“If the same person
Sins against you
Yet turns back
You must forgive!”
καὶ ἐὰν ἑπτάκις τῆς ἡμέρας ἁμαρτήσῃ εἰς σὲ καὶ ἑπτάκις ἐπιστρέψῃ πρὸς σὲ λέγων Μετανοῶ, ἀφήσεις αὐτῷ.
Luke indicated that Jesus said that if the same person sinned against you (ἁμαρτήσῃ εἰς σὲ) 7 times a day (καὶ ἐὰν ἑπτάκις τῆς ἡμέρας), yet turned back to you 7 times (καὶ ἑπτάκις ἐπιστρέψῃ πρὸς σὲ), and said that he repented (Μετανοῶ, ἀφήσεις αὐτῷ), you must still forgive him (ἀφήσεις αὐτῷ). There is something like this saying in Matthew, chapter 18:21-22, although there was no mention of Peter here in Luke. Matthew indicated that Peter took on a specific leadership role. He wanted to know how many times he should forgive his brother’s sins? Peter wanted to know how often he should forgive his brother who had sinned against him (ποσάκις ἁμαρτήσει εἰς ἐμὲ ὁ ἀδελφός μου καὶ ἀφήσω αὐτῷ). Peter thought that 7 would be a good number. Was 7 times enough (ἕως ἑπτάκις)? Most Jewish people had forgiven offenses 3 times. 3 strikes and you were out. Peter seemed overly generous in his attempts at forgiveness. Jesus surprised Peter with a solemn declaration (λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦ) by telling him to forgive his brother’s sins not just 7 times (Οὐ λέγω σοι ἕως ἑπτάκις) but 490 times, 7*70 (ἀλλὰ ἕως ἑβδομηκοντάκις ἑπτά). However, this saying about 7*70 was unique to Matthew, who was the only one who ever used this number ἑβδομηκοντάκις ἑπτά in the New Testament literature. This number, nevertheless, could be found in Genesis, chapter 4:24 when Cain and Lamech were talking about violent revenge. Lamech wanted his vengeance 7*70. Was this number an attempt to indicate infinity before we had that term? 490 seems overly generous in any circumstances. However, here in Luke, it might be even more since forgiveness was expected 7 times each day. How many times do you forgive people?
“The rich man said.
Goes to them
From the dead,
They will repent.’”
ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Οὐχί, πάτερ Ἀβραάμ, ἀλλ’ ἐάν τις ἀπὸ νεκρῶν πορευθῇ πρὸς αὐτοὺς, μετανοήσουσιν.
This parable story about the poor man Lazarus and an unnamed rich man is only found in Luke, not in the other gospels. Luke indicated that Jesus remarked that the rich man said no (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν) to Abraham, calling him father (Οὐχί, πάτερ Ἀβραάμ), that if someone from the dead went to them (ἀλλ’ ἐάν τις ἀπὸ νεκρῶν πορευθῇ πρὸς αὐτοὺς), they would repent or change their ways, have a metanoia (μετανοήσουσιν). This rich man thought that a miraculous showing of a dead man would make his brothers change their minds and their lifestyles. What would make you change your lifestyle?
I tell you!
But unless you repent
You will perish
Just as they did.”
οὐχί, λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀλλ’ ἐὰν μὴ μετανοήσητε, πάντες ὡσαύτως ἀπολεῖσθε.
Luke once again uniquely had this response of Jesus, which was the same as previously. This response of Jesus in Luke was simple. Jesus said “No (οὐχί)” with a solemn pronouncement (λέγω ὑμῖν). All of them present there, if they did not repent or have a change of heart, a metanoia (ἀλλ’ ἐὰν μὴ μετανοήσητε), they would all perish, just like these people upon whom the wall fell down on (πάντες ὡσαύτως ἀπολεῖσθε). Tragic death did not mean that you were a sinner. Repentance for all was important. Do you think that anyone deserves to die?
I tell you!
But unless you repent
You will all perish
As they did!”
οὐχί, λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀλλ’ ἐὰν μὴ μετανοῆτε, πάντες ὁμοίως ἀπολεῖσθε.
