Luke

The Gospel of Luke was written somewhere around AD 60 to a resident of Antioch named Theophilus. Tradition holds that Luke was also from there.

CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 1

1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,

2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;

3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,1

4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.

5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.

6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.2

7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.3

8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course,

9 According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.4

10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.

11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.

15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.

16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.

17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.

19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.

20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.5

21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple.6

22 And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless.7

23 And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.

24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,

25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.8

26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.9

28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured,10 the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.11

32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.12

36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah;

40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.

41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,

47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.13

48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.

50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.

51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.

53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.

54 He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;

55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.

57 Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.

58 And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.

59 And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.

60 And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John.

61 And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name.

62 And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.

63 And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.

64 And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God.

65 And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea.

66 And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.

67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,

68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,

69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;

70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:

71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;

72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;

73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,

74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,

75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.

76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;

77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,14

78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,

79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

80 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts15 till the day of his shewing unto Israel.

1 Since many have attempted to write an account of the things that we certainly believe,

2 Through the stories passed down to us by those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the Message,

3 I also thought it a good idea that, since my knowledge of the events comes from first-hand sources and exhaustive research, I write you this account, most excellent Theophilus,

4 So you too can know the absolute truth of the things you’ve been taught.

5 In the days of Herod the Great, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, who was one of the priests in the division of Abijah (established by David). Zacharias’ wife Elizabeth was descended from Aaron (the first High Priest).

6 Now these two were highly religious and devoted before God, obeying all of the Torah in a blameless manner.

7 Even so, they had no children, for Elizabeth was barren, and now they were both very old.

8 And it came to pass that during one of the two times a year that Zacharias was called upon to serve at the Temple with the other priests of the division of Abijah,

9 For the first time in his life, when they enacted the ritual to cast lots to determine which priest would have the honor of burning incense before the Holy of Holies, it fell to him.

10 At the appointed time, while he was inside burning incense, the Temple courts outside were filled with a multitude of people praying.

11 As he was doing this, an angel of the Lord appeared, standing to the right of the altar of incense!

12 When Zacharias saw him, he was stunned and greatly afraid.

13 But the angel said: Don’t be afraid, Zacharias! Your prayer (for a son) has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear a son whom you are to name John (Yochannon).

14 You will have great joy and gladness at this, and many will rejoice at his birth.

15 This child will be great in the Lord’s sight (and will be consecrated to God as a Nazirite from his birth). He must never drink wine or strong drink; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb.

16 He will bring revival to the children of Israel, and turn many to the Lord their God.

17 He will go before Him, walking in the spirit and power of Elijah to: turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

18 Zacharias replied to the angel: How do I know this is true? I am an old man, and my wife too is getting on in years.

19 The angel then answered: I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and who was sent to give you these glad tidings.

20 Because you did not believe my words that will be fulfilled in the due course of time, you will be made (deaf and) dumb, unable to speak!

21 Now while this was going on, the people waited for Zacharias, and couldn’t understand why he was taking so long in the Temple (so they repeated their prayer over and over again until he came out).

22 When he finally did emerge, he could not speak--he could only make hand signs--and they knew he must have had some sort of vision in the Temple.

23 Now when his period of service was over, he went home to his wife.

24 Elizabeth then conceived, and hid herself for five months. And she said,

25 “The Lord has been good and merciful to me to look upon me in my old age, and take away the disgrace of being childless!”

26 Now in the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, the same angel Gabriel was sent by God to the village of Nazareth in Galilee,

27 To a young virgin who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The young woman’s name was Miriam (meaning Rebel).

28 The angel came to her, and said: Greetings, you who have been greatly graced! The Lord is with you! Blessed are you among women!

29 When Miriam saw the angel, she was troubled and perplexed, wondering what sort of greeting this was.

30 But the angel said to her: Don’t be afraid, Miriam--for you have found favor with God!

31 You are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son whom you will name Jesus (Yeshua).

32 He will be a great man, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David!

33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never have an end!

34 Then Miriam asked: How can such a thing happen since I am a virgin?

35 The angel answered: The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you. For this reason, the holy child born of you will be called the Son of God.

36 Your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month of a pregnancy for a woman who was called “barren.”

37 For no command or decree of God is without power!

38 And Miriam replied: Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Let it happen as you have said. The angel then departed from her.

39 Miriam left her home and speedily made her way to the hill country of Judea and the village where Elizabeth lived.

40 Upon entering Zacharias’ home, she called out a greeting to Elizabeth.

41 When Elizabeth heard the sound of her voice, the baby leapt for joy in her womb, and the Holy Spirit filled her, causing her to prophesy.

42 She cried out: Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!

43 And why am I so honored that the mother of my Lord has come to me?

44 For as soon as I heard your voice and greeting, the baby inside me leapt for joy!

45 Blessed is she who believed what the Lord told her, for what she has believed will come to pass!

46 And Miriam exclaimed: My soul exalts the Lord!

47 And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!

48 For He has regarded the humble state of His handmaid--for from this point, all generations will call me blessed!

49 For the Mighty One has done great things to me, and Holy is His name!

50 His mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.

51 His mighty arm has scattered those who are arrogant in their hearts’ intentions.

52 He has thrown down the mighty from their thrones and replaced them with the humble.

53 He has filled the starving with delicacies and the rich have been turned away with nothing.

54 He has come to the rescue of His servant Israel, remembering the promise He made out of mercy for us,

55 The promise He made to our ancestors, and Abraham, and his descendants forever!

56 After this, Miriam remained with Elizabeth for around three more months. Then she went back home.

57 Now Elizabeth’s time had come, and she delivered a male child.

58 All her neighbors and relatives heard of the great mercy God had shown her by this miracle, and they rejoiced with her.

59 And after eight days, according to custom, they came to circumcise the child and give him a name. They started to call him Zacharias, after his father.

60 But Elizabeth said: No--name him John!

61 They answered back: But there are none of your relatives (or ancestors) with that name.

62 So they made signs to (the deaf) Zacharias, trying to get him to communicate what the child should be named.

63 Zacharias then gestured for a writing tablet, and when given one wrote: His name is John. And everyone was amazed.

64 Then his affliction immediately left him, and Zacharias opened his mouth to praise God.

65 And a great fear came about everyone in the area, and word of these events circulated about all the Judean hill country.

66 Everyone who heard about all this wondered what sort of child the infant would grow up to be. And sure enough, the Lord’s hand was with him.

67 The Holy Spirit also filled his father Zacharias, and he prophesied, saying:

68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has come to the aid of his people, and redeemed them.

69 He has raised up a (mighty sovereign) of deliverance and salvation for us in the house of his servant David,

70 As He said He would do through the mouths of the holy prophets, who have foretold this since the world began!

71 He will save us from our enemies and from the hands of all who hate us,

72 So He can enact the mercy promised to our ancestors, and remember His holy covenant,

73 The oath He made to our father Abraham:

74 That He would deliver us out of the hands of our enemies so we could serve Him freely, without fear,

75 In all holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our lives.

76 And you, child, shall be called a prophet of the Highest, for you will go before the face of the Lord to set the stage;

77 To teach the way of salvation to God’s people through the remission of sins,

78 Accomplished through the tender mercy of our God, by whom the rising sun itself has descended to earth and come to us,

79 To give light to those trapped in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace!

80 And so the child grew, and became very powerful in spirit; and was in the deserts until the day he was revealed to Israel.

1. “Theophilus” means Friend of God. Just who this person was is unknown, though he is believed to have lived in Antioch. There was a Sadducee High Priest, a son of Annas, named Theophilus who was High Priest from 37-41 AD, but almost certainly he is not to whom this Gospel was penned. Luke may be using “Theophilus” as a general term for anyone who wishes to learn of God and Christ.

2. An important verse often misunderstood both by cultists and my fellow evangelicals who (correctly) teach that the only true righteousness imparting eternal life is that which comes from faith. However, there is a lesser level of righteousness that is dealt with here: a righteousness of character, or a temporal righteousness. However, the righteousness that one may appropriate through lifestyle is insufficient to save the soul from death, for only the foreign spiritual righteousness imparted through faith in Messiah can allow one to dwell in the presence of God. Even Judaism comes near to understanding this idea when it teaches that an evil man may do a mitzvah (good deed) and reap an immediate reward from God for the act, yet the man still dies with his name written in the Book of the Unrighteous because he is evil. Where Judaism (and Islam) miss it, is in failing to comprehend that no amount of good deeds and righteous lifestyle will permit God to accept a man on that basis alone, for “all our righteousness is as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).

3. Luke’s purpose in bringing up how “righteous” Zacharias and Elisabeth were is to counter the belief in that time that being childless was a result of sin.

4. During the time of David there were so many priests that he divided them into 24 “courses” (groups). In this time period, each would minister twice a year in the Temple for a week. During the Festivals of Pentecost, Sukkot (Tabernacles) and Unleavened Bread they would also be active in their ministrations and then return to their appointed schedules after the end of each Festival. Zacharias’ course would have been active in the Temple during May or June, and it is at this time that he encounters Gabriel. John would have been born around April, at or near Passover, an emphasis of which is the coming of Elijah. This would also place Jesus’ birth around the Festival of Sukkot as shown in the commentary for the next chapter.

After being chosen by lot, the winner selected two friends, the first of whom entered the Holy Place (outside the Holy of Holies) and removed the remains of the offering left upon the altar. The second prepared the coals to receive the next. The winner then entered with a golden censor and spread the incense upon the altar before the curtain sealing off the Holy of Holies.

 

5. Apparently, God was holding Zacharias to a higher standard of faith, as an experienced priest, than he did a teenage Mary who asks a similar question. Also, the word translated as “dumb” is possibly an error that has crept into the text, for the Syrian version of the New Testament uses the word “deaf” instead. We see absolute confirmation of this in verse 62, where the people “made signs” to Zacharias, who obviously must be deaf. Apparently, Zacharias was struck both deaf and dumb.

6. As Zacharias performed his function, the people outside would recite a prayer from the Psalms, repeating it if the priest failed to complete his tasks before they finished. By the third recitation they would have definitely begun to wonder what was taking so long.

7. Why Zacharias doesn’t write down what happened is puzzling and unexplained.

8. In the culture, as mentioned, to be childless was viewed as a curse from God, and was usually presumed to be the result of sin.

9. Mary’s age is unknown, but probably she was 13-15.

10. The strong Greek word here for highly favored (charitoo), is often appealed to by Catholics as a proof text that Mary was graced in such a way as to have been preserved from Original Sin. However, the same word is used of all believers by Paul in Ephesians 1:6, where it is translated: “accepted.”

11. Yeshua in the actual language, although in Galilee it was pronounced Yeshu.

12. For the first time, the term Son of God takes on a meaning beyond that of “Messiah” or “King of Israel.” Keep in mind that as you see people other than Jesus refer to Him as the “Son of God,” in their minds they are equating the term not with a virgin-born man, but as a euphemism for “Messiah.”

13. A verse showing that Mary is not sinless, for the sinless need no savior.

14. Josephus on John’s Baptism

Now some of the Jews thought that Herod’s army had been destroyed by God, and that it was a very just penalty to avenge John, surnamed the Baptist. For Herod had killed him, though he was a good man, who bade the Jews practice virtue, be just one to another and pious toward God, and come together in baptism. He taught that baptism was acceptable to God provided that they underwent it not to procure the remission of certain sins, but for the purification of the body, if the soul had already been purified by righteousness. Antiquities 18.5.2

 

This is a verse causes some controversy. The New Testament seems to say that John's baptism was directly concerned with the washing away of sin, yet Josephus apparently contradicts this. In Jewish culture, baptism--a ritual immersion--was practiced on a regular basis. Then, as now, there was a disagreement on whether baptism merely symbolized purification, or whether there was a literal spiritual purification bestowed by the act. It would thus be perfectly orthodox for John to hold that baptism was to be performed as the concluding act of repentance as Josephus indicates; or he could have taught the sin was literally washed away by it. The Essenes themselves appear to have believed that baptism symbolized a spiritual purification performed by the Holy Spirit.

 

15. This probably indicates that John spent considerable time with the Essenes, who dwelt in the desert, and also that he was a member of their community. John was baptizing at Bethabara, only a few miles from Qumran, and there is no question that he had to have had exposure to Essene teaching and culture, at least some of which must have been incorporated into his ministry. The Hebrew version of Josephus calls John a “High Priest,” and this may indicate he actually headed the Essenes at some point. Alternatively, John’s popularity and following (confirmed by the Gospels when the religious leaders fear being stoned by the masses if they deny John was a prophet) could suggest he headed an entire organized religious movement specifically created as a counter to the Judaism practiced by the Pharisees and Sadducees.

 

CHAPTER 2

CHAPTER 2

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.1

2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)2

3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.3

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn4.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.5

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy6, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;

23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)

24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.7

25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.

27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,

28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,

29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:

30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,

31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;

32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.

34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;

35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;

37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.

38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.8

40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.9

42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.

43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.

44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.

45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.

46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.

47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.10

48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?

50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.

51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.

52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.11

1 And it came to pass in that time that Augustus Caesar issued an edict throughout the Roman Empire to take a census (for purposes of taxation).

2 (This first affected Judea when Cyrenius was controlling Syria.)

3 So everyone went to register for the census at the town his ancestors were from.

4 Joseph also came from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem of Judea, the city of David his ancestor,

5 To be counted with his betrothed wife, Miriam, who was now in her ninth month of pregnancy. (This took place in early fall, during the Feast of Tabernacles, called the Festival of Sukkot by the Jews.)

6 It happened that while they were in Bethlehem, she was ready to give birth.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, laying him inside a manger because there was no room for them in (Joseph’s family’s tabernacle).

8 In the same region, one night some shepherds were out in the fields, keeping watch on flocks of lambs (used for Temple sacrifices).

9 The angel of the Lord appeared to them, shining with God’s radiance, and they were terrified.

10 But the angel said to them: Fear not! For look--I bring you news of great joy that shall bless all people!

11 For this night is born to you, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord!

12 Here is how you will know him: You will find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger!

13 Suddenly the angel was joined by a host of other angelic beings who were praising God, saying:

14 Glory to God in the highest! On earth, peace and good will to men!

15 As the angels left them and ascended into the sky, the shepherds said to each other: Let’s go into Bethlehem,and see this thing the Lord has made known to us!

16 So they rushed toward town and found Miriam, Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.

17 After they had seen this, they spread word to others about what they had been told about the child they saw.

18 And everyone who heard this wondered about what the shepherds said about the child.

19 But Miriam remembered all of these events, and pondered them in her heart.

20 Meanwhile, the shepherds returned to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen as a result of what the angel had told them.

21 Now after eight days, when they came to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus because of what the angel had told Miriam before he was conceived in the womb.

22 And when the period of ritual defilement according to the Law of Moses was over, they brought the child to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.

23 As it is written in the Torah of the Lord: Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord.

24 They also made the required (sin) sacrifice in the Torah of the Lord (for the mother): A pair of two turtledoves or pigeons.

25 Now in Jerusalem at that time was a man named Simeon. This man was just and religious, waiting for the redemption of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.

26 The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die before seeing the Lord’s Messiah.

27 Led by the Spirit one day, Simeon came to the Temple, and when Jesus’ parents came to present him and offer up the required sacrifice,

28 He took the babe into his arms and blessed God, saying:

29 Lord, now let Your servant die in peace, according to Your word,

30 For my eyes have now seen your salvation,

31 Which you have prepared in the sight of all people;

32 A light to enlighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel!

33 Joseph and his mother were amazed at the things that had been spoken about the child.

34 And Simeon blessed them, and said to Miriam his mother: Behold--this child is fated to be the fall of some, and the rising up of many others in Israel; and for a sign that will be spoken against,

35 (So that what is in men’s hearts will be revealed for all to see. A sword will pierce your own soul also!)

36 Now also there was a prophetess named Anna, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very, very old, and had been widowed after seven years of marriage.

37 She was now eighty-four years old, and spent day and night in the Temple, serving God (as an intercessor,) fasting and praying.

38 She happened to approach while this was going on, and when she had seen the child she also gave prophetic praise to God for him, and spread word about him to everyone in Jerusalem faithfully awaiting deliverance.

39 When Joseph and Miriam had completed the requirements of the Law of the Lord, they returned to their own town of Nazareth, in Galilee.

40 And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was filled with wisdom, and God’s grace was with him.

41 Now every year his parents would go to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover as was customary (for devout Jews).

42 And when Jesus was twelve, they journeyed to Jerusalem, observing the custom of the Feast.

43 After everything was over, as they returned in a caravan to Galilee, the young Jesus slipped away and remained in Jerusalem, but Joseph and his mother didn’t realize it.

44 They thought he was with friends or relatives in the caravan, and it was a full day before they started asking their family and friends if they had seen him.

45 When they realized he wasn’t there, they rushed back to Jerusalem, trying to find him.

46 On the third day, they found him at the Temple sitting amidst the sages of Israel, listening to them and asking them questions.

47 Everyone there was amazed at the boy’s wisdom of understanding, and the questions he answered.

48 When his parents saw him they were amazed, and his mother said: Son--why have you done this?! Your father and I have been going out of our minds with worry! We couldn’t find you anywhere!

49 Jesus replied: How is it that you didn’t know where to find me? Where else would I be but doing my Father’s business (in His house)?

50 But they did not understand what he meant

51 So Jesus returned home with them, and was obedient to them. Meanwhile, his mother kept all these things in her heart.

52 And in the years that followed, Jesus grew in wisdom and in size (for he was a large man), and increased in favor with both God and man.

1. “Taxed” is a bad translation; “enrolled,” or “counted for a census,” would be closer to the correct understanding of the text.

2. Skeptics like to point out Cyrenius (or Quirinius) was governor of Syria in 6 AD, long after the most liberal dating for Christ’s birth. First, these skeptics either ignore or are ignorant of the fact that the word translated as governor (hegemon) is a broad term that can refer to a variety of positions including that of a “governor.”  (Luke even uses it about Tiberius.) Quirinius was active in military pursuits in the Middle East for years before he became governor (Tacitus, Annals 3.48), and Tertullian states that censuses were conducted in Palestine under Sentius Saturninus, governor from 4 BC to 2 BC. Quirinius would have been subordinate to Saturninus (an acceptable term for which would indeed be hegemon), and would have overseen matters of internal security, which may have involved the census given the fact that Herod was loathe to carry it out due to the hostility of the Jews toward it (because they knew taxation followed). Another reasonable scenario is that the census took place in several stages, beginning with Quirinius as subordinate to Saturninus (or Quintilius Varus according to some scholars), culminating in 6 AD--when Quirinius formally became governor--with the accompanying heavy taxation that caused the formation of the Zealots under Judas the Galilean. Alternatively, archeological evidence from Tivoli dating to 14 AD suggests that someone may twice have been made governor in the region in this timeframe, and while the person’s name is obliterated, Quirinius would seem to be a candidate. In any event, there is no good reason to doubt the historicity of the account given the factors that can reasonably account for any alleged contradiction with known historical fact.

3. The skeptics further claim that there is no historical confirmation of such a worldwide census, nor that the Romans would have required citizens to return to their ancestral homes for registration. Against this, first of all, is the fact that for Luke to attempt such a massive distortion of history when masses of people still lived who had been alive during these events is unthinkable. (It would be akin to someone today claiming that President Kennedy had instituted a countrywide census requiring all US citizens to return to their cities of birth to be counted. And even if one takes the view that the story is contrived by Luke, he must explain why Luke would make up such a distortion of what would be known recent history when all he had to do was to invent a simple “lie” and make Joseph a resident of Bethlehem as Matthew seems to, since he omits mention of a census compelling Joseph to travel to Bethlehem in the first place. There would be neither problem nor controversy with that.) Such an assertion would immediately be denounced as a hoax, and we have no record whatever of any ancient denial of Luke’s account. Secondly, it is recorded by Orosius that Augustus instituted a census (in 3 BC), requiring an oath of loyalty be taken. Josephus (Ant. I7.41-45) confirms that an oath of obedience to Augustus was required in Judea prior to the death of Herod in 4 BC, and archeological evidence from approximately 3 BC in Turkey likewise shows that a similar oath was taken by the people in their temples, while the ancient Armenian historian Misrop confirms that the census involving Joseph and Mary was held in Armenia and required the people to register in the local temples. Added to this is a parchment from Egypt dating to early in the second century which reads: Because of the approaching census it is necessary that all those residing for any cause away from their home should at once prepare to return to their own governments in order that they may complete the family registration of the enrollment. A plaque on Augustus’ tomb also boasted that he thrice conducted a census of the Empire. All this evidence reasonably supports Luke’s claim of an empire-wide registration that required people to register in their homes of origin. If there is an error, it is in our translation or understanding of Luke’s text, not with the claims made by the text.

4. “Inn” is definitely a mistranslation. The word means a living space or room, and possibly refers to the Hebrew word for sukkah, the tabernacles built by the Jews for the Festival of Sukkot. Joseph and Mary may have appeared at Bethlehem during the Festival, and had to find a place to stay, for if they had arrived at either the first or last day at the Festival they would have been forbidden to erect their own sukkah, and would have had to find preexistent shelter--i.e. the stable with its manger (which tradition, starting with Justin Martyr, claims was a nearby cave, and which may have been considered the equivalent of a sukkah in a pinch). All this speculation aside, it would not have been impossible for them to have wound up staying on the lower floor of a relative’s house, where animals would also have been stabled.

5. Joseph and Mary may not have been in Bethlehem proper, but just outside of it in the valley of Migdol Eder, where the people often built their tabernacles. It is here in Migdol Eder that lambs were raised for the Passover sacrifices, and during Sukkot they are present in the fields, unlike in December when they are usually housed in shelter despite the fact that there is more grass available in winter than summer. Interestingly, Migdol Eder, though treated as a part of Bethlehem (Micah 4:8, the “Tower of the Flock,” which arguably prophesies about Christ), was just barely within the rabbinic distance limit from Jerusalem in order to be a valid sacrificial lamb, while Bethlehem proper was just barely outside that distance. All this speculation aside, it would not have been impossible for them to have wound up staying on the lower floor of a relative's house where animals would also have been stabled.

6. Sukkot is also known as the season of our joy, and is a Festival for Jew and Gentile alike, for 70 bullocks are sacrificed for the sins of the Gentiles during the Festival.

7. Showing that the Magi had yet to visit, for this is the offering made by the poor, not those who have received “gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” It should also be noted that this is a sin-offering for the mother.

8. There is no good explanation why Luke omits the flight into Egypt, a fact skeptics pounce upon. Some possibilities follow:

It is generally accepted that he was not writing to a Jewish audience as was Matthew, and thus he may have had no reason to bring up the event to confirm a very liberal interpretation of prophecy Matthew held to.

He was cutting to the chase and moving the story along, omitting a detail he felt unnecessary to relate. Luke does this at the end of his Gospel when he condenses the 40-day ministry of Christ after the Resurrection into only one verse.

Since Mark and John likewise omit the event, apparently the Gospel writers apart from Matthew didn’t feel it noteworthy to mention, perhaps because the flight and return took place in a very short space of time. If this is the case, then the Magi may arrive after baby Jesus’ presentation in the Temple, and then the flight and return occur immediately thereafter. Otherwise, they arrive after about a year has passed, based on the fact that they tell Herod they first saw the star about a year previously. The flight and return then take place, with Jesus being around a year to 18 months old.

 

9. Showing this was a very religious family, for many Jews outside of Jerusalem by this time did not regularly journey for the three great Festivals.

10. Jesus was almost certainly interacting with Hillel and Shammai, the two most important sages of the era. There is also no question as to how a child could be allowed into such a discussion, for it was a Jewish custom for a sage to bring up a question for debate and then ask the youngest person there to comment.

