Zacchaeus was small (Lk 19:3-19:3)

“Zacchaeus was trying

To see

Who Jesus was.

However,

He could not,

Due to the crowd.

Besides,

He was short

In stature.”

 

καὶ ἐζήτει ἰδεῖν τὸν Ἰησοῦν τίς ἐστιν, καὶ οὐκ ἠδύνατο ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου, ὅτι τῇ ἡλικίᾳ μικρὸς ἦν.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Zacchaeus was trying to see Jesus (καὶ ἐζήτει ἰδεῖν τὸν Ἰησοῦν) and figure out who he was (τίς ἐστιν).  However, he could not (καὶ οὐκ ἠδύνατο), due to the crowd (ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου) around Jesus.  Besides, Zacchaeus was a short person (ὅτι τῇ ἡλικίᾳ μικρὸς ἦν).  This short rich tax collector, Zacchaeus, could not see Jesus because of the crowd around him.  This was and is a problem for all small people.  Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus.  What do you think about small people?

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Fifth narrative

Jesus traveled toward Jerusalem and taught in the Temple there, debating with the chief priests and religious leaders.  Then he spoke about the coming kingdom of heaven and the future end times.

Jesus finally went to Judea, where he cured large crowds of people.  The Pharisees questioned him about divorce.  Jesus reiterated the importance of marriage, as he spoke about Moses and divorce.  After hearing the response of Jesus about divorce, his disciples wondered why they should marry at all.  Jesus explained about different kind of eunuchs.

The children came forward to Jesus and he blessed them.  He warned against wealth.  To gain eternal life you had to keep the commandments.  They wanted to know which commandments?  The great commandment was not a problem.  However, Jesus asked them to give up their possessions, so that the rich young man walked away.  It was hard for rich people to enter the kingdom like a camel going through the eye of a needle.  Who could be saved?  The response was that all things are possible with God.  Peter wanted to know about the disciples and the eternal life reward, so that Jesus told them that the first shall be last and vice versa.

Then Jesus presented the parable of the laborers in the vineyard.  He hired the first laborers, and then late in the day a second group, a third group and finally a fourth group of laborers.  The last group hired got a full day’s pay.  The first group hired were upset when they got the same as the last group hired.  This brought up the problem of generosity versus fairness, as Jesus explained the parable.

On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus predicted what was going to happen to him in Jerusalem.  The mother of the sons of Zebedee wanted to know if her two sons, James and John, could be the greatest, on either side of Jesus.  Jesus pointed out the difficulties and said that only the Father set up the seating arrangements.  This led to ten angry men as they resented the two trying to be first.  Jesus reminded them about servant leadership, as the Son of Man was going to give up his life.

There were great crowds at Jericho where Jesus found two blind men asking for mercy, so he healed them.  Then began the final ministry in Jerusalem with a triumphal entry.  Jesus sent two disciples from Bethpage to get a donkey and a colt because he needed them.  Thus, the prophecy of Zechariah might be fulfilled.  They brought the donkey and the colt to Jesus.  Then crowds welcomed the Son of David into Jerusalem as they began to wonder who this man was?

Jesus went into the Temple and chased out the money changers to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah.  When he cured people in the Temple, the chief priests were angry, but the little children praised him.

Then Jesus went to Bethany.  The next morning, he was hungry.  He saw a fig tree, but it had no figs, so he cursed the fig tree as it withered because of his faith.

People began to question where did Jesus get his authority?  Jesus responded with a question for a question.  He asked them about the value of the baptism of John.  They gave a timid response.  Then he told the parable about the two sons.  The first son said no at first, and then did the work, while the second son said yes and did not do the work.  Which son did the will of his father?  Thus, they did not believe John the Baptist.

Then Jesus told the parable about the wicked tenants.  This absentee land owner of the vineyard sent people to collect his rent.  Instead, the tenants beat and killed the landowner’s slaves.  He sent a second group that was also killed.  Then the tenants killed the landowner’s son.  Finally, the landowner came to take back his vineyard, citing Psalm 118 about the kingdom of God and the falling cornerstone.  The Pharisees understood this parable and tried to arrest Jesus.

Jesus continued to speak in parables.  This parable was about the king who gave a great wedding banquet.  However, the invited guests refused to come to the wedding banquet.  He sent out a second invitation to the wedding banquet, but they refused the second invitation also.  They treated his slaves badly.  The king was angry and sent out new invitations to the wedding feast.  Finally, a man without a wedding garment showed up, but he threw him out of the feast.  The explanation of this parable was that many are called, but few are chosen.

Next the Pharisees tried to trick Jesus by flattering him.  They asked him a question about taxes.  Jesus gave a harsh response as he had a dialogue about the Roman coin about whose image was on it.  Give Caesar his due.  The Pharisees and their disciples left.

However, the Sadducees asked a question about the resurrection.  There was a law about marrying the brother of a dead man.  There was a woman who married seven brothers, who was her husband in the resurrection?  Jesus responded that there was no marriage in the resurrection.  The living God of their ancestors would show them the way.  The crowd was astonished.

