Bible Commentaries
Luke 9

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New TestamentRobertson's Word Pictures

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Verse 1

He called the twelve together (συνκαλεσαμενος τους δωδεκα). Mark 6:7; Matthew 10:1 have προσκαλεωμα, to call to him. Both the indirect middle voice.

Verse 2

He sent them forth (απεστειλεν αυτους). First aorist active indicative of αποστελλω.

To preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick (κηρυσσειν την βασιλειαν του θεου κα ιασθα). Present indicative for the continuous functions during this campaign. This double office of herald (κηρυσσειν) and healer (ιασθα) is stated directly in Matthew 10:7-8. Note the verb ιαομα for healing here, though θεραπευειν in verse Luke 9:1, apparently used interchangeably.

Verse 3

Neither staff (μητε ραβδον). For the apparent contradiction between these words (Matthew 10:10) and Mark 6:8 see discussion there. For πηραν (wallet) see also on Mark 6:8 (Matthew 10:10) for this and other details here.

Verse 5

As many as receive you not (οσο αν μη δεχωντα υμας). Indefinite relative plural with αν and present middle subjunctive and the negative μη. Here Matthew 10:14 has the singular (whosoever) and Mark 6:11 has "whatsoever place."

For a testimony against them (εις μαρτυριον επ' αυτους). Note use of επ' αυτους where Mark 6:11 has simply the dative αυτοις (disadvantage), really the same idea.

Verse 6

Went (διηρχοντο). Imperfect middle, continuous and repeated action made plainer also by three present participles (εξερχομενοι, ευαγγελιζομενοι, θεραπευοντες), describing the wide extent of the work through all the villages (κατα τας κωμας, distributive use of κατα) everywhere (πανταχου) in Galilee.

Verse 7

All that was done (τα γινομενα παντα). Present middle participle, "all that was coming to pass."

He was much perplexed (διηπορε). Imperfect active of διαπορεω, to be thoroughly at a loss, unable to find a way out (δια, α privative, πορος, way), common ancient verb, but only in Luke's writings in the N.T.

Because it was said (δια το λεγεσθα). Neat Greek idiom, the articular passive infinitive after δια. Three reports came to the ears of Herod as Luke has it, each introduced by οτ (that) in indirect discourse: "By some" (υπο τινων), "by some" (υπο τινων δε), "by others" (αλλων δε, υπο not here expressed, but carried over). The verbs in the indirect discourse here (verses Luke 9:7; Luke 9:8) are all three aorists (ηγερθη first passive; εφανη second passive; ανεστη second active), not past perfects as the English has them.

Verse 9

He sought (εζητε). Imperfect active. He keep on seeking to see Jesus. The rumours disturbed Herod because he was sure that he had put him to death ("John I beheaded").

Verse 10

Declared (διηγησαντο). First aorist middle of διηγεομα, to carry a narrative through to the end. Jesus listened to it all.

They had done (εποιησαν). Aorist active indicative, they did.

He took them (παραλαβων αυτους). Second aorist active participle of παραλαμβανω. Very common verb.

Bethsaida (Βηθσαιδα). Peculiar to Luke. Bethsaida Julias is the territory of Philip, for it is on the other side of the Sea of Galilee (John 6:1).

Verse 11

Spake (ελαλε). Imperfect active, he continued speaking.

He healed (ιατο). Imperfect middle, he continued healing.

Verse 12

To wear away (κλινειν). Old verb usually transitive, to bend or bow down. Many compounds as in English decline, incline, recline, clinic (κλινη, bed), etc. Luke alone in the N.T. uses it intransitively as here. The sun was turning down towards setting.

Lodge (καταλυσωσιν). First aorist active subjunctive of καταλυω, a common verb, to dissolve, destroy, overthrow, and then of travellers to break a journey, to lodge (καταλυμα, inn, Luke 2:7). Only here and Luke 19:7 in the N.T. in this sense.

Get victuals (ευρωσιν επισιτισμον). Ingressive aorist active of ευρισκω, very common verb.

Victuals (επισιτισμον, from επισιτιζομα, to provision oneself, σιτιζω, from σιτον, wheat) only here in the N.T., though common in ancient Greek, especially for provisions for a journey (snack). See on Mark 6:32-44; Matthew 14:13-21 for discussion of details.

Verse 13

Except we should go and buy food (ε μητ πορευθεντες ημεις αγορασωμεν βρωματα). This is a condition of the third class with the aorist subjunctive (αγορασωμεν), where the conjunction is usually εαν (with negative εαν μη), but not always or necessarily so especially in the Koine. So in 1 Corinthians 14:5 ε μη διερμηνευη and in Philippians 3:12 ε κα καταλαβω. "Unless" is better here than "except."

