Seek the kingdom! (Lk 12:31-12:31)

“Instead!

Strive

For his kingdom!

All these things

Will be given

To you

As well.”

 

πλὴν ζητεῖτε τὴν βασιλείαν αὐτοῦ, καὶ ταῦτα προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν.

 

Luke had Jesus give a simple solution.  Instead of worrying, they were to strive or seek (πλὴν ζητεῖτε) his kingdom (τὴν βασιλείαν αὐτοῦ).  Then all these things would be given to them as well (καὶ ταῦτα προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν).  Once again, Matthew, chapter 6:33, had a similar Jesus saying, indicating a common Q source, as the same theme continued.  Thus, they should seek or strive first (ζητεῖτε δὲ πρῶτον) for the kingdom (τὴν βασιλείαν) and his righteousness (καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ).  Then all these other things would be taken care of for them (καὶ ταῦτα πάντα προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν).  Do you seek the kingdom of God?

Wisdom (Lk 7:35-7:35)

“Nevertheless,

Wisdom

Is vindicated

By all her children.”

 

καὶ ἐδικαιώθη ἡ σοφία ἀπὸ πάντων τῶν τέκνων αὐτῆς.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that wisdom (ἡ σοφία) would be vindicated (καὶ ἐδικαιώθη) by all her children (ἀπὸ πάντων τῶν τέκνων αὐτῆς).  This is similar to Matthew, chapter 11:19.  This personification of wisdom would have the justified end result that righteousness would show up in its deeds or its children.  Do your children show that you are wise?

Baptized by John (Lk 7:29-7:29)

“All the people

Who heard this,

Including the tax collectors,

Acknowledged

The justice of God.

They had been baptized

With John’s baptism.”

 

καὶ πᾶς ὁ λαὸς ἀκούσας καὶ οἱ τελῶναι ἐδικαίωσαν τὸν Θεόν, βαπτισθέντες τὸ βάπτισμα Ἰωάνου·

 

Luke has a unique statement about everybody being baptized by John the Baptist.  He said that all the people who heard John (καὶ πᾶς ὁ λαὸς ἀκούσας), even including the tax collectors (καὶ οἱ τελῶναι), acknowledged the justice of God (ἐδικαίωσαν τὸν Θεόν).  They had been baptized with John’s baptism (βαπτισθέντες τὸ βάπτισμα Ἰωάνου).  Jesus noted that even the tax collectors listened to John the Baptist and recognized the justice or righteousness of God.  This saying of Luke indicated the importance and reach of John the Baptist and his baptism.  Do you as a sinner recognize the value of Baptism?

Woe to the rich! (Lk 6:24-6:24)

“But woe to you

Who are rich!

You have received

Your consolation.”

 

Πλὴν οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς πλουσίοις, ὅτι ἀπέχετε τὴν παράκλησιν ὑμῶν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said the rich people should be cursed (Πλὴν οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς πλουσίοις), using the second person plural.  They already had received their consolation, comfort, or happiness (ὅτι ἀπέχετε τὴν παράκλησιν ὑμῶν).  While Matthew had 8 beatitudes about the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, the righteous, the merciful, the pure of heart, the peacemakers, and the persecuted, Luke only had 4.  The blessed or fortunate ones here were the poor, the hungry, the weeping, and the. persecuted.  3 of the 4 of these categories are almost the same, but the hungry could only go with those who hunger for righteousness.  Some later 4th century Christian writers, like Ambrose of Milan (337-397), have said that theses 4 beatitudes correspond to the 4 cardinal virtues of temperance, justice, prudence, and fortitude.  However, Luke uniquely has these 4 more woes or curses in which he denounced or called out their bad behavior.  In this particular case, he challenged or criticized the rich people because they already had their consolation.

Blessed are the hungry (Lk 6:21-6:21)

“Blessed are you

Who are hungry now!

You shall be satisfied.”

