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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Luke 7

 

 

Verses 1-10

Jesus Heals the Centurion's Servant ( Matthew 8:5-13, John 4:43-54) - Luke 7:1-10 records the story of Jesus healing the centurion's servant. This story reveals that Jesus' divine authority of His Word to redeem mankind. He came to the centurion as the Saviour of the world, crossing social boundaries.

God Blesses Those Who Bless Israel- Why did Jesus bless this Gentile when there were many needy Gentiles in the land of Israel during Jesus' earthly ministry? The same question is raised in Acts 10 when God chooses Cornelius as the first Gentile to hear the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We find both Gentiles were blessing the Jewish people. The centurion loved the Jews and built them a synagogue. Cornelius had given much alms to the Jews and his prayers were to bless the children of Israel. God will bless those who bless the people of Israel. This was a promise that God made to Abraham when the Jewish nation was born, and it is still valid today.

Genesis 12:3, "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."

Luke 7:1 Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum.

Luke 7:1Comments - Luke 7:1 serves as a transitional sentence and as a parallel passage to Matthew 7:28-29. Luke's passage reflects the office and ministry of the prophet in that the Greek uses the words ῥ ῆ μα (G 4487) (sayings) and ἀ κοή (G 189) (hearing). In contrast, the parallel passage in Matthew 7:28-29 makes a similar statement, but reflects the office of the teacher by using the Greek words λό γος (G 3056) (sayings) and διδαχή (G 1322) (teaching). While λό γος is defined as "the expression of thought" (Vine), ῥ ῆ μα means, "that which is spoken" (Vine). A ῥ ῆ μα word is that which the Spirit of God inspires us to utter, while the λό γος word reflects more of the written Word of God as a doctrine. Thus, Matthew's Gospel reflects the teaching of God's Word, while Luke reflects a prophetic utterance.

Matthew 7:28-29, "And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes."

Luke 7:5Comments - One way that the Roman centurion showed his love to God was in his financial giving, for he built a synagogue for the Jews.

Luke 7:4-5Comments - God's Blessings Upon Those Who Bless the Jews- In Genesis 12:3 God told Abraham, "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." History records many accounts where God blesses those who bless the Jews, and curses those who curse he Jews. For example, God judged the Pharaoh of Egypt for persecuting the children of Israel. Just as he commanded the Jewish male children to be drown in the river, so was his entire army drowned in the Red Sea. In addition, the firstborn males were killed, and the nation destroyed. Laban acknowledged that his blessings had come through Jacob ( Genesis 30:27). Jesus healed the Roman centurion's servant, who has blessed the Jews ( Luke 7:4-5). God sent Peter to preach the Gospel to the house of Cornelius, a man that blessed the Jews ( Acts 10:22). God promised to reward the heathen according to what they had done to the Jews ( Obadiah 1:15). Jesus makes a similar statement about rewarding those who has done good to His "brethren," which certainly includes the Jews, as well as the Church ( Matthew 25:40).

Genesis 30:27, "And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake."

Obadiah 1:15, "For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head."

Matthew 25:40, "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Luke 7:4-5, "And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue."

Acts 10:22, "And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just Prayer of Manasseh , and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee."

Luke 7:9Comments - There are only two people recorded in the four Gospels that were told by Jesus that they had great faith, and neither were Israelites: this Roman centurion and the Syro-Phenician woman in Matthew 15:12-28.

Characteristics of a great man of faith from the healing of the centurion's servant ( Luke 7:1-10 and Matthew 8:5-13):

1. Humility (:6) - "I am not worthy…" He was a high-ranking Roman soldier going to a Jew. This virtue is brought out in Luke 17:10, "We are unprofitable (or unworthy) servants." He esteemed Jesus more highly than he esteemed himself.

Philippians 2:3, "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves."

2. Boldness- A Roman soldier dares to ask the man of God from Israel for help. Jesus told the Syro-Phenician that He was only sent to lost sheep of the house of Israel.

3. Generous heart- He built a synagogue for the Jews (vs 5).

4. Full of love (vs 5) - The faith that God is pleased with and that profits a man's life is a faith that is motivated by love.

Galatians 5:6, "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love."

