Eternal life (Lk 10:25-10:25)

“Just then,

A certain lawyer

Stood up

To test Jesus.

He said.

‘Teacher!

What must I do

To inherit eternal life?’”

 

Καὶ ἰδοὺ νομικός τις ἀνέστη ἐκπειράζων αὐτὸν λέγων Διδάσκαλε, τί ποιήσας ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσω;

 

Luke said that just then, a certain lawyer stood up (Καὶ ἰδοὺ νομικός τις ἀνέστη) to test Jesus (ἐκπειράζων αὐτὸν).  He said, calling Jesus a teacher (λέγων Διδάσκαλε), what did he have to do to inherit eternal life (τί ποιήσας ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσω)?  Although there was a question like this in all 3 synoptics, there are nuanced differences.  Matthew, chapter 22:35-36, had a Pharisee lawyer ask the question about the greatest commandment, and not about eternal life.  Mark, chapter 12:28, had a Scribe, not a Pharisee lawyer ask the same question about the greatest commandment.  In Luke, here, there was an unnamed lawyer, probably an expert in the Mosaic law, who wanted to know about how to gain eternal life.  Mark had this unnamed Scribe approach Jesus, because he had heard the disciples discussing, disputing, or arguing with each other.  He saw how Jesus had answered their questions so well.  He was not there to test him, as here in Luke and Matthew, but he did question Jesus.  Matthew had a lawyer, who was a Pharisee, question Jesus to explicitly test him.  This Pharisee lawyer probably was someone skilled in the Mosaic law.  He addressed Jesus in a very respectful tone calling him “Teacher” or rabbi (Διδάσκαλε), like Luke.  He wanted to know which commandment of the law was the greatest, since there were 613 commandments in late Judaism.  Thus, it would seem like a legitimate question with so many commandments or laws.  Luke had the question about eternal life, but the other 2 synoptics questioned Jesus about the most important commandment.  These questions were related, but not the same.  3 different people, with different motives, posed this question.  Do you question people to learn something or to test them?

The demoniac was healed (Lk 8:36-8:36)

“Those who had seen it

Told them

How the one

Who had been possessed

By demons

Had been healed.”

 

ἀπήγγειλαν δὲ αὐτοῖς οἱ ἰδόντες πῶς ἐσώθη ὁ δαιμονισθεί

 

Luke said that those who had seen (οἱ ἰδόντες) what happened told them (ἀπήγγειλαν δὲ αὐτοῖς) how the one who had been possessed by demons (ὁ δαιμονισθεί) had been healed (πῶς ἐσώθη).  There was something similar in Mark, chapter 5:16, while there is nothing like this in MatthewMark said that those who had seen what had happened to this demoniac told everyone.  They reported, described, or related it to other people how the pigs ran into the sea.  There was nothing secret about this transfer of evil spirits from a human to a herd of pigs.  What do you think about pigs?

Glorifying God (Lk 5:25-5:25)

“Immediately,

The paralytic stood up

Before them.

He took

What he had been

Lying on.

He went to his home.

He was glorifying God.”

 

καὶ παραχρῆμα ἀναστὰς ἐνώπιον αὐτῶν, ἄρας ἐφ’ ὃ κατέκειτο, ἀπῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ δοξάζων τὸν Θεόν.

 

The paralyzed man did exactly what Jesus told him to do.  He got up and went to his home.  Jesus had forgiven this man his sins and at the same time cured him of paralysis.  Normally, the power to forgive sins was what only God could do.  Luke said that this paralytic stood up before them (καὶ παραχρῆμα ἀναστὰς ἐνώπιον αὐτῶν).  He took his bed that he had been lying on (ἄρας ἐφ’ ὃ κατέκειτο) and went home (ἀπῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ).  At the same time, he was glorifying or praising God (δοξάζων τὸν Θεόν).  Mark, chapter 2:12, and Matthew, chapter 9:7-8, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this saying.  Mark said that the paralyzed man did exactly as Jesus had told him to do.  He stood up and immediately took his pallet bed in front of everybody.  Jesus had forgiven this man’s sins and cured him of paralysis.  How was the power to forgive sins, which only God could do, related to his healing powers?  How were these powers related?

The apostles returned (Mk 6:30-6:30)

“The apostles gathered

Around Jesus.

They told him

All that they had done

And taught.”

 

Καὶ συνάγονται οἱ ἀπόστολοι πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν, καὶ ἀπήγγειλαν αὐτῷ πάντα ὅσα ἐποίησαν καὶ ὅσα ἐδίδαξαν.

