Preaching in the synagogue (Lk 6:6-6:6)

“On another Sabbath,

Jesus entered

The synagogue.

He taught.

There was a man there

Whose right hand

Was withered.”

 

Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ἑτέρῳ σαββάτῳ εἰσελθεῖν αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν συναγωγὴν καὶ διδάσκειν· καὶ ἦν ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖ καὶ ἡ χεὶρ αὐτοῦ ἡ δεξιὰ ἦν ξηρά·

 

Luke said that on another Sabbath (Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ἑτέρῳ σαββάτῳ), Jesus entered an unnamed synagogue (εἰσελθεῖν αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν συναγωγὴν) where he taught there (καὶ διδάσκειν).  There was a man present (καὶ ἦν ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖ) in the assembly whose right hand was withered (καὶ ἡ χεὶρ αὐτοῦ ἡ δεξιὰ ἦν ξηρά).  Matthew, chapter 12:9, and Mark, chapter 3:1 are similar to this incident, so that Mark might be the source of this discussion about the Sabbath and the man with the withered or dried out hand.  Matthew had Jesus leave the grain fields and enter the local synagogue, instead of waiting another week or another Sabbath as Luke indicated.  Clearly, Jesus was a good Jewish person, so that he had no trouble or unease about entering the local synagogue, probably at Capernaum.  Maybe he had taught there before.  Matthew had the discussion that began in the fields now switch to the synagogue.  What was Jesus going to do about this man with the bad hand?

Have faith in God (Mk 11:22-11:22)

“Jesus answered them.

He said to them.

‘Have faith

In God!’”

 

καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγει αὐτοῖς Ἔχετε πίστιν θεοῦ.

 

This is somewhat similar to Matthew, chapter 21:21.  However, Mark is more succinct here.  Jesus answered the disciple’s question or Peter’s remark (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς) about how the fig tree withered.  He merely said to them (λέγει αὐτοῖς) to have faith in God (Ἔχετε πίστιν θεοῦ).

Peter remembered the curse (Mk 11:21-11:21)

“Then Peter

Remembered it.

He said

To Jesus.

‘Rabbi!

Look!

The fig tree

That you cursed

Has withered.’”

 

καὶ ἀναμνησθεὶς ὁ Πέτρος λέγει αὐτῷ Ῥαββεί, ἴδε ἡ συκῆ ἣν κατηράσω ἐξήρανται

 

This is a unique saying of Mark.  Peter, as the leader of the 12 apostles, remembered (καὶ ἀναμνησθεὶς ὁ Πέτρος) about what had happened the day before.  He then called Jesus “Rabbi” (λέγει αὐτῷ Ῥαββεί).  He told Jesus to look at the cursed fig tree from the previous day that had already withered (ἴδε ἡ συκῆ ἣν κατηράσω ἐξήραντα).  For Mark, it took a day, but for Matthew, it was immediate.

 

Fifth narrative

Jesus traveled toward Jerusalem and taught in the Temple there, debating with the chief priests and religious leaders.  Then he spoke about the coming kingdom of heaven and the future end times.

Jesus finally went to Judea, where he cured large crowds of people.  The Pharisees questioned him about divorce.  Jesus reiterated the importance of marriage, as he spoke about Moses and divorce.  After hearing the response of Jesus about divorce, his disciples wondered why they should marry at all.  Jesus explained about different kind of eunuchs.

The children came forward to Jesus and he blessed them.  He warned against wealth.  To gain eternal life you had to keep the commandments.  They wanted to know which commandments?  The great commandment was not a problem.  However, Jesus asked them to give up their possessions, so that the rich young man walked away.  It was hard for rich people to enter the kingdom like a camel going through the eye of a needle.  Who could be saved?  The response was that all things are possible with God.  Peter wanted to know about the disciples and the eternal life reward, so that Jesus told them that the first shall be last and vice versa.

Then Jesus presented the parable of the laborers in the vineyard.  He hired the first laborers, and then late in the day a second group, a third group and finally a fourth group of laborers.  The last group hired got a full day’s pay.  The first group hired were upset when they got the same as the last group hired.  This brought up the problem of generosity versus fairness, as Jesus explained the parable.

On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus predicted what was going to happen to him in Jerusalem.  The mother of the sons of Zebedee wanted to know if her two sons, James and John, could be the greatest, on either side of Jesus.  Jesus pointed out the difficulties and said that only the Father set up the seating arrangements.  This led to ten angry men as they resented the two trying to be first.  Jesus reminded them about servant leadership, as the Son of Man was going to give up his life.

There were great crowds at Jericho where Jesus found two blind men asking for mercy, so he healed them.  Then began the final ministry in Jerusalem with a triumphal entry.  Jesus sent two disciples from Bethpage to get a donkey and a colt because he needed them.  Thus, the prophecy of Zechariah might be fulfilled.  They brought the donkey and the colt to Jesus.  Then crowds welcomed the Son of David into Jerusalem as they began to wonder who this man was?

