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?

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The good and bad things (Lk 16:25-16:25)

“But Abraham said.

‘Son!

Remember

That during

Your lifetime,

You received

Your good things!

Lazarus,

In like manner,

Received

His evil things.

But now he is

Comforted here.

You are in agony!’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ Ἀβραάμ Τέκνον, μνήσθητι ὅτι ἀπέλαβες τὰ ἀγαθά σου ἐν τῇ ζωῇ σου, καὶ Λάζαρος ὁμοίως τὰ κακά· νῦν δὲ ὧδε παρακαλεῖται σὺ δὲ ὀδυνᾶσαι.

 

This parable story about the poor man Lazarus and an unnamed rich man is only found in Luke, not in the other gospels.  Luke indicated that Jesus remarked that Abraham said (εἶπεν δὲ Ἀβραάμ) to the rich man, calling him son (Τέκνον) that he should remember (μνήσθητι) that during his lifetime he had received good things (ὅτι ἀπέλαβες τὰ ἀγαθά σου ἐν τῇ ζωῇ σου).  Lazarus, however, had received evil things (καὶ Λάζαρος ὁμοίως τὰ κακά).  Thus, now he was being comforted here (νῦν δὲ ὧδε παρακαλεῖται) with Abraham, while he, the rich man, was in agony (σὺ δὲ ὀδυνᾶσαι).  Abraham spoke to the rich man telling him that he had a good time during his lifetime, while Lazarus had not.  Now the tables were turned, Lazarus would live in comfort, but he would be tormented.  This was a clear sign of an afterlife with consequences based on current lifestyles.  Which lifestyle would you prefer?

He lived with prostitutes (Lk 15:30-15:30)

“But when this son

Of yours

Came back,

Who has devoured

Your property

With prostitutes,

You killed

The fatted calf

For him!”

 

ὅτε δὲ ὁ υἱός σου οὗτος ὁ καταφαγών σου τὸν βίον μετὰ πορνῶν ἦλθεν, ἔθυσας αὐτῷ τὸν σιτευτὸν μόσχον.

 

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 this older son continued his complaint to his father.  He said that when his brother, his father’s son (ὅτε δὲ ὁ υἱός σου οὗτος), came back (ἦλθεν), after having devoured his property (ὁ καταφαγών σου τὸν βίον) with prostitutes (μετὰ πορνῶν), he went and killed or sacrificed the fatted calf for him (ἔθυσας αὐτῷ τὸν σιτευτὸν μόσχον).  Luke is the only biblical writer who used this term σιτευτόν, that means fattened calf, 3 times in this story.  This upset son pointed out to his father that his brother had squandered all his hard-earned property on prostitutes.  Yet he was rewarding him with a special meal celebration.  Does this seem fair to you?

Hired servant (Lk 15:19-15:19)

“I am no longer worthy

To be called

Your son.

Treat me

Like one

Of your hired hands.”

 

οὐκέτι εἰμὶ ἄξιος κληθῆναι υἱός σου· ποίησόν με ὡς ἕνα τῶν μισθίων σου.

 

This long parable story about the prodigal son can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that the prodigal son was going to say to his father that he was no longer worthy to be called his son (οὐκέτι εἰμὶ ἄξιος κληθῆναι υἱός σου).  Instead, he wanted to be treated like one of his hired hands (ποίησόν με ὡς ἕνα τῶν μισθίων σου).  Luke was the only writer in the biblical literature to use this term μισθίων 3 times within this story.  μισθίων means a paid worker, a hired servant, or a hireling, but certainly not a slave.  This unique term indicated that his father had hired people to work on his farm.  Apparently, he did not use slaves.  Have you ever disgraced your parents?

The problem of the Sabbath (Lk 14:5-14:5)

“Then Jesus

Said to them.

‘If one of you

Has a child

Or an ox

That has fallen

Into a well,

Will you not

Immediately

Pull him out

On a Sabbath day?’”

