Gospel of Luke

III. Synopsis and Commentary: Luke


The parts of Luke's gospel will be denoted by square brackets: [L] for passages exclusive to Luke, [Q] for those in the "Q" source, [M x:xx, M x:xx, J x:xx] for those found in the other gospels (in order, Mark, Matthew then John) and finally [Mark-Q overlap].

A. Prologue A:
Infancy Narratives (1:1-2:52) [L]

1. Notice to Theophilius (1:1-4)

Luke began each section of his two part work with a note to the neophyte Theophilius (name meaning "Friend of God"). The name could be the formal name of the person, an endearing pet name for an individual or a generic title for the reader and his audience. In any case, the author wanted to communicate his work as Good News, sourced from both eye witnesses and missionary preachers, so that "most excellent Theophilius" could reinforce his belief in the faith he was catechized.

2. Infancy Pronouncements to
Zacharias (1:5-25) and Mary (1:26-38).

a. Kerygma: Angel's proclamations in Lk 1:13-17 and Lk 1:28, Lk 1:30-33, Lk 1:35-37

b. Positive Reaction: Mary accepted angel's proclamation in Lk 1:38.

c. Negative Reaction: Zacharias rejected the angel's message in Lk 1:18.

Angel Gabriel

Angel Gabriel

Luke presented two narratives of prophecy from the angelic messenger, Gabriel who announced the birth of the Baptist and the Christ. Notice the cultural level of the two who received the message. At the top, Zacharias was a righteous Jew with the proud status of a Aaronic priest (Lk 1:5-6), inferring an extensive background in the Law. Mary was a poor, uneducated girl in the hinterland of Galilee (Lk 1:26).

According to a schedule of service, Zacharias ministered in the Temple and, by luck, drew the lot that assigned him to maintain the altar of incense, the station just outside the Holy of Holies (see Exo 30:1-10; Lk 1:8-9); he stood as close to the presence of YHWH as any priest except for the high priest who would enter the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement (Lev 23:26-32). In such close proximity to the divine presence, the angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias and prophesied the birth of John to his barren wife, Elizabeth (see Gen 11:30, Gen 21:1-2; Lk 1:7, Lk 1:13-14). The angel predicted the son's greatness as a Spirit-filled Nazarite figure like Samson (see Jud 13:1-7) and as an Elijah figure who would prepare the people (see Mal 4:5-6; Lk 1:15-17).

Mary lived in a nondescript home in the unimportant hamlet of Nazareth; she was betrothed to a jack-of-all-trades, Joseph (Lk 1:26-28). Gabriel came and proclaimed the young virgin's honor in the sight of God (Lk 1:28, Lk 1:30) and her pending motherhood of the Messiah in the kingly line of David (Lk 1:31-33).

Notice the initiative of the Spirit which invoked the charism of prophecy and proclamation of the Good News (Gabriel's message). Also notice who rejected and accepted the message. Despite his proximity to the divine presence and his background, Zacharias denied the Spirit in his midst simply because of his age (Lk 1:18); thus, he could not speak since he did not have the charism of prophecy (Lk 1:19-20).

However, Mary accepted the message despite initially demurring. She feared for her honor and that of her family (Lk 1:29, Lk 1:34), but accepted based upon two aspects of the angel's prophecy: 1) the honor she would implicitly receive from God as the mother of the great "Son of God" (Lk 1:32) and 2) the promise of the Spirit (Lk 1:35). She, like her cousin Elizabeth, would rejoice at the news of their pending pregnancies, not only because of their conditions, but because the Spirit moved in their lives (Lk 1:24-25, Lk 1:36).

3. Transition: Prophecy at the Visitation (1:39-56)

a. Kerygma:

Luke weaved the prophetic announcement of the coming figures and their births with a meeting of the two principles, Mary and Elizabeth. The Spirit moved in both women. It inspired Mary to visit her cousin based upon the angel's words (Lk 1:39). And it entered Elizabeth (and the Baptist in utero!) to proclaim beatitude upon her younger cousin (Lk 1:41). The elder blessed the younger for her visit (Lk 1:42-44) and for her faith in the words of prophecy (Lk 1:45). Note a theme Luke would employ again in his works, the upending of social expectations found in the elevated status of women (even over that of men).

Mary responded with the first of four canticles found in Luke. In her great Magnificat, she glorified God for his gift to her raised honor despite humble origins (Lk 1:46-49). She then turned to the effect her child would have on the nation. Through her son, God would have mercy on his people (Lk 1:50). And, in typical Lucan fashion, he would upend the social order, blessing the poor and denying the rich (Lk 1:51-53). She closed when she returned to the subject of divine mercy but couched in terms of Hebrew prophecy (Lk 1:54-55).

In this prophetic dialogue, Luke foretold the charismatic life of the gathered Christian assembly. Believers would speak to each other in the Spirit.

4. Births of John the Baptist (1:57-80)
and Jesus (2:1-20)

a. Charism:

b. Kerygma:

c. Positive Reaction: Faith of the shepherds (Lk 2:15-20)

d. Negative Reaction: Confusion among family and guests at John's circumcision (Lk 1:59-66)

Nativity by El Greco

by El Greco

Luke presented the births of the announced babes, first John then Jesus. Both births reflected their social status. Like the crowd who gathered to pray while Zacharias tended to the incense altar (Lk 1:21-22), now family and friends grew close for John's circumcision (Lk 1:57-59). However, Mary and Joseph took refuge in a barn-like environment alone for the birth of Jesus (Lk 2:6-7); initially, no one else took notice. Again, the evangelist used this contrast to turn social expectations upside down. While John's birth and circumcision were important but parochial affairs, Jesus' birth had historical implications. Luke placed the birth of the Christ on the same level as that of the Caesar, detailing the time frame by noting leading figures (Augustus and Quirinius) and events of Empire-wide and Palestinian importance (paying poll tax at the place of family origin; Lk 2:1-5).

The author employed this shift to set up a proclamation of the Good News. At John's circumcision, the parents broke with the tradition of naming a baby after a family member (Lk 1:59-63). At this point, Zacharias believed, received the Spirit's charism of prophecy and proclaimed the canticle we call the Benedictus. In the typically Jewish prayer form known as "berakhah," he praised God (Lk 1:68) for his presence and his saving activity in the birth of the Messiah ("horn of salvation" as a place of refuge, see 1 Kings 1:50, Psa 18:2; Lk 1: 69-70). He foresaw the coming of the Christ as a sign of YHWH's loving kindness (mercy on ancestors and a remembrance of the covenant; Lk 1:72-73) and his salvation (freedom from enemies to live a righteous life; Lk 1:74-75). After Zacharias proclaimed the Messiah, he turn his attention toward his son and the role he would play in salvation history. He echoed Gabriel's message about John as an Elijah figure (see Lk 1:16-17) who would prepare for the coming Messiah through his baptism of repentance (Lk 1:76-77). He concluded his praise with the metaphor of the rising sun which would "enlighten" sinners ("sit in darkness and the shadow of death") and "guide" them on the way of peace (Lk 1:78-79).

