Great fear (Lk 21:26-21:26)

“People will faint

From fear

And expectations

About what was coming

Upon the world.

The powers

Of the heavens

Will be shaken.”

 

ἀποψυχόντων ἀνθρώπων ἀπὸ φόβου καὶ προσδοκίας τῶν ἐπερχομένων τῇ οἰκουμένῃ· αἱ γὰρ δυνάμεις τῶν οὐρανῶν σαλευθήσονται.

 

Luke had a section of this warning from Jesus that was unique, yet the last phrase was similar to the other synoptics.  Jesus said that people would faint (ἀποψυχόντων ἀνθρώπων) from fear (ἀπὸ φόβου) and expectations (καὶ προσδοκίας) over what was coming upon the world (τῶν ἐπερχομένων τῇ οἰκουμένῃ).  Luke was the only one to use this Greek term ἀποψυχόντων, meaning to leave off breathing, fainting, breathing out of life, dying, or dismayed.  The powers of the heavens would be shaken (γὰρ δυνάμεις τῶν οὐρανῶν σαλευθήσονται).  Thus, this last phrase is like Mark, chapter 13:25, and Matthew, chapter 24:29, who were word for word the same.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that the powers of the heavens would be shaken or stirred up (καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς σαλευθήσονται), while Matthew said precisely the same thing.  The powers of the heavens would be shaken or stirred up (καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις τῶν οὐρανῶν σαλευθήσονται).  They were going to experience big time problems, in this time of complete darkness, during this celestial disturbance.  Do you worry about the sky above you?

The Son of Man will be like lightning (Lk 17:24-17:24)

“As the lightning

Flashes

And lights up

The sky

From one side

To the other,

So will the Son of man

Be in his day.”

 

ὥσπερ γὰρ ἡ ἀστραπὴ ἀστράπτουσα ἐκ τῆς ὑπὸ τὸν οὐρανὸν εἰς τὴν ὑπ’ οὐρανὸν λάμπει, οὕτως ἔσται ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that as the lightning flashes (ὥσπερ γὰρ ἡ ἀστραπὴ ἀστράπτουσα) and lights up the sky (ἐκ τῆς ὑπὸ τὸν οὐρανὸν) from one side of the sky to the other (εἰς τὴν ὑπ’ οὐρανὸν λάμπει), so will the Son of man be (οὕτως ἔσται ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) in his day (ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ αὐτοῦ).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use the word ἀστράπτουσα that means to lighten and flash forth.  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 24:27, indicating a Q source, about the Son of Man coming like lightening, but in a more succinct way.  In Matthew, Jesus said that as the lightning came from the east (ὥσπερ γὰρ ἡ ἀστραπὴ ἐξέρχεται ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν) but flashed or shined in the west (καὶ φαίνεται ἕως δυσμῶν), so the Parousia or the second coming of the Son of Man would happen (οὕτως ἔσται ἡ παρουσία τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου).  Wherever the corpse was (ὅπου ἐὰν ᾖ τὸ πτῶμα), there the vultures gathered (ἐκεῖ συναχθήσονται οἱ ἀετοί).  The Son of Man was a clear reference to Jesus in his return, the Parousia, who would return like a flash of lightening.  The vultures or eagles were a reference to the Roman soldiers with their eagle symbols.  There was nothing about the corpses and the eagles or vultures here in Luke, just the lightning flash.  However, later in this chapter, verse 37, there was a mention of the corpses and these vultures.  Are you afraid of lightning?

Interpreting the present time (Lk 12:56-12:56)

“You hypocrites!

You know how

To interpret

The appearance of earth

And the sky.

But why do you not know

How to interpret

This present time?”

