James said they are not religious if they do not control their tongues. They are deceiving themselves. Their heartless religion is worthless. Religion is pure and undefiled before God, the Father. They should care for orphans and widows in their distress. Meanwhile, they have to keep themselves unstained by the world. Do you consider yourself religious?
Don’t worry (Lk 12:11-12:11)
“When they bring you
Before the synagogues,
And the authorities,
Do not worry
About how you are
To defend yourselves
Or what you are to say!”
ὅταν δὲ εἰσφέρωσιν ὑμᾶς ἐπὶ τὰς συναγωγὰς καὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς καὶ τὰς ἐξουσίας, μὴ μεριμνήσητε πῶς ἢ τί ἀπολογήσησθε ἢ τί εἴπητε
Luke indicated that Jesus told his disciples that when they were brought before the synagogues (ὅταν δὲ εἰσφέρωσιν ὑμᾶς ἐπὶ τὰς συναγωγὰς), the rulers or the people in charge (καὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς), and the authorities (καὶ τὰς ἐξουσίας), they were not to worry or be anxious (μὴ μεριμνήσητε) about how they were to defend themselves (πῶς ἢ τί ἀπολογήσησθε) or what they would say (ἢ τί εἴπητε). Equivalent passages to this can be found in Mark, chapter 13:11, and Matthew, chapter 10:19. Matthew indicated that Jesus told his disciples not to worry or be anxious (μὴ μεριμνήσητε), when they were handed over (ὅταν δὲ παραδῶσιν ὑμᾶς) to these courts or tribunals. They should not worry about how or what they should say (πῶς ἢ τί λαλήσητε). Mark indicated that Jesus told his disciples not to worry beforehand or be anxious about what to say (μὴ προμεριμνᾶτε τί λαλήσητε), when they were handed over and brought to trial (καὶ ὅταν ἄγωσιν ὑμᾶς παραδιδόντες). Luke was more detailed in pointing out who and where they would be tried, both in the religious synagogues and before the Roman civic rulers and authorities. Are you open to listening to the Holy Spirit?
The circumcision (Lk 1:59-1: 59)
“On the eighth day,
Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ ὀγδόῃ ἦλθον περιτεμεῖν τὸ παιδίον,
Luke explained what happened on the eighth day (Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ ὀγδόῃ) after the birth of the child. They came to circumcise this child (ἦλθον περιτεμεῖν τὸ παιδίον). This circumcision, brit milah, or bris was a sign of the covenant with God that goes back to Abraham in Genesis, chapter 17:11-12. This sacerdotal covenant alliance story emphasized male circumcision as the main part of the Yahweh covenant. Thus. circumcision became a big deal. Every male was to be circumcised by removing the flesh of the foreskin of his penis, when he was eight days old. This also included male slaves born or brought into the house. An uncircumcised Jewish male would be cut off from his people, because he had broken the covenant with God. Circumcision has been practiced among many ancient and contemporary groups for either religious or hygienic reasons. In fact, despite their differences, Islamic males practice circumcision also. In the USA, most boys born in a hospital are circumcised for hygienic or health purposes.
Everlasting kingdom of Jacob (Lk 1:33-1:33)
“Jesus will reign
Over the house
Of Jacob forever.
There will be
To his kingdom.”
καὶ βασιλεύσει ἐπὶ τὸν οἶκον Ἰακὼβ εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, καὶ τῆς βασιλείας αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἔσται τέλος.
Luke indicated that this rule of Jesus would be over the whole house of Jacob (καὶ βασιλεύσει ἐπὶ τὸν οἶκον Ἰακὼβ) forever (εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας). No longer would it just be Judah or Judea, but all the tribes of Israel, or the sons of Jacob, would be reunited. This sounds like a political and religious unification of Israel. However, there would be no end to his kingdom (καὶ τῆς βασιλείας αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἔσται τέλος), since this was not a temporary rule, but an eternal one. The house of Israel would be united under Jesus forever. It did not exactly work out that way.
No fathers or masters (Mt 23:9-23:10)
“Call no one
Your father on earth!
You have one Father!
The one in heaven!
Nor are you
To be called instructors!
You have one instructor!
The Messiah Christ!”
καὶ πατέρα μὴ καλέσητε ὑμῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς· εἷς γάρ ἐστιν ὑμῶν ὁ Πατὴρ ὁ οὐράνιος.
μηδὲ κληθῆτε καθηγηταί, ὅτι καθηγητὴς ὑμῶν ἐστιν εἷς ὁ Χριστός.
This is unique to Matthew. Jesus, via Matthew, seems to aim these remarks directly at his disciples, not the large crowds. He seemed to warn his followers not to take on religious or scholastic leadership terms. Thus, Christian leaders should be careful of when they are looking for some kind of religious respect. He told them to call no one on earth their father (καὶ πατέρα μὴ καλέσητε ὑμῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς). They only had one Father who was in heaven (εἷς γάρ ἐστιν ὑμῶν ὁ Πατὴρ ὁ οὐράνιος). The Aramaic term “Abba” was a respectful term for father. They should not call themselves instructors, teachers, or guides (μηδὲ κληθῆτε καθηγηταί), since there was only one instructor, teacher, or guide (ὅτι καθηγητὴς ὑμῶν ἐστιν εἷς), the Messiah Christ (ὁ Χριστός). Is Jesus talking about himself? If that is so, then this represents one of few times that Jesus referred to himself as the Messiah Christ.