The unique answer in Luke was also simple. Jesus said “No (οὐχί)” with a solemn pronouncement (λέγω ὑμῖν). These Galileans were no worse than anyone else. All of them present there, if they did not repent or have a change of heart, a metanoia (ἀλλ’ ἐὰν μὴ μετανοῆτε), they would all perish just like these Galileans (πάντες ὁμοίως ἀπολεῖσθε). Repentance for all was important, no matter what kind of death you might endure. How do you want to die?
‘What then should we do?’”
Καὶ ἐπηρώτων αὐτὸν οἱ ὄχλοι λέγοντες Τί οὖν ποιήσωμεν;
Now there are a series of unique sayings of Luke about John and his preaching that are not found elsewhere in the biblical writings. Apparently, there were a number of questions that people were asking John. Luke said that the crowds asked him (Καὶ ἐπηρώτων αὐτὸν οἱ ὄχλοι λέγοντες) what should they do (Τί οὖν ποιήσωμεν)? John was considered to be a moral teacher. Thus, the crowds of people who came to repent with baptism wanted to know what were they to do now that they were baptized. What did repentance look like?
Into all the region
Around the Jordan River.
He was proclaiming
For the forgiveness
καὶ ἦλθεν εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν περίχωρον τοῦ Ἰορδάνου κηρύσσων βάπτισμα μετανοίας εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν,
This section of Luke is very similar to all the other 4 gospel stories. Luke explicitly said that John went into all the region around the Jordan River (καὶ ἦλθεν εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν περίχωρον τοῦ Ἰορδάνου). Mark, chapter 1:4, had the simple statement that John the Baptizer, appeared in the wilderness or desert, without mentioning the Jordan River. However, Luke was actually closer to Mark, since he used the exact same words about John’s preaching. He indicated that John was proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (κηρύσσων βάπτισμα μετανοίας εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν). Matthew, chapter 3:2, said that the preaching message of John was very simple. They should repent, turn their lives around, with a profound metanoia, a change of their spirit. The equivalent about repentance, metanoia, or the change of heart can also be found in both Mark and Luke. Matthew had John say that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, coming near. The other canonical gospel writers did not use this term “kingdom of heaven.” John, chapter l:19-29, had a long dialogue with John and the priests and Levites about what he was doing. How and what John did before or after this preaching in the wilderness did not matter. He was there proclaiming a baptism of repentance, a life change, or a metanoia, to have sins or faults forgiven or wiped away.
The twelve went out.
That all people
Καὶ ἐξελθόντες ἐκήρυξαν ἵνα μετανοῶσιν,
There is no equivalent to this saying of Mark, as he explained their mission. Mark said that the 12 apostles went out (Καὶ ἐξελθόντες). They proclaimed or preached (ἐκήρυξαν) that all people should repent, have a change of heart or a metanoia (ἵνα μετανοῶσιν), just like John the Baptist and Jesus had done. These 12 apostles were to continue the work and preaching of Jesus.
“John came to you
In the way of righteousness.
You did not believe him.
But the tax collectors
And the prostitutes
Even after you saw it,
You did not change your mind.
You did not believe him.”
ἦλθεν γὰρ Ἰωάνης πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐν ὁδῷ δικαιοσύνης, καὶ οὐκ ἐπιστεύσατε αὐτῷ· οἱ δὲ τελῶναι καὶ αἱ πόρναι ἐπίστευσαν αὐτῷ· ὑμεῖς δὲ ἰδόντες οὐδὲ μετεμελήθητε ὕστερον τοῦ πιστεῦσαι αὐτῷ.
This saying about John the Baptist is unique to Matthew, based on his continual emphasis on the role of John the Baptist. However, there is something similar to this in Luke, chapter 7:29-30, but within another context. Jesus used the example of John the Baptist who had come to them in his righteousness way (ἦλθεν γὰρ Ἰωάνης πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐν ὁδῷ δικαιοσύνης). They had not believed him (καὶ οὐκ ἐπιστεύσατε αὐτῷ), but the Roman tax collectors and the prostitutes had believed him (οἱ δὲ τελῶναι καὶ αἱ πόρναι ἐπίστευσαν αὐτῷ). Even after they saw John (ὑμεῖς δὲ ἰδόντες), they did not change their minds, or repent (οὐδὲ μετεμελήθητε ὕστερον), or believe in him (πιστεῦσαι αὐτῷ). Jesus chided them for their rejection of John the Baptist.