In chapter 2 of Genesis, verse 4, God has a new name, יְהוָ֥ה (Yahweh) אֱלֹהִ֖ים (Elohim), Κύριος ὁ θεὸς (kurios ho theos), Yahweh Elohim or the Lord God. Elohim was no longer sufficient to describe God. He was called Yahweh, a tetragram, a four-letter Hebrew theonym, יהוה (YHWH), the name of God in the Hebrew Bible. The four letters, written and read from right to left, may be derived from a verb that means “to be”, “to exist”, “to cause to become”, or “to come to pass”. Observant Jews and those who follow Talmudic Jewish traditions do not pronounce יהוה, nor do they read it aloud in proposed transcription forms such as Yahweh or Jehovah. Instead, they replace it with a different term, in addressing or referring to the God of Israel, like Adonai, My Lord, or Elohim. In a comparison of the Hebrew Bible usage, the word Elohim, אֱלֹהִ֖ים (Elohim), was used 2,598 times, but the word Yahweh, יְהוָ֥ה (Yahweh), was used 6,220 times. The Greek Septuagint translated this word as the Lord (Κύριος). Yahweh was the God of the Israelites. Do you think that the name of God is important?
The Son of Man (Lk 21:27-21:27)
“Then they will see
The Son of Man
Coming in a cloud
And great glory.”
καὶ τότε ὄψονται τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐρχόμενον ἐν νεφέλῃ μετὰ δυνάμεως καὶ δόξης πολλῆ
Luke indicated that Jesus said that then they would see (καὶ τότε ὄψονται) the Son of Man (τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) coming in a cloud (ἐρχόμενον ἐν νεφέλῃ) with power (μετὰ δυνάμεως) and great glory (καὶ δόξης πολλῆ). This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 24:30, and in Mark, chapter 13:26. Mark said that they would all see or experience the Son of Man (καὶ τότε ὄψονται τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) coming in the clouds (ἐρχόμενον ἐν νεφέλαις) with his great power (μετὰ δυνάμεως πολλῆς) and glory (καὶ δόξης). Matthew indicated that Jesus had an introductory comment that the sign of the Son of Man would appear in the heavens (καὶ τότε φανήσεται τὸ σημεῖον τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν οὐρανῷ). Then all the tribes or races of people on the earth would mourn or lament (καὶ τότε κόψονται πᾶσαι αἱ φυλαὶ τῆς γῆς). After these phrases, then came the common element that they would all see or experience the Son of Man (καὶ ὄψονται τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) coming on the clouds of heaven (ἐρχόμενον ἐπὶ τῶν νεφελῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ) with his power (μετὰ δυνάμεως) and great glory (καὶ δόξης πολλῆς). The clouds were the common place where theophanies in the Old Testament occurred, as Yahweh often appeared in a cloud on a mountain. The Son of Man is a reference to Jesus himself as a Hebrew Messianic figure. What do you know about the Second Coming of Jesus?
The God of the living (Lk 20:38-20:38)
“Now God is
Not a God
Of the dead,
But of the living.
All of them
Θεὸς δὲ οὐκ ἔστιν νεκρῶν ἀλλὰ ζώντων· πάντες γὰρ αὐτῷ ζῶσιν
Luke concluded with Jesus saying that God was not a God of the dead (Θεὸς δὲ οὐκ ἔστιν νεκρῶν), but of the living (ἀλλὰ ζώντων). All of them were alive to him (πάντες γὰρ αὐτῷ ζῶσιν). Jesus continued his explanation that can also be found in Matthew, chapter 22:32, and Mark, chapter 12:27. Mark said that Jesus ended by saying that Yahweh, the Father, was not the God of the dead (οὐκ ἔστιν Θεὸς νεκρῶν) but the God of the living (ἀλλὰ ζώντων). He insisted that the Sadducees were very wrong, mistaken, or incorrect (πολὺ πλανᾶσθε). Matthew indicated that Jesus ended by saying that Yahweh, the Father, was the God of the living (ἀλλὰ ζώντων), not the dead (οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ Θεὸς νεκρῶν). Do you believe in a living God?
