PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS
|The Mission of the Twelve||Sending Out the Twelve||Commissioning and Instruction of the Twelve||Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Disciples||The Mission of the Twelve|
|Herod's Anxiety||John the Baptist Beheaded||Herod Asks About Jesus||Herod's Confusion||Herod and Jesus|
|The Feeding of the Five Thousand||Feeding the Five Thousand||Five Thousand Fed||Jesus Feeds Five Thousand||The Return of the Apostles–Miracle of the Loaves|
|Peter's Declaration About Jesus||Peter Confesses Jesus As the Christ||Peter's Confession||Peter's Declaration About Jesus||Peter's Profession of Faith|
|Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection||Jesus Predicts His Death and Resurrection||Jesus Speaks about His Suffering and Death||First Prophecy of the Passion|
|Take Up the Cross and Follow Him||On Discipleship||The Condition of Following Christ|
|The Kingdom Will Come Soon|
|The Transfiguration of Jesus||Jesus Transfigured on the Mount||The Transfiguration||The Transfiguration||The Transfiguration|
|The Healing of a Boy with an Unclean Spirit||A Boy Is Healed||Epileptic Child Healed||Jesus Heals a Boy with an Evil Spirit||The Epileptic Demoniac|
|Jesus Again Foretells His Death||Jesus Again Predicts His Death||The Passion Foretold Again||Jesus Speaks Again About His Death||Second Prophecy of the Passion|
|Who Is Greatest?||Who Is the Greatest?||True Greatness||Who Is Greatest?||Who Is Greatest?|
|He Who Is Not Against You Is For You||Jesus forbids Sectarianism||The Unknown Exorcist||Whoever Is Not Against You Is For You||On Using Jesus' Name|
Events on the Way to Jerusalem
|A Samaritan Village Refuses to Receive Jesus||A Samaritan Village Rejects the Savior||The Hostile Samaritans||A Samaritan Village Refuses to Receive Jesus||A Samaritan Village is Inhospitable|
|The Would-Be Followers of Jesus||The Cost of Discipleship||Claims of Discipleship||The Would-Be Followers of Jesus||Hardships of the Apostolic Calling|
READING CYCLE THREE (from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")
FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT THE PARAGRAPH LEVEL
This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.
Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.
1. First paragraph
2. Second paragraph
3. Third paragraph
WORD AND PHRASE STUDY
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: LUKE 9:1-6
1And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. 2And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing. 3And He said to them, "Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece. 4Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that city. 5And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them." 6Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.
9:1 "He called the twelve together" Possibly all twelve were not with Jesus all the time. They had responsibilities at home with their families (cf. 1 Tim. 5:8) and it is quite possible that different groups of Apostles (four groups of three) went home at different times for short periods.
Here Luke seems to follow Mark 6:7 in calling the disciples "the Twelve" (dōdeka, MSS P75, A, B, D, W), but some Greek manuscripts address them as
1. his disciples – in several lectionaries
2. his twelve disciples (cf. Mark 10:1) – MSS C3, E, F, H
3. twelve apostles – MSS א, C*, L
The UBS4 gives "the Twelve" a B rating (almost certain).
▣ "gave them power and authority" Dunamis means the ability to overcome; exousia means legal right or authority. These two terms are used earlier in Luke 4:36, also in connection with Jesus' exorcisms of demons. See Special Topic: Luke's Use of Exousia at Luke 20:2.
▣ "over all the demons and to heal diseases" Notice the distinction that is made between demon possession and physical illness. Demons often cause physical symptoms, but in exorcisms there is a clear distinction in the NT between demonic activity and physical diseases. See Special Topic: The Demonic at Luke 4:33.
9:2 "He sent them out" The term "sent" (apostellō) is related to the term "apostle" (apostolos). The primary meaning in rabbinical circles was "to send someone" as an official representative with authority. They were to preach that the kingdom of God had come in Jesus of Nazareth and then confirm their message with signs.
Jesus' power and authority can be delegated to His followers. Surely there is an intensity shared between the Twelve and Jesus that cannot be duplicated, but God's power is available to His church. Where is the power in our day? It seems that these power signs are used to confirm the gospel message and give credence to the gospel preacher. This is still true today. However, in cultures where the gospel message has taken root, then believers must walk by faith, not by sight; trust in God, do not demand miracles (cf. John 4:48). Miracles are not the answer to faith problems! It is also very possible that the judgment of God on the modern western church is the perception of success, but the reality of ineffectiveness.
Signs and miracles, as well as demonic and angelic activity, increased in Jesus' and the Apostles' day. This spiritual activity is surely present in every age, but it intensified at Jesus' first coming and will intensify again as His Second Coming draws near.
I rejoice in the manifestations of God's love and power (i.e., the gifts are still active), but I trust in gospel truths, not the presence or absence of physical confirmations. Miracles and signs can be counterfeit (cf. Matt. 24:24; 2 Thess. 2:9; Rev. 13:13; 16:14; 19:20). Believers must not demand confirmation! Childlike faith is spiritually superior to supernatural signs and wonders.
