“In that city,
There was a widow
Who kept coming
‘Grant me justice
Against my opponent!’”
χήρα δὲ ἦν ἐν τῇ πόλει ἐκείνῃ, καὶ ἤρχετο πρὸς αὐτὸν λέγουσα Ἐκδίκησόν με ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀντιδίκου μου.
Luke is the only synoptic writer with this parable about the widow and the bad judge. Luke indicated that Jesus said there was a widow in that city (χήρα δὲ ἦν ἐν τῇ πόλει ἐκείνῃ). She kept coming to this bad judge (καὶ ἤρχετο πρὸς αὐτὸν). She said (λέγουσα) that she wanted justice or restitution (Ἐκδίκησόν με) against her opponent or adversary (ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀντιδίκου μου). Widows were the powerless and vulnerable in Jewish society, since they had lost the support of their husbands. People would always be reminded to help the poor and the widows, as they were considered the same class of people, since generally, older women without husbands were poor. This particular widow had a case against someone, so that she kept coming back to his bad judge to achieve justice or vengeance on her part. Have you ever sued anyone?
“The slave said.
What you have ordered
Has been done.
But there is still room.’”
καὶ εἶπεν ὁ δοῦλος Κύριε, γέγονεν ὃ ἐπέταξας, καὶ ἔτι τόπος ἐστίν.
Only Luke had Jesus remark that this slave said (καὶ εἶπεν ὁ δοῦλος) to his master, calling him lord (Κύριε), that he had done what he had asked or commanded (γέγονεν ὃ ἐπέταξας). He had invited the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame, but there was still room (καὶ ἔτι τόπος ἐστίν). There is nothing like this in Matthew. Have you ever gone to an event that was not full?
“You will be blessed!
Because they cannot
You will be repaid
At the resurrection
Of the righteous!”
καὶ μακάριος ἔσῃ, ὅτι οὐκ ἔχουσιν ἀνταποδοῦναί σοι· ἀνταποδοθήσεται γάρ σοι ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει τῶν δικαίων.
Luke uniquely has Jesus explain why inviting the poor, the lame, the crippled, and the blind was a good thing to do. Jesus said that they would be blessed, happy, and fortunate (καὶ μακάριος ἔσῃ). These unfortunate people would not be able to repay them with another reciprocal dinner party, (ὅτι οὐκ ἔχουσιν ἀνταποδοῦναί σοι). However, they would be repaid (ἀνταποδοθήσεται γάρ σοι) at the resurrection of the righteous (ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει τῶν δικαίων). In other words, they would receive a heavenly reward at the end times. They should not be that concerned about getting an earthly reward of another dinner invitation, when an eternal reward was available. Will you be blessed now or at the resurrection of the righteous?
“You shall love
καὶ τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν.
Luke indicated that the lawyer said that they should love their neighbor (καὶ τὸν πλησίον σου) as themselves (ὡς σεαυτόν), using the second person plural. There is something similar in Mark, chapter 12:3, where Mark indicated that Jesus, not the lawyer, replied that the 2nd commandment was like the 1st one. since it was about love. Not only were they to love God, but they were to love their neighbors as themselves. There were no other commandments greater than these 2 commandments of love. Everything was based on the love of God and neighbor. Matthew, chapter 22: 38-39 had Jesus reply also, not the lawyer, that they were to love their neighbors as themselves, since all the commandments of the law and the prophets hung on these two commandments. This second commandment was based on Leviticus, chapter 19:11-18, that has become the basic fundamental cornerstone of Judaism and Christianity. Leviticus further explained the Ten Commandments and your neighbor. They were not to steal or deal falsely with their neighbor. They should not lie, swear, or defraud their neighbor. They were not to keep the wages of a laborer, or revile the deaf or the blind. They should not render an unjust judgment, since they should treat the poor and the great with equal justice. They should not slanderer or profit from the blood of their neighbors. They were not to hate in their heart any of their relatives. They should not take vengeance or bear a grudge, because they should love their relatives and neighbors as themselves. All the commandments of the law and the prophets depended on these two commandments of loving God and your neighbor. Do you love your neighbor?
“But woe to you
Who are rich!
You have received
Πλὴν οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς πλουσίοις, ὅτι ἀπέχετε τὴν παράκλησιν ὑμῶν.
Luke indicated that Jesus said the rich people should be cursed (Πλὴν οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς πλουσίοις), using the second person plural. They already had received their consolation, comfort, or happiness (ὅτι ἀπέχετε τὴν παράκλησιν ὑμῶν). While Matthew had 8 beatitudes about the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, the righteous, the merciful, the pure of heart, the peacemakers, and the persecuted, Luke only had 4. The blessed or fortunate ones here were the poor, the hungry, the weeping, and the. persecuted. 3 of the 4 of these categories are almost the same, but the hungry could only go with those who hunger for righteousness. Some later 4th century Christian writers, like Ambrose of Milan (337-397), have said that theses 4 beatitudes correspond to the 4 cardinal virtues of temperance, justice, prudence, and fortitude. However, Luke uniquely has these 4 more woes or curses in which he denounced or called out their bad behavior. In this particular case, he challenged or criticized the rich people because they already had their consolation.
