Bailey, Kenneth E.. The Cross & the Prodigal: Luke 15 Through the eyes of Middle Eastern Peasants, second edition. (IVP Books, Downers Grove IL, 2005). (A)
————————- Finding the Lost Cultural Keys to Luke 15. (Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis MO, 1992). (B)
————————- Jacob and the Prodigal: How Jesus Retold Israel’s Story. (Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove IL, 2003). (C)
Byrne, Brendan. The Hospitality of God: a Reading of Luke’s Gospel. (Liturgical Press, 2000 , Collegeville MN).
Craddock, Fred B. Luke. Part of Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching edited by James L. Mays. (John Knox Press, Louisville, 1990).
Culy, Martin M., Mikeal C. Parsons, and Joshua J. Stigall. Luke: A Handbook on the Greek Text. (Baylor University Press, 2010, Waco TX).
Fitzmyer, Joseph A. The Gospel According to Luke I – IX. A New translation with Introduction and commentary. Part of the Anchor Bible Commentary Series edited by W. F. Albright and David Noel Freedman. (Doubleday, New York, 1970).
————————– The Gospel According to Luke X – XXIV. A New translation with Introduction and commentary. Part of the Anchor Bible Commentary Series edited by W. F. Albright and David Noel Freedman. (Doubleday, New York, 1985).
Gillman, John. Luke: Stories of Joy and Salvation. Part of the Spiritual Commentaries on the Bible series edited by Mary Ann Getty-Sullivan. (New City Press, Hyde Park NY, 2002).
Gonzalez, Justo L. Luke. Part of the Belief: A theological commentary on the Bible series, Amy Plantinga Pauw and William C. Placher General Editors. (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2010).
Hendrickx, Herman. The Third Gospel for the Third World. (Liturgical Press, Collegeville MN, 1997).
- Volume One – Luke 1:1-2:52
- Volume Two – A Luke 3:1-6:49
- Volume Two – B Luke 7:1-9:50
- Volume Three – A Luke 9:51-13:21
- Volume Three – B Luke 13:22-17:10
- Volume Three-C Luke 17:11-19:44
- Volume Four – A Luke 19:45-21:38
Johnson, Luke Timothy. The Gospel of Luke. Part of the Sacra Pagina biblical commentary series edited by Daniel J. Harrington S.J.. (Liturgical Press, Collegeville MN, 1991).
Levine, Amy-Jill and Marc Zvi Brettler editors. The Jewish Annotated New Testament / New Revised Standard Version Bible Translation. (Oxford University Press, New York, 2011).
Marshall, I. Howard. The Gospel of Luke. Part of the New International Greek Testament Commentary (NIGTC) series edited by I. Howard Marshall and Donald A. Hagner. (Eerdmans, 1978, Grand Rapids MI)
McKenna, Megan. Luke: The Book of Blessings and Woes. (New City Press, Hyde Park NY, 2009).
Patella, Michael F.. The Gospel According to Luke. Part of the New Collegeville Bible Commentary edited by Daniel Durken O.S.B. (Liturgical Press, Collegeville MN, 2005).
Walker, Thomas W.. Luke. Part of the Interpretation Bible Studies series . (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2001).
Conspiracy against Jesus
Gonzalez p. 243: “Ironically, all of this happens as the greatest religious festival in Israel is approaching. It is a feast that celebrates Israel’s deliverance from the imperial yoke of Egypt; and yet the religious leaders of Israel now plot to turn Jesus over to the new imperial power, Rome.”
Caught in between a rock and a hard place perhaps. Normal population of 50,000 to 100,000 swells up by two or three times that number for this feast. Crowds, preaching, celebrating but also danger in things getting out of control. Danger of this radical preacher from Galilee being claimed as Messiah / King and revolt breaking out. In all this confusion and crowding finding Jesus at a particular place and time not a simple matter – so when Judas presents himself, the authorities hurry to take advantage of his offer.
Iscariot – may have been a town, may refer to Sicari – knife / rebels.
Preparations for the Passover
The synoptic gospels (Mark, Matthew, and Luke) agree that the Last Supper was a Passover meal on the first night of Passover. (It would have been celebrated then quite differently than it is now.) John’s gospel presents the Last Supper as the night before Passover – with the death of Jesus coming at the same time (on the next day) when Passover lambs were being slain. For the first 1,000 years of our Church we went with the gospel of John and thus used regular bread for the Eucharist. Then we suddenly shifted to the idea that the Last Supper was a Passover meal and went to the use of unleavened bread for Eucharist.