This is a good place to compare Luke's account of the mission of the Twelve to Matthew's account (cf. Matt. 10:5), where Jesus specifically says not to go to the Gentiles or Samaritans, but only to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel." The questions arises, what exactly did Jesus say? Does Luke edit Jesus' words or does Matthew expand Jesus' words? This is the kind of question that cannot be answered. Each evangelist (Gospel writer) had a particular audience in mind (Matthew – Jews, Luke – Gentiles). They select, arrange, and adapt Jesus' words to fit this target audience (see Fee and Stuart, How To Read the Bible For All Its Worth, pp 127-148 ). This example of the sending of the Twelve illustrates the differences! This does not violate inspiration; it is part of it!
▣ "the kingdom of God" This was the central thrust of Jesus' teachings. It relates to the reign of God in human hearts now that will one day be consummated with God's reign over all the earth (cf. Matt. 6:10). This new day of God's activity (the New Age of the Spirit) began in Jesus' ministry. They did not yet know all the gospel details, but they did know the gospel person—Jesus. It is Him they preach. See Special Topic: The Kingdom of God at Luke 4:21.
9:3 "Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff" There seems to be a contradiction between this verse and Mark 6:8. Some explain it by saying that there was a confusion in translating the two Aramaic terms. Others assert that "a staff" is mentioned because often it had a secret compartment for carrying money. Although I cannot explain the discrepancy, it is obvious the main thrust of this verse is that they were to depend on God's provision, not their own. It is also obvious that this was not a universal principle to be followed in all ages (cf. Luke 22:35-36).
These comparisons are confusing and painful to our simplistic understanding of the nature of the inspiration of the Gospels, but we cannot get away from them. A good discussion of this and other "discrepancies" between Gospel accounts is found in Hard Sayings of the Bible, pp. 422-424.
9:4 "Whatever house you enter, stay there" The disciples were not to be moving from house to house seeking better food or accommodations, but were to stay where they were first invited. This showed the community that they were not self-seeking.
9:5 "shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them" This was a cultural sign of rejection. The rabbis did this whenever they had to travel through Gentile areas before reentering Jewish areas. It was also used in the book of Acts (cf. Acts 13:51). This may have been a subtle way of treating Jewish unbelievers the way they treated Gentiles.
9:6 As Jesus passed through all the villages preaching and healing, so now the Apostolic group mimics the Master. See Robert Coleman's The Master Plan of Discipleship.
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: LUKE 9:7-9
7Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was happening; and he was greatly perplexed, because it was said by some that John had risen from the dead, 8and by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of old had risen again. 9Herod said, "I myself had John beheaded; but who is this man about whom I hear such things?" And he kept trying to see Him.
9:7 "Herod the tetrarch" This refers to Herod Antipas. He was the one who had John the Baptist beheaded and was ruler of Galilee and Perea. He took power from his father, Herod the Great, in 4 b.c. and reigned until a.d. 39. See Special Topic: The Family of Herod the Great at Luke 3:1.
Luke mentions this Herod often.
1. his perplexity and desire to see Jesus, Luke 9:7-9
2. his attempt to kill Jesus, Luke 13:31-33
3. his questioning of Jesus at the request of Pilate, Luke 23:8-12
▣ "he was greatly perplexed" This is an imperfect active indicative, which refers to repeated action in past time. Luke uses this term (diaporeō) several times (Luke 9:7; Acts 2:12; 5:24; 10:17). It is not used by any other NT writers.
▣ "John had risen from the dead" Matthew (cf. Matt. 14:2) and Mark (cf. Mark 6:14) tell us that Herod was worried about Jesus being John the Baptist.
9:8 "by some that Elijah had appeared" In this context all three of the guesses involve a resuscitation. They are repeated again in Luke 9:19. Elijah and John the Baptist were both prophets, similar in their lifestyle and dress.
9:9 "I myself had John beheaded" The fuller account is in Mark 6:14-29.
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: LUKE 9:10-11
10When the apostles returned, they gave an account to Him of all that they had done. Taking them with Him, He withdrew by Himself to a city called Bethsaida. 11But the crowds were aware of this and followed Him; and welcoming them, He began speaking to them about the kingdom of God and curing those who had need of healing.
9:10 "When the apostles returned, they gave an account to Him of all that they had done" Jesus tried to provide a time ofdebriefing, rest, and recuperation, but from Luke 9:11, it is obvious that a crowd followed Him. It is amazing how Jesus always had time for common people (welcoming, speaking about the Kingdom, and curing those in need). But He needed time alone with the Twelve. See Robert Coleman, Master Plan of Discipleship.
▣ "to a city" There are several textual variants.
1. "a city" – MSS P75, אi1, B, L, X (UBS4 gives it a B rating)
2. "a town" – MS D
3. "a desert place of a city" – MSS A, C, W
4. "a desert place" – MSS אi*,2 (similar to Matt. 14:13; Mark 6:32)
Again the variants do not affect the meaning of the text.
▣ "Bethsaida" This is a city on the north side of the Sea of Tiberias (cf. John 6:1, Sea of Galilee). The name means "house of hunting." This was the home of Peter, Andrew, and Philip (cf. John 1:44; 12:21). Philip the tetrarch had enlarged this village into a city and renamed it Julias, after Augustus Caesar's daughter (cf. Josephus Antiq. 18.2.1).
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: LUKE 9:12-17
12Now the day was ending, and the twelve came and said to Him, "Send the crowd away, that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside and find lodging and get something to eat; for here we are in a desolate place." 13But He said to them, "You give them something to eat!" And they said, "We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless perhaps we go and buy food for all these people." 14(For there were about five thousand men.) And He said to His disciples, "Have them sit down to eat in groups of about fifty each." 15They did so, and had them all sit down. 16Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them, and broke them, and kept giving them to the disciples to set before the people. 17And they all ate and were satisfied; and the broken pieces which they had left over were picked up, twelve baskets full.
