A sign from heaven (Lk 11:16-11:16)

“Others,

To test Jesus,

Kept demanding

A sign from heaven.”

 

ἕτεροι δὲ πειράζοντες σημεῖον ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἐζήτουν παρ’ αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke said that other people tried to test Jesus (ἕτεροι δὲ πειράζοντες), by demanding or seeking from him (ἐζήτουν παρ’ αὐτοῦ) a sign from heaven (σημεῖον ἐξ οὐρανοῦ).  There were other instances about people looking for signs from heaven, but not within this context.  In Mark, chapter 8:11, the Pharisees asked Jesus to show them a sign from heaven, since they wanted to test Jesus.  Heavenly signs had been common among the prophets to prove their authenticity.  In Matthew, chapter 16:1, both the Pharisees and the Sadducees came to Jesus.  They wanted to test Jesus also.  They also asked him to show them a heavenly validation of his work.  Later in Luke, chapter 11:29, there was also talk about the sign of Jonah.  Thus, there was a continual attempt to test Jesus, by asking him to give some heavenly signs.  Do you try to test Jesus in your life?

 

Eternal life (Lk 10:25-10:25)

“Just then,

A certain lawyer

Stood up

To test Jesus.

He said.

‘Teacher!

What must I do

To inherit eternal life?’”

 

Καὶ ἰδοὺ νομικός τις ἀνέστη ἐκπειράζων αὐτὸν λέγων Διδάσκαλε, τί ποιήσας ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσω;

 

Luke said that just then, a certain lawyer stood up (Καὶ ἰδοὺ νομικός τις ἀνέστη) to test Jesus (ἐκπειράζων αὐτὸν).  He said, calling Jesus a teacher (λέγων Διδάσκαλε), what did he have to do to inherit eternal life (τί ποιήσας ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσω)?  Although there was a question like this in all 3 synoptics, there are nuanced differences.  Matthew, chapter 22:35-36, had a Pharisee lawyer ask the question about the greatest commandment, and not about eternal life.  Mark, chapter 12:28, had a Scribe, not a Pharisee lawyer ask the same question about the greatest commandment.  In Luke, here, there was an unnamed lawyer, probably an expert in the Mosaic law, who wanted to know about how to gain eternal life.  Mark had this unnamed Scribe approach Jesus, because he had heard the disciples discussing, disputing, or arguing with each other.  He saw how Jesus had answered their questions so well.  He was not there to test him, as here in Luke and Matthew, but he did question Jesus.  Matthew had a lawyer, who was a Pharisee, question Jesus to explicitly test him.  This Pharisee lawyer probably was someone skilled in the Mosaic law.  He addressed Jesus in a very respectful tone calling him “Teacher” or rabbi (Διδάσκαλε), like Luke.  He wanted to know which commandment of the law was the greatest, since there were 613 commandments in late Judaism.  Thus, it would seem like a legitimate question with so many commandments or laws.  Luke had the question about eternal life, but the other 2 synoptics questioned Jesus about the most important commandment.  These questions were related, but not the same.  3 different people, with different motives, posed this question.  Do you question people to learn something or to test them?

Peter responds (Lk 9:20-9:20)

“Jesus said to them.

‘But who do you say

That I am?’

Peter answered.

‘The Messiah,

The Christ

Of God.’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς Ὑμεῖς δὲ τίνα με λέγετε εἶναι; Πέτρος δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Τὸν Χριστὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ

 

Luke indicated that Jesus asked his disciples (εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς) who did they say that he was (Ὑμεῖς δὲ τίνα με λέγετε εἶναι)?  Peter answered (Πέτρος δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς) that he was the Messiah, the Christ of God (εἶπεν Τὸν Χριστὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  This same question and response of Peter can be found in Matthew, chapter 16:15-17, Mark, chapter 6:29 and John, 6:69, but all slightly different.  Mark said that Jesus was questioning his disciples who was it that they thought or said that he was.  Jesus thus put them to the test.  This was not about what others said or thought, but about their understanding of Jesus.  Who did they think Jesus was?  Mark said that Peter replied to the generic question of Jesus immediately.  He said that Jesus was the Christ or the Messiah that they were expecting in Israel.  Matthew indicated that Jesus asked his disciples who they thought or said that he was.  Was he the Son of Man or someone else?  Simon Peter replied to the question of Jesus immediately.  He said that Jesus was the Christ or the Messiah that they were expecting in Israel.  Jesus was the son of the living God, not just merely the son of God.  Peter, as the leader of this new group of Jesus followers, asserted this important belief about Jesus.  For the first time, Jesus was called the Christ, the Messiah.  Here Peter, in the name of the nascent Christian community, proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ.  Are the Greek “Christ” and the Hebrew “Messiah” the same?  Matthew was the only one who had Peter say that Jesus was the son of the living God.  Matthew was also the only one that mentioned the special relationship that Peter had with his Father in heaven.  However, Peter gave a strong positive response in all four versions.  Matthew also had Jesus respond to Peter, but that was not in Mark or Luke.  Jesus said that Simon was blessed, because flesh and blood or humans had not revealed this saying of his, but Jesus’ heavenly Father had done so.  Thus, Peter had a special relationship with the Father in heaven.  Peter, as the leader of this new group of Jesus followers, asserted this important belief about Jesus.  Matthew, more than any of the other gospel writers, emphasized the role of Peter as the leader of the early Christian community, the disciples, and the apostles of Jesus.  Who is your human Christian leader?

