Forgiveness (Lk 17:4-17:4)

“If the same person

Sins against you

Seven times

A day,

Yet turns back

To you

Seven times,

And says.

‘I repent!’

You must forgive!”

 

καὶ ἐὰν ἑπτάκις τῆς ἡμέρας ἁμαρτήσῃ εἰς σὲ καὶ ἑπτάκις ἐπιστρέψῃ πρὸς σὲ λέγων Μετανοῶ, ἀφήσεις αὐτῷ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that if the same person sinned against you (ἁμαρτήσῃ εἰς σὲ) 7 times a day (καὶ ἐὰν ἑπτάκις τῆς ἡμέρας), yet turned back to you 7 times (καὶ ἑπτάκις ἐπιστρέψῃ πρὸς σὲ), and said that he repented (Μετανοῶ, ἀφήσεις αὐτῷ), you must still forgive him (ἀφήσεις αὐτῷ).  There is something like this saying in Matthew, chapter 18:21-22, although there was no mention of Peter here in LukeMatthew indicated that Peter took on a specific leadership role.  He wanted to know how many times he should forgive his brother’s sins?  Peter wanted to know how often he should forgive his brother who had sinned against him (ποσάκις ἁμαρτήσει εἰς ἐμὲ ὁ ἀδελφός μου καὶ ἀφήσω αὐτῷ).  Peter thought that 7 would be a good number.  Was 7 times enough (ἕως ἑπτάκις)?  Most Jewish people had forgiven offenses 3 times.  3 strikes and you were out.  Peter seemed overly generous in his attempts at forgiveness.  Jesus surprised Peter with a solemn declaration (λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦ) by telling him to forgive his brother’s sins not just 7 times (Οὐ λέγω σοι ἕως ἑπτάκις) but 490 times, 7*70 (ἀλλὰ ἕως ἑβδομηκοντάκις ἑπτά).  However, this saying about 7*70 was unique to Matthew, who was the only one who ever used this number ἑβδομηκοντάκις ἑπτά in the New Testament literature.  This number, nevertheless, could be found in Genesis, chapter 4:24 when Cain and Lamech were talking about violent revenge.  Lamech wanted his vengeance 7*70.  Was this number an attempt to indicate infinity before we had that term?  490 seems overly generous in any circumstances.  However, here in Luke, it might be even more since forgiveness was expected 7 times each day.  How many times do you forgive people?

 

Joseph’s son (Lk 4:22-4:22)

“All spoke well of him.

They were amazed

At the gracious words

That came

From his mouth.

They said.

‘Is not this Joseph’s son?’”

 

καὶ πάντες ἐμαρτύρουν αὐτῷ καὶ ἐθαύμαζον ἐπὶ τοῖς λόγοις τῆς χάριτος τοῖς ἐκπορευομένοις ἐκ τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἔλεγον Οὐχὶ υἱός ἐστιν Ἰωσὴφ οὗτος;

 

This story of Jesus astonishing the people in Nazareth can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 6:2, and Matthew, chapter 13:54, and Luke here.  Luke said that all the people in the synagogue spoke well or testified in favor of Jesus (καὶ πάντες ἐμαρτύρουν αὐτῷ).  They were amazed at the gracious words (καὶ ἐθαύμαζον ἐπὶ τοῖς λόγοις τῆς χάριτος) that came from his mouth (τοῖς ἐκπορευομένοις ἐκ τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ).  At first, they were excited about how good Jesus was.  Then they said (καὶ ἔλεγον) was he not Joseph’s son (Οὐχὶ υἱός ἐστιν Ἰωσὴφ οὗτος)?  Thus, they were astonished and wondered where did he get all his wisdom.  They seemed surprised that Jesus was so smart or so important.  They would have known him for some time as merely the son of Joseph in Nazareth.

Zechariah cannot speak (Lk 1:22-1:22)

“When he did come out,

Zechariah

Could not speak

To them.

They realized

That he had seen

A vision

In the sanctuary.

He kept motioning

To them.

However,

He remained

Unable to speak.”

 

ἐξελθὼν δὲ οὐκ ἐδύνατο λαλῆσαι αὐτοῖς, καὶ ἐπέγνωσαν ὅτι ὀπτασίαν ἑώρακεν ἐν τῷ ναῷ· καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν διανεύων αὐτοῖς, καὶ διέμενεν κωφός.

 

Luke indicated that the people praying in the Temple, outside the sanctuary, were surprised when Zechariah finally came out (ἐξελθὼν δὲ) of the sanctuary.  They saw that Zechariah could not speak to them (οὐκ ἐδύνατο λαλῆσαι αὐτοῖς) or give his blessing.  They realized or recognized (καὶ ἐπέγνωσαν) that he had seen a vision or had a supernatural experience (ὅτι ὀπτασίαν ἑώρακεν) while he was in the sanctuary (ἐν τῷ ναῷ).  Zechariah kept motioning or making signs to them (καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν διανεύων αὐτοῖς).  However, he could not communicate with them, since he was unable to speak as he remained mute (καὶ διέμενεν κωφός).