9:12 Jesus' popularity had caused Him to preach out in the countryside; no building was large enough and the Jewish leaders did not want Him preaching in the Synagogues. The problem was that there were no facilities in these remote areas to accommodate the needs of the crowd (food, shelter, latrines, etc.). The Apostles were exhibiting concern and practicality, but Jesus wanted them to exhibit faith!
9:13 "You give them something to eat" The account of feeding the five thousand is recorded in all four Gospels (cf. Matt. 14:13-31; Mark 6:32-44; John 6:1-4). These miraculous feedings were tremendous evidences of Jesus as the promised Messiah based on the rabbinical interpretation of OT promises about the Messiah providing food, like Moses (cf. Deut. 18:15,18; Ps. 132:15; Isa. 49:10). It is even possible it is an allusion to 2 Kgs. 4:42-44, which would make it another sign of Jesus' prophetic role. However, they are also related to the temptation experiences of Jesus (cf. Luke 4:3-4). Quite often the crowds misunderstood His motive and followed Him for the wrong reasons (cf. John 6:14,15).
▣ "We have no more than five loaves and two fish" We learn from John 6:9 that this was one boy's lunch. Jesus' command (aorist active imperative) was met with an analysis of their resources. They were not trusting in His provision!
▣ "unless" This is a third class condition which usually has ean, but here it has ei (cf. 1 Cor. 14:5 and Phil. 3:12). This denotes potential action.
9:14 "(For there were about five thousand men)" Exactly how large the crowd was is uncertain, but the presence of at least some women and children is probable, indicating many more people.
▣ "Sit down to eat in groups of about fifty each" Jesus organized the task. Just think of how many groups of fifty it would take to accommodate 5,000 plus people. Even with twelve disciples serving them, this was a major task!
9:16 "He looked up to heaven" Jesus knew and acknowledged the source of His power. The typical physical position for Jewish prayer was:
2. hands lifted to God
3. eyes open looking up
4. direct address to God
▣ "He blessed them, broke them, and kept giving them" The first two verbs are aorist active indicatives, implying a prayer and a breaking, but the third is an imperfect active indicative, implying a continual giving. The miracle continued to occur as He broke the food and kept passing it out! Think again of the size of this crowd! The disciples were amazed again.
9:17 "twelve baskets full" "Baskets" are also mentioned in the feeding of the four thousand, found in Mark 8:8. But, the baskets there are large, hamper-sized baskets (spuris), while the baskets in this text are small knapsacks (kophinos). The disciples collected the food to eat later. Jesus did not regularly multiply food for the disciples' needs.
Luke follows Mark's chronology, but for some reason, a major section of Mark (i.e., Mark 6:45-8:26) is omitted between Luke 9:17 and Luke 9:18. The exact reason is uncertain, but most scholars assume it has to do with Luke wanting to keep Jesus' activity in Galilee. Mark's Gospel has Jesus' activity outside Galilee (Mark 6:14-8:30). Luke's structure is Jesus traveling to Jerusalem. To maintain this emphasis he omits some events of Jesus' life that Mark chose to include.
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: LUKE 9:18-22
18And it happened that while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him, and He questioned them, saying, "Who do the people say that I am?" 19They answered and said, "John the Baptist, and others say Elijah; but others, that one of the prophets of old has risen again." 20And He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" And Peter answered and said, "The Christ of God." 21But He warned them and instructed them not to tell this to anyone, 22saying, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day."
9:18 "while He was praying alone" For a fuller discussion of this event see Matt. 16:13ff. Luke records Jesus praying before the major events of His ministry much more than any of the other Gospels. He was praying alone, possibly removed a distance from the disciples; the phrase may mean that only Jesus and His special inner circle of disciples (Peter, James, and John) were present.
▣ "Who do people say that I am" The same three guesses mentioned in Luke 9:8 and 9 are repeated here. It is important that Elijah is connected with the Messianic kingdom (cf. Mal. 4:5). "One of the prophets of old" possibly refers to Moses' statement in Deut. 18:15,18 about "the Prophet."
9:20 "But who do you say that I am" The "you" (plural) is emphatic. This question was given to all the disciples.
▣ "The Christ of God" Peter, as a spokesman for the others, affirmed that Jesus was the promised Messiah (see Special Topic at Luke 2:11). Christ is the Greek translation of "the Anointed One." However, their concept of what this meant was formed more by rabbinical Judaism than Jesus' teachings (cf. Acts 1:6). The Jews of Jesus' day were expecting an empowered Jewish leader, like the Judges of the OT, to militarily free Israel from foreign domination and restore the Jews to a place of power and independence. In a sense this judgmental aspect is exactly what He will do when He returns. However, they had missed the Gen. 3:15; Psalm 22; Isaiah 53; Ezekiel 9-14; Zechariah 9 aspect of a humble, suffering, and dying Savior.
9:21 "But He warned them and instructed them not to tell this to anyone" These are two strong terms for a command, even an implied threat. There has been much discussion about this because it seems so unusual. Apparently the gospel was not yet complete and they had nothing to tell except their false Messianic views (cf. see full list of texts at Luke 8:56). We must remember that these Gospels were written decades after the events. The Evangelists knew the full account, but they (except John) wrote as if it was an unfolding truth to their readers.
