Salvation today (Lk 19:9-19:9)

“Then Jesus said

To Zacchaeus.

‘Today salvation

Has come

To this house.

Zacchaeus was also

A son of Abraham.’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι Σήμερον σωτηρία τῷ οἴκῳ τούτῳ ἐγένετο, καθότι καὶ αὐτὸς υἱὸς Ἀβραάμ ἐστιν·

 

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

Sycamore tree (Lk 19:4-19:4)

“Thus,

Zacchaeus ran ahead.

He climbed up

A sycamore tree

To see Jesus,

Because Jesus

Was going

To pass that way.”

 

καὶ προδραμὼν εἰς τὸ ἔμπροσθεν ἀνέβη ἐπὶ συκομορέαν, ἵνα ἴδῃ αὐτόν, ὅτι ἐκείνης ἤμελλεν διέρχεσθαι.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Zacchaeus ran ahead (καὶ προδραμὼν εἰς τὸ ἔμπροσθεν) of everyone.  He then climbed up a sycamore tree (ἀνέβη ἐπὶ συκομορέαν) in order to see Jesus (ἵνα ἴδῃ αὐτόν), because Jesus was about to pass that way (ὅτι ἐκείνης ἤμελλεν διέρχεσθαι).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use the word συκομορέαν, that means a fig-mulberry tree, a sycamore fig, or a sycamore tree.  This small rich tax collector ran ahead of everybody and climbed up a tree so that he could see Jesus when he passed by, an ingenious way to get a look at the celebrity who was in town.  Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus.  Would you climb a tree to see a celebrity?

Zacchaeus was small (Lk 19:3-19:3)

“Zacchaeus was trying

To see

Who Jesus was.

However,

He could not,

Due to the crowd.

Besides,

He was short

In stature.”

 

καὶ ἐζήτει ἰδεῖν τὸν Ἰησοῦν τίς ἐστιν, καὶ οὐκ ἠδύνατο ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου, ὅτι τῇ ἡλικίᾳ μικρὸς ἦν.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Zacchaeus was trying to see Jesus (καὶ ἐζήτει ἰδεῖν τὸν Ἰησοῦν) and figure out who he was (τίς ἐστιν).  However, he could not (καὶ οὐκ ἠδύνατο), due to the crowd (ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου) around Jesus.  Besides, Zacchaeus was a short person (ὅτι τῇ ἡλικίᾳ μικρὸς ἦν).  This short rich tax collector, Zacchaeus, could not see Jesus because of the crowd around him.  This was and is a problem for all small people.  Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus.  What do you think about small people?

Who was justified? (Lk 18:14-18:14)

“I tell you!

This man went down

To his house

Justified

Rather than the other.

All

Who exalt themselves,

Will be humbled.

But all

Who humble themselves

Will be exalted.”

 

λέγω ὑμῖν, κατέβη οὗτος δεδικαιωμένος εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ παρ’ ἐκεῖνον· ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ὑψῶν ἑαυτὸν ταπεινωθήσεται, ὁ δὲ ταπεινῶν ἑαυτὸν ὑψωθήσεται.

 

Luke has Jesus conclude this parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector that is only found in this gospel.  Luke indicated that Jesus said with a solemn pronouncement (λέγω ὑμῖν) that this man, the tax collector, went down to his house justified (κατέβη οὗτος δεδικαιωμένος εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ) rather than the other man, the Pharisee (παρ’ ἐκεῖνον).  Then he added a remark that all who exalt themselves (ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ὑψῶν ἑαυτὸν), will be humbled (ταπεινωθήσεται).  But all who humble themselves (ὁ δὲ ταπεινῶν ἑαυτὸν), will be exalted (ὑψωθήσεται).  This was also in in Matthew, chapter 23:12, where Jesus said that whoever exalted themselves would be humbled (Ὅστις δὲ ὑψώσει ἑαυτὸν ταπεινωθήσεται,).  On the other hand, anyone who humbled themselves would be exalted (καὶ ὅστις ταπεινώσει ἑαυτὸν ὑψωθήσεται).  This role reversal was an indication of the end times in MatthewLuke mentioned this earlier in chapter 14:11, word for word, when Jesus said that all who exalted themselves (ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ὑψῶν ἑαυτὸν) would be humbled (ταπεινωθήσεται).  On the other hand, all those who humbled themselves (καὶ ὁ ταπεινῶν ἑαυτὸν), would be exalted (ὑψωθήσεται), but within a different context also.  Do you humble or exalt yourself?

