No party for the older brother (Lk 15:29-15:29)

“But he answered

His father.

‘Listen!

All these years

I have been working

Like a slave

For you.

I never disobeyed

Your command.

Yet you never given me

Even a young goat

So that

I might celebrate

With my friends.’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν τῷ πατρὶ Ἰδοὺ τοσαῦτα ἔτη δουλεύω σοι καὶ οὐδέποτε ἐντολήν σου παρῆλθον, καὶ ἐμοὶ οὐδέποτε ἔδωκας ἔριφον ἵνα μετὰ τῶν φίλων μου εὐφρανθῶ

 

This long parable story about the 2 sons can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that the older son answered his father by saying (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν τῷ πατρὶ) that all these years he had been working like a slave or servant for his father (Ἰδοὺ τοσαῦτα ἔτη δουλεύω σοι).  He never disobeyed any of his commands (καὶ οὐδέποτε ἐντολήν σου παρῆλθον).  Yet his father had never even given him a young goat (καὶ ἐμοὶ οὐδέποτε ἔδωκας ἔριφον) so that he could celebrate with his friends (ἵνα μετὰ τῶν φίλων μου εὐφρανθῶ).  The older son was mad at his father because he had done everything right for many years, but he was never allowed to have any celebrations with his friends.  He had tried to do the right thing, but he was never rewarded for that.  Do you ever feel taken for granted because you always try to do what is right?

 

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Your brother has come home (Lk 15:27-15:27)

“The servant replied.

‘Your brother

Has come home.

Your father

Has killed

The fatted calf,

Because he

Got him back

Safe

And sound.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὅτι Ὁ ἀδελφός σου ἥκει, καὶ ἔθυσεν ὁ πατήρ σου τὸν μόσχον τὸν σιτευτόν, ὅτι ὑγιαίνοντα αὐτὸν ἀπέλαβεν.

 

This long parable story about the 2 sons can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that the servant replied to the older son (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that his brother had come home (ὅτι Ὁ ἀδελφός σου ἥκει).  Then his father had killed or sacrificed (καὶ ἔθυσεν ὁ πατήρ σου) the fatted calf (τὸν μόσχον τὸν σιτευτόν), because he had him back safe and sound in good health (ὅτι ὑγιαίνοντα αὐτὸν ἀπέλαβεν).  Once again, Luke is the only biblical writer who used this term σιτευτόν, that means fattened calf, 3 times in this story.  His father was happy to have his other son healthy and back with them.  He was just glad to see him.  Have you ever had a family relative show up unexpectedly?

Humility (Lk 14:11-14:11)

“All who exalt themselves

Will be humbled!

Those who humble themselves

Will be exalted!”

 

ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ὑψῶν ἑαυτὸν ταπεινωθήσεται, καὶ ὁ ταπεινῶν ἑαυτὸν ὑψωθήσεται.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that all who exalted themselves (ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ὑψῶν ἑαυτὸν) would be humbled (ταπεινωθήσεται).  On the other hand, all those who humbled themselves (καὶ ὁ ταπεινῶν ἑαυτὸν), would be exalted (ὑψωθήσεται).  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 23:11-12, and chapter 20:26, but within different contexts.  There Jesus said that whoever wanted to be great among them must be their servant or waiter (ἀλλ’ ὃς ἐὰν θέλῃ ἐν ὑμῖν μέγας γενέσθαι, ἔσται ὑμῶν διάκονος).  Whoever wanted to be first among them (καὶ ὃς ἂν θέλῃ ἐν ὑμῖν εἶναι πρῶτος) must be their slave (ἔσται ὑμῶν δοῦλος).  Clearly, Jesus wanted his new leaders not to be like the gentile Roman leaders or the Jewish religious leaders.  They were to be true leaders who served their people, as they practiced servant leadership, not dictatorial leadership.  Jesus said that the greatest among them would be their servant (ὁ δὲ μείζων ὑμῶν ἔσται ὑμῶν διάκονος).  Like here, whoever exalted themselves would be humbled (Ὅστις δὲ ὑψώσει ἑαυτὸν ταπεινωθήσεται,).  On the other hand, anyone who humbled themselves would be exalted (καὶ ὅστις ταπεινώσει ἑαυτὸν ὑψωθήσεται).  This role reversal was an indication of the end times.  Do you humble yourself?

Just say the word (Lk 7:7-7:7)

“Therefore,

I did not presume

To come to you.

But only say the word!

Let my servant

Be healed!”

 

διὸ οὐδὲ ἐμαυτὸν ἠξίωσα πρὸς σὲ ἐλθεῖν· ἀλλὰ εἰπὲ λόγῳ, καὶ ἰαθήτω ὁ παῖς μου.