The devil leaves (Lk 4:13-4:13)

“When the devil

Had finished

Every test,

He departed

From him

Until another

Opportune time.”

 

Καὶ συντελέσας πάντα πειρασμὸν ὁ διάβολος ἀπέστη ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ ἄχρι καιροῦ.

 

This ending is not quite the same as in Matthew, chapter 4:11, where angels came to wait on Jesus.  Here there are no angels, but the show was over for now.  Luke said that the devil had finished every test (Καὶ συντελέσας πάντα πειρασμὸν).  Thus, he departed from Jesus (ὁ διάβολος ἀπέστη ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ) until a later opportunity or another time (ἄχρι καιροῦ).  The devil had failed to convince Jesus in any of these temptations.  He was gone for now, but would return again.  Jesus had passed his first test.  Score one for the good guys.

Do not tempt the Lord (Lk 4:12-4:12)

“Jesus answered

The devil.

‘It is said.

‘Do not put

The Lord,

Your God,

To the test.’”

 

καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι Εἴρηται Οὐκ ἐκπειράσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σο

 

Once again, this is like Matthew, chapter 4:7, but here it is the 3rd rather than the 2nd temptation.  The wording is almost the same, indicating a common source.  Jesus answered the devil with a short response (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  Jesus told the devil that it has been said (ὅτι Εἴρηται) that he should not tempt or test the Lord his God (Οὐκ ἐκπειράσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σο), as if the devil accepted God.  Jesus used this biblical quotation from Deuteronomy, chapter 6:16, where Yahweh was calling for no more rebellions like that at Massah, when they complained about the lack of water.  They were not to test Yahweh anymore.  So too, the devil was not to test Jesus anymore.

Which commandment is first? (Mk 12:28-12:28)

“One of the Scribes

Came near.

He heard them

Disputing with one another.

Seeing that Jesus

Had answered them well,

He asked him.

“Which commandment

Is the first of all of them?”

 

Καὶ προσελθὼν εἷς τῶν γραμματέων, ἀκούσας αὐτῶν συνζητούντων, εἰδὼς ὅτι καλῶς ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς, ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτόν Ποία ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη πάντων;

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 22:34, but there the question was presented by a Pharisee lawyer, not a Scribe.  In Luke, chapter 10:25, there was an unnamed lawyer who wanted to know how to gain eternal life.  Here, Mark has an unnamed Scribe approach Jesus (Καὶ προσελθὼν εἷς τῶν γραμματέων) because he had heard the disciples discussing, disputing, or arguing with each other (ἀκούσας αὐτῶν συνζητούντων).  He saw how Jesus had answered their questions very well (εἰδὼς ὅτι καλῶς ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς).  He was not there to test him, but he did question Jesus (ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτόν).  He wanted to know which commandment was the first or the greatest (Ποία ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη πάντων), since there were 613 commandments in late Judaism.  Thus, it would seem like a legitimate question with so many commandments or laws.

Bring me a coin (Mk 12:15-12:15)

“But knowing

Their hypocrisy,

Jesus said to them.

‘Why are you

Putting me

To the test?

Bring me

A denarius!

Let me see it!’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἰδὼς αὐτῶν τὴν ὑπόκρισιν εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Τί με πειράζετε; φέρετέ μοι δηνάριον ἵνα ἴδω.

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 22:18-19, and in Luke, chapter 20:23-24.  Mark said that Jesus was aware of their evil intentions or hypocrisy (ὁ δὲ εἰδὼς αὐτῶν τὴν ὑπόκρισιν).  He asked them (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) why were they testing or tempting him (Τί με πειράζετε)?  This idea of testing or tricking Jesus was a common theme in the gospels.  Jesus wanted them to bring him the Roman coin, a denarius (φέρετέ μοι δηνάριον), worth a little more than a US dollar.  He wanted to see (ἵνα ἴδω) what coin was being used for paying the Roman poll tax.