Tribute to Caesar (Lk 20:22-20:22)

“Is it lawful

For us

To pay taxes

To Caesar,

The Roman Emperor,

Or not?”

 

ἔξεστιν ἡμᾶς Καίσαρι φόρον δοῦναι ἢ οὔ;

 

Luke indicated this group asked whether it was lawful for them (ἔξεστιν ἡμᾶς) to pay taxes (φόρον δοῦναι) to Caesar (Καίσαρι), the Roman Emperor, or not (ἢ οὔ)?  This is similar to Matthew, chapter 22:17, and Mark, chapter 12:14, but slightly different.  They wanted to know what Jesus thought about the Roman tax law.  Mark said that they asked him whether it was lawful to pay the poll tax to Caesar or not (ἔξεστιν δοῦναι κῆνσον Καίσαρι ἢ οὔ)?  They wanted to know the practical answer about whether they should pay this tax or not (δῶμεν ἢ μὴ δῶμεν)?  Matthew indicated that these Pharisee disciples and the Herodians tried to trick Jesus.  They wanted to know what Jesus thought about the Roman tax.  They asked him (εἰπὸν οὖν ἡμῖν) what did he think (τί σοι δοκεῖ).  Was it lawful to pay the poll tax to Caesar or not (ἔξεστιν δοῦναι κῆνσον Καίσαρι ἢ οὔ)?  Rome had an annual personal census tax of one denarius worth about $1.50 USA, not that much.  However, many of the Roman tax collectors were considered sinners.  Jesus, on the other hand, had a milder view of these tax collectors.  He appeared to accept the Roman rule and its taxing policies.  As the political party of the Romans, the Herodians were there.  The Israelites with the Pharisees were there also.  Thus, his answer might offend someone.  In fact, some Jewish zealots refused to pay any civil tax to the emperor.  Do you like to pay taxes?

House of prayer (Lk 19:46-19:46)

“Jesus said.

‘It is written,

‘My house

Shall be

A house of prayer.’

But you have made it

A den of robbers.’”

 

λέγων αὐτοῖς Γέγραπται Καὶ ἔσται ὁ οἶκός μου οἶκος προσευχῆς· ὑμεῖς δὲ αὐτὸν ἐποιήσατε σπήλαιον λῃστῶν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to them (λέγων αὐτοῖς) that it was written (Γέγραπται) that my house shall be a house of prayer (Καὶ ἔσται ὁ οἶκός μου οἶκος προσευχῆς).  However, they had made it into a den or hideout of robbers or thieves (ὑμεῖς δὲ αὐτὸν ἐποιήσατε σπήλαιον λῃστῶν).  This first citation about the house of prayer is from 3rd Isaiah, chapter 56:7, while the second citation about how they have made his Temple into a den of robbers is from Jeremiah, chapter 7:11.  These biblical citations of Jesus in the Temple can also be found in Matthew, chapter 21:13, and Mark, chapter 11:17, almost word for word.  John, chapter 2:16-17, was slightly different, since he used a citation from Psalm 69:9, where the Psalmist or David had great zeal for the house of Yahweh that he was about to construct.  Mark said that Jesus was teaching (καὶ ἐδίδασκεν).  He asked them if they knew where it was written in Scripture (καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς Οὐ γέγραπται) that his house shall be called a house of prayer (ὅτι Ὁ οἶκός μου οἶκος προσευχῆς κληθήσεται) for all the nations (πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν).  Matthew and Luke did not mention all the nations.  However, the Temple functionaries were making it into a den or hideout of robbers or bandits (ὑμεῖς δὲ πεποιήκατε αὐτὸν σπήλαιον λῃστῶν).  Likewise, Matthew said that Jesus told them that it was written in Scripture (καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς Γέγραπται) that his house shall be called a house of prayer (Ὁ οἶκός μου οἶκος προσευχῆς κληθήσεται).  However, they were making it into a den or hideout of robbers or bandits (ὑμεῖς δὲ αὐτὸν ποιεῖτε σπήλαιον λῃστῶν).  In all cases, Jesus was upset that the Jerusalem Temple house of prayer had been hijacked by a bunch of thieves and robbers.  What kind of house of prayer do you pray in?

Eternal reward (Lk 18:29-18:30)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Truly!

I say to you!