Food (βρωματα), means eaten pieces from βιβρωσκω, to eat, somewhat like our "edibles" or vernacular "eats."

Verse 14

About (ωσε). Luke as Matthew 14:21 adds this word to the definite statement of Mark 6:44 that there were 5,000 men, a hundred companies of fifty each.

Sit down (κατακλινατε). First aorist active imperative. Recline, lie down. Only in Luke in the N.T. See also verse Luke 9:15.

In companies (κλισιας). Cognate accusative after

kataklinate . Only here in the N.T. A row of persons reclining at meals (table company).

About fifty each (ωσε ανα πεντηκοντα). Distributive use of ανα and approximate number again (ωσε).

Verse 16

The five ... the two (τους πεντε ... τους δυο). Pointing back to verse Luke 9:13, fine example of the Greek article.

And gave (κα εδιδου). Imperfect active of διδωμ, kept on giving. This picturesque imperfect is preceded by the aorist κατεκλασεν (brake), a single act. This latter verb in the N.T. only here and the parallel in Mark 6:41, though common enough in ancient Greek. We say "break off" where here the Greek has "break down" (or thoroughly), perfective use of κατα.

Verse 17

Twelve baskets (κοφινο δωδεκα). For discussion of κοφονο and σφυριδες as well as of κλασματα (broken pieces) see on Mark 6:43; Matthew 14:20.

Verse 18

As he was praying (εν τω εινα αυτον προσευχομενον). Common Lukan idiom of εν with the articular infinitive for a temporal clause, only here Luke has the periphrastic infinitive (εινα προσευχομενον) as also in Luke 11:1. This item about Christ's praying alone in Luke.

Alone (κατα μονας). In the N.T. only here and Mark 4:10. Perhaps χωρας (places) is to be supplied with μονας (lonely places).

Were with him (συνησαν αυτω). This seems like a contradiction unless "alone" is to be taken with συνησαν. Westcott and Hort put συνηντησαν in the margin. This would mean that as Jesus was praying alone, the disciples fell in with him. At any rate he was praying apart from them.

Verse 19

That I am (με εινα). Accusative and infinitive in indirect assertion, a common Greek idiom. Matthew 16:13 for "I" has "the Son of man" as identical in the consciousness of Christ. The various opinions of men about Jesus here run parallel to the rumours heard by Herod (verses Luke 9:8; Luke 9:9).

Verse 20

But who say ye? (Hυμεις δε τινα λεγετε;). Note the emphatic proleptical position of υμεις: "But ye who do ye say? This is really what mattered now with Jesus.

The Christ of God (Τον χριστον του θεου). The accusative though the infinitive is not expressed. The Anointed of God, the Messiah of God. See on Luke 2:26 for "the Anointed of the Lord." See on Matthew 16:17 for discussion of Peter's testimony in full. Mark 6:29 has simply "the Christ." It is clear from the previous narrative that this is not a new discovery from Simon Peter, but simply the settled conviction of the disciples after all the defections of the Galilean masses and the hostility of the Jerusalem ecclesiastics. The disciples still believed in Jesus as the Messiah of Jewish hope and prophecy. It will become plain that they do not grasp the spiritual conception of the Messiah and his kingdom that Jesus taught, but they are clear that he is the Messiah however faulty their view of the Messiah may be. There was comfort in this for Jesus. They were loyal to him.

Verse 21

To tell this to no man (μηδεν λεγειν τουτο). Indirect command with the negative infinitive after

commanded (παρηγγειλεν). It had been necessary for Jesus to cease using the word

Messiah (Χριστος) about himself because of the political meaning to the Jews. Its use by the disciples would lead to revolution as was plain after the feeding of the five thousand (John 6:15).

Verse 22

Rejected (αποδοκιμασθηνα). First aorist passive infinitive of αποδοκιμαζω, to reject after trial.

The third day (τη τριτη ημερα). Locative case of time as in Matthew 16:21. Here in the parallel passage Mark 8:31 has "after three days" (μετα τρεις ημερας) in precisely the same sense. That is to say, "after three days" is just a free way of saying "on the third day" and cannot mean "on the fourth day" if taken too literally. For discussion of this plain prediction of the death of Christ with various details see discussion on Matthew 16:21; Mark 8:31. It was a melancholy outlook that depressed the disciples as Mark and Matthew show in the protest of Peter and his rebuke.