9:22 "The Son of Man" This was Jesus' self-chosen designation. It had no rabbinical connotations. It is a phrase that means "human being" (cf. Ps. 8:4; Ezek. 2:1). However, in Dan. 7:13-14 it involves the idea of deity. See Special Topic at Luke 5:24.
▣ "must" This Greek word, dei means "necessity." Jesus had to suffer (cf. Luke 9:44; 12:50; 13:33; 17:25; 18:31-33; 22:37; 24:7,26,46). What a shocking reflection on human sin (cf. Mark 10:45; 2 Cor. 5:21)! In a sense this term should be translated with all the following phrases.
▣ "suffer many things" The great stumbling block to Jesus being the Messiah for the Jewish people was His suffering and death (cf. 1 Cor. 1:23). The OT seems to depict one coming of the Messiah, in power and glory. The NT reveals that such passages as Gen. 3:15; Ps. 22; Isa. 53; Ezek. 9-14; and Zech. 9 describe the coming of the Messiah as a Suffering Servant, which the Jewish nation—and for a long time, the Apostles—misunderstood.
▣ "be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes" This may be an allusion to Ps. 118:22 (cf. Luke 20:17). The term "rejected" is a legal term for the examination and rejecting of someone. This series of nouns reflects the deliberations of the Sanhedrin, which was the ruling court of the Jews in Jerusalem made up of seventy members that had limited authority under the Roman Empire.
Jesus fully understood His mission and its cost (cf. Mark 10:45). See Special Topic below.
▣ "raised up on the third day" Jesus was in the grave somewhere around thirty hours, but in Jewish reckoning of time, it was three days (cf. 1 Cor. 15:3-4). Each part of a day, twilight to twilight, was counted as a full day.
1. died at 3 p.m., but buried before 6 p.m. on Friday (day one)
2. in the tomb all of the high holy Sabbath of Passover Week (day two)
3. arose sometime before dawn Sunday following the high holy Sabbath (day three)
This phrase could refer to Hos. 6:1-2. It is interpreted in a similar way in the Aramaic Targum on this verse. However, Jesus seems to be making an allusion to Jonah 1:17 (cf. Matt. 12:39; 16:4). This type of predictive sign was exactly what the Pharisees were asking for in Luke 9:12 (cf. Matt. 16:4). This type of prediction was the basis of defining a true prophet according to Deut. 13:2-5; 18:18-22. Jesus gave them sign after sign, but they could not comprehend. Luke used the phrase "three days" often (cf. Luke 9:22; 13:32; 18:33; 24:7,21,46; Acts 10:40) in connection with Jesus' resurrection.
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: LUKE 9:23-27
23And He was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 24For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. 25For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? 26For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God."
9:23 "if" This is a first class conditional sentence which is assumed to be true from the writer's perspective or for his literary purposes.
▣ "anyone" Here again is the mystery of election and free will. Jesus' invitation is wide open to all (possibly all who had heard Him preach and were fed), but we know from other texts that no one can respond without the wooing and drawing of the Spirit (cf. John 6:44,65). Food alone is a poor motive (cf. John 6:15).
▣ "he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me" There are three imperatives in this phrase. The first is an aorist middle (deponent, "deny himself"), followed by an aorist active ("take up daily"), but then a present active ("and continue to follow Me"). There is a gate and then a road (cf. Matt. 7:13-14). There is an initial response and an ongoing response. Both are necessary! This speaks of our once-and-for-all death to selfish ambitions and our ongoing followship of Jesus (cf. Matt. 10:38; Gal. 2:20; 6:14). The Jews understood that "the cross" referred to a once-for-all death. Condemned criminals had to carry their own cross (the top beam) to the place of execution. We die to self so as to live daily for God (cf. Rom. 6; 8:36; 1 Cor. 15:31; 2 Cor. 5:14-15; Gal. 2:20; 1 John 3:16).
The Fall (Genesis 3) has made mankind's independence and self-centeredness the goal of life, but now believers must return to selfless dependence on God. This should become a world view and life directive (i.e., daily). It is not a one-time decision, but a recurrent, volitional choice of priorities (cf. Luke 14:33).
9:24 "life. . .life" There is a play on two connotations of the Greek word psuchē, which reflects the OT term nephesh. Both of these terms simply refer to a human's personality or life force (cf. Luke 17:33; Matt. 10:38-39; John 12:25). I think these two terms relate to the two Jewish ages. Physical life is bound to this fallen age of rebellion, but eternal life is part of the age to come. See Special Topic: This Age and the Age to Come at Luke 9:2.
Not only is there a play on the word "life," but also on the word "save." Its OT sense was physical deliverance, but its NT connotation is eternal spiritual salvation.
Our decisions about knowing, trusting, and following Jesus have in-time and beyond-time consequences! He lay down His life for us; we must reciprocate (cf. 2 Cor. 5:14-15; Gal. 2:20; 1 John 3:16)!
9:25 This is a penetrating question. It is very similar to the parable of the rich fool in Luke 12:16-20. Those who cling to this world (age) lose the next. One cannot serve/love God and mammon (cf. Luke 16:13; Matt. 6:24).
9:26 "whoever" The warning is as wide as the invitation (cf. Luke 9:23,24).
