corner graphic   Hi,    
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to

Bible Commentaries

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament
Luke 9



Verse 2

To preach the kingdom of God; probably to proclaim the approach of the Messiah's kingdom, but not to make known the fact that Jesus was himself the Messiah. This knowledge was only communicated very cautiously, even to his disciples, until after the resurrection.

Verse 3

Staves; walking staves. Scrip; a sort of wallet or leathern bag for provisions.

Verse 7

It was said of some; by some. According to Matthew and Mark, it was Herod himself who said that John the Baptist had risen. (Matthew 14:1,2; Mark 6:14.) The influence of inspiration did not produce minute uniformity in the accounts of the sacred writers. Like those of other human witnesses, their statements often vary in the details.

Verse 9

And Herod said. The word said, in this, as in a great many other similar cases, refers not so much to his words as to his state of mind. He said to himself, as it were. The thoughts and designs of the heart are often, in such cases, clothed in language by the historian.

Verse 14

By fifties; not precisely, but in groups of about that number.

Verse 18

Alone; away from the multitudes.

Verse 20

We ourselves associate so strongly with every portion of the Savior's life the idea that he was the Messiah, that it is, difficult for us to realize that thus far, there had been no positive evidence brought before the minds of the disciples that he was really the promised Redeemer. Even this conversation does not seem to contain an absolute and direct acknowledgment of it. John the Baptist had before sent some of his disciples to put the question to him, but they received an indirect answer. (Luke 7:19-23.) The demoniacs were in some cases disposed to proclaim him as the Christ, or Messiah; but he always suppressed their intentions; so that, hitherto, a great uncertainty had hung over the minds of the disciples in respect to the person and character of their Master; and, from subsequent remarks made by the apostles, it would appear that all doubt on this subject was not even now entirely removed.

Luke 9:21-26. By these remarks,--addressed first (Luke 9:22) to the disciples and then (Luke 9:23-26) to all his followers,--Jesus intends to check the worldly and ambitious aspirations which they might have been forming, now that they began really to believe that their Master was the Messiah;--supposing, too, that the kingdom of the Messiah was to be established in great outward splendor.

Verse 24

Will save his life; will seek to save it by sacrificing his duty.--Will lose his life; be willing to lose it.

Verse 28

An eight days, a common expression for a week.

Verse 36

And they kept it close; having been enjoined to do so by Jesus himself, while they were coming down the mountain. (Matthew 17:9.)

Verse 37

On the next day, when they were come down. This form of expression, and the disposition to sleep manifested by the three apostles, as mentioned in Luke 9:32, seems to imply that the transfiguration took place at night. It is not wonderful that the sublime circumstances of the scene should have strongly affected the ardent feelings of the apostle Peter. He alludes to the event long afterwards, (2 Peter 1:16-18,) in language which shows that it made a deep and lasting impression upon his mind.

Verse 39

A spirit taketh him. In the account given by Matthew, this patient is spoken of as a lunatic. (Matthew 17:15.)--It teareth him; agitates him with strong convulsions.

Verse 45

They perceived it not; they did not understand it.--They feared to ask him, &c. This and similar expressions, occasionally occurring, evince the deep reverence with which Jesus was regarded by his disciples, and the reserve which he maintained in his daily intercourse with them. And yet he was nearly of the same age with them, and they were by no means certain that he was the Messiah.

Verse 46

The claim of the Catholic church for the supremacy of the pope, rests in a great measure on the alleged official supremacy of Peter over the other apostles,--the Roman pontiff being considered his successor. But this verse seems to indicate that, thus far at least, no such preëminence of any one of their number was understood by the apostles themselves.

Verse 48

Least among you; most lowly and childlike in spirit.

Verse 51

When the time was come, &c.; that is, towards the close of his life, long after the occurrences mentioned above. The incident seems to be narrated here, out of the order of time, for the purpose of introducing it, in connection with the other cases here related, in which the disciples were reproved by the Savior. The passage Luke 9:37-42 censures their want of faith; Luke 9:46-48 reproves ambition; Luke 9:49-50, intolerance; and Luke 9:51-56, resentment and anger.

Luke 9:52. Samaritans. The nearest route from Galilee to Jerusalem led through Samaria.

Verse 53

There was a bitter theological controversy between the Jews and the Samaritans, on the question whether Jerusalem, or a mountain in Samaria, was the proper place for the national worship. (For other allusions to this controversy, see John 4:9,19.) Such contention and hatred, for such a cause, seem to us, at this day, sufficiently absurd. We have, however, an abundance of controversies of our own, of the same character;--disputes destroying the spirit of Christianity, in a merciless war about the forms in which it should be imbodied.

Verse 54

When we find in our hearts that our feelings towards those who oppose Christianity itself, or that particular form of it with which we are ourselves identified, are assuming the character of resentment or ill will, we may see the spirit which actuates us reflected here.--Even as Elias did, 2 Kings 1:10-12.

Verse 56

To another village; for rest and refreshment.

Luke 9:59-62. It would seem that, in regard to both of these cases, there must have been some circumstances affecting them which we do not understand from the narrative, but which made the requests improper, and were the occasion of the reproof implied in our Savior's reply.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Luke 9:4". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". 1878.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, December 5th, 2020
the First Week of Advent
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology