Gain or lose your life (Lk 17:33-17:33)

“Those who try

To make

Their life secure,

Will lose it.

But those who lose

Their life

Will keep it.”

 

ὃς ἐὰν ζητήσῃ τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ περιποιήσασθαι, ἀπολέσει αὐτήν, καὶ ὃς ἂν ἀπολέσει, ζωογονήσει αὐτήν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that those who try to make their life secure or save it (ὃς ἐὰν ζητήσῃ τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ περιποιήσασθαι), would lose it (ἀπολέσει αὐτήν).  But those who lose their life (καὶ ὃς ἂν ἀπολέσει), would keep or preserve it (ζωογονήσει αὐτήν).  In chapter 9:24, Luke indicated that Jesus said that anyone who wanted to save his life (ὃς γὰρ ἐὰν θέλῃ τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ σῶσαι), would lose it or have it sent away (ἀπολέσει αὐτήν).  Those who lost their life (ὃς δ’ ἂν ἀπολέσῃ τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ) for the sake of Jesus (ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ), would save it (οὗτος σώσει αὐτήν).  Jesus told his disciples how to save their lives.  Something similar can be found in the other synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 16:25, and Mark, chapter 8:35.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that whoever wished, desired, or wanted to save his life, he would lose it.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that whoever wished, desired, or wanted to save their life, they would lose it.  However, anyone who lost their life for the sake of Jesus, they would find their life.  This is also similar to Matthew, chapter 10:39 and John, chapter 12:25.  In order to gain your eternal life, you have to lose your life for the sake of Jesus.  Anyone who thinks that he has found his life or soul, will lose it.  On the other hand, anyone who loses their life or soul for the sake of Jesus will find their life or soul.  Thus, you have to lose your life or soul in Jesus, in order to truly live, a common theme about losing your life for Christ.  Have you lost your life in Jesus?

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I bought oxen (Lk 14:19-14:19)

“Another said.

‘I have bought

Five yoke of oxen.

I am going

To try them out.

Please!

I pray you,

Accept my regrets!’”

 

καὶ ἕτερος εἶπεν Ζεύγη βοῶν ἠγόρασα πέντε, καὶ πορεύομαι δοκιμάσαι αὐτά· ἐρωτῶ σε, ἔχε με παρῃτημένον.

 

Luke uniquely had Jesus talk about another excuse.  Jesus said that another person told the inviting slave (καὶ ἕτερος εἶπεν) that he had just purchased or bought 5 pair of oxen (Ζεύγη βοῶν ἠγόρασα πέντε).  Luke was the only biblical writer to use the term Ζεύγη, meaning a pair, yoke, or team.  This man was going to try them out (καὶ πορεύομαι δοκιμάσαι αὐτά).  He too, politely (ἐρωτῶ σε) asked to be excused (ἔχε με παρῃτημένον).  Matthew, chapter 22:6-7, instead of these individual excuses, had the king’s servants beat up.  Thus, this king destroyed the original invited people.  However, there was nothing like that here in Luke.  Have you ever beat up people inviting you to a dinner or have you been respectful?

Jesus’ parents return to Jerusalem (Lk 2:45-2:45)

“When they

Did not find him,

They returned

To Jerusalem,

To search

For him.”

 

καὶ μὴ εὑρόντες ὑπέστρεψαν εἰς Ἱερουσαλὴμ ἀναζητοῦντες αὐτόν.

 

Luke said that now Joseph and Mary reversed courses.  When they did not find him (καὶ μὴ εὑρόντες) among their friends and relatives, they returned to Jerusalem (ὑπέστρεψαν εἰς Ἱερουσαλὴμ) to search for him there (ἀναζητοῦντες αὐτόν).  This was the natural thing to do.  It probably took them another day to get back to Jerusalem.  However, they were going to try and find him in Jerusalem, assuming that he was still there.

 

Problems of time and space

The study of words and actions, written about and by people who lived many years ago in a faraway land with a different language and symbolic structure, has inherent difficulties, as has been shown by biblical hermeneutic research.  To understand the origins of Christianity, I must be cognizant about first century Palestinian Jewish cultural conditions, as well as my own biases.  I need to avoid projecting my own experiences and prejudices on documents written thousands of years ago.  Can I ever really fully understand the men and women of the Mediterranean area who lived over two thousand years ago?  I can try.  Fortunately, a few of these early followers of Jesus, among the elite literate well educated of their time, left some sparse written evidence.  Their cosmology, their economics, and their sociology are not mine.  I must be aware of this from the start.

Christians reading the Old Testament

The Old Testament Hebrew Bible raises questions of interpretation for a Christian.  To what extent am I, as a Christian, projecting Christian views and values on the children of Israel, the people of Israel, the Israelites?  There are various terms that translators have used to describe the slowing forming group of Yahweh believers over three thousand years ago.  Yahweh was their God and intervened in their lives.  They had a special relationship or covenant with him.  The Hebrew sacred writings were incorporated into Christianity because all the early Christians were Jewish.  However, the writings were not originally meant for Christians, but for the Hebrew people.  Can I really fully understand the Semitic thought process of three thousand years ago?  Will I be able to appreciate how important the promised land of Israel was to Jewish people?  What role did the exodus from Egypt, the Temple, the exile, and the various codes play in their lives?  I can try, but I doubt if I will be fully successful.

Pass on wisdom (Eccl 7:8-7:12)

“Better is the end of a thing

Than its beginning.

The patient in spirit are better

Than the proud in spirit.

Be not quick to anger!

Anger lodges in the bosom of fools.

Do not say.

‘Why were the former days

Better than these?’

It is not from wisdom

That you ask this.

Wisdom is good

With an inheritance.

Wisdom is an advantage

To those who see the sun.

The protection of wisdom is

Like the protection of money.

The advantage of knowledge is

That wisdom gives life

To the one who possesses it.”

Following up on the preceding dichotomies, Qoheleth then went on to speak about the value of wisdom. The end is better than its beginning. The patient in spirit are better than the proud in spirit. Do not be quick to anger because that is the way of fools. Wise people do not talk about the good old days. You should try to hand on wisdom as an inheritance, just like you might want to hand on a financial inheritance. In fact, knowledge and wisdom give life to the one who possesses it.

Fleeting wealth (Prov 23:4-23:5)

“Do not wear yourself out to get rich.

Be wise enough to desist.

When your eyes light upon it,

It is gone.

Suddenly it takes wings to itself.

It flies like an eagle toward heaven.”

Don’t bother working hard to get rich. Be smart enough not to try. If you do get rich, it will be gone right before your eyes. This wealth takes wings and flies like an eagle toward the skies. Bye-bye money!