Lord of the Sabbath (Lk 6:5-6:5)

“Then Jesus said to them.

‘The Son of Man is

Lord of the Sabbath.’”

 

καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς Κύριός ἐστιν τοῦ σαββάτου ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus then said to them (καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς) that the Son of Man (ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) is Lord of the Sabbath (Κύριός ἐστιν τοῦ σαββάτου).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 12:8, and Mark, chapter 2:28, probably indicating that Mark was the source of this comment.  However, the other 2 gospels had more elaboration.  Mark had Jesus say to those around him that the Sabbath was made for man, humans, or mankind, not humans for the Sabbath.  Then he added the comment that is here in Luke that the Son of Man was the Lord of the Sabbath, which was picked up by the other two synoptic gospels.  Matthew had Jesus begin with a solemn proclamation that someone greater than the Temple was here, a clear reference to Jesus himself.  They did not know what the saying about mercy was all about.  Matthew then used the same citation of Hosea chapter 6:6, that he had earlier in chapter 9:13.  Jesus explained that he desired mercy, just as Yahweh wanted real faithful love, not mere sacrifices.  Hosea wanted the Israelites to have real knowledge of God, rather than worry about burnt offerings.  Thus, the Pharisees should not have condemned the innocent or guiltless ones, since Jesus and his disciples had done nothing wrong.  He then concluded with the saying that the Son of Man was the Lord of the Sabbath.  Jesus then could control the Sabbath, not the other way around.  Instead of the Sabbath as a gift to humans, Jesus would reinterpret the laws of the Sabbath as the Lord of the Sabbath.

Unlawful on the Sabbath (Lk 6:2-6:2)

“But some of the Pharisees

Said.

‘Why are you doing

What is not lawful

To do on the Sabbath?’”

 

τινὲς δὲ τῶν Φαρισαίων εἶπαν Τί ποιεῖτε ὃ οὐκ ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν;

 

As per usual, the Pharisees pop up to complain and question the disciples of Jesus.  Luke said that some of the Pharisees said (τινὲς δὲ τῶν Φαρισαίων εἶπαν) that what the disciples of Jesus were doing was not lawful to do on the Sabbath (Τί ποιεῖτε ὃ οὐκ ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν).  They posed it as a question.  Matthew, chapter 12:2, and Mark, chapter 2:24, are similar to Luke, so that Mark may be the source of this incident.  Matthew said that Pharisees saw the disciples of Jesus plucking the grain on the Sabbath.  Deuteronomy, chapter 25:24-25, stated that it was okay to pluck the ears with your hand, but you could not put a sickle to your neighbor’s standing grain or carry it away in a container.  However, Exodus, chapter 34:21, explicitly said that you could not harvest grain on the Sabbath, but did not mention any hand picking.  Thus, the Pharisees said to Jesus that his disciples were doing unlawful things on the Sabbath by plucking the grain   Notice that Jesus was not doing this, only his disciples were.

Eating grain on the Sabbath (Lk 6:1-6:1)

“One Sabbath,

While Jesus

Was going through

The grain fields,

His disciples plucked

Some heads of grain.

They rubbed them

In their hands.

Then they ate them.”

 

Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν σαββάτῳ διαπορεύεσθαι αὐτὸν διὰ σπορίμων, καὶ ἔτιλλον οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἤσθιον τοὺς στάχυας ψώχοντες ταῖς χερσίν.

 

Luke followed the order of Mark, chapter 2:23, while Matthew, chapter 12:1, has this incident of plucking grain on the Sabbath later in his work.  Luke said that on one Sabbath day (Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν σαββάτῳ), while Jesus was going through some grain fields (διαπορεύεσθαι αὐτὸν διὰ σπορίμων), his disciples plucked some heads of grain (καὶ ἔτιλλον οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ).  This is the only use of the word “σπορίμων” in all of the biblical literature.  All three synoptics used this word that meant a sown field or a grain field, so that they may have copied it from Mark.  This is also the only time that the word “ἔτιλλον, plucking” appears in its various forms by the three synoptics.  Once again, Mark may have the source for this word.  The disciples rubbed these grains in their hands (ψώχοντες ταῖς χερσίν) and ate the heads of these grains (καὶ ἤσθιον τοὺς στάχυας).  In Matthew and Luke, the disciples ended up eating the grain, but Mark did not explicitly mention that.  Matthew was the only one to say that the disciples were hungry, but that may be presumed in the other 2 accounts.  This leisurely Sabbath walk through the grain fields set up the problem of plucking grain on the Sabbath.

The wineskins (Lk 5:37-5:37)

“No one

Puts new wine

Into old wineskins.

Otherwise,

The new wine

Will burst

The skins.

It will be spilled.

The skins

Will be destroyed.”

