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Luke 23

Why is the Luke’s version of Lord Jesus’ death different from Matthew’s?

Luke only mentioned that Lord Jesus said 

 “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”.

Whereas Matthew also mentioned that Lord Jesus cried out before He died
” Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”

 

The first three gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke are very similar in structure and are called the “synoptic” gospels, meaning they generally have the same point of view.  These three differ greatly from John’s Gospel, which was written later.   “The similarities among these three Gospels include their use of a common outline: introduction; ministry of John the Baptist and the baptism and temptation of Jesus; greater Galilean ministry; journey and ministry through Samaria, Perea, and rural Judea; and passion week, death, and resurrection of Jesus in Jerusalem. They also record the same emphasis in the teaching of Jesus—the presence, nature, and implementation of the kingdom of God.   In addition to similarities there are also striking differences between Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Each Gospel also contains accounts and teachings that are unique. The result is a rich diversity within the synoptic unity which provides portrayals of Jesus from a variety of viewpoints. Matthew emphasizes Jesus’ Jewishness and the continuity of his person and work with the OT. Mark’s fast-moving account presents Jesus as a man of action, the Son of God who was a servant among men. Luke, in exquisite Greek literary style, seems to address cultured Gentiles and shows Jesus as a friend of disadvantaged groups.

Attempts to account for both the similarities and differences within these Gospels constitute the “synoptic problem.” Solutions have been sought in many ways.  The fact remains that the Scriptures present Jesus in various perspectives; the conscientious reader must seek the divine purpose of both the similarities and the differences of these proclamations of “the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

I’ve attached the account of Jesus’ death from each of the four gospels.  You can see the similarities and the differences between the four.  I appreciate the different perspectives in the Gospels and different emphasis depending on their audience.  You might think of these different perspectives as the same event seen from a different eyewitness account. 
 

Luke 16

“The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings

 What does Jesus mean by the above?

It is best to interpret the manager’s actions as being dishonest. This traditional interpretation takes the parable at face value. The only serious criticism in understanding the behavior as being dishonest is a moral one. How can the master commend someone for his dishonesty? Yet the manager is not commended for his dishonesty but for his shrewdness. He is commended for acting and preparing himself for the judgment awaiting him. He is commended essentially for being a shrewd scoundrel and taking care of his future. Jesus in several other places drew lessons from the actions of less than noble characters. In the parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Matt 25:1–13), the wise virgins are in fact quite selfish (25:9). Compare also the behavior of the man who found treasure in his field (Matt 13:44) and how God can be likened to an unjust judge (Luke 18:1–8).

Luke found no difficulty in urging his readers to prepare themselves for the coming judgment, as the dishonest manager did, by acting “shrewdly.” How that shrewdness is to be manifested is, of course, quite different.  (Stein)
 

Luke 14

26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.

Why does He wants us to hate our parents and our family? Isn’t another occasion He said we must love and honour our parents.

Hating others certainly doesn’t fit with Jesus’ command to love others.  So, this should cause to pause and ponder what Jesus really means here.  

From Matt 10:37 we know that hate means to “love [one’s family] less.” This is evident from Gen 29:30–31, where Jacob’s greater love for Rachel (29:30) is phrased as hating Leah (29:31, RSV). Compare also Deut 21:15–17, where the same love-hate dichotomy is used. (The KJV translated the Hebrew literally as love/hate, but the NIV and RSV have translated the Hebrew as loves/does not love and love/dislike.) Compare also 16:13, where a love-hate, devote-despise dichotomy describes preferring one master over another. A person who commits himself or herself to Christ will develop a greater love for both neighbor and family, although at times loving and following Christ may be seen as renunciation, rejection, or hate if the family does not share the same commitment to Christ. (Stein)

Luke 11

Why is the Lord’s Prayer taught by Jesus as recorded in Luke incomplete?

“Some think that Jesus taught the prayer more than once. They point out that this is inherently likely. In Matthew it is delivered during the course of a sermon early in the ministry; here it is apparently much later and is Jesus’ response to a request from a disciple, who may well not have been present on the earlier occasion. Variation would be natural if Jesus was interested in a pattern rather than a rigid insistence on one form of words. Others hold that Jesus gave the prayer once only. They usually think the shorter Lucan version the more original, but hold that Matthew has in places retained more of the flavour of the Aramaic original.” (Morris)
 

Deuteronomy 28

I don’t believe that God gave this curse. It is too vicious.
Moses must have misunderstood God.

