Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Luke 24:1-12

Here are links for Greek commentary on the resurrection accounts in all four Gospel

Summary:
The church normally reserves discussion about doubt for Easter II and the person of Thomas.  But as I read Luke this year, the disciples spiritual blindness and doubt really struck me.  Luke does a masterful scene of portraying the difficulty of that morning and the struggle for the early disciples to believe.  Rather than cast doubt on the resurrection this amplifies its true meaning:  Christ is raised amid the chaos of real life, with darkness, doubt and even despair, not in a fairy tale world where everybody gets it.  Christ is raised and to be praised then, even as we struggle to figure it all out.

Key words:
βαθεως ("very early, or more literally, deep"; 24.1) The dawn is not simply described as early but as "Bathos" or deep. It is a deep dawn.

ευρον ("find", from ευρισκω; 24:2 and 3)  This lent we did a (lectionary based) preaching series on Lost and Found.  Finally we come to the end of Luke's Gospel, expecting to find Jesus.  The disciples too come to the tomb ready to find Jesus.  They instead they found the stone rolled away; more significantly, they did not find Jesus.  A possible preaching trajectory:  We do not find Jesus, we can only find evidence of the resurrection.  In short, we can linger in the tombs, linger in history, linger in apologetics, linger in "historicity" but none of this will ever show us Jesus.  The living Jesus must find us.  This finding us likely includes times of wonder, disbelief and pondering of what it all means.  In short, the disciples are all lost because they cannot fathom the height and depth of the resurrection.  Perhaps we do well, for a moment, to consider how mind-bending this is (see the work of NT Wright for the utter "shock" of the resurrection.)

απορεισθαι ("at a loss"; 24.4)  Previously I offered a break down of this word that is incorrect.  I offered that the word for "at a loss" is related to the word for vision -- "apo-ora-oo" literally "away from sight."  I leave this mistake on my blog as a reminder that learning means making mistakes!
 
It turns out this word is α-πορεω not απο-ρεω.  This means the word is:  "to be without resources, to be in straits, to be left wanting, to be embarrassed, to be in doubt, not to know which way to turn."  It adds to the level of confusion in the whole story.

τον ζωντα ("the living"; really "the living one"; 24.5)  Oddly enough, the translators are too literal here with the phrase "why are you searching for the living among the dead." The phrase "the living" is exactly what it says in Greek, word for word, but the grammar of the sentence dictates the translation:  "the one who is living" or "the living one."  Point A)  "The living among the dead" is more poetic.  When it comes to preaching, go for it!  Point B) It amplifies the confusion of the disciples.

ηπιστουν (disbelieving, from απιστεω; 24.11)  It is not only Thomas who doubts, but the whole crew!

θαυμαζω ("wonder"; "amaze"; 24.12) The word here is "thaumaz-oo" means "amaze" or "wonder" in Greek. You can even see the word "amaze" in it (even though M-W.com does not give this as the etymology. Whatever.)  The vast majority of the time Luke uses this verb, it means wonder, as in amaze. For example, when Zachariah writes, "His name is John (1:63)" or when Jesus sees a person's faith, he is amazed (7:9 Roman centurion). So it seems a bit odd that Peter, according to the NIV and  NET translators, is left wondering and not being amazed. But perhaps a bit of a play on this is a helpful insight into all of us -- we are both wondering and amazed.

προς εαυτον ("to himself"; 24.12)  Most translators take the phrase, "to himself" to mean "to his possessions," namely, Peter's house (including BDAG).  Hence they translate it "Peter went to his house."  Yet, Peter does not necessarily go to his home. It literally says, "He went away to himself." This could just as naturally read, "He went away by himself." As the KJV puts it "wondered in himself."  Most translators likely base their translation on John 20:10, where it is more clear that the disciples went home.  But Luke's imagery is of Peter walking away by himself, pondering these events, likely without any real direction in his wanderings.

Some translation help (and perhaps a nugget for a sermon):

Three "buts"
μεν...δε (24.1):  The last verse of chapter 23 has a μεν, which demands a δε.  They both mean but/and, but are put together to form a pair, like:  "On the one hand, but on the other."  Luke lets us know that the story keeps going!

αλλα (24.6):  This is the "big" but, the one that lets you know what comes before and after are significantly different (and cannot be joined by a simple word 'and').  In this case, the only "bit" but in the section comes between "He is not here" BUT "He is risen!"

σαββατων 24.1 Grammar note: The Greek literally says, "On the first of the Sabbath." This means the first day after Sabbath (ie the first day of the week), which would be the 8th day, or Sunday. This is why we worship as Christians on the 8th day, the day after the Jewish sabbath. Also, Jesus will appear to Thomas 8 days later, reaffirming this 8th day connection! (In Luke's Gospel, Jesus was also transfigured on the 8th day)

ιδου 24.4 The word "suddenly" is actually an interjection -- "idou" (like the Hebrew henneh)

μνησθητε 24.6 The word here for "remember" is related to the word for "tomb" (both have the same root, which in English comes in as mnemonic.

αροματα 24.1 The word for spice is "aroma"

αποκεκυλισμενον 24.2 Grammar note: The word "rolled away" is a participle here. It is perfect passive. This is a helpful verb for understanding what the perfect in Greek means. The stone had undergone the action of being rolled away and its present state was a result of that action. Perhaps a sermon idea: Something has been permanently changed by the Resurrection. The tombstone is gone

αστραπτουση 24.4 The angles in the tomb are flashing; Jesus says the son of Man will be "flashing" in his coming. (17.24)...hmm...Perhaps Luke suggests that in the resurrection, the kingdom has come?

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