Luke indicated that the Sadducees said that the second brother (καὶ ὁ δεύτερος) did the same, that is he died with a childless widow. This story about the woman who married 7 brothers can be found in Matthew, chapter 22:26, and in Mark, chapter 12:21, very similar. Mark was a little more elaborate when he said that the 2nd brother married the widow of the 1st brother or took her as his wife (καὶ ὁ δεύτερος ἔλαβεν αὐτήν). Then he died (καὶ ἀπέθανεν) with no children or offspring (μὴ καταλιπὼν σπέρμα). Matthew simply indicated the same thing happened to the 2nd brother (ὁμοίως καὶ ὁ δεύτερος). So far 2 brothers down, 5 more to go. Do you know any large families with 7 brothers?
Luke indicated that the Sadducees said that there were 7 brothers (ἑπτὰ οὖν ἀδελφοὶ ἦσαν·). The first one married or took a wife (καὶ ὁ πρῶτος λαβὼν γυναῖκα), but died childless (ἀπέθανεν ἄτεκνος). This story about the woman and 7 brothers can be found in Matthew, chapter 22:25, and in Mark, chapter 12:20, almost word for word. This story was fairly well known. Mark said that there were 7 brothers (ἑπτὰ ἀδελφοὶ ἦσαν). The first one married or took a wife (καὶ ὁ πρῶτος ἔλαβεν γυναῖκα). Then he died (καὶ ἀποθνῄσκων). He was childless, since he had no seed descendants or offspring (οὐκ ἀφῆκεν σπέρμα). Matthew said that the first one married (καὶ ὁ πρῶτος γήμας). Then he died (ἐτελεύτησεν). He was childless since he had no descendants or offspring (καὶ μὴ ἔχων σπέρμα). Thus, he left his widowed wife to his brother (ἀφῆκεν τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ). You can see where this story is going. Do you know anyone who married his or her dead brother’s or sister’s widow or widower?
Luke indicated that Jesus began to tell the people another parable (Ἤρξατο δὲ πρὸς τὸν λαὸν λέγειν τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην) about a certain man who planted a vineyard (ἄνθρωπος ἐφύτευσεν ἀμπελῶνα). He then leased it to farmer tenants (καὶ ἐξέδετο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς). However, he went abroad to another country for a long time (καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν χρόνους ἱκανούς). This parable about the absentee vineyard landowner can also be found in Matthew, chapter 21:33, and Mark, chapter 12:1, with more details about this vineyard. Mark said that Jesus began to speak to them in parables (Καὶ ἤρξατο αὐτοῖς ἐν παραβολαῖς λαλεῖν). This story was about a male landowner who planted a vineyard (ἀμπελῶνα ἄνθρωπος ἐφύτευσεν). He then put a fence around this vineyard (καὶ περιέθηκεν φραγμὸν) and dug a wine press (καὶ ὤρυξεν ὑπολήνιον). He even built a fortified watchtower (καὶ ᾠκοδόμησεν πύργον), so that it was a very nice vineyard. This story is reminiscent of the allegory of the vineyard from Isaiah, chapter 5:1-2. Isaiah had a song about a friend’s fertile field. He also dug out stones and planted choice vines. He put a tower in the middle to look over the vineyard with a carved wine vat there also. However, he got bad grapes instead of good grapes. Clearly, he did not get what he expected. However, this landowner here leased his land or rented it to farmer tenants (καὶ ἐξέδετο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς). Then he left that region and went away to another country (καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν). Matthew also indicated that Jesus wanted them to listen to another parable (Ἄλλην παραβολὴν ἀκούσατε) about a male landowner (Ἄνθρωπος ἦν οἰκοδεσπότης), who planted a vineyard (ὅστις ἐφύτευσεν ἀμπελῶνα). He then put a fence around it (καὶ φραγμὸν αὐτῷ περιέθηκεν) and dug a wine press in it (καὶ ὤρυξεν ἐν αὐτῷ ληνὸν). He even built a fortified watchtower (καὶ ᾠκοδόμησεν πύργον). This seemed like a very nice vineyard, much like in Mark. However, this landowner also leased or rented this land to farmer tenants (καὶ ἐξέδετο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς). Then he left that region and went away to another country (ἀπεδήμησεν). These last two things, renting and leaving the land, will cause him a problem. Have you had a problem with tenants?
