Bible Commentaries
Luke 9

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SUMMARY.--The Twelve Apostles Sent Forth. Herod's Wonder About Jesus. The Five Thousand Fed. Peter's Confession of Faith. Saving and Losing Life. The Transfiguration. The Child Healed. Who Shall Be Greatest? James and John and the Samaritan Village. Excuses for Not Following Christ.

Verses 1-6

He called the twelve. This Commission of the Apostles is given in Mat. 10:1-42 and Mar 6:7-13. Matthew's account is the fullest, on which see notes.

Verses 7-9

Now Herod the tetrarch. Herod Antipas. See notes on Mat 2:1. For Herod's perplexity about Christ, see notes on Mat 14:1-12 and Mark 6:14-29.

Verses 10-17

Went aside privately into a desert place. See notes on Mat 14:13-27, for the feeding of the five thousand. Also Mar 6:30-44 and John 6:1-21.

Bethsaida. Near the mouth of the Jordan into the Sea of Galilee. The desert place was near it on the eastern shore.

Verses 18-21

Whom say the people that I am? See notes on Peter's confession of faith, Mat 16:13-20; also Mar 8:27-30. Luke only informs us that he was alone praying, his disciples being present, when he asked the question.

Verses 22-27

For the first announcement to his disciples of his death, and the discourse, see notes on Matthew 16:21-28 and Mark 8:31 to 9:1.

Verses 28-36

About an eight days after. See notes on Mat 17:1-9, for the Transfiguration. Also Mar 9:1-8. Luke adds the fact that the Lord went into the mountain to pray; that as he prayed, he was transfigured; that the fashion of his countenance was altered; that the theme of conversation with Moses and Elias was the Lord's decease; that the apostles were awake when they saw the vision; that they told no man in those days, even as Jesus directed (Matthew).

They kept it close. Until after the death and resurrection of the Lord.

Verses 37-42

Look upon my son. For the healing of the lunatic child see Mat 17:14-21 and Mark 9:14-29. Matthew calls the boy a lunatic. The symptoms are like epilepsy.

Verses 43-45

For this second statement of the Lord's suffering at Jerusalem, see notes on Matthew 17:22-23 and Mark 9:31-32.

Verses 46-50

Which of them should be greatest. See notes on Mat 18:1-6 and Mark 9:33-50. For notes on the question of John and the Lord's answer, see Mark as above.

Verses 51-52

When the days were well-nigh come. The time of his suffering was not far away. He was about to leave Galilee.

He stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem. Knowing what he should suffer there. Just when this was we are not told.

Sent messengers. To secure a stopping place for himself and disciples on their journey.

Went into a village of the Samaritans. To go from Galilee to Jerusalem "he must needs go through Samaria," unless he went down on the east of the Jordan. The Samaritans were hereditary enemies of the Jews, and the two peoples had no intercourse.

Verses 53-54

They did not receive him. Because he was evidently journeying to Jerusalem. This stirred up their bigotry. They thus not only refused Jesus as a prophet, but violated the sacred duties of hospitality. The refusal to receive a religious teacher was considered a rejection of his claims.

Wilt thou that we command fire? These gentle apostles were filled with wrath at the insult to the Master. Their zeal for the Lord led them into a sanguinary feeling that was sinful. Thus, often, religious zeal has led men to sinful acts and a persecuting spirit.

As Elias did? See 2Ki 1:9-12.

Verse 55

He rebuked them. Their spirit was not his. He quietly left the inhospitable village and went elsewhere. He was not a destroyer, but a Savior. Zeal for Christ is no excuse for fanaticism.

Verses 57-62

On these excuses, see notes on Matthew 8:18-22; also Mark 4:35. Luke adds a few new facts which I notice.

A certain man. A scribe (Matthew).

I will follow thee. The Lord tries his sincerity by telling him of the hardships before him.

The Son of man. The Messiah (see note on Matthew 10:23). He had no permanent home. Often his only shelter at night was the open sky.

Another. A disciple. See note on Matthew 8:21.

Let the dead bury their dead. Let the world attend to its own duties. To preach the kingdom rises above every other duty. The disciple was probably an apostle, who wished to stay with his father until his father's death.

No man having put his hand to the plough. An agricultural figure. The plowman must look ahead instead of back. So, too, of the Christian. The Savior's words were suggested by a request of one to go home for a farewell before following him. In thousands of instances it has been shown that the convert who goes to confer with unbelieving relatives before the final step is likely to part with Christ instead. Heathen, ready to be baptized, who go home for a final farewell before the step, are likely to be persuaded not to take it, so missionaries tell us.

Bibliographical Information
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Luke 9". "People's New Testament". 1891.