5. Friendly- He had friends. There is only one way to get true friends.

Proverbs 18:24, "A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."

6. Compassion ( Matthew 8:6) - This servant was horribly tormented and near death.

Matthew 8:6, "And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented."

Luke 7:2, "And a certain centurion"s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die."


Verses 1-21

Indoctrination: Jesus Testifies of His Word - In Luke 7:1 to Luke 8:21 Jesus testifies about His Word. He first demonstrates the power of His Word to heal the centurion's servant ( Luke 7:1-10), to raise the dead son of the widow of Nain ( Luke 7:11-17), to work miracles ( Luke 7:18-35), and to forgive sins ( Luke 7:36-50). He then teaches a discourse on the Parable of the Sower in order to explain how the preaching of the Gospel affects the hearts of men ( Luke 8:1-21).

Outline: Here is a proposed outline:

1. Narrative: Jesus Demonstrates His Doctrine (Capernaum) — Luke 7:1-50

2. Discourse: Jesus Teaches on Obeying His Word (Galilee) — Luke 8:1-21


Verses 1-50

Narrative: Jesus Demonstrates His Doctrine (Capernaum) - In Luke 7:1-50 Jesus demonstrates the authority and power of God's Word.

Outline: Here is a proposed outline:

1. Heals the Centurion's Servant (Body) — Luke 7:1-10

2. Jesus Raises the Widow's Son (Body) — Luke 7:11-17

3. Jesus Testifies of His Justification (Mind) — Luke 7:18-35

4.) Jesus Demonstrates Forgiveness (Heart) — Luke 7:36-50


Verses 11-17

Jesus Raises from the Dead the Widow of Nain's Son - In Luke 7:11-17 we have the story of how Jesus raised from the dead the widow of Nain's son. This passage of Scripture testifies of the power of God's Word even over death itself. It was the raising of the dead that provoked John the Baptist to ask Jesus about his Messiahship in the following passage ( Luke 7:18-35).

Luke 7:16Comments - The Gospel of Luke places emphasis upon the office and ministry of Jesus Christ as a Prophet. Jesus is referred to as a prophet five times in the Gospel of Luke ( Luke 1:76; Luke 7:16; Luke 7:39; Luke 13:33; Luke 24:19). In contrast, Jesus is referred to a prophet by Matthew on two occasions ( Matthew 21:11; Matthew 21:46), by John on two occasions ( John 7:40; John 9:17), while Mark makes no such reference.

Luke 1:76, "And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;"

Luke 7:16, "And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people."

Luke 7:39, "Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This Prayer of Manasseh , if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner."

Luke 13:33, "Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem."

Luke 24:19, "And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:"


Verses 18-35

John's Disciples Ask Jesus Questions ( Matthew 11:2-19) - In Luke 7:18-35 we have the story of John the Baptist's disciples coming to Jesus and asking Him to confirm His Messiahship. John's ministry had fully decreased and Jesus had reached His fullness in the public ministry. John had been given the revelation of the Messiah as the Lamb of God, but he had not been given the understanding of the fullness of Jesus' ministry. Thus, John the Baptist is simply asking if these signs and miracles are a part of the ministry of the Messiah; or, is someone else coming after Him. Jesus replies by explaining how God's Word is received by those who are children of God and of His divine wisdom.

Evaluation of Jesus' Response to the Disciples of John the Baptist - Upon examining Jesus' response to the disciples of John the Baptist, at first it appears that Jesus gave them an insufficient reply. Jesus worked miracles; then He told the disciples to go tell John that they had seen these miracles. After his disciples departed, Jesus then begins to lift up John before the crowd. It seems that John the Baptist would have benefited more had his disciples taken this same message back to him. John would have heard Jesus magnify his prophetic office, explaining how God has mightily used him, thus, offering words of encouragement. However, these disciples whom John had sent heard none of these encouraging words. Andrew Wommack offers the explanation of how in the hour that these disciples were present ( Luke 7:21), Jesus performed all of the miracles listed in Isaiah 35:5-6 as a way of fulfilling this particular prophecy in Isaiah , plus He added an extra miracle of raising the dead. Andrew believes this would have been a prophecy that John the Baptist was most likely familiar with because John had already quoted from a nearby passage in Isaiah 40:3, "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God." Andrew explains how Jesus gave John the Baptist an answer that directed him back to the Holy Scriptures, while Jesus avoided encouraging him emotionally by taking about him after the disciple had left. The principle is that God's Word must be the basis of our faith and not visual and emotional experiences. 198]

198] Andrew Wommack, "Effortless Change: Overcoming Doubt," Andrew Wommack Ministries, Colorado Springs, Colorado [on-line]; accessed 22March 2012; available from http://www.awmi.net/extra/audio/1018; Internet.