There is no one

Who has left house,

Or wife,

Or brothers,

Or parents,

Or children,

For the sake

Of the kingdom of God,

Who will not get back

Very much in this age,

And in the age

To come,

Eternal life.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι οὐδείς ἐστιν ὃς ἀφῆκεν οἰκίαν ἢ γυναῖκα ἢ ἀδελφοὺς ἢ γονεῖς ἢ τέκνα ἕνεκεν τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ,

ὃς οὐχὶ μὴ λάβῃ πολλαπλασίονα ἐν τῷ καιρῷ τούτῳ καὶ ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τῷ ἐρχομένῳ ζωὴν αἰώνιον.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to them (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) with a solemn pronouncement (Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν), that everyone who has left their house (ὅτι οὐδείς ἐστιν ὃς ἀφῆκεν οἰκίαν), wife (ἢ γυναῖκα), brothers (ἢ ἀδελφοὺς), parents (ἢ γονεῖς), or children (ἢ τέκνα ἕνεκεν), for the sake of the kingdom of God (τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ) will get back very much more (ὃς οὐχὶ μὴ λάβῃ πολλαπλασίονα) in this age (ἐν τῷ καιρῷ τούτῳ), and in the age to come (καὶ ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τῷ ἐρχομένῳ), eternal life (ζωὴν αἰώνιον).  This is the only use of the Greek word πολλαπλασίονα, that means manifold or many times more.  This demanding but rewarding saying of Jesus can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:29-30, and Matthew, chapter 19:29, but slightly different, especially Matthew with the apostles sitting on the 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes.  Mark said that Jesus then issued a solemn proclamation to his disciples that anyone who has left house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, or land fields for the sake of the gospel good news, would receive a hundredfold now in this age, in houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and field lands.  However, in the age to come, they would have eternal life.  In Matthew, Jesus also issued a solemn proclamation to his disciples.  He told them, if they had followed him, that at the renewal of all things, the rebirth, the end times, the Son of Man would be seated on his glorious throne.  At that same time, his followers, these 12 disciple apostles, would sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel.  Everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or lands for his name would receive a hundredfold.  They would inherit eternal life.  The reward would be great.  Don’t worry.  Are you concerned that you have left your family to follow Jesus?

They left their homes (Lk 18:28-18:28)

“Then Peter said.

‘Look!

We have left

Our homes

And followed you.’”

 

Εἶπεν δὲ ὁ Πέτρος Ἰδοὺ ἡμεῖς ἀφέντες τὰ ἴδια ἠκολουθήσαμέν σοι.

 

Luke indicated that Peter said to Jesus (Εἶπεν δὲ ὁ Πέτρος), that they had left their homes and possessions (Ἰδοὺ ἡμεῖς ἀφέντες τὰ ἴδια) and followed him (ἠκολουθήσαμέν σοι).  This saying by the pragmatic leader of the disciples showed that Peter was concerned about himself and his fellow disciples.  What was in it for them?  Something similar can be found in Mark, chapter 10:26, and Matthew, chapter 19:27, but slightly different.  Mark said that Peter began to complain to Jesus (Ἤρξατο λέγειν ὁ Πέτρος αὐτῷ).  He said that he and the other disciples had left everything that they had (Ἰδοὺ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν πάντα).  They were willing to follow Jesus (καὶ ἠκολουθήκαμέν σοι), but what was going to be their reward?  In Matthew, Peter responded or complained to Jesus also like in Mark (Τότε ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Πέτρος εἶπεν αὐτῷ).  He said that he and the other disciples had left everything that they had (Ἰδοὺ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν πάντα), including their families.  They were willing to follow Jesus (καὶ ἠκολουθήσαμέν σοι), but what was going to be their reward (τί ἄρα ἔσται ἡμῖν).  Would they be left empty-handed?  Are you worried about your life if you followed Jesus?

Possible and impossible things (Lk 18:27-18:27)

“But Jesus replied.

‘What is impossible

For mortals

Is possible

With God.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Τὰ ἀδύνατα παρὰ ἀνθρώποις δυνατὰ παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ ἐστιν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said or replied (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν) that what was impossible for mortal men (Τὰ ἀδύνατα παρὰ ἀνθρώποις) was possible with God (δυνατὰ παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ ἐστιν).  This saying about the power of God and the impotence of humans can be found in Mark, chapter 10:27, and Matthew, chapter 19:26, but slightly different, although Mark and Matthew were similar.  Mark said that Jesus looked at them (ἐμβλέψας αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  Then he told them (λέγει) that this would be impossible for mortal men (Παρὰ ἀνθρώποις ἀδύνατον), but not with God (ἀλλ’ οὐ παρὰ Θεῷ).  All things are possible with God (πάντα γὰρ δυνατὰ παρὰ τῷ θεῷ), since he could do everything.  In Matthew, Jesus looked at them (ἐμβλέψας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς) and told them (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that this would be impossible for mortal men (Παρὰ ἀνθρώποις τοῦτο ἀδύνατόν ἐστιν), but with God, all things were possible (παρὰ δὲ Θεῷ πάντα δυνατά), since he could do everything.  This could be an allusion to Genesis, chapter 18:14, when Sarah laughed when she was told she was going to have a son or the prophet Jeremiah, chapter 32:17, when he was talking about creation.  What humans are not able to do, God is able to do.  Does God save wealthy people?

