The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Luke 9

Luk 9:1

TWELVE: Cp 12 springs at Marah (Exo 15:27). Cp Luk 10:1,2: another "12" and "70"!

Joshua had taken 12 stones out of Jordan, as a token of Israel's dedication to turn the land of promise into God's kingdom.

Jesus ("Joshua") now selects 12 men (the first, Peter, called a "stone"), baptized in Jordan, to become the foundation stones of a new Jerusalem (Rev 21:14).

Luk 9:3

TAKE NOTHING FOR THE JOURNEY: Not so unusual in the Mideast (LB 345). Hospitality was expected.

Similar provisions (no extra money, no shoes, no staff, etc) were enjoined upon temple worshipers (Temple 65). The disciples were now engaged in the service of the true "temple", Christ!

We are given so many reminders that God will provide for us, and yet we still worry and panic so much that we possibly even prevent His provision by our attitude of anxiety. The simple and childlike faith of these disciples, who were with Jesus, should be reflected in believers today, even though we have not seen with our eyes and handled with our hands.

NO EXTRA TUNIC: Not necessary at all in the East. Merely ostentatious.

Luk 9:5

SHAKE THE DUST OFF YOUR FEET: The practice of pious Jews before entering the Holy Land after a journey abroad. Used in Act 13:51. Or, because their feet had not been washed as was custom (cp Luk 10:11).

Luk 9:6

The gospel of the Kdom was preached even without full knowledge of Christ's death and resurrection: cp Luk 9:44,45; 18:31-34; 24:25-27.

Luk 9:7

Vv 7-9: Notice John the Baptist is now dead -- Luke does not record the events associated with his death.

Source of this story: Manaen, former friend of Herod (Act 13:1)?

Luk 9:8

Clearly there was a great expectation at this time that Messiah would come, and that he would be preceded by the coming of Elijah: Mat 16:14; 17:10; Mark 6:15; 8:28; 9:11; Luke 9:19; John 1:21. Additionally, there were those "looking for the consolation of Israel": Luke 2:25.

Luk 9:9

Was there a family resemblance between John and Jesus?

Luk 9:10

This, the third of four Passovers (Joh 2:13n).

Seven points of weakness in disciples: vv 10,12,32,40,46,49,54.

Contrast the two feasts: (1) Herod's: sumptuous, captains and kings, a "strange woman", a feast of death. A righteous man is slain on a whim. (2) Christ's: frugal, for the poor, Christ's "bride", bread of life. The typical death of one who lays down his life for his friends.

Luk 9:11

The time of this incident: the 3rd of 4 Passovers in Christ's ministry (Joh 6:4n).

Jesus submerged his personal sorrow (at the death of John the Baptist) by ministering to others.

Luk 9:12

FOOD: Sw Exo 12:39; Psa 78:25. This was a Passover meal.

Luk 9:13

// Psa 23.

Luk 9:14

SIT DOWN IN GROUPS: Cp special ordering of wilderness encampments (Num 2). The people encamp in orderly fashion around Jesus, who is the "Ark" of God, and the "Shekinah Glory"!

Luk 9:16

Cp language of Last Supper.

Cp 2Ki 4:42-44: Elijah feeds a multitude.

Luk 9:17

SATISFIED: Satisfied with the bread of heaven: Psa 105:40; cp Psa 22:26; 12:13-16; Isa 25:6-8.

AND THE DISCIPLES PICKED UP TWELVE BASKETFULS OF BROKEN PIECES: Twelve baskets = twelve apostles! In ministering to others, they lost nothing themselves. (In the atonement of Christ, there is ample provision for all.)

12 BASKETFULS: "Kophinos" = small basket, in ct "spuris" (large basket) of Mat 15:37; Mar 8:8. Twelve full baskets, ie, the 12 apostles, full of the "bread" of life. In ministering to others, they lost nothing themselves. In the atonement of Christ, there is ample provision for all.

BROKEN PIECES: Which the Canaanite woman, like a "dog" under the Jewish "table", was only too willing to eat (Mat 15:27; Mar 7:28).

Luk 9:18

They had come to Caesarea Philippi, the furthest possible point from the temple ritual (Mat 16:13; Mar 8:27).

WHO DO THE CROWDS SAY I AM?: Jesus said unto them, "Who do you say I am?" And they replied, "You are the eschatological manifestation of the ground of our being, the kerygma in which we find the ultimate meaning of our interpersonal relationship." And Jesus said, "Come again?"

Luk 9:19

Follow the religious notions of the crowd, and you are almost certain to be wrong. (Notice that popular sentiment did not proclaim Jesus as Messiah any more; very evidently, this man did not WANT to be king!)

Luk 9:22

This is the first time that Jesus has clearly stated that he is to die. That this is so is made more clear in Matthew's account of the same incident: "From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life" (Mat 16:21).