Luke indicated that Jesus said that this third slave said that he was afraid (ἐφοβούμην) of the lord nobleman, because this nobleman was a harsh or severe man (γάρ σε, ὅτι ἄνθρωπος αὐστηρὸς εἶ). Once again, Luke used a word αὐστηρὸς, that means harsh, severe, grim, strict, exacting, or rigid, that is not found elsewhere in the Greek biblical literature. This man took what he had not deposited (αἴρεις ὃ οὐκ ἔθηκας). He reaped what he had not sown (καὶ θερίζεις ὃ οὐκ ἔσπειρας). This was similar to Matthew, chapter 25:24, perhaps indicating a Q source. Jesus, via Matthew, indicated that this slave said to his master or lord (εἶπεν Κύριε) that he knew that his master was a harsh or hard man (ἔγνων σε ὅτι σκληρὸς εἶ ἄνθρωπος), because he would reap or harvest crops where he had not sown them (θερίζων ὅπου οὐκ ἔσπειρας). He even gathered crops where he had not scattered seeds (καὶ συνάγων ὅθεν οὐ διεσκόρπισας). This third slave in each story was afraid of this harsh or severe demanding master. Do you know someone who is very demanding?
Only Luke had this unique introduction to this parable. He said that as the disciples were listening to these things (Ἀκουόντων δὲ αὐτῶν ταῦτα), presumably the story about Zacchaeus, Jesus proceeded to tell another parable (προσθεὶς εἶπεν παραβολὴν). He was near his Jerusalem goal (διὰ τὸ ἐγγὺς εἶναι Ἱερουσαλὴμ αὐτὸν), which meant that he was in Jericho or between Jericho and Jerusalem. The disciples supposed or thought (καὶ δοκεῖν αὐτοὺς) that the kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ) was about to appear immediately or soon (ὅτι παραχρῆμα μέλλει…ἀναφαίνεσθαι). Somehow the disciples assumed that if they got to Jerusalem, the kingdom of God would be revealed to them. They anticipated that the messianic age would happen. Some more revolutionary followers may have even expected a political earthly kingdom to be established, in opposition to the Roman occupation. This parable was meant to tone down their expectations about an earthly kingdom and the immediacy of this new heavenly kingdom. Do you expect the the kingdom of God to come soon?
Luke indicated that Jesus repeated this idea that the Son of Man came (ἦλθεν γὰρ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) to seek out (ζητῆσαι) and save (καὶ σῶσαι) the lost ones (τὸ ἀπολωλός). Jesus often used the 3rd person singular “Son of Man” to refer to himself. He had come to seek and save the lost ones, not the righteous people. Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus. How do you seek out the lost ones?
Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said to Zacchaeus (εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς) that today salvation had come to his house (ὅτι Σήμερον σωτηρία τῷ οἴκῳ τούτῳ ἐγένετο) because Zacchaeus was also a son of Abraham (καθότι καὶ αὐτὸς υἱὸς Ἀβραάμ ἐστιν). Jesus said that salvation had come to the house of this tax collector, who was also Jewish, despite his official position or job. Zacchaeus was a true son of Abraham, like the other Jewish people. Nevertheless, Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus. Can salvation come to public sinners
Luke indicated that Zacchaeus stood there (σταθεὶς δὲ Ζακχαῖος). He then said to the Lord Jesus (εἶπεν πρὸς τὸν Κύριον), calling him Lord (Κύριε) that he was willing to give to the poor (τοῖς πτωχοῖς δίδωμι) half of his possessions (Ἰδοὺ τὰ ἡμίσειά μου τῶν ὑπαρχόντων). He said that if he had defrauded anyone of anything (καὶ εἴ τινός τι ἐσυκοφάντησα), he was willing to pay it back 4 times as much (ἀποδίδωμι τετραπλοῦν). Once again, Luke used the Greek word ἐσυκοφάντησα, that means to accuse falsely or defraud people, that was not found in any of the other Greek biblical writers. Zacchaeus made a big deal about how he was not like the other tax collectors. Despite his wealth, he was willing to give half of it away to some unnamed poor people. Anytime, he was accused of defrauding people, he would give them 4 times what they were claiming. This restoration of 4 times goes back to Exodus, chapter 22:1, about stealing sheep. The thief had to pay four sheep for any one stolen sheep. Thus, Zacchaeus seemed like a very fair person, leaning over backwards to help people. Yet he was still wealthy. Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus. How do you treat people who claim that you are defrauding them?
Luke indicated that everyone who saw this (καὶ ἰδόντες πάντες) began to grumble (διεγόγγυζον). They said (λέγοντες) that Jesus had gone to stay with a sinful man (ὅτι Παρὰ ἁμαρτωλῷ ἀνδρὶ εἰσῆλθεν καταλῦσαι). Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use the term διεγόγγυζον, that means to murmur among themselves, murmur greatly, or continue murmuring.All the people knew that Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector and thus working with and for the foreign governing Romans. These tax collectors were more political and distained because of their corruption and wealth. Now Jesus was going to stay with what many considered a public sinner, a tax collector. Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector. Would you stay with someone who was a known public sinner?
Luke said that Zacchaeus hurried down (καὶ σπεύσας κατέβη) from the tree. He was happy to welcome Jesus (καὶ ὑπεδέξατο αὐτὸν χαίρων). Instead of Zacchaeus seeking Jesus, Jesus was seeking Zacchaeus, so that he must have been well pleased at this turn of events. Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus. Did you realize that when you are seeking God, he is seeking you?