refused this former demoniac’s request.  Jesus would not permit him to go with them.  However, Jesus told him to go to his own home.  There he was to preach, announce, or tell others how much the Lord (ὁ Κύριός) had done for him with his great mercy.  This former demoniac went away.  He then began to preach or proclaim in the Decapolis area how much Jesus had done for him.  Thus, everyone there was amazed or marveled at this.  The Decapolis territory was a group of 10 gentile non-Jewish cities on the east bank of the Jordan River in present day Jordan and Syria that included the towns of Gerasa, Scythopolis, Hippos, Gadara, Pella, Philadelphia, Capitolias, Canatha, Raphana, and Damascus.  Thus, this cured demoniac was the first Christian apostle to the gentiles, a foreign missionary rather than a close disciple or apostle.  Would you rather be a missionary for Jesus or one who followed him closely?

The cured demoniac wanted to follow Jesus (Lk 8:38-8:38)

“The man,

From whom

The demons had gone,

Begged

That he might be

With Jesus.

However,

|Jesus sent him away.”

 

ἐδεῖτο δὲ αὐτοῦ ὁ ἀνὴρ ἀφ’ οὗ ἐξεληλύθει τὰ δαιμόνια εἶναι σὺν αὐτῷ· ἀπέλυσεν δὲ αὐτὸν λέγων

 

Luke said that the man, from whom the demons had gone out (ὁ ἀνὴρ ἀφ’ οὗ ἐξεληλύθει τὰ δαιμόνια), begged Jesus (ἐδεῖτο δὲ αὐτοῦ) that he might be with him (εἶναι σὺν αὐτῷ).  However, |Jesus sent him away (ἀπέλυσεν δὲ αὐτὸν λέγων).  There is something similar in Mark, chapter 5:38, while there is nothing like this in MatthewMark said that as Jesus was getting into his boat, the man, who had been possessed by demons begged or entreated Jesus to let him go with him.  This formerly possessed man wanted to be a follower of Jesus, which seems like a reasonable request.  However, Mark said that Jesus refused this former demoniac.  Do you think that Jesus would refuse some people from being his follower?