Jesus teaches in the synagogue (Mk 6:2-6:2)

“On the Sabbath,

Jesus began to teach

In the synagogue.

Many who heard him

Were astonished.

They said.

‘Where did this man

Get all this?

What is this wisdom

That has been given

To him?

What deeds of power

Are being done

By his hands!’”

 

καὶ γενομένου σαββάτου ἤρξατο διδάσκειν ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ· καὶ οἱ πολλοὶ ἀκούοντες ἐξεπλήσσοντο λέγοντες Πόθεν τούτῳ ταῦτα, καὶ τίς ἡ σοφία ἡ δοθεῖσα τούτῳ; καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις τοιαῦται διὰ τῶν χειρῶν αὐτοῦ γινόμεναι;

 

This story of Jesus astonishing the people in Nazareth can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, here, Matthew, chapter 13:54-56, and Luke, chapter 4:16-22.  Luke was more elaborate, while Matthew was closer to Mark, who said that on the Sabbath (καὶ γενομένου σαββάτου), Jesus began to teach the people in the synagogue (ἤρξατο διδάσκειν ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ).  However, many of the people that heard him were amazed or astonished (καὶ οἱ πολλοὶ ἀκούοντες ἐξεπλήσσοντο).  They wondered where did he get all this knowledge and wisdom (λέγοντες Πόθεν τούτῳ ταῦτα, καὶ τίς ἡ σοφία ἡ δοθεῖσα)?  Who gave him the power to do all these miraculous actions with his hands (καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις τοιαῦται διὰ τῶν χειρῶν αὐτοῦ γινόμεναι)?  They seemed surprised that Jesus was so smart and had these healing powers.  They would have known him for some time before this event.

Seventy times seven (Mt 18:22-18:22)

“Jesus said to him,

I do not say to you

Seven times,

But seventy times seven.”

 

λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Οὐ λέγω σοι ἕως ἑπτάκις, ἀλλὰ ἕως ἑβδομηκοντάκις ἑπτά.

 

This saying about 7*70 is unique to Matthew.  Jesus surprised Peter with a solemn declaration (λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦ) by telling him to forgive his brother’s sins not 7 times (Οὐ λέγω σοι ἕως ἑπτάκις) but 490 times, 7*70 (ἀλλὰ ἕως ἑβδομηκοντάκις ἑπτά).  Matthew is the only one who ever used this number “ἑβδομηκοντάκις ἑπτά” in the New Testament literature, but that number could be found in Genesis, chapter 4:24 when Cain and Lamech were talking about violent revenge.  Lamech wanted his vengeance 7*70.  Was this number an attempt to indicate infinity before we had that term?  490 seems overly generous in any circumstances, but was this to mean all the time?

The astonishment in his own town (Mt 13:54-13:56)

“He came to his hometown.

He began to teach the people

In their synagogue.

Thus,

They were astonished.

They said.

‘Where did this man

Get this wisdom?

Where did he get

These deeds of power?’”

 

καὶ ἐλθὼν εἰς τὴν πατρίδα αὐτοῦ ἐδίδασκεν αὐτοὺς ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ αὐτῶν, ὥστε ἐκπλήσσεσθαι αὐτοὺς καὶ λέγειν Πόθεν τούτῳ ἡ σοφία αὕτη καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις;

 

This story of Jesus astonishing the people in Nazareth can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 6:2, and Luke, chapter 4:16-17.  Luke is more elaborate, while Matthew is closer to Mark here.  Matthew said that Jesus came to his hometown, his own area (καὶ ἐλθὼν εἰς τὴν πατρίδα αὐτοῦ), probably Nazareth, but it is not explicitly named.  Jesus began to teach the people in their synagogue (ἐδίδασκεν αὐτοὺς ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ αὐτῶν).  However, they were astonished (ὥστε ἐκπλήσσεσθαι αὐτοὺς).  They wondered where did he get his wisdom (καὶ λέγειν Πόθεν τούτῳ ἡ σοφία αὕτη)?  Where did he get these miraculous powers (καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις)?  They seemed surprised that Jesus was so smart and had these healing powers.  They would have known him for some time.

The Old and the New Testament

The two major parts of the Christian Bible are the Old Testament and the New Testament.  Does this give a false impression that we have two different Bibles?  The New Testament books make references to the Old Testament works.  There was no New Testament canon until the second century, since consensus on its contents did not occur until the late fourth century.  The Old Testament or Hebrew Bible canon has an even more complicated history.  Often, people are surprised to learn that two-thirds of what we call the Christian Bible actually existed before the time of Christ, since it describes the words and actions of God’s interaction with his promised chosen people, the Israelites, the Hebrews, or the Jews.