Beware of the Pharisees (Lk 12:1-12:1)

“Meanwhile,

The crowd gathered

By the thousands,

So that they trampled

On one another.

Jesus began to speak,

First to his disciples.

‘Beware of the yeast

Of the Pharisees,

That is,

Their hypocrisy.’”

 

Ἐν οἷς ἐπισυναχθεισῶν τῶν μυριάδων τοῦ ὄχλου, ὥστε καταπατεῖν ἀλλήλους, ἤρξατο λέγειν πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ πρῶτον Προσέχετε ἑαυτοῖς ἀπὸ τῆς ζύμης, ἥτις ἐστὶν ὑπόκρισις, τῶν Φαρισαίων.

 

Luke continued with a diatribe against the Pharisees.  Luke indicated that the crowd gathered by the thousands (Ἐν οἷς ἐπισυναχθεισῶν τῶν μυριάδων τοῦ ὄχλου), so that they trampled on one another (ὥστε καταπατεῖν ἀλλήλους).  This was the first mention of a problem with crowd control.  Jesus then began first to speak to his disciples (ἤρξατο λέγειν πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ πρῶτον).  He told them that they should be aware (Προσέχετε ἑαυτοῖς) of the yeast (ἀπὸ τῆς ζύμης) that is the hypocrisy (ἥτις ἐστὶν ὑπόκρισις) of the Pharisees (τῶν Φαρισαίων).  This saying about the yeast of the Pharisees can be found in Mark, chapter 8:16, and Matthew, chapter 16:6, but there are slight differences.  Mark and Luke did not mention the Sadducees, but Matthew did.  Matthew said that Jesus told his disciples to watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.  Matthew had a clear rebuff of both these groups and their growing yeast, leaven, or power that was expanding, but there was no mention of the Scribes.  For Mark and Matthew, this discussion took place about bread on a boat trip.  The disciples discovered that they had no food when they landed on the other side of the Sea of Galilee.  However, Mark said that it took place while they were still in the boat.  Mark was the only one to mention Herod, the Roman appointed political leader in Galilee.  Mark said that Jesus cautioned or instructed his disciples.  They were to watch out for and be aware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.  This was a clear rebuff of both the Pharisees and Herod.  Their growing yeast, leaven, or power was expanding.  Here, it is a simple warning against the Pharisees only.  Do you know anybody who is a hypocrite?

The curse on Chorazin and Bethsaida (Lk 10:13-10:13)

“Woe to you!

Chorazin!

Woe to you!

Bethsaida!

If the deeds

Of power

Done in you

Had been done

In Tyre

And Sidon,

They would have repented

Long ago,

Wearing sackcloth

And sitting in ashes.”

 

Οὐαί σοι, Χοραζείν, οὐαί σοι, Βηθσαϊδά· ὅτι εἰ ἐν Τύρῳ καὶ Σιδῶνι ἐγενήθησαν αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ γενόμεναι ἐν ὑμῖν, πάλαι ἂν ἐν σάκκῳ καὶ σποδῷ καθήμενοι μετενόησαν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that both Chorazin (Οὐαί σοι, Χοραζείν) and Bethsaida (οὐαί σοι, Βηθσαϊδά) should be cursed.  Jesus said that if the deeds of power or the miracles done among them would have had been done (ὅτι εἰ…ἐγενήθησαν αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ γενόμεναι ἐν ὑμῖν) in Tyre (ἐν Τύρῳ) and Sidon (καὶ Σιδῶνι), they would have repented or had a change of heart (μετενόησαν) long ago (πάλαι), wearing sackcloth (ἂν ἐν σάκκῳ) and sitting in ashes (καὶ σποδῷ καθήμενοι).  This is similar to Matthew, chapter 11:20-21, indicating a possible common Q source.  Matthew indicated that Jesus denounced or reproached these various Galilean towns where he had worked his powerful miracles of healing and curing.  Jesus was upset that despite his many miracles, these towns had not repented of their evil ways.  Jesus complained about two particular towns, Chorazin (Χοραζείν), that was about 3 miles north of Capernaum, and Bethsaida (Βηθσαϊδάν), about 5 miles north of Capernaum on the northern tip of the Sea of Galilee.  All these towns were fairly close together.  Jesus’ reproach started with a typical prophetic curse of “woe to you” (Οὐαί σοι), especially used by Isaiah.  Jesus also mentioned the Phoenician Mediterranean cities of Tyre and Sidon that Isaiah, chapter 23:1-12, and many of the other prophets had wailed against.  Jesus said that if these same miraculous deeds had taken place in these two coastal cities, they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes, something that Chorazin and Bethsaida had not done.  What kind of town do you live in?

