Rev. Dr. Edgar Mayer – Toowoomba 2000
Studies In Luke – Acts: The Exodus (Lk 9:31) In Jerusalem (4)
On the Mount of Transfiguration Jesus converses with Moses and Elijah about the coming exodus/exodos in Jerusalem: "They appeared in glorious splendor and spoke about his exodus which he was about to accomplish in Jerusalem [single tradition]" (Lk 9:31). The word exodos means 'going out' and may either refer to Jesus' death in Jerusalem (cf. Weish 3:2; 7:6; Sir 38:23; Ant 4:189; Virt 76-77; 2 Peter 1:15: notice that here a person's exodos is at the same time his eisodos into the kingdom of the Lord) or recall the Old Testament exodus which will be emulated by Jesus in Jerusalem (cf. title of the book of Exodus; Exodus 19:1; Numbers 33:38;1 Kings 6:1; Psalm 105:38; 114:1; Hebrews 11:22; VitMos I:105,122; II (III):248; frequently in Josephus: Ant 2:271; 3:305; 5:72; 8:61; Ap I:230; ... ). It is probable that the word exodos in Lk 9:31 combines both meanings of the word and thus interprets Jesus' going out of this life as an exodus which mirrors the magnitude of the Old Testament exodus. Especially the episode on the Mount of Transfiguration makes consistent use of Old Testament typologies and with the help of these portrays Jesus as a mosaic figure. It would come as no surprise if the word exodos was employed as another typological reference which associates the mosaic figure Jesus with a saving exodus in Jerusalem. Further evidence only needs to strengthen this basic observation.
2. The Exodus As The Fulfillment Of The Covenant With Abraham
Luke clearly raises the expectation that Jesus will fulfill God's covenant promise to Abraham. Carroll writes: "Specifically, the stories and speeches of these chapters (Lk 1-2) locate the fulfillment of Israel's hope in the person of Jesus ... the Magnificat implies ... that Jesus will continue God's activity of role reversal, turning the table on rich and poor, strong and weak, lofty and lowly (1:51-53) ... this extension into Israel's present experience of God's role reversing activity entails succor for Israel, as prophesied by Isaiah (Isa 41:8-9) and as promised to Abraham and his descendants (Lk 1:54-55) ... fulfillment through Jesus of God's covenant promise to Abraham will finally enable God's people to serve him faithfully, free of fear stemming from the oppression of their enemies (1:72-75) ... " (Carroll, J.T.: Response to the end of history. Eschatology and situation in Luke-Acts, Society of Biblical Literature Dissertation Series 92, Atlanta 1988). Dahl writes: "Luke seems to think all messianic prophecies reiterate and unfold the one promise to the fathers, first given to Abraham" (Dahl, The Story of Abraham in Luke-Acts, in: Keck, L.E. - Martyn, J.L. (Hg.): Studies in Luke-Acts, Essays Presented in Honour of Paul Schubert, London 1966, 139-158). Cf. Lk 1:55,70-74; Acts 3:13,18,21,25; 26:6.
Then Luke explains that Jesus' resurrection has fulfilled the covenant promise to Abraham: "We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus ... and all who were appointed to eternal life believed" (Acts 13:32-48). Jesus' resurrection honoured the covenant promise to Abraham because now all people may be raised to eternal life (cf. Acts 3:25-26: "And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, 'Through your offspring all people on earth will be blessed.' When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways."; 23:6; 24:15; 26:6-8: "And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our fathers [hope of the resurrection] that I am on trial today ... "; 28:20). This at the same time frees from satanic bondage and blindness: " ... sending you ... to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me" (Acts 26:17-18). Cf. Lk 4:5-6; 13:16; 22:3,31,53; Acts 10:38; 13:10; 26:18. Also Lk 8:11-13; 11:14-26; 8:26-39; 22:44; Acts 5:3.
Of particular importance is now Stephen's speech in Acts 7:2-53. Here Luke suggests that the fulfillment of the covenant with Abraham was first of all the Old Testament exodus from Egypt: " ... The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham ... 'Leave your country and your people,' God said, 'and go to the land I will show you.' So he left the land of the Chaldeans ... God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land ... God spoke to him in this way: 'Your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years,' But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,' God said, 'and afterward they will come out of that country and worship me in this place' (Acts 7:2-7); "As the time drew near for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt greatly increased" (Acts 7:17). In Acts 7:2-53 Luke suggests that the fulfillment of the covenant with Abraham was first of all the exodus which was performed through Moses (Acts 7:35-36).