It is possible to read this section (as we did with Gospel of Mark last year) as reflecting the increased tension and even secretiveness on the part of Jesus. Hidden signal of man carrying a water jar (unusual, not totally bizarre). Or, can be read as a larger theological or religious theme – all happens according to God’s plan.
Tradition’s site of the upper room today revered by Jews as burial site for David, by Muslims, and by Christians.
Gonzalez p. 246 quotes Catholic theologian Karl Rahner: “From the Last Supper there stretches the unbroken chain of all those whom Jesus has sent out on his mission with his word. Link after link falls into place in this succession of the living bread and the earthly wine, this chain of human words and human signs.”
Gonzalez p. 247: “At the Passover, not only the past but also the future is remembered. The Passover is a celebration of the certain hope that the God who brought the people out of Egypt will again lead the people into renewed life and freedom. Likewise, when we “do this” in remembrance of Jesus, we remember not only his cross and resurrection, but also the promise that we will again drink with him of the fruit of the vine in the kingdom of God.”
Gonzalez p. 248: “Theologians have been so engrossed in the questions of freedom, predestination, and predeterminism that we have often obscured the bitter irony of the narrative itself. Jesus has just declared that his body will be given up for them, and there sits Judas, who has already arranged to give up the same body in exchange for money. Presumably Judas too has eaten of the bread and drunk of the cup. He too has heard that the body of Jesus is being given up for him. And he knows that it will be given up by him!”
The disciples have doubts and questions, will prove unfaithful shortly. Gonzalez p.248: “At Communion we do not celebrate our own faithfulness (tempted as we may be to do so) but the faithfulness of the Lord. If all who doubt our own faithfulness were barred from Communion, none of us would be able to come to the table.”
Role of the Disciples and Peter’s denial foretold
Jesus will suffer and calls his disciples to serving and suffering. That is where greatness is measured and meaningful. The disciples still, at this late date, do not get it.
Peter remains confident in his own faithfulness but it will not be adequate. Only the Lord is truly faithful.
Instructions for the Time of Crisis
Gonzalez p. 249: “During their earlier mission, the disciples had no need to carry provisions, for many would receive them. Now, as their Lord is about to be rejected, they too will be rejected. The time of general acceptance is past. Now comes the time of resistance and rejection. The time of the easy mission is past. Now mission requires endurance, preparation, and provision.”
Are they to take up arms???? More symbolic according to most scholars.
Agony in the Garden
The verses in parentheses do not appear in all ancient manuscripts.
Gonzalez p. 251: “Looking at prayer as a relationship between child and parent helps us avoid the two extremes mentioned above (demanding insistently, passively accepting). When approaching a parent, one does not demand that something be done. Respect for the parent’s authority and wisdom precludes that. But on the other hand, one who really trusts a parent does not simply say, “Whatever you say is all right with me.””
Three actions going on: Jesus prays, the disciples sleep, and Judas slinks off to get the authorities
Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus
He is arrested at night when the crowds are asleep. The text emphasizes that a riot may have erupted had it been done in the daylight or on Temple grounds. Things are done in the dark, out of sight, that cannot be done in the light of day.
Peter’s Denial of Jesus
Gonzalez p. 253: “Calvin says that Peter ‘had to meet Christ’s eyes to come to himself.’ Like Calvin, most interpreters stress the themes of sin, repentance, and forgiveness. There is not doubt that this is central to the passage. Even though he had been forewarned, Peter still succumbed to temptation. And even though he had fallen into apostasy, he could still repent, be forgiven, and become a leader in the early Christian community.”
Though Jesus has prophesied correctly throughout his ministry and in particular with the words of Peter – he is now mocked as a false prophet by the soldiers.
Jesus before the Sanhedrin
Trial before the Sanhedrin is held in daylight – a requirement of Jewish law. The historical accuracy of some things is hard to pin down as the first century was a time of great upheaval and change in social and religious institutions and customs. The image is of 70 rabbis under the leadership of the High Priest. Another gospel has only the high priest interrogating Jesus.
Jesus does not technically commit blasphemy or any other offense. He once again proclaims the “great reversal” – first will last etc. to now – the persecuted one will sit at the right hand of the Father.
Jesus before Pilate & Jesus before Herod & Pilate’s Sentence of Death
The gospel makes clear that there are a number of charges – all of which are false or misleading. Both Pilate and Herod see through the machinations of the Jewish leaders and find Jesus to be interesting or pathetic or innocent – and not threatening.
Gonzalez p. 257: the ‘people’ now reappear and for the first time are NOT supporting Jesus. “The implication is that, while they accuse Jesus of stirring up the people and perverting them, it is the chief priests and their entourage who have actually perverted the people. One could suggest that this would not be difficult. If Jesus was accused of claiming to be a king, and of commanding people not to pay taxes to the emperor, anyone defending him could easily be tarred with the same brush.”
Barabbas = son of the father. He is released, the true Son of the Father is condemned.
Way of the Cross & Crucifixion
The address to the “women of Jerusalem” is really an address to everyone. The evil that results in the death of Jesus will be even more intense later.
Gonzalez p. 263: three crosses; three groups around the cross (people, leaders, soldiers); three sayings of Jesus from the cross; three responses to his death (centurion, the women, all the people).
Gonzalez p. 264: “The scoffing presents a subtle but piercing irony: both the leaders and the soldiers call on Jesus to save himself. Particularly the leaders say: “He saved others; let him save himself.” Luke’s intended readers (presumably all Christians) would know that Jesus cannot save himself because he is actually saving others.”
Death of Jesus & Burial of Jesus
Nature responds to the death of Jesus with darkness. The veil in the Temple (with stars etc. on it) is torn from top to bottom.
A number of theological metaphors and understandings over HOW Jesus saves us have co-existed in the life of the church. Substitutionary atonement is one answer – our sins incurred a debt with God that Jesus’ death makes up for. Other approaches include the idea that Jesus was obedient to the Father even unto death – an obedience that God rewards with reconciliation with all of the earth.
Witnesses to the burial are important – Jesus really DID die.
Gonzalez p. 272: God rested in heaven on the first Sabbath – inaugurating creation, Jesus rests in the tomb that Sabbath – a new creation to emerge?
Who are “they”? We find out in connection to previous passage and at the end of this one that is the women – Mary Magdelene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James. It is significant that they are the first witnesses to testify that Jesus was risen – and that the reaction, even of the 11, is skepticism. This was NOT expected (Judaism had come to believe in a general resurrection of the dead – involving everyone at onece). The women had been at the cross as well. They remained faithful when the 11 had run.
No one is witness to the resurrection. They encounter angels with the message of resurrection and an empty tomb with burial garments in it.
Resurrection begins a new story. It is the hinge of history – not so much the death on the cross (as important as that is). Gonzalez p. 275: “…Christians have been rediscovering the significance of the resurrection as victory over the powers of the old age, and as the beginning of a new order and a new history pointing to the final establishment of the reign of God.”
Appearance on Road to Emmaus
Gonzalez p. 277 points out that news of the resurrection is not enough to encourage or sustain the disciples. They need to understand how it all fit together with the history of Israel and the expectations for the Kingdom of God – that is what Jesus provides on the journey to Emmaus. Then there is a ‘real seeing’ of the news, and of Jesus. As with the blind man who is cured – true seeing is possible. “The good news is not only that he is risen, but also that Scripture has been fulfilled.”
Gonzalez p. 278: “The scriptural teaching and the meal go together; they illumine and enrich each other. Without the one, the other loses something important. The Word and the Sacrament stand together: the Word explains the Sacrament, and the Sacrament enacts the Word and makes it a reality for the disciples.”
Once they “get it” they hurry to proclaim it – to the disciples in Jerusalem.
Appearance in Jerusalem
Gonzalez p. 279: “The Jesus who repeatedly ate with his disciples, with sinners, with publicans, and with Pharisees now eats his last meal before leaving his disciples in the ascension. He does this in order to prove that he is not just a vision or a ghost, that he has really conquered death.”
Note : our teaching is that Jesus was raised from the dead by the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit and the participation of Son. He did not raise himself. Sometimes the translations are ambiguous about it. See the Catechism of the Catholic Church numbers 648, 649, and 650. We are, remember, dealing with a mystery here.
This will be the bridge to the continuation of the story in the Acts of the Apostles.