Cp Elijah, rejected by Ahab and Jezebel, but "raised" from despondency (1Ki 19:2-8).

Luk 9:23

AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS: If you're not going to carry your cross, don't bother making the trip!

AND FOLLOW ME: "Of the three things enjoined, the last is a vital thing: to follow. The other two [denying self and taking up the cross] are utterly essential because through the essential you achieve that which is vital. The reason is this. You can approve, and not follow. You can applaud and not follow. You can understand and preach, without following. You can defend the Truth pugnaciously, without following. You can tire yourself out on busy works -- without following... The central thing is the denial of self. It is utterly radical. Denial of self is the inward thing. Taking up the cross daily is the external manifestation of the inward condition. To talk of it is not to realize it. To write about it is not to achieve it. The use of the word 'daily' emphasizes that it is not just a theory but something that is real and practical; facing squarely every new circumstance; confronting bravely every impediment; grasping joyfully every new opportunity. In practice it means giving unhindered access to the Master into every chamber and especially into every dark corner. To think of that possibility might make us feel ashamed but at the same time it may do us good" (GD).

Luk 9:25

WHAT GOOD IS IT FOR A MAN TO GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD: Square miles they conquered:
1. Genghis Khan (1162-1227), 4,860,000.
2. Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) 2,180,000.
3. Tamerlane (1336-1405), 2,145,000.
4. Cyrus the Great (600-529 BC), 2,090,000.
5. Attila (406-453), 1,450,000.
6. Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), 1,370,000, all of which he lost in 3 years.
7. Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) 720,000.
8. Mahmud of Ghazni (971-1030) 680,000.
9. Francisco Pizarro (1470-1541), 480,000.
10. Hernando Cortes (1485-1547), 315,000.

Luk 9:26

The Jews' judgments are for our example and admonition (1Co 10:11).

Luk 9:27

BEFORE: See Lesson, AN, Conditional deferment.

How will they "see"? By seeing the glory of God in His only Son (Joh 1:14; Jam 2:1), esp at Transfiguration (vv 28-36; cp 2Pe 1:16-18).

Luk 9:28

EIGHT DAYS: Given as 6 days in Mat 17:1; Mar 9:2. Perhaps Luke counted beginning and ending days, whereas Matthew and Mark did not (WS 243).

A MOUNTAIN: Climbing the mountain: a parable of our journey to the Kdom. Poss site: Mt Nebo, where Moses died (Deu 34) and Elijah ascended (2Ki 2).

Instances of Jesus withdrawing into a mountain, apart -- sometimes for privacy and prayer, and sometimes to instruct his followers: Mat 5:1; 8:1; 14:23; 15:29; 17:1; 24:3; 28:16; Mark 3:13; 6:46; 9:2; 13:3; Luke 6:12; 9:28; 22:39; John 6:3,15; 8:1.

Luk 9:31

DEPARTURE: Gr "exodus": ie Christ's mission, the deliverance of brethren from Egyptian bondage (cp Heb 2:15).

Luk 9:33

HE DID NOT KNOW WHAT HE WAS SAYING: Do we always have to say something?

Luk 9:34

Cp the overshadowing Cloud of Presence in wilderness.

Luk 9:36

THE DISCIPLES KEPT THIS TO THEMSELVES, AND TOLD NO ONE AT THAT TIME WHAT THEY HAD SEEN: Silence was his settled policy for most of his ministry (Mat 9:30; 17:9; 12:16; Mar 1:34; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26; Luk 5:14), with one notable exception (Mar 5:19 -- Legion with his family). But in last days of ministry, a change of course (Mat 21:1-11; Joh 7:37; 9:3; 11:4).

Luk 9:37

Vv 37-43: Power of faith and intercession of others: Mat 8:13; 9:32; 15:28; 17:14-18; Luk 8:50; Joh 4:49; Jos 6:17; Gen 7:1; 18:32; 19:12; Act 27:24.

Luk 9:39

"Demoniacs" suffered from: blindness, dumbness (Mat 12:22; Luk 11:14), insanity, schizophrenia (Mar 3:21; 5:1-5; Joh 10:20), epilepsy (Mar 9:17-27), and arthritis (Luk 13:11-17).

Luk 9:40

Cp 2Ki 4:29-37: child healed, but disciples (ie Gehazi) impotent.

Luk 9:46

AS TO WHICH OF THEM WOULD BE THE GREATEST: Cp 2Ki 5:22,26: the disciple Gehazi seeks "greatness" and wealth. Don't many of our little ecclesial disputes have their roots in this question? This dispute did not cease altogether until Christ's death (Mar 10:35; Luk 22:24-30).

Suggestion: the special three at the Transfiguration (Luk 9:28...) arouse envy in others.

Luk 9:48

Astounding! The smallest child = Christ, and Christ = God!