Then Luke draws close typological parallels between Moses and Jesus. O'Toole writes: "The most extensive typology between Moses and Jesus occurs in the speech of Stephen. Moses is educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians (Ac 7:22); Jesus grows in wisdom and grace (Lk 2:40,42). Both are powerful in word and work (Lk 24:19; Ac 7:22). The mission of neither one is understood (Lk 9:45; 18:34; 24:25; Ac 1:6 etc.; Ac 7:25,27). Through Moses' hands God gives salvation (sooteerian; Ac 7:25) to the Israelites; there is no LXX original for this. 'Salvation' is assigned to Moses because of Jesus (sooteeria: Lk 1:69,71,77; Ac 4:12); in Ac 7:35 (cf. 7:27) archonta kai lutrooteen are predicated of Moses since God raises Jesus to his right hand as archeegon kai sooteera (Acts 5:31). Never in the LXX is lutrooteen used of Moses. But lutrousthai expresses the expectation of the two disciples of Jesus in Lk 24:21, and lutroosis relates to Jesus in Lk 1:68; 2:38. Both Moses (Ac 7:35,39ff; cf 15:21) and Christ (Ac 3:13f) are rejected (arneisthai) although they performed signs and wonders (terata kai seemeia: Ac 7:36; cf 2:22)." What O'Toole writes is convincing because Acts 7:2-53 explicitly invites the discovery of such typologies. Moses is quoted as saying: " ... God will send you a prophet like me from your own people" (Acts 7:37).
The typological parallels between Moses and Jesus in Acts 7:2-53 are extensive and lead to the assumption that Jesus' exodos in Lk 9:31 may indeed recall Moses' exodus from Egypt. In Acts 7:2-53 the exodus fulfills the covenant promise to Abraham and is such a key-element in the entire speech that a typological correlation between Moses and Jesus which stops short of paralleling the mosaic exodus with Jesus' saving deeds would be surprising. According to Luke both Moses and Jesus fulfill God's covenant to Abraham. Moses frees the people from bondage in Egypt through an exodus at the Red Sea. Jesus frees the people from satanic bondage through an exodus involving his death and resurrection.
[In Lk 9:28 only Luke writes that the events on the Mount of Transfiguration take place "after about eight days". Scholars speculate on the significance of the number eight. Thesis: The number eight is mentioned in Luke-Acts and relates to God's covenant with Abraham (Lk 1:59; 2:21; Acts 7:8). By recalling the number eight in Lk 9:28 Luke may have wanted to alert his readers that something will happen in connection to God's covenant with Abraham. And something was about to happen, namely Jesus' exodus which is mentioned in Lk 9:31. According to Acts 7:2-53 an exodus can be expected as the fulfillment of God's covenant promise to Abraham.]
3. Episodes That Foreshadow Jesus' Exodus In Jerusalem
Lk 4:28-30 and 8:22-9:6 seem to anticipate Jesus' saving work in Jerusalem and interestingly provide further confirming evidence for interpreting the term exodos in Lk 9:31 on the background of the Old Testament exodus from Egypt. Luke, who likes to work with typologies, relates certain Gospel episodes to Jesus' ministry in Jerusalem and at the same time further plays on the typological connection with the mosaic exodus.
