The God of the living (Lk 20:38-20:38)

“Now God is

Not a God

Of the dead,

But of the living.

To him,

All of them

Are alive.”

 

Θεὸς δὲ οὐκ ἔστιν νεκρῶν ἀλλὰ ζώντων· πάντες γὰρ αὐτῷ ζῶσιν

 

Luke concluded with Jesus saying that God was not a God of the dead (Θεὸς δὲ οὐκ ἔστιν νεκρῶν), but of the living (ἀλλὰ ζώντων).  All of them were alive to him (πάντες γὰρ αὐτῷ ζῶσιν).  Jesus continued his explanation that can also be found in Matthew, chapter 22:32, and Mark, chapter 12:27.  Mark said that Jesus ended by saying that Yahweh, the Father, was not the God of the dead (οὐκ ἔστιν Θεὸς νεκρῶν) but the God of the living (ἀλλὰ ζώντων).  He insisted that the Sadducees were very wrong, mistaken, or incorrect (πολὺ πλανᾶσθε).  Matthew indicated that Jesus ended by saying that Yahweh, the Father, was the God of the living (ἀλλὰ ζώντων), not the dead (οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ Θεὸς νεκρῶν).  Do you believe in a living God?

The excuse of new property (Lk 14:18-14:18)

“But they all alike

Began

To make excuses.

The first said to him.

‘I have bought

A piece of land.

I must go out

To see it.

Please!

Accept my regrets!”

 

καὶ ἤρξαντο ἀπὸ μιᾶς πάντες παραιτεῖσθαι. ὁ πρῶτος εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ἀγρὸν ἠγόρασα, καὶ ἔχω ἀνάγκην ἐξελθὼν ἰδεῖν αὐτόν· ἐρωτῶ σε, ἔχε με παρῃτημένον.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that they all began to make excuses, to excuse themselves (καὶ ἤρξαντο ἀπὸ μιᾶς πάντες παραιτεῖσθαι).  The first one said to the slave (ὁ πρῶτος εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that he had just bought a piece of land (Ἀγρὸν ἠγόρασα).  Thus, he had to go out to see it (καὶ ἔχω ἀνάγκην ἐξελθὼν ἰδεῖν αὐτόν).  Therefore, he politely (ἐρωτῶ σε) wanted to be excused from going to the banquet (ἔχε με παρῃτημένον).  Matthew, chapter 22:3-5, said that they would not come or did not wish to come (καὶ οὐκ ἤθελον ἐλθεῖν), without giving excuses.  Now, this was a problem.  They have refused an invitation to the wedding banquet of God, the Father, the king.  He had sent his slaves, the prophets or the apostles, to call them, but they still did not want to come to the wedding feast.  In fact, Matthew said that the invitees made light of these inviting slaves.  They disregarded or disrespected (οἱ δὲ ἀμελήσαντες) the invitation.  They simply went on with their daily lives.  They went (ἀπῆλθον) either to their own farm field (ὃς μὲν εἰς τὸν ἴδιον ἀγρόν), or to their trading business (ὃς δὲ ἐπὶ τὴν ἐμπορίαν αὐτοῦ).  They were too busy to go to a wedding feast.  Have you ever been too busy to go to a wedding reception?

Jerusalem would not respond (Lk 13:34-13:34)

“Jerusalem!

Jerusalem!

The city

That kills

The prophets!

You stone

Those who are sent

To you!

How often

Have I desired

To gather

Your children together

As a hen gathers

Her brood

Under her wings!

But you were not willing!”

 

Ἱερουσαλὴμ Ἱερουσαλήμ, ἡ ἀποκτείνουσα τοὺς προφήτας καὶ λιθοβολοῦσα τοὺς ἀπεσταλμένους πρὸς αὐτήν, ποσάκις ἠθέλησα ἐπισυνάξαι τὰ τέκνα σου ὃν τρόπον ὄρνις τὴν ἑαυτῆς νοσσιὰν ὑπὸ τὰς πτέρυγας, καὶ οὐκ ἠθελήσατε.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus picked on Jerusalem (Ἱερουσαλὴμ Ἱερουσαλήμ).  He called it the city that killed its prophets (ἡ ἀποκτείνουσα τοὺς προφήτας).  They had stoned those who were sent to them (καὶ λιθοβολοῦσα τοὺς ἀπεσταλμένους πρὸς αὐτήν).  Jesus, almost speaking as God, said that he had often desired to gather his children together (ποσάκις ἠθέλησα ἐπισυνάξαι τὰ τέκνα σου), like a hen gathered her brood under her wings (ὃν τρόπον ὄρνις τὴν ἑαυτῆς νοσσιὰν ὑπὸ τὰς πτέρυγας).  However, they were not willing (καὶ οὐκ ἠθελήσατε).  Both Luke and Matthew chapter 23:37, have this lament about Jerusalem, almost word for word. so that this may be a Q source.  Matthew indicated that Jesus addressed Jerusalem (Ἰερουσαλὴμ Ἰερουσαλήμ), saying that it was the city that killed the prophets (ἡ ἀποκτείνουσα τοὺς προφήτας).  They stoned those prophets who were sent to it (καὶ λιθοβολοῦσα τοὺς ἀπεσταλμένους πρὸς αὐτήν).  God, the Father, or Jesus had often desired to gather her children together (ποσάκις ἠθέλησα ἐπισυναγαγεῖν τὰ τέκνα σου), just like a hen gathers her brood of little chicks under her wings (ὃν τρόπον ὄρνις ἐπισυνάγει τὰ νοσσία αὐτῆς ὑπὸ τὰς πτέρυγας).  However, Jerusalem was not willing to do so (καὶ οὐκ ἠθελήσατε).  This idea of a mother hen gathering her chicks under her wings can be found in Psalm 17:8 that spoke about hiding in the shadow of her wings and Psalm 91:4 that once again spoke about being covered with wings.  The exact incidents of the city of Jerusalem killing prophets cannot be clearly attested.  Is there a certain city that you do not like?