30 You will be pledged to be married to a woman, but another will take her and rape her.

Reading the curses that God will bring upon the people if they are not faithful is indeed a very frightening list and challenging to read.  I think Moses is trying to give the people perspective, first on how well things will go if they honour God.  And second, how badly things will become if they fall away.  He wants them to take the covenant with God seriously, because if they do not, they will be destroyed.  

“Moses is a pastor, who sets before the people the way of life and the way of death. Both the lavish promises of blessing as a reward for obedience and the horrific warnings of doom as consequences of rebellion were intended to get the hearers’ attention, to arouse fear, and to warn the people what it would be like to fall into the hands of an angry God.”  Excerpt From: Daniel I. Block. “Deuteronomy.” 

God is patient with his people and even when they fall away, he sends prophets to warn them to turn back.  His patience through has its limits and after centuries of unfaithfulness he finally allows foreign armies to conquer Israel and displace them.  

Deuteronomy 4

“The Lord was angry with me because of you, and He solemnly swore that I would not cross the Jordan and enter the good land…”

God is merciful and forgiving. Then why is He so unfair to Moses, punishing him when it was the Israelites who were disobeying the Lord?

Moses was such a good leader for so many years, it is a shame that he did not get to crossover into the Promise Land.   He wasn’t able to cross, mainly because of his own actions, we read in Numbers 20 what happened.

Numbers 20:9-12

So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him.10 He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?”11 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.

12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”

God was angry with Moses because he failed to honour to Lord as holy and he struck the rock on his own, instead of waiting on the Lord.  But, Moses did this because of the Israelites complaints, so God was angry with the Israelites as well.  

Numbers 31

Reading from the New Testament that Lord Jesus is kind and gentle and forgiving. He told us that God is our loving and merciful Father. Then in the Old Testament, some passages God ordered Moses to take vengeance and kill, including women, and also to plunder. It is really confusing about the two conflicting impressions of God.

This passage and others, Deuteronomy 20:16-17 for example, are extremely challenging.  

“This can only be described as systematic, divinely mandated genocide.7 How can a God of love (1 John 4:8) be so merciless? We cannot simply blame the Israelites; they are the Lord’s agents. Instead of destroying the peoples of Canaan by fire as he did Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:24–28), he used the Israelites as his terrible swift sword, at least partly to teach them faith through the discipline of war (cf. Judg. 3:2, 4).”

“It is pointless either to defend or condemn God (cf. Job 40:2). Our attempts at theodicy—justifying God’s character—are stimulating exercises,11 but in the final analysis we can only stand back and let God be God, admitting that our reasonings are flawed by inadequate perspective. Ultimately, our acceptance of his character is a matter of faith. He has given us plenty of evidence to trust him, but not enough to penetrate all the mysteries of his ways (cf. Deut. 29:29).” (Roy Gane, “Leviticus and Numbers”)

It appears there are times in the Old Testament that God gives up on certain people groups.   The Midianites had lured the Israelites away from God, so there was no mercy given to them in this battle.   There are many instances of God showing mercy to those living in Canaan, but he also has his limits.   They practiced child sacrifice and gross immorality (Leviticus 18:3, 27-28 and Deuteronomy 12:31).

Still, it is difficult to reconcile these passages.

Numbers 11

Question:  What does prophesy mean in this particular case? What were they prophesying about? (Number 11:25-27)

We don’t really know what they were prophesying about, but here is what prophesy probably meant in this context.  “Many scholars take it as an example of the early form of ecstatic prophetic activity, parallel to 1 Sam 10:6–13 and 19:18–24, when Saul (and his men) was endowed with the Spirit of God and began to prophesy in such a manner that was identifiable as prophetic activity.”   (Cole, R. D)

Question:  Why was the Lord so angry about the people eating meat?? After all, He did not make them vegetarians in the first place. (Numbers 11:31-35)

The Lord wasn’t angry about the act of eating the meat, but he was upset that they weren’t satisfied with his provision.  His anger burns against them while they are eating this meat.  