3.2 Lk 4:28-30: " ... He walked through the middle of them and went on."
Lk 4:16-30 (bigger unit: Lk 4:14-44) has long been recognized as being programmatic for Jesus' ministry. A diagram may illustrate the different programmatic segments:
|1. Lk 4:16-21: " ... 'The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of God's favour.' ... 'Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.'"||1. Jesus' program of preaching and healing is not confined to Nazareth but culminates in his visitation of Jerusalem (Lk 19:44) and the ensuing mission to the ends of the earth.|
|2. Lk 4:22-24: "All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. 'Isn't this Joseph's son?' they asked. Jesus said to them, 'Surely you will quote this proverb to me: Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.' 'I tell you the truth,' he continued, 'no prophet is accepted in his hometown.'||2. These verses may foreshadow that the people's intitially favourable response to Jesus in Jerusalem (Lk 19:48) will turn into mockery and rejection. Lk 4:23 in fact seems to anticipate Lk 23:35: "Jesus said to them, 'Surely you will quote this proverb to me: Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum'" (Lk 4:23) – " ... They said: 'He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.' (Lk 23:35). Jerusalem's prophet Jesus will be rejected in Jerusalem which confirms that no prophet is accepted in his hometown (cf. Lk 2:29; 13:33; See also Luke's use of patris in Lk 4:24 and his avoidance to equate Nazareth as Jesus' patris - Mk 6:1; cf. Mt 13:54).|
|3. Lk 4:25-27 (single tradition): "I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet no one of them was cleansed – only Naaman the Syrian."||3. Just as the prophets Elijah and Elisah helped Gentiles and not their fellow-Jews so the saving work of the prophet Jesus will mainly benefit Gentiles and not fellow-Jews. Throughout Luke-Acts Jews consistently oppose Jesus while Gentiles welcome him which eventually leads to the following pointed conclusion of Luke-Acts: "'Go to this people and say, 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.' For this people's heart has become calloused; ... ' 'Therefore I want you to know that God's salvation has been sent to the Gentiles and they will listen'" (Acts 28:26-28; cf. Acts 13:45-48; 18:5-6).|
|4. Lk 4:28-30 (single tradition): "All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. But he walked through the middle of them and went on."||4. These verses once again hint at events in Jerusalem. Jerusalem and not Nazareth is the city on a hill. The description "the brow of the hill on which the town was built" is non-sensical for Nazareth but befits Jerusalem (cf. Isaiah 2:2; 4:5; Jer 31:6,12; Ps 2:6; Mt 5:14; ... ). Just as in Nazareth people want to kill Jesus but he escapes with his life to bring salvation to other places (Lk 4:31-44) so people want to kill Jesus in Jerusalem but he escapes his death through the resurrection to bring salvation to all nations (Lk 24:46-49). What is of interest now is that the way Jesus' escape is described in Lk 4:28-30 somehow echos an exodus event. There is a going through/dierchomai the middle/dia mesou of hostile forces. That last observation is not conclusive but nevertheless suggestive.|
3.3 Lk 8:22-9:6: The Exodus 'Through' The Lake
Lk 8:22-9:6 may likewise anticipate Jesus' saving work in Jerusalem and provide further clues to the typological background of Jesus' death and resurrection. Once again a diagram may be helpful:
|1. Lk 8:22-25: "One day Jesus said to his disciples, 'Let's go over to the other side of the lake.' So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that they were filled and in great danger. The disciples went and woke him ... He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided and all was calm. 'Where is your faith? he asked his disciples ... "||1. Lk 8:22-25|
|2. Lk 8:26-39: "They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs ... For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man ... 'Legion', he replied, because many demons had gone into him. ... When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned ... When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus' feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid ... The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 'Return home and tell how much God has done for you.' So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him."||2. Lk 8:26-39: |
|3. Lk 8:40-56: "Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were waiting for him. Then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue,... pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying. As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years ... Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came ... In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.' ... Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up ... "||3. Lk 8:40-56: |
|4. Lk 9:1-6: "When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick ... "||4. Lk 9:1-6: |
The various pericopes of Lk 8:22-9:6 (Lk 8:22-25,26-39,40-56; Lk 9:1-6) narrate a chain of events that mirrors Jesus' saving work in Jerusalem. Furthermore the various pericopes of Lk 8:22-9:6 include typological references to the Old Testament exodus which suggest that Jesus' saving work in Jerusalem may also echo the Old Testament exodus: Jesus, like Moses, has power over threatening water and guarantees a miraculously safe passage through the raging sea. After crossing the water into another region he drowns a legion in the water that has just been crossed. These observations need not be convincing on their own but they are suggestive.
Lk 4:28-30 and Lk 8:22-9:6 yielded further clues that confirm the interpretation of the word exodos in Lk 9:31 as a reference to a salvific exodus event of Old Testament proportions.
We have said earlier: Lk 9:10b-50 contains a chain of events which reflects the events in the book of Exodus and may be tagged in the following way: "Feeding with Manna" (Lk 9:10b-17); "Mount Sinai" (Lk 9:18-36); "Golden Calf" (Lk 9:37-50). Jesus' "exodus" in Jerusalem now adds another link to this typological chain of events: "Feeding with Manna" (Lk 9:10b-17); "Mount Sinai" (Lk 9:18-36); "Golden Calf" (Lk 9:37-50); "???" (Lk 9:51-19:10); "Exodus" which leads to the promised land (Lk 19:11-24:53). Now we need to have a look at Lk 9:51-19:10 which scholars call the Lukan travel narrative. The writer's thesis will be that the Lukan travel narrative continues the typological chain of events within Lk 9:10b-24:53 and reflects the Old Testament wandering in the wilderness.