▣ "is ashamed of Me and My words" This refers to the time when each person is confronted with the gospel. This same truth is expressed in a different way in Matt. 10:32-33 and Luke 12:8-9. What people decide today about the gospel determines their future. Jesus is the gospel!
▣ "when He comes" The OT clearly reveals one coming of the Messiah. However, Jesus showed that Gen. 3:15; Psalm 22; and Isaiah 53 also refer to a suffering of the Messiah. The second glorious coming of the Messiah as Lord and Judge of the Kosmos will be exactly the way the Jews were expecting Him to come the first time. Their closed-minded, theological dogmatism caused them to reject Jesus.
The Second Coming is a major and oft repeated NT truth (cf. Matt. 10:23; 16:27-28; 24:3,27,30,37; 26:64; Mark 8:38-39; 13:26; Luke 21:27; John 21:22; Acts 1:11; 1 Cor. 1:7; 15:23; Phil. 3:20; 1 Thess. 1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:16; 2 Thess. 1:7,10; 2:1,8; James 5:7-8; 2 Pet. 1:16; 3:4,12; 1 John 2:28; Rev. 1:7).
▣ "In His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels" This is an OT prediction from Dan. 7:10 (cf. Matt. 16:27; Mark 13:20; Luke 9:26; 2 Thess. 1:7). This refers to the Second Coming. This was another way of asserting the deity of Jesus. Several times in Matthew the angels are the eschatological gatherers and dividers of humanity (cf. Matt. 13:39-41,49; 24:31).
In the OT the most common Hebrew word for "glory" (kbd) was originally a commercial term (which referred to a pair of scales) meaning "to be heavy." That which was heavy was valuable or had intrinsic worth. Often the concept of brightness was added to the word to express God's majesty (cf. Exod. 15:16; 24:17; Isa. 60:1-2). He alone is worthy and honorable. He is too brilliant for fallen mankind to behold (cf. Exod. 33:17-23; Isa. 6:5). God can only be truly known through Christ (cf. Jer. 1:14; Matt. 17:2; Heb. 1:3; James 2:1). See Special Topic at Luke 2:9.
9:27 There have been many theories to explain Jesus' statement. It may have referred to
1. Jesus' ascension
2. the Kingdom already present in Jesus
3. the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost
4. the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70
5. the expectation of Jesus' early return
6. the rapid spread of Christianity
7. the transfiguration
These theories focus on different phrases in the text:
a. "some of the people standing here"
b. "the Kingdom of God"
c. "come in its power" (parallels in Mark 9:1)
The best guess is #7 because of the immediate context (cf. Mark. 9; Matt. 17; also 2 Pet. 1:16-18). Also, no other theory can explain all three aspects of the Markan text (Mark 8:38).
▣ "truthfully" Luke has replaced the "amen" of Mark 9:1 with alēthōs because his Gentile audience would not know the Hebrew term. See Special Topic: Amen at Luke 4:24.
▣ "not" This is the strong double negative.
▣ "taste death" This same idiom is used in the Synoptic parallels of Matt. 16:28; Mark 9:1. It is also used in John 8:51,52 and Hebrews 2:9.
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: LUKE 9:28- 36
28Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. 29And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. 30And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, 31who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him. 33And as these were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah" -- not realizing what he was saying. 34While he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!" 36And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent, and reported to no one in those days any of the things which they had seen.
9:28 "some eight days after these sayings" The parallel in Mark 9:2 has "six days." The reason for the difference is one of the mysteries of why God allowed four Gospels to be written which do not agree on chronology, sequence, or details! These differences are the reason the term "inerrant" is an inappropriate adjective for Scripture. Which one of the four Gospels is the historically accurate one? They are all true, but they are eastern and ancient, not western and modern literary accounts.
One theory about Mark's "six days" is that it links this event to Exod. 24:12-18.
▣ "went up on the mountain to pray" Context seems to make Mt. Hermon the best possibility (cf. Matthew 16 at Caesarea Philippi). Tradition from the non-Canonical Gospel According to Hebrews affirms Mt. Tabor. In the fourth century the tradition grew that Mt. Tabor was also the Mount of Temptation as well as transfiguration, but this cannot be true.
Only Luke mentions "to pray." Jesus' prayer life is a recurrent theme in Luke's Gospel. Prayer is crucial.
9:29 The other two Synoptic Gospels (cf. Matt. 17:1-11; Mark 9:2-8) describe this same event with the Greek term metamorphoō, which means to transfigure, to change the external form. Paul uses this metaphorically of Christians being changed in Rom. 12:2; 2 Cor. 3:18. Luke simply describes the outburst of radiant glory (cf. Mark 9:3) connected to Jesus' meeting with two OT leaders.
9:30 "Moses and Elijah" Apparently they were (1) two eschatological OT figures (cf. Deuteronomy 18 and Malachi 3-4) or (2) those who had unusual deaths and their bodies were never found. There is no evidence in Judaism that Moses and Elijah represented the Law and Prophets sections of the Hebrew canon. They were meant to encourage Jesus and discuss His upcoming (periphrastic present active infinitive) crucifixion and resurrection (cf. Luke 9:31).
9:32 "Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep" Literally this is "were having been burdened," a periphrastic perfect passive. This experience is very similar to what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane (cf. Matt. 26:43).
▣ "they saw His glory" This was one of the purposes of the event. Little by little it was dawning on them who He was!
