Last Thursday, I appeared in court prepared to begin a complicated trial but the judge, in his infinite wisdom, decided that a related matter should be resolved prior to the trial. This month I was prepared to try four different matters but everyone was continued.
The Day of Atonement was then and is for Jews today a time of contemplation, prayer, meditation, stock-taking, repentance and atonement. On this day the entire Book of Jonah was and is read. Jonah was chosen because it illustrates the power of repentance and shows that man cannot escape the power and presence of God. Ezekiel had individualized the prophetic doctrine of retribution and with it, its counterpart, repentance. But it was the Prophet Hosea who was the great proponent of the doctrine of repentance. Luke was very familiar with the Books of Jonah, Ezekiel and Hosea. Luke has seized upon the developing consciousness of individual piety of the great prophets of Judaism and utilized these concepts[i] of prayer, repentance and almsgiving to explain the spiritual dynamics of the kingdom.
[i]. The third concept is 'almsgiving' when expressed as a true sacrifice where the donor derives no benefit from the gift and someone in need benefits thereby. The concept of sacrifice was so strong the terminology carried over to almsgiving, prayer and repentance as 'service of the heart' even before the destruction of the Temple.