Jesus takes his three trusted apostles to pray (Lk 9:28-9:28)

“Now about eight days

After these sayings,

Jesus took with him

Peter,

John,

And James.

They went up

On a mountain

To pray.”

 

Ἐγένετο δὲ μετὰ τοὺς λόγους τούτους ὡσεὶ ἡμέραι ὀκτὼ, καὶ παραλαβὼν Πέτρον καὶ Ἰωάνην καὶ Ἰάκωβον ἀνέβη εἰς τὸ ὄρος προσεύξασθαι.

 

Luke said that about 8 days (ὡσεὶ ἡμέραι ὀκτὼ), after these sayings (Ἐγένετο δὲ μετὰ τοὺς λόγους τούτους), Jesus took with him (καὶ παραλαβὼν) Peter (Πέτρον), John (καὶ Ἰωάνην), and James (καὶ Ἰάκωβον), his 3 favorite apostles.  They went up on a mountain (ἀνέβη εἰς τὸ ὄρος) to pray (προσεύξασθαι).  Going to a special mountain after these sayings can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 17:1, Mark, chapter 9:2, and here in LukeMark and Matthew are exactly the same, almost word for word, but Luke talked about 8 days and going to pray on a mountain.  Mark said that this activity took place 6 days later, probably after the proclamation of Peter about Jesus being the Christ messiah.  Jesus took with him Peter, and the 2 sons of Zebedee, James and John.  There was no mention of Peter’s brother Andrew.  Jesus brought these 3 disciples to an unnamed high mountain, presumably near the Sea of Galilee.  There was no mention of any prayer.  Matthew, like Mark, said that this activity took place 6 days later, not 8 days as in Luke.  Jesus took with him Peter, James, and his brother John.  Jesus brought these 3 disciples to an unnamed high mountain, presumably near the Sea of Galilee, probably Mount Tabor in lower Galilee or Mount Hermon near Caesarea Philippi, much further north.  They were alone by themselves, not with any of the other apostles or disciples.  Going up on a high mountain was an attempt to have a special communication with God, just as Moses had done in the Torah.  Jesus was transfigured or transformed in front of these 3 apostles.  Was this a foretaste of the resurrected Jesus Christ?  Do you expect to see a transfigured Jesus Christ?

Who do they say that I am? (Lk 9:18-9:18)

“Once when Jesus

Was praying alone,

With only the disciples

Near him,

He asked them.

‘Who do the crowds

Say that I am?’”

 

Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ εἶναι αὐτὸν προσευχόμενον κατὰ μόνας συνῆσαν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταί, καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτοὺς λέγων Τίνα με οἱ ὄχλοι λέγουσιν εἶναι;

 

Luke said that one time when Jesus was praying alone (Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ εἶναι αὐτὸν προσευχόμενον κατὰ μόνας), with only the disciples near him (συνῆσαν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταί,), he questioned them (καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτοὺς λέγων) about who did the crowds say that he was (Τίνα με οἱ ὄχλοι λέγουσιν εἶναι)?  This question about who Jesus is can be found in Matthew, chapter 16:13, and Mark, chapter 8:27, as well as here, but there are major differences.  Here in Luke, he was not traveling in Caesarea Philippi, as he was in Mark and Matthew, but all alone with his disciples praying.  Mark said that Jesus was with his disciples on his way towards the village of Caesarea Philippi, an ancient gentile Roman city, about 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee at the southeastern base of Mount Hermon, where there was a shrine to the Greek god Pan, in today’s Golan Heights.  Jesus then asked his closest disciples who they thought that he was.  In Matthew, Jesus asked them about the Son of Man, but not specifically himself.  In Matthew, Jesus asked or questioned his disciples who did people think the Son of Man was?  Jesus wanted to know what the people were thinking about him, so he asked his disciples their opinion.   Who do you think that Jesus is?