9:33 Peter was very impetuous and often spoke out of turn. The term "tabernacles" refers to the leafy booths that were made to briefly live in during the Feast of the Tabernacles.
Peter wanted to hold on to this glorious moment. Who wouldn’t?! However, they were needed down in the valley, and so are we.
▣ "not realizing what he was saying" This can be understood as Peter not recognizing the uniqueness of Jesus. He cannot/could not be one with even Moses and Elijah. He was not a prophet but the incarnation of God (cf. Luke 9:35).
9:34 "a cloud" I think this is related to the Shekinah Glory of the OT (cf. Exod. 13:21,22; 14:19,20,24; 16:10; 19:9,16; 24:15,16,18; 40:34-38; Num. 9:15-23), which represents the very presence of YHWH. It is seen several times in the NT.
1. at Jesus' baptism
2. at the transfiguration
3. at the ascension
4. at the return of Jesus at the Second Coming (cf. 1 Thess. 4:13ff)
In a sense it is the transportation of deity (cf. Dan. 7:13; Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Acts 1:9-11; Rev. 1:7).
▣ "formed and began to overshadow them" This is the very same word used of the Spirit overshadowing Mary in the conception of Jesus (cf. Luke 1:35). This was an awesome spiritual experience!
9:35 "a voice came out of the cloud" This kind of event, of God's speaking out of a cloud, was not unique. The rabbis referred to it as a Bath-kol. It was the tradition during the inter-biblical period of how to know and affirm God's will.
▣ "This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him" This statement of the Father is recorded three different ways in the Synoptic Gospels.
1. Mark, "This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!" (Mark 9:7)
2. Matthew, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!" (Matt. 17:5)
3. Luke, "This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!" (MSS P45, P75, א, B, L; UBS4 gives it a "B" rating)
The Lukan statements seem to be a combination of the Royal Messianic Psalm, Psalm 2 (My Son) and the Servant Song of Isaiah 42:1 (My Chosen One, cf. Luke 23:35). In this combination the two functions (Savior and Judge) or two comings of Christ are united—Savior and Judge/King.
The common element in all three is, "Listen to Him!" (Present active imperative - plural). This may be an allusion to one Messianic passage of Deut. 18:15.
9:36 This experience was so awesome that they:
1. did not ask Jesus any questions
2. did not tell anyone, even the other disciples, until after the resurrection.
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: LUKE 9:37-43a
37On the next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met Him. 38And a man from the crowd shouted, saying, "Teacher, I beg You to look at my son, for he is my only boy, 39and a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly screams, and it throws him into a convulsion with foaming at the mouth; and only with difficulty does it leave him, mauling him as it leaves. 40I begged Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not." 41And Jesus answered and said, "You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you and put up with you? Bring your son here." 42While he was still approaching, the demon slammed him to the ground and threw him into a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the boy and gave him back to his father. 43And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.
9:37-62 This is a series of events that clearly illustrates the disciples' lack of spiritual maturity.
1. the demonized boy, Luke 9:37-43
2. the prophecy of Jesus' death, Luke 9:43-45
3. the fight over who is greatest, Luke 9:46-48
4. jealousy over other exorcists, Luke 9:49-50
5. the anger of the Apostles, Luke 9:51-56
6. mixed loyalties, Luke 9:57-62
9:37-43a Mark 9:14-20 is a much fuller account of this healing.
9:39 The physical symptoms are of a grand mal seizure. Demons often manifest symptoms of diseases. However, the NT makes a clear distinction between disease and demon manifestation.
9:40 Jesus had given power and authority over the demonic to His Apostles in Luke 9:1-6. However, in this instance they were unable to exorcize the boy.
9:41 "Jesus answered" This is an allusion to the Song of Moses from Deut. 32:5,20; it addresses not only the disciples (cf. Matt. 17:19-21), but also the crowd (Israel).
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: LUKE 9:43b-45
43bBut while everyone was marveling at all that He was doing, He said to His disciples, 44"Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men." 45But they did not understand this statement, and it was concealed from them so that they would not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this statement.
NASB, NRSV"Let those words sink into your ears"
NKJV"Let those words sink down into your ears"
TEV"Don’t forget what I am about to tell you"
NJB"For your part, you must have these words constantly in mind"
This is an idiom (cf. Exod. 17:14). The verb tithēmi basically means "to place," "to set," or "to lay." Here the imperative is used to encourage attention and remembrance. This phrase functions like Jesus' "Amen, Amen" to introduce a significant truth statement.
▣ "the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men" In all the Synoptic Gospels Jesus predicts and warns the disciples about the upcoming events in Jerusalem. This is an allusion to Isaiah 53, especially Luke 9:12, in the Septuagint (i.e., "deliverance"). Mark has a much fuller account in Luke 9:30-32. He predicted this for several reasons:
1. to show His knowledge of future events
2. to reveal the redemptive plan of God
3. to try to help them prepare
9:45 Only Luke has this statement. Jesus spoke to them, but someone veiled (periphrastic perfect passive participle) their eyes (cf. Luke 18:34). Was it the Spirit or was it Satan? If it is the Spirit, then the disciples were just not ready to receive this truth. It would come in time. If Satan, then the purpose is to cause them not to understand and, therefore, cause more fear and confusion. What surprises me is that Jesus makes this statement to them and, for some reason, it is veiled. Why would Luke add this? What could be his purpose?
