Render to Caesar (Lk 20:25-20:25)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Then give

To the Emperor Caesar

The things

That are the Emperor Caesar’s!

Give to God

The things

That are God’s.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς Τοίνυν ἀπόδοτε τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to them (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς) to give back to the Emperor Caesar (Τοίνυν ἀπόδοτε τὰ Καίσαρος), the things that are of the Emperor Caesar’s (Καίσαρι)!  However, give to God the things that are God’s (καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 22:21, and in Mark, chapter 12:17, almost word for word.  Mark said that Jesus responded to them (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) by telling them to give to the Roman emperor Caesar the things that belonged to the emperor (Τὰ Καίσαρος ἀπόδοτε Καίσαρι).  At the same time, they should give to God the things that belong to God (καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ).  Matthew said that Jesus responded to them (τότε λέγει αὐτοῖς) by telling them to give to the Roman emperor Caesar the things that belonged to the emperor (Ἀπόδοτε οὖν τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι).  At the same time, they should give to God the things that belong to God (καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ).  Jesus appeared to accept the Roman rule and its taxing policies.  He also had a milder view of their tax collectors.  With this ambiguous answer, Jesus avoided offending Jewish nationalists and the Roman Empire party and its officials.  Thus, the Roman and Jewish parties were both satisfied and unsatisfied at the same time.  If everything belonged to God, do not pay this tax.  If everything belonged to the Roman Empire, pay the tax.  The choice was theirs.  He was not going to tell them what to do.  This statement of Jesus has become the basic Christian understanding of the relationship between religious churches and civilian states.  Do you see a difference between Church regulations and civic state regulations?

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They were shamed (Lk 13:17-13:17)

“When Jesus said this,

All his opponents

Were put to shame.

The entire crowd

Was rejoicing

At all the wonderful things

That he was doing.”

 

καὶ ταῦτα λέγοντος αὐτοῦ κατῃσχύνοντο πάντες οἱ ἀντικείμενοι αὐτῷ, καὶ πᾶς ὁ ὄχλος ἔχαιρεν ἐπὶ πᾶσιν τοῖς ἐνδόξοις τοῖς γινομένοις ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that when Jesus said this (καὶ ταῦτα λέγοντος αὐτοῦ), all his opponents (πάντες οἱ ἀντικείμενοι αὐτῷ,) were put to shame (κατῃσχύνοντο).  The entire crowd (καὶ πᾶς ὁ ὄχλος) was rejoicing (ἔχαιρεν) at all the wonderful things that he was doing (ἐπὶ πᾶσιν τοῖς ἐνδόξοις τοῖς γινομένοις ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ).  Jesus had turned this Jewish synagogue crowd around.  Now they were rejoicing and happy about him curing this crippled woman on the Sabbath.  So ends this unique story of Luke about curing the crippled woman on the Sabbath.  What do you think is the relationship between sickness and satanic possession?

 

Divided kingdom (Lk 11:17-11:17)

“But Jesus knew

What they were thinking.

He said to them.

‘Every kingdom

Divided against itself

Becomes desolate.

One house falls

On another house.”

 

αὐτὸς δὲ εἰδὼς αὐτῶν τὰ διανοήματα εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Πᾶσα βασιλεία ἐφ’ ἑαυτὴν διαμερισθεῖσα ἐρημοῦται, καὶ οἶκος ἐπὶ οἶκον πίπτει.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus knew what they were thinking (αὐτὸς δὲ εἰδὼς αὐτῶν τὰ διανοήματα).  He said to them (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that every kingdom (Πᾶσα βασιλεία) divided against itself (ἐφ’ ἑαυτὴν διαμερισθεῖσα) becomes desolate (ἐρημοῦται).  One house falls against another house (καὶ οἶκος ἐπὶ οἶκον πίπτει).  There were similar statements in Mark, chapter 3:24-25, and Matthew, chapter 12:25.  Mark indicated that Jesus responded to the Scribes with his house divided remarks.  Jesus said to them that if a kingdom was divided against itself, that kingdom would not be able to stand.  If a house was divided against itself that house would not be able to endure.  This was one of President Abraham Lincoln’s (1809-1865) favorite biblical passages about slavery.  Matthew said that Jesus knew what the inner thoughts of the Pharisees were, so that he said to them that every kingdom divided against itself would be destroyed.  No city or house divided against itself could endure for a long time.  This was a very strong argument against Jesus and Beelzebul working together.  What do you think the relationship of Jesus to the devil is?

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?

Welcome the little child (Lk 9:48-9:48)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Whoever welcomes

This child

In my name,

Welcomes me.

Whoever welcomes me,

Welcomes the one

Who sent me.

