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The Gospel According to Luke: Chapter 9

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The Mission of the Twelve. 1 w Mt 10, 1.5–15; Mk 6, 7–13 . *He summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal [the sick]. 3 *He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. 4 x 10, 5–7. Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. 5 y 10, 10–11; Acts 13, 51 . *And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.” 6Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.

Herod's Opinion of Jesus. 7 z Mt 14, 1–12; Mk 6, 14–29 . a 9, 19; Mt 16, 14; Mk 8, 28 . *Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying, “John has been raised from the dead”; 8others were saying, “Elijah has appeared”; still others, “One of the ancient prophets has arisen.” 9 b 23, 8. *But Herod said, “John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?” And he kept trying to see him.

The Return of the Twelve and the Feeding of the Five Thousand. 10 c Mt 14, 13–21; Mk 6, 30–44; Jn 6, 1–14 . When the apostles returned, they explained to him what they had done. He took them and withdrew in private to a town called Bethsaida. 11The crowds, meanwhile, learned of this and followed him. He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and he healed those who needed to be cured. 12As the day was drawing to a close, the Twelve approached him and said, “Dismiss the crowd so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms and find lodging and provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.” 13 d 2 Kgs 4, 42–44 . He said to them, “Give them some food yourselves.” They replied, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have, unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people.” 14Now the men there numbered about five thousand. Then he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of [about] fifty.” 15They did so and made them all sit down. 16 e 22, 19; 24, 30–31; Acts 2, 42; 20, 11; 27, 35 . *Then taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17They all ate and were satisfied. And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets.

Peter's Confession about Jesus. 18 f Mt 16, 13–20; Mk 8, 27–30 . *Once when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19 g 9, 7–8. They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’ ” 20 *Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said in reply, “The Messiah of God.” 21He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.

The First Prediction of the Passion. 22 h 24, 7.26; Mt 16, 21; 20, 18–19; Mk 8, 31; 10, 33–34 . He said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

The Conditions of Discipleship. 23 i Mt 16, 24–28; Mk 8, 34–9, 1 . j 14, 27; Mt 10, 38 . *Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 k 17, 33; Mt 10, 39; Jn 12, 25 . For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself? 26 l 12, 9; Mt 10, 33; 2 Tm 2, 12 . Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27Truly I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

The Transfiguration of Jesus. 28 m Mt 17, 1–8; Mk 9, 2–8 . *About eight days after he said this, he took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray. 29While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. 30 *And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, 31 n 9, 22; 13, 33. *who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. 32 o Jn 1, 14; 2 Pt 1, 16 . *Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. 33 *As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But he did not know what he was saying. 34 *While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. 35 p 3, 22; Dt 18, 15; Ps 2, 7; Is 42, 1; Mt 3, 17; 12, 18; Mk 1, 11; 2 Pt 1, 17–18 . *Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” 36 *After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. They fell silent and did not at that time tell anyone what they had seen.

The Healing of a Boy with a Demon. 37 q Mt 17, 14–18; Mk 9, 14–27 . *On the next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. 38There was a man in the crowd who cried out, “Teacher, I beg you, look at my son; he is my only child. 39For a spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams and it convulses him until he foams at the mouth; it releases him only with difficulty, wearing him out. 40I begged your disciples to cast it out but they could not.” 41Jesus said in reply, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you and endure you? Bring your son here.” 42As he was coming forward, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion; but Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and returned him to his father. 43 r 18, 32–34; Mt 17, 22–23; Mk 9, 30–32 . And all were astonished by the majesty of God.

The Second Prediction of the Passion. While they were all amazed at his every deed, he said to his disciples, 44“Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” 45But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

The Greatest in the Kingdom. 46 s Mt 18, 1–5; Mk 9, 33–37 . t 22, 24. *An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest. 47Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side 48 u 10, 16; Mt 10, 40; Jn 13, 20 . and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.”

Another Exorcist. 49 v Mk 9, 38–40 . Then John said in reply, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow in our company.” 50Jesus said to him, “Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”

Departure for Jerusalem; Samaritan Inhospitality. 51 w 9, 53; 13, 22.33; 17, 11; 18, 31; 19, 28; 24, 51; Acts 1, 2.9–11.22 . *When the days for his being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, 52 x Mal 3, 1 . *and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, 53but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. 54 y 2 Kgs 1, 10.12 . When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” 55Jesus turned and rebuked them, 56and they journeyed to another village.