 

μακάριοι οἱ πεινῶντες νῦν, ὅτι χορτασθήσεσθε.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the hungry people now (οἱ πεινῶντες νῦν) would be blessed or happy (μακάριοι) and satisfied (ὅτι χορτασθήσεσθε), using the second person plural.  This is somewhat equivalent to Matthew, chapter 5:6, perhaps indicating that these beatitudes may be from the Q source.  There Matthew said the happy, blessed, and fortunate ones (μακάριοι) were those who hungered and thirsted for righteousness (οἱ πεινῶντες καὶ διψῶντες τὴν δικαιοσύνην).  They would not go away empty handed.  They would be satisfied or filled (ὅτι αὐτοὶ χορτασθήσοντ).  Isaiah, chapter 55:1-2 had an invitation to those without money to come to drink and eat.  They could have water, wine, milk and bread.  They would enjoy themselves at this banquet.  Matthew may have been referencing Psalm 107:4-9, where Yahweh had helped a small group of lost Israelites who were hungry and thirsty, while wandering in the desert.  He satisfied their thirst and filled their hunger with good food.  Thus, they gave thanks to Yahweh.  So too, those who hungered and thirsted for righteousness, the right way of doing things, would be satisfied or filled with this righteousness.  However, here Luke was talking about real hunger for food that would be satisfied.  Luke is more concrete, less spiritual.  You are poor and hungry, plain and simple.  You would be blessed, fortunate, happy, and satisfied.

Serve without fear (Lk 1:74-1:75)

“Grant that we,

Being rescued

From the hands

Of our enemies,

Might serve God

Without fear

In holiness

And righteousness

Before him

All our days.”

 

ἀφόβως ἐκ χειρὸς ἐχθρῶν ῥυσθέντας λατρεύειν αὐτῷ

ἐν ὁσιότητι καὶ δικαιοσύνῃ ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ πάσαις ταῖς ἡμέραις ἡμῶν.

 

Next Zechariah, via Luke, turned to the present day.  He wanted to be rescued or saved (ῥυσθέντας) from the hands of his enemies (ἐκ χειρὸς ἐχθρῶν).  Thus, he might serve God (λατρεύειν αὐτῷ) without fear (ἀφόβως) in holiness (ἐν ὁσιότητι) and righteousness (καὶ δικαιοσύνῃ) before God (ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ) all the days of his life (πάσαις ταῖς ἡμέραις ἡμῶν).  Zachariah wanted to continue to worship the Lord, God, correctly during his whole life.

Second narrative

This second narrative centered around the Sermon on the Mount and the famous so-called Beatitudes.  The first beatitude was about poverty, while the second beatitude was about mourning.  The third beatitude was about the meek or the humble.  The fourth beatitude was about righteousness.  The fifth beatitude was on mercy, while the sixth beatitude was about the pure of heart.  The seventh beatitude was on peacemakers, while the eighth beatitude was on persecution.  There was a grand blessing for the persecuted Christians, who were the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  They had to value and become the lighted lamp.

Next came the law and the prophets.  The law with all its commandments remained.  The righteous ones would not murder, nor would they get angry with insults.  They would offer their gifts at the Temple.  They would pay their debts and not commit adultery.  Jesus warned against the sinning eye and the sinning right hand.  He favored the traditional divorce stance, but warned about marrying a divorced woman.  They should not bear false witness, nor swear at all, since they should have a simple speech.  No longer was it an eye for an eye, but rather turn the other cheek with unusual kindness.  They were to love their enemies and their heavenly Father with a perfect love.

The followers of Jesus should fast and pray.  We should have piety with almsgiving.  Our charity and prayer should be secret with short prayers.  Thus, there was the famous “Our Father” prayer.  The first part of the Lord’s prayer was about God the Father.  The second part of the Lord’s prayer was about our human problems.  We should seek forgiveness and fast in secret.  We should not want earthly treasures, but heavenly treasures.  We need to have a healthy eye because we cannot serve two masters.

We should trust in Providence.  We do not need to worry.  Just look at the birds who do not worry.  The lilies of the field have more beauty than Solomon in all his glory.  Seek the kingdom of heaven first and you will not have to worry about tomorrow.

As far as judgment was concerned, do not judge the speck in the eye of your neighbor.  Be careful with your holy treasures.  Be seekers and give to your sons.  Pray to your heavenly Father and follow the golden rule.  The gate was narrow and there were many false prophets.  Know them by their fruits.  The sound tree has good fruits.  Cut down the bad tree.  Seek the kingdom of heaven.  Stay away from evildoers.  Wise men build on a rock foundation, while the foolish ones build on a sand foundation.  The crowds were astonished at the authority of Jesus.