11. A very important verse showing that Jesus was not born with infinite knowledge and understanding as some believe, but had to learn as a human being under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

 

CHAPTER 3

CHAPTER 3

1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign1 of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene2

2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests3, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.

3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;

4 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;

6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?4

8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.5

9 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

10 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?

11 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.

12 Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?

13 And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.

14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.6

15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;

16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: 7

17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.

18 And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.

19 But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done,

20 Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.

21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,

22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,8

24 Which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Janna, which was the son of Joseph,

25 Which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Amos, which was the son of Naum, which was the son of Esli, which was the son of Nagge,

26 Which was the son of Maath, which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Semei, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Juda,

27 Which was the son of Joanna, which was the son of Rhesa, which was the son of Zorobabel, which was the son of Salathiel, which was the son of Neri,

28 Which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Addi, which was the son of Cosam, which was the son of Elmodam, which was the son of Er,

29 Which was the son of Jose, which was the son of Eliezer, which was the son of Jorim, which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi,

30 Which was the son of Simeon, which was the son of Juda, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Jonan, which was the son of Eliakim,

31 Which was the son of Melea, which was the son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David,

32 Which was the son of Jesse, which was the son of Obed, which was the son of Booz, which was the son of Salmon, which was the son of Naasson,

33 Which was the son of Aminadab, which was the son of Aram, which was the son of Esrom, which was the son of Phares, which was the son of Juda,

34 Which was the son of Jacob, which was the son of Isaac, which was the son of Abraham, which was the son of Thara, which was the son of Nachor,

35 Which was the son of Saruch, which was the son of Ragau, which was the son of Phalec, which was the son of Heber, which was the son of Sala,

36 Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech,

37 Which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan,

38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.9

1 Now in the fifteenth year Tiberius Caesar ruled Rome (27 AD), Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod Antipas was Tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip was Tetrarch of Ituraea and the region of Trachonitis; and Lysanias was the Tetrarch of Abilene.

2 Caipahas was then the reigning High Priest (though his father-in-law, Annas, was still alive and had occupied that position before him). It was at this time that John, the son of Zacharias, received a revelation from God out in the deserts.

3 And he went throughout Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins,

4 Fulfilling the prophecies of Isaiah the prophet: The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;

6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

7 And he railed against many (Pharisees and Sadducees) who sought baptism from him, saying: You generation of snakes! Who warned you to repent and escape God’s coming wrath?

8 If you want to repent, prove it by changing the way that you think and act--and don’t feel secure because you’re physically descended from Abraham (and think that guarantees your being accepted by God). I tell you that God can take these rocks (erected by Joshua) and turn them into children of Abraham if He wants to!

9 God’s ax is ready to fell the trees that bear no good fruit, and those trees will be cast into the fire!

10 The people, meanwhile, asked John: What shall we do then?

11 He answered: Let the man with two coats give one to someone without any; and let the man with food on his table share with him who is starving!

12 Even some hated tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked: Rabbi--what should we do?

13 John’s answer was: Take no more than the minimal taxes Rome demands.

14 Some soldiers likewise asked: What should we do? And John answered: Don’t use violence to intimidate people; do not make a false accusation against anyone; and don’t extort money, but be content with your wages.

15 Now since the people were in heightened expectation that the Messiah might come in their lifetime, they all debated whether John could be he.

16 But John denied it, saying: I am indeed baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming whose sandal straps I am unworthy to untie--and he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire!

17 His fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly clean out the threshing floor, gathering the wheat into his storage bin while burning the chaff with everlasting fire!

18 John taught and exhorted many other things to the people as well.

19 But Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Galilee, was a target of John’s criticism for taking his brother Philip’s wife, Herodias, for himself; and for his many other atrocities.

20 Bad as all these crimes were, even worse was that he cast John into a dungeon!

21 Now when all the people had been baptized, Jesus also came to be baptized, and when he arose from the water and prayed, the heavens parted,

22 And the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove upon him, and a voice from heaven said: You are my beloved Son! In you, I am well pleased!

23 Jesus was now about thirty years old, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph (Let Him Add), who became son of Heli (Ascending),

24 Who was son of Matthat (Gift of God), who was son of Levi (Joined), who was son of Melchi (My King), who was son of Janna (Flourishing), who was son of Joseph (Let Him Add),

25 Who was son of Mattathias (Gift of Yahweh), who was son of Amos (Burden), who was son of Naum (Consolation), who was son of Esli (Reserved of Yahweh), who was son of Nagge (Illuminating),

26 Who was son of Maath (Small), who was son of Mattathias (Gift of Yahweh), who was son of Semei (Listen), who was son of Joseph (Let Him Add), who was son of Judah (He Shall Be Praised),

27 Who was son of Joanna (Gift of God), who was son of Rhesa (Head), who was son of Zorobabel (Born in Babylon), who was son of Salathiel Asked of God), who was son of Neri (Yahweh is my Lamp),

28 Who was son of Melchi (My King), who was son of Addi (Ornament), who was son of Cosam (Divining), who was son of Elmodam (Measure), who was son of Er (Watchful),

29 Who was son of Jose (He Will be Sustained by Yahweh), who was son of Eliezer (God is His Help), who was son of Jorim (Whom Yahweh Has Exalted), who was son of Matthat (Gift of God), who was son of Levi (Joined),

30 Who was son of Simeon (Harkening), who was son of Judah (He Shall be Praised), who was son of Joseph (Let Him Add), who was son of Jonan (Yahweh is a Gracious Giver), who was son of Eliakim (God Rising),

31 Who was son of Melea (My Dear Friend), who was son of Menan (Numbered), who was son of Mattatha (Givingness), who was son of Nathan (Given), who was son of David (Beloved),

32 Who was son of Jesse (Wealthy), who was son of Obed (Serving), who was son of Boaz (In Him is Strength), who was son of Salmon (A Garment), who was son of Naasson (Enchanter),

33 Who was son of Aminadab (One of the Prince’s People), who was son of Aram (High), who was son of Esrom (Enclosed), who was son of Phares (a Breach), who was son of Judah (He Shall be Praised),

34 Who was son of Jacob (Heel-catcher or Supplanter), who was son of Isaac (Laughter), who was son of Abraham (Father of a Multitude), who was son of Thera (Station), who was son of Nahor (Snorting),

35 Who was son of Saruch (Intertwined), who was son of Ragau (Friend, Shepherd), who was son of Phalec (Division), who was son of Heber (The Region Beyond), who was son of Sala (Sprout),

36 Who was son of Cainan (Their Smith), who was son of Arphaxad (Stronghold of Chaldees), who was son of Shem (Name), who was son of Noe (Rest), who was son of Lamech (Powerful),

37 Who was son of Methuselah (Man of the Spear), who was son of Enoch (Dedicated), who was son of Jared (Descent), who was son of Maleleel (Praise of God), who was son of Cainan (Their Smith),

38 Who was son of Enos (Mortal Man), who was son of Seth (Compensation or Foundation), who was son of Adam (Of the Red Earth or Red), who was son of God (I WILL BE or I AM).

1. 28-29 AD, or 26-27 AD if Luke is dating Tiberius’ reign from his co-regency with Augustus, which occurred two years before he became Caesar (Suetonius De Vita Caesarum--Tiberius XXI). The latter is a strong possibility since Luke uses a weak word for “reign” (a form of the word hegemon, that we noted previously indicates a governorship).

2. Some people confuse this Lysanias with one executed by Cleopatra years earlier, and claim the text is in error. In fact, archeological evidence has shown a Lysanias did rule in Abilene up to 30 AD.

3. This dual priesthood reference traces itself to the fact that the Romans were bartering off the priesthood to the highest bidder on a yearly basis. The Torah, of course, forbade this and allowed the High Priest to serve for life.

4. This hostile tone, other Gospels show, is directed toward the religious leaders of Jerusalem who, perhaps hypocritically, come for baptism. If John were an Essene, his hatred for the Pharisees would certainly be in keeping with how Essenes felt toward the Pharisees.

5. The stones in all likelihood were the 12 stones erected by Joshua to commemorate the crossing of the Jordan River, for he crossed in this area near Bethabara (Bethany). The area was also famous for Naaman's being cleansed here, and for Elijah's ascent to heaven.

6. A verse directly contradicting the theology of some denominations that teach it is sinful to be in the military.

7. Those ‘baptized with fire’ are the enemies of God as the next verse shows.

8. As noted in the Matthew commentary, this is probably Mary’s genealogy, which, according to custom, places Joseph as “the son of Heli” since he, as the husband, is head of the family and passes on the birthright. (The text in Greek also is worded differently when we come to Joseph: “…being the son of Joseph, of the Heli, of the Matthat,” etc.) David Stern suggests this is the genealogy of Joseph’s mother, which is a possibility for some reason never considered by skeptics. Julius Africanus claimed that descendants of Jesus’ relatives asserted that Luke’s genealogy is also that of Joseph, but traced through different males because of Levirate marriages in the line that Matthew does not list. Against this, for one thing, is the fact that the Jerusalem Talmud appears to confirm that Mary was the daughter of Heli, although some dispute that the woman spoken of therein is the Mary.

9 Though the name of God (YHVH) is traditionally rendered as “I AM,” a more precise translation is “HE WHO WILL BE,” for it is not possible to say “I am” in ancient Hebrew. In Exodus 3:14, when God speaks to Moses, He technically says, “I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE,” not “I AM THAT I AM.”

 

CHAPTER 4

CHAPTER 4

1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,

2 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.

3 And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.1

4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.

7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.

8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

9 And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:

10 For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:

11 And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

12 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.

14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.

15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.

16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.

17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.2

20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

22 And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?

23 And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.

24 And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.

25 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;

26 But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.

27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.

28 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,3

29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.4

30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way,

31 And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.

32 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.

33 And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil5, and cried out with a loud voice,

34 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.

35 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.

36 And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.

37 And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about.

38 And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother6 was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her.

39 And he stood over her, and rebuked7 the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them.

40 Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.

41 And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ.

42 And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them.

43 And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.

44 And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee.

1 And Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the deserts,

2 Where he was tempted for forty days by the devil. During this time he ate nothing, and at the end he was very hungry.

3 Then the devil said to him: If you’re the Son of God, command this rock to become bread!

4 Jesus answered him by saying: It is written that, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from God’s mouth!

5 The devil took him up to a high mountain where he showed Jesus all the empires of the world in a moment of time.

6 The devil then said to him: I will give you all the power and glory of these kingdoms, for they have been handed over to me and to whomever I wish to bestow them.

7 If you will now bend your knee and do homage to me, all of it will be yours!

8 Jesus answered him: Get behind me, Satan! It is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve!

9 Then the devil brought him to Jerusalem and set him on the highest pinnacle of the Temple. He said: If you’re the Son of God, jump off from here (for the people to see),

10 For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:

11 And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

12 But Jesus answered him: It is said, You shall not tempt the Lord your God!

13 When the devil had finished all his temptations, he left Jesus until a more opportune time.

14 Then Jesus returned with the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and word of his exploits spread throughout the region.

15 And he taught in the synagogues, being highly honored by all who heard him.

16 Eventually, he came to Nazareth, where he had grown up; and as he usually did, he went into the synagogue one Sabbath and stood up to give the Torah reading.

17 It happened that he was given the scroll of Isaiah that Sabbath, and he unrolled the scroll to a certain place, and read:

18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

20 Jesus stopped reading at that point and rolled up the scroll, handing it to the attendant to be put away. Then he sat down with every eye in the synagogue on him.

21 He began saying to the assembly: This day, the Scriptures you have heard are being fulfilled.

22 Everyone knew there was something unique about him, and that he spoke with amazing brilliance and authority, but still they said: Isn’t this Joseph’s son?

23 And Jesus replied: You will no doubt quote me the saying, “‘Doctor, heal yourself’! Let’s see you do the same miracles at home that you did in Capernaum!”

24 Truly, no prophet is accepted in his own country!

25 But I tell you truthfully, there were many Jewish widows in Israel during the days of Elijah when the rain was shut up in the heavens for three and-a-half years, causing a great famine in all the land.

26 But Elijah was sent to none of these, but to Sarepta in Sidon, to a Gentile widow there!

27 There were also many lepers in Israel when Elisha the prophet had his ministry, yet none were healed except Naaman, a Syrian!

28 When the men in the synagogue heard these words (about Gentiles being preferred over Jews), they were enraged!

29 And they rose up, and forced Jesus out of the city to the edge of a cliff the city was built on, planning to throw him off (as a precursor to stoning him).

30 But he (became invisible, and) passed through the crowd. Then he left the area,

31 And came to Capernaum, in Galilee, where he began teaching each Sabbath.

32 Everyone was amazed at his teachings, for he spoke with unquestioned authority.

33 Now in the synagogue was a man possessed by a demon, and he cried out loudly:

34 Leave us alone! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are--the Holy One of God!

35 Jesus rebuked the spirit, saying: Shut up, and come out of him! And after the demon cast the man onto the ground in the midst of the assembly, it came out of him and left the man unharmed.

36 All the synagogue was amazed, and spoke amongst themselves, saying: What new sort of preaching is this?! He commands demons with authority and power, and they come out!

37 And his reputation spread to every part of the region.

38 Jesus left the synagogue and went into Shimon’s house. There, Shimon’s mother-in-law had a serious fever, and they asked him to heal her.

39 He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and immediately it left her. The woman then arose and prepared food for everyone.

40 Now at dusk, people brought the sick and diseased to him, and he laid hands on them and healed every one!

41 Demon spirits came out of many of them, crying out: “You are the Anointed One, the Son of God!” as they did. But Jesus rebuked them, and commanded them not to speak, for they knew he was the Messiah.

42 At dawn, Jesus left the house and went out to a deserted place (to pray), and the people sought him out. When they found him, they begged him not to leave them.

43 But he said: I must preach the message of the Kingdom of God to other cities as well, for that is why I have been sent.

44 So he went about Galilee, preaching in the synagogues.

1. The devil here is trying to entice Jesus into using His own power to meet His needs instead of relying on God's provision.

2. This quotation from Isaiah 61 omits the last portion of verse 2, which promises the day of God’s vengeance, for Jesus will not come to enact that prophecy until the end of the Age.

3. They would indeed be filled with wrath, for Jesus has just suggested that God’s blessing is being poured out on the pagan Gentiles rather than the Chosen People.

4. They are actually trying to stone Jesus, for this was the usual manner. If one survived the fall, he was finished off with rocks.

5. It is noteworthy that the first demon Jesus casts out is from a person in church as he should be.

6. Showing Peter was indeed married, as probably were all the apostles (1 Cor. 9:5).

7. The word here for “rebuked” is the same word used for casting out a demon, and suggests the fever could have been demonic in origin. Certainly, the Gospels show that demons caused physical problems (Matthew 9:32, Luke 13:11), and the Dead Sea Scrolls (4Q560: “I command you who enter the body, the male and female sickening demon... demon of fever, chills, and chest pains...”) likewise record an exorcism formula attributing fevers to demons.

 

CHAPTER 5

CHAPTER 5

1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,

2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.

3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.

4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.

5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.

6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.1

7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.

8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.

9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:

10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.

11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.2

12 And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

13 And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.

14 And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

15 But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.

16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.

17 And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.

18 And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him.

19 And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.

20 And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.3

21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?4

22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts?

23 Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?

24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.

25 And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.

26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.

27 And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me.

28 And he left all, rose up, and followed him.

29 And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.

30 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?5

31 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.

32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

33 And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?

34 And he said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them?

35 But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.

36 And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old.

37 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.

38 But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.

39 No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.

1 In time, as Jesus stood by the shore of the Sea of Galilee and the people thronged about him to hear him proclaim the Message of God,

2 He saw a couple of boats beached along the shore as their owners were on land, washing their nets.

3 Jesus climbed into one, which happened to be Shimon’s, and he asked him to row out a few yards into the lake. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

4 When his teaching was over, he said to Shimon: Row out to a deep place and let your nets down for a catch.

5 But Shimon answered: Rabbi--we worked like slaves all night, and caught nothing (and daytime is the wrong time to fish, since they will see and avoid the nets). Nevertheless, I’ll let down a net at your word.

6 After they did this, the net was filled with so many fish that it started to break!

7 Peter and Andrew then waved for their partners in the other boat to come help them, so they came to their aid. Even so, there were so many fish between the two boats that they were nearly swamped!

8 When Shimon Peter saw this, he fell down at Jesus’ knees and exclaimed: Go away from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!

9 For he and the others in the boat were astonished at the great haul of fish they caught,

10 As were James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, who were Shimon’s partners in the other boat. But Jesus replied to Shimon: Fear not, for from now on you will fish for men!

11 After the boats landed, the fishermen left all behind, and followed Jesus.

12 Now it came to pass that Jesus entered into a certain city, and a man with leprosy who saw him fell on his face and pleaded with him, saying: Lord--if you want, you can make me clean!

13 Jesus reached out and touched him, saying: I will--be cleansed! And immediately the leprosy vanished!

14 Jesus warned him: Tell no one about this, but go and show yourself to the High Priest, and offer up the sacrifice for a cleansed leper Moses required, as a testimony to the priests.

15 But after this, his fame spread everywhere, and vast hosts of people came to hear him teach, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.

16 Eventually, Jesus withdrew into the desert, and prayed.

17 Some time after this, Jesus was teaching, and sitting there were Pharisees and masters of Mosaic Law who had come from every part of Israel to listen to him; and on that day the power of the Lord was available to heal them.

18 While this was going on, some men arrived carrying a litter upon which lay a paralytic man; and they tried to get him inside the house so they could lay him before Jesus (for healing).

19 But when they couldn’t get through the crowd, they found a way up to the roof of the house and pried some tiles off to make a hole. Then they lowered the man and his litter down into the midst of the crowd before Jesus.

20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic: Man, the sins you committed (that caused this malady) are forgiven you.

21 Now the Torah teachers and Pharisees were offended at hearing this, and wondered such things as: Why is this man speaking blasphemously (as if he is God)? Who can forgive sins but God alone?!

22 But when Jesus perceived what was in their minds, he answered: What are you debating in your hearts--

23 Whether it’s easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” than it is to say, “Rise up and walk”?

24 But so you can know that the Son of Man has the right on earth to forgive sins, I say: Rise, pick up your bed, and walk home!

25 And the man was immediately healed, picked up his litter, and walked home, glorifying God.

26 Everyone was astonished beyond comprehension, and glorified God as well. They were also filled with awe, and said among themselves: We have seen strange things today!

27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named (Matthew) sitting at the customs table, and he told him: Follow me!

28 Hearing this, (Matthew) dropped everything, and rose up to follow.

29 Later that night, (Matthew) held a banquet in his honor, and he invited his fellow tax collectors, along with many others, to come sit and dine.

30 But the Torah teachers among the Pharisees grumbled to the disciples, asking: Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinful people?!

31 Jesus heard, and replied: The well don’t need a doctor--the sick do!

32 I came not to call the righteous to repentance, but the sinners!

33 Some (of John’s disciples) asked: Why do John’s followers--and the Pharisees--fast, and pray (and afflict their souls on a regular basis), while your followers feast and drink?

34 Jesus responded: What groomsmen fast (and mourn) in the presence of the bridegroom?

35 But the days will come soon enough when the bridegroom will be taken away, and then they will fast (and mourn).

36 Jesus also spoke a parable to them: No one sews a patch of new cloth on an old, used garment because they are incompatible: The new patch will shrink in the wash, and pull the garment apart!

37 Likewise, no one puts new wine into old, stiff wineskins, or the fermenting wine will split the wineskins and leak out.

38 Fresh wine must be put in fresh wineskins, and both will be preserved!

39 And no man who’s used to drinking old wine wants new wine, for he says, “Old wine is better.”

1. This story is actually quite humorous. Jesus has told Peter to let down his “nets,” but the text indicates the “net” started to break. What probably happened was that the usual nets Peter used for fishing had been laid out on shore to dry and Peter, in his unbelief, didn’t want to reuse them in what seemed to be a fruitless task. So he instead let down an older spare net that filled to capacity and started to break because the better nets were up on shore.

2. A powerful verse when you consider they apparently abandoned their fishing business to follow a man they had just met. They may indeed have left immediately, or possibly as soon as they had sold the fish to pay off their debts.

3. Yet another instance where Jesus connects physical illness with sin, a fact that too many modern denominations and theologians pass over.

4. Their thoughts are not unreasonable, and ultimately show that Jesus was indeed God in the flesh.

5. We cannot possibly understand how politically incorrect Jesus’ dining with this group was in that time and culture. The closest we might come to understanding would be to imagine a religious Jew fellowshipping at the table with Jewish Kapos (Jewish Death Camp guards working for the Nazis against their own people to save their skins). In fact, if a Jew in that day were even touched by a tax collector he would spit, burn his clothes, and then take a ritual baptism to remove the defilement.

       

CHAPTER 6

CHAPTER 6

1 And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first1 that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands.

2 And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?2

3 And Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with him;

4 How he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone?

5 And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.3

6 And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered.

7 And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him.4

8 But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth.

9 Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?

10 And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other.

11 And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.

12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.

13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;

14 Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,

15 Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,

16 And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.

17 And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;

18 And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed.

19 And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.

20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.

22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.

23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.

25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.

26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,

28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other5; and him that taketh away thy cloak6 forbid not to take thy coat also.

30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.

31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.

33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.

34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:7

38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?

40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.

41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?8

42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.

43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.

45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.9

46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:

48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.

49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

1 One day, during a Sabbath for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Jesus and the disciples were passing through a wheat field, and the disciples (--but not Jesus--) plucked some of the wheat heads and rolled them in their palms to loosen some of the kernels to eat.

2 Some Pharisees who saw this said: (Why are you breaking the Sabbath laws by harvesting grain?!)

3 Jesus answered: Did you never even read so much as what David did when he and his men were hungry?

4 How he went into the House of God, and brought out the shewbread so they could all eat? As you know, the Law technically says the shewbread is only for the priests to eat. (Yet God wasn’t offended by this, was He?)

5 So I tell you, the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath (and can rule with authority on what may and may not be done on it).

6 On another Sabbath, Jesus entered a synagogue to teach, and in it was a man whose right hand was deformed.

7 The Torah teachers and Pharisees now were watching to see if Jesus would heal him on the Sabbath so they could have a basis for criticizing him.

8 But Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said to the man with the deformed hand: Arise, and stand before us. And the man did so.

9 Then Jesus said to the religious leaders: I have just one question for you: Does the Law teach you to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? To save life, or to destroy it?

10 When no one answered, Jesus looked around at all of them, and then told the man: Stretch out your hand! The man did so, and it was healed and made whole just like his other hand!

11 The religious leaders were furious at this, so they met together and began debating what to do to Jesus.

12 Around this time, Jesus went up upon a mountain to pray, and he was in prayer all night to God.

13 At dawn, he selected twelve men from his disciples to become apostles. They included:

14 Shimon, whom he also named Peter; and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,

15 Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot,

16 Jude, the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, who was the traitor.

17 And he came down to a plain with his disciples where a throng of people from Judea and Jerusalem, and the coasts of Tyre and Sidon were waiting. They had all come to hear him, and to be healed of their afflictions,

18 And to be delivered from the influence of demons; and all of them were healed.

19 Everyone tried to touch Jesus, for power went out from him and healed all!

20 Jesus looked upon his disciples and said: Blessed are you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours.

21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall eat, and be full. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

22 Blessed are you when men shall hate, shun, and speak ill of your name for the Son of Man’s sake.

23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for your reward in heaven will be great! Their fathers treated the prophets the same way!

24 But woe to you who are rich, for you have received all the comfort you will ever get!

25 Woe to you who are full, for you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.

26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that was how the false prophets were treated by their fathers!

27 But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, and do good to those who hate you.

28 Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who take advantage of you.

29 And if someone insults you, ignore it and keep silent. If someone takes your coat away, don’t try to stop him from taking your shirt away too.

30 Give to anyone who asks, and don’t seek to recover what someone else has taken from you.

31 And treat men the way you would want them to treat you.

32 For if you do no more than love those who love you back, what good is there in that? Even sinners love their own friends and family!

33 And if you only do good to those who likewise do good to you in return, what merit is there in that? Even sinners do that!

34 And if you lend money or goods only to those you can expect to help you in like manner someday, what good is that? Even sinners loan back and forth to each other.

35 But love your enemies, and do them good. Lend to them when they are in need, and don’t think of repayment. In doing this, your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Highest, for He is kind even to the ungrateful and the evil (in hope they will realize their wrongs, and repent).

36 So be merciful, as your Father is merciful.

37 Don’t become your own judge and jury (and take vengeance for wrongs done to you)! Don’t condemn someone for what they’ve done to you, and then God won’t condemn you for what you’ve done to Him. Instead, forgive--and God will likewise forgive your wrongdoing.

38 Give to others, and it will be given back to you in great abundance. For the same measure that you give will return to you.

39 Then Jesus spoke this parable: Can the blind lead the blind? Won’t they both fall into a ditch?

40 The student is not above his master, and the perfect disciple is the one who is just like the master he was taught by.

41 So then--why do some see a splinter in their brother’s eye, yet miss the log that is in their own?

42 Or how can one be so foolish as to say, “Brother--let me pull that splinter out of your eye,” when there is a log in his own? You hypocrite--take the log out of your own eye first, and then you will be able to see well enough to take the splinter out of your brother’s!

43 You see, a good tree doesn’t sprout bad fruit, nor does a rotten tree sprout good fruit.

44 A tree--good or bad--is what it is, and reveals what it is by the fruit that it bears. You don’t get figs off thorn vines, nor do you pluck grapes from a bramble bush.

45 Likewise, a good man with a good heart bears good fruit, just as an evil man with an evil heart brings forth bad fruit--and the things you say reveal what sort of heart you have!

46 So why would you pay lip service to me, saying, “Lord! Lord!” and then ignore what I tell you to do?

47 Whoever comes to me, hears and understands my teachings, and does put them into practice in his life, is like this:

48 He’s like a man who built a house with a good, deep foundation laid in the bedrock, and when the flood came and washed against the house, it could not be destroyed because it was founded upon solid rock.

49 But he who hears my teachings and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on a flood plain with no foundation. As soon as the storm came and the river rose, it immediately fell and was washed away!

1. The words, “second Sabbath after the first” indicate this was the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which was also called “the day of the Sabbaths.” In Acts 16:13, when Paul goes to the river on “the Sabbath,” the word there is actually “Sabbaths,” showing it also was the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

2. This verse is one commonly seized upon by Jews to accuse Jesus of committing sin and blatantly violating the Torah. As mentioned in the commentary in Matthew, there was a dispute between the Judeans and the Galileans on this point of technicality. David Flusser points out the disciples appear to be following the ruling of the Galilean sage Judah bar Ilai, who held this was a technically permissible means to obtain some morsels of food on the Sabbath. Jesus Himself appears to be moving beyond this issue, and declaring that the reasonable needs of preserving life are permissible on the Sabbath even if doing so profanes the Sabbath. For instance, it is forbidden to kindle a fire on the Sabbath, but rabbinic law permits the starting of a fire the day before, and allows it to keep burning during the Sabbath, thus using a loophole around the commandment to get the benefit of fire while technically not violating the commandment. The Karaites, a Jewish movement of ancient history, were much more conservative than the rabbinic Jews on this, and extinguished their fires on the Sabbath--and many froze to death in winter because of the practice. It is also interesting to note that Jesus Himself is not specifically shown to have been partaking in the practice since the text says that “the disciples” are the ones doing it.

Interestingly, one manuscript has an addendum to this story in which Jesus later that day encounters a man working in the fields, to whom He says that if he knows what he is doing, then he is blessed--but if not, then he is a Law-breaker.

3. If it wasn't clear before, it is clear to them now that Jesus is declaring that He, not the elders, defines how the Torah is to be followed, and what does and does not constitute sin. This would have been a controversial stand to the religious leaders, for in years past, the sage Shimon ben Shatah opposed Alexander Jannaeus, establishing the precedent that a king did not have the right to judge religious law, but that this privilege rested in the hands of the elders who under the system established by Moses represent the authority of God. This concept appears to have taken root and flourished to the point that the elders of Christ's time thus expected (as do some Jews and Moslems today) the Messiah to submit to their authority, a belief Jesus utterly rejected.

4. A verse showing that these are probably Pharisees from the school of Shammai, who unquestionably would see healing on the Sabbath as “work,” in opposition to many from the school of Hillel who may have seen it as a good deed.

5. As noted in the commentary on Matthew, to be “struck on the cheek” meant to suffer a verbal insult.

6. In our language, this would be understood as: And him that takes away your pants, forbid not to take the shirt off your back also.”

7. This is the only verse of Scripture that most unbelievers know. Jesus has just been speaking of personal wrongdoing done to someone, and the saying must be understood in that context. Thus, when Jesus says to “Judge not, lest ye be judged,” He is saying: “Don’t become your own avenger against someone who commits a wrongdoing against you personally. Instead, forgive them, and God will likewise show mercy to you.” He is certainly not suggesting Christians must “Not judge,” and keep silent in the face of sin and behavior that can only lead to judgment and damnation.

8. A Hebraism Jesus is quoting, not inventing.

9. Verses 43-45 build upon Ecclesiasticus 27:6, which those who claim the Apocrypha is never used by Jesus should realize: As the dressing of a tree showeth the fruit thereof, so a word out of the thought of the heart of man.

 

CHAPTER 7

CHAPTER 7

1 Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum.

2 And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die.

3 And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant.

4 And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this:

5 For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.

6 Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof:1

7 Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.

8 For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

9 When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

10 And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.

11 And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people.

12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.

13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.

14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.

15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.

16 And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.

17 And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about.

18 And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things.

19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?2

20 When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?

21 And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight.

22 Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.

23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

24 And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?

25 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings' courts.

26 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.

27 This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

29 And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.

30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.3

31 And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like?

32 They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.

33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil.

34 The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!

35 But wisdom is justified of all her children.

36 And one of the Pharisees4 desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat.

37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,

38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.

40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.

41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.

42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?

43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.

45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.

46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.5

47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.

48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.

49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?

50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

1 After Jesus finished teaching the people, he entered Capernaum.

2 Now there was a chief Roman centurion (--a Principale--) who had a slave that was very dear to him. This same slave was ill, and on the verge of death.

3 When the centurion heard of Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to beg Jesus to come heal his slave.

4 When the elders found Jesus, they urgently begged him to help, saying that the officer was worthy of his intervention.

5 Because, they said, he loves our people, and even paid for our synagogue to be built.

6 So Jesus went with them, and as he neared the centurion’s house, the officer sent some friends to him, saying: Lord--don’t trouble yourself on account of me, for I am not worthy that you should enter my house.

7 Nor did I think myself worthy to come ask your help myself, but just command my boy be healed, and that will be enough.

8 For I am a man under authority, with soldiers under me, and I tell one “Go,” and he goes; or say to another, “Come,” and he comes; and to my servant, “Do this,” and he does.

9 When Jesus heard these things, he was amazed at what the man related, and turned toward the crowd following, saying: I have yet to find a Jew in Israel with such strong faith!

10 The people then returned to the house and found the slave who had been sick was now healed.

11 The next day, Jesus went into the city of Nain, and many of his disciples followed, along with a large crowd.

12 Now as Jesus approached the city gate, a funeral procession was leaving, for a man had died who was an only child, and his mother--a widow--was leaving to bury him. A large crowd of mourners from the city also accompanied her.

13 When the Lord saw the woman, he had compassion on her, and said: Don’t cry!

14 And he came up and touched the bier, and those carrying it halted. Then he said: Young man, I say to you--arise!

15 Then the man who was dead sat up and started speaking, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

16 Great fear fell upon the people, and they gave glory to God, saying: “A great prophet has arisen among us!”; and, “God has visited His people!”

17 This story spread throughout Judea and everywhere near it.

18 Meanwhile, John the Baptist’s disciples told him about all Jesus was doing (along with reports of his teachings not to use violence, but to love one’s enemies).

19 So John summoned and sent two of these disciples to ask Jesus: Are you the only Messiah coming, or is there another Messiah coming after you (who will deliver the people from Rome)?

20 When the men arrived, they said: John the Baptizer has sent us to ask: Are you the one who was prophesied to come? Or should we look for another coming after you (who will fulfill all the promises regarding the Messianic Age)?

21 Jesus said nothing, but turned about, healing everyone in sight, casting out demons, and giving sight to the blind. He did this for quite a few minutes.

22 Then Jesus returned to John’s disciples and told them: Go back and tell John what you just saw--how the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the Gospel is preached to the poor.

23 And tell him: “Blessed is he who is not offended (if I don’t do what he wants or expects me to do)!”

24 As the two disciples of John departed, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about him: What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed blowing back and forth in the wind?

25 What did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft, costly garments? No--those who wear regal robes, and live in comfort, are found in kings’ courts.

26 So what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, he was, I tell you--and much more!

27 John was he about whom it was written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

28 For I tell you, among all the children ever born of women, there has not been a greater prophet than John the Baptist! Even so, the lowest-ranking member in the Kingdom of God is greater than he!

29 Now everyone who believed John, including the tax collectors, agreed with the plan of God, receiving John’s baptism of repentance.

30 But the Pharisees and the Torah teachers rejected the plan God had for them because they rejected John’s baptism.

31 And (regarding these groups,) Jesus said: What shall I liken the men of this generation to? What sort of men are they?

32 They are like spoiled brats sitting in a marketplace, calling out to each other: “You didn’t dance to the tune of our wedding march, so we played a funeral dirge and you wouldn’t respond to that either. (What’s your problem?)”

33 For John the Baptist was (a Nazirite,) living a Spartan existence in the deserts, neither eating bread nor drinking wine--and you said, (“He’s crazy!”)

34 But then the Son of Man came, willing to eat and drink with you in your houses, and yet you say: “This is a gluttonous drunkard who wants to get in good with tax collectors and sinners!”

35 (As all wise people display what they are by what they say and do, so do all witless people!)

36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to dine with him, so he went to the man’s house and reclined to eat.

37 A woman in the town with a bad reputation as a sinner, after hearing that Jesus was having dinner at the Pharisee’s house, came and brought an alabaster vial.

38 She stood at his feet behind him, weeping, and began to wash his feet with her tears. Then she dried them with her long hair. Finally, she kissed his feet and anointed them with perfumed oil from the vial.

39 When the Pharisee who invited him saw this, he was offended by such an inappropriate act, and thought to himself, If this man were truly a prophet, he‘d know who and what sort of woman he is letting touch him, for she is a sinner.

40 Jesus knew what he was thinking, and so he spoke, saying: Simon--I have something to tell you. Simon replied: Teacher, say on!

41 Once, there was a banker that had two debtors who owed him money. One owed him five hundred coins, and the other fifty.

42 Neither could repay the debt, and he decided to freely forgive both of them, and write the debts off. Now--which of the two do you think (would be more grateful,) and love him the most?

43 Simon answered: I suppose the one who was forgiven the greater debt. And Jesus replied: You have answered correctly.

44 Then Jesus turned to the woman, and said: See this woman? I entered into your house and you didn’t even offer me some water to wash my feet, but she came and washed my feet with her tears, and dried them with the hair of her head.

45 You gave me no kiss of greeting, but since I came in, she has not stopped covering my feet with kisses.

46 You didn’t even use simple oil to anoint my head, but she anointed my feet with perfumed ointment.

47 Because of this, I tell you her many sins are forgiven, for she loved greatly. But he who is forgiven little, also loves little.

48 Then he told the woman: Your sins are forgiven you!

49 Others sitting at the dinner table began thinking: Who does he think he is, pronouncing sins forgiven? (Only God can do that!)

50 But Jesus said to the woman: Your faith has saved you--go with peace upon you.

1. Possibly a “God-fearer,” for the centurion seems to be aware that for Jesus to enter his house would be a breach of rabbinic law (specifically Shammai’s edicts), and would defile Him in the minds of the Jews. A point must also be made about this incident and the same incident in Matthew 8, where the sick person is called a “servant” (slave). Lower ranking legionnaires and officers were forbidden to be married while in military service, but some of the better paid men had unofficial households outside of the barracks with women they either lived with, or else purchased as slaves and “married” unofficially. The offspring of such a union with a slave-woman would be both the man’s son and also his legal slave. The word translated “servant” in verse 7 (pais) is different from the word used for “servant” in verse 2. Pais means a boy or a son, revealing this person was both the son and slave of the centurion.

2. John, like the remainder of the Jews, is far more concerned with the conquering Messiah who will free the people from oppression, than he is with a Messiah who deals only with sin and talks about turning the other cheek. He thus asks if Jesus is the Messiah who will fulfill both Messianic roles, or if there is another Messiah to come who will usher in the Kingdom.

3. A critical verse showing that God recognized the Pharisee Movement and planned to use it, but the leaders (Shammai and Gamaliel), by rejecting the ministry of John since they sincerely do not see themselves as sinners because of their perceived obedience to God’s commandments, ultimately reject God’s plan for the Movement.

4. The Pharisee may be Simon, the father of Judas, and this probably takes place in Bethany. The woman may be Mary Magdalene or Mary the sister of Lazarus, depending on if this and the event of John 12 are two separate events.

5. Although Simon had invited Jesus to dine at his house, he apparently failed to render to Him the various honors due an invited guest. It is possible that Jesus was invited only out of a courtesy to his son Judas.

       

CHAPTER 8

CHAPTER 8

1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,

2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,

3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.

4 And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:

5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.

6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.

7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.

8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

9 And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?

10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.1

11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.

15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

16 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light.

17 For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.

18 Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.2

19 Then came to him his mother and his brethren3, and could not come at him for the press.

20 And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee.

21 And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.

22 Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth.

23 But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.

24 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked4 the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.

25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.

26 And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.

27 And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man5, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.

28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.

29 (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)

30 And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.

31 And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.

32 And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them.

33 Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked.

34 When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country.

35 Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.

36 They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed.

37 Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again.

38 Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying,

39 Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.

40 And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him.

41 And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus' feet, and besought him that he would come into his house:

42 For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him.

43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,

44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.

45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.

47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him and how she was healed immediately.6

48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.

49 While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master.

50 But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.7

51 And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden.

52 And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.

53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.

54 And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise.

55 And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.

56 And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.

1 After this, Jesus went throughout every village and town that he could, preaching the message of the Messianic Kingdom, while doing many miracles; and the twelve disciples followed him,

2 Along with certain women whom he had healed of demons and infirmities. These included Mary, called Magdalene, who had been possessed by seven demons,

3 Joanna--wife to Herod’s steward Chuza--Susanna, and many others who supported Jesus’ ministry with their own funds.

4 And when a great crowd from a variety of places were assembled to hear Jesus speak, he told them a parable:

5 A farmer went out to sow a field. As he did, some seed fell by the side of the road, was trodden down, and the birds came and ate it up.

6 Other seed fell on a rock with thin topsoil, and as soon as it sprouted, it withered away because it could get no water.

7 Some seed fell into weeds, and they sprang up with it, and choked it.

8 But other seed fell on good ground and sprang up, eventually bearing fruit a hundredfold! When Jesus had said these things, he cried out: Whoever can understand, let him understand.

9 The disciples asked: What does this parable mean?

10 Jesus answered: To you disciples is given the honor of understanding the mysteries of the Messianic Kingdom. But outsiders must hear only parables, that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

11 Now here is what it all meant: The seed is the Message of God.

12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear the Message, but the devil comes and takes the Message from their hearts, lest they believe and be saved.

13 The ones on the rock are those who hear the Message, and receive it joyfully at first--but they have shallow roots (and temporary faith). Thus, they eventually fall away because of temptation (or trial).

14 Those among the thorns are the people who, after they’ve heard the Message, get distracted by focusing on riches, cares, and pleasures of this life so they bear no mature fruit of the Message in their lives.

15 But those on good ground are those with good and honest hearts who hear the Message, do what it says, and show the fruit of that in their lives through their endurance.

16 No man, when he has lit a candle, covers it with a basket or hides it under a bed--you put it in a candlestick so anyone coming near can see by its light.

17 For nothing can be hidden forever; (the truth of what a man is will eventually be revealed for all to see).

18 So be careful of how you hear, for (he who listens with the right sort of heart will be given more light of truth; but he who listens with a corrupted heart will have taken from him what little truth he may already have as he grows in the darkness of deception)!

19 Then Jesus’ mother and brethren came, but could not get near Jesus because of the crowds.

20 Word reached him, and he was told: Your mother and brethren are standing outside, wanting to see you.

21 But Jesus answered: My mother and brethren are those who hear and do the Message of God!

22 One day, Jesus got in a boat with the disciples, and he said: Let’s go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. So they hoisted sail.

23 Now as they sailed off, Jesus fell asleep, and a great storm arose that threatened to swamp the boat.

24 The disciples scrambled to awaken him, saying: Master! Master! We’re going to drown! Then Jesus stood up and rebuked the wind, then rebuked the tumultuous water, and they immediately quieted down.

25 Jesus said to the disciples: Where is your faith? But they, being afraid, mumbled to one another: What kind of man is this, that he commands the wind and the waves, and they obey him?!

26 They eventually arrived in the land of the Gadarenes, which is on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee, next to the district of Galilee.

27 When they landed, they were met by a naked man from Gadara who had been possessed by demons for a long time. He dwelt in no house, but in the graveyard tombs.

28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting: What do we have to do with each other, Jesus, Son of God Most High?! I beg you not to torment me!

29 He said this because Jesus had been ordering the demon to come out. Now this demon had often manifested itself with great violence. The man had, for instance, frequently been bound hand and foot with chains and ropes, but the demon in him had snapped them with ease, and drove him into the wilderness.

30 (Because the demon wasn’t going quickly,) Jesus asked: What is your name? Since there were many of them, it answered: We’re a whole legion of demons!

31 And they begged him not to send them to the Abyss.

32 It happened that there was a large herd of pigs feeding on a nearby hill, and the demons begged Jesus to allow them to possess the animals, to which he agreed.

33 So the demons went out of the man and possessed the pigs. Then the maddened herd ran off a cliff, and drowned.

34 When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they ran into the city and spread word of it throughout the area.

35 Then everyone came to see for themselves, and found Jesus. The former demoniac was with him, sitting at Jesus’ feet clothed and back in his right mind. Seeing this, the people didn’t know what to think, and were afraid.

36 Others explained to them how the demon-possessed man had been delivered.

37 This made them even more afraid, and everyone from the Gadarene area started begging Jesus to go somewhere else, so Jesus started to board the ship, and leave.

38 The former demoniac begged to go with him, but Jesus refused, saying:

39 Return to your family, and tell what great things God has done for you today! This he did, telling the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.

40 When Jesus crossed back to the east side of the lake, the usual crowd was waiting, and joyfully welcomed him back.

41 Now there was a ruler of the local synagogue named Jairus, and he fell at Jesus’ feet, begging him to come to his house.

42 For his only child, a daughter twelve years of age, was dying from an illness. Jesus agreed to go with him, but he could hardly move for the press of the crowd.

43 Among the crowd was a woman who had been stricken with a uterine discharge for twelve years. She had spent every cent she had on doctors, but they could not heal her malady.

44 She came up behind Jesus and touched the tassels of his prayer shawl--and instantly the blood ceased flowing!

45 Jesus immediately halted and asked: Who touched me? When everyone denied touching him, Peter and the others spoke up, saying: Master--the crowd is almost crushing you, and you’re asking, “Who touched me?!”

46 But Jesus said: Someone touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.

47 When the woman realized she was found out, she came up, shaking in fear, and fell before him. Then she told her story in front of everyone, and how she was immediately healed.

48 Jesus told her: Daughter, don’t worry. Your faith has made you whole. Go in with peace upon you.

49 While he was speaking, someone came from Jairus’ house, and said: Your daughter has died. Don’t trouble the Master further.

50 But when Jesus heard this, he told Jairus: Don’t fear! Just believe, and she will be made whole!

51 When he reached the house, he allowed no one else inside except for Peter, James, and John, and the girl’s parents.

52 The mourners, meanwhile, were weeping, but Jesus said: Stop weeping! She is not dead--only asleep!

53 They laughed derisively at this statement, because they knew she was dead.

54 He then cast out the mourners and took the girl by the hand, calling out: Girl, arise!

55 Her spirit then returned to her body, and she woke up. Jesus then told them to give her some meat.

56 Her parents were amazed, but he ordered them not to tell anyone about this miracle.

1. There is debate over what Jesus means to say here. Apparently, He does not want the masses to gain a clear understanding of His teachings, possibly to avoid bringing the conflict with the religious leaders to a head before the appointed time. Otherwise, there is indeed a principle shown throughout the Gospels that many truths are not intellectually, but spiritually perceived. (Isaiah prophesied that the generation Jesus would come to would be blind and deaf to God’s message of truth.) Beyond all this, the parable is a major blow to those holding to the doctrine of “Once saved, always saved.” Most of those mentioned received the word (initial salvation), but as time passes or as tribulations come, most of them fall away and are lost.

2. Jesus appears to be saying that a person with a good and honest heart who responds to the Gospel will advance in it, while someone who does not receive it will lose what little light he has been given and reach an even worse state.

3. The word here (adelphos) does refer to sons born to the same mother. However, it can theoretically be used for cousins, and these probably are not actual siblings since at the Crucifixion Jesus gives Mary over to John (John 19:27). Origen, it should be noted, claimed that some now-lost writings of Peter asserted these were sons of Joseph from a previous marriage, but as noted there is a problem with this idea as the birthright is passed down to Joseph’s first-born son, which would otherwise disqualify Jesus from the inheritance of David’s throne through Joseph.

4. The word is the same as that used for rebuking demons, and suggests the storm was demonically caused.

5. In comparison to Matthew’s Gospel, Luke and Mark mention only one demoniac, whereas Matthew records there were two. If one wishes, he may call this a “contradiction.” It is irrelevant either way since the intent of the writers is to convey an example of Jesus casting out multiple demons who acknowledged He was the Son of God, not to make a theological point of how many possessed men there were. Otherwise, some bad logic can be used to assert that, “Where you have two men you also have one, so there is no direct contradiction,” but I personally have no respect for such a reach. A better point could be made that Luke realizes there were two demoniacs, but only one did the talking, hence his use of the phrase, “A certain man.”

6. The reason she is hesitant to admit her action is that she has committed a sin by touching a man when in an unclean state, which is an act of defilement, and a stoning offense. As David Stern points out, the power of Christ is such that this act, rather than defiling Him as the Torah indicates, causes His righteousness to flow upon her and actually heal her infirmity.

7. An interesting verse that suggests the accomplishment of the miracle seemed less dependent on Christ’s supernatural ability, and more upon the faith of the father in that ability.

   

CHAPTER 9

CHAPTER 9

1 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.

2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.

3 And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.

4 And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart.

5 And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.1

6 And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.

7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead;2

8 And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again.

9 And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him.

10 And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.

11 And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.

12 And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place.

13 But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people.

14 For they were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company.

15 And they did so, and made them all sit down.

16 Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them3, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude.

17 And they did eat, and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets.

18 And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?

19 They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again.

20 He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.

21 And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing;

22 Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.

23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.4

25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?

26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.

27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.

28 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.

29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.

30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:

31 Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease5| which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.

