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the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Luke 9

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-2

34-37 Compare Mat_8:33-34 ; Mar_5:14-17 .

34 It is evident that the Gergesenes thought more of their hogs than of human beings. It is likely that there were other herds and other lawless practices which His presence would condemn. How terrible is the perversity that prefers darkness to light, because of the evil which it harbors! He seems to have remained but a little while, acceding to their request, but He does not leave them without a witness to His power and love, for the erstwhile demoniac carries on the cure by proclaiming his cure to the whole city. The Lord seldom visited that side of the lake and may never have preached to them again.

38-39 Compare Mar_5:18-20 .

40 Compare Mat_9:1 ; Mar_5:21 .

41-42 Compare Mat_9:18 ; Mar_5:22-24 .

41 Undoubtedly, there is an intended contrast between this Jew, with the highest of privileges, who is at the head of a synagogue in Capernaum, and the centurion proselyte who had built them a synagogue. But the centurion is humble and confident in the Lord's power. He did not deem himself worthy of having the Lord enter his home. He saw no necessity for One so great as He to come into personal contact with the case. He recognized His lordship. As a result he received an instantaneous response. His slave was healed immediately ( Luk_7:2-8 ). Not so Jairus. The centurion felt unqualified to come himself, but Jarius comes and casts himself at His feet, and desires His presence in his house. Surely the chief of the synagogue is worthy to have Him enter his home! Had his faith equaled the centurion's, his daughter could have been saved long before. He is delayed. The throngs are so thick that He cannot hurry. So it is with Israel. Their faith is feeble. They cannot grasp His power to bless unless He is present.

43 Meanwhile one who has a larger measure of faith is healed. Whether guided by intuition or by intelligence, she touches the tassel of His cloak. The "blossom", a fringe or tassel, was put on all garments as a reminder of the commandments ( Num_15:37-41 ). On it was a ribbon of blue. The robe speaks of righteousness, the fringe or tassel of its finish . Indeed, the Hebrew word for blue is formed from the word which means to finish. That which finished or completed our Lord's righteousness was His obedience to death. So that the woman may well figure that remnant in Israel who receive the salvation of their souls while the nation lies dead ( 1Pe_1:9 ). The soul (not life) of the flesh is in the blood ( Lev_17:14 ). Hers was a salvation of blood by blood. His suffering provided a blood redemption for the faithful few while the nation as such waited for redemption by power.

43-48 Compare Mat_9:20-22 ; Mar_5:25-34 .

49-50 Compare Mar_5:35-36 .

49 The hopelessness of Israel's state is well figured by death. If we take all the disabilities and diseases which are given as signs of her spiritual condition, their sum would be death. And it is notable that in this case, as well as that of Lazarus, there was delay on His part. This is most marked with Lazarus, and there the Lord gives us the reason for His deliberate delay. He did not want to cure Lazarus; He wanted him to die, in order that God's glory might be manifested thereby ( Joh_11:4 ). So it is with Israel nationally. He could long ago have come and restored them to life. But, for their greater good and God's greater glory, He is deliberately delaying His return. He will wait until their condition is beyond all human help, until its very hopelessness will proclaim the power of His salvation.

51-56 Compare Mat_9:23-26 ; Mar_5:37-43 .

1-6 Compare Mat_10:1-15 ; Mar_6:7-13 .

1 Hitherto, it seems, the apostles had remained with him as disciples, to learn His words and ways. Now, however, they are empowered as apostles, to represent Him and carry the proclamation into communities which He Himself did not visit. We can well imagine the ardor with which they would assume their new powers and responsibilities. This was not a general commission for all time. It continued only so long as He Himself proclaimed the kingdom and was withdrawn when it was rejected and He made known His sufferings. In that the apostles could take no part. The conditions under which the twelve apostles were sent forth had regard to the customs and usages of the land. They were going to their own countrymen and the most direct road to their hearts and confidence would be to depend entirely on their hospitality. Such was the custom then, and until very lately a poor peasant could travel all over that region without a purse, or provisions, or extra apparel. They slept in the same garments which they wore during the day. Strict etiquette demanded that every villager should invite them to eat with him. Indeed, on this point the Lord goes contrary to the established custom. To move from house to house would lead to much distraction and consume much time, so they remain in the first house they enter, so long as they are in the neighborhood. The villagers would not seriously object to this arrangement, for it saved them much toil and trouble. Each new lodging required special preparations and feasting and other courtesies which became burdensome and of no real benefit. Otherwise they were careful to keep the customs, and avoid needless persecution.

Verses 3-20

7-9 Compare Luk_23:8 ; Mat_14:1-2 ; Mar_6:14-16 .