“While the people were processing and eating the quail, the Lord’s anger burned against many of the rabble (hāʾsapsūp, v. 4) who had gathered (wayyaʾaspû, v. 31) too much, and many were struck by a severe plague and died.  The exact cause and nature of the illness is not known; suffice it to say that it was a means in the hands of the Lord to warn, to chastise, and to punish an ungrateful people.”  Van Groningen, G. (1995). Numbers. In Evangelical Commentary on the Bible 

Numbers 5

Today’s reading is very hard for women today to accept.  “The husband will be innocent of any wrongdoing, but the woman will bear the consequences of her sin.”  Even when the husband could just be jealous, maybe for no reason at all?  Could there be an acceptable explanation for this law other than the unequal status of man and woman in those days?

That is a good question and in today’s culture, it certainly doesn’t make sense that this doesn’t go both ways.  Culture definitely played the biggest part in this passage.  Here are a couple of explanations:

Basic Levitical law prescribed death as a penalty for both partners in an adulterous relationship (Lev 20:10). Men and women are equally accountable before God for sexual relationships outside of marriage.  The wife has no reciprocal proviso for bringing charges against a suspected unfaithful husband. Several Pentateuchal passages address issues in which women have legal recourse against men. In Deut 25:5–10 a woman could bring a case against a brother-in-law who failed to fulfill his role in levirate marriage. A violated virgin would be especially provided for by the abusive male (Deut 22:25–29).  Cole, R. D. (2000). Numbers (Vol. 3B, p. 114). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

“Why is the suspected adultery ritual only for a woman? To a modern reader it is unfair that a wife who suspects her husband of illicit sexual activity cannot also put him through the ordeal at the sanctuary. This apparent inequity is mitigated when we take into account the makeup of the society within which the procedure operates. In ancient Israel, legal matters were normally administered by males, and dependent females came under their legal protection and jurisdiction (cf. Num. 30). Men initiated marriage and divorce proceedings (e.g., Deut. 24:1–4) and also charges of sexual misconduct, which could lead to capital punishment (cf. 22:13–21). So women were vulnerable to potentially lethal suspicion of marital infidelity. Moreover, in ancient culture it was a woman’s situation alone that determined whether or not adultery had occurred. If a married man had sexual relations with another woman, it could be a concubine; only if the sex act were with a married woman would it be considered adultery.

To protect innocent but suspected women from the inevitable bias of a male-dominated trial, God removes their fates from human jurisdiction. He can be fair because he alone knows all the relevant facts of a given case. The suspected adulteress ritual is the only instance in all of ancient Israelite jurisprudence in which the Lord promises to judge and render the verdict himself by supernatural means. The right to such a Supreme Court trial belongs only to women.

If God himself clears a woman of suspicion through the stringent and intimidating ritual prescribed in Numbers 5, her husband can rest assured that his wife has been faithful and has nothing to hide. Such assurance will provide a solid basis for restoration of the marriage relationship. Thus, the suspected adulteress ritual reveals concern for the feelings of husbands and wives toward each other.”

(Excerpt From: Roy Gane. “Leviticus, Numbers.”)

The culture was very different from today.  These passages also make me especially grateful for Jesus’ ministry and treatment to women in the Gospels, especially in Luke.  

Leviticus 21

Didn’t Jesus Christ welcomed these very types of people, healed them and loved them and encouraged us to do the same?

It is confusing and even scary about the fearsome and unforgiving God presented here. He kills His people even for very small sins. Yet at other times He can be so compassionate.

These are challenging verses in Leviticus 21.   As the animal sacrifices were to be perfect and without blemish, so too were the priests in order to present these offerings to God.  

In the world of Israelite symbolism, spiritual and moral integrity was expressed in physical wholeness, so men who belonged to the priestly families but who had some physical defect were not allowed to perform the sacrifices at the altar. They were not, however, excluded from the material income and support of the priests, and they could eat the holy food that was the priests’ share. (New Bible Commentary)

It is certainly hard to relate to this today, especially in light of Christ and his active ministry of healing those with physical disabilities.  I believe God was meeting the people where they were at and moving them forward, but in these instances, in my human understanding, I wonder why he didn’t move them farther along then he did.

Genesis 38

How do we reconcile the rampant sexual immorality being described to this point in the story of the building of Israel?  If we somehow give a pass for “building the nation” with multiple wives, or servants, how is prostitution deemed okay and without consequence?