32 But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.

33 And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.

34 While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.

35 And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.

36 And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.

37 And it came to pass, that on the next day, when they were come down from the hill, much people met him.

38 And, behold, a man of the company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son: for he is mine only child.

39 And, lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth again, and bruising him hardly departeth from him.

40 And I besought thy disciples to cast him out; and they could not.

41 And Jesus answering said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you?6 Bring thy son hither.

42 And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father.

43 And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples,

44 Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.

45 But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying.

46 Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.7

47 And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him,

48 And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.

49 And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us.8

50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.9

51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,

52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.10

53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.

54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?

55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.

56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.

58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.11

60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.

62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

1 Then Jesus gathered the twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure disease.

2 He sent them out to preach the Kingdom of God, and heal the sick.

3 And he told them: Take nothing for your journey. Not a staff. Not a bag. Not bread. Not money. Not more than one coat.

4 And whatever house you enter into, stay there until your work in that town is done, then depart.

5 And if people do not accept you, shake off the dust of your feet when you leave that city for a testimony against them.

6 So the disciples departed to the various towns, preaching the Gospel and healing everywhere they went.

7 Now Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch of Galilee, heard about what Jesus was doing and wasn’t sure what to think, for some were saying John the Baptist must have risen from the dead.

8 Others thought it must be the coming of Elijah, or else that it was one of the ancient prophets risen from the dead.

9 But Herod said: I beheaded John, but who is this new man I’m hearing about? And he wanted to see Jesus.

10 Meanwhile, the apostles returned and told Jesus how their activities had gone. Then Jesus took them into a desert place near Bethsaida.

11 When the crowd knew this, they followed, and Jesus welcomed them; and he taught everyone about the Kingdom of God. He also healed everyone who needed it.

12 Near dusk, the twelve came to Jesus and said: Send the crowd away so they can go into the towns and countryside for food and lodging since we are in a desert.

13 But Jesus’ reply was: You feed them! They said: All we have are five loaves and a couple of fish, unless we find some way to go buy enough food to feed this army of people!

14 You see, there were about five thousand men there. So Jesus said to the disciples: Sit them down in groups of fifty.

15 The disciples did as they were told, and sat the crowd down in groups of fifty or so.

16 Then Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, and looking up into the sky he blessed God and began distributing to the disciples who, in turn, gave to the people.

17 And everyone ate until they were full, and the leftovers filled twelve baskets.

18 Some time after this incident, Jesus was praying by himself, and the disciples were with him. Ending his prayer, he asked them: Whom are the people saying that I am?

19 They answered: John the Baptist…Elijah…some even think you’re one of the other ancient prophets, returned from the dead.

20 But Jesus asked: Whom do you say that I am? Peter replied: The Anointed One of God!

21 And he solemnly instructed them to tell no man this.

22 Then he warned them: The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the religious leaders, the Temple priests, and the Torah teachers. Then he will be slain, but be raised the third day.

23 And he said to them all: If any man will follow me, let him deny his own wants, and take up his cross and follow me day by day.

24 For whoever seeks to save his life will ultimately lose it, but whoever will lose his life for my sake will ultimately save it!

25 For what advantage is there to gain the whole world and in the end (lose your soul or be cast away from God)?

26 For anyone who shall be ashamed of me and my words will see me ashamed of him when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and that of his Father and the holy angels.

27 But I tell you truthfully, some are standing here who will not die before they glimpse the Kingdom of God!

28 Now about eight days after saying this, Jesus took Peter, John, and James up onto a mountain to pray.

29 As he prayed, his face was transformed, and his clothing became white and shining.

30 Then two men--Moses and Elijah--appeared, and began speaking with him!

31 Both prophets were in a glorified state, and spoke of what he was ordained to do and accomplish in Jerusalem before returning to heaven.

32 While this was happening, Peter and the others had fallen deeply asleep; and when they awakened, they saw Jesus’ glory and the two men standing with him.

33 (They were speechless,) but then, as the two prophets began to depart from Jesus, Peter called out to Jesus without thinking: Master--it is good that we are here! Let us make three shelters for you, Moses, and Elijah!

34 As he was speaking, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they feared as the cloud engulfed them.

35 A voice came forth from the cloud that said: This is my beloved Son--listen to him!

36 When the voice echoed away, the cloud vanished, and Jesus was alone with them. They kept this event to themselves, telling no one for quite some time what they had seen.

37 The next day, when they descended the mountain, a large crowd met Jesus.

38 Someone in the crowd caught Jesus’ attention by saying: Master, I beg you--look upon my son, for he is my only child!

39 A demon comes upon him and causes him to fall down in an epileptic fit, making him foam at the mouth and thrash about, bruising him--and it simply won’t leave him alone!

40 I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they couldn’t!

41 Jesus replied: O faithless and perverse generation! How long must I be here, and put up with you? Bring your son here.

42 As the boy was being brought up, the demon caused him to drop to the ground with an epileptic fit. Jesus then rebuked the demon and healed the boy, thereafter returning him to his father.

43 Everyone was amazed at this mighty demonstration of God’s power, but while they wondered about the things Jesus was doing, he said to the disciples:

44 Listen to me--the Son of Man will soon be delivered into the hands of men.

45 But they did not understand this, and were prevented from grasping Jesus’ meaning, and were afraid to ask him what he meant.

46 After this, an argument arose amongst them as to whom was the most important disciple.

47 Realizing what they were thinking, Jesus took a small child and set him by his side.

48 He told them: Whoever receives a child as a follower of mine receives me; and whoever receives me, receives Him who sent me. And the one among you who thinks himself to be the least of all shall be the greatest.

49 John now answered, and said: Master, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we made him stop because he wasn’t one of our group.

50 But Jesus replied: Don’t stop him! Anyone who is not against us is for us!

51 Now it came to pass that when the time neared for Jesus to return to heaven, he resolutely determined to go on to Jerusalem.

52 He sent some messengers on ahead of him, and they entered into a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival.

53 But the people turned him away when they realized he was going on to Jerusalem.

54 When his disciples James and John saw this, they urged Jesus, saying: Lord--shall we call fire down from heaven to burn them up as Elijah did?

55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them, saying: You have no idea what sort of demon you’re listening to when you say stupid things like that!

56 The Son of Man didn’t come to take men’s lives, but to save men’s lives! So they went on to another village.

57 As they continued down the road, a man came up, saying: Lord--I will follow you wherever you go!

58 Jesus replied: Foxes have dens, birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. (Are you really sure you can pay the price of following me?)

59 Jesus told another: Follow me! But he said: Lord, please let me bury my father first.

60 Jesus replied: Let the dead bury their dead--you go proclaim the Kingdom of God!

61 Another said: Lord--I will come with you, but let me first go tell my family farewell.

62 But Jesus said: No man who starts to plow, but turns from what is ahead to look to what is behind, is worthy of the Kingdom of God!

1. A Jewish custom to show disgust, and to proclaim that the area is unclean.

2. A verse showing that Jesus’ miracle ministry lasted a very short time since Herod confuses the two.

3. David Flusser points out that one of the oldest Uncial texts of Luke has Jesus blessing God and not the food, which is in keeping with the manner of the Jews. The Christian habit of saying a prayer over the food is probably a corruption of the original Jewish practices of the apostles.

4. A verse showing that truly following Christ requires one to lay down his own will for his life and to follow God’s revealed will (in the Scriptures).

5. The word for “decease” is exodus, which means “departure,” “journey,” etc.

6. The rebuke is to the disciples, not the father.

7. This regular argument among the disciples is not wholly motivated by self-aggrandizement, for part of the culture required that there be certain mandated seating arrangements at given times depending on one's rank or age (such as at Passover where the youngest of a rabbi's disciples sits to the rabbi's right, where we see John is), and this probably plays a role in the argument. While the Talmud shows such concerns over rank were largely limited to the more important rabbis, the DSS reveal that the Essenes applied this to the laity, which Jesus' disciples may also be doing. However, it is still apparent that there was indeed a jostling for a superior rank amongst the group.

8. A humorous verse showing John trying to curry favor after being rebuked, only to be rebuked yet again.

9. A very important verse, together with its companion in Mark 9, contradicting the theology of many denominations that their group alone is accepted by God as the “true” church.

10. Josephus on traveling through Samaria on the way to Jerusalem.

 

It was the custom of the Galileans, when they came to the Holy City at the festivals, to take their journeys through the country of the Samaritans. On their route lay a village called Ginea, which was situated on the border between Samaria and the Great Plain, and at this time certain persons fought with the Galileans, and killed many of them. When the leaders of the Galileans were told what had been done they went to Cumanus (Procurator from 48-52 AD) and desired him to avenge the murders; but he was bribed by the Samaritans to do nothing. The Galileans, indignant at this, urged the Jewish populace to resort to arms and to regain their liberty, saying that while slavery was a bitter thing but that, when it was joined with direct injuries it was completely intolerable, and when their principal men endeavored to pacify them, they entreated the assistance of Eleazar son of Dineus, a robber who had for many years made his home in the mountains, and with his assistance they set afire and plundered many villages of the Samaritans.

--Ant. 20.6.1 118

 

11. As mentioned in the Matthew commentary, the man’s father may have already died, and he could be going through the year-long mourning process, which Jesus would be showing is pointless in contradiction to the notion of prayers for the dead easing the punishment in the afterlife for their sins.

 

CHAPTER 10

CHAPTER 10

1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.

2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest1, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.

4 Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.

5 And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house.

6 And if the son of peace2 be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.

7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.

8 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you:

9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

10 But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say,

11 Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

12 But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.

13 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.3

14 But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you.

15 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.

16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.

17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.

18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.4

21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced5 in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.

22 All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.

23 And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes, which see the things that ye see:

24 For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.6

28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?7

30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

32 And likewise a Levite8, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn9 and took care of him.

35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.

39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.

40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

1 After this, the Lord selected seventy other disciples to go in pairs to every city and place he later planned to visit.

2 So he told them: The harvest is truly great, but there are few laborers to take it in. Pray that the Lord of the Harvest will send laborers to gather His harvest in.

3 Go as I’ve sent you, but know that I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.

4 Take neither purse, nor sack, nor sandals (--go with only the clothes on your back). Speak to no one until you arrive at your destination.

5 And in whatever house you enter, first say: “Peace be to this house.”

6 If a man of peace lives there, your peace will rest upon his house. If not, then your blessing shall return to you.

7 Stay in only one house when you are in a city, and eat and drink whatever they offer you, for a workman has the right to expect his wages. Don’t change residences.

8 And in whatever city you happen to be in that they welcome you, eat what they offer you.

9 Heal the sick in those cities, and proclaim: “The Kingdom of God has come near to you!”

10 But if a city does not welcome you, go into the street and proclaim in everyone’s hearing:

11 “We wipe off even the dust of your town to you as a sign (of what will happen to you)--but be certain that the Kingdom of God is near you just the same!”

12 I tell you, Sodom will fare better on Judgment Day than that city will!

13 Woe to you, Chorazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they long ago would have repented to a man, sitting in goatskin and ashes!

14 Tyre and Sidon will get off easier at the Last Judgment than you will!

15 And you, Capernaum--shall you be exalted up to heaven? No, you will be cast down to Sheol instead.

16 He who receives you, receives me! And he who rejects you, rejects me--and he who rejects me, also rejects Him who sent me!

17 In time, the seventy returned joyfully, saying: Lord--even the demons obey us when we use your name!

18 Jesus answered: I beheld (the power and authority of) Satan broken with the speed of lightning (before he even knew what was happening)!

19 Behold, I give you authority to trample upon snakes and scorpions; and I grant you authority over all the power of the enemy--and nothing will harm you in any way!

20 But don’t rejoice at the fact that demon spirits are subject to you; rejoice that your names are enrolled in heaven!

21 Then Jesus shouted in the joy of the Spirit, and said: I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You hid the secrets of the Kingdom from the learned, and revealed them instead to simple people, for it seemed good in Your sight to do that!

22 All things have been entrusted to me by my Father, yet no man truly knows the Son and what he is but the Father; and no one knows who and what the Father is but His Son, and he to whom the Son reveals Him.

23 Jesus turned to the disciples and said privately to them: Blessed are your eyes, which are seeing these things!

24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings yearned to see and hear what you are beholding, and died without that honor.

25 Now a certain expert on Mosaic Law stood up and tried to entrap Jesus by asking: Master--what must I do to inherit eternal life?

26 Jesus replied: What’s your understanding of what the Law says about that?

27 He answered: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and you must love your neighbor as yourself.

28 Jesus agreed, saying: You’ve answered correctly. If you really do that, you will have eternal life.

29 But the man, wanting to justify himself (and the fact that he didn’t love everyone), responded: Who qualifies as my neighbor, though?

30 Jesus answered with a parable: A man was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho, and on the way he was accosted by bandits who beat him half to death, and left him naked by the side of the road.

31 A priest came along, but when he saw him crossed to the other side of the road and continued on his way.

32 Later, a Levite came along and did likewise (because, like the priest, he didn’t want to be bothered).

33 But then a Samaritan on a journey came along, saw the man, and had compassion on him.

34 He went over and picked him up, washed and bound his wounds with oil and wine, and set the man on his donkey. Then he led him to an inn and took care of him.

35 The next day, when he was to depart, he paid two silver pennies to the innkeeper, telling him: “Take care of the man until he can travel, and I will reimburse you whatever it costs when I return this way.”

36 Jesus now asked: Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man whom the bandits wounded?

37 The man said: The one who showed mercy to him. Jesus added: Go have the same attitude, and be the same sort of man.

38 Now it came to pass that they entered the village of Bethany, and a woman named Martha invited Jesus (and the twelve) into her house.

39 This Martha had a sister named Mary who, with the disciples, sat in a group and learned from Jesus’ teachings.

40 But Martha was busily trying to prepare dinner for them all by herself, so she came to Jesus and said: Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to prepare the meal by myself? Please tell her to get up and help me!

41 But Jesus answered: Martha, Martha--you have too much on your mind.

42 The truth is, there is only one thing you should be concerned about, and Mary has found it. What she has found will not be lost merely to have dinner.

1. This may be a prayer to the Holy Spirit, rather than to the Father.

2. A Hebrew idiom meaning a person of peace.

3. An important verse showing that a prime purpose of miracles is not to bless people in a temporal sense, but to encourage repentance.

4. Jesus here is directing all attention back to God and showing that we must always keep our focus on God, lest the devil ultimately misdirect us even as we do the work of God.

5. The English doesn't come close to conveying the meaning of this strong word. Terms like “Jumped for joy,” or “Gave a Pentecostal shout,” are much closer to conveying Jesus' wild enthusiasm in comparison to the reverent, self-controlled view we usually have of Him.

6. If you contrast the words of the lawyer here (Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself) with Jesus’ words in Mark 12:30-31 (And thou shalt love the lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Though shalt love thy neighbor as thyself...) and with Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:12 (Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets) and then recall the story from the Talmud in which Hillel summarizes the Law: (“What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor: that is the whole Torah; all the rest of it is commentary; go and learn”--Shabbat 31a, Jerusalem Talmud), it is clear this “lawyer” is a member of the school of Hillel, and is probably repeating either the actual words of Hillel in the incident with the Gentile, which the Jerusalem Talmud misquotes, or else he is repeating a more developed statement of Hillel’s that the Talmud doesn’t record. In any event, there is no “contradiction” between the Gospels as to where the statement comes from as some would claim.

7. Clearly, the lawyer’s conscience was pricked, and he realized his love walk wasn’t in keeping with the words he just spoke.

8. In this, one of the most famous of Jesus’ parables, we have an interesting cast of characters. First, we have the “lawyer,” meaning that he was an expert in the written and oral Torah, and probably a Pharisee from the school of Hillel since he seems to rattle off an answer that would accord with Hillel’s teachings. As the parable progresses, a man is beaten unconscious by thieves. We see that both a priest and Levite ignore the man laying by the side of the road until a Samaritan comes to his aid. Interestingly, the priests (and many Levites) were known for rejecting the oral Torah in favor of the letter-of-the-Law, one point of which (Lev. 21:11) required them to avoid touching a dead body, lest they become ritually impure. From a distance, the hapless victim might well give the appearance of being a dead man, and thus the priest and Levite, in their zeal to legalistically obey the Torah, may not have even bothered to see if the man wss still breathing, lest it turn out he was dead, and they become impure. (The text also seems to leave the impression they didn’t wish to be bothered with someone else’s problem.) Finally, a Samaritan, considered by the Jews to be a heretic to start with (who likewise rejects the oral Torah) risks defilement by touching a possibly dead body to check the man--finds he is alive, and ministers to him. Jesus thus is rebuking legalism on all fronts: The priests (Sadducees) and Levites (for the fact that they might exalt obeying an extraneous law regarding ritual impurity above that of saving a human life); and some of Pharisees, who might conveniently do likewise even though their oral Torah itself would technically excuse such ritual defilement if done to save a life or to bury a dead body discovered on the road.

9. The proper word for an inn, pandocheion, is used here in contrast to the word katalyma used in connection with Joseph and Mary’s finding no room for them at the “inn.” In fact, the word there means “living space” or “guest chamber,” and probably referred to the tabernacle built by friends or family for the Festival of Sukkot.

 

CHAPTER 11

CHAPTER 11

1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

3 Give us day by day our daily bread.

4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.1

5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;

6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?

7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.

8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity2 he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.

9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?

12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?3

14 And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered.

15 But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.

16 And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven.

17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth.

18 If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub.

19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out?4 therefore shall they be your judges.

20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

21 When a strong man5 armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:

22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.

23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.

24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.

25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished.

26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself6; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

27 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.

28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

29 And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.

30 For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.

31 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

32 The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

33 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.

34 The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single7, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil8, thy body also is full of darkness.

35 Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.

36 If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.

37 And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat.

38 And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed9 before dinner.

39 And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.10

40 Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also?

41 But rather give alms of such things as ye have;11 and, behold, all things are clean unto you.

42 But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs12, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

43 Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets.

44 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them.13

45 Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also.14

46 And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.

47 Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.

48 Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres.

49 Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:15

50 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;

51 From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias16, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.

52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge17: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.

53 And as he said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things:

54 Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.

1 Some time after this, Jesus was praying at a certain place. When he finished, one of the disciples asked: Lord, teach us to pray, just as John used to teach his disciples.

2 And he answered: When you pray, say: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

3 Give us day by day our daily bread.

4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

5 Jesus added: With respect to prayer, say one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight, saying, “My friend--lend me three loaves of bread,

6 “For an acquaintance of mine has suddenly paid me a visit on his travels, and I have nothing to give him!”

7 Your friend may well call out from within, “Don’t bother me--the door is locked, and we’re all in bed! I can’t get up and help you!”

8 But if you persist in knocking, even if he won’t help you out of friendship, I tell you he’ll rise up and give you as many loaves as you need because of your persistence.

9 So I say to you: Ask God, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you.

10 For everyone who asks shall receive, and anyone who seeks will find, and he who knocks will have the door opened.

11 If a son comes to any of you men who are fathers and asks for some bread, do you give him a rock? Or if he begs for a broiled fish, do you hand him a snake?

12 Or if he wants an egg, do you offer him a scorpion?

13 (Of course not!) So if you earthly fathers, who are evil in comparison to your Father in heaven, give good things to your own children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?

14 Later, Jesus was casting out a demon that caused a man to be mute. When the demon left, the man could speak once more, and the people were amazed.

15 But some said: He’s casting out demons by the authority of Beelzebub, the chief of demons!

16 Others, challenging him, demanded he produce a sign from heaven (to prove he was of God).

17 But he knew their thoughts, and said to them: Every kingdom in civil war is brought to desolation; and every house divided against itself shall not stand.

18 If Satan is at war with his own forces, how can his kingdom possibly survive? That must be the case because you claim I am casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub!

19 And if my power comes from Beelzebub, what power do you have to cast them out? So these fleeing demons shall pass judgment on you!

20 But if I am doing this by the [power] of God, then no doubt the Kingdom of God must be in front of your very eyes!

21 For when an armed warlord oversees his stronghold, all his booty is safe.

22 But when a hero stronger than the warlord bests him, and ties him up helpless, the hero takes the armor the warlord trusted would protect him, and then picks through the warlord’s treasure with impunity.

23 You are either for me or against me! If you don’t help me gather in the harvest, then you are trying to scatter the harvest into the wind to be lost.

24 (You all are just like demon spirits!) When a demon is cast out of a man, he wanders the deserts seeking a place of rest, but finding none, he says to himself, “I’ll go back to the one I was cast out of!”

25 So he returns and finds the man he once possessed (cleansed from his presence).

26 Then the demon goes out and finds seven others more evil than he is to come possess the man and make him worse off than he ever was before! (Thus, those who hear the Word and are freed from your clutches are infinitely worse off than they were before if they ever let your perverted teachings of what Judaism is back into their hearts!)

27 While he was speaking these things, a woman in the crowd shouted out: Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that nursed you!

28 Jesus answered: Yes--but more blessed are those who hear the Message of God, and keep it!

29 When there was a huge crowd, Jesus told them: This is an evil generation who always seek a sign. The only sign they will get is the sign of Jonah the prophet!

30 For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites (that they must repent or perish), so is the Son of Man a sign to this generation!

31 The Queen of Sheba (--a Gentile--) will rise in resurrection, and at the Last Judgment denounce the men of this generation, for she came all the way from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and a greater than Solomon is here before you!

32 The (Gentile) men of Nineveh will arise in resurrection, and at the Last Judgment will denounce this generation, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and a greater than Jonah is here before you!

33 No man who has lit a candle hides it in a closet or under a basket--he puts it in a candlestick so everyone who comes in can see by its light.

34 Now the light to the body is the eye. (When you see and operate through eyes of unselfishness and compassion, the whole body has light to see clearly by. But when you see through eyes of greed and selfishness, the whole body walks in darkness and deception.)

35 Watch out that the light in you is not actually the darkness of deception!

36 So if your whole body is full of light, with no darkness, then you will be filled with (enlightenment) as if a candle were lighting your way.

37 As Jesus spoke, a (Shammaiite) Pharisee asked him to come have dinner in his house. Jesus agreed, and reclined to eat in his house.

38 But Jesus did not perform the usual ceremonial hand washing before reaching for food, and the Pharisee couldn’t believe it.

39 The Lord realized this, and said: You Pharisees are good at cleaning the outside of things, but your inside is full of barbarism and evil.

40 You fools! Did not He who made the outside make the inside too? (So cleanse the inside as well!)

41 For instance, give alms out of the compassion that should live in you, and not out of commandment, and you will be clean inside and out, and everything will be clean to you!

42 But woe to you Pharisees, for you tithe to the last kernel of grain, while totally missing the “law” of justice and God’s love! You should have learned to do all with equal zeal (and then your tithes would be pure offerings)!

43 Woe to you Pharisees, for you love the best seats in the synagogue, and crave being greeted with honor in the marketplace!

44 Woe to you hypocrite Torah teachers and Pharisees! You are like graves covered over by grass--you defile people coming into contact with you without their even knowing it!

45 Then answered one of the Torah teachers: Teacher, in speaking as you do (against the Pharisees), you also insult us.

45 (Alternate reading): Then answered one of the (Hillelite) Torah teachers: Teacher, in speaking as you do (against the Shammaiites), you also insult us.

46 Jesus answered: Then woe to you lawyers as well! For you fail to stand against the crushing load of legalism around you, and do nothing to lift it off the backs of the people!

47 Woe to all of you! For you erect monuments to the prophets your fathers killed!

48 Yet your own deeds show you agree with everything they did! They kill, while you build the tombs of their victims--but you’re both the same!