The crowds waited for Jesus (Lk 8:40-8:40)

“Now when Jesus returned,

The crowd

Welcomed him.

They were all

Waiting

For him.”

 

Ἐν δὲ τῷ ὑποστρέφειν τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἀπεδέξατο αὐτὸν ὁ ὄχλος· ἦσαν γὰρ πάντες προσδοκῶντες αὐτόν.

 

Luke continued to follow Mark.  When Jesus returned (Ἐν δὲ τῷ ὑποστρέφειν τὸν Ἰησοῦν), the crowd welcomed him (ἀπεδέξατο αὐτὸν ὁ ὄχλος).  They were all waiting for him (ἦσαν γὰρ πάντες προσδοκῶντες αὐτόν).  There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 5:21.  Mark said that Jesus crossed to the other side of the sea in a boat.  There, a great crowd gathered around him near the seashore.  Jesus had returned to familiar ground in the Jewish area around the western side of the Sea of Galilee.  Do you like to return to familiar territory?

They asked Jesus to leave (Lk 8:37-8:37)

“Then all the people

In the surrounding country

Of the Gerasenes

Asked Jesus

To depart from them.

They were seized

With great fear.

Thus,

Jesus got into his boat

And returned.”

 

καὶ ἠρώτησεν αὐτὸν ἅπαν τὸ πλῆθος τῆς περιχώρου τῶν Γερασηνῶν ἀπελθεῖν ἀπ’ αὐτῶν, ὅτι φόβῳ μεγάλῳ συνείχοντο· αὐτὸς δὲ ἐμβὰς εἰς πλοῖον ὑπέστρεψεν.

 

Luke said that all the people in the surrounding country of the Gerasenes (ἅπαν τὸ πλῆθος τῆς περιχώρου τῶν Γερασηνῶν) asked Jesus (καὶ ἠρώτησεν αὐτὸν) to depart from them (ἀπελθεῖν ἀπ’ αὐτῶν).  They were seized with great fear (ὅτι φόβῳ μεγάλῳ συνείχοντο).  Thus, Jesus got into his boat (αὐτὸς δὲ ἐμβὰς εἰς πλοῖον) and returned (ὑπέστρεψεν) to the other side.  All 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew chapter 8:34, Mark, chapter 5:17, and Luke here, said that the people in this east bank area of the Sea of Galilee begged Jesus to leave their neighborhood, with slight nuances in each story.  Mark simply said that the people began to implore Jesus to leave their region.  Matthew had the people in the Gadarenes area ask Jesus to leave their neighborhood.  The whole town went out to meet Jesus.  They then begged him to leave their area.  Not in my neighborhood, as economics was more important than any miraculous events.  Jesus was too disruptive to their way of life.  Does Jesus disrupt your life?

Gerasenes (Lk 8:26-8:26)

“Then they arrived

At the country

Of the Gerasenes,

Which is opposite Galilee.”

 

Καὶ κατέπλευσαν εἰς τὴν χώραν τῶν Γερασηνῶν, ἥτις ἐστὶν ἀντιπέρα τῆς Γαλιλαίας.

 

Luke said that Jesus and his disciples sailed down (Καὶ κατέπλευσαν) to the country of the Gerasenes (εἰς τὴν χώραν τῶν Γερασηνῶν), which was opposite Galilee (ἥτις ἐστὶν ἀντιπέρα τῆς Γαλιλαίας).  All three synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 8:28, Mark, chapter 5:1, as well as Luke here, have Jesus cross to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.  They went to the country or region of the Gerasenes.  Matthew called it Gadarenes, while Luke called it Gerasenes, like Mark.  This might be one of two different towns on the east bank of the Jordan in the Decapolis territory, a group of 10 cities.  One was called Gadara, about 6 miles away from the southeast side of the Sea of Galilee, near where the Sea of Galilee ran into the Jordan River.  Today, it is in the country of Jordan, known as Umm Qais.  The other Decapolis town was called Gerasa, a town about 40 miles from the Sea of Galilee, which would be more inconsistent with this story.  Nevertheless, this was Gentile territory with only a few Jewish people there.  Jesus had traveled over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee to its southern tip, to one of the 10 cities of the Decapolis territory.  Have you ever traveled to an area where they had different religious beliefs than you?