At the birth of Jesus, heavenly messengers appeared to shepherds. While those who tended flocks found a rich tradition in the Hebrew Scriptures (Gen 4:2, Gen 49:24, Isa 40:11, Psa 23:1), they had less than a sterling reputation in the time of Jesus. Since they watched over flocks owned by the rich, they had little incentive to protect the animals in time of danger; indeed, most were loners and social undesirables. Yet, in typical Lucan fashion, these lowest first experienced the divine presence (see Gen 15:17, Exo 13:20-22, Exo 14:24-25, Exo 33:9; Lk 2:9) and received the Good News that the Christ was born (Lk 2:10-11). Notice the sign of the Messiah, not a child covered in richly ornamented clothing of the highly placed, but a babe wrapped in common cloth lying among farm animals (Lk 2:12). Luke emphasized the place of the poor and humble over that of the rich and arrogant. He ended the scene with the glory of heaven opened and the assembly of celestial warriors praising God in the canticle of a single line (Lk 2:14).

Compare the differences between the gathered at John's circumcision and the shepherds at Jesus' birth. When Zachariah scribbled the name of john on a tablet, he spoke and everyone there was amazed, full of wonder, but not ready to believe (Lk 1:63-66). When the shepherds saw heavenly host depart, they implicitly abandoned their flocks, sought the child described to them and, finding him, evangelized others (Lk 2:15-18). In the end, they returned to their duties, praising God for what they witnessed; they believed (Lk 2:20).

Through the initiative of the Spirit, the two boys were born. Their birth resulted in a proclamation of the Good News in the charism of prophecy, first by Zachariah, then by the angel. The well-placed gossiped about the events of John's birth while the poor shepherds received the message of the Incarnation with joy.

5. Transition: Jesus' relationship with the Temple

a. The Presentation (2:21-40)

b. Passover Pilgrimage (2:40-52)

1) Kerygma:

2) Charism: Teen Jesus debating with Temple elite (Lk 2:46-47)

3) Negative Reaction: Confusion of Jesus' parents (Lk 2:48)

Presentation in the Temple

in the Temple

The Presentation at the Temple and the Passover pilgrimage of the teen Jesus foreshadowed his relationship with the worshipers and the religious elite. More to the point, it reflected those who received the Spirit and its charisms vs. those who did not, paralleling the difference between those gathered at the circumcision of John who gossiped about the change in family tradition and the shepherds in the fields who evangelized others about the birth of the Messiah.

Luke first focused on the faithful in the Temple, represented by two people who received the Spirit. He portrayed Simeon as an elderly man who, in the Spirit, recognized the Christ in the infant Jesus (Lk 2:25-27). The old man prayed the final canticle in the Infancy Narrative, the Nunc Dimittis. He realized the divine promise was fulfilled for he had seen the salvation of Israel and, indeed, the world with his own eyes (Lk 2:28-32). He finally blessed the parents with a caveat for Mary; he prophesied the baby would symbolize that of his ministry, a disruption of the social order (Lk 2:33-34). That upheaval would cut her to the core as it revealed the true nature of people (Lk 2:35).

Luke next described a righteous widow with a respectable lineage; she lived at the Temple, constantly worshiping God through prayer and fasting. She, too, had the Spirit's charism of prophecy, for, at the moment she saw the babe, she thanked God and evangelized others (Lk 2:36-38).

In this scene, notice who was missing, the Temple priests. They would appear in the next narrative when Joseph, Mary and the teen Jesus traveled to Jerusalem for the annual Passover pilgrimage (Lk 2:41-42). Note how this journey paralleled Jesus' passion and death. At the end of Passover, Mary and Joseph departed from holy city, then felt despondent over his absence, not unlike the journey of the two on the road to Emmaus (see Lk 24:13-35; Lk 2:43-44). For three day, they searched for him,failing to realize he was already present in the house of YHWH (loosely paralleling his life with the Father in his Risen state) Like the Cleopas and his companion, Mary and Joseph returned to Jerusalem (Lk 2:45); in the later's case, they found him at the Temple debating with the Temple leadership, not unlike his Temple ministry as an adult (Lk 2:46-47).

Many might wonder why Mary misunderstood the teen Jesus' ministry in the Temple (Lk 2:48, Lk 2:50). After all, his place was with his Father, in his "house" and fulfilling the divine will (Lk 2:49). Obviously, this did not quite reverberate with her acceptance of Gabriel's announcement and her prophecy in the Magnificat. Luke, however, hinted that the Spirit did not work periodically in the life of the faithful, but continually, challenging the them to open their eyes further to the will of God. Life in the Spirit was an ongoing project. Like the witness of the shepherds (Lk 2:19) and the words of Simeon (Lk 2:35), the response of Jesus to Mary's question at the Temple would cause her to reflect and gain spiritual insight (Lk 2:51).

In these two narratives, Luke shifted the presence of Spirit from people who witnessed about Jesus to the boy himself. He grew not only physically, but in wisdom (Lk 2:52) and in the Spirit (Lk 2:40). Some were awed and gossiped about the boy (L@k 2:47) while others, in the Spirit, believed in him (Lk 2:27-28, Lk 2:38).

B. Prologue B: Defining Jesus (3:1-4:13)

1. Ministry of the Baptist (3:1-6, 10-18)
and the Baptism of Jesus (3:21-22)

Beginning with chapter three, Luke edited a narrative together from different sources to introduce Jesus in the context of John and his ministry:

[L] The evangelist placed the public ministries of John and Jesus in the context of major figures, starting with Caesar and narrowing down to the local level (Lk 3:1-2)

[Q 3:2b-3] Notice he turned the descent of importance on its head with the phrase "the word of God came to John." That revelation, not the edicts of the Empire, overshadowed all others and led to the Baptist's message of metanoia (see Mt 3:1-2; Lk 3:2-3).

[M 1:2-3] Like Mark, he conflated Mal 3:1 and Isa 40:3. In this way, he quoted prophecy from the Hebrew Scriptures to define John and his ministry (Mk 1:2-3; Lk 3:4-6).

[Q 7b-9] He portrayed the Baptist proclaiming universal repentance in stark, implicitly eschatological terms (see Mt 3:7-10; Lk 3:7-9)

[L] He then had John turn to some of the outcasts that Jesus' later audience embodied: the poor (Lk 3:10-11), tax collectors (Lk 3:12-13) and Roman soldiers (Lk 3:14). In a dialogue fashion, the Baptist gave his audience practical ways to live out repentance, calling for solidarity and equity. Then, the author shifted to the larger question. Was John the Christ? (Lk 3:15)

[Mark-Q overlap; Q 3:16b-17] He copied Mark 1:7-8 but added additional details from the Q source. He foresaw the Christ not only baptizing with water, but with the Spirit. Then he added the eschatological metaphor of a violent harvest (see Mt 3:11-12; Lk 3:16-17).

[L] He generalized John's ministry and briefly mentioned the Baptist's opposition to Herod and Herodius as a transition to the baptism of Jesus (Lk 3:18-19).

[Mark-Q overlap; Q 3:21-22] He recorded Jesus' immersion into the Jordan by John along the lines Mk 1:9-11 and Mt 3:16-17 with the descent of the Spirit and the pronouncement of YHWH: "You are my beloved Son, with whom I and well pleased" (Lk 3:21-22).

2. Genealogy (3:23-38)

[L] With the announcement of "You are my beloved Son," Luke moved to define Jesus in relation to his heavenly Father. How was the Nazarene the Son of God? While the author certainly held to the virgin birth ("supposedly the son of Joseph"; Lk 3:23), he traced the relationship between Jesus and his heavenly Father, not as "son of Abraham, son of David" (Mt 1:1), but as a common human being, a "son of Adam, son of God" (Lk 3:38). As such, Luke presented Jesus as the universal Savior, of Jew and Gentile alike.

