Bear testimony (Lk 21:13-21:13)

“This will give you

An opportunity

To testify.”

 

ἀποβήσεται ὑμῖν εἰς μαρτύριον.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that this persecution would give them an opportunity (ἀποβήσεται ὑμῖν) to testify as a witness or a martyr (εἰς μαρτύριον).  This verse is somewhat similar to Mark, chapter 13:10, with a hint of this in Matthew, chapter 24:14.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that the good news of the gospel (τὸ εὐαγγέλιον) must first be proclaimed (πρῶτον δεῖ κηρυχθῆναι) to all the gentile nations (καὶ εἰς πάντα τὰ ἔθνη).  That would be a difficult task, certainly putting the end times at a further distance.  This mission to the gentile nations was a trademark of the Gospel of Mark with its emphasis on the gentile non-Jewish Christians.  Matthew had the same idea in chapter 10:22, and also in chapter 24:14, where Jesus said that this gospel, this good news of the kingdom (τοῦτο τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς βασιλείας) would be preached (καὶ κηρυχθήσεται) throughout the whole inhabited world (ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ οἰκουμένῃ), as a witness or testimony to all the gentile nations (εἰς μαρτύριον πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν).  Then the end would come (καὶ τότε ἥξει τὸ τέλος).  Matthew seemed to set a precondition before the coming of the end times that the gospel would be preached throughout the whole known world.  Luke was more restrained here simply saying that there was an opportunity to be a witness or martyr.  Would you be a Christian martyr?

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The wisdom of God (Lk 11:49-11:49)

“Therefore,

The Wisdom of God said.

‘I will send them

Prophets

And apostles.

They will kill

And persecute

Some of them.’”

 

διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἡ σοφία τοῦ Θεοῦ εἶπεν Ἀποστελῶ εἰς αὐτοὺς προφήτας καὶ ἀποστόλους, καὶ ἐξ αὐτῶν ἀποκτενοῦσιν καὶ διώξουσιν,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the Wisdom of God (διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἡ σοφία τοῦ Θεοῦ εἶπεν) said that he would send them prophets (Ἀποστελῶ εἰς αὐτοὺς προφήτας) and apostles (καὶ ἀποστόλους).  However, they would kill (ἀποκτενοῦσιν) and persecute (καὶ διώξουσιν) some of them (καὶ ἐξ αὐτῶν).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 23:34, perhaps a Q source, about the killing of prophets.  Jesus said, via Matthew, that he was going to send them prophets, sages or wise men, and scribes, the heroes of the Hebrew Scripture and the Mosaic Law.  However, instead of respecting them, they were going to kill some, crucify some, and flog or scourge some in their synagogues.  They were going to go from town to town persecuting some also.  Jesus had mentioned the possibility of death or crucifixion for his followers earlier.  Luke had Jesus slightly more restrained here.  He mentioned the Wisdom of God (ἡ σοφία τοῦ Θεοῦ) as he had done earlier in chapter 7:35, either indicating Holy Scripture or the personification of wisdom.  What do you know about the wisdom of God?

The kingdoms of the world (Lk 4:5-4:5)

“Then the devil

Led Jesus up.

He showed him,

In an instant,

All the kingdoms

Of the world.”

 

Καὶ ἀναγαγὼν αὐτὸν ἔδειξεν αὐτῷ πάσας τὰς βασιλείας τῆς οἰκουμένης ἐν στιγμῇ χρόνου.

 

This is the 3rd and final temptation in Matthew, chapter 4:8-10, but here in Luke it is the 2nd temptation.  The wording is almost the same, indicating a shared common source, perhaps Q.  Luke said that the devil led Jesus up (Καὶ ἀναγαγὼν αὐτὸν), presumably a high mountain, as in some Orthodox manuscripts and in Matthew.  He then showed him (ἔδειξεν αὐτῷ) in an instant or moment in time (ἐν στιγμῇ χρόνου), all the kingdoms of the world (πάσας τὰς βασιλείας τῆς οἰκουμένης).  Exactly how he did this is difficult to discern.  This time, the devil took Jesus to an exceeding high mountain, where he showed Jesus all the great kingdoms of the world.  Luke was more restrained in his description of the various kingdoms, since he did not mention their splendor and glory, the way that Matthew had.