 

καὶ οὐδεὶς βάλλει οἶνον νέον εἰς ἀσκοὺς παλαιούς· εἰ δὲ μήγε, ῥήξει ὁ οἶνος ὁ νέος τοὺς ἀσκούς, καὶ αὐτὸς ἐκχυθήσεται καὶ οἱ ἀσκοὶ ἀπολοῦνται

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that no one puts new wine (καὶ οὐδεὶς βάλλει οἶνον νέον) into old wineskins (εἰς ἀσκοὺς παλαιούς).  Otherwise (εἰ δὲ μήγε), the new wine will burst the wineskins (ῥήξει ὁ οἶνος ὁ νέος τοὺς ἀσκούς).  The wine will be spilled (καὶ αὐτὸς ἐκχυθήσεται).  The skins will be destroyed (καὶ οἱ ἀσκοὶ ἀπολοῦνται).  Mark, chapter 2:22, and Matthew, chapter 9:17, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this saying about wineskins.  Mark and Matthew had Jesus continue with his metaphors or parables.  No one would pour new wine into old wineskins or leather pouches, because the pouches would crack.  Thus, the old wineskins would burst open.  The new wine would be spilled, lost, or destroyed, as well as the wine containers themselves.

Repairing garments (Lk 5:36-5:36)

“Jesus told them

A parable.

‘No one tears

A piece

From a new garment

And sews it on

An old garment.

Otherwise,

The new piece

Will be torn.

The new piece

Will not match

The old garment.’”

 

Ἔλεγεν δὲ καὶ παραβολὴν πρὸς αὐτοὺς ὅτι Οὐδεὶς ἐπίβλημα ἀπὸ ἱματίου καινοῦ σχίσας ἐπιβάλλει ἐπὶ ἱμάτιον παλαιόν· εἰ δὲ μήγε, καὶ τὸ καινὸν σχίσει καὶ τῷ παλαιῷ οὐ συμφωνήσει τὸ ἐπίβλημα τὸ ἀπὸ τοῦ καινοῦ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus told them a parable (Ἔλεγεν δὲ καὶ παραβολὴν πρὸς αὐτοὺς).  This will be first of many parables or stories.  Jesus said that no one tears a piece from a new garment (ὅτι Οὐδεὶς ἐπίβλημα ἀπὸ ἱματίου καινοῦ σχίσας) and sews it on an old garment (ἐπιβάλλει ἐπὶ ἱμάτιον παλαιόν).  Otherwise (εἰ δὲ μήγε), the new piece will be torn (καὶ τὸ καινὸν σχίσει) and the new piece will not match the old garment (καὶ τῷ παλαιῷ οὐ συμφωνήσει τὸ ἐπίβλημα τὸ ἀπὸ τοῦ καινοῦ).  Mark, chapter 2:21, and Matthew, chapter 9:16, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this mending of the cloth saying.  Luke called his saying a parable, while Mark and Matthew did not use that terminology.  They remarked that Jesus said that no one would sew a new piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak or coat.  This new patch would pull away or tear away.  Then there would be a worse tear there than before.  In other words, do not mend coats with new pieces of cloth.  The new with the old will not work and match correctly.  Let the old garment wear out, because there is nothing that you can do to it.  Is this an indication that the new Jesus ways will not blend with the old Jewish ways?

Fasting in the future (Lk 5:35-5:35)

“The days will come

When the bridegroom

Will be taken away

From them.

Then they will fast

In those days.’”

 

ἐλεύσονται δὲ ἡμέραι, καὶ ὅταν ἀπαρθῇ ἀπ’ αὐτῶν ὁ νυμφίος, τότε νηστεύσουσιν ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the days were coming (ἐλεύσονται δὲ ἡμέραι) when the bridegroom would be taken away from them (καὶ ὅταν ἀπαρθῇ ἀπ’ αὐτῶν ὁ νυμφίος).  Then, they would fast in those days (τότε νηστεύσουσιν ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις).  Mark, chapter 2:35, and Matthew, chapter 9:15, are word for word similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this saying of Jesus.  They remarked that Jesus said that the days were coming when the bridegroom, Jesus, would be taken away from them.  Thus, after his death, then they would fast, since fasting would come when Jesus was gone.

The bridegroom is here (Lk 5:34-5:34)

“Jesus said to them.

‘You cannot make

Wedding guests fast

While the bridegroom

Is with them.

Can you?’”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς Μὴ δύνασθε τοὺς υἱοὺς τοῦ νυμφῶνος, ἐν ᾧ ὁ νυμφίος μετ’ αὐτῶν ἐστιν, ποιῆσαι νηστεῦσαι;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus asked them with a question (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς).  Would they ask the sons of the bridal chamber (Μὴ δύνασθε τοὺς υἱοὺς τοῦ νυμφῶνος,), the wedding guests, to fast (ποιῆσαι νηστεῦσαι), as long as the bridegroom was with them (ἐν ᾧ ὁ νυμφίος μετ’ αὐτῶν ἐστιν)?  Mark, chapter 2:20, and Matthew, chapter 9:15, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this saying of Jesus.  Mark indicated that Jesus directly responded to the disciples of John, as he compared himself to a bridegroom.  Thus, the wedding guests were not able to mourn, while the bridegroom, Jesus, was with them.  Fasting was often associated with distress and mourning.  As long as Jesus, the bridegroom, was around them, they were not able or could not fast, because this was a time of joy and good news, not fasting.