3. The Temptation (4:1-13)

[Mark-Q overlap; Q 4:1-4, 9-12, 5-8, 13] While Mark merely mentioned the temptation of Jesus in two verses (Mk 1:12-13), Luke, like Matthew (Mt 4:1-11), expanded the passage to include three tests that defined Jesus' role as the Messiah: possessions (Lk 4:1-4), temporal power (Lk 4:5-8) and popularity (Lk 4:9-13). Unlike the Fall (Gen 3:1-7), Jesus did not focus on the self but upon his Father, answering each taunt from the devil with a Scripture quote (from the Septuagint).

In Jesus' baptism, his genealogy and his temptation, Luke defined his Lord as the "Son of God" through his adherence to a message of repentance, his humanity and his faithfulness to the God he worshiped.

C. Step A1: Galilee (4:14–9:50)

1. Beginning of Ministry in Nazareth

a. Rejection at Nazareth (4:14-21, 22-30)

In this passage, Luke expanded a remark made in Mk 6:1-6, specifically " A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own relatives, and in his own house" (Mk 6:4). Variations on this saying can be found in all the gospels (Mt 13:37, Mk 6:4, Lk 4:24, Jn 4:44) and even in the Gospel of Thomas (logion 31).

[L] Luke returned to the four aspects of his gospel: charisms, kerygma, acceptance and rejection. He recorded the growing reputation of Jesus in Galilee as a one "in the power of the Spirit...in their synagogues" (Lk 4:14). Then he wrote about the Nazarene teaching in his hometown assembly. Jesus first read from Isa 61:1-2, a pair of verses that described the indwelling of the Spirit, proclamation of the Good News and charisms (Lk 4:16-20). Then he announced the prophecy fulfilled and his audience initially heard in awe, that is, until someone in the crowd remembered the local boy's linage (Lk 4:21-22).

Jesus retorted in two steps: 1) mirroring the demands of the crowd and 2) reminding his audience that his ministry did not end at the edge of Judaism. The proverb "Physician, heal yourself" did not mean the healer should begin his service on himself; it should be read as an imperative, "Physician, you yourself heal!" Such a reading more naturally rhymed with the expectation that Jesus would heal in Nazareth as he did in Capernaum (Lk 4:23).

[M 6:4] Next, Jesus reminded his listeners that they did not own him ("no prophet is acceptable in his home region" in Mk 6:4; Lk 4:24).

[L] Instead, he cited two examples of the great Galilean prophets who served undesirables. Elijah provided sustenance to an outcast (1 Kings 17:1-16; Lk 4:25-26) and Elisha healed a Gentile (2 Kings 5:1-14; Lk 4:27).

The crowd rose up as one to kill Jesus, but he escaped (Lk 4:28-30).

In this passage, Luke summarized the close connection between charism and kerygma; he also pointed out how those without Spirit-given faith rejected Jesus.

b. Ministry at Capernaum (4:31-44)

[M 1:21-39] Luke returned to Mark's narrative with three consecutive passages: exorcising the demonic in the synagogue (Mk L1:21-28; Lk 4:31-17), healing of Simon's mother-in-law and others (Mk 1:29-34; Lk 4:38-41) and Jesus praying alone (Mk 1:35-39; Lk 4:42-44). The evangelist lifted these verses from Mark since they matched his theme of ministering in an ever expanding area. He also highlighted the connection between charism of healing and the power of the Word (Mk 1:27; Lk 4:36).

2. Disciples and opponents (5:1-6:16)

a. Call of the First Disciples (5:1-11)

Call of Peter and Andrew by Caravaggio

Call of Peter and Andrew
by Caravaggio

[L] Luke turned the Synoptic call of the disciples (Mk 1:16-18, Mt 4:18-22) into his own narrative. He shared the notion of Jesus' personal initiative in the call (unlike John's "word-of-mouth" evangelization, Jn 1:35-51); however, he used the moment for kerygma (teaching from Simon's boat after fishing concluded; Lk 5:1-3) and charism (making an incredible catch of fish during the day; Lk 5:4-7). He portrayed the incredulity of Simon, not for the miracle itself, but for its implications of discipleship; the fisherman demurred based upon his unworthiness (Lk 5:8-9).

[M 1:17; M 4:19] Only at the point of the call did Luke quote the other Synoptics (Mk 1:17, Mt 4:19) and note that the first disciples followed Jesus (Lk 5:10-11).

Again, Luke artfully employed his four aspects.

b. Mark's chiasmus of controversies (5:12-6:11)

After the healing of the leper, Mark constructed a chiasmus, beginning and ending with his power, employing the center to address spiritual practices and attitudes. But he grew the power and reputation of Jesus in a linear fashion. Luke imported his passages almost wholesale.

1) Two Miracles (5:12-16, 17-26; step A1)

[M 1:40-2:12] Luke related two miracle stories from Mark: healing the leper (Mk 1:40-45; Lk 5:12-16) and the paralytic (Mk 2:1-12; Lk 5:17-26). He paralleled his flow with Mark's, emphasizing Jesus' ministry to the untouchable and the desperate. Like Mark, he expanded the powers of the Christ in terms of restoration, the leper to his social place and the paralytic to his relationship with God. And, he noted the growing reputation of Jesus, both among friend and foe alike.

He recorded the controversy over Jesus' power to forgive, tying the Nazarene's divine prerogative with his healing ability (Lk 5:22-24).

2) Call of Levi (5:27-39; step B1)

[M 2:13-22] The evangelist turned his attention to the call of Levi the tax collector and its following controversy. Following Mark's flow, he recorded Jesus calling the traitorous tax man (Mk 2:13-14; Lk 5:27-28) and the Nazarene's medical retort to the Pharisees at Levi's banquet (Mk 2:15-17; Lk 5:29-32). Once Jesus established his power over sin, he asserted his right to call the sinner.

3) Controversy on Fasting (5:33-39; step C)

[M 2:15-22] Like Mark, Luke employed three parables to defend Jesus against the charge of sinfulness. Both the disciples of John and the Pharisees asserted spiritual superiority by touting their practice of fasting, this implicitly accusing Jesus of gluttony and drunkenness in concert with his sinner friends (Mk 2:18; Lk 5:33). The Nazarene responded with an parable about the his presence among his followers (the bridegroom, Mk 2:19-20; Lk 5:34-35) and two parables on his unique teachings viz a viz Jewish tradition (on patching clothes, Mk 2:21; Lk 5:36) (on storing new wine, Mk 2:22; Lk 5:37-38).

Note since Jesus claimed the right to forgive sin and call sinners to repentance, he faced an opposition of being a sinner himself or, worse, being an agent of the devil, employing the facade of religiosity to ensnare the gullible. He retorted that, while he uniquely ministered to sinners, he did not suffer from the pollution of evil. In fact, he flipped the argument on his opponents, implicitly accusing them of intolerance in the face of the new. Difference did not mean apostasy or heresy.