Verse 23

He said unto all (ελεγεν δε προς παντας). This is like Luke (cf. verse Luke 9:43). Jesus wanted all (the multitude with his disciples, as Mark 8:34 has it) to understand the lesson of self-sacrifice. They could not yet understand the full meaning of Christ's words as applied to his approaching death of which he had been speaking. But certainly the shadow of the cross is already across the path of Jesus as he is here speaking. For details (soul, life, forfeit, gain, profit, lose, world) see discussion on Matthew 16:24-26; Mark 8:34-37. The word for lose (απολεσε, from απολλυμ, a very common verb) is used in the sense of destroy, kill, lose, as here. Note the mercantile terms in this passage (gain, lose, fine or forfeit, exchange).

Daily (καθ' ημεραν). Peculiar to Luke in this incident. Take up the cross (his own cross) daily (aorist tense, αρατω), but keep on following me (ακολουθειτω, present tense). The cross was a familiar figure in Palestine. It was rising before Jesus as his destiny. Each man has his own cross to meet and bear.

Verse 26

Whosoever shall be ashamed (ος αν επαισχυνθη). Rather,

Whosoever is ashamed as in Mark 8:38. The first aorist passive subjunctive in an indefinite relative clause with αν. The passive verb is transitive here also. This verb is from επ and αισχυνη, shame (in the eyes of men). Jesus endured the shame of the cross (Hebrews 12:2). The man at the feast who had to take a lower seat did it with shame (Luke 14:9). Paul is not ashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16). Onesiphorus was not ashamed of Paul (2 Timothy 1:16).

In his own glory (εν τη δοξη αυτου). This item added to what is in Mark 8:38; Matthew 16:27.

Verse 27

Till they see (εως αν ιδωσιν). Second aorist active subjunctive with εως and αν referring to the future, an idiomatic construction. So in Mark 9:1; Matthew 16:28. In all three passages "shall not taste of death" (ου μη γευσωντα θανατου, double negative with aorist middle subjunctive) occurs also. Rabbinical writings use this figure. Like a physician Christ tasted death that we may see how to die. Jesus referred to the cross as "this cup" (Mark 14:36; Matthew 26:39; Luke 22:42). Mark speaks of the kingdom of God as "come" (εληλυθυιαν, second perfect active participle). Matthew as "coming" (ερχομενον) referring to the Son of man, while Luke has neither form. See Matthew and Mark for discussion of the theories of interpretation of this difficult passage. The Transfiguration follows in a week and may be the first fulfilment in the mind of Jesus. It may also symbolically point to the second coming.

Verse 28

About eight days (ωσε ημερα οκτω). A nominativus pendens without connexion or construction. Mark 9:2 (Matthew 17:1) has "after six days" which agrees with the general statement.

Into the mountain (εις το ορος). Probably Mount Hermon because we know that Jesus was near Caesarea Philippi when Peter made the confession (Mark 8:27; Matthew 16:13). Hermon is still the glory of Palestine from whose heights one can view the whole of the land. It was a fit place for the Transfiguration.

To pray (προσευξασθα). Peculiar to Luke who so often mentions Christ's habit of prayer (cf. Luke 3:21). See also verse Luke 9:29 "as he was praying" (εν τω προσευχεσθα, one of Luke's favourite idioms).

His countenance was altered (εγενετο το ειδος του προσωπου αυτου ετερον). Literally, "the appearance of his face became different." Matthew 17:2 says that "his face did shine as the sun." Luke does not use the word "transfigured" (μετεμορφωθη) in Mark 9:2; Matthew 17:2. He may have avoided this word because of the pagan associations with this word as Ovid's Μεταμορφοσες.

And his raiment became white and dazzling (κα ο ιματισμος αυτου λευκος εξαστραπτων). Literally,

And his raiment white radiant . There is no and between "white" and "dazzling." The participle εξαστραπτων is from the compound verb meaning to flash (αστραπτω) out or forth (εξ). The simple verb is common for lightning flashes and bolts, but the compound in the LXX and here alone in the N.T. See Mark 9:3 "exceeding white" and Matthew 17:2 "white as the light."

Verse 31

There talked with him (συνελαλουν αυτω). Imperfect active, were talking with him.

Who appeared in glory (ο οφθεντες εν δοξη). First aorist passive participle of οραω. This item peculiar to Luke. Compare verse Luke 9:26.

Spake of his decease (ελεγον την εξοδον). Imperfect active, were talking about his εξοδυς (departure from earth to heaven) very much like our English word "decease" (Latin decessus, a going away). The glorious light graphically revealed Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus about the very subject concerning which Peter had dared to rebuke Jesus for mentioning (Mark 8:32; Matthew 16:22). This very word εξοδυς (way out) in the sense of death occurs in 2 Peter 1:15 and is followed by a brief description of the Transfiguration glory. Other words for death (θανατος) in the N.T. are εκβασις, going out as departure (Hebrews 13:7), αφιξις, departing (Acts 20:29), αναλυσις, loosening anchor (2 Timothy 4:6) and αναλυσα (Philippians 1:23).