7 Notwithstanding that John had exposed Herod's sin in marrying his brother Philip's wife, as well as all his other wickedness, and that Herod had locked up John in jail, the tetrarch had a high opinion of him and feared him and was sorry to be trapped into putting him to death ( Mar_6:20-26 ). He seems to have clung to the idea that the Lord was John, risen from the dead, and expressed a desire to make His acquaintance and was eager to see Him perform a miracle in his presence. It seems strange that he was not able to gratify his wish, and did not see the Lord until He stood before him on the night of His betrayal. Herod was glad indeed of the opportunity, but all his talking did not draw a single word from His mouth. That was the only sign that was given to Herod, and it should have sufficed ( Isa_53:7 ): He Is hard pressed and He Is humilIated, Yet He is not opening His mouth.

10-11 Compare Mat_14:13-14 ; Mar_6:30-34 ; Joh_6:1-4 .

11 Bethsaida was probably situated on both sides of the mouth of the Jordan, as it enters the lake of Galilee. This makes it unnecessary to suppose there are two cities of the same name. Moreover there is a spot not far away which seems to answer to all that we I know of the site. It is a desert place, not far from the lake, near a mountain, and a grassy spot large enough to seat the multitude.

12-17 Compare Mat_14:15-21 ; Mar_6:35-44 ; Joh_6:5-13 .

13 This is one of the seven signs of John's account, which were given to prove that He was the Messiah. He is the true Bread, able to sustain His people even in a desert place. The lesson in this sign is more marvelous still if we carefully compare it with a similar occasion, when four thousand were fed on seven cakes. The astonishing thing is that the fragments left from feeding the greater number with the five cakes was much in excess of the fragments from feeding the smaller number with seven cakes. His power is not limited by the means He uses. We need never be discouraged because we have so little for Him to work with. On the contrary, He can do more with little than with much. Human aid hinders rather than helps Him.

18-20 Compare Mat_16:13-19 ; Mar_8:27-29 .

18 At this point a gloomy cloud begins to throw its sombre shadow over the little band of true disciples. It has become increasingly evident that the throngs utterly fail to recognize Him as the Messiah. They eagerly eat the food which His power provides, but cannot understand His words. To them He is no more than a wonderworking prophet. The power displayed in His prodigies amazed them, but the significance of His signs escaped them. They have rejected Him and His message. The pathway that led to a crown now leads to a cross. His messianic claims are laid aside. He actually warns them not to make Him known as the Christ. He enters the path of suffering. But, even as the multitude did not believe His words, so now His disciples fail to follow when He speaks of His death. The path to the cross was lonely. He could not make the message known, for His own apostles did not believe it.

Verses 21-44

21-25 Compare Mat_16:19-26 ; Mar_8:30-37 .

23 With His prospects changed from a glorious kingdom to one of rejection and death, those of His disciples are altered, also. It will cost them much to follow Him in His path of rejection. It will mean daily renunciation of self. It will mean the carrying of a load which will bring them shame and suffering. Yet the highest honors of the kingdom are for such. Those who suffer with Him, reign with Him. If any of His disciples prefer to avoid this suffering and thus save his soul (not his life), he will lose the joys and honors of the kingdom. If any choose to lose or destroy his soul by association with Him in His rejection, he will save it, for his place will be high in the kingdom.

26-27 Compare Mat_16:27-28 ; Mar_8:38 ; Mar_9:1 .

26 This is in anticipation, for hitherto there has been little cause to be ashamed of Him. To nerve them for the ordeal He gives them a glimpse of that future day when His shame will give place to glory, when He, instead of being the despised Nazarene, will be the most glorious Potentate of all the earth. No one will be ashamed of Him then! Yet He will be ashamed of those who are not loyal to Him in His humiliation.

27 This solemn statement seems to have been the cause of endless speculation. To one who has intelligently followed the narrative thus far it seems most appropriate. Had the kingdom proclamation been received by Israel, then it surely would have been set up in that generation. Even though it is rejected, the proclaiming has been faithfully done, and demands recognition. The private life of our Lord was pleasing to God, so He publicly acknowledged Him at His baptism, saying "This is My Beloved Son, in Whom I delight! " We have now reached the conclusion of the kingdom proclamation, and what is more fitting than to give a foretaste of that day, and thus approve His ministry? So, in anticipation, the kingdom is set up. Peter, in his second epistle, considers this scene as a confirmation of the prophetic word. Not only will Christ have glory in the future day of His presence and power, but He has already been clothed with glory and honor.

28-33 Compare Mat_17:1-4 ; Mar_9:2-6 .

33 Peter could not bear to hear the Lord speak of His sufferings, but here was a scene that was more to his liking. He desired to make it permanent, so proposes to build booths for the prophets and the Lord. But that was not at all the object in view. They were not yet occupied with the glory but with the Lord's suffering. Peter was premature. The time had not yet come. So the glory is swallowed up by a cloud, in which the solitary Sufferer appears alone. The Voice which came from heaven was a rebuke to Peter's proposal as well as an expression of the delight God had in His Son. Christ had been speaking to His disciples of His suffering, and Peter's words showed holy utterly he ignored his Master's words. Moreover, he seemed to put Moses and Elijah on a level with the Lord. So the Voice directs him away from them, and they vanish from the scene.