 

ὑποκριταί, τὸ πρόσωπον τῆς γῆς καὶ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ οἴδατε δοκιμάζειν, τὸν καιρὸν δὲ τοῦτον πῶς οὐ δοκιμάζετε;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus called these people hypocrites (ὑποκριταί).  They were able to know how to interpret (οἴδατε δοκιμάζειν) the appearances of the earth (τὸ πρόσωπον τῆς γῆς) and the sky (καὶ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ).  However, they did not know how to interpret (πῶς οὐ δοκιμάζετε) this present time (τὸν καιρὸν δὲ τοῦτον).  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 16:3, perhaps indicating a Q source, where Jesus asked them how come they were so good at discerning the overcast stormy weather signs in the heavens (τὸ μὲν πρόσωπον τοῦ οὐρανοῦ γινώσκετε διακρίνειν), but they were unable to interpret the signs of the times (τὰ δὲ σημεῖα τῶν καιρῶν οὐ δύνασθε), since the weather signs were in the heavenly skies also.  In other words, they were very good at predicting the weather, but had no idea about other heavenly things to come.  Are you good at predicting the weather?

A rain shower is coming (Lk 12:54-12:54)

“Jesus said

To the crowds.

‘When you see

A cloud rising

In the west,

You immediately say.

‘There is going to be

A violent rain storm.’

Thus,

It happens.”

 

Ἔλεγεν δὲ καὶ τοῖς ὄχλοις Ὅταν ἴδητε νεφέλην ἀνατέλλουσαν ἐπὶ δυσμῶν, εὐθέως λέγετε ὅτι Ὄμβρος ἔρχεται, καὶ γίνεται οὕτως·

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to the crowds (Ἔλεγεν δὲ καὶ τοῖς ὄχλοις) that when they saw a cloud rising in the western setting sun (Ὅταν ἴδητε νεφέλην ἀνατέλλουσαν ἐπὶ δυσμῶν), they immediately say that a violent rain storm was coming (εὐθέως λέγετε ὅτι Ὄμβρος ἔρχεται,).  Thus, it happened (καὶ γίνεται οὕτως).  The use of the word Ὄμβρος, that means a violent rain storm was unique to Luke here among all the biblical literature.  Jesus issued some weather commentary about the western setting sun wind and a violent rain storm.  The western winds from the Mediterranean River meant that a rain storm was coming.  There was something somewhat similar in Matthew, chapter 16:2, where Jesus told the Pharisees and Sadducees that they could read the signs in the sky about weather and storms, but they were unable to recognize the signs in their own world.  Jesus said that at evening time, people would say that there would be fair weather if the setting sun in the sky was red.  On the other hand, if the sky was red today in the morning, they thought that it would be a stormy day.  Most farmers are aware of the red sky in the morning was a warning, while the red sky at night was a delight.  Are you good at predicting the weather?

Satan fell (Lk 10:18-10:18)

“Jesus said to them.

‘I watched

Satan fall

From heaven

Like a flash

Of lightning.’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς Ἐθεώρουν τὸν Σατανᾶν ὡς ἀστραπὴν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ πεσόντα

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus told his 70 returning disciples (εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς) that he had watched Satan (Ἐθεώρουν τὸν Σατανᾶν) fall (πεσόντα) from heaven (ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ) like a flash of lightning (ὡς ἀστραπὴν).  If Jesus and his disciples were making progress that meant that the prince of evil, Satan, was not doing well.  Thus, Jesus said that Satan was falling or failing.  He would no longer be in the higher heavens.  This image of a lightning flash as a falling Satan was very vivid.  Would you consider lightning in the sky the falling of Satan?

Experiential Faith

Christianity is an encounter within human experience.  We push out towards the horizon, the boundary between earth and sky, the mystery of God.  We seem to get to that horizon, but then it eludes us.  We get glimpses of God in this horizon experience.  You always know that there is more, and so it is with the friendship of Jesus.  This is an active faith that goes beyond understanding, feeling and experience to a way of life.  Experience is at the heart of all belief.  We all have had a personal development to our faith.  We live our discipleship of Jesus in justice, love, and healing, as our faith springs into action.

Being pursued (Lam 4:19-4:19)

Qoph

“Our pursuers

Were swifter

Than the eagles

In the heavens.

They chased us

On the mountains.

They lay in wait

For us

In the wilderness.”

Continuing with the first person plural, the people of Jerusalem and this author believed that they were being pursued by their enemies that were faster than the eagles in the sky. Their foes chased them into the mountains and lay waiting to ambush them in the desert wilderness, since their enemies were all around them. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Qoph in this acrostic poem.