49 God, in His wisdom, warned you and prophesied: I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute.

50 (Now the full fruition of that prophecy is at hand!) The blood of all the prophets ever slain will now fall on this generation of people:

51 From the blood of Abel (in the first scroll of the Scriptures), to Zechariah ben Berechiah (in the last scroll of the Scriptures) who was slain between the altar and the Temple--I tell you, all their blood shall be on your heads!

52 Woe to you expositors of the Torah! (You usurped the Scriptures to your own perverted interpretations, then tried to keep others from entering into the truth where you, yourselves, would not go!)

53 As Jesus was saying these things, the outraged religious leaders all started shouting questions, trying to get him to take their bait,

54 And say something they could use against him.

1. In contrast to the Protestant rejection of codified prayer as “vain repetition,” the Didache instructs the early church to say this prayer thrice daily.

2. “Importunity” should be understood as being irritatingly persistent.

3. By ‘giving the Holy Spirit,’ Jesus is not making a reference to Tongues and so-called Gifts of the Spirit, but He is speaking of the empowering and inspiration of the Spirit to live a life pleasing to God.

4. An interesting verse that can be understood in two ways: Either Jesus is mocking them for the fact that, while they claim to have divine authority, they clearly have no power over demons (Acts 19), which should follow such authority; or He is affirming that, while they have a limited ability to deal with demons (the DSS record at least one exorcism ceremony), in fact they are doing so under the power of the devil without realizing it. Certainly, we can see instances today of occultists or pagans trafficking with spirits and appearing to exorcise them from people or areas, but typically such exorcisms are short-lived and ultimately leave those who sought help from them in a worse position. This is especially evident in some of the supernatural-based TV shows that bring in a psychic to “cleanse” a so-called haunted house. Once the psychic speaks to the spirit and convinces it to move on, you’ll note that often the show does a follow-up where the house is now twice as haunted as before! The usual position of the psychic after this is that the original spirit was somehow keeping in check other hostile entities, and that now that it’s moved on into the Light the remaining entities are free to pester the owners of the house. Actually, it is nothing more than a demonic sham in which the psychic was tricked by deceiving spirits; or else one group of demons has been replaced with another group, for Jesus in verse 18, in a roundabout way, does reveal that Satan’s kingdom is divided against itself and will not stand! We see clear evidence in history of the fact that the demonic principalities are in constant struggle against each other for superior position even if they do not rebel against Satan directly. For instance, demon-possessed Josef Stalin and demon-possessed Adolf Hitler didn’t work together to advance the devil’s power over the earth--they fought each other for total control! This is illustrative of the devil’s personality quirk: Self-aggrandizement . The demonic principalities in control over nations (Dan. 10) work together in common cause only to the degree that they must, and always with a desire to obtain advantage.

5. The “strong man” is the devil himself.

6. Probably meaning enough demonic power to completely bring the person back under complete spiritual bondage. As noted elsewhere, Jesus’ point is also difficult to understand, and the paraphrase here gives an additional speculation as food for thought.

7. Meaning if a person is unselfish.

8. Meaning if a person is greedy and selfish.

Preface to verses 37-54. This is an extremely interesting event, showing Jesus’ absolute disgust with the extraneous religious laws of Shammai. The event starts with a Shammaiite Pharisee inviting Jesus to dinner and then expressing criticism that Jesus does not ceremonially wash His hands before drinking. Jesus then rebukes the Pharisee over the movement’s abysmal failure at bringing the light and love of God to the world, substituting hosts of religious commandments for love and compassion, and excluding all those who failed to follow those commandments with sufficient zeal. Eventually, a “lawyer” joins the conversation, respectfully pointing out to Jesus that in criticizing the “Pharisee,” He is insulting his particular group as well. When the man is called a “lawyer,” that means that he is a recognized teacher and expositor of the Torah. Some of the language may indicate the lawyer was a Hillelite, in which case we see Jesus, possibly fed up with both groups, unleash an unusually harsh rebuke when the lawyer speaks up for the Shammaiite. The dinner goes downhill from there, resulting in the religious leaders turning against Him and seeking to trap Him in His own words.

As a final note of interest, Jesus seems to confirm the premise that the face of Phariseeism at this point in time is not that of the Hillelites, who eventually take over Judaism, but that of Shammai and his followers. We see this in verses 39 and 42, where Jesus uses the uses the broad-brush term “you Pharisees,” for in both cases the criticisms He delivers are direct references to religious laws of Shammai that the school of Hillel differed with.

 

9. Showing he was surprised that Jesus did not ceremonially dip his hands into water in accordance with Shammai's 18 edicts, which had become a Pharisee custom.

10. We can absolutely know this is a Shammaiite Pharisee by Jesus’ words, and the preceding verses about “washing.” The Shammaiites believed that one should ceremonially wash before picking up the traditional cup of wine, lest the cup become defiled, whereas the Hillelites put off the washing until later in the meal, ruling that to drink from an unclean cup was permissible. In typical fashion when dealing with Shammaiites, Jesus lashes out with a blistering attack.

11. “Give alms of such things as ye have” may be better paraphrased As: “Give alms out of compassion.” Almsgiving was commanded in the Torah, and many of the Pharisees seem to have given to the poor out of constraint, while inwardly holding the attitude that they were largely in that state because of their failure to live righteously. There was also a (partially correct) belief that almsgiving was accepted by God as an atonement for sin under the Law, and part of the hypocrisy Jesus (and the Talmud) rebukes the Pharisees for is for willfully committing sin and then giving alms or doing a good deed to atone for it. A modern example of this can be found in Al Capone, who went to Confession on the weekend to be absolved from his sins of the prior week knowing he would commit the same sins again during the new week.

12. Seed-bearing herbs the Shammaiites tithed.

13. Jesus is referring here to the fact that someone who walks over a grave without realizing it becomes defiled even though he is unaware of the defilement. Likewise, those who follow the philosophies of the Pharisees (more specifically, Shammai) are themselves defiled by legalism.

14. A very interesting portion of Scripture. As noted, a Hillelite Torah teacher present at the table has joined the conversation. If he is from the school of Hillel, the following paraphrase may convey what was happening:

Woe unto you Shammaiite hypocrites! For you are like a hidden grave that defiles those who come in contact with it without their even realizing it!

Then answered one of the Torah teachers from the school of Hillel: Master, in insulting the followers of Shammai, you insult us from the school of Hillel also, for while we have our disagreements, we are all ultimately Pharisees.

Then woe to you Hillelites as well, for you fail to stand against the legalism around you, and do nothing to lift it off the backs of the people!

15. This may be a prophecy from a lost book of the Bible, or else one of the Aramaic Targums. It is not in regular Scripture.

16. Not necessarily referring to Zechariah the prophet, but possibly to Zechariah ben Berechiah, who was murdered on the Temple grounds by zealot supporters of Shammai; or to Zechariah, son of Jehoiada (2nd Chronicles 24) who was killed at the Temple. Some believe that Zechariah ben Jehoiada was known in Jesus’ time as Zechariah ben Berechiah in the Targums. Thus, Jesus would be referring to the murder first recorded in first book of the Bible, and the last, which in the Jewish canon of Scripture is the book of Chronicles. He would also, in a roundabout way, be establishing the Old Testament canon of Scripture, excluding the apocrypha.

17. The “key of knowledge” the Pharisees and Torah teachers had taken away was the Scriptural understanding that God saves man out of His love and mercy, and not as obligation or reward for righteous living. It should be noted that many in Judaism of today recognize this precept.

 

CHAPTER 12

CHAPTER 12

1 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.1

2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.

3 Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.

5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell2; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?

7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

8 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:

9 But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.

10 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.

11 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:

12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

13 And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.3

14 And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?

15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:

17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.

19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.4

22 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.

23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.

24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?

25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?

26 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?

27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?

29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.

30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.

31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.

32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

33 Sell that ye have, and give alms5; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.

34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.6

35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;

36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.

37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.

38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.

39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.

40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

41 Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?

42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?

43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.

45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;

46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

47 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.7

48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

49 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I if it be already kindled?

50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!

51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: 8

52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.

53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

54 And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is.

55 And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass.

56 Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?

57 Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?

58 When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.

59 I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.9

1 Meanwhile, when an enormous crowd so thick that they were piling atop one another had gathered, Jesus began to speak first to the disciples. He told them: Beware the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

2 For in the end, there is nothing covered that shall not be uncovered for all to see, neither will there be anything hidden that will remain a secret.

3 So whatever you have spoken in darkness will be heard in the light; and the things you whispered in secret will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear.

4 And I tell you, my friends, don’t fear men who can only take your physical life and then can do no more.

5 I’ll tell you whom you should fear: Fear God, who--after He has slain the body--can cast the soul into hell! Yes, fear Him!

6 Aren’t five sparrows sold for a couple of copper pieces, yet God has His eye on every one of them?

7 God even knows the exact number of hairs on your head, and that’s how much He cares about you! So don’t fear, because you are worth more than many sparrows to Him.

8 I also tell you that whoever shall acknowledge me before men, him shall the Son of Man acknowledge before the angels of God.

9 But he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.

10 And whoever slanders the Son of Man can be forgiven, but whoever slanders the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven.

11 And when they bring you into the synagogues to accuse you, or hand you over to magistrates or sovereigns, don’t plan beforehand what you will say to defend yourself.

12 For the Holy Spirit will show you what to say in the same hour you need it.

13 Someone in the crowd said: Master--tell my brother to give me my share of our family inheritance!

14 Jesus replied: Sir--who made me a judge or arbiter over you and your brother?

15 Jesus then spoke up for all to hear: Take care that you avoid greed, for what counts in life is not how many material possessions you have!

16 Then Jesus spoke a parable: A rich man once took in a great harvest from his fields.

17 And he thought to himself, What shall I do? I have so much abundance that I can‘t store it all!

18 I know--I‘ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then all my grain and goods will be safe in storage.

19 Then I will be able to say to myself, “You have enough stored to last you many years, so relax. Eat, drink, and be merry!”

20 But God heard this and said: “You fool--this night you will die, and then who will make use of what you stored up for yourself?”

21 Jesus concluded: That’s typical of the fate of a man who works for his own earthly profit instead of working for God and storing up treasure in heaven!

22 And he told the disciples: This is why I tell you to take no thought for your earthly life, or what you’ll eat, or your body and what clothes you’ll wear.

23 Life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.

24 Take the ravens: They don’t sow or reap. They have no granaries or barns, yet God feeds them every day. How much more important are you than mere birds in God’s eyes?

25 And which of you, by worrying, can add even one hour to his life?

26 If you can’t do a simple thing like that, why are you so worried about the future? (The future is in God’s hands.)

27 Consider the lilies and how they grow in the fields: They don’t work, they don’t spin cloth--yet I tell you that Solomon’s clothing, in all its splendor, wasn’t as beautiful as their coverings!

28 If God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is used for kindling, how much more will he clothe you, you doubting men of little faith?!

29 So don’t spend all your time focusing on what you’ll eat and drink--and don’t let your mind cause you to worry about it.

30 That’s what the Gentile nations (which have no hope) do. But you have a Father who knows and cares about your needs.

31 So make the Kingdom of God your primary concern, and all you need will be added to you.

32 Don’t be afraid, my little flock--it is your Father’s delight to give you the Kingdom.

33 Sell what you have and give to the needy, thus storing your earthly treasure not in a pouch that can wear out, but in a heavenly place where it will be safe from loss, where no thief can get to it, and it does not get eaten by moths.

34 For where your treasure is, your heart will be too.

35 Be like vigilant servants who are dressed and have lanterns lit,

36 Ready for their master’s return from the wedding, so when he arrives and knocks on the door they can open for him immediately (and show him they are fully prepared).

37 Blessed are those servants whom their master finds on watch. I tell you truly, their master will put on an apron, seat his servants, and serve them dinner!

38 Even if he comes at midnight, or before dawn, blessed are the servants he finds waiting in preparation for him!

39 Remember this: If the owner of a house had known what time a thief was coming, he would have stayed up and kept watch for him so his house wasn’t burgled.

40 Likewise, you keep on your toes, for the Son of Man will come at an hour when you’re not expecting him.

41 Peter asked: Lord--is this warning for us, or for everyone?

42 The Lord answered: Who then is the faithful and wise sort of servant whom his lord can trust with the authority to feed the underlings of his household?

43 Blessed is the servant whom his lord finds doing that upon his arrival.

44 I tell you truly, the master of that servant will make him ruler over all that he has!

45 But if that servant thinks in his heart, “My master is delaying his return,” then mistreats the men and women under him, and goes out and gets drunk--

46 The lord of that servant will return on a day when the servant isn’t looking for him, and at an hour the servant doesn’t expect, and his fate will be to be drawn and quartered, and punished with the unbelievers!

47 That servant, who knew what his lord’s will was and ignored it, shall be punished greatly.

48 But the servant who didn’t know, and yet did things worthy of punishment, will have a light punishment. Because one who is given a lot, has a lot required of him. And he who has been entrusted with much is expected to do much.

49 I have come to set the world afire, and how I wish that fire were already kindled!

50 But I have a baptism yet to undergo, and I must bear its burden until all is completed.

51 Did you think I had come to bring peace to the earth? (No, not yet!) I have come to bring division, not unity.

52 From now on, there will be a household of five--and three will be divided against two, and two against three.

53 The father shall be at odds with the son, and the son against the father. The mother will be against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother. The mother-in law-will be against the daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law against the mother-in-law.

54 And Jesus said to the crowd: When you see a cloud coming from the west, you say, “Rain is coming!” And it does.

55 When a wind from the south blows, you say, “It’s going to get hot!” And it does.

56 You hypocrites! You can read the signs in nature, but why can’t you perceive the signs of the times you’re in?

57 Why can’t you even judge right from wrong among your own selves?

58 If someone sues you and you’re both on your way to court--settle with him before the judge intervenes, because if you’re in the wrong, the judge may hand you over to the jailer, and he will cast you into Debtor’s Prison!

59 I tell you that once you find yourself there, you won’t get out of prison until you find a way to pay off every cent of what you owe. (And how could you do that from behind bars?)

1. The accusation of “hypocrisy” largely refers to the fact that the Pharisees’ obedience was done with an incorrect attitude, although there were indeed those who did perform their acts of piety or charity in order to look good to their fellows. Recall the Talmud likewise criticizes hypocrites within the Pharisee Movement.

2. “Hell” here is not the word for death and the grave (Sheol), but that of Gehenna, the Greek form of the words for the garbage dump near Jerusalem in which fires were perpetually burning. This is a strong indictment against those who deny eternal punishment, and view hell as a place that merely destroys the soul.

Jewish legend claimed there were five different sorts of fire in hell--one that devoured and absorbs; one that devoured while not absorbing (probably the sort Jesus warns about); one that absorbed but did not devour; one that neither devoured nor absorbed; and a fire that devoured fire.

 

3. Apparently, this man comes to Jesus to arbitrate a dispute in the manner Moses did when he led the Israelites. Jesus quickly rebukes him for being earthly-minded when he should be focused on the things of God.

4. Jesus’ point in all this is that we should focus on putting our earthly resources to best work in the Kingdom instead of hoarding them to make this life more comfortable, for it is only the treasures we lay up in heaven by working for God in this life that shall follow us.

5. This is not a command to enter poverty, but an exhortation to understand that the fullness of life--here and in the hereafter--consists of devoting oneself to God and His work.

6. An indictment against all of us who, on a daily basis, worry more about paying the bills than what we should do for the Kingdom.

7. These verses about “stripes” are difficult-to-understand clearly. We can certainly accept that God holds those who are knowledgeable in spiritual matters to a higher standard than those who are not. Beyond that, we can debate the other ramifications of the teaching. While some Catholics use these verses to back up the idea of Purgatory, the context of Christ’s words show He is not talking about a period of punishment/purification after death, but that He is speaking of judgment at the time of His Coming. The text also seems to be referring to teachers or those in positions of authority mistreating those under them as warranting the severe beating He speaks of. It would not be wholly impossible for Jesus’ phraseology of “many stripes” to be a euphemism of “going to hell,” while “few stripes” could actually be a euphemism for “going to heaven, but losing reward.”

8. By ‘bringing division,’ Jesus means that not all will accept Him, and that very fact will break Judaism into two factions: those who accept Christ as Messiah, and those who will reject Him.

9. One of Jesus’ more confusing parables. The point ultimately is to warn the religious leaders that if they reject Him, they will suffer for their sins in hell until they have “paid the last mite”--another way of saying they will be eternally lost, because the man in Debtor’s Prison never got out until he found some way to pay off his debt from behind bars, which was, of course, impossible.

 

CHAPTER 13

CHAPTER 13

1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.1

2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?2

3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?

5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.3

6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.

7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?

8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:

9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.4

10 And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath.

11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.

12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.

13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.5

14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.

15 The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?6

16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?

17 And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.

18 Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?

19 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.

20 And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?

21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

22 And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.

23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,

24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.7

25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:

26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.

27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.8

28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

29 And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.

30 And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.9

31 The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee.10

32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox11, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.

33 Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.

34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!

35 Behold, your house12 is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

1 Around that time, some there told Jesus about a group of Galilean Jews whom Pilate had slain as they made sacrificial offerings.

2 Jesus’ response was: Do you think this bad thing happened because these men were worse sinners than any other Galileans?

3 No! But I tell you that if you all do not repent, your end will be just as bad.

4 Or how about the eighteen Jews who were killed when the tower of Siloam collapsed? Do you think they were worse sinners than any other men in Jerusalem?

5 In both cases, no. (Bad things happen to even the best people!) But I tell you that if you all do not repent, you will perish in like manner.

6 Jesus then spoke a parable: A man had a fig tree in his orchard, and he came looking for fruit but never found any.

7 So he told his overseer: For three years, I’ve been looking for this fig tree to bear some fruit, and there is none. Why let it take up space in my orchard anymore? Cut it down (and plant a new tree)!

8 The overseer answered: Lord, give it one more year. I’ll dig a watering trench around it, and fertilize it.

9 And if it bears fruit next season, fine. If not, then you can cut it down (and be rid of it in favor of a new seedling that will bear the fruit you want).

10 During a Sabbath, Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues.

11 At the back of the synagogue was a hunchbacked woman who could not straighten up. She had been in that state for eighteen years because of a demon that caused the condition.

12 When Jesus caught sight of her, he called her over to him, and said: Woman--you are freed from your infirmity!

13 Then he laid hands on her, and instantly she stood up and praised God.

14 However, the chief rabbi of the synagogue was offended that Jesus had healed non-life-threatening disease on the day of Rest, and he grumbled to the assembly: There are six days a man is allowed to work--come be healed on those days, and not on the Sabbath when God commands rest!

15 But the Lord answered: You hypocrite! Doesn’t each one of you lead your animals out from the stall to be watered on the Sabbath when, by your own words, you’re commanded to rest?

16 Ought not this daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years, be freed from bondage on the Sabbath day?

17 When Jesus said this, his opponents were put to shame, and the people rejoiced for the miracles he did.

18 Then Jesus said: What does the Kingdom of God resemble? What can I liken it to?

19 It’s like a grain of mustard seed that a man cast into his garden. That small seed grew into a large tree, and the birds of the air made their nests in it.

20 And he repeated: To what shall I liken the Kingdom of God?

21 It’s like a pinch of yeast that a woman kneaded into three cups of flour until the whole dough was completely leavened (and then overflowed the bowl)!

22 And Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching and making his way toward Jerusalem.

23 Someone asked: Lord--are there only a few who are saved? And Jesus answered:

24 Endeavor to enter in at the narrow gate--for I tell you that many will want to enter in, but shall not be able.

25 When the master of the house decides the time has come and rises up to bar the door closed, people will stand outside knocking and calling out, “Lord! Lord! Open up for us!” But he will answer, “I don’t know where you come from!”

26 Then you’ll try to say, “But we ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets!”

27 But he will say, “I tell you, I don’t know where you come from! Leave me, all you workers of iniquity!”

28 Yes, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with the prophets, enjoying the Kingdom of God while you, yourselves, are cast out of it!

29 (Gentiles) from the four corners of the earth outside of Israel will sit down in the Kingdom of God too!

30 And there are some (Gentiles) who were last that shall be made first, and there are some (Jews) who were first, that will be made last.

31 That same day, some friendly Pharisees came and told Jesus: You better leave the area fast, for Herod Antipas wants to kill you!

32 But he told them: Go tell that “Fox” I plan to cast out demons and heal for the next two days, and on the third day what I have come to do will be complete!

33 Nevertheless, I must continue on the journey today and tomorrow and the next day, for it will not do for a prophet to die outside of Jerusalem.

34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets, and stones those whom God sends to you! How often would I have gathered your people as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you refused!

35 Look, for now your Temple will be left in desolation, and I assure you, you will not see me again until the day comes that you (and your leaders say of me), “Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord!”

1. No historical record exists of this incident outside the Bible. “Mingled with their sacrifices” means that they were slain in the act of making some sort of religious sacrifice, or performing some sort of sacrificial act.

2. Jesus here is coming against a common belief, then and now, that if a man is righteous before God, then God will keep him from harm.

3. The point about repentance is to say that unless the people repent by turning to Christ, they will all ultimately perish.

4. A parable about the failure of Pharisaic Judaism to answer the call of God and properly bring the knowledge of God to the Gentiles, and its failure by the elders to embrace the Messiah. Jesus here is saying that God will now cut down the system corrupted by the elders of Israel, which indeed occurs with the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.

5. In contrast to the teaching of some, there is no indication the woman here had received her affliction through sin.

6. Jesus here is acting under Hillel’s concept of Kol V’Khomer, an argument based on weight. Some commandments and theological concepts are of greater weight than others (Matt. 23:23), and Jesus is pointing out the hypocrisy of rabbinic approval to water or feed dumb animals while denying healing to a human being on the Sabbath.

7. A sobering warning that many sincere people will wish to enter into eternal life but will fail simply because they reject Christ, the only way to the Father.

8. A verse that, in a roundabout way, deals with the Trinity. Those “without,” were worshippers of God who denied the Son, but in the end realize they have been wrong, and now seek entrance. Instead, God the Son--on the other side of the door in His full authority as the Judge of mankind--responds that He doesn’t know them, and it is now too late. Jesus then goes on to warn that the people of God who preceded this generation will enter into life, yet those today who reject the fulfillment of what their predecessors awaited will be cast out because of that rejection.

9. The ‘last being first’ refers to the Gentiles, who will be the first to embrace the Messiah when they hear the Good News, while the leaders of the Chosen People of Israel will reject that Messiah until the end of the Age.

10. Probably friendly Hillelite Pharisees.

11. What Jesus means by “fox” is unclear. He may be mocking Herod as a half-breed Idumean Jew; or He could be playing upon a proverb about a “fox” that, though it is in its time of prosperity, is unworthy to be shown any deference or respect.

12. The “house” is the Temple. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord (Baruch habah Hashem Adonai) is a Messianic prayer said by the Jews during Passover. In this incident, Jesus has declared that Israel will never see its Messiah come until the authorities of the Jews of Jerusalem pray that prayer, specifically acknowledging that He is the Messiah that it refers to.

 

CHAPTER 14

CHAPTER 14

1 And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees1 to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him.

2 And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy.

3 And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?

4 And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go;

5 And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?

6 And they could not answer him again to these things.

7 And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms2; saying unto them,

8 When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him;

9 And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.

10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.

11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

12 Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee.

13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:

14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

15 And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.

16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:

17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.

18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.

19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.

20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.

21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.

22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.

23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.3

25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,

26 If any man come to me, and hate4 not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,

30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.

31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?

32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.

33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath5, he cannot be my disciple.

34 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?

35 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

1 It came to pass one Sabbath day that Jesus went into the house of a chief Pharisee to dine, and they watched him.

2 Now a man was present who was stricken with swollen limbs.

3 Jesus asked the experts on the Law, along with the Pharisees: Does the Torah allow healing on the Sabbath?

4 But they were silent. So he took the man, healed him, and released him.

5 Then he spoke to the people there, saying: Which of you who has a donkey or ox wouldn’t think twice about pulling it out if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath?

