Write your debt in half (Lk 16:6-16:6)

“The man answered.

‘A hundred jugs

Of olive oil.’

This manager

Said to him.

Take your bill!

Sit down quickly!

Make it fifty!’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ἑκατὸν βάτους ἐλαίου. ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Δέξαι σου τὰ γράμματα καὶ καθίσας ταχέως γράψον πεντήκοντα

 

This parable story about the dishonest household manager or steward can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that this debtor answered (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν) that he owed a 100 jugs or baths of olive oil (Ἑκατὸν βάτους ἐλαίου).  Once again, Luke used a word that does not appear any other place in the biblical literature, βάτους, that means a bath, an Israelite liquid measure, between eight and nine gallons.  Thus, this unjust house manager said to this debtor (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ) to take his bill (Δέξαι σου τὰ γράμματα).  Then sitting down, quickly change it to 50 (καὶ καθίσας ταχέως γράψον πεντήκοντα).  This would have been a 50% reduction from about 800 gallons of olive oil to 400 gallons.  That was a nice gesture.  Would his master and lord like that?  Have you ever tried to reduce your debt?

Preparing for war (Lk 14:31-14:31)

“What king,

Going to wage war,

Against another king

Will not sit down

First.

Will he not consider

Whether he is able

With ten thousand

To oppose the one

Who comes

Against him

With twenty thousand?”

 

Ἢ τίς βασιλεὺς πορευόμενος ἑτέρῳ βασιλεῖ συμβαλεῖν εἰς πόλεμον οὐχὶ καθίσας πρῶτον βουλεύσεται εἰ δυνατός ἐστιν ἐν δέκα χιλιάσιν ὑπαντῆσαι τῷ μετὰ εἴκοσι χιλιάδων ἐρχομένῳ ἐπ’ αὐτόν;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus told another unique story about a king (Ἢ τίς βασιλεὺς), who was planning to go to wage war (συμβαλεῖν εἰς πόλεμον) against another king (πορευόμενος ἑτέρῳ βασιλεῖ).  Would he not first sit down (οὐχὶ καθίσας πρῶτον) and consider or take counsel (βουλεύσεται) whether he was able (εἰ δυνατός ἐστιν) with ten thousand troops (ἐν δέκα χιλιάσιν) to oppose the other king who came (ὑπαντῆσαι) against him with twenty thousand troops (τῷ μετὰ εἴκοσι χιλιάδων ἐρχομένῳ ἐπ’ αὐτόν)?  Once again, Jesus was pointing out the importance of planning before any action.  Are you a good planner?

 

The cost of a building (Lk 14:28-14:28)

“Which of you,

Intending

To build

A tower,

Does not first

Sit down

And calculate

The cost?

You have to see

Whether you have enough

To complete it.”

 

Τίς γὰρ ἐξ ὑμῶν θέλων πύργον οἰκοδομῆσαι οὐχὶ πρῶτον καθίσας ψηφίζει τὴν δαπάνην, εἰ ἔχει εἰς ἀπαρτισμόν;

 

Luke uniquely has Jesus tell this story about intending or wishing to build a tower (Τίς γὰρ ἐξ ὑμῶν θέλων πύργον οἰκοδομῆσαι).  Did they not first sit down (οὐχὶ πρῶτον καθίσας) and calculate the cost (ψηφίζει τὴν δαπάνην)?  They would want to see if they had enough money to complete it (εἰ ἔχει εἰς ἀπαρτισμόν).  Luke uniquely used the word ἀπαρτισμόν that means completion or perfection.  This story about building a tower would assume a sophistication on the part of his audience.  Very few people would have enough assets to build a tower.  Do you calculate the cost of things before you start something?

Honored (Lk 14:10-14:10)

“But when you are invited,

Go!

Sit down

At the lowest place!

Thus,

When your host

Comes,

He may say

To you.

‘Friend!

Move up higher!’

Then you will be honored

In the presence

Of all

Who are sitting

At table

With you.”

 

ἀλλ’ ὅταν κληθῇς, πορευθεὶς ἀνάπεσε εἰς τὸν ἔσχατον τόπον, ἵνα ὅταν ἔλθῃ ὁ κεκληκώς σε ἐρεῖ σοι Φίλε, προσανάβηθι ἀνώτερον· τότε ἔσται σοι δόξα ἐνώπιον πάντων τῶν συνανακειμένων σοι.

 

Next Luke uniquely continued with this Jesus parable.  Jesus said that when you are invited to someplace (ἀλλ’ ὅταν κληθῇς), you should go and sit down or recline at the lowest place (πορευθεὶς ἀνάπεσε εἰς τὸν ἔσχατον τόπον).  Then when your host who had invited you comes and sees you (ἵνα ὅταν ἔλθῃ ὁ κεκληκώς σε) he might say to you (ἐρεῖ σοι), “Friend (Φίλε)! Move or come up higher (προσανάβηθι ἀνώτερον)!”  This προσανάβηθι is another unique word of Luke.  Then you will be honored or glorified (τότε ἔσται σοι δόξα) in the presence of all those (ἐνώπιον πάντων) sitting or reclining at the table with you (τῶν συνανακειμένων σοι).  In other words, take the lower seat so that you would be honored when the host noticed who you were.  That assumes that the host knows who you are, otherwise, why would he have invited you?  Have you ever been invited some place where you hardly knew anyone?