The amazing Jesus (Lk 2:47-2:47)

“All who heard him

Were amazed

At his understanding

And his answers.”

 

ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες οἱ ἀκούοντες αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τῇ συνέσει καὶ ταῖς ἀποκρίσεσιν αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke made a comment that will be often repeated here and in all the other gospel stories about how people were amazed or marveled at Jesus.  He said that everyone, especially these religious teachers in Jerusalem, who heard this 12-year-old Jesus was amazed or astonished (ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες οἱ ἀκούοντες αὐτοῦ) at his understanding or intellect (ἐπὶ τῇ συνέσει) and his answers (καὶ ταῖς ἀποκρίσεσιν αὐτοῦ).  He was a bright kid for his age.  What else would you expect from Jesus?  The idea of a brilliant youth was common among all ancient heroes.  However, the gospel writers were restrained in this area, since this is the only canonical story or episode about the young Jesus.

The wild behavior of the demoniac (Mk 5:4-5:5)

“This demoniac

Had often been restrained

With foot shackles

And chains.

But he tore apart

The chains.

He broke in pieces

The foot shackles.

No one

Had the strength

To subdue him.

All night and day,

He was always howling

Among the tombs

And on the mountains.

He was bruising himself

With stones.”

 

διὰ τὸ αὐτὸν πολλάκις πέδαις καὶ ἁλύσεσιν δεδέσθαι, καὶ διεσπάσθαι ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ τὰς ἁλύσεις καὶ τὰς πέδας συντετρῖφθαι, καὶ οὐδεὶς ἴσχυεν αὐτὸν δαμάσαι·

καὶ διὰ παντὸς νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν καὶ ἐν τοῖς ὄρεσιν ἦν κράζων καὶ κατακόπτων ἑαυτὸν λίθοις.

 

This is a description of this demoniac, while Matthew just said that he was a wild person, but Luke, chapter 8:29, has a description much like this.  Mark said that this demoniac had often been bound or restrained with foot shackles and chains (διὰ τὸ αὐτὸν πολλάκις πέδαις καὶ ἁλύσεσιν δεδέσθαι).  However, he tore in two the chains (καὶ διεσπάσθαι ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ τὰς ἁλύσεις).  He broke or shattered his foot shackles into pieces (καὶ τὰς πέδας συντετρῖφθαι).  No one had the strength to subdue him (καὶ οὐδεὶς ἴσχυεν αὐτὸν δαμάσαι).  Constantly all night and day (καὶ διὰ παντὸς νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας), he was always howling or crying among the tombs and on the hills or mountains (ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν καὶ ἐν τοῖς ὄρεσιν ἦν κράζων).  He was cutting or bruising himself with stones (καὶ κατακόπτων ἑαυτὸν λίθοις).  This was not a pretty sight or a happy guy.

The cedar tree goes down into Sheol (Ezek 31:15-31:15)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘On the day

It went down

To Sheol,

I closed the deep

Over it.

I covered it.

I restrained

Its rivers.

It mighty waters

Were checked.

I clothed Lebanon

In gloom

For it.

All the trees

Of the field

Fainted

Because of it.’”

Once again, carrying on the theme that Yahweh was in control of all the trees, Yahweh closed the deep abyss that had given water to this great cedar tree. Yahweh covered over and restrained the deep abyss streams that were now held in check. The cedar tree, like other humans, had gone to Sheol, the shadowy underworld afterlife place. Thus, Lebanon was in gloom and mourning for the lost personified tree. Also, all the other trees of the forest fainted because of this happening.

The stern response of Yahweh (Jer 14:10-14:10)

“Thus says Yahweh

Concerning this people.

‘Truly they have loved to wander.

They have not restrained their feet.

Therefore Yahweh does not accept them.

Now he will remember their iniquity.

He will punish their sins.’”

Yahweh gave an unambiguous response to this sinful confession of the people. He said that they loved to wander. They had not restrained their feet. Therefore, Yahweh was not going to accept them because he was going to remember their iniquities. He was going to punish them for their sins.