Luke 7:18 And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things.

Luke 7:18Comments - The disciples of John the Baptist came to John and told him about Jesus' ministry of signs and miracles. The Synoptic Gospels begin their account of Jesus' public ministry after the imprisonment of John the Baptist ( Matthew 4:12. Mark 1:14, Luke 3:19-21). This implies that Jesus did the majority of His public miracles after John's imprisonment, so that John did not witness these miracles. He only heard about them while in prison.

Matthew 4:12, "Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;"

Mark 1:14, "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,"

Luke 3:19-21, "But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip"s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison. Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,"

Luke 7:19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?

Luke 7:19Comments - John the Baptist had been kept in prison long enough to become discouraged and begin to doubt the success of his ministry and authenticity of the Messiah. He was perhaps the greatest prophet that God had ever raised up ( Luke 7:28). He was filled with the Spirit from his mother's womb ( Luke 1:41). He was raised by his parents Zachariah and Elisabeth as a Nazarite ( Luke 1:15), drinking no strong drink, and probably never cutting his hair ( Numbers 6:1-8). We have no record of him ever taking a wife. At some point in his life, he began to live in the wilderness, perhaps after the death of his parents. He may have lived with the strict sect called the Essenes. In other words, his entire life was focused upon fulfilling his destiny, which was to announce the coming the Messiah and present him to the Jews. He has given his entire life to lift up Jesus. He had given his own disciples to Jesus and they followed the Messiah. John had been an important man in society for the first time, and now it seemed that everything was falling apart. John began to doubt if his own words were true about the Messiah. Thus, while imprisoned, he became discouraged and questioned the success of his ministry. Andrew Wommack cites Proverbs 13:12, "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life." 199]

199] Andrew Wommack, "John the Baptist," in the series "A Sure Foundation," [on-line]; accessed on 4January 2010; available at http://www.awmi.net/podcasts/television/MP 3Audio; Internet.

Luke 7:20 When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?

Luke 7:20Comments- John the Baptist had no Old Testament Scriptures to predict his imprisonment. Thus, it would have been easy to question the success of his own public ministry while under the stress of imprisonment. He now sends two of his disciples to reconfirm his faith in Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

Luke 7:21 And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight.

Luke 7:22 Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.

Luke 7:22Comments - Although Jesus proclaimed John's greatness to the crowd after the disciples of John the Baptist had departed, He gave a different message for them to take back to John. Jesus directed these disciples to the testimony of miracles. More importantly, Jesus directed these disciples to the fact that He was fulfilling Old Testament prophecies. Scholars refer to passages in Isaiah 29, 35 that suggest Jesus was paraphrasing from the prophecies of Isaiah. Andrew Wommack uses this passage to teach that words of praise may inflate our emotions temporarily, but the Word of God speaks to our hearts and strengthens us indefinitely. Jesus directed John the Baptist back to the Word of God as the source of a sure foundation for his troubled faith in the Messiah. Although the Lord may speak to us in various ways, the highest way that God speaks to His children is through His Word. 200]

200] Andrew Wommack, "John the Baptist," in the series "A Sure Foundation," [on-line]; accessed on 4January 2010; available at http://www.awmi.net/podcasts/television/MP 3Audio; Internet.

Isaiah 29:18, "And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness."

Isaiah 35:5-6, "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert."

In essence, Jesus was responding to John's question by directing him back to the integrity of God's Word, the fact that God's Word will never fail. Jesus wanted John to put his faith in the Holy Scriptures and not in his dire circumstances. In the same way, Jesus responded to the disappointment and doubt of the two on the road to Emmaus by teaching them about the certainty of the fulfillment of God's Word ( Luke 24:13-31).