Too rich (Lk 18:23-18:23)

“But when he heard this,

He became sad.

He was very rich.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀκούσας ταῦτα περίλυπος ἐγενήθη, ἦν γὰρ πλούσιος σφόδρα.

 

Luke indicated that when this ruler heard this (ὁ δὲ ἀκούσας ταῦτα), he became sad or grieved (περίλυπος ἐγενήθη), because he was extremely rich (ἦν γὰρ πλούσιος σφόδρα).  This story about the young man being sad and walking away can be found in Mark, chapter 10:22, and Matthew, chapter 19:22, but slightly different.  Luke did not explicitly say that the ruler went away, as in the other synoptic stories, just that he was sad.  Mark said that this man was shocked at these words of Jesus (ὁ δὲ στυγνάσας ἐπὶ τῷ λόγῳ).  Thus, he went away pained or grieving (ἀπῆλθεν λυπούμενος), because he had many possessions or a lot of property (ἦν γὰρ ἔχων κτήματα πολλά).  In Matthew, when the young man heard this saying of Jesus (ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ νεανίσκος τὸν λόγον), he went away pained or grieving (ἀπῆλθεν λυπούμενος), because he had many possessions or a lot of property (ἦν γὰρ ἔχων κτήματα πολλά).  This rich young man was willing to listen to Jesus but could not bring himself to totally commit his life, by giving up his worldly possessions.  Thus, he went away very sad, because he realized his own situation, that he lacked the urge to make that final commitment to Jesus, by getting rid of his earthly wealth.  Are you willing to make that big step?

Follow me! (Lk 18:22-18:22)

“When Jesus

Heard this,

He said to him.

‘There is one thing

Still lacking.

Sell all

That you own!

Distribute

The money

To the poor!

You will have treasure

In heaven.

Then come!

Follow me!’”

 

ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ἔτι ἕν σοι λείπει· πάντα ὅσα ἔχεις πώλησον καὶ διάδος πτωχοῖς, καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι.

 

Luke indicated that when Jesus heard this (ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς), he said to this ruler (εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that there was only one thing still lacking (Ἔτι ἕν σοι λείπει).  He should go and sell all that he owned (πάντα ὅσα ἔχεις πώλησον) and distribute this money to the poor (καὶ διάδος πτωχοῖς).  Thus, he would have treasure in heaven (καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς).  Then he should come and follow Jesus (καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι).  This call to perfection can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:21, and Matthew, chapter 19:21, but slightly different.  Mark said that Jesus looked at this man (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἐμβλέψας αὐτῷ) and loved him (ἠγάπησεν αὐτὸν).  Jesus said to him (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that he only lacked one thing or he fell short in one area (Ἕν σε ὑστερεῖ).  This man would have to go (ὕπαγε) and sell his possessions or whatever he had (ὅσα ἔχεις πώλησον).  Then he should give this money or the proceeds to the poor or destitute people (καὶ δὸς πτωχοῖς).  He no longer would have earthly wealth, but he would then have a treasure in heaven (καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν οὐρανῷ).  Finally, he could become a follower or accompany Jesus (καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι).  In Matthew, Jesus issued his ultimatum (ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς) on how to be perfect or complete (Εἰ θέλεις τέλειος εἶναι).  The young man would have to sell his possessions (ὕπαγε πώλησόν σου τὰ ὑπάρχοντα).  Then he would have to give the money proceeds to the poor or destitute people (καὶ δὸς πτωχοῖς).  He no longer would have earthly wealth, but he would then have a treasure in heaven (καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν οὐρανοῖς).  Finally, he could become a follower or accompany Jesus (καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι).  Like many of these sayings, Jesus had very high standards and difficult demands.  There was no equivocation.  Are you willing to sell everything and follow Jesus?