The disciples who fast (Lk 5:33-5:33)

“Then they said to Jesus.

‘John’s disciples,

Like the disciples

Of the Pharisees,

Frequently fast

And pray.

However,

Your disciples

Eat

And drink.’”

 

Οἱ δὲ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν Οἱ μαθηταὶ Ἰωάνου νηστεύουσιν πυκνὰ καὶ δεήσεις ποιοῦνται, ὁμοίως καὶ οἱ τῶν Φαρισαίων, οἱ δὲ σοὶ ἐσθίουσιν καὶ πίνουσιν.

 

Luke used the ambiguous “they” to lodge a complaint against the disciples of Jesus.  They said to Jesus (Οἱ δὲ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν) that John’s disciples (Οἱ μαθηταὶ Ἰωάνου) frequently fasted (νηστεύουσιν πυκνὰ) and often made prayers (καὶ δεήσεις ποιοῦνται).  Likewise, the disciples of the Pharisees also fasted and prayed (ὁμοίως καὶ οἱ τῶν Φαρισαίων).  However, the disciples of Jesus ate and drank (οἱ δὲ σοὶ ἐσθίουσιν καὶ πίνουσιν), since they did not fast.  Apparently, fasting was a unique Jewish practice in ancient times.  However, most religions of the world today have some kind of fasting or not eating certain foods or drinks for a specific amount of time.  Mark, chapter 2:18, and Matthew, chapter 9:14, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this incident, although there are some differences.  Mark had the disciples of John the Baptist acting together with the Pharisees, as they both agreed about fasting.  They wanted to know why the disciples of Jesus did not fast.  The disciples of John seemed to be on the side of the Pharisees, and not with the followers of Jesus.  Matthew had only the disciples of John the Baptist, without the Pharisees, show up wanting to know why the disciples of Jesus did not fast.  These disciples of John came to Jesus, since John was in jail.  They may have remained a separate group, since some people have traced followers of John the Baptist to the Mandaeans along the Iraq-Iran border.

Well and sick people (Lk 5:31-5:31)

“Jesus answered them.

‘Those who are well

Have no need

Of a physician.

But those who are sick

Do need one.’”

 

καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς Οὐ χρείαν ἔχουσιν οἱ ὑγιαίνοντες ἰατροῦ ἀλλὰ οἱ κακῶς ἔχοντες·

 

Luke indicated that Jesus answered them (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  He said to them (εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς) that those who are well (οἱ ὑγιαίνοντες) do not need a physician (Οὐ χρείαν ἔχουσιν…ἰατροῦ).  However, those who are sick do need one (ἀλλὰ οἱ κακῶς ἔχοντες).  Mark, chapter 2:17, and Matthew, chapter 9:12, are almost word for word to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this saying.  Mark and Matthew said that Jesus heard what the Pharisees were saying to his disciples.  Jesus responded to them that the well people or strong ones did not need a physician or medical doctor, but the sick did.  As Pope Francis likes to say, the Church is a mobile ambulance, not a hospital waiting for people to come in.  Jesus saw his mission as reaching out, rather than expecting people to come to him.

Tax collectors and sinners (Lk 5:30-5:30)

“The Pharisees

And their Scribes

Were complaining

To Jesus’ disciples.

They said.

‘Why do you eat

And drink

With tax collectors

And sinners?’”

 

καὶ ἐγόγγυζον οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς αὐτῶν πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ λέγοντες Διὰ τί μετὰ τῶν τελωνῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν ἐσθίετε καὶ πίνετε;

 

Luke said that the Pharisees and their Scribes were complaining or grumbling (καὶ ἐγόγγυζον οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς αὐτῶν) to Jesus’ disciples (πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ).  They wondered (λέγοντες) why they were with Jesus eating and drinking (ἐσθίετε καὶ πίνετε) with tax collectors and sinners (Διὰ τί μετὰ τῶν τελωνῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν).  Mark, chapter 2:16, and Matthew, chapter 9:11, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this incident.  In Matthew, it was only the Pharisees and not the Scribes who are complaining.  Mark and Luke have both these Pharisees and their Scribes grumble about this dinner party.  They saw that Jesus and his disciples was eating and drinking with these sinners and tax collectors.  Then they asked the disciples of Jesus, and not Jesus himself, why was Jesus eating with these tax collectors and sinners?  These Pharisees were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that became the basis for later Rabbinic Judaism.  They had they own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with the letter of the law above its spirit.  They had a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple.  The Pharisees in the New Testament engaged in conflicts with Jesus and his disciples, as here.  However, Paul the Apostle may have been a Pharisee before his conversion.  Maybe Jesus and some of his followers were Pharisees, so that these arguments with the Pharisees may have been internal arguments.  Or is this portrait of the Pharisees in the New Testament a caricature, since the late first century Christians were fighting with the emerging Rabbinic Pharisees?  Their position towards the Scribes was a mixed bag.  These Scribes were religious experts who determined the traditions to be followed, as professional copiers of manuscript documents, although they had a wider role in Jewish society.