God and Moses (Lk 20:37-20:37)
“The dead are raised.
Moses showed this
In the story
About the bush.
Of the Lord as
The God of Abraham,
The God of Isaac,
And the God of Jacob.”
ὅτι δὲ ἐγείρονται οἱ νεκροὶ, καὶ Μωϋσῆς ἐμήνυσεν ἐπὶ τῆς Βάτου, ὡς λέγει Κύριον τὸν Θεὸν Ἀβραὰμ καὶ Θεὸν Ἰσαὰκ καὶ Θεὸν Ἰακώβ
Luke indicated that Jesus justified the resurrection, that the dead are raised up (ὅτι δὲ ἐγείρονται οἱ νεκροὶ). Jesus used the example of Moses at the thorn bush (καὶ Μωϋσῆς ἐμήνυσεν ἐπὶ τῆς Βάτου), when he called Yahweh or the Lord (ὡς λέγει Κύριον) the God of Abraham (τὸν Θεὸν Ἀβραὰμ), the God of Isaac (καὶ Θεὸν Ἰσαὰκ), and the God of Jacob (καὶ Θεὸν Ἰακώβ). Jesus continued with this same explanation that can also be found in Matthew, chapter 22:31-32, and Mark, chapter 12:26. They all refer to Moses at the burning bush in Exodus, chapter 3:6, a mysterious theophany, that is implied without being explicitly mentioned here. Mark indicated that Jesus said that the dead will rise up (περὶ δὲ τῶν νεκρῶν ὅτι ἐγείρονται). Jesus then reminded the Sadducees that they had not read the correct book of Moses (οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε ἐν τῇ βίβλῳ Μωϋσέως). Jesus then referenced this saying of Yahweh to Moses at the bush (ἐπὶ τοῦ Βάτου). Yahweh God spoke to Moses saying (πῶς εἶπεν αὐτῷ λέγων) that he was the God of Abraham (Ἐγώ ὁ Θεὸς Ἀβραὰμ), the God of Isaac (καὶ Θεὸς Ἰσαὰκ), and the God of Jacob (καὶ Θεὸς Ἰακώβ). Matthew indicated that Jesus reminded the Sadducees that they had not read the correct sayings of God (οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε τὸ ῥηθὲν ὑμῖν ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ λέγοντος), concerning the resurrection of the dead (περὶ δὲ τῆς ἀναστάσεως τῶν νεκρῶν). He did not say “the correct book” as in Mark. He then referenced the saying of Yahweh to Moses at the burning bush, that he was the God of Abraham (Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ Θεὸς Ἀβραὰμ), the God of Isaac (καὶ ὁ Θεὸς Ἰσαὰκ), and the God of Jacob (καὶ ὁ Θεὸς Ἰακώβ). Do you believe in your resurrection in the afterlife?
Surrounded on every side (Lk 19:43-19:43)
Will come upon you,
When your enemies
Will set up ramparts
They will hem you in
On every side.”