 

καὶ πρὸς αὐτοὺς εἶπεν Τίνος ὑμῶν υἱὸς ἢ βοῦς εἰς φρέαρ πεσεῖται, καὶ οὐκ εὐθέως ἀνασπάσει αὐτὸν ἐν ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ σαββάτου;

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said to the lawyers and the Pharisees (καὶ πρὸς αὐτοὺς εἶπεν) that if anyone of them had a child or an ox (Τίνος ὑμῶν υἱὸς ἢ βοῦς) that had fallen into a well or pit (εἰς φρέαρ πεσεῖται), would they not immediately pull him out (καὶ οὐκ εὐθέως ἀνασπάσει αὐτὸν) even on a Sabbath day (ἐν ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ σαββάτου)?  Jesus turned the question of the Sabbath around.  He wondered what these lawyers and Pharisees would do if their son or their ox fell into a pit or well.  He pointed out that they would immediately pull him out of the well, no matter what day of the week it was.  Would you help someone in distress on Sunday?

Family members will be divided (Lk 12:53-12:53)

“They will be divided!

Father against son!

Son against father!

Mother against daughter!

Daughter against mother!

Mother-in-law

Against her daughter-in-law!

Daughter-in-law

Against her mother-in-law!”

 

διαμερισθήσονται, πατὴρ ἐπὶ υἱῷ καὶ υἱὸς ἐπὶ πατρί, μήτηρ ἐπὶ θυγατέρα καὶ θυγάτηρ ἐπὶ τὴν μητέρα, πενθερὰ ἐπὶ τὴν νύμφην αὐτῆς καὶ νύμφη ἐπὶ τὴν πενθεράν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that there would be divisions within families.  They would be divided (διαμερισθήσονται) father against son (πατὴρ ἐπὶ υἱῷ) and son against father (καὶ υἱὸς ἐπὶ πατρί).  They would be divided mother against daughter (μήτηρ ἐπὶ θυγατέρα) and daughter against mother (καὶ θυγάτηρ ἐπὶ τὴν μητέρα).  A mother-in-law would be against her daughter-in-law (πενθερὰ ἐπὶ τὴν νύμφην αὐτῆς) and vice versa, the daughter-in-law would be against her mother-in-law (καὶ νύμφη ἐπὶ τὴν πενθεράν).  This verse is similar to Matthew, chapter 10:35, indicating a Q source.  However, it is also similar to what Jesus, via Matthew, had said in chapter 10:21, and Mark, chapter 13:12, as well as much like the Old Testament prophet Micah, chapter 7:6, where this prophet warned that they should not trust anyone in their own family.  Jesus may be the disrupter in their own family, not the peacemaker.  Jesus said that he came to set a man against his father (ἦλθον γὰρ διχάσαι ἄνθρωπον κατὰ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ), a daughter against her mother (καὶ θυγατέρα κατὰ τῆς μητρὸς αὐτῆς), and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law (καὶ νύμφην κατὰ τῆς πενθερᾶς αὐτῆς).  Thus, the most ferocious enemies will be members of their own household (καὶ ἐχθροὶ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οἱ οἰκιακοὶ αὐτοῦ).  People always look outside for enemies, but sometimes they may be right beside them in their own family.  Do you have divisions in your own family?

Ask for an egg! (Lk 11:12-11:12)

“If the child asks

For an egg,

Will the father

Give him

A scorpion?”

 

ἢ καὶ αἰτήσει ᾠόν, ἐπιδώσει αὐτῷ σκορπίον;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that if the son or the child asked for an egg (ἢ καὶ αἰτήσει ᾠόν), would the father give him a scorpion (ἐπιδώσει αὐτῷ σκορπίον)?  Of course not.  Matthew, chapter 7:10, was not quite the same.  There Jesus wanted to know if any man among them (ἢ τίς ἐστιν ἐξ ὑμῶν ἄνθρωπος) would be foolish enough to give a round stone (μὴ λίθον ἐπιδώσει αὐτῷ) instead of a loaf of bread (ἄρτον) to his son who was asking for bread (ὃν αἰτήσει ὁ υἱὸς αὐτοῦ).  Luke did not have the son ask for bread and get a stone, but he asked for an egg but got a scorpion.  In either case, it would not happen.  So too, the same can be said about the heavenly Father.  Have you ever asked for an egg?