With good things.
He has sent
The rich away
πεινῶντας ἐνέπλησεν ἀγαθῶν καὶ πλουτοῦντας ἐξαπέστειλεν κενούς.
This canticle of Mary was modeled on that of Hannah in 1 Samuel, chapter 2:4, that praised Yahweh for her son the prophet Samuel. Luke had Mary elaborate on Hannah’s thought about how the mighty and the rich would stumble, but the low and the poor would succeed. Mary said that God had filled or satisfied the needy hungry people with good things (πεινῶντας ἐνέπλησεν ἀγαθῶν), while at the same time he had sent away (ἐξαπέστειλεν) the rich people (καὶ πλουτοῦντας) empty handed (κενούς.). God was going to reverse the human order of rich and poor as far as food was concerned. The rich would have nothing, but the poor would be satisfied.
“God has brought down
From their thrones.
He has lifted up
καθεῖλεν δυνάστας ἀπὸ θρόνων καὶ ὕψωσεν ταπεινούς
This canticle of Mary was modeled on that of Hannah in 1 Samuel, chapter 2:4, that praised Yahweh for her son, the prophet Samuel. Just like here, Hannah said that the mighty and the rich would stumble, but the lowly and the poor would succeed. Luke indicated that Mary said that God had brought down the powerful (καθεῖλεν δυνάστας) from their thrones (ἀπὸ θρόνων), while he has lifted up the lowly (καὶ ὕψωσεν ταπεινούς). There is almost an exact equivalency between Hannah and Mary. Mary had mentioned nothing about lowly people until now. Luke emphasized this theme of the poor or lowly as important throughout his gospel.
Has shown strength
With his arm.
He has scattered
The proud thinking
In their hearts.”
Ἐποίησεν κράτος ἐν βραχίονι αὐτοῦ, διεσκόρπισεν ὑπερηφάνους διανοίᾳ καρδίας αὐτῶν·
This canticle of Mary was modeled on that of Hannah in 1 Samuel, chapter 2:3-4, that praised Yahweh for her son, Samuel the prophet. Hannah said that the mighty and the rich would stumble but the low and the poor would succeed. Here Luke indicated that Mary said that God had shown strength with his arm (Ἐποίησεν κράτος ἐν βραχίονι αὐτοῦ). Thus, he has scattered the proud thinking in their hearts (διεσκόρπισεν ὑπερηφάνους διανοίᾳ καρδίας αὐτῶν). The power of God would scatter the proud people.
“You will always
Have the poor
But you will not always
By pouring this ointment
On my body
She has prepared me
πάντοτε γὰρ τοὺς πτωχοὺς ἔχετε μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν, ἐμὲ δὲ οὐ πάντοτε ἔχετε·
βαλοῦσα γὰρ αὕτη τὸ μύρον τοῦτο ἐπὶ τοῦ σώματός μου πρὸς τὸ ἐνταφιάσαι με ἐποίησεν
This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 14:7-8, and somewhat similar to John, chapter 12:7-8. Jesus said that they would always have the poor with them (πάντοτε γὰρ τοὺς πτωχοὺς ἔχετε μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν). In other words, there would be no immediate solution to the difficulties of poverty that has persisted for over 2,000 years. However, they would not always have Jesus (ἐμὲ δὲ οὐ πάντοτε ἔχετε). She had anointed his body with oil (βαλοῦσα γὰρ αὕτη τὸ μύρον τοῦτο ἐπὶ τοῦ σώματός μου) as a preparation for his burial (πρὸς τὸ ἐνταφιάσαι με ἐποίησεν). Instead of a royal, prophetic, or priestly anointing, this was a burial anointing according to the Jewish customs at that time.
“Jesus said to him.
‘If you wish
To be perfect,
Sell your possessions!
Give the money
To the poor!
You will have treasure
ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Εἰ θέλεις τέλειος εἶναι, ὕπαγε πώλησόν σου τὰ ὑπάρχοντα καὶ δὸς πτωχοῖς, καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν οὐρανοῖς, καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι.
This call to perfection can be found in Mark, chapter 10:21, and Luke, chapter 18:22, but slightly different. Jesus issued his ultimatum (ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς) on how to be perfect or complete (Εἰ θέλεις τέλειος εἶναι). The young man would have to sell his possessions (ὕπαγε πώλησόν σου τὰ ὑπάρχοντα). Then he would have to give the money proceeds to the poor or destitute people (καὶ δὸς πτωχοῖς). He no longer would have earthly wealth, but he would then have a treasure in heaven (καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν οὐρανοῖς). Finally, he could become a follower or accompany Jesus (καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι). Like many of the sayings in Matthew, Jesus has very high standard and difficult demands. There was no equivocation.