Luke 7:24 — "A reed shaken with the wind" - Comments - What did James call such a man?

James 1:6, "But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed."

Also:

Ephesians 4:14, "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;"

Luke 7:24Comments- John the Baptist was characterized by his uncompromising proclamation of repentance, as well as his zeal and dedication to God. For example, he rebuked King Herod for his iniquities and was beheaded for this uncompromising statement. Jesus uses the illustration of a reed shaken with the wind contrast John's character with something that continually moves in nature. The gentle breezes from the lakes and rivers continually blow, and keep the reeds never the shores in continual motion. Jesus was asking the people, "Was it his eloquent speech?" The answer is not, because John was uncultured and uncompromising in his speech.

Luke 7:25 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings" courts.

Luke 7:25Comments- John the Baptist was not only uncompromising, but he exhibited the greatest of zeal for serving the Lord in that he was willing to preach and live on the bare necessities of life in order to fulfill His calling. In contrast, the rich, fat, corrupt men of society, who has robbed the poor, lived in big, comfortable houses, and wore luxurious clothing. Jesus is asking the people what drew them out into the wilderness to hear him. He asks the rhetorical question, "Was it his expensive clothing." The answer is no, because John dressed very primitive. His hair was probably messed up, and his beard unshapely. In other words, Jesus asks these two questions in Luke 7:24-25 because He wanted the people to search their own hearts and remember what it was about John the Baptist that drew them to him.

Luke 7:26 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.

Luke 7:26Comments - John the Baptist was more than a prophet in the sense his prophetic office was the fulfillment of Old Testament Scripture, a unique aspect to the office of the Old Testament prophet.

Luke 7:27 This is Hebrews , of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

Luke 7:27Comments - In Luke 7:27 Jesus cites Malachi 3:1, "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts."

Luke 7:28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

Luke 7:28"For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist" - Comments- John's greatness above other prophets is that he was the fulfilling of prophecy ( Luke 11:10). No other prophet was the fulfilling of Old Testament Scripture in regards to the coming of the Messiah like John the Baptist.

Mike Stevens says that success displays our identity. 201] In other words, a rich man is identified with his wealth ( Luke 11:8), an athlete is identified with his particular sport, a professional is identified as a doctor, lawyer, etc. The success of John the Baptist's ministry was displayed by his uncompromising zeal for God, which was displayed by his willingness to rebuke a king, and his willingness to live in poverty in order to live a holy life and preach to the multitudes of Jews. He was appeared as the least wealthy in society, but he sought the Kingdom of Heaven above all else.

201] Mike Stevens, "Sermon," Victory City Church, Kampala, Uganda, 5 September 2009.

"but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he" - Comments- The Church has been called to a similar role in being the forerunner of Jesus' Second Coming, and thus, fulfilling Old Testament prophecy. The church's place with the Father and its work on earth is a position far greater than anyone under the old covenant could stand in. God created the earth and put man on it to walk in dominion and authority. The church has a greater role in the fulfillment of God's command to take dominion than even John the Baptist.

In addition, the Church has greatness over John the Baptist in that it has been given the use of the name of Jesus, walking in equal authority as the Messiah ( Ephesians 1:22).

Ephesians 1:22, "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,"

Note how much authority God gave Jeremiah in Luke 1:9-10 through speaking God's Word.

Jeremiah 1:9-10, "Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant."

Luke 7:29Comments - When the Jews came to John the Baptist for baptism, it was an act of faith towards God in the coming Messiah. Cleansing of sin comes when one turns from dead works to faith in God. The people and publicans had responded to the message of John the Baptist and were prepared for Jesus' coming.

Luke 7:30Comments - The Pharisees and lawyers did not prepare their hearts for Jesus' ministry.


Verses 36-50

Jesus Demonstrates Forgiveness: The Pharisee and the Sinful Woman - In Luke 7:36-50 we have the account of Jesus rebuking the Pharisee and forgiving the sinful woman. This story is used to emphasize the authority of God's Word over the heart of man.

Jesus Exposes Their Hearts- In the story of the Pharisee and the sinful woman found in Luke 7:36-50, a Pharisee named Simon hosts Jesus Christ for supper in his own home. During the midst of this meal, a sinful woman makes her way into the house and begins to minister to Jesus. Rather than rebuking her, Jesus rebukes Simon.