The parable about the places of honor (Lk 14:8-14:8)

“When you are invited

By someone

To a wedding banquet,

Do not sit down

At the place of honor!

Otherwise,

Someone more distinguished

Than you may

Had been invited

By your host.”

 

Ὅταν κληθῇς ὑπό τινος εἰς γάμους, μὴ κατακλιθῇς εἰς τὴν πρωτοκλισίαν, μή ποτε ἐντιμότερός σου ᾖ κεκλημένος ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ,

 

Luke uniquely had Jesus tell this parable about being invited by someone to a wedding banquet (Ὅταν κληθῇς ὑπό τινος εἰς γάμους).  He told them not to sit down or recline (μὴ κατακλιθῇς) in the place of honor (εἰς τὴν πρωτοκλισίαν).  Luke was the only gospel writer who used this word κατακλιθῇς, that means to recline a table.  He used it more than 5 times.  Otherwise, someone more distinguished than them (μή ποτε ἐντιμότερός σου) may have been invited by their host (ᾖ κεκλημένος ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ).  This is similar or based on Proverbs 6:7, where they were told not to put themselves forward in a great place before the king.  It was much better to be told to come up than to be put lower in the presence of a noble person.  In other words, let the host realize and show that you are important, rather than pretend that you are more important than you are.  Have you ever sat at the wrong place at some banquet?

The lord will be pleased (Lk 12:37-12:37)

“Blessed are those slaves

Whom the lord

Finds alert

When he comes!

Truly!

I say to you!

He will fasten

His belt.

He will have them

Sit down to eat.

He will come

And serve them.”

 

μακάριοι οἱ δοῦλοι ἐκεῖνοι, οὓς ἐλθὼν ὁ κύριος εὑρήσει γρηγοροῦντας· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι περιζώσεται καὶ ἀνακλινεῖ αὐτοὺς καὶ παρελθὼν διακονήσει αὐτοῖς.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said blessed, happy, or fortunate (μακάριοι) would be those slaves (οἱ δοῦλοι ἐκεῖνοι) whom the lord or master (ὁ κύριος) found alert or watching (εὑρήσει γρηγοροῦντας) when he came (οὓς ἐλθὼν).  With a solemn declaration (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν), Jesus said this lord would fasten his belt (ὅτι περιζώσεται) and have them sit down or recline at table (καὶ ἀνακλινεῖ αὐτοὺς).  Thus, he would come (καὶ παρελθὼν) and serve them (διακονήσει αὐτοῖς).  Jesus stated that these alert watchful servants would be happy or blessed.  The lord (ὁ κύριος) would then serve them at table.  The motto was to be always alert.  Are you always alert to what is going on around you?

 

Jesus blessed the loaves and fishes (Lk 9:16-9:16)

“Taking

The five loaves

And the two fish,

Jesus looked up

To heaven.

He blessed them.

He broke them.

He gave them

To the disciples

To set before

The crowd.”

 

λαβὼν δὲ τοὺς πέντε ἄρτους καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας, ἀναβλέψας εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν εὐλόγησεν αὐτοὺς καὶ κατέκλασεν, καὶ ἐδίδου τοῖς μαθηταῖς παραθεῖναι τῷ ὄχλῳ.

 

Luke said that Jesus took (λαβὼν) the 5 loaves (δὲ τοὺς πέντε ἄρτους) and the 2 fish (καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας).  He looked up to heaven (ἀναβλέψας εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν).  He blessed them (εὐλόγησεν αὐτοὺς).  He broke them (καὶ κατέκλασεν).  He gave them to his disciples (αὶ ἐδίδου τοῖς μαθηταῖς) to set before the crowd (παραθεῖναι τῷ ὄχλῳ).  This is the only blessing miracle that is recorded in all four gospels, Matthew, chapter 14:18-19, Mark, chapter 6:41, and John, chapter 6:12, plus here.  The blessing of the bread and the fish was exactly the same in all the synoptic gospels, but merely summarized in John.  This feeding of a large group of people harkens back to the Exodus story, chapter 16:1-36, about the manna and the quails in the wilderness.  Yet the blessing itself has almost a foretaste of the Eucharistic Last Supper of Jesus, when Jesus blessed and broke the bread.  Mark said that Jesus took the 5 loaves and the 2 fish.  He looked up to heaven.  He blessed them.  Then he broke up the loaves of bread into pieces.  He gave the loaves of bread to his disciples.  They, in turn, set the broken pieces of bread or served them to the crowd.  Jesus also divided or shared the 2 fish among them all, something that Luke did not mention explicitly.  Matthew indicated that Jesus told his disciples to bring him the food, the 5 loaves of bread and the 2 fish.  Then he ordered or directed the crowd to sit down on the grass.  He took the 5 loaves and the 2 fish.  He looked up to heaven.  He blessed them.  Then he broke the loaves of bread and the fishes into pieces.  He gave the loaves of bread to his disciples.  They, in turn, gave them to the crowd.  This almost sounds like a large later distribution of Holy Communion.  Have you ever been to a large communion service?