The Pharisees regrouped and wanted to know what is the greatest commandment?  Jesus responded about the two great commandments to love God and your neighbor.  Then Jesus asked the Pharisees a question.  Was the Christ the son of David?  Then who was the Lord for David?  After that there were no more questions for Jesus.

Jesus then cursed the Scribes and Pharisees.  He told his disciples to do what they say, but not what they do.  They tied up heavy burdens on the people.  They wore special clothing and sought the places of honor.  They want to be called Rabbis.  No one was your father or master.  Greatness comes with humility.  They tried to lock people out of heaven as they shut it off.  Even when they tried to make converts, they are like blind guides and fools.  They swore by the altar or the gift of the altar.  They swore by heaven, but they had forgotten the law.  They wanted the gnat out your eye but had a camel in their own eye.  They worried about the outside of the cup instead of the inside.  They were like whitewashed tombs.  They proclaimed reverence for the tombs of the prophets, but they were like their sinning ancestors. They were like serpents.  They would kill the prophets.  They spread innocent blood.  Soon the house of Jerusalem would be desolate.

Finally, there were the predictions about the end times.  Jesus left the Temple as he predicted its destruction.  What are the signs of the Parousia?  There would be the beginning of the great suffering so that they should not be lead astray.  There would be rumors of wars in those troubled times.  They would be persecuted for the sake of Jesus.  There would be betrayals and false prophets.  Love would grow cold.  Endurance would be necessary.  The importance of Daniel the prophet was emphasized.  In Judea, they would flee to the housetops.  It would be too late for the people in the fields.  This would be the wrong time to be pregnant or nursing.  There would be great tribulation, but the days would be short.

The end was coming because there would be false Christs and people looking for the Messiah.  The Son of Man would come on the clouds as the darkness in the skies appeared.  There would be a gathering of the chosen ones.  Using the parable of the fig tree, they could tell that the end was near.  This generation would pass away, but Jesus’ words would not pass away.  No one knew the day, since it would be like in the days of Noah.  Only one would be taken and the other left, so be ready.  Be a wise and faithful slave, not a wicked slave.

Jesus told the parable of the ten bridesmaids where half were wise and half foolish.  They all fell asleep.  When the bridegroom came, they all got up.  However, the foolish ones had no oil and wise ones said that there was not enough oil for both of them.  When the foolish left to get oil, they shut the door.  When they came back, the bridegroom said that he did not know them.  Thus, you do not know the day.

Next Jesus told the parable of the talents.  A man entrusted his assets to his slaves.  He gave them money.  One slave added five more talents, another added two more talents, but the third slave dug a hole and buried his money.  The master settled their accounts.  The slave with five talents got five more talents.  The slave with two talents got two more talents.  The slave with one talent was rebuked and punished.  Thus, there will be rewards and punishments at the end times.

In the last judgment, the Son of Man would appear in glory.  There would be sheep and goats, with the sheep on the right hand.  They had taken care of him.  They wondered when they had done this.  The Son of Man replied that they took care of him when they cared for the least of his brothers.  Then he told the goats on his left side to depart from him because they had not taken care of him when they did not care for the lowly people.  Thus, there would be eternal punishment or eternal reward.

The response of Jesus (Mt 4: 7-4:7)

“Jesus said

To the devil.

‘Again,

It is written.

You shall not tempt

The Lord

Your God.’”

 

ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Πάλιν γέγραπται Οὐκ ἐκπειράσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σο

 

Once again, this is like Luke, chapter 4:12, but was the 3rd third rather than the 2nd temptation as here. The wording is the same, indicating a common source, perhaps Q. Jesus’s response was short and sweet (ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς). He told the devil that he should not tempt the Lord his God (Οὐκ ἐκπειράσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σο), as if the devil accepted God. This quotation (Πάλιν γέγραπται) was once again taken from Deuteronomy, chapter 6:16, where Yahweh was calling for no more rebellions like that at Massah, when they complained about the lack of water. They were not to test Yahweh anymore

Explanation of the genealogy of Jesus (Mt 1:17-1:17)

“Thus,

All the generations

From Abraham

To David

Were fourteen generations.

All the generations

From David

To the deportation to Babylon

Were fourteen generations.

All the generations

From the deportation to Babylon

To the Christ

Were fourteen generations.”

 

Πᾶσαι οὖν αἱ γενεαὶ ἀπὸ Ἀβραὰμ ἕως Δαυεὶδ γενεαὶ δεκατέσσαρες, καὶ ἀπὸ Δαυεὶδ ἕως τῆς μετοικεσίας Βαβυλῶνος γενεαὶ δεκατέσσαρες, καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς μετοικεσίας Βαβυλῶνος ἕως τοῦ Χριστοῦ γενεαὶ δεκατέσσαρες.

