Zacchaeus defends himself (Lk 19:8-19:8)

“Zacchaeus stood there.

He said

To the Lord.

‘Look!

Lord!

I will give

To the poor

Half of my possessions.

If I have defrauded

Anyone of anything,

I will pay back

Four times as much.’”

 

σταθεὶς δὲ Ζακχαῖος εἶπεν πρὸς τὸν Κύριον Ἰδοὺ τὰ ἡμίσειά μου τῶν ὑπαρχόντων, Κύριε, τοῖς πτωχοῖς δίδωμι, καὶ εἴ τινός τι ἐσυκοφάντησα ἀποδίδωμι τετραπλοῦν.

 

Luke indicated that Zacchaeus stood there (σταθεὶς δὲ Ζακχαῖος).  He then said to the Lord Jesus (εἶπεν πρὸς τὸν Κύριον), calling him Lord (Κύριε) that he was willing to give to the poor (τοῖς πτωχοῖς δίδωμι) half of his possessions (Ἰδοὺ τὰ ἡμίσειά μου τῶν ὑπαρχόντων).  He said that if he had defrauded anyone of anything (καὶ εἴ τινός τι ἐσυκοφάντησα), he was willing to pay it back 4 times as much (ἀποδίδωμι τετραπλοῦν).  Once again, Luke used the Greek word ἐσυκοφάντησα, that means to accuse falsely or defraud people, that was not found in any of the other Greek biblical writers.  Zacchaeus made a big deal about how he was not like the other tax collectors.  Despite his wealth, he was willing to give half of it away to some unnamed poor people.  Anytime, he was accused of defrauding people, he would give them 4 times what they were claiming.  This restoration of 4 times goes back to Exodus, chapter 22:1, about stealing sheep.  The thief had to pay four sheep for any one stolen sheep.  Thus, Zacchaeus seemed like a very fair person, leaning over backwards to help people.  Yet he was still wealthy.  Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus.  How do you treat people who claim that you are defrauding them?

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Eating with a sinner (Lk 19:7-19:7)

“All who saw it

Began to grumble.

They said.

‘Jesus has gone

To be the guest,

Of one who is a sinner.’”

 

καὶ ἰδόντες πάντες διεγόγγυζον λέγοντες ὅτι Παρὰ ἁμαρτωλῷ ἀνδρὶ εἰσῆλθεν καταλῦσαι.

 

Luke indicated that everyone who saw this (καὶ ἰδόντες πάντες) began to grumble (διεγόγγυζον).  They said (λέγοντες) that Jesus had gone to stay with a sinful man (ὅτι Παρὰ ἁμαρτωλῷ ἀνδρὶ εἰσῆλθεν καταλῦσαι).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use the term διεγόγγυζον, that means to murmur among themselves, murmur greatly, or continue murmuring.  All the people knew that Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector and thus working with and for the foreign governing Romans.  These tax collectors were more political and distained because of their corruption and wealth.  Now Jesus was going to stay with what many considered a public sinner, a tax collector.  Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector.  Would you stay with someone who was a known public sinner?

Zacchaeus (Lk 19:2-19:2)

“A man was there

Named Zacchaeus.

He was a chief tax collector.

He was rich.”

 

Καὶ ἰδοὺ ἀνὴρ ὀνόματι καλούμενος Ζακχαῖος, καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν ἀρχιτελώνης, καὶ αὐτὸς πλούσιος

 

Only Luke uniquely talked about this man in Jericho (Καὶ ἰδοὺ ἀνὴρ), named Zacchaeus (ὀνόματι καλούμενος Ζακχαῖος), who was a rich (καὶ αὐτὸς πλούσιος) chief tax collector or head of a customs house (καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν ἀρχιτελώνης).  Luke was the only biblical writer to use this term ἀρχιτελώνης, that means a chief tax collector, head of a custom-house, chief tax-gatherer, or publican.  Zacchaeus was an important man in Jericho because of his wealth and his position in charge of tax collecting there.  His very name, Zacchaeus, meant righteous or upright in Hebrew.  Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus.  What do you think about people who work for the IRS and collect taxes?

Who can be saved? (Lk 18:26-18:26)

“Those who heard it

Said.

‘Then who can be saved?’”

 

εἶπαν δὲ οἱ ἀκούσαντες Καὶ τίς δύναται σωθῆναι;

 

Luke indicated that those who heard this saying of Jesus about the wealthy people then said (εἶπαν δὲ οἱ ἀκούσαντες) who could be saved (Καὶ τίς δύναται σωθῆναι)?  This same reaction of the disciples can be found in Mark, chapter 10:26, and Matthew, chapter 19:25, almost word for word among them.  Mark said that the disciples of Jesus were very shocked, astonished, and amazed (οἱ δὲ περισσῶς ἐξεπλήσσοντο).  They said to themselves (λέγοντες πρὸς ἑαυτούς), who then could possibly be saved (Καὶ τίς δύναται σωθῆναι)?  In Matthew, when the disciples of Jesus heard this saying (ἀκούσαντες δὲ οἱ μαθηταὶ), they were greatly shocked, astonished, and amazed (ἐξεπλήσσοντο σφόδρα).  They then wondered who then could possibly be saved (Τίς ἄρα δύναται σωθῆναι)?  Could anyone be saved?  Everyone had some kind of wealth, so that this was a very difficult saying for them.  Is this saying about wealth shocking to you?