34-36 Compare Mat_17:5-9 ; Mar_9:7-8 ; 2Pe_1:16-18 .

37-42 Compare Mat_17:14-18 ; Mar_9:14-27 .

37 What a change awaits Him when He descends from the glories of the holy mountain! There He was enveloped in the majesty and dignity of His high station. There He found Moses and Elijah in fellowship with the thoughts that filled His mind. Now He veils His glory and descends to a curious throng and to unbelieving disciples, the best of whom ignored the heavy cloud which hung over His soul. The first thing which meets Him suggests the change which has come over the spirit of His ministry. His disciples have been unable to cope with the evil spirit. Undoubtedly the unseen world of wickedness was well aware of the fact that they had succeeded in turning the leaders and people against Him. Hence the spirit refuses to obey the disciples. But their time had not yet fully come, so He rebukes the unclean spirit and heals the boy. This is a sign of the future failure of the kingdom proclamation under the apostles, as detailed in the book of Acts. As their message was refused by the nation, the signs and miracles which accompanied its proclamation gradually vanished. They will not be restored until His presence in the future.

Verses 45-62

45 The Lord was not misled by the amazement of the multitude. He knew their fickleness and unbelief. But He was concerned more particularly that His disciples should not be deceived by the great impression which His miracle had produced. Coming immediately after the marvelous manifestation in the mountain, Peter, James, and John would naturally come to the conclusion that this was the time to restore the kingdom. They evidently were entirely unaware what "exodus" Moses and Elijah had been talking to Him about. So the Lord solemnly prefaces His repeated declaration of His sufferings with a request that they take due note of the present applause, and contrast it with the bitter words that were about to break forth after His betrayal, so that they, too, may learn what is in man, and learn to put no confidence in the flesh. Now and again a "plain scripture" is asked for to prove a point of doctrine, on the supposition that no one could refuse to believe if such were produced. But alas, unbelief can stare the plainest passage out of countenance and never see its force. So the disciples were being continually reminded, in the plainest possible speech, that He was to suffer and die, but it did not affect them enough to arouse their questions.

46 This was a most shameful proceeding! How could the disciples think of nothing but their own exaltation at the very time that He was seeking to engage their hearts with His humiliation? In some sense, it is a far more miserable manifestation of human perversity than the unbelief of the multitude.

49 It could have been nothing less than pride and jealousy that caused the disciples to forbid anyone to use the Lord's name in casting out demons. Perhaps they were smarting under their own failure, while the Lord was in the holy mountain. John seems to speak of it in a kind of confession, wrought by the Lord's rebuke. They wished to be greater than others, and each one wished to be the greatest of them all. While He was descending into the depths alone, craving their understanding and sympathy, they were seeking for place and power with no thought of paying the price.

51 As the Jews are not beholden to the Samaritans ( Joh_4:9 ), it is no wonder that they retaliated at times and would have no intercourse with Jews! But in this case there seems to have been a special reason. The Jews worshiped in Jerusalem and the Samaritans claimed that Mt. Gerizim was the proper place to worship. It was just before the feast of Tabernacles, and caravans of Jews were going through Samaria, from Galilee, to worship at Jerusalem. Hence the affront offered to His disciples. But the Lord had very kindly feelings toward the Samaritans and had disciples among them ( Joh_4:39-42 ).

54 The long standing antagonism between the two peoples finds expression in this harsh proposal. It goes to show how feebly even the dearest of His disciples, one of whom is sometimes called the apostle of love, followed the gracious spirit of His mission. It is of the utmost importance that we do not follow Biblical examples blindly, but discriminate the spirit which becomes us in Christ.

58 The Son of Mankind is the allottee of all the power and dignity forfeited by Adam. The beasts of the field and the birds of the air are among the meanest subjects in His dominion, for Adam was lord not only of his posterity, but of the whole creation under heaven. He named the animals and they obeyed him. As the eighth psalm says:

Thou art causing him to rule what

Thy hands have made.

Thou dost put all under his feet,

Sheep and cows-all of them-

And even the beasts of the field,

The birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea.

That which crosses the paths of the seas.

What pathos lies in this comparison! The lowest creatures in His realm are provided for, yet

He, their Head, is homeless, and without a place to pillow His head!

59 Only about half a year remained of His ministry. He was on His way to the feast of Tabernacles. and six months later, at the Passover festival. He was to be offered up. Hence He urges the utmost diligence. The social ceremonies of entombment and leave-taking were tedious and distracting at such a crisis.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Luke 9". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/luke-9.html. 1968.
 
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