The hairs of your head (Lk 12:7-12:7)

“But even the hairs

Of your head

Are all counted.

Do not be afraid!

You are of more value

Than many sparrows.”

 

ἀλλὰ καὶ αἱ τρίχες τῆς κεφαλῆς ὑμῶν πᾶσαι ἠρίθμηνται. μὴ φοβεῖσθε· πολλῶν στρουθίων διαφέρετε.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus continued to talk about sparrows and humans.  Jesus said that even the hairs of their heads (ἀλλὰ καὶ αἱ τρίχες τῆς κεφαλῆς ὑμῶν) were all counted (πᾶσαι ἠρίθμηνται).  They were not to be afraid (μὴ φοβεῖσθε), since they were of more value than many sparrows (πολλῶν στρουθίων διαφέρετε).  This verse is similar to Matthew, chapter 10:30-31, indicating a Q source.  Jesus, via Matthew, said that God, the Father, could number all the hairs on their head (μῶν δὲ καὶ αἱ τρίχες τῆς κεφαλῆς πᾶσαι ἠριθμημέναι εἰσίν).  They should not be afraid (μὴ οὖν φοβεῖσθε), because they are more valuable than many sparrows (πολλῶν στρουθίων διαφέρετε ὑμεῖς).  If God the Father cared for these insignificant birds, how much more was he concerned about humans.  There was a continual theme about not being afraid.  Do you think that you are more valuable than a few stray birds?

Jesus at prayer (Lk 6:12-6:12)

“Now during those days,

Jesus went out

To the mountain

To pray.

He spent the night

In prayer

To God.”

 

Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ταύταις ἐξελθεῖν αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ ὄρος προσεύξασθαι, καὶ ἦν διανυκτερεύων ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

Luke said that during those days (Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ταύταις), Jesus went out to the mountain to pray (ἐξελθεῖν αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ ὄρος προσεύξασθαι).  He spent the night (καὶ ἦν διανυκτερεύων) in prayer to God (ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Mark, chapter 3:13, also said that Jesus went up a mountain, much like Moses.  Going to a mountain was a way of getting closer to God in the high heavens.  Here Luke emphasized the prayerful solitary preparation of Jesus before his decision about the 12 apostles, as he spent the night praying to God.  This also brings up the separation between Jesus and God,the Father.

Worship me (Lk 4:7-4:7)

“‘If you,

Then,

Will worship me,

It will all be yours.’”

 

σὺ οὖν ἐὰν προσκυνήσῃς ἐνώπιον ἐμοῦ, ἔσται σοῦ πᾶσα.

 

Here then is the kicker.  The devil thought that he controlled the whole world.  He asked Jesus to worship him (σὺ οὖν ἐὰν προσκυνήσῃς ἐνώπιον ἐμοῦ).  If Jesus did that, then the devil would give Jesus all these kingdoms (ἔσται σοῦ πᾶσα).  This is much the same as Matthew, chapter 4:9.  For many Christians, this seemed like a stupid temptation, since God, the Father and his Son, already controlled the world.  Why would Jesus worship the devil?  That made no sense.

Jesus grew (Lk 2:40-2:40)

“The child grew.

He became strong.

Filled with wisdom.

The grace of God

Was upon him.”

 

Τὸ δὲ παιδίον ηὔξανεν καὶ ἐκραταιοῦτο πληρούμενον σοφίᾳ, καὶ χάρις Θεοῦ ἦν ἐπ’ αὐτό.

 

Interesting enough, Luke has Jesus grow in wisdom in the same way that John had done earlier in chapter 1:80.  Growth implies movement from an inferior stage to a higher stage.  Clearly, this was an important part of showing the human side of Jesus.  Luke said that the child Jesus grew (Τὸ δὲ παιδίον ηὔξανεν).  He became a strong person (καὶ ἐκραταιοῦτο), filled with wisdom (πληρούμενον σοφίᾳ), because the grace or favor of God (καὶ χάρις Θεοῦ) was upon him (ἦν ἐπ’ αὐτό).  This also implies that God the Father favored or graced him, showing the distinction between God the Father and God the Son.  Jesus was a special child.

