The good news (Lk 16:16-16:16)

“The law

And the prophets

Were in effect

Until John came.

Since then,

The good news

Of the kingdom of God

Is proclaimed.

Everyone

Tries to enter it

By force.”

 

Ὁ νόμος καὶ οἱ προφῆται μέχρι Ἰωάνου· ἀπὸ τότε ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ εὐαγγελίζεται καὶ πᾶς εἰς αὐτὴν βιάζεται.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the law (Ὁ νόμος) and the prophets (καὶ οἱ προφῆται) were in effect until John came (μέχρι Ἰωάνου).  Since then (ἀπὸ τότε), the good news has been proclaimed (εὐαγγελίζεται) about the kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Everyone tries to enter it by force (καὶ πᾶς εἰς αὐτὴν βιάζεται).  The law and the prophets were the two major parts of the Hebrew Bible.  John the Baptist represented some sort of turning point.  His preaching about the kingdom of God meant that the days of the law and prophets were numbered.  There is something similar, but in a different context with a different meaning in Matthew, chapter 11:12-13.  There Jesus talked about the days of John the Baptist until the present (ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν ἡμερῶν Ἰωάνου τοῦ Βαπτιστοῦ ἕως ἄρτι), not a very long time.  The kingdom of heaven has suffered violence (ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν βιάζεται).  What kind of violence was taking place in the heavenly kingdom?  Did this mean that so many people were violently seeking the kingdom of heaven that John was talking about?  Is this some kind of violence within the kingdom of heaven?  Were these violent people trying to get into the kingdom of heaven?  The next sentence seems to support this idea that violent people wanted to seize the kingdom of heaven by force (καὶ βιασταὶ ἁρπάζουσιν αὐτήν).  In Matthew, chapter 17:11-13, Jesus compared John to Elijah.  Like here in Luke, all the prophets and the law had prophesied until the time of John the Baptist (πάντες γὰρ οἱ προφῆται καὶ ὁ νόμος ἕως Ἰωάνου ἐπροφήτευσαν).  Then Jesus said that John was the new Elijah (αὐτός ἐστιν Ἡλείας), the one who was to come (ὁ μέλλων ἔρχεσθαι).  However, they had to be willing to accept this (καὶ εἰ θέλετε δέξασθαι).  Anyone who had ears to hear should listen to this (ὁ ἔχων ὦτα ἀκουέτω).  Clearly, something fundamental changed with John the Baptist and his proclamation of the kingdom of God.  How were John and Jesus connected in their preaching?  What is your opinion about John the Baptist?

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Heal the daughter of Abraham (Lk 13:16-13:16)

“Ought not this woman,

A daughter of Abraham,

Whom Satan bound

For eighteen years,

Be set free

From this bondage

On the Sabbath day?”

 

ταύτην δὲ θυγατέρα Ἀβραὰμ οὖσαν, ἣν ἔδησεν ὁ Σατανᾶς ἰδοὺ δέκα καὶ ὀκτὼ ἔτη, οὐκ ἔδει λυθῆναι ἀπὸ τοῦ δεσμοῦ τούτου τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ σαββάτου;

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said that this daughter of Abraham (ταύτην δὲ θυγατέρα Ἀβραὰμ), whom Satan had bound up (οὖσαν, ἣν ἔδησεν ὁ Σατανᾶς ἰδοὺ) for 18 years (δέκα καὶ ὀκτὼ ἔτη), ought to be set free from this bondage (οὐκ ἔδει λυθῆναι ἀπὸ τοῦ δεσμοῦ τούτου) on the Sabbath day (τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ σαββάτου).  Jesus wondered why this daughter of Abraham, a Jewish woman, should not be freed from her 18-year long Satan bondage on the Sabbath.  In other words, her infirmity was explicitly due to her Satanic possession.  Do you know anyone who has suffered from the same disease for 18 years?

Sin and punishment (Lk 13:2-13:2)

“Jesus asked them.

‘Do you think

That these Galileans,

Suffered in this way

Because they were

Worse sinners

Than all the other Galileans?’”

