Do not be led astray (Lk 21:8-21:8)

“Jesus said.

‘Beware!

Do not be led astray!

Many will come

In my name.

They will say.

‘I am he!’

And

‘The time is near!’

Do not go after them!’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Βλέπετε μὴ πλανηθῆτε· πολλοὶ γὰρ ἐλεύσονται ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματί μου λέγοντες Ἐγώ εἰμι, καί Ὁ καιρὸς ἤγγικεν· μὴ πορευθῆτε ὀπίσω αὐτῶν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν) that they should be aware (Βλέπετε) and not be led astray (ὴ πλανηθῆτε) because many people would come in his name (πολλοὶ γὰρ ἐλεύσονται ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματί μου).  They would say (λέγοντες) that they were Jesus (Ἐγώ εἰμι) and that the end time was near (καί Ὁ καιρὸς ἤγγικεν).  However, they were not to go after them (μὴ πορευθῆτε ὀπίσω αὐτῶν).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 24:4-5, and in Mark, chapter 13:5-6, almost word for word.  Mark said that Jesus began to tell them about people who might lead them astray (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἤρξατο λέγειν αὐτοῖς).  He told them that they should be aware, so that they would not be led astray or be misled (Βλέπετε μή τις ὑμᾶς πλανήσῃ).  They had to be cautious, so as not to be deceived.  Jesus said that many people would come in his name (πολλοὶ ἐλεύσονται ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματί μου) saying that they were the One (λέγοντες ὅτι Ἐγώ εἰμι).  They would try to deceive them by leading them astray (καὶ πολλοὺς πλανήσουσιν).  In Matthew, Jesus warned them against people who might lead them astray (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Βλέπετε μή τις ὑμᾶς πλανήσῃ).  Many people would come in his name (πολλοὶ γὰρ ἐλεύσονται ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματί μου) saying that they were the Messiah Christ (λέγοντες Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ Χριστός).  Matthew explicitly mentioned the Christ, but this was not in the other accounts.  They would say this in order to deceive them and lead them astray (καὶ πολλοὺς πλανήσουσιν).  Apparently, there were many deceptive Jewish messianic leaders who were saying that they were the Christ Messiah.  John the Baptist was an example of a messianic leader in the 1st century CE.  Other political Jewish leaders had messianic ambitions also, especially those who led the revolt against the Romans in the 2nd half of the 1st century.  Jesus was warning against all of them.  Have people tried to deceive you?

No stones untouched (Lk 21:5-21:6)

“Jesus said.

‘As for these things

That you see,

The days will come

When not one stone

Will be left upon another.

All will be thrown down.’”

 

εἶπεν Ταῦτα ἃ θεωρεῖτε, ἐλεύσονται ἡμέραι ἐν αἷς οὐκ ἀφεθήσεται λίθος ἐπὶ λίθῳ ὃς οὐ καταλυθήσεται.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said (εἶπεν) that these things that they saw or were looking at (Ταῦτα ἃ θεωρεῖτε,) would be different in the days to come (ἐλεύσονται ἡμέραι).  Not one stone would be left upon another (ἐν αἷς οὐκ ἀφεθήσεται λίθος ἐπὶ λίθῳ ὃς οὐ).  All would be thrown down (καταλυθήσεται).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 24:2, almost word for word, with Mark, chapter 13:2.  Mark said that Jesus asked this disciple (καὶ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ) if he saw all these great buildings (Βλέπεις ταύτας τὰς μεγάλας οἰκοδομάς)?  Jesus told him that not one stone would be left on another stone of the Temple buildings (οὐ μὴ ἀφεθῇ λίθος ἐπὶ λίθον).  All of the Temple buildings would be torn down, thrown down, or destroyed (ὃς οὐ μὴ καταλυθῇ).  Matthew said that Jesus answered them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς).  He asked them if they had not seen all these buildings (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Οὐ βλέπετε ταῦτα πάντα).  Then in a solemn proclamation (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν), that was not in Luke or Mark, he told them that not one stone would be left on another stone here at the Temple (οὐ μὴ ἀφεθῇ ὧδε λίθος ἐπὶ λίθον).  All of the Temple buildings would be torn down or thrown down (ὃς οὐ καταλυθήσεται).  In fact, in 70 CE, within 40 years after the time of Jesus, the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed by the Romans in their war with Israel.  However, threats against the Jerusalem Temple had been common among the prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures, especially before the Exile in the 7th and 6th century BCE.  Have you ever seen a church or temple destroyed?

Bad treatment for the Son of Man (Lk 18:32-18:32)

“The Son of Man

Will be handed over

To the gentiles.

He will be mocked.

He will be insulted.

He will be spat upon.”