4) Controversy on Sabbath Eating (6:1-5; step B2)

[M 2:23-28] Again, following Mark, Luke presented a teaching about the meaning of the Sabbath. The opponents of Jesus posed a question about the halahkah (Lawful practice) of his followers' lack of spiritual discipline (Mk 2:23-24; Lk 6:1-2); they "worked" by plucking wheat grain off the stock, rubbing it with their hands and eating it. Jesus responded with an example of apparent lawbreaking by David to feed his followers (see 1 Sam 21:1-6) to justify the actions of his disciples (Mk 2:26-27; Lk 6:3-4). Luke deviated from Mark in the moral of the example who held the day of rest served the faithful, not placed a burden on them(Mk 2:27). The evangelist simply shortened it to "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath," thus asserting Jesus as the judge over the Sabbath duty (Mk 2:28; Lk 6:5).

5) Healing on the Sabbath (6:6-11; step A2)

[M 3:1-6] Like Mark, Luke ended the conspiracy cycle with a Sabbath healing in a synagogue (Mk 3:1-2; Lk 6:6-7). Jesus initiated the conflict when he stood a man with a withered man in the midst of the assembly and asked a moral question about Sabbath practices (Mk 3:3-4; Lk 6:8-9). Luke shift anger in from Jesus to his opponents in Mark's account, but both mentioned the healing command and the conspiracy of the religious leaders against the Nazarene (Mk 3:5-6; Lk 6:10-11).

Notice how the power of Jesus grew. With a healing, he claimed divine prerogative to forgive sin. With it, he invited sinners to discipleship. Then, he defined his movement viz a viz the spiritual practices of John and his opponents, using parables to defend his presence and his message. Finally, he asserted authority in affairs of the Law, especially in respect to the Sabbath, even healing on the holy day. Jesus began and ended with healing, called followers and defended their spiritual discipline, but, at the pinnacle of the chiasmus, he insisted on his unique vision of humanity's relationship with God. He and his teaching trumped the authority of his opponents. Along the way, his power increased. So did the threat to his life.

c. Call of the Twelve (6:12-16)

[M 3:13-19] Along with the call of the first disciples, the appointment of the Twelve acted as bookends to Mark's controversy cycle. Both evangelists pictured the call on a mountain, symbolizing humanity's closest place to YHWH, but Luke added the detail of Jesus' prayer at night (Mk 3:13; Lk 6:12) while Mark denoted the reason for their calling (companionship, mobile ministry and charisms; Mk 3:14). Luke listed the two sets of brothers in order (Simon, Andrew, James, John; Lk 6:14) but Mark listed by the order they were called and gave personal details (Simon, James, John, Andrew; Mk 3:16-17). Both listed the others in order with one minor exception; Luke did not call Simon by a title (Simon the Zealot) but by reputation (Simon called the "Zealot") (Mk 3:17-19; Lk 6:14-15).

3. The Sermon on the Plain (6:17-49)

In the Sermon on the Plain, Luke presented the first of several discourses. He wove this passage together mostly from sayings in the "Q" source.

a. Transition (Lk 6:17-20)

b. The Beatitudes and Woes (6:20-26)

[Q 6:20-23 and Q 6:?24-26?] Unlike Matthew's eight Beatitudes (Mt 5:1-12), Luke listed four blessings (Lk 6:20-23), along with four parallel woes (Lk 6:24-26). Scholars are divided on the addition of the woes in the "Q" source; some find them a Lucan addition.

c. On Relations with Outsiders (6:27-36)

[Q 6:27-28, 35c-d, Q 6:29-30, Q 6:31, Q 6:32, 34 and Q 6:36] Both Luke and Matthew pointed to the relationship between Jesus and his heavenly Father as the basis for relationships inside and outside of the community. Followers were to treat others ("be perfectly devoted" in Mt 5:48; "be merciful" in Lk 6:36) as YHWH treated them (with loving kindness). This included even showing deference to enemies (Mt 5:43-45; Lk 6:35) even to the point of passivity (Mt 5:39-42; Lk 6:29-30) as a means of evangelization. After all, loving only those in one's personal circle did nothing to spread the Good News (Mt 5:46-48; Lk 6:32-34).

d. The Measure (6:37-38)

[Mark-Q overlap] In Mk 4:24, Jesus used the parable of the measure about evangelization; one who freely spread the Good News would receive freely but the one who did not would find his faith wither away. Mt 7:1 and Lk 6:37-38 shifted the notion to judgment. Don't judge and God won't judge you. In typical fashion, Luke extended the notion to mercy.

e. Blind Guides and the Student with his Master (6:39-40)

[Q 6:39 and Q 6:40] Matthew and Luke told a short parable about the dangers of following ignorant teachers (Mt. 15:14; Lk 6:39). Yet, they counseled against too much skepticism, warning a student to wait until they were fully trained before questioning the wisdom of their teacher (Mt 10:24; Lk 6:40).

f. On the Speck in the Eye (6:41-42)

[Q 6:41-42] In the parable of the speck in the eye, Matthew and Luke continued on the subject of judgment which could lead to embarrassment (Mt 7:3-5; Lk 6:41-42). Better to reject prejudice as to empathize with others.

g. Good Trees with Good Fruit (6:43-45)

[Q 6:43-45] Matthew and Luke turned to two metaphors about the danger self-righteousness: the fruit a tree produces (Mt 7:16, Mt 12:33; Lk 6:43-44) and the treasure of the heart (Mt 12:34-35; Lk 6:45). Both stories taught that people with questionable motives or a hidden sense of superiority will eventually show their true selves.

h. Solid Foundations for Building a House (6:46-49)

[Q 6:46 and Q 6:47-49] In Matthew and Luke, Jesus addressed those who fained discipleship by listening to his teaching but, through laziness or lack of commitment, did not put it into action (Mt 7:21; Lk 6:46). He employed a construction parable. Those who heard, reflected, then consistently acted on his words (dug deep for firm foundations) and could withstand persecution (surviving a flood; Mt 7:24-25; Lk 6:47-48). The "fence-sitters" who heard the word with initial enthusiasm but who lacked fortitude (built on sand) could not bear opposition (swept away by the flood; Mt 7:26-27; Lk 6:49).

4. The nature of Jesus' ministry (7:1-50)

a. Healing of the Centurion's Servant (7:1-10)

[Q 7:1, 3, 6b-9, 10] Matthew and Luke shared the passage about the healing of the centurion's servant (Mt 8:5-10; Lk 7:1-10). Luke changed a few details. The servant was close to death (Lk 7:3), not merely suffering from paralysis (Mt 8:6). And the people begged Jesus for the healing since they considered him a righteous Gentile (Lk 7:4-6). While Jesus wanted to visit the centurion's home, the soldier implicitly did not want to make the Nazarene unclean by entering a Gentile's dwelling. Instead, the man replied with an officer's logic; the command of a superior would be obeyed (Mt 8:8-9; Lk 7:6-8). Jesus declared this reasoning as a higher form of faith (Mt 8:8:10; Lk 7:10).

b. Raising the Widow's Son (7:11-17)

[L] Luke followed the healing of the centurion's servant with the resurrection of a widow's only son (Lk 7:11-17). He echoed the story of Elijah raising the widow's son (1 Kings 17:17-24). In both narratives, the death of son meant the loss of any honor and social support for his mother; she would live on the streets with a broken heart. In the case of the Nain widow, Jesus stopped the funeral procession, touched the bier (which made him as unclean as the pall bearers) and raised the young man up. The people responded with praise, declaring a "great prophet has arisen among us" (in this case "arisen" meant God appointed, see Deu 18:15, Judg 2:16, Judg 3:9) and "God has come to help his people" (Lk 7:16).