The Would‐be Followers of Jesus. 57 z Mt 8, 19–22 . *As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” 59And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, “[Lord,] let me go first and bury my father.” 60 *But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 a 1 Kgs 19, 20 . And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” 62[To him] Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”


w: Mt 10, 1.5–15; Mk 6, 7–13 .

x: 10, 5–7.

y: 10, 10–11; Acts 13, 51 .

z: Mt 14, 1–12; Mk 6, 14–29 .

a: 9, 19; Mt 16, 14; Mk 8, 28 .

b: 23, 8.

c: Mt 14, 13–21; Mk 6, 30–44; Jn 6, 1–14 .

d: 2 Kgs 4, 42–44 .

e: 22, 19; 24, 30–31; Acts 2, 42; 20, 11; 27, 35 .

f: Mt 16, 13–20; Mk 8, 27–30 .

g: 9, 7–8.

h: 24, 7.26; Mt 16, 21; 20, 18–19; Mk 8, 31; 10, 33–34 .

i: Mt 16, 24–28; Mk 8, 34–9, 1 .

j: 14, 27; Mt 10, 38 .

k: 17, 33; Mt 10, 39; Jn 12, 25 .

l: 12, 9; Mt 10, 33; 2 Tm 2, 12 .

m: Mt 17, 1–8; Mk 9, 2–8 .

n: 9, 22; 13, 33.

o: Jn 1, 14; 2 Pt 1, 16 .

p: 3, 22; Dt 18, 15; Ps 2, 7; Is 42, 1; Mt 3, 17; 12, 18; Mk 1, 11; 2 Pt 1, 17–18 .

q: Mt 17, 14–18; Mk 9, 14–27 .

r: 18, 32–34; Mt 17, 22–23; Mk 9, 30–32 .

s: Mt 18, 1–5; Mk 9, 33–37 .

t: 22, 24.

u: 10, 16; Mt 10, 40; Jn 13, 20 .

v: Mk 9, 38–40 .

w: 9, 53; 13, 22.33; 17, 11; 18, 31; 19, 28; 24, 51; Acts 1, 2.9–11.22 .

x: Mal 3, 1 .

y: 2 Kgs 1, 10.12 .

z: Mt 8, 19–22 .

a: 1 Kgs 19, 20 .

Text Commentary view alone

9, 1–6 :

Armed with the power and authority that Jesus himself has been displaying in the previous episodes, the Twelve are now sent out to continue the work that Jesus has been performing throughout his Galilean ministry: (1) proclaiming the kingdom ( 4, 43; 8, 1 ); (2) exorcising demons ( 4, 33–37.41; 8, 26–39 ) and (3) healing the sick ( 4, 38–40; 5, 12–16.17–26; 6, 6–10; 7, 1–10.17.22; 8, 40–56 ).

9, 3 :

Take nothing for the journey: the absolute detachment required of the disciple ( 14, 33 ) leads to complete reliance on God ( 12, 22–31 ).

9, 5 :

Shake the dust from your feet: see the note on Mt 10, 14 .

9, 7–56 :

This section in which Luke gathers together incidents that focus on the identity of Jesus is introduced by a question that Herod is made to ask in this gospel: “Who then is this about whom I hear such things?” (9). In subsequent episodes, Luke reveals to the reader various answers to Herod's question: Jesus is one in whom God's power is present and who provides for the needs of God's people (10–17); Peter declares Jesus to be “the Messiah of God” (18–21); Jesus says he is the suffering Son of Man (22.43–45); Jesus is the Master to be followed, even to death (23–27); Jesus is God's Son, his Chosen One (28–36).

9, 7 :

Herod the tetrarch: see the note on 3, 1 .

9, 9 :

And he kept trying to see him: this indication of Herod's interest in Jesus prepares for 13, 31–33 and for 23, 8–12 where Herod's curiosity about Jesus' power to perform miracles remains unsatisfied.

9, 16 :

Then taking …: the actions of Jesus recall the institution of the Eucharist in 22, 19; see also the note on Mt 14, 19 .

9, 18–22 :

This incident is based on Mk 8, 27–33 , but Luke has eliminated Peter's refusal to accept Jesus as suffering Son of Man (Mk 8, 32 ) and the rebuke of Peter by Jesus (Mk 8, 33 ). Elsewhere in the gospel, Luke softens the harsh portrait of Peter and the other apostles found in his Marcan source (cf 22, 39–46 , which similarly lacks a rebuke of Peter that occurs in the source, Mk 14, 37–38 ).

9, 18 :

When Jesus was praying in solitude: see the note on 3, 21 .

9, 20 :

The Messiah of God: on the meaning of this title in first‐century Palestinian Judaism, see the notes on 2, 11 and on Mt 16, 13–20 and Mk 8, 27–30 .

9, 23 :

Daily: this is a Lucan addition to a saying of Jesus, removing the saying from a context that envisioned the imminent suffering and death of the disciple of Jesus (as does the saying in Mk 8, 34–35 ) to one that focuses on the demands of daily Christian existence.