ὅτι ἥξουσιν ἡμέραι ἐπὶ σὲ καὶ παρεμβαλοῦσιν οἱ ἐχθροί σου χάρακά σοι καὶ περικυκλώσουσίν σε καὶ συνέξουσίν σε πάντοθεν,
Luke indicated that Jesus remarked that bad days were coming to Jerusalem (ὅτι ἥξουσιν ἡμέραι ἐπὶ σὲ). Jesus said that it would come to them when their enemies would put up a barricade against them (καὶ παρεμβαλοῦσιν οἱ ἐχθροί σου χάρακά σοι). They would surround them (καὶ περικυκλώσουσίν σε) so that they would be hemmed in on every side (καὶ συνέξουσίν σε πάντοθεν). This is the only Greek biblical use of the word περικυκλώσουσίν that means to hem them in on every side, encircle, surround, or encompass. Jesus was using the words and images of the ancient Israelite prophets against Jerusalem. Isaiah, chapter 29:1-3, called Jerusalem Ariel, a symbolic name for Jerusalem and its altar. Isaiah, warned Jerusalem about what was going to happen to it. Yahweh was going to encamp against it and set up siege works against it. They would be able to speak only from below the earth and the dust. Their voices would be reduced to a whisper, like a ghost in the middle of this dust pile. Jeremiah, chapter 6:6-8, warned Jerusalem that its enemies were going to cut down trees in order to make a ramp siege against Jerusalem, because this city needed to be punished. There was nothing but oppression and wickedness within her. Jerusalem was a place of violence and destruction with sickness and wounded people all around. Yahweh was going to turn away in disgust against Jerusalem. Thus, it would become a desolate uninhabited land, if it did not heed his warning. Ezekiel, chapter 4:1-3, also condemned Jerusalem with Ezekiel’s symbolic action. A voice told Ezekiel to be an expert model Lego builder of the siege of Jerusalem. Ezekiel, the son of man, was to take a brick and portray the city of Jerusalem. He was to put the siege works with a siege wall against this city. He was to put a ramp and camps against this city with battering rams all around it. Then he was to take an iron plate and make an iron wall between himself and the city, looking at it. Thus, there was a state of siege, a sign for the house of Israel. Ezekiel was part of the exiles from 598 BCE before the taking of Jerusalem and the second captivity in 587 BCE. Of course, here this was allusion to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE by the Roman soldiers putting down a revolution in Judea. Luke would have known about this at the time of his writing. Have you ever seen a city destroyed?
Stay at Zacchaeus’ house (Lk 19:5-19:5)
Came to this place,
He looked up.
He said to him.
I must stay
At your house today!’”
καὶ ὡς ἦλθεν ἐπὶ τὸν τόπον, ἀναβλέψας ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν Ζακχαῖε, σπεύσας κατάβηθι· σήμερον γὰρ ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ σου δεῖ με μεῖναι.
Luke uniquely indicated that when Jesus came to this place (καὶ ὡς ἦλθεν ἐπὶ τὸν τόπον), he looked up (ἀναβλέψας ὁ Ἰησοῦς). Then, he called Zacchaeus by name (Ζακχαῖε). Jesus told him (ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν) to quickly come down from the tree (σπεύσας κατάβηθι·), because today it was necessary or proper for Jesus to stay at his house (σήμερον γὰρ ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ σου δεῖ με μεῖναι). How did Jesus know his name? Had they met each other before? Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus. Would you stay at the house of a stranger?
Lot’s wife (Lk 17:32-17:32)
“Remember Lot’s wife!”
μνημονεύετε τῆς γυναικὸς Λώτ
Luke was the only gospel writer to have Jesus remark about remembering Lot’s wife (μνημονεύετε τῆς γυναικὸς Λώτ). This was is a reference to Genesis, chapter 19:26. There Yahweh had rained down on both Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire, so that all who lived in those two towns and the plains around it were destroyed. Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. Luke and Jesus did not elaborate on the circumstances of her death, just remember it as if it was well known. This was quite a striking biblical image, since they were in the plains by the Dead Sea that was also called the Salt Sea. Have you ever looked back with regret?
See you later! (Lk 13:35-13:35)
Your house is forsaken!
I tell you!
You will not see me
Until the time comes
When you say.
‘Blessed is the one
In the name
Of the Lord!’”
ἰδοὺ ἀφίεται ὑμῖν ὁ οἶκος ὑμῶν. λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν, οὐ μὴ ἴδητέ με ἕως ἥξει ὅτε εἴπητε Εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι Κυρίου.
Luke indicated that Jesus said to Jerusalem that nothing of their house was left for them as it will be forsaken (ἰδοὺ ἀφίεται ὑμῖν ὁ οἶκος ὑμῶν), using the second person singular. With a solemn pronouncement (λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν), Jesus said that they would not see him, Jesus (οὐ μὴ ἴδητέ με) until the time came when they said (ἕως ἥξει ὅτε εἴπητε) the Hallel Psalm 118:26, “Blessed is the one who comes (Εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος) in the name of the Lord (ἐν ὀνόματι Κυρίου)!” Both Luke and Matthew, chapter 23:38-39, have this desolation of Jerusalem, almost word for word, so that this may be a Q source. Matthew was more detailed. He indicated that Jesus said that their house of worship would be left desolate at its destruction (ἰδοὺ ἀφίεται ὑμῖν ὁ οἶκος ὑμῶν), because Yahweh God would abandon the Temple of Jerusalem. In a solemn pronouncement (λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν), they would not see him again (οὐ μή με ἴδητε ἀπ’ ἄρτι), until they would say the Hallel Psalm 118:26 about blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord (ἕως ἂν εἴπητε Εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι Κυρίου). This was a warning against the powerless Temple of Jerusalem, perhaps indicating that Temple had already been destroyed by the time of this writing. Does the destruction of the church Notre Dame de Paris sound like the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple to you?