"Young man, I say to you, rise up." This phrase encapsulated the relationship between charism and kerygma; the resurrection command was the ultimate gift of the Spirit and the ultimate proclamation of the Good News. The response heightened the reputation of Jesus as a echo of Torah prophecy and declared him the divine presence on earth.

c. John's Inquiry (7:18-23)

John the Baptist by El Greco

John the Baptist
by El Greco

[Q 7:18-20] Matthew and Luke recorded a dialogue between the Baptist's disciples and Jesus. They asked him a pointed question, "Are you the Christ or another on the way?" (Mt 11:2-3; Lk 7:18-20).

[L] Luke placed Jesus response in the context of charisms listed in Isa 61:1-2)

[Q 7:22-23] In Jesus' response, Matthew and Luke quoted from Isaiah (see above). The Nazarene did not point to himself but to his ministry of healing (Mt 11:4-6; Lk 7:22). They both recorded Jesus emphatically blessing those who were not scandalized by his activity (Mt 11:6; Lk 7:23).

d. Jesus praises John (7:24-28)

[Q 7:24-28] On the heels of Jesus' testimony to John's followers, the Nazarene addressed the crowds in Matthew and Luke with a group of rhetorical questions about the Baptist (Mt 11:7-8; Lk 7:24-25). He defined John not as a curiosity or side-show attraction, but in terms of Mal 3:1, the Elijah figure who would prepare the way of the Christ (Mt 11:9-10; Lk 7:26-27). He declared the Baptist superior to any prophet as the porter to the Kingdom, yet lesser to those who entered God's realm (Mt 11:11; Lk 7:28).

e. Acceptance and Rejection of John's Baptism (7:29-30)

[[Q 7:29-30]] Scholars are divided over the inclusion of Luke's closing comments into the "Q" source. Nonetheless, the verses sharply separated the people who received John's baptism and the Pharisees who did not (Lk 7:29-30).

f. The Parable of the Children in the Marketplace (7:31-35)

[Q 7:31-35] In Matthew and Luke, Jesus employed the metaphor of children who taunted those on the street for joyous celebration ("piped a tune") or mourning at a funeral (Mt 11:16-17; Lk 7:31-32). Just like the juvenile call for action when none was appropriate, the criticism of his opponents over spiritual practices fell flat. His enemies chided him for his fellowship with sinners and equated his spiritual discipline with excess, even demon possessed, while holding the Baptist's fasting and sobriety as exemplary. Jesus responded by focusing upon not the means but the ends of ministry (Mt 11:18-19; Lk 7:33-35).

g. The Anointing at Bethany, Part I (7:36-39)

[M 14:3-9] Luke deviated from the other gospels; he placed the narrative of the anointing at Bethany out of sequence, while Mark, Matthew and John set it immediately before the Passion (Mt 26:6-13, Mk 14:3-9, Jn 12:1-8). He inserted it after the parable of the children in the marketplace most likely as an example of his teaching, "Wisdom is justified by all her children" (Lk 7:35). The Nazarene ate at the house of a Pharisee when a sinful woman rushed in to the banquet, washed his feet with her tears, dried them with her hair and anointed them with expensive perfume (Lk 7:36-38). This was an act of extreme humility, placing the woman lower than a slave. Of course, it caused scandal (Lk 7:39).

h. The Anointing at Bethany, Part 2 (7:40-50)

[L] The woman's scandalous social status and anointing set the stage for a dialogue between Jesus and the host, a Pharisee (Lk 7:40). The Nazarene proposed a debtor metaphor that ended with a rhetorical question; of course, the debtor who was forgiven the larger payment would love the loaner more (Lk 7:41-43). But, then he shifted the issue of debtor forgiveness to that of hospitality; the sinful woman, through her actions "loved" Jesus more than Simon the Pharisee simply because she welcomed him into her life in a more humble way (Lk 7:44-46). Notice Jesus equated hospitality to repentance, thus claiming the power to forgive sin; the woman would receive a greater forgiveness than the host who did not even go out of his way to welcome his guest (Lk 7:47). He declared the woman forgiven and this shocked the dinner guests, echoing Lk 5:17-26 (Lk 49-50).

Note again the relation between charism and kerygma. The power to forgive (charism) and the declaration of forgiveness (kerygma) caused a reaction of acceptance (sinful woman) and rejection (Simon and his dinner guests).

5. Teaching throughout Galilee (8:1-9:17)

a. Women Leaders (8:1-3)

[L] Unlike other gospels, Luke included women, along with the Twelve, as proper disciples. Among others, he listed three rich, prominent women who, healed by Jesus, provided for his ministry based upon their wealth: Mary Magdalene, Joanna (wife of a high official in Herod's administration) and Susanna (Lk 8:1-3). Note that, even though Mary Magdalene had a sin-filled past ("healed of seven demons"), she was not necessarily the woman who anointed at Bethany; that connection did not exist in Christianity until the sixth century by Pope Gregory the Great (540-604 CE).

b. Parable of the Sower (8:4-8)

[M 4:1-9] While Mark and Matthew remarked the people gathered on the shore (Mt 13:1, Mk 4:1), Luke generalized the gathered crowds (Lk 8:4). All the Synoptics described Jesus' parable of the wasteful farmer who tossed seeds without care (Mt 13:3-9, Mk 4:3-9; Lk 8:5-8); this cut against the common understanding of subsistence farming where the sower would plant seeds carefully in order to maximize yield. The wasteful nature of the sowing focused upon the seed and the soil. Obviously, the seeds won't take root on a well-worn road or rocky soil or among thorny bushes . But, when it fell on good soil, it produced an unbelievably large yield. Note the illogic of the wasteful farmer and the incredibly great results.

c. Explanation of the Parable of the Sower (8:9-15)

[M 4:10-20] In the Synoptics, the disciples asked Jesus for an explanation of the above parable (Mt 13:10, Mk 4:10; Lk 8:9). Luke shortened the reference to Isa 6:9 (Septuagint version; Lk 8:11) while Mark mentioned it (Mk 4:11) but Matthew quoted it in full (Mt 13:11-16). The evangelists noted that Jesus compared the farmer to the missionary, the seed to the Word of God and the soils as different types of people in the prospective audience: the hard-hearted (compacted road soil), the fair-weather believer (rocky soil), the easily distracted by worries (soil choked by thorn bushes) and the dedicated faithful (good soil). The last in the audience did acts of charity and evangelized (produced abundant fruit; Mt 13:19-23; Mk 4:14-20; Lk 8:11-15).

d. Parable of the Lamp (8:16-18)

[M 4:21-22] While all the Synoptic evangelists recorded this parable, Luke followed Mark in placing it after the parable of the sower (Mk 4:21-22; Lk 8:16-17). This parable flowed smoothly from previous one because the focus was on fruitful disciples. Those who led by good example and spread the Good News shone like the light. In an environment of persecution, however, some might want to risk social consequences of following Christ; those who cowered resembled the lamp hidden (Mk 4:21; Lk 8:16). One could not sustain such private lives (Mk 4:22; Lk 8:17). Like the fire of the lamp, the faith of the public believer would grow but that of the strictly private follower see it wither and die (Mk 4:24-25; Lk 8:18)

Note Luke repeated the parable of the lamp in Lk 11:33.

e. Jesus' True Family (8:19-21)

[M 3:31-35] Matthew, Mark and Luke recorded the attempts of Jesus family to connect with him and his use of it as a teaching moment about his "true family" (Mt 12:46-50, Mk 3:31-35; Lk 8:19-21). Luke removed Mark's rhetorical question to smooth the narrative.

f. Jesus Calms the Storm (8:22-25)

Jesus Calms the Water by Rembrandt

Jesus Calms the Water
by Rembrandt

[M 4:35-41] Up to this point, Luke portrayed a growing crowd of followers, both male and female. He taught the effects of evangelization (parable of the sower), the need to witness publicly (the parable of the lamp), the acceptance of all who believed (mother and brothers). Now, like Mark, he would put the disciples to the test in the calming of the storm (Mt 8:23-27, Mk 4:35-41; Lk 8:22-25). Jesus called fishermen as his first disciples so he could travel quickly and evangelize the various shoreline communities of Lake Gennesaret (Mk 4:35; Lk 8:22). The rising of warmth from the water in the cool evening created a vortex effect, sucking cold desert air onto the lake and creating sudden wind storms (Mk 4:37; Lk 8:23). Tossed around by the violent storm, the disciples panicked and woke the sleeping Jesus who calmed the storm then questioned their faith (Mk 4:38-41; Lk 8:23-25).