To accomplish (πληρουν). To fulfil. Moses had led the Exodus from Egypt. Jesus will accomplish the exodus of God's people into the Promised Land on high. See on Mark and Matthew for discussion of significance of the appearance of Moses and Elijah as representatives of law and prophecy and with a peculiar death. The purpose of the Transfiguration was to strengthen the heart of Jesus as he was praying long about his approaching death and to give these chosen three disciples a glimpse of his glory for the hour of darkness coming. No one on earth understood the heart of Jesus and so Moses and Elijah came. The poor disciples utterly failed to grasp the significance of it all.

Verse 32

Were heavy with sleep (ησαν βεβαρημενο υπνω). Periphrastic past perfect of βαρεω, a late form for the ancient βαρυνω (not in N.T. save Textus Receptus in Luke 21:34). This form, rare and only in passive (present, aorist, perfect) in the N.T., is like βαρυνω, from βαρυς, and that from βαρος, weight, burden (Galatians 6:2). Hυπνω is in the instrumental case. They had apparently climbed the mountain in the early part of the night and were now overcome with sleep as Jesus prolonged his prayer. Luke alone tells of their sleep. The same word is used of the eyes of these three disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:43) and of the hearts of many (Luke 21:34).

But when they were fully awake (διαγρηγορησαντες δε). First aorist active participle of this late (Herodian) and rare compound verb (here alone in the N.T.), διαγρηγορεω (Luke is fond of compounds with δια). The simple verb γρηγορεω (from the second perfect active εγρηγορα) is also late, but common in the LXX and the N.T. The effect of δια can be either to remain awake in spite of desire to sleep (margin of Revised Version) or to become thoroughly awake (ingressive aorist tense also) as Revised Version has it. This is most likely correct. The Syriac Sinaitic has it "When they awoke." Certainly they had been through a strain.

His glory (την δοξαν αυτου). See also verse Luke 9:26 in the words of Jesus.

Verse 33

As they were departing from him (εν τω διαχωριζεσθα αυτους απ' αυτου). Peculiar to Luke and another instance of Luke's common idiom of εν with the articular infinitive in a temporal clause. This common verb occurs here only in the N.T. The present middle voice means to separate oneself fully (direct middle). This departing of Moses and Elijah apparently accompanied Peter's remark as given in all three Gospels. See for details on Mark and Matthew.

Master (Επιστατα) here,

Rabbi (Mark 9:5),

Lord (Κυριε, Matthew 17:4).

Let us make (ποιησωμεν, first aorist active subjunctive) as in Mark 9:5, but Matthew 17:4 has "I will make" (ποιησω). It was near the time of the feast of the tabernacles. So Peter proposes that they celebrate it up here instead of going to Jerusalem for it as they did a bit later (Luke 9:7).

Not knowing what he said (μη ειδως ο λεγε). Literally,

not understanding what he was saying (μη, regular negative with participle and λεγε, present indicative retained in relative clause in indirect discourse). Luke puts it more bluntly than Mark (Peter's account), "For he wist not what to answer; for they became sore afraid" (Mark 9:6). Peter acted according to his impulsive nature and spoke up even though he did not know what to say or even what he was saying when he spoke. He was only half awake as Luke explains and he was sore afraid as Mark (Peter) explains. He had bewilderment enough beyond a doubt, but it was Peter who spoke, not James and John.

Verse 34

Overshadowed them (επεσκιαζεν αυτους). Imperfect active (aorist in Matthew 17:5) as present participle in Mark 9:7, inchoative, the shadow began to come upon them. On Hermon as on many high mountains a cloud will swiftly cover the cap. I have seen this very thing at Blue Ridge, North Carolina. This same verb is used of the Holy Spirit upon Mary (Luke 1:35). Nowhere else in the N.T., though an old verb (επι, σκιαζω, from σκια, shadow).

As they entered into the cloud (εν τω εισελθειν αυτους εις την νεφελην). Luke's idiom of εν with the articular infinitive again (aorist active this time, on the entering in as to them). All six "entered into" the cloud, but only Peter, James, and John "became afraid" (εφοβηθησαν, ingressive first aorist passive).

Verse 35

If εκεινους be accepted here instead of αυτους, the three disciples would be outside of the cloud.

Out of the cloud (εκ της νεφελης). This voice was the voice of the Father like that at the baptism of Jesus (Luke 3:22; Mark 1:11; Matthew 3:17) and like that near the end (John 12:28-30) when the people thought it was a clap of thunder or an angel.