9, 28–36 :

Situated shortly after the first announcement of the passion, death, and resurrection, this scene of Jesus' transfiguration provides the heavenly confirmation to Jesus' declaration that his suffering will end in glory (32); see also the notes on Mt 17, 1–8 and Mk 9, 2–8 .

9, 28 :

Up the mountain to pray: the “mountain” is the regular place of prayer in Lk (see 6, 12; 22, 39–41 ).

9, 30 :

Moses and Elijah: the two figures represent the Old Testament law and the prophets. At the end of this episode, the heavenly voice will identify Jesus as the one to be listened to now (35). See also the note on Mk 9, 5 .

9, 31 :

His exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem: Luke identifies the subject of the conversation as the exodus of Jesus, a reference to the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus that will take place in Jerusalem, the city of destiny (see 9, 51 ). The mention of exodus, however, also calls to mind the Israelite Exodus from Egypt to the promised land.

9, 32 :

They saw his glory: the glory that is proper to God is here attributed to Jesus (see 24, 26 ).

9, 33 :

Let us make three tents: in a possible allusion to the feast of Tabernacles, Peter may be likening his joy on the occasion of the transfiguration to the joyful celebration of this harvest festival.

9, 34 :

Over them: it is not clear whether them refers to Jesus, Moses, and Elijah, or to the disciples. For the cloud casting its shadow, see the note on Mk 9, 7 .

9, 35 :

Like the heavenly voice that identified Jesus at his baptism prior to his undertaking the Galilean ministry ( 3, 22 ), so too here before the journey to the city of destiny is begun (51) the heavenly voice again identifies Jesus as Son. Listen to him: the two representatives of Israel of old depart (33) and Jesus is left alone (36) as the teacher whose words must be heeded (see also Acts 3, 22 ).

9, 36 :

At that time: i.e., before the resurrection.

9, 37–43a :

See the note on Mk 9, 14–29 .

9, 46–50 :

These two incidents focus on attitudes that are opposed to Christian discipleship: rivalry and intolerance of outsiders.

9, 51–18, 14 :

The Galilean ministry of Jesus finishes with the previous episode and a new section of Luke's gospel begins, the journey to Jerusalem. This journey is based on Mk 10, 1–52 , but Luke uses his Marcan source only in 18, 15–19, 27 . Before that point he has inserted into his gospel a distinctive collection of sayings of Jesus and stories about him that he has drawn from Q, a collection of sayings of Jesus used also by Matthew, and from his own special traditions. All of the material collected in this section is loosely organized within the framework of a journey of Jesus to Jerusalem, the city of destiny, where his exodus (suffering, death, resurrection, ascension) is to take place ( 9, 31 ), where salvation is accomplished, and from where the proclamation of God's saving word is to go forth ( 24, 47; Acts 1, 8 ). Much of the material in the Lucan travel narrative is teaching for the disciples. During the course of this journey Jesus is preparing his chosen Galilean witnesses for the role they will play after his exodus ( 9, 31 ): they are to be his witnesses to the people (Acts 10, 39; 13, 31 ) and thereby provide certainty to the readers of Luke's gospel that the teachings they have received are rooted in the teachings of Jesus ( 1, 1–4 ).

9, 51–55 :

Just as the Galilean ministry began with a rejection of Jesus in his hometown, so too the travel narrative begins with the rejection of him by Samaritans. In this episode Jesus disassociates himself from the attitude expressed by his disciples that those who reject him are to be punished severely. The story alludes to 2 Kgs 1, 10.12 , where the prophet Elijah takes the course of action Jesus rejects, and Jesus thereby rejects the identification of himself with Elijah.

9, 51 :

Days for his being taken up: like the reference to his exodus in v 31 , this is probably a reference to all the events (suffering, death, resurrection, ascension) of his last days in Jerusalem. He resolutely determined: literally, “he set his face.”

9, 52 :

Samaritan: Samaria was the territory between Judea and Galilee west of the Jordan river. For ethnic and religious reasons, the Samaritans and the Jews were bitterly opposed to one another (see Jn 4, 9 ).

9, 57–62 :

In these sayings Jesus speaks of the severity and the unconditional nature of Christian discipleship. Even family ties and filial obligations, such as burying one's parents, cannot distract one no matter how briefly from proclaiming the kingdom of God. The first two sayings are paralleled in Mt 8, 19–22 ; see also the notes there.

9, 60 :

Let the dead bury their dead: i.e., let the spiritually dead (those who do not follow) bury their physically dead. See also the note on Mt 8, 22 .

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