Camel and the eye of a needle (Lk 18:25-18:25)

“It is easier

For a camel

To go through

The eye of a needle

Than for a rich man

To enter

The kingdom of God.”

 

εὐκοπώτερον γάρ ἐστιν κάμηλον διὰ τρήματος βελόνης εἰσελθεῖν ἢ πλούσιον εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that it was easier for a camel (εὐκοπώτερον γάρ ἐστιν κάμηλον) to go through the eye of a needle (διὰ τρήματος βελόνης εἰσελθεῖν) than for a rich man (ἢ πλούσιον) to enter the kingdom of God (εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν).  This saying about wealth and the camel going through the eye of a needle can be found in Mark, chapter 10:25, and Matthew, chapter 19:24, almost word for word.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that it would be easier (εὐκοπώτερόν ἐστιν) for a camel to go or pass through the eye of a needle (κάμηλον διὰ τῆς τρυμαλιᾶς τῆς ῥαφίδος διελθεῖν), that was used for sewing, than for a wealthy rich man to enter the kingdom of God (ἢ πλούσιον εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν).  In Matthew, once again, this was a solemn proclamation of Jesus (πάλιν δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν).  He said that it would be easier (εὐκοπώτερόν ἐστιν) for a camel to go through the eye of a sewing needle (κάμηλον διὰ τρήματος ῥαφίδος εἰσελθεῖν) than for a wealthy rich man to enter the kingdom of God (ἢ πλούσιον εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  This was a follow up to the obstacles of wealth.  Notice that Matthew followed the other two gospels by using kingdom of God (τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ) rather than his usual kingdom of heaven (τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν), as in the preceding verses.  Everyone knew that it would be impossible for a camel to go through a sewing needle eye or a needle opening.  There was no needle gate in Jerusalem, since this was about a sewing needle.  Do you see wealth as a problem?

Hard for rich people (Lk 18:24-18:24)

“Jesus looked

At this ruler.

He said.

‘How hard it is

For those

Who have wealth

To enter

The kingdom of God!’”

 

ἰδὼν δὲ αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν Πῶς δυσκόλως οἱ τὰ χρήματα ἔχοντες εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσπορεύονται·

 

Luke indicated that Jesus looked at this ruler (ἰδὼν δὲ αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  He said (εἶπεν) that how hard or difficult it was for those who have wealth (Πῶς δυσκόλως οἱ τὰ χρήματα ἔχοντες) to enter the kingdom of God (εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσπορεύονται).  This saying about the difficulty of rich people trying to get into the kingdom of God can be found in Mark, chapter 10:25, and Matthew, chapter 19:23, almost word for word.  Mark said that Jesus looked around (Καὶ περιβλεψάμενος ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  Then he said to his disciples (λέγει τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ) that it would be hard or difficult for a rich person, those having a lot of wealth (Πῶς δυσκόλως οἱ τὰ χρήματα ἔχοντες) to enter the kingdom of God (εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσελεύσονται).  In Matthew, Jesus told his disciples (Ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ) with a strong harsh solemn proclamation (Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  It would be hard or difficult for a wealthy rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven (ὅτι πλούσιος δυσκόλως εἰσελεύσεται εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν).  As usual, Matthew spoke about entrance into the kingdom of heaven, while Mark and Luke spoke about entrance into the kingdom of God.  Wealth would clearly be an obstacle to those who wanted to enter the heavenly divine kingdom.  Do you see wealth as an obstacle to entering the kingdom of God?

.

Too rich (Lk 18:23-18:23)

“But when he heard this,

He became sad.

He was very rich.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀκούσας ταῦτα περίλυπος ἐγενήθη, ἦν γὰρ πλούσιος σφόδρα.

 

Luke indicated that when this ruler heard this (ὁ δὲ ἀκούσας ταῦτα), he became sad or grieved (περίλυπος ἐγενήθη), because he was extremely rich (ἦν γὰρ πλούσιος σφόδρα).  This story about the young man being sad and walking away can be found in Mark, chapter 10:22, and Matthew, chapter 19:22, but slightly different.  Luke did not explicitly say that the ruler went away, as in the other synoptic stories, just that he was sad.  Mark said that this man was shocked at these words of Jesus (ὁ δὲ στυγνάσας ἐπὶ τῷ λόγῳ).  Thus, he went away pained or grieving (ἀπῆλθεν λυπούμενος), because he had many possessions or a lot of property (ἦν γὰρ ἔχων κτήματα πολλά).  In Matthew, when the young man heard this saying of Jesus (ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ νεανίσκος τὸν λόγον), he went away pained or grieving (ἀπῆλθεν λυπούμενος), because he had many possessions or a lot of property (ἦν γὰρ ἔχων κτήματα πολλά).  This rich young man was willing to listen to Jesus but could not bring himself to totally commit his life, by giving up his worldly possessions.  Thus, he went away very sad, because he realized his own situation, that he lacked the urge to make that final commitment to Jesus, by getting rid of his earthly wealth.  Are you willing to make that big step?