My son, my chosen (Hο υιος μου, ο εκλελεγμενος). So the best documents (Aleph B L Syriac Sinaitic). The others make it "My Beloved" as in Mark 9:7; Matthew 17:5. These disciples are commanded to hear Jesus, God's Son, even when he predicts his death, a pointed rebuke to Simon Peter as to all.

Verse 36

When the voice came (εν το γενεσθα την φωνην). Another example of Luke's idiom, this time with the second aorist middle infinitive. Literally, "on the coming as to the voice" (accusative of general reference). It does not mean that it was "after" the voice was past that Jesus was found alone, but simultaneously with it (ingressive aorist tense).

Alone (μονος). Same adjective in Mark 9:8; Matthew 17:8 translated "only." Should be rendered "alone" there also.

They held their peace (εσιγησαν). Ingressive aorist active of common verb σιγαω, became silent. In Mark 9:9; Matthew 17:9, Jesus commanded them not to tell till His Resurrection from the dead. Luke notes that they in awe obeyed that command and it turns out that they finally forgot the lesson of this night's great experience. By and by they will be able to tell them, but not "in those days."

Which they had seen (ων εωρακαν). Attraction of the relative α into the case of the unexpressed antecedent τουτων. Perfect active indicative εωρακαν with Koine (papyri) form for the ancient εωρακασιν changed by analogy to the first aorist ending in -αν instead of -ασιν.

Verse 37

On the next day (τη εξης ημερα). Alone in Luke. It shows that the Transfiguration took place on the preceding night.

They were come down (κατελθοντων αυτων). Genitive absolute of second aorist active participle of κατερχομα, a common enough verb, but in the N.T. only in Luke's writings save James 3:15.

Met him (συνηντησεν αυτω). First aorist active of συνανταω, common compound verb, to meet with, only in Luke's writings in the N.T. save Hebrews 7:1. With associative instrumental case αυτω.

Verse 38

Master (Διδασκαλε). Teacher as in Mark 9:17.

Lord (κυριε, Matthew 17:15).

To look upon (επιβλεψα). Aorist active infinitive of επιβλεπω (επ, upon, βλεπω, look), common verb, but in the N.T. only here and James 2:3 except Luke 1:48 in quotation from LXX. This compound verb is common in medical writers for examining carefully the patient.

Mine only child (μονογενης μο). Only in Luke as already about an only child in Luke 7:12; Luke 8:42.

Verse 39

Suddenly (εξεφνης). Old adverb, but in the N.T. only in Luke's writings save Mark 13:36. Used by medical writers of sudden attacks of disease like epilepsy.

It teareth him that he foameth (σπαρασσε αυτον μετα αφρου). Literally, "It tears him with (accompanied with, μετα) foam" (old word, αφρος, only here in the N.T.). From σπαρασσω, to convulse, a common verb, but in the N.T. only here and Mark 1:26; Mark 9:26 (and συνσπαρασσω, Mark 9:20). See Mark 9:17; Matthew 17:15; Luke 9:39 for variations in the symptoms in each Gospel. The use of μετα αφρου is a medical item.

Hardly (μολις). Late word used in place of μογις, the old Greek term (in some MSS. here) and alone in Luke's writings in the N.T. save 1 Peter 4:18; Romans 5:7.

Bruising him sorely (συντριβον αυτον). Common verb for rubbing together, crushing together like chains (Mark 5:4) or as a vase (Mark 14:3). See on Matthew and Mark for discussion of details here.

Verse 41

How long shall I be with you and bear with you? (εως ποτε εσομα προς υμας κα ανεξομα υμων;). Here the two questions of Mark 9:19 (only one in Matthew 17:17) are combined in one sentence.

Bear with (ανεξομα, direct middle future) is, hold myself from you (ablative case υμων).

Faithless (απιστος) is disbelieving and perverse (διεστραμμενη, perfect passive participle of διαστρεφω), is twisted, turned, or torn in two.

Verses 42-43

As he was yet a coming (ετ προσερχομενου αυτου). Genitive absolute. While he was yet coming (the boy, that is, not Jesus). Note quaint English "a coming" retained in the Revised Version.

Dashed him (ερρηξεν αυτον). First aorist active indicative of ρηγνυμ or ρησσω, to rend or convulse, a common verb, used sometimes of boxers giving knockout blows.

Tare grievously (συνεσπαραξεν). Rare word as only here and Mark 9:20 in the N.T., which see.

Gave him back to his father (απεδωκεν αυτον τω πατρ αυτου). Tender touch alone in Luke as in Luke 7:15.