 

παραδοθήσεται γὰρ τοῖς ἔθνεσιν καὶ ἐμπαιχθήσεται καὶ ὑβρισθήσεται καὶ ἐμπτυσθήσεται,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the Son of Man would be handed over to the gentiles (παραδοθήσεται γὰρ τοῖς ἔθνεσιν), the non-Israelites, obviously the Romans.  He would be mocked or ridiculed (καὶ ἐμπαιχθήσεται), insulted (καὶ ὑβρισθήσεται), and spat upon (καὶ ἐμπτυσθήσεται).  There was no clear statement about who was doing all this here in Luke, as there was in Mark and Matthew, where the chief priests and Scribes, but not the Pharisees or Sadducees, were betraying or handing over Jesus to the gentiles.  This was the 3rd prediction of the future sufferings of Jesus.  Luke had mentioned it in chapter 9:22 and 9:44-45.  Mark, chapter 10:33, and Matthew, chapter 20:18, have something similar to this.  Mark also had this as the 3rd prediction about the death of Jesus as he had mentioned it in chapters 8:31-33 and 9:30-32.  Jesus told his trusted 12 leaders that they were going up to Jerusalem (ὅτι Ἰδοὺ ἀναβαίνομεν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα), where the Son of Man would be handed over to the chief priests and the Scribes (καὶ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδοθήσεται τοῖς ἀρχιερεῦσιν καὶ τοῖς γραμματεῦσιν).  These chief priests and Scribes were going to condemn him to death (καὶ κατακρινοῦσιν αὐτὸν εἰς θανάτῳ).  They would, in turn, hand him over to the gentiles (καὶ παραδώσουσιν αὐτὸν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν), meaning the Romans.  In Matthew, this would be the 3rd prediction of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection, after chapters 16:21 and 17:22-23.  Yet this is the most descriptive explanation.  Jesus told his trusted 12 leaders that they were going to Jerusalem (Ἰδοὺ ἀναβαίνομεν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα).  There the Son of Man would be handed over to the chief priests of Jerusalem and the Scribes (καὶ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδοθήσεται τοῖς ἀρχιερεῦσιν καὶ γραμματεῦσιν).  These priests and Scribes were going to condemn him to death (καὶ κατακρινοῦσιν αὐτὸν εἰς θάνατον).  They would, in turn, hand him over to the gentiles (καὶ παραδώσουσιν αὐτὸν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν), obviously the Romans.  These imminent predictions were about the future sufferings of the Son of Man, Jesus, in Jerusalem.  Would you like to know about your future sufferings?

The power of the law (Lk 16:17-16:17)

“It is easier

For heaven

And earth

To pass away,

Than for one stroke

Of a letter

Of the law

To be dropped.”

 

εὐκοπώτερον δέ ἐστιν τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν παρελθεῖν ἢ τοῦ νόμου μίαν κεραίαν πεσεῖν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that it was easier (εὐκοπώτερον δέ ἐστιν) for heaven (τὸν οὐρανὸν) and earth (καὶ τὴν γῆν) to pass away (παρελθεῖν), than for one stroke of a letter of the law to be dropped (ἢ τοῦ νόμου μίαν κεραίαν πεσεῖν).  Nothing in the Law or the Torah could be changed or dropped, plain and simple.  This saying is similar to Mark, chapter 13:31, and Matthew, chapter 5:18, with a few exceptions.  Matthew has this as a great Jesus solemn pronouncement for his disciples (ἀμὴν γὰρ λέγω ὑμῖν).  The next phrase is the same in Luke and Mark.  Heaven and earth would not pass away (ἕως ἂν παρέλθῃ ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ γῆ) until the law was fully accomplished (ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμου, ἕως ἂν πάντα γένηται).  Matthew, like Luke here, is even more specific with a detailed remark about the fact that not even an iota of the Law or not one stroke of a letter would go away (ἰῶτα ἓν ἢ μία κεραία οὐ μὴ παρέλθῃ ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμου), before the Law was fully accomplished.  Iota was the Greek word for the Hebrew yod, the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet.  Mark indicated that it was the words of Jesus, and not the Law, that would not change.  Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, chapter 3:31, would further expand on this idea of upholding the law.  In Matthew, chapter 24:35, and in Luke, chapter 21:33, Jesus said that heaven and earth would pass away (ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ γῆ παρελεύσονται), but his words would not pass away (οἱ δὲ λόγοι μου οὐ μὴ παρελεύσονται).  This was a simple statement about the enduring quality of the words of Jesus.  Here, however, it is the words of the law that would not pass away, not the words of Jesus.  Which is more important for you, the law or the words of Jesus?

The women followers (Mk 15:40-15:40)

“There were also women

Looking on

From a distance.

Among them were

Mary Magdalene,

Mary,

The mother

Of James the younger,

And of Joseph,

And Salome.”