The early church interpreted this narrative as the challenge evangelization during times of persecution. The boat represented the Church. The sleeping Lord represented his seeming distance. The storm was the persecution. And the calming of the storm was the presence of the Risen Jesus who, in retrospect, smoothed the missionary effort and reassured the faithful.

g. The Exorcism of the Gaderenes Demonic (8:26-39)

[M 5:1-20] The Synoptic authors included this narrative of a Gentile exorcism (Mt 8:28-34, Mk 5:1-20; Lk 8:26-39) but Matthew doubled the number of the possessed and edited out the plea to follow Jesus. Luke hued closely to Mark but combined Mk 5:4-5 and Mk 5:9 into Lk 8:29.

Gergasa, which Mark then Luke referred to as "Gaderenes," lie on the eastern shore of Lake Genneseret. Both evangelists referred to the area, not to the specific city, for three towns of the Decapolis shared the same geography. Hippus, a few kilometers from Gergasa, was coastal settlement near a steep bank overlooking the lake; according to the account, the demons left the man and entered the swine who, in turn, jumped into the lake and drown (Mt 8:13, Mk 5:13; Lk 8:33). This detail and the reputation of the area as part of the Decapolis indicated Greek Gentiles populated the area.

Like Mark, Luke placed Jesus among the Gentiles, healing a man possessed by a plethora of demons who called themselves a "legion" (a Greek version of a Latin term denoting a military unit of four to six thousand soldiers; Lk 8:30-31); the strength of the demonic required restraints (Mk 5:4; Lk 8:29). Luke retained Mark's theme of demons revealing Jesus' identification, "Son of the Most High God" (Mk 5:7; Lk 8:28). All three authors portrayed the demons leaving the man and possessing the unclean swine who committed suicide (Mt 8:30-32, Mk 5:11-13; Lk 8:31-33); they also recorded the scandal the incident caused among the local population who asked Jesus to leave the area (Mt 8:33-35, Mk 5:14-17; Lk 8:34-37).

Despite the rejection of the Gentiles to Jesus' miracle, Mark and Luke noted the exorcised man wished to join Jesus, but the Nazarene instructed him to return to his family "and declare what great things God has done for you" (Mk 5:18-20; Lk 8:35, Lk 8:38-39).

While the majority of the Gentiles rejected Jesus, those who experienced his healing touch wished to follow him. These disciples spread the Good News where they lived.

h. Jarius' Daughter and the Woman With Internal Bleeding (8:40-56)

[M 5:21-43] All three Synoptic writers included this dual healing narrative (Mt 9:18-26, Mk 5:21-43; Lk 8:40-56). They all mentioned the synagogue leader who gave Jesus homage so his dying daughter might be restored (Mt 9:16) but only Mark and Luke named him ("Jarius" in Mk 5:22-23; Lk 8:41-42).

The Nazarene followed the leader when a woman who suffered from internal bleeding touched his garment (Mt 9:21-22, Mk 5:25-28; Lk 8:43-44). Only Mark and Luke included the dialogue between Jesus and the woman where Jesus felt power drain from him, he insisted the woman reveal herself and he sent her away in peace (Mk 5:28-34; Lk 8:45-48). Note the woman broke a social taboo by grasping the Nararene's garment. Yet, she received, not a rebuke from Jesus, but his approval for her faith in him. He was willing to set aside social restraints for the good of others.

At this point, Mark and Luke recorded family members from the leader approached him with the sad news of his daughter's death; they did not want the leader to be the cause of Jesus becoming unclean by putting him in proximity of a dead body (see Num 19:11, Num 19:16; Mk 5:35; Lk 8:49). Jesus insisted he see the girl even to the point of ejecting the mourners who ridiculed his statement "She isn't dead, but sleeping" (Mt 9:23-24, Mk 5:36-40; Lk 8:50-53). Alone with the family and close followers, he took the girl's hand and commanded her to rise up (Mt 9:25, Mk 5:40-41; Lk 8:53-54). Mark and Luke noted Jesus insisted they feed the girl but ordered their silence about the incident (Mk 5:42-43; Lk 8:55-56). Notice Jesus would willingly make himself unkosher for the good of others.

i. Sending Out the Twelve (9:1-10)

[M 6:7-11] The Synoptic authors recorded the first missionary trip by the Twelve (Mt 10:1-16, Mk 6:7-13; Lk 9:1-10). Mark and Luke had already listed the names of the Twelve (Mk 3:13-19; Lk 6:12-16) while Matthew waited until the journey to list them (Mt 10:2-4). Jesus empowered them to exorcise and heal (Mt 10:1, Mk 6:7; Lk 9:1); in Luke, he added the command to preach the Good News (notice the relationship between charism and kerygma; Lk 9:2). Next, he sent them in pairs to travel light as to be inconspicuous (Mt 10:9-10, Mk 6:8-9; Lk 9:3). Then, he instructed them to remain with house hosts as not to implicitly develop competition between potential hosts and give the impression of favoritism or duplicity, even greed (Mt 10:10-13, Mk 6:10; Lk 9:4). He also ordered them to condemn those hamlets which refused to receive them ("shake off dust" indicated disdain; Mt 10:14-15, Mk 6:11; Lk 9:5); notice Luke edited mention of Sodom and Gomorrah from his version.

[M 6:14-16] Here, Luke edited a section of Mark's account of Herod executing the Baptist (Mt 14:1-2, Mk 6:14-16; Lk 9:6-10). He created a chiasmus that indicated the success of the mission (again, charism and kerygma in Lk 9:6 and their reports to Jesus in Lk 9:10). He sandwiched the reaction of Herod in between the sending and the return. The king wondered if the Baptist or one of the prophets had risen from the dead or if Elijah had appeared (see Mal 4:5; Lk 9:7-8). Despite the execution of John, he found the message compelling, for he wished to see Jesus (Lk 9:9).