 

The Lord’s Christ (Lk 2:26-2:26)

“It had been revealed

To him

By the Holy Spirit

That he should not

See death,

Before he had seen

The Lord’s

Messiah Christ.”

 

καὶ ἦν αὐτῷ κεχρηματισμένον ὑπὸ τοῦ Πνεύματος τοῦ Ἁγίου μὴ ἰδεῖν θάνατον πρὶν ἢ ἂν ἴδῃ τὸν Χριστὸν Κυρίου.

 

Luke said that the Holy Spirit (ὑπὸ τοῦ Πνεύματος τοῦ Ἁγίου) had divinely revealed to Simeon (καὶ ἦν αὐτῷ κεχρηματισμένον) that he would not die or see death (μὴ ἰδεῖν θάνατον) before first seeing the Messiah Christ of the Lord God (πρὶν ἢ ἂν ἴδῃ τὸν Χριστὸν Κυρίου).  Thus, Simeon had a revelation from God, the Holy Spirit about Christ, the messianic son of the Lord God, the Father.  Once again, Luke had a very strong theological trinitarian statement.

The purification (Lk 2:22-2:22)

“When the time came

For their purification,

According to the law

Of Moses,

They brought him up

To Jerusalem

To present him

To the Lord.”

 

Καὶ ὅτε ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ αὐτῶν κατὰ τὸν νόμον Μωϋσέως, ἀνήγαγον αὐτὸν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα παραστῆσαι τῷ Κυρίῳ,

 

Luke said that when the time or the days were completed (Καὶ ὅτε ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι) for their purification (τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ αὐτῶν), according to the law of Moses (κατὰ τὸν νόμον Μωϋσέως, Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to Jerusalem (ἀνήγαγον αὐτὸν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα) to present him to the Lord (παραστῆσαι τῷ Κυρίῳ).  What is this purification and is it different than circumcision.  The story of John did not have this purification ritual.  Strictly speaking, this was a purification of the mother to take place 40 days after the birth of a child that had made her unclean as described in Leviticus, chapter 12:1-8.  The presentation of the child and the father were not part of this purification ritual.  There was no law or custom about the presentation of a child, other than the presentation of the first born as in Exodus, chapter 13:2 and 13:16.  Women were considered unclean after childbirth because of the blood discharge that took place with birthing.  If a male was born, the woman was unclean for 7 days, like menstruation, so that on the 8th day the male child could be circumcised.  There were 33 more days of blood purification for the male child.  During her unclean period, this new mother could not touch any holy thing, or go into the sanctuary.  Thus, the purification ritual took place on the 40th day, a symbolic number based on the 40 years of the Israelites in the desert wilderness.

The Holy Spirit and the Son of God (Lk 1:35-1:35)

“The angel

Said to her.

‘The Holy Spirit

Will come upon you.

The power

Of the Most High

Will overshadow you.

Therefore,

The child to be born

Will be holy.

He will be called

The Son of God.’”

 

καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ ἄγγελος εἶπεν αὐτῇ Πνεῦμα Ἅγιον ἐπελεύσεται ἐπὶ σέ, καὶ δύναμις Ὑψίστου ἐπισκιάσει σοι· διὸ καὶ τὸ γεννώμενον ἅγιον κληθήσεται Υἱὸς Θεοῦ.

 

Luke then has the Angel Gabriel reveal the whole plan.  Just as in Matthew, chapter 1:20, the angel told Joseph that the child conceived in Mary was from the Holy Spirit.  Luke did the same here.  This Angel Gabriel answered Mary (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ ἄγγελος εἶπεν αὐτῇ).  He said that the Holy Spirit would come over her (Πνεῦμα Ἅγιον ἐπελεύσεται ἐπὶ σέ).  The power of the Most High God would overshadow or envelop her (καὶ δύναμις Ὑψίστου ἐπισκιάσει σοι).  Her child would come forth or be born holy (διὸ καὶ τὸ γεννώμενον ἅγιον).  He would be called the Son of God (κληθήσεται Υἱὸς Θεοῦ).  This was a very theological statement uttered by the Angel Gabriel.  This child, Jesus would come about because of the Holy Spirit.  Elohim, the most high God, would overshadow her, the way that Yahweh had overshadowed the tent of dwelling with the covenant in Exodus, chapter 37:1-9.  This presence of God in Mary would make her pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.  The unique act of Jesus’ conception was a fully Trinitarian action involving the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit within the womb of Mary.  Obviously, the Son, her son, Jesus, would be born as a holy human person, clearly and rightfully called the Son of God.  This was a very developed theology of Luke, who always stressed the role of the Holy Spirit in his writings.