It is interesting to note that Simon's name is mentioned twice in this story, while the sinful woman's name is left unknown. In preparing for this meal, this Pharisee had prepared his house by cleaning it. He had order the servants to cook a particular meal. Simon had probably invited a few additional guests. He may have organized some entertainment as well. He had prepared a place for Jesus to dine so that he would be served well. In other words, the Pharisee had served Jesus Christ in all outward appearances, but his heart was far from serving Him. In contrast, the sinful woman had nothing to offer Jesus but her thankfulness. She expressed her pure heart by washing Jesus' feet with her tears, wiping them with her hair, kissing His feet and anointing them.

In God's love for this Pharisee, He orchestrated a sinner, even a woman who held a secondary place in this Oriental society, to teach Simon about true service from the heart; for they both ministered unto Jesus. However, each one of her acts of service came from the depths of her heart, while the heart of the Pharisee was far from love and devotion and thankful to Jesus. Of these two people who served Jesus, the sinful woman became the recipient of Christ's blessings, while the Pharisee was rewarded only with the praises of his friends, who enjoyed the supper and service. Thus, Jesus would one day call these Pharisees "whited sepulchers" because of their hypocrisy: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Matthew 23:27. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men"s bones, and of all uncleanness."

John 12:43, "For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God."

Luke 7:37 — "And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner" - Comments - The Greek literally reads, "and behold a woman which was a sinner in the city…" John Nolland believes the phrase "in the city" ( Luke 7:37) most likely means that she was well known, and he believes the word "sinner" means a prostitute. 202] She seems to have been a popular prostitute among the vile men of that city.

202] John Nolland, Luke 9:21-18:34, in Word Biblical Commentary, vol 35B (Dallas, Texas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), explanation on Luke 7:37.

"when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee"s house" - Comments - The question must be asked as to how this sinful woman had access to the home of the dignified Pharisee. Bonar offers a similar story of a group of Christians visiting Palestine and observing a similar gathering of villagers around the dinner table. 203] It has been my observation as well while visiting villagers in Africa that many curious people gather around visitors, looking in the windows and doors in curiosity.

203] The authors of this expedition write, "At dinner we were still more interested in observing a custom of the country.—In the room where we were received, besides the divan on which we sat, there were seats all round the walls. Many came in and took their place on those side-seats, uninvited and yet imchallenged…While we sat at meat several persons came in, though uninvited, and seating themselves by the wall, joined in the conversation." Andrew A. Bonar and Robert Murray McCheyne, Narrative of a Mission of Inquiry to the Jews from the Church of Scotland in 1839 (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1843), 68-69, 161.

"brought an alabaster box of ointment" - Comments - Alabaster is a soft mineral consisting of "gypsum (sulfate of lime)," generally white although it varies in color, and used in the ancient world to make a number of articles, such as "vases, jars, saucers, bowls, lamps, and statues." 204] Pliny gives us a number of locations that it was found throughout the ancient world. Pliny the elder tells us that ancient perfumes were valuable commodities and stored in vessels of lead or alabaster boxes because of their ability to preserve the perfumes from decay and corruption. He also mentions the practice of sprinkling perfumes on the feet of the wealthy. 205] An alabaster box of perfume is also mentioned by Claudius Aelian. 206] This woman probably could afford this luxury because of her trade as a prostitute, as did the strange woman described in Proverbs 7:10-23.

204] R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison, and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nelson"s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, rev. ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), "Alabaster."

205] Regarding the storage of perfumes, Pliny writes, "Unguents keep best in boxes of alabaster…unguents, too, improve with age; but the sun is apt to spoil them, for which reason they are usually stowed away in a shady place in vessels of lead…" (Natural History 133) Regarding the value of perfumes, Pliny writes, "These perfumes form the objects of a luxury which may be looked upon as being the most superfluous of any…" (Natural History 134) Regarding the sprinkling of the feet, Pliny writes, "We have known the very soles even of the feet to be sprinkled with perfumes; a refinement which was taught, it is said, by M. Otho to the Emperor Nero." (Natural History 134) Pliny also writes, "This stone is called ‘alabastrites' by some, and is hollowed out into vessels for holding unguents, it having the reputation of preserving them from corruption better than anything else." (Natural History 368) See Pliny, The Natural History of Pliny, vol 3, trans. John Bostock and H. T. Riley, in Bohn's Classical Library, ed. Henry G. Bohn (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1855), 166-167; Pliny, The Natural History of Pliny, vol 6, trans. John Bostock and H. T. Riley, in Bohn's Classical Library, ed. Henry G. Bohn (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1857), 329-330.