 

καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Δοκεῖτε ὅτι οἱ Γαλιλαῖοι οὗτοι ἁμαρτωλοὶ παρὰ πάντας τοὺς Γαλιλαίους ἐγένοντο, ὅτι ταῦτα πεπόνθασιν; 

 

Next Luke uniquely indicated how Jesus used this contemporary event to make a point.  Jesus asked them (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) if they thought (Δοκεῖτε) that these Galileans (ὅτι οἱ Γαλιλαῖοι οὗτοι) suffered this way (ὅτι ταῦτα πεπόνθασιν) because they were worse sinners than all the other Galileans (ἁμαρτωλοὶ παρὰ πάντας τοὺς Γαλιλαίους ἐγένοντο)?  Jesus wanted to know if they thought that Galileans who got killed offering their sacrifice at the Temple were worse sinners than the other Galileans.  Is it worse to die in Church?  Does the type of death that you endure indicate what kind of sinner you were?

 

Look at my son (Lk 9:38-9:38)

“Just then,

A man

From the crowd

Shouted out.

‘Teacher!

I beg you

To look at my son!

He is my only child.’”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ ἀνὴρ ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου ἐβόησεν λέγων Διδάσκαλε, δέομαί σου ἐπιβλέψαι ἐπὶ τὸν υἱόν μου, ὅτι μονογενής μοί ἐστιν,

 

Luke said that just then a man from the crowd shouted out (ἰδοὺ ἀνὴρ ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου ἐβόησεν λέγων) “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε)!”  He begged Jesus to look at his son (δέομαί σου ἐπιβλέψαι ἐπὶ τὸν υἱόν μου) who was his only child (ὅτι μονογενής μοί ἐστιν).  Jesus and Luke had an affection for only children.  This story of the man with the incurable son can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 17:15, Mark, chapter 9:17-18, and here in Luke, but there are minor differences in all 3 accounts.  Mark said that it was someone from the crowd who spoke to Jesus, not a kneeling man as in Matthew.  This man addressed Jesus as “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε),” like Luke, and not as “Lord (Κύριε)” as in Matthew.  He had brought his son to Jesus because his son had a spirit that made him unable to speak.  He was not immediately identified as an epileptic, but as a mute person.  Matthew said that a man approached Jesus and knelt before him.  Only Matthew has this man kneel in front of Jesus.  Thus, this was a kneeling man, not someone from the crowd yelling out to Jesus.  This man addressed Jesus as the Lord (Κύριε).  He wanted Jesus to have mercy on his son, who was an epileptic, not mute.  Epileptics were often considered to be possessed by the devil.  Even today, we are still unsure of the exact cause of epilepsy seizures.  This man’s son suffered very badly.  He often fell into a fire and into water.  Have you ever known a chronically sick child?

The lepers at the time of Elisha (Lk 4:27-4:27)

“There were also many lepers

In Israel

At the time

Of the prophet Elisha.

None of them

Was cleansed,

Except Naaman,

The Syrian.”

 

καὶ πολλοὶ λεπροὶ ἦσαν ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ ἐπὶ Ἑλισαίου τοῦ προφήτου, καὶ οὐδεὶς αὐτῶν ἐκαθαρίσθη εἰ μὴ Ναιμὰν ὁ Σύρος.

 

Luke then cited another unique story about the prophet Elisha, the prophet who followed Elijah in the 9th century BCE.  He too was well known for his exploits in the first 13 chapters of 2 Kings.  This episode was about Naaman, the commander of the Aramean army, who suffered from some kind of leprosy.  Naaman asked his king if he could go get a cure from a prophet he had heard about.  Elisha told the king to send Naaman to him so that he could cure him.  He told Naaman to wash himself 7 times in the Jordan River.  This made Naaman very upset.  Finally, he went and immersed himself 7 times in the Jordan River.  Thus, he was cured of his leprosy, as found in 2 Kings, 5:1-14.  Luke said that there were also many lepers (καὶ πολλοὶ λεπροὶ ἦσαν) in Israel (ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ) at the time of the prophet Elisha (ἐπὶ Ἑλισαίου τοῦ προφήτου).  None of them were cleansed (καὶ οὐδεὶς αὐτῶν ἐκαθαρίσθη), except Naaman, the Syrian (εἰ μὴ Ναιμὰν ὁ Σύρος).  Syrian and Aramean are almost the same.  The key idea was that someone other than an Israelite was cured.