 

This gathering of the apostles around Jesus can only be found here and in Luke, chapter 9:10.  Apparently, the apostles had returned from their mission.  Mark said that these apostles gathered around Jesus (Καὶ συνάγονται οἱ ἀπόστολοι πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν).  They told, related, or announced to him (καὶ ἀπήγγειλαν αὐτῷ) everything that they had done and taught (πάντα ὅσα ἐποίησαν καὶ ὅσα ἐδίδαξαν).  Jesus had a debriefing session with his apostles where he found out what had happened to them on their missionary adventures.

They repeated the story (Mk 5:16-5:16)

“Those who had seen

What had happened

To the demoniac

And to the swine,

Reported it.”

 

καὶ διηγήσαντο αὐτοῖς οἱ ἰδόντες πῶς ἐγένετο τῷ δαιμονιζομένῳ καὶ περὶ τῶν χοίρων.

 

There is something similar in Luke, chapter 8:36, while there is nothing like this in MatthewMark said that those who had seen what had happened (οἱ ἰδόντες πῶς ἐγένετο) to this demoniac, the one possessed by the devils or evil spirits (ῷ δαιμονιζομένῳ) told everyone.  They reported, described, or related it to other people (καὶ διηγήσαντο αὐτοῖς) how the swine or the pigs (καὶ περὶ τῶν χοίρων) ran into the sea.  There was nothing secret about this transfer of evil spirits from a human to a herd of pigs.

The paralytic walks away (Mk 2:12-2:12)

“The paralytic

Stood up.

Immediately,

He took his pallet bed.

He went out

Before all of them.

Thus,

They were all amazed.

They glorified God,

Saying.

‘We never saw anything

Like this!’”

 

καὶ ἠγέρθη καὶ εὐθὺς ἄρας τὸν κράβαττον ἐξῆλθεν ἔμπροσθεν πάντων, ὥστε ἐξίστασθαι πάντας καὶ δοξάζειν τὸν Θεὸν λέγοντας ὅτι Οὕτως οὐδέποτε εἴδαμεν.

 

Luke, chapter 5:25-26, and Matthew, chapter 9:7-8, are similar to Mark, so that Mark might be the source of this saying.  Mark said that the paralyzed man did exactly as Jesus had told him to do.  He arose or stood up (καὶ ἠγέρθη).  He immediately took his pallet bed (καὶ εὐθὺς ἄρας τὸν κράβαττον).  He went out from there in front of everybody (ἐξῆλθεν ἔμπροσθεν πάντων).  Jesus had forgiven this man his sins and cured him of paralysis.  How was the power to forgive sins, which only God could do, related to his healing powers?  They were all amazed, or marveled (ὥστε ἐξίστασθαι πάντας) at what they had just witnessed.  They glorified, honored, or praised God (καὶ δοξάζειν τὸν Θεὸν).  They said to one another that they had never seen anything like this before (λέγοντας ὅτι Οὕτως οὐδέποτε εἴδαμεν).  Jesus had a lot of power.

Swear by heaven (Mt 23:20-23:22)

“Whoever swears

By the altar,

Swears by it

And everything on it.

Whoever swears

By the Temple,

Swears by it

And the one

Who dwells in it.

Whoever swears

By heaven,

Swears by the throne

Of God

And by the one

Who sits upon it.”

 

ὁ οὖν ὀμόσας ἐν τῷ θυσιαστηρίῳ ὀμνύει ἐν αὐτῷ καὶ ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς ἐπάνω αὐτοῦ·

καὶ ὁ ὀμόσας ἐν τῷ ναῷ ὀμνύει ἐν αὐτῷ καὶ ἐν τῷ κατοικοῦντι αὐτόν·

καὶ ὁ ὀμόσας ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ὀμνύει ἐν τῷ θρόνῳ τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ ἐν τῷ καθημένῳ ἐπάνω αὐτοῦ

 

This is unique to Matthew.  Jesus remarked that whoever swore by the altar (ὁ οὖν ὀμόσας ἐν τῷ θυσιαστηρίῳ), also swore by it and everything on it (ὀμνύει ἐν αὐτῷ καὶ ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς ἐπάνω αὐτοῦ).  Whoever swore by the Temple (καὶ ὁ ὀμόσας ἐν τῷ ναῷ), also swore by it and the one who dwelt in the Temple (ὀμνύει ἐν αὐτῷ καὶ ἐν τῷ κατοικοῦντι αὐτόν).  Whoever swore by heaven (καὶ ὁ ὀμόσας ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ), swore by the throne of God (ὀμνύει ἐν τῷ θρόνῳ τοῦ Θεοῦ) and God himself who sits on it (καὶ ἐν τῷ καθημένῳ ἐπάνω αὐτοῦ).  Thus, Jesus pulled together the fact that the altar, the Temple, and heaven itself were related to the presence of God.