Jesus went into the Temple and chased out the money changers to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah.  When he cured people in the Temple, the chief priests were angry, but the little children praised him.

Then Jesus went to Bethany.  The next morning, he was hungry.  He saw a fig tree, but it had no figs, so he cursed the fig tree as it withered because of his faith.

People began to question where did Jesus get his authority?  Jesus responded with a question for a question.  He asked them about the value of the baptism of John.  They gave a timid response.  Then he told the parable about the two sons.  The first son said no at first, and then did the work, while the second son said yes and did not do the work.  Which son did the will of his father?  Thus, they did not believe John the Baptist.

Then Jesus told the parable about the wicked tenants.  This absentee land owner of the vineyard sent people to collect his rent.  Instead, the tenants beat and killed the landowner’s slaves.  He sent a second group that was also killed.  Then the tenants killed the landowner’s son.  Finally, the landowner came to take back his vineyard, citing Psalm 118 about the kingdom of God and the falling cornerstone.  The Pharisees understood this parable and tried to arrest Jesus.

Jesus continued to speak in parables.  This parable was about the king who gave a great wedding banquet.  However, the invited guests refused to come to the wedding banquet.  He sent out a second invitation to the wedding banquet, but they refused the second invitation also.  They treated his slaves badly.  The king was angry and sent out new invitations to the wedding feast.  Finally, a man without a wedding garment showed up, but he threw him out of the feast.  The explanation of this parable was that many are called, but few are chosen.

Next the Pharisees tried to trick Jesus by flattering him.  They asked him a question about taxes.  Jesus gave a harsh response as he had a dialogue about the Roman coin about whose image was on it.  Give Caesar his due.  The Pharisees and their disciples left.

However, the Sadducees asked a question about the resurrection.  There was a law about marrying the brother of a dead man.  There was a woman who married seven brothers, who was her husband in the resurrection?  Jesus responded that there was no marriage in the resurrection.  The living God of their ancestors would show them the way.  The crowd was astonished.

The Pharisees regrouped and wanted to know what is the greatest commandment?  Jesus responded about the two great commandments to love God and your neighbor.  Then Jesus asked the Pharisees a question.  Was the Christ the son of David?  Then who was the Lord for David?  After that there were no more questions for Jesus.

Jesus then cursed the Scribes and Pharisees.  He told his disciples to do what they say, but not what they do.  They tied up heavy burdens on the people.  They wore special clothing and sought the places of honor.  They want to be called Rabbis.  No one was your father or master.  Greatness comes with humility.  They tried to lock people out of heaven as they shut it off.  Even when they tried to make converts, they are like blind guides and fools.  They swore by the altar or the gift of the altar.  They swore by heaven, but they had forgotten the law.  They wanted the gnat out your eye but had a camel in their own eye.  They worried about the outside of the cup instead of the inside.  They were like whitewashed tombs.  They proclaimed reverence for the tombs of the prophets, but they were like their sinning ancestors. They were like serpents.  They would kill the prophets.  They spread innocent blood.  Soon the house of Jerusalem would be desolate.

Finally, there were the predictions about the end times.  Jesus left the Temple as he predicted its destruction.  What are the signs of the Parousia?  There would be the beginning of the great suffering so that they should not be lead astray.  There would be rumors of wars in those troubled times.  They would be persecuted for the sake of Jesus.  There would be betrayals and false prophets.  Love would grow cold.  Endurance would be necessary.  The importance of Daniel the prophet was emphasized.  In Judea, they would flee to the housetops.  It would be too late for the people in the fields.  This would be the wrong time to be pregnant or nursing.  There would be great tribulation, but the days would be short.

The end was coming because there would be false Christs and people looking for the Messiah.  The Son of Man would come on the clouds as the darkness in the skies appeared.  There would be a gathering of the chosen ones.  Using the parable of the fig tree, they could tell that the end was near.  This generation would pass away, but Jesus’ words would not pass away.  No one knew the day, since it would be like in the days of Noah.  Only one would be taken and the other left, so be ready.  Be a wise and faithful slave, not a wicked slave.

Jesus told the parable of the ten bridesmaids where half were wise and half foolish.  They all fell asleep.  When the bridegroom came, they all got up.  However, the foolish ones had no oil and wise ones said that there was not enough oil for both of them.  When the foolish left to get oil, they shut the door.  When they came back, the bridegroom said that he did not know them.  Thus, you do not know the day.

Next Jesus told the parable of the talents.  A man entrusted his assets to his slaves.  He gave them money.  One slave added five more talents, another added two more talents, but the third slave dug a hole and buried his money.  The master settled their accounts.  The slave with five talents got five more talents.  The slave with two talents got two more talents.  The slave with one talent was rebuked and punished.  Thus, there will be rewards and punishments at the end times.