 

Matthew then explained his genealogy. He had a fascination with the number 14 (δεκατέσσαρες). The first group from Abraham to David (ἀπὸ Ἀβραὰμ ἕως Δαυεὶδ) was 14 generations (γενεαὶ δεκατέσσαρες). The second group from David to the deportation to Babylon (ἀπὸ Δαυεὶδ ἕως τῆς μετοικεσίας Βαβυλῶνος) was 14 generations (γενεαὶ δεκατέσσαρες). Then the final group from the Babylonian captivity to the Christ (ἀπὸ τῆς μετοικεσίας Βαβυλῶνος ἕως τοῦ Χριστοῦ) was 14 generations (γενεαὶ δεκατέσσαρες). 14 was the numerical value of the 3 consonant Hebrew letters of David (Dalet Vav Dalet). 14 was also double 7, or a lucky number. To make this work, Matthew had to drop a number of kings from David to the captivity. Finally, he was one short with only 13 between the captivity and Joseph.

Sinfulness (Isa 59:1-59:4)

“See!

Yahweh’s hand is not too short to save.

His ear is not too dull to hear.

But your iniquities have been barriers

Between you and your God.

Your sins have hidden his face

From you.

Thus he does not hear.

Your hands are defiled with blood.

Your fingers are defiled with iniquity.

Your lips have spoken lies.

Your tongue mutters wickedness.

No one brings suit justly.

No one goes to law honestly.

They rely on empty pleas.

They speak lies.

They conceive mischief.

They beget iniquity.”

Third Isaiah has a call for repentance since the Israelites were sinners. However, Yahweh’s hands were not too short to forgive. He could hear what they were saying. However, the obstacles and barriers to forgiveness of sin were that of his people. They have forced Yahweh to hide his face. Their sins include iniquity with bloody hands and fingers. They speak lies and mutter wickedness. No one can bring a law suit forward because no one was honest and just. All they do is speak lies, conceive mischief, and produce more iniquity.

The reasoning of the impious (Wis 2:1-2:5)

“The ungodly reasoned unsoundly.

They say to themselves.

‘Our life is short.

Our life is sorrowful.

There is no remedy

When a life comes to an end.

No one has been known

To return from Hades.

We were born by mere chance.

Hereafter we shall be

As though we had never been.

The breath in our nostrils is smoke.

Reason is a spark kindled

By the beating of our hearts.

When it is extinguished,

The body will turn to ashes.

The spirit will dissolve

Like empty air.

Our name will be forgotten in time.

No one will remember our works.

Our life will pass away.

Like the traces of a cloud,

Our life will be scattered like mist

That is chased by the rays of the sun.

Our life will be overcome by its heat.

Our allotted time is

The passing of a shadow.

There is no return from our death.

Because it is sealed up.

No one turns back.’”

The ungodly or the impious sound a little like Qoheleth in Ecclesiastes with this emphasis on the vanity of life. This author calls their thinking unsound. We lead a short and sorrowful life (ὁ βίος ἡμῶν). There is no remedy when death comes. No one has ever returned from the grave. We were born by chance. When we are gone, it will be as if we never existed. Our breath is like smoke. Our reasoning stops when our heart stops, as our body (τὸ σῶμα) returns to ashes. Our spirit (τὸ πνεῦμα) also dissolves like empty air. Our names (τὸ ὄνομα ἡμῶν) will be forgotten as no one will remember our works (ἔργων ἡμῶν). We will pass away like a cloud or scattered mist that evaporates with heat. Our time on earth is like a passing shadow since there is no return from death. We are sealed up with death since no one returns.

Blessings of Yahweh (Prov 10:22-10:29)

“The blessing of Yahweh makes us rich.

Bur he adds no sorrow with it.

Doing wrong is like sport to a fool.

But wise conduct is pleasure to a man of understanding.

What the wicked dread will come upon them.

But the desire of the righteous will be granted them.

When the tempest passes,

The wicked are no more.

But the righteous are established forever.

Like vinegar to the teeth,

Like smoke to the eyes,

So are the lazy to their employers.

The fear of Yahweh prolongs life.

But the years of the wicked will be short.

The hope of the righteous one ends in gladness.

But the expectation of the wicked ones comes to nothing.

The way of Yahweh is a stronghold for the upright.

But the way of Yahweh is destruction for the evildoers.”

Yahweh has an important impact on our lives. The blessings of Yahweh make us rich with no sorrow. Fools do wrong things as if it was some kind of sport. On the other hand, the understanding people take pleasure in wise conduct. Whatever the wicked fear, it will happen to them. However, the righteous will be granted their wishes. After a storm, the wicked will no longer exist, but the righteous are established forever. Lazy people are like vinegar to your teeth or smoke to your eyes. The fear of Yahweh will prolong your life so that the wicked will have a short life. Righteous hope ends in gladness, while wicked expectations come to nothing. Yahweh’s way is a stronghold for the upright, but destruction for the evildoers.