 

Ἦσαν δὲ καὶ γυναῖκες ἀπὸ μακρόθεν θεωροῦσαι, ἐν αἷς καὶ Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ καὶ Μαρία ἡ Ἰακώβου τοῦ μικροῦ καὶ Ἰωσῆτος μήτηρ καὶ Σαλώμη,

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 27:55-56.  In Luke, chapter 23:49, there was a mention of the women from Galilee, but without their specific names.  In John, chapter 19:25-27, there was a mention of the mother of Jesus, Mary, the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene, as well as a conversation, but no mention of Galilee.  Mark said that some women were also there (Ἦσαν δὲ καὶ γυναῖκες).  They were looking on from a distance (ἀπὸ μακρόθεν θεωροῦσαι), which would have been their normal role.  Mark specifically mentioned Mary Magdalene (ἐν αἷς ἦν Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ), Mary, the mother of James the younger and Joseph (καὶ Μαρία ἡ Ἰακώβου τοῦ μικροῦ καὶ Ἰωσῆτος μήτηρ), as well as Salome (καὶ Σαλώμη).  Was Salome the mother of the sons of Zebedee?  Certainly, there were a lot of women called Mary, since it was the most popular name of Palestinian Jewish women at the time of Jesus.  There probably were 8 different women with the name of Mary in the 61 times that the name Mary was mentioned in the New Testament.  First was (1) Mary, the mother of Jesus, who was not mentioned here.  Next there was (2) Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, who also was not mentioned here.  (3) Mary of Clopas was mentioned in John, but not here.  Then there was Mary Magdalene (4), who was mentioned here.  Finally, there were the more confusing Marys.  (5) Mary, the mother of James the younger and Joseph, who was mentioned here.  (6) Perhaps the mother of the Zebedee brothers was also named Mary or Mary Salome.  Finally (7) Mary, the mother of John Mark was mentioned in Acts, chapter 12:12, while (8) Mary in Rome, was mentioned in Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 16:6.  There was also an English novel by Bruce Marshall (1899-1987) called The Other Mary from 1927, based on the New Testament.

They led Jesus to a Jewish assembly (Mk 14:53-14:53)

“They took Jesus

To the high priest.

All the chief priests,

The elders,

And the Scribes

Were assembled.”

 

Καὶ ἀπήγαγον τὸν Ἰησοῦν πρὸς τὸν ἀρχιερέα, καὶ συνέρχονται πάντες οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 26:57, but there is no mention of the house of Caiaphas here as there was in Matthew.  In Luke, chapter 22:54, Jesus was simply brought to the high priest’s house, which would have been Caiaphas.  In John, chapter 18:13-14, they brought Jesus to the house of the father-in-law of Caiaphas, Annas, who had been the high priest of Jerusalem from 6-15 CE, before he was removed by the Romans at the age of 36, even though he lived to the age of 61.  Thus, he had a lot of influence on things.  John remarked that Caiaphas had said it was better for one person to die for the people.  Caiaphas was the high priest from 18-36 CE since he had married the daughter of Annas.  Mark simply said that they took Jesus to the high priest (Καὶ ἀπήγαγον τὸν Ἰησοῦν πρὸς τὸν ἀρχιερέα), without mentioning his name or saying it was his house.  Apparently, the chief priests (οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς), the elder presbyters (καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι), and the Scribes (καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς) had all gathered or assembled there (καὶ συνέρχονται πάντες).  Was this an official meeting of the Jerusalem Sanhedrin?  Probably not, because these official meetings could not be held during the festival days or during the Passover.  On the other hand, some kind of informal meeting was possible.  However, there was no mention of any Pharisees or Sadducees being there either.

False Christs (Mk 13:22-13:22)

“False Messiah Christs

Will appear!

False prophets

Will appear!

They will produce

Signs!

They will produce

Omens

To lead astray,

If possible,

The elect.”

 

ἐγερθήσονται δὲ ψευδόχριστοι καὶ ψευδοπροφῆται καὶ ποιήσουσιν σημεῖα καὶ τέρατα πρὸς τὸ ἀποπλανᾶν εἰ δυνατὸν τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς·

 

This is almost word for word, in Matthew, chapter 24:24.  Mark said that both false or pseudo-Christs and false and pseudo-prophets would appear (ἐγερθήσονται δὲ ψευδόχριστοι καὶ ψευδοπροφῆται).  They would give signs and wonders (καὶ ποιήσουσιν σημεῖα καὶ τέρατα), in order to deceive, if possible, even the elect or the chosen ones (πρὸς τὸ ἀποπλανᾶν εἰ δυνατὸν τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς).  The 3 synoptic gospels often warned against people who might lead them astray.  Some people would come saying that they were the Messiah Christ in order to deceive them.  Apparently, there were quite a few deceptive Jewish messianic leaders who were saying that they were the Christ Messiah.  John the Baptist was an example of a messianic leader in the 1st century CE.  Other political Jewish leaders had messianic ambitions also, especially those who led the revolt against the Romans in the 2nd half of the 1st century.  Jesus was warning against all of them.