The Pharisee was amazed (Lk 11:38-11:38)
That Jesus did not
ὁ δὲ Φαρισαῖος ἰδὼν ἐθαύμασεν ὅτι οὐ πρῶτον ἐβαπτίσθη πρὸ τοῦ ἀρίστου.
Luke said that this Pharisee was amazed to see (ὁ δὲ Φαρισαῖος ἰδὼν ἐθαύμασεν) that Jesus did not first wash (ὅτι οὐ πρῶτον ἐβαπτίσθη) before dinner (πρὸ τοῦ ἀρίστου). There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 7:2-5 and Matthew, chapter 15:2. However, the complaint there was about the disciples of Jesus, not Jesus himself. Matthew said that these Pharisees wanted to know why the disciples of Jesus did not wash their hands before they ate bread. They said that this action was a violation against the tradition of the elders. Mark said that these Pharisees and Scribes had noticed that the disciples of Jesus were eating bread with defiled hands, because they did not wash their hands. These Pharisees and Scribes wanted to know why the disciples of Jesus did not live according to the tradition of the elders. Originally, this practice of washing hands before eating was what the Levites did in the Temple to practice ritual purity as indicated in Exodus, chapter 30:17-21. Yahweh had told Moses that there should be a bronze basin with a bronze stand for washing. Thus, Aaron and his sons should wash their hands and feet when they went into the meeting tent or the altar. The penalty for not washing your hands and feet was death under this perpetual ordinance. However, the Pharisaic oral tradition, or the tradition of the elders, had extended this practice to individual homes. Thus, they were violating the tradition of the elders. Wash your hands! Do you wash your hands before you eat?
Pray to the Father (Lk 11:2-11:2)
“Jesus said to them.
‘When you pray,
Your kingdom come!’”
εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς Ὅταν προσεύχησθε, λέγετε Πάτερ, ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου· ἐλθάτω ἡ βασιλεία σου
Luke indicated that Jesus responded to his disciples (εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς). He told them how to pray (Ὅταν προσεύχησθε). They were to say Father (λέγετε Πάτερ)! Hallowed or holy be your name (ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά)! Your kingdom come (σου· ἐλθάτω ἡ βασιλεία σου)! Matthew, chapter 6:9, also had the “Lord’s Prayer,” “The Our Father,” with slightly different variations, perhaps indicating a Q source. However, the text here in Luke is shorter than Matthew, since Matthew had 7 demands or requests of God, but Luke had only 5. The first part of the prayer was about the glory of God himself, the Father. Jesus simply tells them to pray this way. The Greek word for praying προσεύχεσθε means an exchange of wishes. Jesus opened this prayer with a call to their common “our” Father (Πάτερ ἡμῶν) who was in the heavens (ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς). Luke did not have “Our Father who was in heaven,” since that only appeared in the later Byzantine text of Luke, but simply “Father”. The heavenly father was a major theme throughout Matthew. His name should be holy (Ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου), just as in the Hebrew scriptures where the name of Yahweh was holy, especially Psalm 105:1-5. His kingdom should come (ἐλθάτω ἡ βασιλεία σου). Then Matthew had the unique statement about the will of the Father should be done (γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου) here on earth (καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς), just as it is done in heaven (ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ). Obviously following the will of God, Yahweh, was a common theme of Judaic life. The followers of Jesus would not be exempt from following the will of their heavenly Father. However, Luke did not mention this in his prayer to the Father, except that it was in the later Byzantine text also. Do you know the Lord’s prayer by heart?