6 And they had no answer to that point.

7 He then spoke a parable about those invited there, whom he observed sought the best seats at the table:

8 When you’re invited to a wedding banquet, don’t sit in the seat nearest the host, lest he call for someone he esteems more than you,

9 And you face the man who invited you both bringing him up, telling you: “Please let this man have your seat.” Then you, embarrassed, will have to take a seat at the bottom of the table, furthest from the host.

10 When you’re invited, go sit in the worst seat, and then he who invited you will come and say, “Friend, come sit up here!” Then you will be honored in front of the other dinner guests.

11 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.

12 Then Jesus told the man who had invited him there: When you have a banquet, don’t call your friends, or family, or your rich neighbors--anyone who can possibly return the favor.

13 Instead, when you host a banquet, invite the poor, the maimed, the crippled, and the blind,

14 And you will be blessed by God--for they cannot return the favor--and at the resurrection of the just you will be rewarded.

15 When one of those eating at the table heard these things, he exclaimed to him: Blessed is he who eats bread in the Kingdom of God!

16 Then Jesus said in response to him: A man once held a great banquet, and invited many guests.

17 When it was ready, he sent out his servant to those who were invited, saying, “Come--everything is ready!”

18 But they all began to make excuses not to come. The first said, “I just bought some property and must go see it. Please excuse my absence.”

19 Another said, “I just bought five yoke of oxen and need to test them out. Please excuse my absence.”

20 A third said, “I am on my honeymoon, and can’t attend.”

21 So the servant returned and told these things to his master. The master of the estate was furious at this, and told the servant, “Go out into the streets and alleys of the city and invite everyone you see: the homeless, the crippled, the lame, and the blind--invite them all here to feast!”

22 The servant did this and reported to his master, “Lord, it is done as you ordered, but there are still empty seats.”

23 So the master told the servant, “Go out of town and compel anyone you come across in the fields or on the roads to come--I will have my house filled!

24 “I tell you that none of those who were invited shall even taste my banquet!”

25 There was a great crowd with Jesus, and he turned to them, saying:

26 If any man comes to me and doesn’t hate by comparison his parents, wife, children, brothers and sisters--and yes, even his own life as well--he cannot be my disciple!

27 Whoever does not pick up his cross and follow me to the end, cannot be my disciple.

28 What man, if he sets out to construct a tower, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost to see if he can afford it?

29 If he doesn’t, he may run short of funds after laying out the foundation. Then he’ll have to stop construction, and everyone who sees it will laugh at his folly,

30 Saying, “This man started to build, but couldn’t afford to finish what he started!”

31 Or what king going to war with another king doesn’t first sit down with his officers and reckon whether his ten thousand troops can defeat the twenty thousand troops of his enemy?

32 And if he can’t, he sends ambassadors to try to broker a peace agreement while his enemy is still a long way off.

33 Likewise, any of you who does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple.

34 Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?

35 It is unfit for either soil or fertilizer, and men simply throw it away! He who can understand--let him understand!

1. It is regrettable that the Pharisee is unnamed, and that we do not know which school of thought he was from. The lack of vehement hostility toward Jesus suggests this may have been a Hillelite household.

2. A bad translation better understood as: ‘The best seats at the table.’

3. The purpose of the parable is to comment upon how, by rejecting the messenger of the Lord of the Feast, those for whom the feast was prepared prove themselves unworthy. The word compel in verse 23 has long been misused to justify forced conversion of non-Christians to the faith. In fact, the proper use of the word here would be understood as imploring anyone who will hear to join the feast, not to force them into it.

4. “Hate” is likewise often misunderstood, and in context means to love Christ so much that even one’s appropriate love for family and friends should seem to be hatred by comparison to the agape love of the believer toward his Lord.

5. Again, Jesus is saying that we should always have our eyes on Him, rather than upon our material lives and possessions.

 

CHAPTER 15

CHAPTER 15

1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.1

2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.

3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying,

4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.2

8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?3

9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.

10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:

12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.

13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks4 that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.

26 And he called one of the servants,5 and asked what these things meant.

27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.

28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.

29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:

30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.

32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

1 Then the tax collectors and sinners came near to hear Jesus.

2 But the Pharisees and the Torah teachers were offended, and murmured: This man welcomes sinners to eat with him!

3 So Jesus spoke a parable to them, saying:

4 Which of you, if you have a hundred sheep, won’t drop everything and leave the flock of ninety-nine in the wilderness to search until you find a single lost sheep?

5 Then, after you’ve rescued it, you carry the sheep home on your shoulders, rejoicing.

6 And when you return home, you summon your friends and neighbors, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my lost sheep!”

7 I tell you that heaven likewise rejoices more over one lost sinner that repents than it does over ninety-nine just people who have no need of repentance.

8 Or, say a woman loses one of ten silver coins (from her wedding adornment). Doesn’t she light a candle and tear the house apart until she finds it (because it is precious to her)?

9 And when she does, she calls her friends and neighbors to her, saying, “Rejoice with me, for I found my lost coin!”

10 Likewise, the angels of God rejoice over one sinner who repents.

11 Jesus then said: A certain man had two sons.

12 And the younger said to his father, “Father, I don’t want to wait until you die to get my inheritance--give it to me now!” So the father divided up the estate.

13 Soon afterward, the son converted it all to cash and left for a distant country where he squandered it all on partying.

14 When the money was gone, a famine happened to strike, and he started to go hungry.

15 So the young man sought work with a man of that country, but the only job he could find was to slop hogs (for a roof over his head).

16 He would have loved to eat some of the (sour) carob pods fed to the hogs, but he wasn‘t permitted to, and no one gave him anything else.

17 When he came to his senses, he said to himself, “Even my father’s hired hands have more than enough to eat--and here I am, starving to death!

18 “I will humble myself, return to my father, and say, ‘Father, I have sinned against both (God) and you,

19 “‘And am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired hands.’”

20 So he arose and returned to his father. But while he was still a long way off from home, his father (--who had been waiting all this time for him--) had compassion on him, and actually ran to meet him, embracing and kissing the boy.

21 The son began his prepared speech, saying, “Father, I have sinned against (God) and you, and am no longer worthy to be called your son--”

22 But his father said to the servants: “Bring out my best robe and put it on him--and give him a (signet) ring, and shoes for his feet!

23 “Also, bring the fattened calf, and slaughter it for a banquet. Let us eat, and rejoice!

24 “For this son of mine, who was dead, has returned to life. He was lost, but now he’s found!” So they began to throw a great party.

25 Now the older son was out working in the field, and as he was returning to the house he heard the sound of music and merriment.

26 So he called one of the village children, and asked what was going on.

27 He was told: “Your brother has come home, and your father has killed the wheat-fed calf to celebrate his safe return back to him.”

28 He was angry at hearing that so he stayed outside, and sulked. His father then came out and urged him to come in to the banquet.

29 But he answered his father: “I have faithfully served you for all my life, and at no time have I ever disrespected you or your commands to me, but you‘ve never so much as given me a goat to barbecue up for my friends!

30 “Yet as soon as this son of yours comes crawling back home after squandering a third of your estate on prostitutes, you serve him up the fattened calf (reserved for esteemed guests), and throw a party in his honor!”

31 So the father said: “My boy, you are always in my thoughts, and everything I have is yours. (All you had to do was ask, and I would have given you a goat, or anything else, you requested.)

32 “Isn‘t it only proper that we should celebrate and rejoice over the fact that your brother who was dead is reborn; and the one who was lost has been found again?“

1. What made the ministry of John the Baptist and Jesus so unusual was the fact that sinners and those who were the unrighteous of society were drawn to hear them, a testimony of the power of the Holy Spirit to reach those in need of salvation. This is in stark contrast to the obedient elders in the next verse who (correctly) understand the unrighteous need to repent, but yet hold them in contempt.

2. Jesus has pointed out that on one level the elders of Israel need not repent of willful breaking of the commandments since they are “just” in that they scrupulously obey what is required of them. Even so, as He moves into the beautiful parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus shows that they harbor a self-righteous, ungodly attitude just as the elder son--who obeyed his father. It is thus not so much the Pharisees’ “secret sin” or willful violations of the Torah that condemns them, but rather their attitude that corrupts them. There is an additional application in this parable for us, for with the Second Coming of Christ, there may be Gentile Christians who likewise become bitter at the heavenly rejoicing over the return of the Jews.

3. The silver coins were part of an adornment worn with a wedding garment and thus they would have had great sentimental value to the woman.

4. The “husks” were carob pods, although probably the sour sort that is not too palatable.

5. “Servants” is a mistranslation, for in the culture a servant would never use the term “Your father,” but rather “My lord” (see Luke 16:5 following). The word also refers to a child, and so the older brother actually asks a local child what is happening.

 

CHAPTER 16

CHAPTER 16

1 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.

2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.

3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.

4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.

5 So he called every one of his lord's debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord?

6 And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.

7 Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.

8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.1

9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.2

10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.3

11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?4

12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?5

13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.

15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.6

17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.

18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.7

19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 8

20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:

28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

1 Jesus also spoke to his disciples: There was a rich man who was told that his overseer was wasting his goods.

2 He summoned the overseer and told him, “What is this I’ve heard about you?! Get the books together for an audit, and plan on finding another job if this accusation against you is true!”

3 The overseer, knowing he was caught, thought to himself, What will I do now? My master will fire me for sure. I’m not strong enough to dig ditches, and I refuse to be a beggar!

4 I know! I’ll ingratiate myself with my master’s debtors, so after I’m fired they’ll owe me a favor! (I’m going to be fired anyway so I’ll debit their accounts the portion that would have been my commission. Then they’ll love me, and give me a roof over my head!)

5 So the overseer called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first of them, “How much do you owe my master?”

6 The debtor answered, “A hundred gallons of oil.” So the overseer said, “Take this invoice, and write down that you owe only fifty!”

7 The overseer asked another, “How much do you owe my master?“ He answered, “A hundred bushels of wheat.“ So the overseer said, “Take this new invoice, and write that you only owe eighty!”

8 And the master of the overseer commended the crooked overseer for his shrewd thinking. It’s thus true that the people of this world are shrewd to a point, even more than the righteous are (who don’t rely on such machinations).

9 And I say to you, though money is part of an unrighteous system, use it wisely, in a way God would be pleased with, and you will make friends in heaven who--after the money is gone and your life ended--will welcome you into an eternal dwelling place.

10 He who is faithful in the littlest thing will be faithful in more important things. And he who is unjust in the smallest matters will be unjust in greater ones.

11 If you have thus been unfaithful with the unrighteous things like money you have on earth, how can you expect God to place into your trust the true treasures?

12 If you have not been faithful in stewarding someone else’s goods, who will give you your own goods to watch over?

13 No servant can serve two masters; he must love the one he will serve, and hate the one he does not serve, and honor one while despising the other. Thus, you cannot serve God (--who wants you to be a giver--) and Mammon (the false god of wealth who wants you to work only to enrich yourself at the expense of others).

14 When the Pharisees, who were greedy businessmen, overheard these statements they mocked Jesus (for they believed material prosperity was a sign of God’s approval).

15 But Jesus said: You Pharisees try to look good in the eyes of men, but God knows what’s really in your hearts--and in His view, what society highly respects is actually an abomination in His sight!

16 The written Law and the prophets all prophesied until John. Since then, the Kingdom of God has been announced, and people of every sort are pressing into it.

17 Remember, it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than it is for the smallest point of the Law to be overturned (--even through some so-called “authority of the elders” you claim to have).

18 Therefore (whatever your rulings on the subject are), whoever divorces his wife so he can marry someone else is guilty of adultery, and anyone who marries her is likewise guilty of adultery.

19 (Beyond that, listen to this parable:) There was a certain rich man (named Nineue) who was clothed in regal garments, and dined sumptuously each day.

20 And there was a beggar named Lazarus who was laid by the gate outside the man’s house. He had many sores from malnutrition.

21 Lazarus yearned just to eat some crumbs off the rich man’s table (but was never given any). Worse, the dogs came and licked his open sores (and he was too weak to even fend them off).

22 Eventually, Lazarus died, and the angels carried him to (Paradise--where Abraham is with the righteous dead). The rich man died too, and they buried him.

23 In Hades, the rich man lifted up his eyes in torment and saw Lazarus in the distance being comforted by Abraham.

24 And he cried out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me! Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and touch my tongue with it, for I am tormented in these flames!”

25 But Abraham shouted back, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received good and Lazarus evil. (You never showed mercy to him when you should have,) so now he is comforted, and your fate is to be tormented!

26 “Besides that, there is a great chasm between us, and no one can pass back and forth.”

27 The rich man then said, “Then I beg you, father, to send Lazarus back to my father’s house,

28 “To warn my five brothers to repent and avoid this place of torment!”

29 Abraham answered, “Their warning is in the Scriptures--they can read them whenever they want!”

30 But the rich man said, “No, father Abraham--they won’t read them or believe them, but if one from the dead comes back and warns them, they’ll repent!”

31 Abraham’s last words to him were, “If they won’t regard the Scriptures, they won’t even believe if a man rises from the dead (and warns them)!”

1. This parable is often misunderstood, for Jesus is not commending the unjust steward for thievery. In the culture, a steward would often work on commission, deriving his pay from what he could collect over and above the actual amount owed to his master. The steward here is canceling the portion of the debt that comprised his commission, making friends in the process among the debtors, who now owe less money.

2. A very difficult verse. Mammon was a god of prosperity that Jesus says one cannot serve while also serving God. What He actually means may be along the lines of the paraphrase, and/or He may be indicting the Pharisees' unfaithfulness with the Torah.

3. In this verse, Jesus is emphasizing how, if we are faithful in the little things in life, we will ultimately be faithful in doing things of greater importance. Conversely, the follower who is lax in upholding a high standard in insignificant things is likely to compromise in more important areas of his life.

4. Better understood as: “If you have thus been unfaithful with the carnal things you have on earth, how can you expect God to place into your trust the true treasures?

5. A reiteration of the previous verse.

6. Jesus here is not saying that the Torah and Old Testament were valid until John the Baptist, and then were replaced. He is saying that the written and oral testaments of the prophets pointed to this moment in history, and that Jesus, verified by John, is the Messiah foretold in Scripture. He then goes on to affirm that the smallest point of the Torah cannot and should not be overturned, yet while the Pharisees regularly criticize Him for that, they hypocritically do the same thing with their notion that the elders can modify the Law as they wish, and God is bound to approve of their decisions. (As the Talmud says: It is more culpable to teach against the ordinances of the scribes than against the Torah itself--Sanhedrin 11:3.) Certainly, a new and better covenant will be instituted, but only after Israel has rejected the Mosaic covenant and Kingdom for the final time with the Crucifixion. But at this point, Jesus is still a Messiah acting under the Mosaic covenant (Gal. 4:4), and offering the fulfillment of that covenant to the people who are steadfastly rejecting Him (Matt. 12:28).

7. One of the very controversial statements of Christ in the Gospels. We must understand that Jesus is saying these words to a culture in which polygamy, though uncommon, is perfectly Scriptural.* His teaching also is in direct contradiction to the school of Hillel, which had a very liberal view toward divorce, allowing it for so little as a wife's burning dinner. Jesus is making the point that a man who divorces a wife in order to marry someone else is guilty of adultery, and the divorced wife is still legally married to the husband. (Note that in ancient Judaism, only men could initiate a divorce. Even today, a woman must rely on the cooperation of her husband in the matter to finalize the divorce if she initiates it within the Jewish religious court system.)

* Rabbi Gershom formally overturned polygamy for most Jews in the 11th century.

8. This famous parable is a strong indictment against the doctrine of “Soul Sleep” taught by the 7th-Day Adventists among others. It also makes clear that beliefs in reincarnation or ghosts are false concepts, for as Hebrews says: “It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgment” (Heb 9:27). A point missed by readers of this parable is that it shows a man (Lazarus) who perfectly fulfilled God’s call on his life as a witness of the Gospel. Each time the rich man saw him lying at his gate, God was showing him his own spiritual condition. He never got the message, and in the end was damned. Lazarus’ earthly life, meanwhile, may have been a miserable one, but unlike most people, he died having done exactly what God had wanted him to do in proclaiming the call to the lost for repentance, and was rewarded for it both in eternity, and by earning a mention in Scripture. Finally, note that the Coptic Bible actually gives a name to the rich man, Nineue.

 

CHAPTER 17

CHAPTER 17

1 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!

2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.1

4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.2

7 But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?

8 And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?

9 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.

10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.

12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 3

13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,

16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.

17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?

18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.

19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.4

20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 5

21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

22 And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.

23 And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.

24 For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.6

25 But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.

26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.

27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.

28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;

29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.

30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

31 In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.

32 Remember Lot's wife.

33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.

34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.

35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

37 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles7 be gathered together.

1 Then Jesus told the disciples: It is inevitable that testing and opposition to my followers will arise, but woe to the one who brings it!

2 It would be better for that man to have an (anchor) tied around his neck and to be thrown into the sea, than that he should cause a young follower of mine to stumble.

3 So watch yourselves. If a fellow believer does some wrong to you, let him know how he has hurt you. If he repents, forgive (and forget).

4 If he wrongs you seven times a day, and seven times a day comes back saying, “I apologize,” forgive him every time!

5 The apostles now said to the Lord: Increase our faith.

6 The Lord replied: If you had faith as small as a mustard seed, you could cause that sycamine tree over there to be plucked up by the roots and be cast into the sea if you spoke the command to it in faith, believing.

7 Now which of you, whose servant comes in from the fieldwork or the pasture, says to him, “Go sit down, and enjoy dinner”?

8 Don’t you instead tell the servant, “Go prepare my dinner, and after I’ve dined, you can have dinner yourself”?

9 Do you praise the servant for doing nothing more than what is expected of him? Of course not!

10 So likewise you, when you have done all that God commands you to, should have an attitude that says, “We are nothing special--we are only servants doing our duty!” (When you understand that, faith--no matter how small--will help you to effectively do what God has ordained you to.)

11 In time, Jesus passed along the border of Samaria and Galilee on his way to Jerusalem.

12 And as he entered a village, ten lepers met him, and stood a distance from him.

13 They cried out: Jesus! Master! Have mercy on us!

14 When Jesus saw them, he said: Go to the Temple and show yourselves to the priests. As they were on their way to do that, their diseases were cleansed, and dried up.

15 One man, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus and shouted praise to God for the miracle.

16 Then he fell face down at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. This man was a Samaritan, by the way.

17 Jesus looked about, and said: I thought there were ten men cleansed. Where are the other nine?

18 Only one--a Samaritan “stranger” at that--has returned to give God glory.

19 So Jesus told the Samaritan: Arise, and go your way--your faith has made you whole! (And his skin became as if he had never had leprosy.)

20 Now later, the Pharisees came to Jesus and demanded to know when the Kingdom of God would appear (since they knew Jesus had been claiming it was being offered to them). But Jesus said: The Kingdom of God will not start as something you can see with your eyes. (That’s why you all make the mistake of thinking expelling the Romans from Israel is the real proof the Kingdom of God has arrived!)

21 No one will say, “You can see it here,” or, “You can see it there.” The Kingdom of God (starts with the human heart).

22 Jesus told the disciples: The days [of persecution] will come when you will yearn to see one of the wonderful days of the Kingdom that the Son of Man has promised will come, and he will reign in. But you will not see that happen.

23 They will tell you, “He’s here!” or “He’s there!” But don’t believe it or follow them to see if it’s true.

24 For as lightning flashes across the sky from east to west, that’s how quickly the Son of Man will return in his Day (and all the earth will see it).

25 But first, he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation of Israel.

26 When the Son of Man does return, it will be in days similar to when Noah built the ark.

27 In those days, (they didn’t realize judgment was at hand, and) life went on perfectly normal--people marrying and giving in marriage--until the day Noah entered the ark and the flood came and destroyed them all.

28 Likewise, in the day Lot left Sodom, they were eating, drinking, transacting business, planting and building.

29 Yet the same day that Lot left, fire and brimstone fell down from heaven and destroyed all who were left behind.

30 It will be exactly the same when the Son of Man is finally seen by the world for what he is!

31 In that day, let the man on his housetop not pause to take anything out of the house before fleeing. Let the man in the fields not turn back either.

32 Remember Lot’s wife (and how she turned to salt when she looked back)!

33 Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it. Whoever shall lose his life will save it.

34 I tell you that in that night two will be sleeping in bed, and one will be received and taken, while the other will be rejected and left behind.

36 Two men will be out in a field. One will be received and taken, and the other left behind.

37 The disciples asked: Where will they be taken to, Lord? Jesus answered: (To safety above the carnage, as the vultures beneath hover above the battlefield below until the slaughter is over and the feast begins!)

1. Although Jesus seems to suggest that one is required to forgive only if an offending brother repents, Matthew 18:22’s parallel passage reveals we are to forgive all offenses. The exception is if the man rejects the elders of the church who side with the person offended.

2. Jesus is basically saying, “If you had faith to start with, it would grow of its own accord; you wouldn’t need to ask Me to increase it for you.” Interestingly, the most positive thing Jesus ever had to say about the apostles’ faith was that it was “little” (Matt. 6:30); much of the time, they had “no faith” at all.

3. The Torah (Lev. 13) commanded them to stay out of (walled) cities, hence the reason they stood “afar off.”

4. An interesting event showing that while God’s blessing is available to anyone through grace, wholeness comes through praise and thanksgiving. As an interesting side-note, some Jewish legends (Wis. 16:20, 28) held that those who received the manna in the wilderness with thanksgiving were blessed with its tasting like whatever food they wanted. Most of the rest of the stiff-necked Hebrews did not receive that blessing because of their ingratitude--and, although the manna sustained them, eventually they reached a point where they loathed the manna, and desired meat (Num. 11:6).

5. As always, the Jews equate the Messianic coming with deliverance from (temporal) bondage. Jesus likewise reiterates that the coming of God’s Kingdom is starting with a change in the heart of man, and not with the creation of a temporal kingdom of Israel.

6. See the commentary in Matthew 24 for additional information.

7. Most commentators believe “vulture” is a better translation. The verse otherwise is one of the most difficult to exegete clearly, and the paraphrase makes one attempt, which is only a speculation based on a potential tie-in with Rev. 19:17-21.

 

CHAPTER 18

CHAPTER 18

1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;

5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.

7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?1

9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves2 that they were righteous, and despised others:

10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified3 rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

15 And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.

16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.

18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.4

20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.

21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.

22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.

24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?

27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.

28 Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee.

29 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, there is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake,

30 Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.

31 Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.

32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:

33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.

34 And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.5

35 And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging:

36 And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant.

37 And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.

38 And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

39 And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

40 And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him,

41 Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.

42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.

43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.

1 Jesus now spoke a parable to the disciples, illustrating the need for persistent prayer, and not to grow faint:

2 There was once a corrupt judge in a city who had no fear of God, nor respect for man.

3 A widow in that city came to him and (repeatedly) said, “Give me justice against the one who wronged me!”

4 He ignored her for a while, but eventually he said to himself, “I may not regard God nor man,

5 “But this troublesome widow is driving me crazy! I’ll give her the justice she asks for so she’ll get lost!”

6 And the Lord concluded: Note what the corrupt judge said.

7 (If an unjust judge would give justice to a widow he cared nothing for because of her persistence,) won’t God avenge His own elect people who cry out for His help, even if He delays the answer for a long time?

8 I tell you that He will avenge them all at once. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man returns to earth, will his people still have faith in him (or will they have lost their faith, and given up)?