They were all astonished (εξεπλησσοντο δε παντες). Imperfect passive of the common verb εκπλησσω or εκπληγνυμ, to strike out, a picturesque description of the amazement of all at the easy victory of Jesus where the nine disciples had failed.

At the majesty of God (επ τη μεγαλειοτητ του θεου). A late word from the adjective μεγαλειος and that from μεγας (great). In the N.T. only here and Acts 19:27 of Artemis and in 2 Peter 1:16 of the Transfiguration. It came to be used by the emperors like our word "Majesty."

Which he did (οις εποιε). This is one of the numerous poor verse divisions. This sentence has nothing to do with the first part of the verse. The imperfect active εποιε covers a good deal not told by Luke (see Mark 9:30; Matthew 17:22). Note the attraction of the relative

hois into the case of

pƒsin , its antecedent.

Verse 44

Sink into your ears (Θεσθε υμεις εις τα ωτα υμων). Second aorist imperative middle of τιθημ, common verb. "Do you (note emphatic position) yourselves (whatever others do) put into your ears." No word like "sink" here. The same prediction here as in Mark 9:31; Matthew 17:22 about the Son of man only without mention of death and resurrection as there, which see for discussion.

Verse 45

It was concealed from them (ην παρακεκαλυμμενον απ' αυτων). Periphrastic past perfect of παρακαλυπτω, a common verb, but only here in the N.T., to cover up, to hide from. This item only in Luke.

That they should not perceive it (ινα μη αισθωντα αυτο). Second aorist middle subjunctive of the common verb αισθανομα used with ινα μη, negative purpose. This explanation at least relieves the disciples to some extent of full responsibility for their ignorance about the death of Jesus as Mark 9:32 observes, as does Luke here that they were afraid to ask him. Plummer says, "They were not allowed to understand the saying then, in order that they might remember it afterwards, and see that Jesus had met His sufferings with full knowledge and free will." Perhaps also, if they had fully understood, they might have lacked courage to hold on to the end. But it is a hard problem.

Verse 46

A reasoning (διαλογισμος). A dispute. The word is from διαλογιζομα, the verb used in Mark 9:33 about this incident. In Luke this dispute follows immediately after the words of Jesus about his death. They were afraid to ask Jesus about that subject, but Matthew 18:1 states that they came to Jesus to settle it.

Which of them should be greatest (το τις αν ειη μειζων αυτων). Note the article with the indirect question, the clause being in the accusative of general reference. The optative with αν is here because it was so in the direct question (potential optative with αν retained in the indirect). But Luke makes it plain that it was not an abstract problem about greatness in the kingdom of heaven as they put it to Jesus (Matthew 18:1), but a personal problem in their own group. Rivalries and jealousies had already come and now sharp words. By and by James and John will be bold enough to ask for the first places for themselves in this political kingdom which they expect (Mark 10:35; Matthew 20:20). It is a sad spectacle.

Verse 47

Took a little child (επιλαβομενος παιδιον). Second aorist middle participle of the common verb επιλαμβανω. Strictly, Taking a little child to himself (indirect middle). Mark 9:36 has merely the active λαβων of the simple verb λαμβανω. Set him by his side (εστησεν αυτο παρ' εαυτω). "In his arms" Mark 9:36 has it, "in the midst of them" Matthew 18:3 says. All three attitudes following one another (the disciples probably in a circle around Jesus anyhow) and now the little child (Peter's child?) was slipped down by the side of Jesus as he gave the disciples an object lesson in humility which they sorely needed.

Verse 48

This little child (τουτο το παιδιον). As Jesus spoke he probably had his hand upon the head of the child. Matthew 18:5 has "one such little child." The honoured disciple, Jesus holds, is the one who welcomes little children "in my name" (επ τω ονοματ μου), upon the basis of my name and my authority. It was a home-thrust against the selfish ambition of the Twelve. Ministry to children is a mark of greatness. Have preachers ever yet learned how to win children to Christ? They are allowed to slip away from home, from Sunday school, from church, from Christ.

For he that is least among you all (ο γαρ μικροτερος εν πασιν υμιν υπαρχων). Note the use of υπαρχω as in Luke 8:41; Luke 23:50. The comparative μικροτερος is in accord with the Koine idiom where the superlative is vanishing (nearly gone in modern Greek). But

great (μεγας) is positive and very strong. This saying peculiar to Luke here.

Verse 49

And John answered (αποκριθεις δε Ιωανης). As if John wanted to change the subject after the embarrassment of the rebuke for their dispute concerning greatness (Luke 9:46-48).

Master (επιστατα). Only in Luke in the N.T. as already four times (Luke 5:5; Luke 8:24; Luke 8:45; Luke 9:33).

