Family betrayal (Lk 21:16-21:16)

“You will be betrayed

Even by parents,

Brothers,

Relatives,

And friends.

They will put

Some of you

To death.”

 

παραδοθήσεσθε δὲ καὶ ὑπὸ γονέων καὶ ἀδελφῶν καὶ συγγενῶν καὶ φίλων, καὶ θανατώσουσιν ἐξ ὑμῶν,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that they would be betrayed (παραδοθήσεσθε), even by their parents (καὶ ὑπὸ γονέων), their brothers (καὶ ἀδελφῶν), their relatives (καὶ συγγενῶν), and their friends (καὶ φίλων).  They would put some of them to death (καὶ θανατώσουσιν ἐξ ὑμῶν).  This was something similar in Matthew, chapter 10:21, and Mark, chapter 13:12, probably based on Micah, chapter 7:6, where the prophet warned that they should not trust anyone.  Micah said that the son was treating his father with contempt.  The daughter was against her mother.  The daughter-in-law was against her mother-in-law.  Their worst enemies were not outside, but in their very own house.  This was a time and a place where you could not trust anyone, even your friends, family, and lovers.  You had to be careful with everyone.  Jesus, via Mark, seemed to indicate the same thing.  Brother would betray or hand over his brother to death (καὶ παραδώσει ἀδελφὸς ἀδελφὸν εἰς θάνατον).  A father would hand over or betray his child to death (καὶ πατὴρ τέκνον).  Children would rise up against their parents (ἐπαναστήσονται τέκνα ἐπὶ γονεῖς).  They would have them put to death (καὶ θανατώσουσιν αὐτούς).  Matthew only had the vague “they” betraying one another.  Jesus warned them that many of his followers would fall away, stumble, or be scandalized (καὶ τότε σκανδαλισθήσονται πολλοὶ).  They would betray or abandon each other (καὶ ἀλλήλους παραδώσουσιν), even hating and detesting one another (καὶ μισήσουσιν ἀλλήλους).  Family disputes would arise over Jesus.  This was a far cry from love your neighbor.  Have you ever had a religious dispute within your own family?

Diner invitations (Lk 14:12-14:12)

“Jesus said

To the one

Who had invited him.

‘When you give

A luncheon

Or a dinner,

Do not invite

Your friends!

Do not invite

Your brothers!

Do not invite

Your relatives!

Do not invite

Rich neighbors!

Otherwise,

They may invite you

In return.

You would then

Be repaid.’”

 

Ἔλεγεν δὲ καὶ τῷ κεκληκότι αὐτόν Ὅταν ποιῇς ἄριστον ἢ δεῖπνον, μὴ φώνει τοὺς φίλους σου μηδὲ τοὺς ἀδελφούς σου μηδὲ τοὺς συγγενεῖς σου μηδὲ γείτονας πλουσίους, μή ποτε καὶ αὐτοὶ ἀντικαλέσωσίν σε καὶ γένηται ἀνταπόδομά σοι.

 

Finally, Luke uniquely had Jesus turn to his Pharisee host.  Jesus spoke to the one who had invited him (Ἔλεγεν δὲ καὶ τῷ κεκληκότι αὐτόν).  He told him that when he would give a luncheon or dinner (Ὅταν ποιῇς ἄριστον ἢ δεῖπνον), he should not invite (μὴ φώνει) his friends (τοὺς φίλους σου), his brothers (μηδὲ τοὺς ἀδελφούς σου), his relatives (μηδὲ τοὺς συγγενεῖς σου), nor rich neighbors (μηδὲ γείτονας πλουσίους).  Otherwise, they might invite him back in return (μή ποτε καὶ αὐτοὶ ἀντικαλέσωσίν σε), in order to repay him (καὶ γένηται ἀνταπόδομά σοι).  In other words, do not invite your friends or relatives because they would probably invite you back again as a repayment.  That actually is the normal course of things.  Dinner parties usually circulate so that there is no undue burden on any one person.  But Jesus, via Luke, did not like that way of doing things.  Who do you invite to your parties?

Love your neighbor (Lk 10:27-10:27)

“You shall love

Your neighbor

As yourself.”

 

καὶ τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν.

 

Luke indicated that the lawyer said that they should love their neighbor (καὶ τὸν πλησίον σου) as themselves (ὡς σεαυτόν), using the second person plural.  There is something similar in Mark, chapter 12:3, where Mark indicated that Jesus, not the lawyer, replied that the 2nd commandment was like the 1st one. since it was about love.  Not only were they to love God, but they were to love their neighbors as themselves.  There were no other commandments greater than these 2 commandments of love.   Everything was based on the love of God and neighbor.  Matthew, chapter 22: 38-39 had Jesus reply also, not the lawyer, that they were to love their neighbors as themselves, since all the commandments of the law and the prophets hung on these two commandments.  This second commandment was based on Leviticus, chapter 19:11-18, that has become the basic fundamental cornerstone of Judaism and Christianity.  Leviticus further explained the Ten Commandments and your neighbor.  They were not to steal or deal falsely with their neighbor.  They should not lie, swear, or defraud their neighbor.  They were not to keep the wages of a laborer, or revile the deaf or the blind.  They should not render an unjust judgment, since they should treat the poor and the great with equal justice.  They should not slanderer or profit from the blood of their neighbors.  They were not to hate in their heart any of their relatives.  They should not take vengeance or bear a grudge, because they should love their relatives and neighbors as themselves.  All the commandments of the law and the prophets depended on these two commandments of loving God and your neighbor.  Do you love your neighbor?

