Lectionary Year B
May 7, 2000
Luke 24:36b-48

Step V: Hermeneutical Bridge


(LE) How the passage has been interpreted in the tradition:

I thought it might be intersesting to look at a rabbinic commentary of the pericope inasmuch as during a computer search I found a book entitled Rabbinic Commentary on the New Testament. This commentary looks at three verses and I quote:

verse 38 and why do you question in your hearts. This has a Semitic ring -- the combination of the "rise" and "heart" (mind) [footnoted to Targum, LXX and the Hebrew expression "alu hemahshavah," "came (up) to mind"].

verse 47 that repentance and forgiveness of sins . . . beginning from Jerusalem. It is a common motif that the begginnings of the messianic age shall first be noticeable in Jerusalem. E.g., R. Levi said: ‘All goodness and blessings and consolation which the Holy One, blessed be He, will give to Israel comes only from Zion.’

verse 49 with power from on high (Gr. "ech hupsous dunamin." See Isa. 32.15, "spirit from on high," "ru’ah mimarom," rendered in the Targum, "Spirit from his Shekhinah in the heights of the Heaven." (444)

Calvin’s Harmony of the Evangelists suggests that our pericope and the Gospels of Matthew and John all relate the same narrative. In John and Luke, Calvin relates that the phrase "Peace be to you" means that the addressees are being wished happiness and prosperity. (368) Interestingly, Calvin has included "honeycomb" in his translation in verse 43; however, aside from this inclusion, Calvin states that "Christ really tasted the fish and the honeycomb, in order to show that he was really a man, so we cannot doubt that by his divine power he consumed what was not needed to pass into nourishment." (373) In explaining verse 45 Calvin relates that Christ is now teaching his disciples inwardly by His spirit as words are wasted until we have received (from the Holy Spirit, I think, he is implying) the gift of understanding. (375) In relation to the admonition to remain in the city of Jerusalem Calvin writes, "that they may not advance to teach before the proper time, Christ enjoins on them silence and repose, until, sending them out according to his pleasure, he may make a seasonable use of their labors." (379)

Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplemental Series, 109:The New Literary Criticism and the New Testament. "witnesses of these things" found in Luke 24:48 refers, according to this commentary, to the experiences of Jesus as prophesied in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms; specifically that "the Christ should suffer," and 2) "rise again from the dead on the third day." These form the Christological core of this text and later in verse 47 a missiological dimension is added. Journal for the Study of the New testament Supplement Series,20:Luke - A New Paradigm. This commentary outlines a three-step Resurrection pattern common to Luke: appearance, disbelief- misunderstanding , and reassurance. The physicality of Jesus is stressed in this pericope and Christ eats. The symbolism of Christ eating is not quite clear; however, it is proposed that Ignatius used this pericope to refute Docetism and one may speculate that Gnosticism was a concern of the writer of Luke. This commentary suggests that Luke has appropriated the four substantial points in Matthew’s Farewell; these are: 1) Jesus assures the disciples; 2) Jesus commissions the universal mission; 3) the Church’s message is uplifted -- "a message of the fulfillment of the scripture, Christ’s passion and resurrection, repentance and forgiveness;" (794) and 4) Jesus’ permanent presence -- Luke believes that the reality of the divine presence is being "embodied" in the Holy Spirit.

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