9 Then he spoke this parable about those who thought they were righteous before God, and despised others (who did not measure up to their standard):

10 Two men--a Pharisee and a tax collector--went up to the Temple to pray.

11 The Pharisee stood and prayed like this to himself: “God, I thank you that I am not like the sinners--a thug, an unjust man, or an adulterer. I’m not even like this tax collector!

12 “I fast two days a week, and tithe on all I own!”

13 Meanwhile, the tax collector, standing afar off, would not even lift his eyes up to heaven, but struck his breast, saying, “God--be merciful to me a sinner!”

14 I tell you, the tax collector went home with God’s approval and forgiveness, rather than the Pharisee. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and everyone who humbles himself will be exalted.

15 Later, women brought their babies for Jesus to touch (and bless), but when the disciples saw this, they criticized them.

16 But Jesus called the children to him, and said: Allow the little children to come to me, and don’t hold them back, for the Kingdom of God is made up of ones just like them.

17 And I tell you truly that anyone who does not receive the Kingdom of God (into his heart) like a child will not enter it!

18 Some time later, an important official asked: Good master--what must I do to inherit eternal life?

19 Jesus replied: No man is good--only God is good!

20 But you know the commandments: Don’t commit adultery. Don’t murder. Don’t (kidnap or rob). Don’t lie about someone. Take care of your father and mother.

21 The official then said: I’ve kept all these from my youth, on up!

22 When Jesus heard that, he said: There’s only one thing you haven’t done: Sell all you have, give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, and follow me!

23 When the official heard this, he was very grieved, for he was very rich.

24 When Jesus saw that, he became very grieved himself, and said: How hard it will be for those with riches to enter the Kingdom of God.

25 It is easier for a rope to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.

26 Those who heard this asked: Who can be saved then?

27 Jesus said: The things that are impossible for man are fully possible with God!

28 Then Peter said: We’ve left all to follow you.

29 And he responded: I tell you truly, no man has left house, parents, brothers, wife or children for the sake of God’s Kingdom,

30 Who will not receive much more of these things in this life, and--in the Messianic Age--eternal life.

31 Then he took the twelve aside and told them: Look--we are going to Jerusalem, and all the things the prophets wrote about the Son of Man will come to pass.

32 He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked, abused, and spat on.

33 They will whip him and put him to death--but on the third day he will rise again!

34 But the disciples didn’t understand anything Jesus told them. It was as if the meaning of Jesus’ words was supernaturally hidden from them.

35 Now later, as Jesus approached Jericho, there was a blind man sitting by the side of the road, begging.

36 Hearing the crowd move by, he asked what was happening.

37 They told him that Jesus of Nazareth was coming down the road.

38 When he heard that, he screamed out at the top of his lungs: Jesus--Son of David--have mercy on me!

39 The crowd moving down the road with Jesus tried to silence him, but he screamed out all the louder: Son of David--have mercy on me!

40 Jesus came to a halt, and ordered that the man be brought forth. When they led him over, he asked the beggar:

41 What would you like me to do for you? He said: Lord, let me receive my sight!

42 And Jesus said: Receive your sight then--your faith has saved you!

43 And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, shouting praises to God; and all the people praised God with him when they saw this miracle.

1. The purpose of the parable is to encourage us to pray without ceasing, and not give up even though it looks as if the answer will never come.

2. Jesus here nails down the heresy present in portions of Judaism and Christianity: the conscious or unconscious belief that one is acceptable to God because of his lifestyle. The Pharisee here is no different from the Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, or Orthodox Jew who perceives himself to be in obedience to the commandments, and on that basis feels secure in his relationship with God. Admittedly, it’s human nature to “feel good” when one thinks he’s walking the walk. The truth is, it’s only on the basis of faith and faith alone that Christ is the atonement for our sins that we can feel secure. The danger comes at a point when we do so well at living a lifestyle we believe is expected of us that we start placing our security in our obedience.

3. A critical verse that must be weighed against the false teachings of those who pervert the words of James, and claim our deeds will be some sort of measuring rod of whether or not we are really saved. Here, Jesus makes it clear that the sinner who did nothing more than confess his sin and beg mercy went home forgiven and “justified.” The heresy some denominations teach--that earthly deeds will be reviewed to gauge whether or not eternal life can or will be granted--is directly refuted here. God can never factor in works to determine guilt or innocence, for even the most pious saint stands condemned by his sinful actions in life, however few they may have been, that fall short of the righteousness of God. It is only a question of whether or not we have atonement for our sin, and an impartation of divine righteousness to allow us to dwell in the presence of the Almighty. Works from that point matter only for determining reward or punishment.

Also, various Catholic and Orthodox theologians commonly make the claim that Scripture never teaches the notion of a man confessing sins to someone other than a priest, and being forgiven. This verse refutes that claim.

4. Jesus is neither denying He is good, nor is He denying He is Deity, for He acknowledges He is without sin (John 8:46) and admits he is the “Good Shepherd” (John 10:14). Rather, He is making the point that only God and God alone is truly good. By extension, since Christ Himself admits He is good in the ultimate sense of being the shepherd of God’s flock, He also is affirming His divinity.

5. An interesting verse. There is a possibility that there was actually a supernatural confusion regarding Christ’s coming crucifixion from God sent upon not only the apostles, but upon the devil himself. Presumably, the devil would be able to hear Christ’s own words that He would be crucified and then rise again, yet he follows through with the Crucifixion rather than halting it to frustrate Christ’s ultimate mission and prophecy. Rom. 1:28, 11:8, 1 Cor. 2:8 and 2 Thess. 2:11 speak to God’s sending or allowing supernatural delusion or else false beliefs upon people.

 

CHAPTER 19

CHAPTER 19

1 And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.

2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus,1 which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.

3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.

4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.

5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.

6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.

7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.

8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.

10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

11 And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.2

12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.

13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.

14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.

15 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.

16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.

17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.

18 And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.

19 And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.

20 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:

21 For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.

22 And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:

23 Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?

24 And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.

25 (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)

26 For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.

27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.3

28 And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem.

29 And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples,

30 Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither.

31 And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him.

32 And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them.

33 And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt?

34 And they said, The Lord hath need of him.

35 And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.

36 And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.

37 And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;

38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.

39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.

40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,

42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.

43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,

44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

45 And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;

46 Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.

47 And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him,4

48 And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.

1 Jesus then entered and passed through Jericho.

2 Now there was a chief tax collector who lived there named Zacchaeus, and he was extremely wealthy.

3 He wanted to catch a glimpse of Jesus, but could not see through the crowd because he was a very short man.

4 So he ran on ahead and climbed into a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus, since he was coming that way.

5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and saw him. Then he halted, and said: Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today!

6 So Zacchaeus quickly climbed down from the tree and received him into his house with joy.

7 When the crowd saw it, they all murmured: He’s being the guest of a sinner!

8 But Zacchaeus (--touched in his heart--) stood there, and said to Jesus: Lord, I am giving half my wealth to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone, I am restoring it to him fourfold!

9 Jesus replied to him: Today salvation has come to this house, as Zacchaeus is also a son of Abraham.

10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and save what was lost.

11 As the crowd heard this, he added a parable because he was nearing Jerusalem, and he knew they mistakenly believed he would immediately bring forth the Kingdom of God (and deliver Israel from Rome).

12 So he told them: A (prince) departed for a far country to be corronated king, and he planned to return.

13 Before he left, he called his ten servants and gave each of them an ounce of gold, saying, “Invest my treasures until I return.”

14 But the citizens of his lands hated him, and sent a delegation after him that told his father: “We will not have this man reign over us!”

15 When he returned as king, in complete authority of the kingdom, he called for the servants he had given the money to, wishing to see what they had done with it and how much they had earned for him through buying and trading.

16 The first came up, and said, “Lord, I have turned your one ounce of gold into ten ounces!”

17 The King said, “Well done, you good servant! Because you have been faithful with very little, have charge over ten of my cities!”

18 The second came, and said, “Lord, I’ve turned your one ounce into five ounces of gold!”

19 The King said likewise, “Have charge over five of my cities!”

20 But another came up, and said, “Lord--here is your ounce, which I’ve kept hidden in a pouch.

21 “I feared you, because you’re an austere man who leaves others to take the responsibility for your goods, and then you take from them anything they earn.”

22 Then the King told him, “You wicked servant! I will judge you by the words you just spoke! So you knew I was an austere man who lays the responsibility for my goods on the backs of others, and takes from them the profits they make, eh?

23 “Then why didn’t you at least put my gold in the bank so I could get some interest? (You have shown yourself to be totally useless!)”

24 Then the King said to his guards, “Take his ounce of gold and give it to the man who made ten ounces!”

25 And the guards said, “Lord--he already has ten ounces!”

26 The King replied: “Everyone who has will be given more, and he who doesn’t have shall see taken away from him whatever he seems to have!

27 “Now as for those enemies of mine who said they would not have me to rule over them--bring them here, and slay them before my eyes!”

28 After he had spoken this, Jesus led the way, ascending to Jerusalem.

29 And as he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he called two disciples, and told them:

30 Go into that village over there, and as you enter it you will find a donkey tied up that no one has ever ridden before. Untie it, and bring it here.

31 If anyone asks, “Why are you untying the donkey?” say to them, “Because the Lord has need of him!”

32 So they went out and found it as Jesus had said.

33 And indeed, as they were untying the donkey, its owners accosted them and demanded to know: Why are you untying the donkey?!

34 They replied: The Lord has need of him!

35 So they brought the donkey to Jesus, placed their cloaks upon its back, and sat Jesus upon it.

36 And as Jesus went, the people tossed their cloaks on the road before the beast.

37 When he had come to the peak of the Mount of Olives and began the descent, all Jesus’ disciples loudly began to shout praises to God for all the miracles they had seen,

38 Saying: Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd were offended, and said: Teacher--rebuke your disciples!

40 But Jesus answered: I assure you that if they keep silent, the rocks themselves will immediately shout out!

41 When he neared the city, he looked upon it and began to cry in grief,

42 Saying: Even if today you had recognized God’s peace (and what you should have done to receive it)--but now it is too late, and your eyes are blinded.

43 The days will come where your enemies will dig a trench around you, and they’ll surround you on every side.

44 And they will tear you down, along with your people inside of you, and they will not leave two bricks cemented together--and all this because you did not recognize the day of your visitation.

45 Jesus then went into the Temple and began to throw out those who bought and sold there,

46 Saying: It is written: My house is the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves!

47 And he taught daily in the courts of the Temple, but the chief Sadducee priests, the Torah teachers, and the influential people of the city sought to destroy him.

48 But they didn’t know how, for the people hung on every word Jesus spoke.

1. According to Clement of Alexandria, Zaccheus was another name for Matthias, chosen in Acts to replace Judas.

2. Meaning they expected Jesus, as Messiah, to free Israel as soon as He reached Jerusalem to establish His Kingdom.

3. A parable warning that the Jews who would refuse Christ's authority over them would ultimately perish for it.

4. Headed by the collaborating Sadducees (probably from the Boethusians--the rich, priestly class), the Temple Scribes (Torah teachers), and apparently the influential men of Jerusalem determine to put a stop to Jesus.

 

CHAPTER 20

CHAPTER 20

1 And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders1,

2 And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority?

3 And he answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer me:

4 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?

5 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not?

6 But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.

7 And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was.

8 And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

9 Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time.

10 And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty.

11 And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty.

12 And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out.

13 Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.

14 But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.

15 So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them?

16 He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.

17 And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?

18 Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

19 And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them.2

20 And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.

21 And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly:

22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?

23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me?

24 Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar's.

25 And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's.

26 And they could not take hold of his words before the people: and they marvelled at his answer, and held their peace.

27 Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him,

28 Saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us3, If any man's brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.

29 There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children.

30 And the second took her to wife, and he died childless.

31 And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died.

32 Last of all the woman died also.

33 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife.

34 And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage:

35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:

36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

37 Now that the dead are raised4, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.

38 For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.

39 Then certain of the scribes5 answering said, Master, thou hast well said.

40 And after that they durst not ask him any question at all.

41 And he said unto them, How say they that Christ is David's son?

42 And David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,

43 Till I make thine enemies thy footstool.

44 David therefore calleth him Lord, how is he then his son?6

45 Then in the audience of all the people he said unto his disciples,

46 Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;

47 Which devour widows' houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.

1 During one of the days Jesus was teaching at the Temple and preaching the Gospel, the Boethusians (--the elite of the Sadducee priests--) along with the Torah teachers and city elders, finally came to Jesus.

2 They demanded to know: Tell us by what authority you presume to come here and do these things! Or who was it who gave you authority to do these things?!

3 Jesus replied: I’ll answer that if you’ll answer one thing for me:

4 John’s Baptism (and ministry)--did God give it to him, or was it his own invention?

5 And they reasoned how to answer, saying: If we say God gave it to him, he will ask: “Why didn’t you believe him then?”

6 But if we say John made it up on his own, we’ll be stoned by the people, for they are convinced he was a prophet.

7 So they answered that they didn’t know.

8 Jesus responded by saying: Then I will not tell you by what authority I do these things!

9 Then he told them a parable: A man planted a vineyard, and leased it out to sharecroppers before leaving for a long time to go to a distant country.

10 At harvest time, he sent a servant to the sharecroppers to collect his share of the harvest, but the sharecroppers beat him and sent him back empty-handed.

11 He sent another servant who was also beaten, treated shamefully, and sent back empty-handed as well.

12 So he sent a third. This one was also wounded, and thrown out of the vineyard.

13 Then the lord of the vineyard said, “What shall I do? I know! I’ll send my own beloved son. They may respect him, at least, when they see him!”

14 But when the sharecroppers saw the son coming, they huddled together, and said, “This is the heir--let’s kill him, and take the inheritance for ourselves!”

15 So they threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Now what do you think the lord of the vineyard will do in response?

16 He will destroy the sharecroppers, and give the vineyard to others (who will be faithful). When Jesus’ opponents heard this, they said: God forbid!

17 But Jesus looked them up and down, and said: Then what do you think these verses mean? The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner.

18 Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

19 That did it. The chief Sadducee priests and the Torah teachers realized Jesus was speaking about them directly, and they would have taken him then and there. But they didn’t dare make a move because of the crowds.

20 So they watched him, using spies who infiltrated the crowds, posing as righteous men. They hoped to hear something they could use as evidence allowing them to turn Jesus over to the Roman governor to deal with, using his own power and authority (thus absolving them from blame for whatever happened).

21 These spies told Jesus: Master--we know we can count on you to give an honest answer to a question, because you teach the truth of God without respect for what anyone else thinks.

22 Is it acceptable in the Law for us to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?

23 But he knew their deception, and said: Why are you trying to trick me?

24 Show me a coin of the tribute. Now whose image and name are on it? They answered: Caesar’s.

25 So Jesus answered: Then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, but give to God what is God’s!

26 Thus, they could not get Jesus to say anything incriminating in public, and they were so amazed at his answer that they kept silent after that.

27 Then certain of the Sadducees, who deny there is (an immortal soul or) a resurrection of the body, came up,

28 Saying: Master--Moses wrote that if a man dies childless, his brother must marry his wife and provide him an heir so his bloodline doesn’t die out.

29 Now there were once seven brothers, and the first--after marrying the woman he was betrothed to--died childless.

30 So his oldest brother married her, but had no children either.

31 Then he died and the third brother married her, and this pattern continued until all seven men died without the woman’s ever having a child.

32 Finally, the woman died.

33 Now at the resurrection of the dead, which of the seven would be her husband, since they all were married to her?

34 Jesus answered: Humans in this age marry and are given in marriage.

35 But those worthy of entering into that age and the resurrection of the dead, will neither marry nor be given in marriage.

36 They can’t die either, for they are like the angels of God, and are the children of God, being children of the resurrection.

37 But as touching whether there even is (an immortal spirit or) a resurrection of the dead, even Moses showed that there is at the incident of the burning bush, when he called God, “The God who is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”

38 For God is not a God of the dead, but of those who are alive, (for anyone in Him can never die)!

39 Then a few of the (Pharisee) Torah teachers called out: Master, that was a marvelous answer!

40 After that, the Sadducees gave up, and dared not ask more questions.

41 Jesus now asked (the Pharisees): How is it said that the Messiah is the son of David?

42 For didn’t David himself, in the book of Psalms, say: The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,

43 Till I make thine enemies thy footstool?

44 (Since, in our culture, a father always outranks his son,) how is it that the Messiah is David’s lord if he is David’s son? (The Messiah must thus be the son of a father even greater than David!)

45 Then, in the presence of all the people, Jesus told his disciples:

46 Beware the Torah teachers who wear prayer shawls with long threads, and love to be greeted in the marketplace; and crave the most prestigious seats in the synagogue, and the best seats at banquets,

47 Who oppress widows, seizing their homes while making a show of piety outside by their loud public prayers. These will receive greater damnation than the worst sinners!

1. “The elders” probably refers to the 23 members of the Sadducee Sanhedrin, but possibly to the Great Sanhedrin headed by Gamaliel.

2. An important verse showing, once again, that it is the Sadducees, and not necessarily the Pharisees, who are Christ’s main antagonists.

3. The Sadducees, remember, accept only the first five books of the Old Testament, none of which speaks of the Resurrection, and thus they ask a question in hope of showing how foolish belief in a resurrection of the dead must be.

4. Jesus now shifts His comments to prove that not only is there a resurrection, but that the righteous dead are even now conscious in the grave, for, as shown in Matt. 22:32, God’s words to Moses “I am the God of Abraham,” etc., show that God continues on as the God of the Patriarchs, which is not possible if the dead Patriarchs have passed from conscious existence. The argument is equally valuable against the false doctrine of “Soul Sleep.”

5. Pharisees amongst the scribes.

6. See the commentary under Matt. 22:45.

 

CHAPTER 21

CHAPTER 21

1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.

2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.

3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:

4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

5 And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,

6 As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

7 And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?1

8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.

9 But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.

10 Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation2, and kingdom against kingdom:

11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.

12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.

13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony.

14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:

15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.

16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.

17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.

18 But there shall not an hair of your head perish.

19 In your patience possess ye your souls.

20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.

21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.

22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.

24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;

30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.

31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.

32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.3

33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.4

37 And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives.

38 And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him.

1 Jesus then looked up and noted how the rich were casting money into the (trumpet-shaped) collection boxes.

2 Finally, a poor widow came along and cast in two pennies.

3 Jesus said: I tell you truly--of all the people here, this poor widow gave the most!

4 For they gave offerings to God out of their surplus (after they had paid off all their bills), but she, despite her poverty, gave all that she had to live on.

5 Now some were remarking about how impressed they were with the majesty of the Temple complex, and the way it was built and adorned with carved stones and elaborate gifts consecrated by wealthy patrons to God, but Jesus said:

6 These things you’re looking at--the days will come when not so many as two stones will be left cemented together. All will be thrown down into rubble!

7 So they asked him: Master--when will these things happen? What sign will be happening to show the season is at hand for that?

8 Jesus said: Take care that you are not deceived! As the time draws near, many will come, usurping my position, and saying, “I am the Messiah,” and, “The time (of the Kingdom) is near!” Don’t listen to them or follow them.

9 And when you hear about wars and uprisings, don’t be terrified. These things will come, but the end won’t come quite yet.

10 Then he added: Race will battle race, and kingdom will battle kingdom.

11 There will be great earthquakes, famines, and plagues--and fearful sights and great signs in the skies above!

12 But before all this, they will capture and persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues (and their religious tribunals), and into prisons; and you’ll be taken before kings and governors for (proclaiming who and what I am).

13 But all these persecutions will be an opportunity to testify of me.

14 So decide beforehand not to plan what your defense will be,

15 For I (through the Spirit) will give you the words of wisdom to speak that no one will be able to counter.

16 You will be betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and some of you they will even cause to be put to death.

17 All men will hate you for your being my ambassadors and heralds of who and what I am.

18 But not so much as a hair of your head will be lost.

19 (By standing firm in your faith, you will deliver your souls from true death!)

20 And when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, know that its destruction has come.

21 Let all who are in Judea escape to the mountains, and let those in the city run for their lives. But let no one in the country go to Jerusalem for refuge!

22 For those will be the days of vengeance, so everything that has been prophesied in Scripture will be fulfilled.

23 Woe to those who are pregnant then, and those who nurse infants. At that time will be great distress in the land, and great wrath unleashed upon this people.

24 And the Jews will fall to the sword and be led away as captives to all the Gentile nations, and Jerusalem will be in the control of the Gentiles until the Age of the Gentiles has ended.

25 And (when that Age ends,) there will be things seen in the sun, the moon, and the stars that have never been seen before, while on the earth mankind will be perplexed and powerless to stop nature from turning itself inside and out. Tidal waves will roar across the seas.

26 Men’s hearts will stop out of sheer terror for what they see happening on earth, for the demonic entities in the heavens will be shaken (and cast down to perdition--and the entire universe will heave to and fro with their downfall).

27 Then everyone shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud, with power and great glory.

28 So when you see these things start to happen--look up and lift your heads, for your redemption is at hand!

29 Jesus then spoke a parable: Consider the fig tree, and other sorts of trees.

30 When they sprout leaves, you know summer is near.

31 In the same way, when you begin to see these things happen, know that the Kingdom of God is at hand.

32 I tell you truthfully, the generation that sees these things will not pass away before everything will be fulfilled.

33 The entire universe and the earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

34 And take care that you not get lazy, letting your hearts lead you into dissipation, drunkenness, easy living, and worrying about the cares of this life--lest the day catch you by surprise [for it will be too late to repent at that time].

35 That day will come as fast as a trap catches an animal to those dwelling upon the face of the earth.

36 Keep watch then, and pray always that you will be counted worthy to escape the things that will be coming, and to stand before the Son of Man!

37 Now Jesus would teach in the Temple during the day, and at night he would go out to the Mount of Olives to camp on its slopes.

38 And everyone came early in the morning to hear him preach at the Temple.

1. Following this question, Jesus interweaves prophetic warnings about both the fall of Jerusalem to Titus 40 years hence, and also the fall of Jerusalem in the end times (we can quickly glean this by verse 24 in which Jesus asserts that the state lasts “until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled,” which obviously was far ahead from the generation alive in 30 AD). The difficulty lies in putting the pieces together to gain a clear picture of what is being foretold when.

2. Better translated as: “Race (or ethnic group) shall rise up against race.”

3. Another instance of Jesus making a dual prophecy, for skeptics seize on the fact that apparently He is foretelling His second coming within the lifetime of those listening, when He is referring to two separate falls of Jerusalem, the first of which did come to pass within the lifetimes of those alive when these words were uttered; and the second that will occur within the lifetimes of those who see the Temple rebuilt. Even the apostles, because of statements like this, at first mistakenly believed Jesus would return in their lifetimes--and certainly within the lifetime of John (John 21:23)! It is thus important to understand that while the apostles wrote infallibly, they did not orally teach infallibly, and so the concept of infallible oral tradition is refuted by the Gospel record of some incorrect doctrines verbally taught for a time by the apostles such as that in John 21:23 we’ve noted.

4. A verse commonly employed to help verify the notion of a pre-trib. Rapture. The word for “escape,” interestingly enough, refers not to escaping in the sense of having danger pass over one without harming him, but rather to physically flee or be spatially removed from it.

 

CHAPTER 22

CHAPTER 22

1 Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover.

2 And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.

3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.1

4 And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them.

5 And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money.

6 And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.

7 Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.2

8 And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat.

9 And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare?

10 And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in.

11 And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?

12 And he3 shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready.

13 And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.

14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.

15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:

16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.

17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:

18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

21 But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table.

22 And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed!

23 And they began to inquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing.

24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.

25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.

26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.

27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.

28 Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations.