Again, note the four aspects in Luke's redaction. Charisms and kerygma caused a reaction. This time, Herod felt torn between its acceptance and rejection. He would soon choose (Lk 23:6-11).

j. Feeding of the Five Thousand (9:10-17)

[M 6:30-44] The feeding of the multitude remained one of the few narratives found in all four gospels (Mt 14:13-21, Mk 6:30-44, Jn 6:1-15; Lk 9:10-17). The evangelists noted Jesus sought a private place with his disciples but the crowds would not allow him solitude (Mt 14:13, Mk 6:32-33, Jn 6:1-3). While Matthew and Mark recorded Jesus' healing ministry (Mt 14:14, Mk 6: 34), Luke combined his charism with his kerygma (Lk 6:11). The Synoptic authors noted the end of the day approaching and the need for people to seek dinner (Mt 14:15, Mk 6:35-36; Lk 9:12). All the gospel writers mentioned Jesus' challenge to his disciples for food (Mt 14:16, Mk 6:17, Jn 6:5-7; Lk 9:13), the amount of food available (five loaves and two fish; Mt 14:17-18, Mk 6:38, Jn 6:8-9; Lk 9:13) and his command for the audience to sit (Mt 14:19, Mk 6:39, Jn 6:10; Lk 9:14-15). All the evangelists recorded the Eucharistic themes of blessing, breaking and distribution (Mt 14:19, Mk 6:41-42, Jn 6:11; Lk 9:16) and the collection of leftovers (Mt 14:20, Mk 6:39, Jn 6:13; Lk 9:17). Note the twelve baskets mentioned represented abundance and fullness; the miracle of the few produced more than satisfied the hunger of the multitude, again another Eucharistic theme.

6. Forebodings of a change (9:18-50)

a. Who do you say I am? (9:18-27)

[M 8:27-30] Matthew and Luke also recorded the scene that was the high point for Mark's gospel, the identity of the Christ (Mt 16:13-20, Mk 8:27-30; Lk 9:18-21). While Matthew elaborated on the dialogue, Mark and Luke focused on the solitude of Jesus and his disciples, then on the question of identity (Mt 16:13, Mk 8:27; Lk 9:18). After a dialogue in which the disciples mentioned the spirit of the Baptist, those of the other prophets and even the return of Elijah, Jesus asked the core question of faith: "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter replied, "the Christ" (Mt 16:14-16, Mk 8:28-29; Lk 9:19-20).

Then Jesus defined himself as the Suffering Servant with the prophecy of his Passion, death and resurrection (Mt 16:21, Mk 8:31; Lk 9:21) and taught what discipleship really meant, the willingness to suffer and die as Jesus would (Mt 16:24, Mk 8:34; Lk 9:23). Next, he compared life in the temporal realm as inferior to that in the Kingdom. Gains in this life counted as nothing in the next (Mt 16:25-26, Mk 8:35-37; Lk 9:24-25). Apostasy would lead to condemnation (Mk 8:38; Lk 9:26). Some present would see the coming of the Kingdom (Mt 16:28, Mk 9:1; Lk 9:27).

The promise that some would not die but see the Kingdom deserves a comment. How do we interpret such a saying two millennia after its utterance? While the phrase did originate either with the historical Jesus or the early Church, Mark recorded it in the early 70's CE, after most of the eye witnesses to the earthly Nazarene had passed away. So, they, like us, most likely interpreted it allegorically. They would see flashes of the Kingdom in charism and kerygma during their lifetimes. Otherwise. those who insist in a literal interpretation, expecting to see the Second Coming before their passing, may find themselves sorely disappointed at the point of death.

b. The Transfiguration (9:28-36)

The Transfiguration by Raphael

The Transfiguration
by Raphael

[M 9:2-13] All three Synoptic evangelists recorded the Transfiguration (Mt 17:1-13, Mk 9:2-13) but Luke shortened the narrative, while adding a few details (Lk 9:28-36). All three mentioned Jesus climbing the mountain with Peter, James and John and his transfiguration before them (Mt 17:1-2, Mk 9:2-3; Lk 9:28-29). Then, they noted the appearance of Moses who represented the Law and Elijah who represented the Prophets (Mt 17:3, Mk 9:4; Lk 9:30); the discussion between Jesus, Moses and Elijah represented the dialogue between the Hebrew Scriptures ("the Law and the Prophets") and the Good News.

[L] Luke alone added the content of the dialogue (what Jesus would accomplish in Jerusalem) and the departure of Moses and Elijah (Lk 9:31-33).

[M 9:5-13] All three continued the narrative with Peter's comment about recreating the Sukkoth celebration that commemorated the Exodus experience ("let us build three booths" in Mt 17:4, Mk 9:5-6; Lk 9:33). They also recorded the climax of the experience, the voice from the cloud (Mt 17:5, Mk 9:7; Lk 9:34-35). Recalling the Exodus experience, the cloud represented the divine presence (see Exo 13:21, Num 14:14, Deu 1:33) and the voice that of revelation (see Eze 1:28, 1 Kings 19:12-13, Joel 3:16-17, Amos 1:2). The heavenly voice commanded the disciples not to just read Scripture for the words of Moses and Elijah, but to heed the words of Jesus.

Luke noted that, suddenly, everything was gone (Mt 17:8, Mk 9:8) and three disciples kept quiet about the experience (Lk 9:36).

c. A Chiasmus on the Christ and Christian Leadership (9:37-50)

[M 9:14-39] Luke followed Mark's interesting chiasmus, but to a point. The structure began (Mk 9:14-29; Lk 9:37-42) and ended (Mk 9:38-40; Lk 9:49-50) with the power of exorcism; in the middle, it had the second prediction of the Passion (Mk 9:31-32; Lk 9:44-45) and a short passage on leadership (Mk 9:33-37; Lk 9:46-48).

Step A1: The Synoptic authors all recorded the healing of the demonic boy (Mt 17:14-21, Mk 9:14-29; Lk 9:37-43) but Luke deleted several verses to soften Mark's sharp critique of the disciples (Mk 9:15-16, Mk 9:21-24, Mk 9:26-27). In the end, Luke noted the disciples could not exorcise the boy (Lk 9:40) so Jesus, condemning "the faithless generation" (Lk 9:41), freed the young man simply by approaching him (Lk 9:42).

The Synoptic evangelists continued the chiasmus with the second prediction of the Passion (Mt 17:22-23, Mk 9:30-32; Lk 9:43-45); in Mark and Luke, the disciples did not understand what Jesus had prophesied while Matthew softened the reaction to sorrow.

Step B: Luke and Mark counterbalanced the prediction with a teaching on leadership. Both inverted the question of greatness (Mk 9:33-34, Lk 9:46) with the presentation of a child as the model to be served (Mk 9:35-36; Lk 9:47-48). Note Matthew edited in passages to break up the pattern.

Step A2: Mark and Luke ended the chiasmus with the question of outsiders exorcising in Jesus' name (Mk 9:38-40; Lk 9:49-50); at this point, Luke broke off while Mark continued Jesus' teaching. Note the irony of the passage; while disciples could not expel demons, outsiders could. Followers needed to learn the true nature of the Christ and discipleship.