 

Luke said that the friends of the centurion continued by saying he would not presume to come to Jesus (διὸ οὐδὲ ἐμαυτὸν ἠξίωσα πρὸς σὲ ἐλθεῖν).  Instead, he wanted Jesus to only say the word (ἀλλὰ εἰπὲ λόγῳ), and thus his servant would be healed (καὶ ἰαθήτω ὁ παῖς μου).  This saying of the centurion’s friends is exactly the same as the centurion himself in Matthew, chapter 8:8, perhaps indicating a Q source.  The Roman centurion’s friends responded to Jesus that the centurion merely wanted Jesus to say the word, and then his servant would be healed.  Perhaps, he was aware that Jewish people were not expected to go into the homes of gentiles like himself.  Once again, this saying of the centurion and his friends has made its way into the Roman Catholic pre-communion prayer Eucharistic liturgy.  Would you rely on the word of Jesus?

The disciple and the teacher (Lk 6:40-6:40)

“A disciple

Is not above

His teacher.

But everyone

Who is fully qualified

Will be

Like his teacher.”

 

οὐκ ἔστιν μαθητὴς ὑπὲρ τὸν διδάσκαλον· κατηρτισμένος δὲ πᾶς ἔσται ὡς ὁ διδάσκαλος αὐτοῦ.

 

Something similar can be found in Matthew, chapter 10:24-25.  Obviously, no disciple is greater than his teacher.  The student or disciple of the teacher should become like his teacher.  However, Matthew also spoke about a servant or slave, who should be like his master or lord.  Then he went into the problem of Beelzebul and evil spirits.  Luke was more honed in on the teacher and disciple aspect.  The followers of Jesus were disciples of Jesus, their teacher or rabbi.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that a disciple is not (οὐκ ἔστιν μαθητὴς) above his teacher (ὑπὲρ τὸν διδάσκαλον).  However, everyone who was fully qualified would be (κατηρτισμένος δὲ πᾶς ἔσται) like his teacher (ὡς ὁ διδάσκαλος αὐτοῦ).  Jesus had the expectation that his fully trained disciples would be like him.  Do you know of any student better than his or her teacher?

 

The citation from Isaiah (Lk 4:18-4:19)

“The Spirit of the Lord

Is upon me.

Because

He has anointed me

To bring good news

To the poor.

He has sent me

To proclaim release

To the captives.

He has sent me

To give recovery

Of sight

To the blind.

He has sent me

To let the oppressed

Go free.

He has sent me

To proclaim the year

Of the Lord’s favor.’”

 

Πνεῦμα Κυρίου ἐπ’ ἐμέ, οὗ εἵνεκεν ἔχρισέν με εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῖς, ἀπέσταλκέν με κηρῦξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν, ἀποστεῖλαι τεθραυσμένους ἐν ἀφέσει,

κηρῦξαι ἐνιαυτὸν Κυρίου δεκτόν.

 

This is unique to Luke, who used this citation from Isaiah, chapter 61:1.  Jesus read or said that the Spirit of the Lord was upon him (Πνεῦμα Κυρίου ἐπ’ ἐμέ), because God had anointed him (ὗ εἵνεκεν ἔχρισέν με) to bring good news to the poor or oppressed (εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῖς).  Some Orthodox texts have the healing of the brokenhearted (συντετριμμένους τὴν καρδίαν) also.  God has sent him (ἀπέσταλκέν με) to proclaim the release to the captives (κηρῦξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν).  He has sent him to give recovery or sight to the blind (καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν), although there was no mention of the blind in Isaiah.  He has sent him to let the oppressed go free (ἀποστεῖλαι τεθραυσμένους ἐν ἀφέσει).  He has sent him to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (κηρῦξαι ἐνιαυτὸν Κυρίου δεκτόν), which is exactly the same as Isaiah, chapter 61:2.  The Spirit of Yahweh was upon him, who had been anointed, either like a priestly or a royal anointing.  However, the primary mission was not cultic, but rather social in nature, what we might call social justice.  Having been called by the Spirit and anointed by Yahweh, he was sent out with a simple generic mission.  Bring good news to the oppressed.  This good news concept was later adapted by the early followers of Jesus who talked about the good news of the gospel.  This basic mission included binding up the broken hearted and freeing prisoners.  This servant or prophet was sent out to proclaim a year of Yahweh’s favor.

Depart in peace (Lk 2:29-2:29)

“Simeon said.

‘Lord!

Now you may

Dismiss

Your slave

In peace,

According to your word.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν

Νῦν ἀπολύεις τὸν δοῦλόν σου, Δέσποτα, κατὰ τὸ ῥῆμά σου ἐν εἰρήνῃ·

 

Luke had Simeon present the so-called “Nunc dimittis” canticle, named after the Latin translation of the first few words.  Simeon said (καὶ εἶπεν) that the Lord or Master could now dismiss his servant or slave (Νῦν ἀπολύεις τὸν δοῦλόν σου) in peace (ἐν εἰρήνῃ), according to the word of God (κατὰ τὸ ῥῆμά σου).  Simeon indicated that he was ready to die.  He could be dismissed because his wish had been granted.  Basically, this canticle talks continuously about the fulfillment of the prophecies of Isaiah.