The woman with an infirmity for eighteen years (Lk 13:11-13:11)

“Just then,

There appeared

A woman

With a spirit

That had crippled her

For eighteen years.

She was bent over.

She was unable

To stand up straight.”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ γυνὴ πνεῦμα ἔχουσα ἀσθενείας ἔτη δέκα οκτώ, καὶ ἦν συνκύπτουσα καὶ μὴ δυναμένη ἀνακύψαι εἰς τὸ παντελές.

 

Luke uniquely said that there was a woman (καὶ ἰδοὺ γυνὴ) with a spirit that had crippled her (ἔχουσα ἀσθενείας) for 18 years (ἔτη δέκα οκτώ).  She was bent over (καὶ ἦν συνκύπτουσα).  This is the only appearance of the word συνκύπτουσα in the biblical literature, since it means bent forward, or doubled up.  She was unable to stand up straight or lift herself to her full height (αὶ μὴ δυναμένη ἀνακύψαι εἰς τὸ παντελές).  No one else had this story about the crippled lady, who for 18 years was possessed by some evil spirit that caused her problem.  Illness and the role of evil spirits was always connected.  Due to some evil spirit, she could not stand up straight.  Do you know anyone who is bent over?

Interpreting the present time (Lk 12:56-12:56)

“You hypocrites!

You know how

To interpret

The appearance of earth

And the sky.

But why do you not know

How to interpret

This present time?”

 

ὑποκριταί, τὸ πρόσωπον τῆς γῆς καὶ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ οἴδατε δοκιμάζειν, τὸν καιρὸν δὲ τοῦτον πῶς οὐ δοκιμάζετε;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus called these people hypocrites (ὑποκριταί).  They were able to know how to interpret (οἴδατε δοκιμάζειν) the appearances of the earth (τὸ πρόσωπον τῆς γῆς) and the sky (καὶ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ).  However, they did not know how to interpret (πῶς οὐ δοκιμάζετε) this present time (τὸν καιρὸν δὲ τοῦτον).  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 16:3, perhaps indicating a Q source, where Jesus asked them how come they were so good at discerning the overcast stormy weather signs in the heavens (τὸ μὲν πρόσωπον τοῦ οὐρανοῦ γινώσκετε διακρίνειν), but they were unable to interpret the signs of the times (τὰ δὲ σημεῖα τῶν καιρῶν οὐ δύνασθε), since the weather signs were in the heavenly skies also.  In other words, they were very good at predicting the weather, but had no idea about other heavenly things to come.  Are you good at predicting the weather?

Look at my son (Lk 9:38-9:38)

“Just then,

A man

From the crowd

Shouted out.

‘Teacher!

I beg you

To look at my son!

He is my only child.’”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ ἀνὴρ ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου ἐβόησεν λέγων Διδάσκαλε, δέομαί σου ἐπιβλέψαι ἐπὶ τὸν υἱόν μου, ὅτι μονογενής μοί ἐστιν,

 

Luke said that just then a man from the crowd shouted out (ἰδοὺ ἀνὴρ ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου ἐβόησεν λέγων) “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε)!”  He begged Jesus to look at his son (δέομαί σου ἐπιβλέψαι ἐπὶ τὸν υἱόν μου) who was his only child (ὅτι μονογενής μοί ἐστιν).  Jesus and Luke had an affection for only children.  This story of the man with the incurable son can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 17:15, Mark, chapter 9:17-18, and here in Luke, but there are minor differences in all 3 accounts.  Mark said that it was someone from the crowd who spoke to Jesus, not a kneeling man as in Matthew.  This man addressed Jesus as “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε),” like Luke, and not as “Lord (Κύριε)” as in Matthew.  He had brought his son to Jesus because his son had a spirit that made him unable to speak.  He was not immediately identified as an epileptic, but as a mute person.  Matthew said that a man approached Jesus and knelt before him.  Only Matthew has this man kneel in front of Jesus.  Thus, this was a kneeling man, not someone from the crowd yelling out to Jesus.  This man addressed Jesus as the Lord (Κύριε).  He wanted Jesus to have mercy on his son, who was an epileptic, not mute.  Epileptics were often considered to be possessed by the devil.  Even today, we are still unsure of the exact cause of epilepsy seizures.  This man’s son suffered very badly.  He often fell into a fire and into water.  Have you ever known a chronically sick child?

He forgave both of them (Lk 7:42-7:42)

“When they could not pay,

He cancelled

The debt

For both of them.

Now which of them

Will love him more?”