Fasting and tithing (Lk 18:12-18:12)

“I fast

Twice a week.

I give a tenth

Of all my income.”

 

νηστεύω δὶς τοῦ σαββάτου, ἀποδεκατεύω πάντα ὅσα κτῶμαι.

 

Luke has Jesus tell this parable about a Pharisee and a tax collector that is only found in this gospel.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that this Pharisee said that he fasted twice a week (νηστεύω δὶς τοῦ σαββάτου) and he gave a tenth of all his income (ποδεκατεύω πάντα ὅσα κτῶμαι).  Normally, the Pharisees fasted on Mondays and Thursdays.  This was a good thing.  This Pharisee fasted and did not eat twice a week.  Besides, he tithed all his income, as he gave 10% to the Temple.  There was nothing wrong with this behavior.  He was a faithful Jewish person.  The problem was his attitude, not how he acted.  Was is your attitude toward your religious practices?

The Pharisee prayer (Lk 18:11-18:11)

“The Pharisee,

Standing by himself,

Was praying thus.

‘God!

I thank you

That I am not

Like other people.

I am not

A thief,

A wicked person,

An adulterer,

Or even

Like this tax collector.’”

 

ὁ Φαρισαῖος σταθεὶς ταῦτα πρὸς ἑαυτὸν προσηύχετο Ὁ Θεός, εὐχαριστῶ σοι ὅτι οὐκ εἰμὶ ὥσπερ οἱ λοιποὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ἅρπαγες, ἄδικοι, μοιχοί, ἢ καὶ ὡς οὗτος ὁ τελώνης·

 

Luke has Jesus tell a parable about this Pharisee and a tax collector that is only found in this gospel.  Luke indicated that Jesus said this Pharisee stood by himself (ὁ Φαρισαῖος σταθεὶς ταῦτα πρὸς ἑαυτὸν).  He was praying (προσηύχετο) to God.  He said thank you to God (Ὁ Θεός, εὐχαριστῶ σοι) that he was not like other people (ὅτι οὐκ εἰμὶ ὥσπερ οἱ λοιποὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων).  He was not a thief, a robber, or a swindler (ἅρπαγες), unjust, unrighteous, or wicked (ἄδικοι), or an adulterer (μοιχοί), or even like this tax collector (ἢ καὶ ὡς οὗτος ὁ τελώνης).  This Pharisee considered himself a just, righteous person, not like other sinners who were evil.  Certainly, he was happy not to be a terrible Roman tax collector, like that other person in the Temple.  Thus, he uttered the prayer of an upstanding righteous Jewish person.  Do you thank God that you are better than other people?

 

Another parable (Lk 18:9-18:9)

“Jesus also told

This parable

To some people

Who trusted in themselves.

They believed that

They were righteous.

They regarded others

With contempt.”

 

Εἶπεν δὲ καὶ πρός τινας τοὺς πεποιθότας ἐφ’ ἑαυτοῖς ὅτι εἰσὶν δίκαιοι καὶ ἐξουθενοῦντας τοὺς λοιποὺς τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην.

 

Luke has Jesus tell another parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector that is only found in this gospel.  Luke indicated that Jesus said (Εἶπεν δὲ) that some people trusted in themselves (Εἶπεν δὲ καὶ πρός τινας τοὺς πεποιθότας ἐφ’ ἑαυτοῖς) that they were righteous (ὅτι εἰσὶν δίκαιοι).  They regarded or despised others with contempt (καὶ ἐξουθενοῦντας τοὺς λοιποὺς).  Thus, here was this parable (τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην) for them.  Jesus explicitly called this a parable that was meant for these self-righteous people who trusted in themselves.  At the same time, they looked down on others.  Do you look down on others?