Often the Bible (especially the Pentateuch)  just reports the events of the story and doesn’t add any commentary or judgment from God or the author’s perspective (eg. Genesis 37 when Joseph was beaten and sold and Genesis 38 concerning Judah’s or Tamar’s actions).  It just says what happened.  But, other times it tells us that God wasn’t pleased or that it was a “wicked” act (eg. Genesis 38 Tamar’s oldest brothers).   I think the original hearers of the story would’ve have been very aware of the sexual immorality and that God would not be pleased with those actions.

The Pentateuch (The Torah) is a gospel-type story – that is, it tells us about what God had done for us, and in that setting tells about the response God looks for from us.  It isn’t a story about an ideal world or an ideal people.  It’s about a real world and real people, that kind that we know we are and can see all around us.  It’s teaching about behaviour for a people who are stubborn and have closed minds (Mark 10:5) and it’s God’s attempt to pull this people a bit nearer to what God’s people could be (1 Cor 10).  

Exodus 31

We can gather from this chapter, that God takes rest seriously.   We can certainly see how workaholism can lead to death and that if we don’t slow down, we don’t function well.  The Sabbath, isn’t just for rest though, it’s also remembering who God is and his provision.  The New Testament says that Sabbath was made for man and not man for Sabbath (Mark 2:27).  We also see a new freedom in the New Testament.  I believe observing the Sabbath is still important, but we also have flexibility as to how and when we observe it.  The end of the chapter 31 says that God was refreshed after his rest.  I believe he wants the same for us. 

Genesis 15:16

God already knew His people would be subject to Egyptians slavery for 400 years.   It refers to “the inequity of the Amorite as not yet complete” and therefore Abraham’s descendants can’t return to Canaan and need to dwell in a foreign land till 4th generation.   Genesis 14:13 refers to Abram living by oaks of Mamre the Amorite… Is there any reference in bible as to what the inequity of the Amorites on the land had been, that prevented the Hebrews from moving back to the land sooner?

We hear some of the practices of the Amorites in Deuteronomy 18:9-12; child sacrifices, witchcraft, etc.  Evidence of these practices was discovered in 1929 in an archeological dig at Ras Shamra.

The NLV of 15:16 is:  After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction.”

This gets at God’s patience in his judgment against the Amorites.  It’s not that the Hebrews couldn’t return because of their sin, but rather, God waits to bring his judgment upon them.

Genesis 11
Tower of Babel just makes no sense…. why would God want to confuse their language and made it babel?

Starting way back at Genesis is certainly bringing stories we have have known for years into new light, isn’t it?

In these verses, it seems like God is concerned about the motives behind the tower building –

Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a names for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth (Gen 11:4)

The people were creating to make themselves seem important, to appease their own egos, and certainly did not appear to be doing it for God, or in any ways even thinking about God when they planned this.  They made a selfish decision, which God wanted to put to an end.  It should be about God’s name, not ours.

A second point could be that by building the city, and staying where they were – Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a names for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth (Gen 11:4)  

They were disobeying God’s direct command to Noah after the flood. In  Gen 9:1 God says to Noah “be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth”, and again in Gen 9:7 “be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it”.  The people building it, so that they would not be scattered as God commanded, again was an indication that they had no desire or plan to live trusting in God, and obeying him.  It was all about them – and in this case, about their sense of security if they all stayed together.

God brought down the different languages, or confuse their languages as some translations put it, and scattered them, to reinforce that he is the one to be trusted, obeyed, not their own reputation or false security.  If they had remembered to seek his leading and follow it, the languages and scattering would not have been necessary.

When one looks into the New Testament, some scholars have seen Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2) as the redemption of language.  Though many spoke different languages, they heard the disciples, by the power of the Holy Spirit, speaking in a tongue that they recognized.  As we trust God, lean on Jesus Christ and seek the Holy Spirit, all will be brought back into God’s plan eventually.

Genesis 7 & 8

Is it safe to say the sea animals were safe? Nothing was ever mentioned about them; and they shouldn’t fear flood?

Yes, that’s the general understanding that the sea animals were okay.  Sea animals fall outside the categories of animals mentioned in 7:14.

Genesis  4

Why is the genealogy of Cain recorded?  The Lord has made him a wanderer, yet, He wants to record Cain’s descendants/genealogy, which seems odd that He still cares about Cain’s descendants.

