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Bible Commentaries
Luke 14

Orchard's Catholic Commentary on Holy ScriptureOrchard's Catholic Commentary

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Verses 1-35

XIV 1-6 Healing of the Dropsical Man on the Sabbath —The miracle and the following counsel given to the Jews, 7-14, find no parallel in Mt and Mk. Lk seems to make them the setting for the Parable of the Great Supper which carries on the theme of the previous two chapters: the refusal of the Jews to accept Jesus and the consequent prediction of the incorporation of the Gentiles in the Kingdom of God. After the miracle Lk places the comparison of 5 which he had omitted in 6:6-11, his parallel with Matthew 12:9-13; Mark 3:1-6, where it appears. The Greek reads ’son or ox’ in place of Vg and DV ’ass or ox’; but the meaning remains the same: a work of charity and mercy such as Jesus had performed was a fulfliment rather than a breach of the Sabbath.

7-14 Advice on Humility and Charity —It may seem strange to find our Lord as a guest in the house of an important Pharisee after the recent denunciations; but it may be explained by the fact that he is still in Peraea where perhaps the local Pharisees have had little previous contact with him. Lk gives a picture of the Pharisees which is quite in accord with the character of them painted by non-biblical Jewish writings. We are not to suppose that our Lord is advising them to practise false modesty in order to get the better of their fellows. It is suggested that he is again attacking their hypocrisy because they seek an opportunity for selfaggrandisement even in the exercise of the sacred obligations of hospitality. Note that Lk calls this a parable. Does he mean that it is a comparison with the way in which the Pharisces consider themselves invited as by right to the chief places in the weddingfeast of eternal life with God in his Kingdom? Such a disposition secures exclusion rather than admittance. cf.Proverbs 25:6-7 which perhaps inspires the parable and gives an allegorical turn to it.

15-24 Parable of the Great Supper —The similar parable of Matthew 22:1-10 is substantially the same though with differences of detail which add to the allegorical significance, e.g. the King makes a marriage for his Son (the Incarnation), he sends his servants (the Prophets) to call men to the feast; they reject the invitation and kill the messengers (cf. 11:47-51), etc. Lk’s parable cannot be so treated; its plain application is that God wills good to men and his benevolent design will be accomplished Whatever obstacles wicked men put in the way. It is obviously related to the Kingdom of God about which our Lord has lately been speaking, 12:31; 13:18, and it repeats the teaching of these chapters about the importance of allowing nothing to interfere with the soul’s salvation. But the possibilities of allegorical interpretation, for the Pharisees who heard it and for us who read it, are clear: those first invited are the religious leaders who consider themselves as the rightful heirs of the Kingdom, or else the nation which prided itself on being God’s Chosen People; the poor and wretched of the city brought in to take the place of these could represent the ’accursed multitude that knoweth not the Law,’ John 7:48-49, with the publicans and sinners; while the outcasts from the highways and hedges might be the Gentiles. By the more gentle rebukes Jesus had addressed to the Pharisees gathered with him at table, 7-14, he had prepared them for the severe warning of this parable, viz. that they were in a fair way to lose their places at the great feast of the Kingdom of God through the contemptuous way in which they had received the invitation of God’s chief ambassador, who is now telling them for the last time that the feast is ready.

25-35 The Disciples of Jesus must count the Cost — The logical link between this and the parable is found in the reprobation of those who rejected the invitation through self-love; he who wishes to imitate Jesus in his devotion to the Kingdom of God must have that detachment which grows out of complete self-surrender. There is a parallel in Matthew 10:37-38, but Lk expresses the warning more bluntly with that severity which is one of the marks of the Journey Narrative. Note how this warning is addressed not merely to the intimate disciples but to ’great multitudes’.

In 13:17 Lk shows us great enthusiasm among the people after the healing of the infirm woman; doubtless an enthusiasm rising from Messianic expectations of the traditional sort. Our Lord appears to turn on them and say: ’If you wish to follow me, this is what I expect from you; now follow if you dare’. If anyone allows wealth, family affection, even love of life to interfere with the claims of discipleship, then such a one is not fit to be a disciple. Even the prospect of seeing oneself marching in a file of condemned men must not make the true disciple hesitate. The two parables that follow, 28-33, proper to Lk, are meant to illustrate this lesson: count the cost before undertaking the duties of discipleship. They also contain the following implied contrast: in worldly affairs, like building and going to war, money and goods are essential to success; the opposite is true in the great affair of the world to come. ’Every one of you that doth not renounce all that he possesseth cannot be my disciple’, surely a divine claim to make. The sense of these parables is not that long consideration is required before a man makes up his mind to be a Christian, but rather that a resolution is demanded fit for every eventuality; and the eventualities may be severe. Even the parable of salt, 34-35, used by Matthew 5:13ato show the duty of a disciple to serve as a purifying and enlightening principle for his fellowmen, is here used only in the sense of the warning in Matthew 5:13b. Failure to stick to one’s resolution as a loyal disciple is severely condemned, and the favourite formula of 35b is used to draw serious attention to the point. On ’hating’ father and mother, cf. § 693d.

Bibliographical Information
Orchard, Bernard, "Commentary on Luke 14". Orchard's Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/boc/luke-14.html. 1951.
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