The list of other twelve apostles (Mt 10:3-10:4)

“They were

Philip,

Bartholomew,

Thomas,

Matthew,

The tax collector,

James,

Son of Alphaeus,

Thaddaeus,

Simon the Cananaean,

Judas Iscariot,

The one who betrayed him.”

 

Φίλιππος καὶ Βαρθολομαῖος, Θωμᾶς καὶ Μαθθαῖος ὁ τελώνης, Ἰάκωβος ὁ τοῦ Ἁλφαίου καὶ Θαδδαῖος,

Σίμων ὁ Καναναῖος καὶ Ἰούδας ὁ Ἰσκαριώτης ὁ καὶ παραδοὺς αὐτόν.

 

This section about naming the 12 apostles is similar to Mark, chapter 3:16-19 and Luke, chapter 6:13-16.  This list can also be compared to the list in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 1:13.  Except for Matthew, the tax collector (καὶ Μαθθαῖος ὁ τελώνης), Matthew had never explicitly mentioned the next 7 apostles by name.  They were Philip (Φίλιππος), Bartholomew (καὶ Βαρθολομαῖος), Thomas (Θωμᾶς), James, the son of Alphaeus (Ἰάκωβος ὁ τοῦ Ἁλφαίου), Thaddaeus (καὶ Θαδδαῖος), Simon the Cananaean (Σίμων ὁ Καναναῖος), and the traitor Judas Iscariot (καὶ Ἰούδας ὁ Ἰσκαριώτης ὁ καὶ παραδοὺς αὐτόν).  Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot are on all four lists of apostles.  However, Thaddeus is only listed by Matthew and Mark, while Luke and the Acts listed him as Jude or Judas, the son of James, not Thaddeus.  Are these two-different people or just two different names?  Is this Jude Thaddeus like Simon Peter and Levi Matthew?  Did he have a Jewish and a Greek name?

 

Title

“The Gospel according to Mathew”

 

Τὸ κατὰ Ματθαῖον εὐαγγέλιον

 

What is a gospel?  Who is Matthew?  The English term gospel comes from the Old English ‘godspel.’  There was a musical play with the name “Godspell” that opened on Broadway in 1971.  Like the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον, gospel means good news or good tidings.  This term originally meant the Christian message itself.  However, in the second century, it came to be used for the books where this message was set out.  Thus, the gospels became known as written accounts of the career and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.  This Gospel of Matthew is anonymous, since there is no explicit mention of a named author within the text itself.  This title (Τὸ κατὰ Ματθαῖον εὐαγγέλιον), however was added some time in the second century, perhaps with Papias of Hierapolis (100–140 CE), an early bishop and apostolic father.  The apostle Matthew was among the early followers and apostles of Jesus.  He was a first century Galilean, the son of Alpheus.  As a tax collector he would have been literate in Aramaic and Greek.  His fellow Jews would have despised him because he was seen as collaborating with the Roman occupation force.  What we do know for certain is that the author of this gospel was probably a traditional male Jew, familiar with the technical and legal aspects of Hebrew Scripture.  He wrote in a polished Semitic synagogue Greek style.  Most scholars hold that the Gospel of Matthew was a product of the last quarter of the 1st century, a work of the second generation of Christians, probably sometime between 70-110 CE, or more precisely between 80-90 CE.  The defining event for this community was the Roman destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 CE, during the Jewish–Roman War of 66–73 CE.  The author of this Gospel of Matthew wrote for a community of Greek-speaking Jewish Christians probably located in Syria, just north of Galilee.  Antioch was the largest city in Roman Syria and the third-largest city in the Roman Empire, after Rome and Alexandria.  This is where the term “Christian” was first used.  Thus, it would seem like an appropriate place for Jewish Christians in the second half of the first century.   For practical traditional purposes, I will use the name Matthew as the author of this gospel.