29 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;

30 That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.4

31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you,5 that he may sift you as wheat:

32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

33 And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.

34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

35 And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.

36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.

38 And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.

39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.

40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.

41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,

42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup6 from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,

46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

47 And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him.

48 But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?

49 When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?

50 And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.

51 And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.

52 Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves?

53 When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.

54 Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest's house. And Peter followed afar off.

55 And when they had kindled a fire7 in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them.

56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him.

57 And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not.

58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not.

59 And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean.

60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.

61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

63 And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him.

64 And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee?

65 And many other things blasphemously spake they against him.

66 And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council8, saying,

67 Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe:

68 And if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go.

69 Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.

70 Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am.9

71 And they said, What need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth.

1 (Now the feasts of Passover and Unleavened bread had come.)

2 And the chief Sadducee priests and the Torah teachers debated how to kill Jesus safely, for they feared the people.

3 Satan then entered Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve apostles.

4 And he went out and conspired with the chief priests and the Temple officers to betray Jesus to them.

5 Jesus’ enemies rejoiced at this, and agreed to pay Judas a bribe for his aid.

6 So Judas agreed to betray Jesus at a time when the crowds weren’t around him.

7 Then came the days of Unleavened Bread, and the time when the Passover lamb was slain.

8 Jesus sent Peter and John into Jerusalem, telling them: Go prepare our Passover so we may eat the lamb.

9 They asked: Where do you want us to prepare it?

10 Jesus answered: When you go into town, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him to the house he goes into.

11 Tell the owner of the house, “The Master asks, ‘Where is the guest chamber where I can eat the Passover with my disciples?’”

12 He will show you a large furnished room on an upper floor. Prepare there.

13 So the two went. It happened as Jesus had said, and they made preparations to hold their Passover seder.

14 Then, when the hour had come, Jesus reclined at the table along with the twelve apostles.

15 Jesus said: I have been anxious to eat this Passover with you before my time of suffering.

16 For I say to you that I will not eat it again until what it represents is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.

17 And he took the cup, gave thanks, and said: Take this, and each of you drink from it.

18 I tell you, I will not drink wine again (until what this represents is on the earth in its fullness in the Kingdom of God).

19 Then Jesus took bread and blessed God. He broke it and handed it out, saying: This is my body, which is given up for you. Continue eating it in remembrance of me.

20 He said the same about the cup, adding: This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

21 But look--the hand of my betrayer is with me on the table.

22 It’s true that the Son of Man will go on to what awaits him, as it was determined--but woe to that man who is betraying him to that!

23 The disciples then began wondering among themselves who would be the betrayer.

24 Then they fell to arguing over which was the most important of them.

25 Jesus watched this, and said: Gentile kings act like gods over their subjects, and the people esteem them for their position and call them benefactors.

26 But you must not be like that! He that is the most important of you must think of himself as no greater than a teacher’s youngest pupil. And the one who considers himself the leader must prove it by being the greatest servant to the rest.

27 For (normally) who is more important? The one who sits and eats, or the servant who brings the meal? The one who sits and eats, right? Yet here I am as the servant (so follow my example).

28 You are the ones who have stood with me during my trials.

29 And I appoint for you a kingdom as my Father has reserved one for me,

30 So you can eat and drink at my table, in my kingdom, and then occupy twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

31 The Lord then spoke to Peter, saying: Shimon! Shimon! Satan has plotted against you (all), to try to sift you like wheat.

32 But I have prayed that your faith not fail you, and when you have found yourself and turned back, strengthen your brothers.

33 But Peter replied to him: Lord, I am ready to go with you to the dungeon and to death if need be!

34 Jesus replied: Peter, the “rooster” won’t crow this morning before you deny knowing me three times!

35 And he added: When I sent you out with nothing but the clothes on your backs, what did you wind up lacking? They answered: Nothing.

36 Then he said to them: Now things are different. He who has a purse, let him carry it (along with his money). He who has no sword, let him sell his cloak and buy one.

37 For I tell you, this prophecy must be fulfilled: And he was reckoned among the transgressors. The things prophesied about me are coming to a head (and you may need to protect yourselves).

38 They said in response: Look, Lord--we have two swords here. Jesus replied: Those will be enough.

39 Then Jesus departed, and as was his custom he went to the Mount of Olives, his disciples following along.

40 When he arrived at his destination, he said to the disciples: Pray that you won’t fall into temptation.

41 Jesus then went ahead a few yards, and knelt down to pray,

42 Saying: Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but Your will be done.

43 Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him.

44 Being in great agony, Jesus prayed more earnestly, and sweat great drops of blood that fell to the ground.

45 When he rose up from prayer and came back to the disciples, he found them asleep, their grief having sapped the strength from them.

46 And he asked them: Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray, lest temptation get the better of you!

47 While he was speaking, a crowd of people led by Judas drew near, and Judas came up to kiss Jesus in greeting.

48 But Jesus said to him: Judas--do you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?

49 When the disciples realized what was happening, they cried out: Lord--do we use the swords?!

50 Then (Peter) struck a servant of the High Priest, cutting off his right ear.

51 Jesus answered: No more! And he touched the man’s ear, and healed it.

52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, officers, and city elders who had come for him: So you come out, armed to the teeth with sword and clubs, like you’re on the hunt for some bandit?

53 When I was at the Temple every day, you didn’t lay a hand on me, but this is your hour, and the zenith of the Power who rules over Darkness.

54 Then they took him off to the High Priest’s palace. Peter, meanwhile, followed from a safe distance to see what would happen.

55 When the crowd had kindled a bonfire in the courtyard, Peter managed to sit down and mingle with them.

56 But a maid saw him by the light of the fire, and fixed her gaze upon him. She said: This man was with him too!

57 Peter immediately denied it, saying: Woman, I don’t know him.

58 After a little while, someone else saw him, and said: You’re also one of them! Peter replied: Sir, I am not!

59 After about an hour, someone else said confidently: I’m sure this man was with him, for he’s a Galilean!

60 Peter responded: Sir, I have no idea what you’re talking about! And as he said this, the “rooster” cried out.

61 It was then that the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered what the Lord had said: “The ‘rooster’ won’t crow before you deny me three times!”

62 And Peter went off and wept bitterly.

63 Meanwhile, the men holding Jesus mocked and struck him.

64 And when they had blindfolded him, they pummeled his face, and said: Prophesy the name of the man who struck you!

65 And many other blasphemous things they spoke against him.

66 When dawn came, the elders of the people, along with the most important priests and the Torah teachers, led Jesus into the chamber of their impromptu sanhedrin. They asked:

67 Are you the Messiah? Tell us! And Jesus replied: If I tell you, you won’t believe;

68 And if I try to defend myself by questioning you, you will neither answer me nor let me go.

69 From now on, the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the Power of God.

70 Then they all said: So you are the Son of God? And he said back: You're proving that I am!

71 So they said: Who needs more witnesses or evidence? We’ve heard him blaspheme out of his own mouth!

1. From this, we can see that Judas betrayed Christ not solely for his own reasons, but partially through direct Satanic influence and deception. As noted in the Matthew commentary, the 30 shekels of blood money was no great amount. What precisely was on Judas' mind in all this we will never actually know.

2. Some believe this is technically incorrect, for in the Old Testament the Passover lamb is not slain on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but on Passover itself, a day before the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins, a point Jewish skeptics sometimes seize upon. However, the two Festivals run into each other, and in this time there was also some argument between the Pharisees and Sadducees over how to determine when Pentecost should fall. This resulted in the Sadducees occasionally trying to use false witnesses to swear they had seen the new moon at a time that would have the calendar support their view on when Pentecost should fall. Compounding the problem, the Essenes kept their own separate calendar, which some think Jesus was following. Passover also falls within the days of Unleavened Bread, when leaven is removed from the house. Because of all this, both Feasts were largely synonymous; and this is Luke’s using a common manner of speech rather than his making an incorrect claim that the Passover lamb is slain on the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

3. This was probably the father and the house of Mark, then a young man. We can surmise this from the fact that in Mark 14:51 a young man, who is often believed to be Mark, accompanies the group to Gethsemane.

4. There is a common Christian misconception that Paul--not Matthias--actually replaced Judas as the 12th apostle, and that he will judge one of the 12 tribes of Israel in the Millennial Kingdom. This is untrue, for Paul was the “apostle to the Gentiles” and presumably will be the chief head of the Gentile Christians.

5. The word for “you” is a plural, suggesting Jesus is stating Satan wants to “sift” the whole group. However, when Jesus speaks in verse 32, all His words are in the singular, and refer to Peter personally.

6. This is not Jesus praying to avoid being beaten and crucified, but rather a plea to avoid whatever was entailed in His ‘becoming sin’ on the cross. Also, the next verse, in which the angel is mentioned, suggests something interesting: that young John Mark was the only one other than Jesus who was awake--for how else could Luke know the angel appeared unless someone other than the sleeping apostles saw it and told him? Additionally, the Diatesseron notes that the angel strengthened Jesus by speaking to Him.

7. By this, we can know it is not yet the actual feast of Unleavened Bread (Nisan 15), for the first day of the Feast is a Sabbath, during which it is forbidden to kindle a fire.

8. Undoubtedly, the local Sadducee Sanhedrin of Jerusalem and not the Pharisee-controlled Sanhedrin, which technically had the right to try Christ.

9. Literally: “You are saying that I am.” Possibly understood as: “By your very actions, you’re saying I am!”--i.e. because of the prophecies that the Messiah would be rejected by Israel.

 

CHAPTER 23

CHAPTER 23

1 And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate.

2 And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.

3 And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, Thou sayest it.1

4 Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man.

5 And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place.

6 When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilaean.

7 And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time.2

8 And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him.

9 Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.

10 And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him.

11 And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate.

12 And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.

13 And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people,

14 Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him:

15 No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him.

16 I will therefore chastise him, and release him.

17 (For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.)3

18 And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:

19 (Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.)

20 Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them.

21 But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.

22 And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go.

23 And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed.

24 And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.

25 And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will.

26 And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian4, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.

27 And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.

28 But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.

29 For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.

30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.

31 For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

32 And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.

33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.

34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them;5 for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.

36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,6

37 And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.

38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.

45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

47 Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.

48 And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts7, and returned.

49 And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.

50 And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counseller8; and he was a good man, and a just:

51 (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.

52 This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.

53 And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.

54 And that day was the preparation9, and the sabbath drew on.

55 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.

56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

1 Then the whole crowd rose up and dragged Jesus off to Pilate.

2 Once there, they began to make accusations against him, saying: We found this man troubling the nation, and forbidding taxes to be paid to Caesar, saying that he, himself, is the Messiah--a king!

3 So Pilate asked: Are you the King of the Jews?! Jesus answered: You said it!

4 Then Pilate said to the chief Sadducee priests and the crowd: I find no fault in this man.

5 Then they became raucous, saying: By his teaching, he’s been stirring up all the Jews from Galilee to Jerusalem!

6 When Pilate heard the word “Galilee,” he asked if Jesus were a Galilean.

7 When they affirmed this, he decided Jesus was Herod Antipas’ responsibility, so he sent him off to Herod, who happened to be in Jerusalem for Passover.

8 When Jesus arrived, Herod was delighted, for he had long wanted to see him, having heard of his miracles. He hoped Jesus would show him one.

9 So Herod interrogated him with many questions, but Jesus wouldn’t even dignify him with an answer.

10 Meanwhile, the chief priests and the Torah teachers had no shortage of vehement accusations to make against him to Herod.

11 Then Herod and his officers set Jesus before them, and mocked him. After draping a rich cloak upon him, they returned him to Pilate.

12 That same day, Herod and Pilate became fast friends. Before this, they were enemies.

13 And Pilate, when he had summoned the chief Sadducee priests, the elders, and the people,

14 Told them: You bring this man to me, and claim he is stirring up an insurrection, but after listening to your charges, I have ruled that he is guiltless of the things you accuse him of.

15 Herod must apparently concur, since I sent you to him, and he returned Jesus alive (--and we know his usual treatment for those threatening him).

16 I will therefore whip him and set him loose (instead of applying a death sentence).

17 For it was a custom at each Feast to give clemency to someone.

18 And they all cried out on the spot: Take this man away! Release bar Abbas instead!

19 Now this bar Abbas was in the dungeon for causing a riot in Jerusalem, and committing murder.

20 Pilate, who still wanted to release Jesus, spoke again, trying to convince them.

21 But they just shouted out: Crucify him! Crucify him!

22 For the third time Pilate spoke, saying: Why? For what crime? I haven’t found anything he’s done that is worthy of the death penalty. I will therefore whip him, and then release him.

23 But they shouted back, insisting on crucifixion. And the voices of the crowd and the chief priests prevailed.

24 Pilate thus gave them the sentence they sought.

25 So he released from prison the seditious murderer they called for, and consigned Jesus to be treated as they demanded.

26 Then the Romans led him away, but they collared a man from Cyrene named Simon, who was coming into town from the country, and laid the cross upon him since Jesus was too exhausted to carry it further. So Simon bore the cross behind Jesus as he walked.

27 A great crowd of people also walked behind, including some women who wailed over what was happening.

28 But Jesus turned to them, saying: Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t cry for me--cry for you and your children.

29 For the days are coming when they will say, “Blessed are the sterile, and the women who have never given birth and nursed children!”

30 People will then say to the mountains, “Fall on us!’ And to the hills they’ll say, “Cover us!”

31 For if they do these things in the spring, when the tree is green (and God has reached out to them), what will happen when the tree dries in winter (and God abandons them)?

32 Two other criminals were also led out to be crucified with him.

33 And when they came to the place called Calvary, they crucified him with the criminals on either side of him.

34 Then Jesus said: Father, forgive them--for they don’t know what they’re doing. Then the guards divided his clothing, and diced for it.

35 And the people stood watching this. The rulers were there with them, jeering: He saved others--let him save himself if he is the so-called ‘Anointed One,’ the Chosen of God.

36 And the soldiers mocked him as well, coming forward to offer him some non-kosher vinegar wine,

37 And saying: If you’re the King of the Jews, save yourself!

38 A sign was nailed over Jesus’ head that said in Greek, Latin and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

39 (Hearing the crowd and seeing the sign,) one of the criminals who was being crucified lashed out at Jesus, saying: If you are the Messiah, save yourself and us!

40 But the other rebuked him, saying: Have you no fear of God, knowing we are all to die this day?

41 And we deserve it for what we’ve done. But this man did nothing to warrant being here.

42 Then the man said to Jesus: Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

43 Jesus answered: I tell you in all truth, today you be with me in Paradise.

44 It was about noon, and a great shadow was over all the earth until about 3 PM.

45 And the sun was dark. Then the curtain in the Holy of Holies was torn down the middle.

46 And when Jesus cried out in a loud voice, he said: Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. Having spoken that, Jesus let go, and released his spirit in death.

47 Now when the centurion overseeing the crucifixion saw this, he glorified God, saying: This man must certainly have been righteous!

48 All the people who had come to (Calvary) saw these events and smote their breasts in grief. Then they returned to Jerusalem.

49 And all Jesus’ acquaintances, and the women who followed him from Galilee, stood a distance away, watching.

50 Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Great Sanhedrin, who was a good and just man.

51 This same man had opposed what the quorum formed against Jesus ruled and did. He was from the city of Arimathaea [Ramallah], a Judean city; and he was one of those who awaited the arrival of the Kingdom of God.

52 He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.

53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in fine linen, and had it lain in a new stone sepulcher where no one had ever been interred before. (So it was not an unclean sepulcher.)

54 Now this was the preparation day, and the Sabbath drew on.

55 And the women from Galilee followed along and saw the sepulcher and how Jesus’ body was laid in it.

52 He went to Pilate, and asked for Jesus’ body.

53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in fine linen, and had it lain in a new stone sepulcher where no one had ever been interred before. (So it was not an unclean sepulcher.)

54 Now this was the preparation day, and the Sabbath drew on.

55 And the women from Galilee followed along and saw the sepulcher, and how Jesus’ body was laid in it.

56 They returned home and prepared spices and ointments. But they rested until the Sabbath had passed, as the commandment required.

1. The paraphrase takes some poetic license here. Since the Greek lacks punctuation, it may not properly convey the tone Pilate is using here, and it is suspicious that after confirming Jesus’ claim to be the King of the Jews (without being appointed to that by Caesar), Pilate immediately ‘finds no fault’ in Him. If, however, Pilate finds this to be nothing but a spectacle in that a helpless prisoner in the clothing of a commoner who’s been beaten black and blue makes the claims to be King of Israel, his response is understandable--for this may only be some madman rambling on about being a king when he is no threat at all. Thus, the paraphrase offers a different way of looking at this event, which may or may not be accurate, but is food for thought.

2. Herod apparently had left his usual residence in Tiberius to come to Jerusalem for Passover despite his usual lack of religious observance.

3. No extra-Biblical evidence exists confirming this apparent custom, although the 2nd century Diatesseron claims the custom held true at all Feasts, not just Passover.

4. Simon’s sons are later mentioned in Mark 15:21, suggesting they--and probably Simon--were Christians.

5. This is one of the verses that call into question the doctrine of Confession. Here, as in the case with Stephen in Acts, while a group is committing the Mortal sin or murder with no sign of repentance, Jesus calls for their sin to be forgiven them.

6. Posca, a Roman vinegar wine.

7. A sign of remorse.

8. Meaning that he was probably a member of the Great Sanhedrin, the body controlled by Gamaliel and the Pharisees, rather than the Jerusalem city Sanhedrin controlled by the Sadducees.

9. The afternoon of Thursday, Nisan 14, 30 AD.

 

CHAPTER 24

CHAPTER 24

1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning1, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.

2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.

3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.

4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:

5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?

6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,

7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

8 And they remembered his words,

9 And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.

10 It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James,2 and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.

11 And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.

12 Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.

14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.

15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.

16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.

17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?

18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass therein these days?

19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:

20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.

21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.

22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;

23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.

24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.

25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.

29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.

31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.

32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

33 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,

34 Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.

35 And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

36 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.

38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?

39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.

41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?

42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.

43 And he took it, and did eat before them.

44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures3,

46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:

47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

48 And ye are witnesses of these things.

49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.4

51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.

52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:

53 And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.

1 Very early Sunday morning, the women, with a few others, returned to the tomb with the spices they had prepared.

2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb’s entrance.

3 Then they entered in, but did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

4 As they stood about, very perplexed, two men appeared in sparkling clothing.

5 As they fell prostrate before them, being terrified, the men said: Why are you looking for the living among the dead?

6 He is not here, but has risen! Don’t you remember how he told you of this in Galilee,

7 Saying, The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and on the third day he will rise again?

8 Then they remembered Jesus’ words.

9 So they returned from the tomb and told all this to the eleven, along with the other followers of Jesus.

10 It was Mary of Magdala, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and some other women with them who told the apostles about this.

11 But their words sounded like women’s rambling, so they would not believe them.

12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb. When he got there, he stooped down to look in and saw the linen wraps laid down by themselves. He then left, wondering what to make of this.

13 That same day, two other of Jesus’ followers were heading for Emmaus, which is seven miles from Jerusalem.

14 The pair were discussing recent events.

15 As they walked and talked, another man caught up to them and began walking with them. It was Jesus.

16 But their eyes were supernaturally closed to seeing him for who he was.

17 And Jesus spoke up, saying: What are you talking about as you walk that makes you look so grieved?

18 One of the two, named Cleopas, answered: Where have you been? Are you a stranger in Jerusalem, that you don’t know what has been happening there over the past few days?!

19 Jesus asked: What things do you mean? So they answered: The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in word and deed before God and all the people.

20 The chief priests and our leaders handed him over to the Romans, who condemned him to death, and they crucified him.

21 We believed that he would be the one who would save and free Israel. It’s now three days since he died.

22 The strange thing is, some women we know told an astounding story about when they visited his tomb early today.

23 They did not find his body, and they claimed they had a vision of angels who told them he was alive.

24 And others we know went to the tomb and found it empty as the women had said, and Jesus was not there. (So we don’t know what to think about all this.)

25 Then Jesus said to them: O fools, with hearts slow to believe what the prophets said in the Scriptures...

26 Wasn’t the Messiah supposed to suffer these things before entering into his glory?!

27 Then, beginning with Moses’ writings and going forward through all the prophets, he showed how the Scriptures foretold all that he would endure.

28 And as they approached the village the two were headed for, he kept walking as though he would continue on.

29 But the pair urged him to come home with them, saying: Stay with us tonight, for evening approaches and the day departs. So Jesus went home to stay with them as they asked.

30 And it came to pass as he sat at dinner with them, that he took bread, blessed and broke it, then gave it to them.

31 Then the mist was gone from their eyes, and they knew at once it was Jesus--but he vanished before they could say a word!

32 Then they said to one another: Didn’t our hearts burn inside of us when he talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures?

33 So they rushed back to Jerusalem, finding the eleven together with other followers.

34 They were told: The Lord has indeed risen--he appeared to Shimon!

35 Then they shared what had happened during their travels, and how they recognized him when the bread was broken.

36 As they were speaking, Jesus himself appeared in the midst of them, and said: Peace be to you.

37 They were terrified and shocked, thinking it was a ghost.

38 But he said to them: Why are you troubled, and why are such thoughts arising in your hearts?

39 Look at the nail holes in my hands and feet, and see it is I. Touch me, and see. A spirit hasn’t got flesh and bones as you see me have.

40 After saying this, he displayed the wounds in his hands and feet.

41 They were so stunned with joy that they couldn’t believe their eyes, so he said to them: Is there any meat here to eat?

42 So they gave him a piece of broiled fish and part of a honeycomb.

43 He took these and ate in front of them.

44 And he said: Remember when I was with you before, I told you all the things had to be fulfilled that were prophesied in the books of Moses, the prophets, and in the Psalms about me.

45 Then he opened their understanding so they could understand the Scriptures.

46 And he said to them: Thus it was written, and thus it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and rise from the dead on the third day;

47 And that, in his name repentance and forgiveness of sins would be preached to all nations, starting in Jerusalem.

48 All of you are witnesses to spread that message.

49 And behold, I will send the promise of my Father (--the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit--) upon you. But stay in Jerusalem until you receive the power from on High.

50 He led them out as far as Bethany. Then he raised his hands and blessed them.

51 And as he was blessing them, he was parted from them and ascended into heaven.

52 And the disciples worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.

53 And they were continuously in the courts of the Temple, praising and thanking God. Amen.

1. There is quite a bit of controversy regarding this otherwise plain statement. “Very early in the morning” is traceable to one Greek word (epiphosk) that essentially means “dusk,” and thus some believe that Jesus arose not on Sunday morning, but Saturday night as the Sabbath ended. This is possible, but is militated against by such things as Matthew 28 in which the Temple guards meet with the Sadducees and concoct the story that they had been asleep while Jesus’ body was stolen.

2. Just who this woman is we cannot know with 100% certainty. While it might make sense to believe this “Mary” (Miriam) is the mother of Jesus as well, as we know from John’s Gospel, Mary is given over to John by Jesus as He dies on the cross, an unthinkable act if she is the mother of James as well as Jesus. At the same time, that she would not have returned to see to the burial needs of her son, leaving that for others, stretches credulity. Ignoring the apparent inconsistencies, it would not, however, be unreasonable from this verse to presume this is the Virgin Mary, who is mother to at least two sons: Jesus and James.

3. This is a very important verse, for it refers to Jesus opening their minds to understand the hidden meanings behind many of the Scriptures. This is how they have the authority to take some Old Testament verses out of their direct context and apply them to Christ even if in their direct context they refer to someone or something else (such as Matthew's use of Isaiah 7:14 which, in direct context, is neither talking about a virgin birth nor the Messiah).

4. Interestingly, Luke compresses Jesus’ 40-day ministry after His resurrection into only one verse.

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