"Today's great men are the ones who are in powerful positions, the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of England, President and Prime Minister of Russia and successful business people like Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch.

"But today's great men are there because they have climbed their way to the top, doing all they have to do to get there and using anyone they need to use on the way. More often than not they are power-hungry or money-hungry and willing to do anything to get what they want.

"Jesus tells us of a different type of great man. 'He who is least among you -- he is the greatest.' And he spoke about children, who, as far as greatness goes, are least of all. The great man is the one who can welcome a child, make him feel at home and wanted, who has time for him, putting the needs of the child ahead of his own. The great man is the one who is the servant of everyone else, putting the needs of others first.

"The difference between the great men of today and the great men of God is that today's me will have had their time -- and it ends in death -- but God's great men will live for ever. Be great for God" (RP).

Luk 9:49

A MAN DRIVING OUT DEMONS IN YOUR NAME: Something the 9 disciples could not do (Mar 9:18,28; Luk 9:40). A further fear for loss of status. (We may assume Christ knew the man and his mission).

NOT ONE OF US: Not one of the disciples. But he may have been a follower of Christ. Even if he did not acknowledge their precedence, he might still acknowledge Jesus.

Luk 9:50

FOR WHOEVER IS NOT AGAINST YOU IS FOR YOU: In Luk 9:50 those not against the disciples and their work will not lightly speak evil of Christ. It isn't ours to forbid any work done, however imperfectly, in Christ's name. But in Luk 11:23 neutrality now becomes an impossibility.

Luk 9:51

APPROACHED: "Sumpleroo" = to be filled up together; an intensive form: 'when the time was fully come.'

TAKEN UP: "Heaven" not in orig. KJV has "received up". May sig: sacrifice and resurrection (taken up from grave), and then (later) ascension.

JESUS RESOLUTELY SET OUT FOR JERUSALEM: Jesus is beginning his journey to Jerusalem. Whilst this is a spiritual journey the focus is now on the cross. We can trace the journey thus: Luk 9:51,53,57; 10:38; 13:22,33; 17:11; 18:31; 19:11,28. This is a spiritual journey rather than a direct route: this will be seen by noting where Jesus is on each occasion.

Luk 9:54

TO CALL FIRE DOWN FROM HEAVEN: // 2Ki 1:10,12. Christ's mission: to save and not to destroy (v 56). (Perhaps John himself preached in this very village later: Act 8:25).

Luk 9:57

I WILL FOLLOW YOU WHEREVER YOU GO: A "volunteer". Did he know what he was saying?

Luk 9:58

THE SON OF MAN HAS NO PLACE TO LAY HIS HEAD: It had been true even at his birth (Luk 2:7)!

Luk 9:59

Examples of prophetic reluctance: Exo 4:10; Jer 1:6; Eze 3:14; Jon 1:3; 1Ki 19:10; Luk 5:8,10; 9:59; 18:23; Act 13:13; 18:9. Ct Isa 6:8.

LORD, FIRST LET ME GO AND BURY MY FATHER: Lamsa writes: " 'My father is an old man, over seventy years of age. I have to support him until he dies.' In the East when a man reaches this age, he is considered dead. He has finished his work and has no more interest in life. He can no longer earn and produce. He is a burden on the family. He entrusts everything to his oldest son, his first born; the son who is to continue his posterity. He has labored and toiled with the sweat of his brow, and raised his children. Now he expects them to take care of him. One often hears Easterners say: 'My father is near the grave!' 'My father is at the side of the grave.' The real meaning is, 'My father may die any day. My father is very old; I expect him to pass away any time.' If this man's father had been dead Jesus would not have been preaching that day. Instead He would have been one of the mourners until the dead man was buried."

Or, possibly such a figure of speech could also have been used by a man whose father was not nearly that old, nor at the point of death. "First let me bury my father" might then be his idiomatic way of saying: "I cannot commit myself to such an enterprise so long as my father is alive. I must first of all honor his wishes." Thus implying: "When my father has died -- 20 or 30 years from now -- then I will be my own man, and I can follow you."

Luk 9:60

LET THE DEAD BURY THEIR OWN DEAD: Or, "Leave dead to the burier of the dead." Lamsa writes: "The Aramaic word for 'dead' is 'metta', and the word for 'town' is 'matta'... It seems more likely that the early copyists and translators confused the [two words] and what Jesus meant was, 'let the town bury the dead.' This seems more reasonable because each town buries their own dead."

Luk 9:61

Vv 61,62: Cp Elisha when called by Elijah: 1Ki 19:19-21n.

SAY GOOD-BY: Farewells, like greetings, could be very long (Luk 10:4).

Luk 9:62

AND LOOKS BACK: Ct Luk 9:51: Jesus did not look back. See Lesson, Plowing and looking back

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