206] Aelian writes, "On a time Venus came to him, desiring to pass over: he received her courteously, not knowing who she was, and with much care conveyed her whither she desired; for which the Goddess gave him an Alabaster Box of Ointment, which Phaon using, became the most beautiful of men, and the Wives of the Mitylenans fell in love with him." (Various History 1218) See Thomas Stanley, trans, Claudius Aelianus His Various History (London: Thomas Dring, 1665, Thomas Basset, 1670, 1677) 212-257.

Proverbs 7:17, "I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon."

Luke 7:38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

Luke 7:38Comments - Jesus was reclining on the floor, as was the custom of His day. We can imagine the house servants moving around the table serving food and drinks to the invited guests. Thus, it was not difficult for this sinful woman to make her way into the house and to the feet of Jesus, which were extended behind Him and begin her ministry to Him.

Luke 7:37-38Comments - The Anointing of Jesus' Feet with Perfume- John records the story of Mary of Bethany anointing the feet of Jesus with costly perfume and wiping them with her hair ( John 12:3). Luke records a similar incident when a sinful woman washed the feet of Jesus with her tears and wiped them with her hair, then anointed his feet with perfume ( Luke 7:37-38). Matthew and Mark record the incident of a woman pouring perfume on Jesus' head ( Matthew 26:7, Mark 14:3).

John 12:3, "Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment."

Matthew 26:7, "There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat."

Mark 14:3, "And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head."

Richard Trench reflects a popular view that the Gospel accounts of the anointing of Christ by a woman record variations of the same event ( Matthew 26:7, Mark 14:3, Luke 7:37-38, John 12:3. 207] This view has its origin in the hermeneutical principle of approaching the four Gospels as a collection of the primarily same events, but from different perspectives by their respective authors. However, there is no justification in assuming that similar Gospel accounts are always the same event. I approach the four Gospels with the principle that each Evangelist offers a testimony of Jesus as the Son of God with different emphasis and each one chose events as their narrative material by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that fit their theme. For example, Jesus Christ visited many synagogues on the Sabbath and many have read from the book of Isaiah on numerous occasions, as recorded in Luke 4:14-30. Jesus may have cleansed the Temple on at least two occasions ( Matthew 21:12-17, John 2:12-22). Jesus could have preached the Sermon on the Mount ( Matthew 5-7) a number of times, so that the Sermon on the Plain records a separate account ( Luke 6:17-49). For example, Mark 10:1 tells us that Jesus taught the people "again." Today many travelling ministers of the Gospel in the field ministry repeat their sermons as they travel from church to church.

207] Richard Trench says, "It may be taken as agreed on by all that the two earlier Evangelists and the last, in their several records of the anointing of Christ by a woman, refer to one and the same event (Matt. xxvi 7; Markxiv 3; John xii 8)." See Richard Chenevix Trench, Notes on the Parables of Our Lord (London: Kegan Paul, 1906), 297.

Mark 10:1, "And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again."

Luke 7:39Comments - The Gospel of Luke places emphasis upon the office and ministry of Jesus Christ as a Prophet. Jesus is referred to as a prophet five times in the Gospel of Luke ( Luke 1:76; Luke 7:16; Luke 7:39; Luke 13:33; Luke 24:19). In contrast, Jesus is referred to a prophet by Matthew on two occasions ( Matthew 21:11; Matthew 21:46), by John on two occasions ( John 7:40; John 9:17), while Mark makes no such reference.

Luke 1:76, "And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;"

Luke 7:16, "And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people."

Luke 7:39, "Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This Prayer of Manasseh , if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner."

Luke 13:33, "Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem."

Luke 24:19, "And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:"

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Luke 7:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/luke-7.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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