The confusion and fear of the disciples is revealed in the last phrase, "they were afraid to ask Him about this statement" (cf. Luke 9:36). This entire section deals with the Apostles' immaturity.
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: LUKE 9:46-48
46An argument started among them as to which of them might be the greatest. 47But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side, 48 and said to them, "Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great."
9:46-48 This discussion is recorded in all three Synoptic Gospels (cf. Mark 9:33-37; Matt. 18:1-5), but each is slightly different. Verses 37-56 have a series of events which reveals the disciples immaturity.
Here they argue over who of them was greatest (obviously they did not acknowledge Peter's leadership). Jesus defines true greatness as service, not control!
9:47 "knowing what they were thinking in their heart" See the discussion at Luke 5:22 and 6:8.
There is a Greek manuscript variant in this phrase. Some texts have "knowing" (cf. MSS א, B, F) and some have "seeing" (cf. MSS A, C, D, L, W, and the Vulgate). Either one makes sense in this context. UBS4 puts "knowing" in the text but gives it a C rating.
9:48 "in My name" See Special Topic below.
▣ "receives Him who sent Me" This phrase reflects the theological emphasis of John's Gospel (cf. John 17:3,8,18,21,23,25). Jesus acknowledges His dependence on the Father (cf. Luke 10:16). Jesus serves also!
▣ This same type of teaching is also found in Luke 22:26 and Matt. 10:40-42. Jesus must have used this concept often in different teaching situations.
The truth is that greatness is in service and that those who men consider "the least" are significant to God.
Also, the life-changing power of Jesus' name means that not only do we speak it, we must conform to and emulate Him. Jesus is the ultimate example of love, service and, therefore, greatness (cf. Mark 9:35b).
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: LUKE 9:49-50
49John answered and said, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us." 50But Jesus said to him, "Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you."
9:49-50 This is also found in Mark 9:38-40.
9:49 "someone" The question is, was it a Jewish exorcist simply using Jesus' name as a magic formula or was this a disciple, but not part of the Twelve?
9:50 This is an important principle in our relationship to other Christian denominations ("in My name"), however, it cannot be a blank check of acceptance (cf. Luke 11:23).
▣ "Do not hinder him" This is a present active imperative with the negative particle, which usually means to stop an act in process. The disciples were jealous of others involved in ministry. Oh my!
▣ "he who is not against you is for you" When one compares Luke 11:23a and Matt. 12:30a with this text, there seems to be a paradox. Many of Jesus' teachings were framed in this type of tension-filled statement. It is an eastern way of expressing truth. All truths can be taken to extremes. Metaphors, analogies, and illustrations all break down when pressed. Remember these were oral statements given in specific contexts. See Hard Sayings of the Bible, pp. 466-467.
Be careful of proof-texting literalism! All Scripture is inspired, not just my favorite parts and verses. A little knowledge often causes undue dogmatism and judgmentalism!
This brief account may reflect a situation in the later church (setz im laben of Luke). The Gospels have two authors: (1) Jesus and (2) the evangelist. The evangelist wrote his Gospel for a later target audience. It is possible, even probable, that some of Jesus' actions and teachings were chosen to relate to and impact later controversies.
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: LUKE 9:51-5651When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem; 52and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him. 53But they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem. 54When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" 55But He turned and rebuked them, [and said, "You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; 56for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them."]And they went on to another village.
9:51-62 A new section of Luke's Gospel that describes Jesus' travel to Jerusalem begins here (cf. Luke 9:51-19:44). Luke structures his Gospel around Jesus' travels and especially His march to Jerusalem (cf. Luke 9:51; 13:22; 17:11; 18:38; 19:11,28). We are thankful that Luke recorded this section, for this tremendous information is unique to Luke.
NASB"when the days were approaching"
NKJV"when the time had come"
NRSV"when the days drew near"
TEV, NJB"As the time drew near"
This is another idiom, literally "to fill up with" (a present passive infinitive). There was a set plan for Jesus' life and death (cf. Acts 2:23; 3:18; 4:28; 13:29). Jesus had revealed to them what would happen in Jerusalem (cf. Luke 9:22,31) and now Luke comments that the time of these events was approaching.
▣ "for His ascension" Jesus has told them of His upcoming trial, death, and resurrection (cf. Luke 9:22; Matt. 16:21; Mark 8:31), but now Luke introduces "the ascension," that special event forty days after the resurrection, where Jesus is taken into heaven by a cloud from the Mount of Olives (cf. Luke 24:51; Acts 1:2,9,11,22; 1 Tim. 3:16). It had not been mentioned before and it is not defined here at all, but simply mentioned in passing. It may be an intentional linking of Elijah's ascension (2 Kgs. 2:9-11) with Jesus' ascension (Acts 1:2,11).
NASB"He was determined to go to Jerusalem"
NKJV"He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem"
NRSV"he set his face to go to Jerusalem"
TEV"he made up his mind and set out on his way to Jerusalem"
NJB"he resolutely turned his face toward Jerusalem"
This is another Semitic idiom. The NRSV is closest to a literal translation. He metaphorically looked straight ahead. He let nothing distract Him to the right or to the left. God's will was in Jerusalem (cf. Mark 10:32). This may be an allusion to Isa. 50:7 or Jer. 42:15,17 (cf. Dan. 9:3).
9:52 This is the only time the Gospels mention Jesus sending people ahead of Him to prepare for His visit. Who they were and why they were rejected is uncertain.