In the last judgment, the Son of Man would appear in glory.  There would be sheep and goats, with the sheep on the right hand.  They had taken care of him.  They wondered when they had done this.  The Son of Man replied that they took care of him when they cared for the least of his brothers.  Then he told the goats on his left side to depart from him because they had not taken care of him when they did not care for the lowly people.  Thus, there would be eternal punishment or eternal reward.

The need for faith (Mt 21:21-21:22)

“Jesus answered them.

‘Truly!

I say to you!

If you have faith,

If you do not doubt,

Not only will you do

What has been done

To the fig tree,

But even if you say

To this mountain.

‘Be lifted up!

Be thrown into the sea!’

It will be done.

Whatever you ask for

In prayer,

With faith,

You will receive.’”

 

ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐὰν ἔχητε πίστιν καὶ μὴ διακριθῆτε, οὐ μόνον τὸ τῆς συκῆς ποιήσετε, ἀλλὰ κἂν τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ εἴπητε Ἄρθητι καὶ βλήθητι εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, γενήσεται·

καὶ πάντα ὅσα ἂν αἰτήσητε ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ πιστεύοντες λήμψεσθε.

 

This Jesus saying about faith can be found in Mark, chapter 11:20-24, word for word, but it was the next day after the curse, not the same day.  Jesus answered the disciple’s question (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) about how the fig tree withered with a solemn pronouncement (Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) about the importance of faith.  If they had faith (ἐὰν ἔχητε πίστιν) and did not doubt (καὶ μὴ διακριθῆτε), they too would be able to effectively curse a fig tree (οὐ μόνον τὸ τῆς συκῆς ποιήσετε).  Not only that, but if they had faith, they could move mountains.  They could tell a mountain (ἀλλὰ κἂν τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ εἴπητε) to be lifted up or taken away (Ἄρθητι) and thrown into the sea (καὶ βλήθητι εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν), and it would happen (γενήσεται).  Whatever they asked for in believing prayer (καὶ πάντα ὅσα ἂν αἰτήσητε ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ πιστεύοντες), they would receive it (λήμψεσθε).  The essential ingredient of effective prayer was faith.

Jesus curses the fig tree (Mt 21:19-21:20)

“Jesus saw a fig tree

By the side of the road.

He went to it.

He found nothing on it

But leaves only.

He said to it.

‘May no fruit

Ever come

From you again!’

The fig tree withered

At once.

When the disciples saw it,

They were amazed.

They said.

‘How did the fig tree

Wither at once?’”

 

καὶ ἰδὼν συκῆν μίαν ἐπὶ τῆς ὁδοῦ ἦλθεν ἐπ’ αὐτήν, καὶ οὐδὲν εὗρεν ἐν αὐτῇ εἰ μὴ φύλλα μόνον, καὶ λέγει αὐτῇ Οὐ μηκέτι ἐκ σοῦ καρπὸς γένηται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. καὶ ἐξηράνθη παραχρῆμα ἡ συκῆ.

καὶ ἰδόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ ἐθαύμασαν λέγοντες Πῶς παραχρῆμα ἐξηράνθη ἡ συκῆ;

 

This story about Jesus cursing the fig tree can be found in Mark, chapter 11:13-14, in a condensed form.  Luke, chapter 13:6-9, has a parable about a fig tree that would not bear fruit.  Jesus saw one fig tree by the side of the road (καὶ ἰδὼν συκῆν μίαν ἐπὶ τῆς ὁδοῦ).  He went over to it (ἦλθεν ἐπ’ αὐτήν) but he found no fruit (καὶ οὐδὲν εὗρεν ἐν αὐτῇ), since only leaves were on it (εἰ μὴ φύλλα μόνον).  He then said to the tree (καὶ λέγει αὐτῇ) that no fruit would ever come from that tree again (Οὐ μηκέτι ἐκ σοῦ καρπὸς γένηται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα).  Then the fig tree withered or dried up instantly (καὶ ἐξηράνθη παραχρῆμα ἡ συκῆ).  When his disciples saw this (καὶ ἰδόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ), they were amazed and marveled (ἐθαύμασαν).  They wondered about this and said (λέγοντες).  “How did this fig tree wither immediately (Πῶς παραχρῆμα ἐξηράνθη ἡ συκῆ)?”  Even his disciples were amazed about this withering fig tree.

The curse for the worthless shepherd (Zech 11:17-10:17)

“Cursed be my worthless shepherd!

They desert the flock!

May the sword

Strike his arm!

May the sword

Strike his right eye!

Let his arm

Be completely withered!

Let his right eye be

Utterly blinded!’”

Yahweh had a curse for the worthless shepherds, who had deserted their flocks.  Yahweh wanted the sword to strike their arms and right eyes.  Yahweh wanted their arms withered and their eyes blinded.