Jesus cures the young girl (Mk 5:41-5:43)

“Jesus took her

By the hand.

He said to her.

‘Talitha cum!’

Which means,

‘Little girl!

Get up!’

Immediately,

The girl got up.

She began to walk.

She was twelve years of age.

At this,

They were overcome

With amazement.”

 

καὶ κρατήσας τῆς χειρὸς τοῦ παιδίου λέγει αὐτῇ Ταλιθὰ κούμ, ὅ ἐστιν μεθερμηνευόμενον Τὸ κοράσιον, σοὶ λέγω, ἔγειρε.

καὶ εὐθὺς ἀνέστη τὸ κοράσιον καὶ περιεπάτει· ἦν γὰρ ἐτῶν δώδεκα. καὶ ἐξέστησαν εὐθὺς ἐκστάσει μεγάλῃ.

 

This curing of the girl is similar to what can be found in Matthew, chapter 9:25, and Luke, chapter 8:54-55.  However, only Mark went into more detail by using Aramaic words to cure her.  Mark said that Jesus took her by the hand (καὶ κρατήσας τῆς χειρὸς τοῦ παιδίου).  He then said to her (λέγει αὐτῇ), “Talitha cum (Ταλιθὰ κούμ)!” that translated means (ὅ ἐστιν μεθερμηνευόμενον) “Little girl (Τὸ κοράσιον)! Get up or arise (σοὶ λέγω, ἔγειρε)!”  Immediately (καὶ εὐθὺς), the girl arose or got up (ἀνέστη τὸ κοράσιον).  She began to walk (καὶ περιεπάτει).  She was 12 years old (ἦν γὰρ ἐτῶν δώδεκα), the same number of years that the lady suffered from the blood flow.  At this, the crowds were immediately overcome with great amazement (καὶ ἐξέστησαν εὐθὺς ἐκστάσει μεγάλῃ).  This is somewhat like the prophet Elijah who brought a child back to life in 1 Kings, chapter 17:17-24.  The use and explanation of Aramaic may indicate an oral source for this story that may have been told originally in Aramaic.  Mark felt compelled to explain this to his Greek non-Aramaic audience.

The woman with the hemorrhage (Mt 9:20-9:21)

“A woman,

Who had suffered

From hemorrhages

For twelve years,

Came up behind him.

She touched

The fringe

Of his cloak.

She said to herself.

‘If I only touch

His cloak,

I will be made well.’”

 

Καὶ ἰδοὺ γυνὴ αἱμορροοῦσα δώδεκα ἔτη προσελθοῦσα ὄπισθεν ἥψατο τοῦ κρασπέδου τοῦ ἱματίου αὐτοῦ·

ἔλεγεν γὰρ ἐν ἑαυτῇ Ἐὰν μόνον ἅψωμαι τοῦ ἱματίου αὐτοῦ σωθήσομαι.

 

This episode about the woman with hemorrhages interrupts the story about the leader and his dead daughter.  However, it can be found in Mark, chapter 5:25-29, and Luke, chapter 8:43-44, except that Mark and Luke have a more elaborate story, about her background.  Interesting enough, the word that Matthew uses for hemorrhages (αἱμορροοῦσα) is only found here, but nowhere else in the biblical literature.  Mark and Luke said that she had flowing blood.  All agree that she had been suffering for 12 years with this bleeding (Καὶ ἰδοὺ γυνὴ αἱμορροοῦσα δώδεκα ἔτη).  She came up behind Jesus (προσελθοῦσα ὄπισθεν).  She wanted to touch the fringe or the tassel edge of his cloak (ἥψατο τοῦ κρασπέδου τοῦ ἱματίου αὐτοῦ).  These fringes (κρασπέδου) or bottom tassels often reminded people about the 10 commandments.  She was thinking to herself (ἔλεγεν γὰρ ἐν ἑαυτῇ), that if she only touched his cloak or garment (Ἐὰν μόνον ἅψωμαι τοῦ ἱματίου αὐτοῦ), she would be healed or cured (σωθήσομαι).