It is surprising that Luke is the only Synoptic Gospel to record this negative account when his other accounts related to Samaritans are so positive (cf. Luke 10:25-27; 17:11-19; Acts 1:8; 8:1-13,14,25; 9:31; 15:3). Luke mentions this outcast group often to show Jesus' love and concern for all people (i.e., his Gentile audience), but not here!
9:53 "they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem" This relates to Jewish/Samaritan prejudices. These two groups hated each other. It is also possible that they knew He was traveling to a feast at the Temple and they rejected Jerusalem as the site of the true Temple, which they thought was on Mt. Gerizim, near Shechem. Josephus mentions Jewish travelers to Jerusalem feasts being harassed (cf. Antiq. 20.6.1).
This verse sets the stage for the request of James and John in Luke 9:54, which Jesus rebukes in Luke 9:55.
9:54 "James and John" See Mark 3:17, where these two men are called "sons of thunder." This very incident is how they got their nicknames.
▣ The KJV (NRSV and TEV footnote) inserts a phrase ("just as Elijah did," which is in MSS A, C, D, W), but it is not in MSS P45,75, א, B, or L. The UBS4 committee gave the shorter reading a "B" rating (almost certain).
9:55-56 The KJV inserts a phrase ("and said, 'You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them’"), which is found only in the uncial manuscript K and later versions. It is missing in MSS P45,75, א, A, B, C, L, and W. The UBS4 committee gave the shorter reading an "A" rating (certain).
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: LUKE 9:57-62
57As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, "I will follow You wherever You go." 58And Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." 59And He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father." 60But He said to him, "Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God." 61Another also said, "I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home." 62But Jesus said to him, "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
9:57-62 The cost of discipleship is a radical commitment that supersedes all cultural and family ties. There are three different people who want to follow Jesus (cf. Luke 9:57,59,61). In the context of Middle Eastern culture (see Kenneth E. Bailey, Through Peasant Eyes, pp. 22-32), Jesus' call to follow was a radical commitment not to an easy life, but to suffering and rejection. It was a call to leave the most significant cultural commitment—"family"— and become a part of a new family (cf. Luke 8:19-21; Matt. 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35).
Jesus tries to get these "would-be" followers to count the cost before they make the choice (cf. Luke 14:25-35). His first coming was one of suffering and rejection; this will certainly be the experience of His followers also. These first century Jews were expecting a powerful, glorious, conquering Messiah (Daniel), not a Suffering Servant (cf. Isaiah 53).
9:57 "someone said to Him" The parallel in Matthew 8:19-22 has "a scribe said."
▣ "I will follow You wherever You go" This eager disciple had good intentions, but did not realize the price of followship (cf. Matt. 26:33,35). Talk is easy; daily denial and focused commitment are very hard.
9:58 Jesus is calling for a reality check. Jesus' Jewish followers were still thinking in terms of kingdom benefits and perks (cf. Matt. 20:20-28; Mark 10:35-45; Acts 1:6), which is very much like "what's in it for me" Christianity, which turns the gospel into a message of more-and-more for me!
9:59 "Follow Me" This imperative reflects the terminology which the rabbis used to call their disciples. We have examples of Jesus saying this very thing to the Twelve (cf. Luke 5:27; 9:23,59; 18:22; Matt. 4:19; 8:22; 9:9; 16:24; 19:21; Mark 2:14; 8:34; 10:21; John 1:43; 10:27; 12:26; 21:19-22).
▣ "permit me first to go and bury my father" This is very similar to Elisha's response to Elijah in 1 Kgs. 19:19-20. In the ancient world children (especially the oldest male) were duty-bound to care for their parents (cf. Luke 9:61). However, Jesus' call to followship superceded every earthly call (cf. Matt. 10:37-39; Luke 14:26-35). This statement would have shocked the rabbis.
This is another example of one word with two connotations (like "life" [psuchē] in Luke 9:24). Here the word "dead" refers to the spiritually dead (cf. Eph. 2:1) and the physically dead. The death is related to their lack of response to Jesus' words and call.
9:60 "go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God" These imperatives show the mandate of the Great Commission ministry (cf. Luke 24:47; Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). The self-centered life of the fall (cf. Genesis 3) is replaced by the kingdom-centered, Spirit-filled, service to others. Jesus' followers are to mimic Jesus' actions (cf. Luke 8:1; 9:6). He sent out the Twelve (Luke 9) to preach, as well as the Seventy (Luke 10).
9:62 What a shocking statement! The Kingdom is ultimate! It must take priority over every aspect of self and culture. Followship with God in Christ is the only worthy goal. Keep focused!
In ancient times plowing with an animal held two dangers of not staying focused on the ground ahead:
1. One could hit a rock or root and damage the plow.
2. One could plow a crooked row and cause loss of crop.
Again this type of call for priority discipleship cannot be used in every family issue. We all live in families and are called on to act responsibly toward them (cf. 1 Tim. 5:8). John was told to care for Jesus' mother (cf. John 19:26), which he did until her death in Palestine; then John went to Asia Minor. Jesus' statements are hard-hitting priority truths, but they must not be pushed so as to damage other Scriptural truths.
This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.
These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.
1. Why does Luke give such a condensed account of these events?
2. How is demon possession related to physical illness?
3. How does one reconcile 9:3 with Mk. 6:8?
4. Explain in your own words what Luke 9:23 means.
5. Why did Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus?
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