We forbade him (εκωλυομεν αυτον). Conative imperfect as in Mark 9:38, We tried to hinder him.

Because he followeth not with us (οτ ουκ ακολουθε μεθ ημων). Present tense preserved for vividness where Mark has imperfect

ˆkolouthei . Note also here "with us" (μεθ' ημων) where Mark has associative instrumental ημιν. It is a pitiful specimen of partisan narrowness and pride even in the Beloved Disciple, one of the Sons of Thunder. The man was doing the Master's work in the Master's name and with the Master's power, but did not run with the group of the Twelve.

Verse 50

"Against you is for you" (καθ' υμων υπερ υμων). Mark 9:40 has "against us is for us" (ημων ... ημων). The Koine Greek η and υ were often pronounced alike and it was easy to interchange them. So many MSS. here read just as in Mark. The point is precisely the same as it is a proverbial saying. See a similar saying in Luke 11:23: "He that is not with me is against me." The prohibition here as in Mark 9:39 is general: "Stop hindering him" (μη κωλυετε, μη and the present imperative, not μη and the aorist subjunctive). The lesson of toleration in methods of work for Christ is needed today.

Verse 51

When the days were well-nigh come (εν τω συμπληρουσθα τας ημερας). Luke's common idiom εν with the articular infinitive, "in the being fulfilled as to the days." This common compound occurs in the N.T. only here and Luke 8:23; Acts 2:1. The language here makes it plain that Jesus was fully conscious of the time of his death as near as already stated (Luke 9:22; Luke 9:27; Luke 9:31).

That he should be received up (της αναλημψεως αυτου). Literally, "of his taking up." It is an old word (from Hippocrates on), but here alone in the N.T. It is derived from αναλαμβανω (the verb used of the Ascension, Acts 1:2; Acts 1:11; Acts 1:22; 1 Timothy 3:16) and refers here to the Ascension of Jesus after His Resurrection. Not only in John's Gospel (John 17:5) does Jesus reveal a yearning for a return to the Father, but it is in the mind of Christ here as evidently at the Transfiguration (Luke 9:31) and later in Luke 12:49.

He steadfastly set his face (αυτος το προσωπον εστηρισεν). Note emphatic αυτος,

he himself , with fixedness of purpose in the face of difficulty and danger. This look on Christ's face as he went to his doom is noted later in Mark 10:32. It is a Hebraistic idiom (nine times in Ezekiel), this use of face here, but the verb (effective aorist active) is an old one from στηριζω (from στηριγξ, a support), to set fast, to fix.

To go to Jerusalem (του πορευεσθα εις Ιερουσαλημ). Genitive infinitive of purpose. Luke three times mentions Christ making his way to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51; Luke 13:22; Luke 17:11) and John mentions three journeys to Jerusalem during the later ministry (John 7:10; John 11:17; John 12:1). It is natural to take these journeys to be the same in each of these Gospels. Luke does not make definite location of each incident and John merely supplements here and there. But in a broad general way they seem to correspond.

Verse 52

Sent messengers (απεστειλεν αγγελους). As a precaution since he was going to Jerusalem through Samaria. The Samaritans did not object when people went north from Jerusalem through their country. He was repudiating Mount Gerizim by going by it to Jerusalem. This was an unusual precaution by Jesus and we do not know who the messengers ( angels ) were.

To make ready for him (ως ετοιμασα αυτω). Hως is correct here, not ωστε. The only examples of the final use of ως with the infinitive in the N.T. are this one and Hebrews 7:9 (absolute use). In Acts 20:24 Westcott and Hort read ως τελειωσω and put ως τελειωσα in the margin (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1091).

Verse 53

And they did not receive him (κα ουκ εδεξαντο αυτον). Adversative use of κα = But.

Because his face was going to Jerusalem (οτ το προσωπον αυτου ην πορευομενον εις Ιερουσαλημ). Periphrastic imperfect middle. It was reason enough to the churlish Samaritans.

Verse 54

Saw this (ιδοντες). Second aorist active participle of οραω. Saw the messengers returning.

We bid (θελεις ειπωμεν). Deliberative subjunctive ειπωμεν after θελεις without ινα, probably two questions, Dost thou wish? Shall we bid? Perhaps the recent appearance of Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration reminded James and John of the incident in 2 Kings 1:10-12. Some MSS. add here "as Elijah did." The language of the LXX is quoted by James and John, these fiery Sons of Thunder. Note the two aorist active infinitives (καταβηναι, αναλωσα, the first ingressive, the second effective).