We can’t be sure why Cain’s descendants are recorded, but even though God punishes Cain for killing Abel, He still promises to protect him.  We see the advancement of culture through Cain in these verses.  I think it speaks to God’s generosity and that fact that even though all of us have fallen short, God can still work good through us.

Genesis 3

  1. From verse 3:11, it seems that the serpent was made by God.  Why did God make a crafty serpent?  If it was to test the man and the woman, why did God bother to do the test as He knew about the weaknesses of them?
  2. Assuming the serpent is another term for Satan, then why did God create Satan ( the fallen angel)? When did God create the angel beings? Why did God not destroy Satan when it rebelled against God and allowed it to cause harm to the human beings?
  3. Why did the woman choose to believe the serpent, instead of what God had said in verse 2?  Other than what was said in verse 3:6, was it because the woman did not take God’s words seriously and did not trust God do everything for her good? As the man and woman were created in God’s image and likeness, why would the woman not obey God’s words ? What are the ” likeness” being referred to in Genesis 1:26?  (Carol)

Satan decided to inhabit the serpent, but we don’t see that in the Bible until the New Testament.  (see Revelation 12:9, 20:2 – that mentions Satan as “that ancient servant”)  It appears that before this event, snakes didn’t crawl along the ground.

God created human beings with free will.  Meaning he created them to choose right or wrong, good or evil, to worship God or not.  In order for them to be truly free, they would actually have to have the option to make a bad choice.  This is why God has not destroyed Satan yet (one day, during the final judgment, Satan will be finally destroyed).

We hear about Satan’s rebellion from God in Revelation 12:7-17.  That he was defeated by Michael and his angels.  We see a slight reference to this in Isaiah 14:12 as well.  The Bible tells us that the angels were witnesses to creation, so they were there early on.   Job 38:4, 7

Eve, choose to give into the temptation.  She was enticed.  Adam was given the warning to not eat from that tree, and we can assume that Adam must have told Eve about it.  But Eve, actually misquotes God.  God didn’t say that you couldn’t touch it, just not eat from it.   I think they gave into temptation in the same way we do today.  I often choose what I should not choose.  I regret it and confess it – but I often repeat the same choices.

Image of God or in God’s likeness.  There’s is a lot to say about this, “Humanity is unique among the creatures in that he is like God and therefore able to have communion and fellowship with God.”  I think that is one of the major pieces of being created in God’s image.  It could also relate to authority, respect and honour.

Genesis 2, 3

I thought God gave man the ability to make choices, which I presume was for man to choose to do good vs. evil. 

Yet in Genesis Ch. 2/3, God tells Adam he shall not eat from the tree that would give him the understanding of “Good and evil”?  It seems contradictory to me?

Also interesting to me that in Gen 3, God says since Adam ate the forbidden fruit, now he is “like one of us” (I assume God means like the holy trinity) – knowing good and evil, and then God banishes Adam from the tree of life?  

I’m not sure I follow.  Any thing you could share with me? 

Yes, God gave humanity free will, the ability to make choices.  On one hand, they already had a knowledge of good and evil or right and wrong, otherwise God’s instruction to them to not eat that fruit wouldn’t have made any sense.  But, what exactly did “knowledge of good and evil” mean is open to debate.  I think it has to do with being independent from God.  Adam and Eve were tempted to make their own choice, to go against God’s instructions, and to become like God by acquiring “divine” wisdom.

Yes, the “us” in Genesis 3:22 is the trinity.  So Adam and Eve have experienced independence from God, they have broken that link by “knowing good and evil, which refers to diving wisdom, that corresponds with the idea of becoming like God or the gods.”

So, that break from God, that we can choose against God and live apart from him, has now been introduced into creation.  That brings with it death, so they are sent out from the Garden (from the tree of life.)   In a sense, the rest of the Bible is God’s plan to redeem that break.  Even in Genesis 3 after the break, we see God pursuing relationship with Adam and Eve and providing garments for them to wear.

Genesis 1

Genesis 1:27 said God created man in his own image male and female and that was on the Sixth day. How does this tie in with the description of the creation of Adam and Eve in Chapter 2 ? 

These are really two different, but similar creation accounts. The first, Genesis 1:1-2:3, provides a macro level view of the creation.
While 2:4-2:25 gives a micro view of the events.  Actually the second account goes all the way to the end of chapter 4.  The first account is a general account of creation.  The second account focuses on the beginning of human history, or the perspective of, “What happened to the creation?”