Sin and sickness (Mt 9:5-9:7)

“Which is easier

To say?

‘Your sins are forgiven!’

Or to say?

‘Stand up!

Walk!’

But that you may know

That the Son of man

Has authority on earth

To forgive sins,

He then said

To the paralytic.

‘Stand up!

Take your bed!

Go home!’

He stood up.

He went to his home.”

 

τί γάρ ἐστιν εὐκοπώτερον, εἰπεῖν Ἀφίενταί σου αἱ ἁμαρτίαι, ἢ εἰπεῖν Ἔγειρε καὶ περιπάτει;

ἵνα δὲ εἰδῆτε ὅτι ἐξουσίαν ἔχει ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἀφιέναι ἁμαρτίας — τότε λέγει τῷ παραλυτικῷ Ἔγειρε ἆρόν σου τὴν κλίνην καὶ ὕπαγε εἰς τὸν οἶκόν σου.

καὶ ἐγερθεὶς ἀπῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ.

 

This is exactly the same as in Mark, chapter 2:9-12, and Luke, chapter 5:22-25, about the healing and forgiving of sins for the paralytic.  Jesus posed the question which was it easier to do (τί γάρ ἐστιν εὐκοπώτερον) to say that your sins are forgiven (εἰπεῖν Ἀφίενταί σου αἱ ἁμαρτίαι) or to say get up and walk (ἢ εἰπεῖν Ἔγειρε καὶ περιπάτει).  Jesus said that they should know that the Son of Man had the power and authority on earth (ἵνα δὲ εἰδῆτε ὅτι ἐξουσίαν ἔχει ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς) to forgive sins (ἀφιέναι ἁμαρτίας).  He then told the paralytic to stand up (τότε λέγει τῷ παραλυτικῷ Ἔγειρε), take his bed (ἆρόν σου τὴν κλίνην), and go home (καὶ ὕπαγε εἰς τὸν οἶκόν σου).  Thus, that is exactly what the paralyzed man did.  He got up and went to his home (καὶ ἐγερθεὶς ἀπῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ).  Jesus forgave this man his sins and cured him of paralysis.  Normally, the power to forgive sins was what only God could do.  How were these powers related?

The demand for wisdom (Wis 8:17-8:21)

“When I considered these things inwardly,

I pondered in my heart.

In kinship with wisdom

There is immortality.

In friendship with her,

There is pure delight.

In the labors of her hands,

There is unfailing wealth.

In the experience of her company,

There is understanding.

There is renown in sharing her words.

I went about seeking

How to get her for myself.

As a child

I was naturally gifted.

A good soul fell to my lot.

Rather being good,

I entered an undefiled body.

But I perceived

That I would not possess wisdom

Unless God gave her to me.

It was a mark of insight

To know whose gift she was.

So I appealed to the Lord.

I implored him.

With my whole heart,

I said.”

This author considered these things in his heart. When you are related to wisdom you have immortality (ἀθανασία ἐν συγγενείᾳ σοφίας). There is delight in her friendship and her laboring hands. There is wealth and understanding in her company. You will become famous by sharing her words. He wanted wisdom for himself. He had been a gifted child. Interesting enough there is the Platonic thought of the pre-existent soul (ψυχῆς) that was united to a wonderful body (εἰς σῶμα ἀμίαντον). He realized that he could not possess wisdom unless God gave (ὁ Θεὸς δῷ) him this gift (χάρις) to him. Thus he appealed and implored the Lord (τῷ Κυρίῳ) with his whole heart (ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας μου). This is reminiscent of the story in 1 Kings, chapter 3, when King Solomon asked Yahweh for the gift of wisdom.

The final plea to Yahweh (Ps 88:13-88:18)

“I cry out to you!

Yahweh!

In the morning

My prayer comes before you.

Yahweh!

Why do you cast me off?

Why do you hide your face from me?

Wretched and close to death from my youth on,

I suffer your terrors.

I am desperate.

Your wrath has swept over me.

Your dread assaults destroy me.

They surround me

Like a flood

All day long.

From all sides,

They close in on me.

You have caused friends

To shun me.

You have caused neighbors

To shun me.  

My companions are in darkness.”

Just like Job, the psalmist remains faithful despite all his sufferings. Thus this psalm ends with a direct appeal to Yahweh, over and over again. He cried out in the morning to God. Why was he cast off? Why couldn’t he see the face of God? He believed that his physical suffering was related to his spiritual sufferings. His whole life he has been close to death with his physical afflictions. He felt like he was surrounded with waves of water all around him. More than that was the fact that his friends and neighbors were now shunning him. The only friend that he had left was darkness itself. Wow! This is a dreary bleak psalm of agony.