Verse 55

But he turned (στραφεις δε). Second aorist passive participle of στρεφω, common verb, to turn round. Dramatic act. Some ancient MSS. have here:

Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of (ουκ οιδατε ποιου πνευματος εστε). This sounds like Christ and may be a genuine saying though not a part of Luke's Gospel. A smaller number of MSS. add also:

For the Son of Man came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them (Hο γαρ υιος του ανθρωπου ουκ ηλθεν ψυχας ανθρωπων απολεσα αλλα σωσα), a saying reminding us of Matthew 5:17; Luke 19:10. Certain it is that here Jesus rebuked the bitterness of James and John toward Samaritans as he had already chided John for his narrowness towards a fellow-worker in the kingdom.

Verse 57

A certain man (τις). Matthew 8:19 calls him "a scribe." Luke 9:57-60; Matthew 8:19-22, but not in Mark and so from Q or the Logia.

Wherever you go (οπου εαν απερχη) is the present middle subjunctive with the indefinite relative adverb εαν, common Greek idiom. See on Matthew for "holes," "nests," "Son of man." The idiom "where to lay his head" (που την κεφαλην κλινη) is the same in both, the deliberative subjunctive retained in the indirect question. "Jesus knows the measure of the scribe's enthusiasm" (Plummer). The wandering life of Jesus explains this statement.

Verse 59

And he said unto another (ειπεν δε προς ετερον). Matthew 8:21 omits Christ's "Follow me" (ακολουθε μο) and makes this man a volunteer instead of responding to the appeal of Jesus. There is no real opposition, of course. In Matthew's account the man is apologetic as in Luke. Plummer calls him "one of the casual disciples" of whom there are always too many. The scribes knew how to give plausible reasons for not being active disciples.

First (πρωτον). One of the problems of life is the relation of duties to each other, which comes first. The burial of one's father was a sacred duty (Genesis 25:9), but, as in the case of Tobit 4:3, this scribe's father probably was still alive. What the scribe apparently meant was that he could not leave his father while still alive to follow Jesus around over the country.

Verse 60

Leave the dead to bury their own dead (αφες τους νεκρους θαψα τους εαυτων νεκρους). This paradox occurs so in Matthew 8:22. The explanation is that the spiritually dead can bury the literally dead. For such a quick change in the use of the same words see John 5:21-29 (spiritual resurrection from sin in John 5:21-27, bodily resurrection from the grave, John 5:28; John 5:29) and John 11:25. The harshness of this proverb to the scribe probably is due to the fact that he was manifestly using his aged father as an excuse for not giving Christ active service.

But go thou and publish abroad the kingdom of God (συ δε απελθων διαγγελλε την βασιλειαν του θεου). The scribe's duty is put sharply (Βυτ δο θου, συ δε). Christ called him to preach, and he was using pious phrases about his father as a pretext. Many a preacher has had to face a similar delicate problem of duty to father, mother, brothers, sisters and the call to preach. This was a clear case. Jesus will help any man called to preach to see his duty. Certainly Jesus does not advocate renunciation of family duties on the part of preachers.

Verse 61

And another also said (ειπεν δε κα ετερος). A volunteer like the first. This third case is given by Luke alone, though the incident may also come from the same Logia as the other two. Hετερος does not here mean one of a "different" sort as is sometimes true of this pronoun, but merely another like αλλος (Robertson, Grammar, p. 749).

But first (πρωτον δε). He also had something that was to come "first."

To bid farewell to them that are at my house (αποταξασθα τοις εις τον οικον μου). In itself that was a good thing to do. This first aorist middle infinitive is from αποτασσω, an old verb, to detach, to separate, to assign as a detachment of soldiers. In the N.T. it only appears in the middle voice with the meaning common in late writers to bid adieu, to separate oneself from others. It is used in Acts 18:18 of Paul taking leave of the believers in Corinth. See also Mark 6:46; 2 Corinthians 2:13. It is thus a formal function and this man meant to go home and set things in order there and then in due time to come and follow Jesus.

Verse 62

Having put his hand to the plough (επιβαλων την χειρα επ' αροτρον). Second aorist active participle of επιβαλλω, an old and common verb, to place upon. Note repetition of preposition επ before αροτρον (plough). This agricultural proverb is as old as Hesiod. Pliny observes that the ploughman who does not bend attentively to his work goes crooked. It has always been the ambition of the ploughman to run a straight furrow. The Palestine fellah had good success at it.

And looking back (κα βλεπων εις τα οπισω). Looking to the things behind. To do that is fatal as any ploughman knows. The call to turn back is often urgent.

Fit (ευθετος). From ευ and τιθημ=well-placed, suited for, adapted to. "The first case is that of inconsiderate impulse, the second that of conflicting duties, the third that of a divided mind" (Bruce).

Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 9". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.