 

μὴ ἐχόντων αὐτῶν ἀποδοῦναι ἀμφοτέροις ἐχαρίσατο. τίς οὖν αὐτῶν πλεῖον ἀγαπήσει αὐτόν;

 

Luke continued this unique comparison that Jesus was making.  Jesus said that when both of these debtors could not pay their debt (μὴ ἐχόντων αὐτῶν ἀποδοῦναι), this creditor cancelled both their debts (ἀμφοτέροις ἐχαρίσατο).  Then Jesus asked which of these two debtors would love this creditor more (τίς οὖν αὐτῶν πλεῖον ἀγαπήσει αὐτόν)?  This was a simple question.  If someone forgave you $125.00 or $12.50, would you be happy?  Obviously, the one with the larger amount would be happier and love the creditor more.  Notice that both of them could not pay their debt.  Have you ever been unable to pay a debt?

Zechariah cannot speak (Lk 1:22-1:22)

“When he did come out,

Zechariah

Could not speak

To them.

They realized

That he had seen

A vision

In the sanctuary.

He kept motioning

To them.

However,

He remained

Unable to speak.”

 

ἐξελθὼν δὲ οὐκ ἐδύνατο λαλῆσαι αὐτοῖς, καὶ ἐπέγνωσαν ὅτι ὀπτασίαν ἑώρακεν ἐν τῷ ναῷ· καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν διανεύων αὐτοῖς, καὶ διέμενεν κωφός.

 

Luke indicated that the people praying in the Temple, outside the sanctuary, were surprised when Zechariah finally came out (ἐξελθὼν δὲ) of the sanctuary.  They saw that Zechariah could not speak to them (οὐκ ἐδύνατο λαλῆσαι αὐτοῖς) or give his blessing.  They realized or recognized (καὶ ἐπέγνωσαν) that he had seen a vision or had a supernatural experience (ὅτι ὀπτασίαν ἑώρακεν) while he was in the sanctuary (ἐν τῷ ναῷ).  Zechariah kept motioning or making signs to them (καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν διανεύων αὐτοῖς).  However, he could not communicate with them, since he was unable to speak as he remained mute (καὶ διέμενεν κωφός).

The citation from Isaiah (Mk 4:12-4:12

“Thus,

They may indeed look,

But not perceive.

They may indeed listen,

But not understand.

Thus,

They may not

Turn again

To be forgiven.”

 

ἵνα βλέποντες βλέπωσιν καὶ μὴ ἴδωσιν, καὶ ἀκούοντες ἀκούωσιν καὶ μὴ συνιῶσιν, μή ποτε ἐπιστρέψωσιν καὶ ἀφεθῇ αὐτοῖς.

 

This citation of Isaiah about the people unable to understand the meaning of parables can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels.  Matthew, chapter 13:14-16, had a longer citation from Isaiah with an introduction and a final comment, while Luke, chapter 8:10, had a short summary, like here in Mark.  This prophecy of Isaiah was from chapter 6:9-10, where Isaiah told the people that they were listening without comprehending.  They were looking without understanding.  Their hearts were dull.  Their eyes and ears were closed.  He wanted them not to look with their own eyes, but he wanted them to turn to Yahweh, so that they would be healed.  Mark indicated that they could see, but not perceive (καὶ βλέποντες βλέπωσιν).  They were experiencing and listening (καὶ μὴ ἴδωσιν, καὶ ἀκούοντες), but they could not hear or understand (ἀκούωσιν καὶ μὴ συνιῶσιν).  They would not turn back (καὶ ἐπιστρέψωσιν) and be forgiven (καὶ ἀφεθῇ αὐτοῖς).  The reason that Jesus spoke in parables was that some people would see, but not perceive. They would hear, but not understand what they heard.

Worry about your soul (Mt 10:28-10:28)

“Do not fear

Those who kill the body,

But cannot kill the soul.

Rather fear him

Who can destroy

Both soul

And body in hell.”

 

καὶ μὴ φοβεῖσθε ἀπὸ τῶν ἀποκτεννόντων τὸ σῶμα, τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν μὴ δυναμένων ἀποκτεῖναι· φοβεῖσθε δὲ μᾶλλον τὸν δυνάμενον καὶ ψυχὴν καὶ σῶμα ἀπολέσαι ἐν γεέννῃ.

 

This verse of Matthew is similar to Luke, chapter 12:4-5, indicating a Q source.  Jesus, via Matthew, warned his followers not to fear or be afraid of (καὶ μὴ φοβεῖσθε) those people who might kill their body (ἀπὸ τῶν ἀποκτεννόντων τὸ σῶμα), but were unable to kill their soul (τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν μὴ δυναμένων ἀποκτεῖναι·).  Rather they should fear or be afraid (φοβεῖσθε δὲ μᾶλλον) of the people who can destroy both their soul and their body (τὸν δυνάμενον καὶ ψυχὴν καὶ σῶμα ἀπολέσαι) by sending them to hell or gehenna (ἐν γεέννῃ).  The Greek word for hell “γεέννῃ” or the English gehenna was based on the Hebrew word Gehinnom that was the name of the valley south of Jerusalem where burning child sacrifices used to take place.