The mother and brothers of Jesus (Lk 8:19-8:19)

“Then Jesus’ mother

And his brothers

Came to him.

But they could not reach him

Because of the crowd.”

 

Παρεγένετο δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν ἡ μήτηρ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ οὐκ ἠδύναντο συντυχεῖν αὐτῷ διὰ τὸν ὄχλον.

 

Luke said that Jesus’ mother (ἡ μήτηρ) and his brothers (καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ) came to him (Παρεγένετο δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν).  However, they could not reach him (καὶ οὐκ ἠδύναντο συντυχεῖν αὐτῷ) because of the crowd (διὰ τὸν ὄχλον).  Mark, chapter 3:31, and Matthew, chapter 12:46, have something similar.  Mark said that his mother and brothers came to see Jesus, but apparently, they could not reach him because of the crowd, so that they were standing outside.  Matthew said that while Jesus was still speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers were standing outside.  They wanted to speak to him.  This brings up all kinds of questions.  Who were these unnamed brothers?  To what extent was Jesus estranged from his family?  According to Matthew, Jesus had been near to John the Baptist and his early apostles Peter, Andrew, John, James and Matthew.  These brothers could be biological brothers, half-brothers from a first marriage of Joseph, or cousin relatives.  The Hebrew and Aramaic language did not have a distinctive word for cousins, so that the word “brother” was often used to mean more than a true biological brother.  However, the Greek language did have a specific word for cousins.  Just as today, people sometimes refer to others as brothers or sisters, when there is no biological link.  The traditional belief of Christians, even through the Reformation period, had been that Mary was a virgin, so that Jesus was her only divine son.  Thus, here the unnamed mother and the unnamed brothers of Jesus were outside wanting to speak to Jesus.  In Mark, chapter 6:3, and Matthew, chapter 13:55–56, there are explicit names for the brothers of Jesus.  They clearly were relatives of Jesus, but exactly how close a relative is not clear.  Do you know all your relatives?

Love your enemies! (Lk 6:35-6:35)

“But love your enemies!

Do good!

Lend!

Expect nothing

In return!

Your reward

Will be great!

You will be

Children

Of the Most-High!”

 

πλὴν ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν καὶ ἀγαθοποιεῖτε καὶ δανίζετε μηδὲν ἀπελπίζοντες· καὶ ἔσται ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολύς, καὶ ἔσεσθε υἱοὶ Ὑψίστου,

 

Matthew, chapter 5:44 was more forceful when Jesus said that they were to love their enemies (ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν) and even pray for those who were persecuting them.  Here Luke indicated that Jesus said that they were to love their enemies (πλὴν ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν), as in Matthew.  However, they were to do good (καὶ ἀγαθοποιεῖτε).  They were expected to lend to others (καὶ δανίζετε), expecting nothing in return (μηδὲν ἀπελπίζοντες).  This was based on Exodus, chapter 22:25 that if they lent money, they should not charge interest to the poor.  Leviticus, chapter 25:27, said that if any of their relatives fall into difficulties and become dependent on them, they should support them as though they were resident aliens.  They were not to take interest or profit from them while they are living and eating in their house.  Yahweh would provide.  Their reward would be great (καὶ ἔσται ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολύς) because they would be children of the Most-High God (καὶ ἔσεσθε υἱοὶ Ὑψίστου).  Have you ever lent money to relatives?

Not accepted in his own country (Lk 4:24-4:24)

“Jesus said.

‘Truly!

I say to you!

No prophet

Is accepted

In the prophet’s

Hometown.’”

 

εἶπεν δέ Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι οὐδεὶς προφήτης δεκτός ἐστιν ἐν τῇ πατρίδι αὐτοῦ.

 

This saying about no honor for prophets in their hometown can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 13:57, and Mark, chapter 6:4, and here.  Luke said that Jesus told them (εἶπεν δέ) with a solemn pronouncement (Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) that no prophet (ὅτι οὐδεὶς προφήτης) was accepted in his own hometown (δεκτός ἐστιν ἐν τῇ πατρίδι αὐτοῦ).  There was more elaboration by Mark, who said that prophets would not be honored among their own hometown, relatives, and in their own house.  It is always more difficult in your own home town.  This was common among the Old Testament prophets, especially the Israelite prophets Jeremiah and Amos.

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.