The least

Among all of you

Is the greatest.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ὃς ἐὰν δέξηται τοῦτο τὸ παιδίον ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματί μου, ἐμὲ δέχεται· καὶ ὃς ἂν ἐμὲ δέξηται, δέχεται τὸν ἀποστείλαντά με· ὁ γὰρ μικρότερος ἐν πᾶσιν ὑμῖν ὑπάρχων οὗτός ἐστιν μέγας.

 

Luke said that Jesus told his disciples (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that whoever welcomed this child (Ὃς ἐὰν δέξηται τοῦτο τὸ παιδίον) in his name (ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματί μου), welcomed him (ἐμὲ δέχεται).  Whoever welcomes him (καὶ ὃς ἂν ἐμὲ δέξηται), welcomed the one who sent him (δέχεται τὸν ἀποστείλαντά με).  The least among all of them (ὁ γὰρ μικρότερος ἐν πᾶσιν ὑμῖν ὑπάρχων) would be the greatest (οὗτός ἐστιν μέγας).  There was the answer to the question.  The greatest was the little child.  This saying about welcoming this little child can also be found in Matthew, chapter 18:5, and Mark, chapter 9:37, with some minor changes.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that whoever welcomed, received, or accepted such a little child in Jesus’ name, welcomed Jesus.  Whoever welcomed Jesus welcomed not just Jesus, but welcomed the one who had sent him.  Matthew had this welcoming saying about the little child also.  Whoever welcomed such a little child in Jesus’ name, welcomed Jesus.  However, there was no mention of a relationship to the Father that was in other gospel sayings.  Pure and simple, anyone who accepted this little child in Jesus’ name, welcomed Jesus.  Are you good with little children?

The gospel preaching of John (Lk 3:18-3:18)

“Thus,

With many other exhortations,

John proclaimed

The good news gospel

To the people.”

 

Πολλὰ μὲν οὖν καὶ ἕτερα παρακαλῶν εὐηγγελίζετο τὸν λαόν·

 

Only Luke has this explanation that John the Baptist with many other exhortations (Πολλὰ μὲν οὖν καὶ ἕτερα παρακαλῶν), other than those recounted here, proclaimed the good news to the people (εὐηγγελίζετο τὸν λαόν).  Was this the same good news or gospel (εὐηγγελίζετο) that Jesus would later preach?  Luke was the only one among the other gospel writers who linked John and Jesus as relatives in chapter 1:36.  John’s mother, Elizabeth, and Jesus’ mother, Mary, were relatives of some sort, thus making their children relatives or cousins also.  They could be compared in some ways to Aaron and Moses or the later Peter and Paul.  One was superior to the other, but the other played an indispensable role.  John the Baptist was a Jewish itinerant preacher in the early first century CE.  He used baptism, some kind of dipping in water, as the central symbol or sacrament of his messianic movement.  Thus, he became known as the one who baptizes, the Baptizer, John the Baptist.  This John certainly had a relationship with Jesus, but the exact relationship between John and Jesus is also problematic.  They may have originally been co-workers.  However, they separated as Jesus went along a different route.  However, the shadow of John the Baptist appeared again and again in the biblical stories about Jesus and his apostles.  Some believe that Jesus may have been an early follower or disciple of John, but the textual indications are that John saw himself as clearly subservient to Jesus.  Some of Jesus’ early followers had previously been followers of John, such as the apostle Andrew, the brother of Simon, in John, chapter 1:40, and in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 19:2-6.  There may have been also some contact between John the Baptist and the Qumran-Essene community, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.  John might have been associated with them or part of their community for a while.  Thus, John the Baptist has been revered as a prophet and a Christian saint throughout the centuries.

Jesus was silent (Mk 14:61-14:61)

“But Jesus

Was silent.

He did not answer.

Again,

The high priest

Asked him.

‘Are you

The Messiah Christ?

Are you

The Son of the Blessed One?’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἐσιώπα καὶ οὐκ ἀπεκρίνατο οὐδέν. πάλιν ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς ἐπηρώτα αὐτὸν καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Σὺ εἶ ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Εὐλογητοῦ;

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 26:63.  In Luke, chapter 22:66-70, there was something similar.  However, there was nothing like this in John, chapter 18:19, where there was a discussion of the high priest with Jesus, but more about his teachings.  Mark said that Jesus was originally silent (ὁ δὲ ἐσιώπα).  He did not answer the high priest (καὶ οὐκ ἀπεκρίνατο οὐδέν).  Then the high priest again asked Jesus directly (πάλιν ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς ἐπηρώτα αὐτὸν).  Was he the Messiah Christ (καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Σὺ εἶ ὁ Χριστὸς)?  Was he the Son of the Blessed One (ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Εὐλογητοῦ)?  Matthew had said that the high priest Caiaphas was going to put him under oath according to the living God.  Jesus was to tell everyone there whether he was the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God.  Luke indicated that they asked Jesus whether he was the Messiah Christ or the Son of God.  Thus, this was a clear question about the divine claims of Jesus, particularly his messianic Christ role and his relationship to God the Father.