D. Step B1. Journey to Jerusalem
(through Samaria and Judea; 9:51–19:40)

1. Preparations (9:51-10:24)

a. Rejection in Samaria (9:51-56)

[L] Luke described the disciples' reaction to their rejection as advance men in a Samaritan village. The townsfolk learned Jesus and his entourage intended to travel to Jerusalem for Passover (Lk 9:51-53). When the angered James and John wanted to call fire from the sky (see Gen 19), Jesus rebuked them, reminding them of his salvific mission (Lk 9:54-56).

b. Challenges to Discipleship (9:57-62)

[Q 9:57-60, ?61-62?] Luke and Matthew included a dialogue Jesus had with prospective disciples. He challenged the eager one with the mobility of Christian ministry (Mt 8:19-20; Lk 9:57-58) and one who demurred with the question of priority (Mt 8:21-22; Lk 9:59-60). Some scholars promote the inclusion of Lk 9:62-63 in the Q source.

c. Mission of the Seventy (10:1-12)

[Mark-Q Overlap; Q 10:2, Q 10:3, Q 10:4, Q 10:5-9 and Q 10:10-12] Like Matthew (Mt 9:37-38, Mt 10:7-16), Luke combined Mark's missionary commands (Mk 6:8-13) with verses from the "Q" source (Lk 10:1-12). Unlike the other Synoptic writers, he designated the number either as seventy or seventy two, depending upon the textual source (Lk 10:1). From the "Q," he imported the prayer which weaved evangelization with an agricultural harvest (Mt 9:37-38; Lk 10:2); both required more labor than was available. Then, he turned to the dangers on the road with the "Q" image of "lambs among wolves" (Mt 10:16; Lk 10:3) before mixing in Mark's travel instructions for companionship (in pairs), speed (travel light) and safety (Mt, 10:9-10, Mk 6:8; Lk 10:4). After the "L" greeting of Shalom (Lk 10:5), he continued with the "Q" saying about the gift of peace upon the hospitable (Mt 10:13; Lk 10:6) and the rights of the missionary (Mt 10:10; Lk 10:7); however the author added the "L" caveat not to move "from house to house," even to eat what the host presented to them (Lk 10:8). Then he presented the "Q" reason for travel in terms of kerygma and charism (Mt 10:7-8; Lk 10:9). Like the other Synoptic authors, Luke shifted to those who rejected the Good News by a vigorous condemnation (Shaking the dust from their feet" in Mt 10:14, Mk 6:11; Lk 10:10-11). Both Matthew and Luke added the "Q" prophecy which compared the fate of villages who rejected the message with that of Sodom (Mt 10:15; Lk 10:12).

Both Matthew and Luke combined Mark and "Q" sayings into their sending narratives. Luke, however, added details that implied evangelization among Gentiles: the shear number of missionaries (70 or 72, which meant fullness) and eating what the host offered (whether kosher or not). These details give us a hint that the evangelist wrote in a post Jewish-Christian environment.

d. Curses and a Warning (10:13-16)

[Q 10:13-15] On the heels of his missionary discourse, Luke added the "Q" material with Jesus condemning the unbelieving towns by name, comparing the conversion of Nineveh after the preaching of Jonah (Jonah 3) to his mobile ministry (Mt 11:21; Lk 10:13). Then, the Nazarene turned to the Final Judgment, prophesying harsh treatment (for Tyre and Sidon in Mt 11:22, Lk 10:14) and eternal damnation (for Capernaum in Mt 11:23; Lk 10:15).

[Q 10:16] Luke ended this passage with a warning to anyone who rejected his message and its true source. Rejecting the Good News meant rejecting God himself (Mt 10:40; Lk 10:16).

e. Return of the Seventy Two (10:17-20)

[L] Luke recorded the triumphal return of the missionaries who exorcised demons in the name of Jesus (Lk 10:17). He then noted Jesus' prophecy over the defeat of Satan (see Isa 14:12, Rev 12:9; Lk 10:18) in light of charisms he gave to his followers (see Mk 16:17-18; Lk 10:19). He finished, however, with a caveat; Jesus instructed his followers not to focus on victories in spiritual warfare but upon their places in the Kingdom (Lk 10:20).

f. Praise and a Blessing (10:21-24)

[Q 10:21 and Q 10:22] Luke followed Jesus' comments to the returning missionaries with a prayer of praise for God's revelation to the general populace, not to the religious elite (Mt 11:25-26; Lk 10:21-22). On the heals of the prayer, he noted a Johannine-like statement of the Son's relationship with the Father (see Jn 17:25-26; Mt 11:27; Lk 10:22).

[Q 10:23-24] In the context of the Jesus' statement on the relation between the Father and the Son, Luke portrayed the disciples as blessed, fortunate to witness the ministry of Jesus in his earthly life and in the Church (Mt 13:16-17; Lk 10:23-24).

2. Mercy and Other Priorities (10:25-42)

a. The Great Commandment and the Good Samaritan (10:25-37)

[M 12:29-31] Unlike Matthew and Mark where the leaders asked Jesus about the most important edict in the Torah (Mt 22:35-40, Mk 12:28-34), Luke flipped the script; Jesus asked a Pharisee the question of priority (Lk 10:25-28). And, unlike the other two Synoptic writers who posed the question of a hermeneutical "key," Luke asked it in the context of eternal life, thus presenting a larger issue. Who exactly were the saved?

In the Synoptic gospels, Jesus used the word "love" to thread the needle of priority. The Law required the faithful to love God above all (Deu 6:4) and love neighbor like one's self (Lev 19:18). However, love of God meant devotion but love of neighbor meant respect; so love in this construction had two different meanings. The Pharisee in the scene would use the second command about neighbor to limit the saved strictly to the Jews. Jesus, of course, would have none of this.

The Good Samaritan

The Good Samaritan
by Jordaens

[L] In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus told the famous story of a man who foolishly traveled alone on the switchback-filled road from Jerusalem to Jericho. The blind corners in the road allowed thieves to prey upon such travelers with near-deadly results (Lk 10:30). A priest and Levite who implicitly wished to keep kosher for Temple service would not assist a man they presumed to be dead (see Num 19:11; Lk 10:31-32). However, a Samaritan whom Jews considered an apostate and, so, unclean by definition did assist the victim out of compassion, even paying for his recovery (Lk 10:33-35).

In typical Lucan fashion, Jesus told a parable that flipped social convention on its head. The Pharisee assumed only his coreligionists, as sons of Abraham, gained salvation when he asked the question, "Who is my neighbor?" (Lk 10:29). But, he received a shock when Jesus asked the identity of the man who acted like a neighbor, not the priest or the Levite but the one who showed mercy, the hated Samaritan (Lk 10:36-37). In this way, Jesus shifted the term "neighbor" from one of birthright to one of character.

Note again that, by painting the unclean Samaritan as the hero of the story, Luke could also add the Gentile outsiders to those who acted with mercy and, thus, worthy of eternal life.

b. Mary and Martha (10:38-42)

[L] Luke told the endearing story of Martha and Mary to solve the tension between two Christian values: hospitality and catechesis. In almost every ancient culture, travelers had the right to food and shelter for a limited time; hosts had a social responsibility to provide such (see Gen 18:1-8). The patriarch host would entertain his wayfarer guest while the women of the clan would prepare meals, accommodations and even assist in such welcoming rituals as foot washings (1 Tim 5:9-10). Luke, however, changed the value with a woman (Martha) playing the host (Lk 10:38).

But, he introduced another wrinkle. In the context of the Christian community, not only could women (Martha) host the traveling missionaries (represented by Jesus), women (Mary) could sit at the feet of these mobile ministers to learn from their teachings (Lk 10:39). In other words, women had the right to catechesis on an equal par to that of men.

So, which Christian value had priority, hospitality or catechesis? As important as hospitality loomed in the culture, Luke answered that question in favor of the later, especially for women (Lk 10:40-42).

3. Prayer (11:1-13)

a. The Lord's Prayer (11:1-4)

[L] Luke introduced the Lord's Prayer with a request from his disciples.

[Q 11:2b-4] Luke presented the shorter version of the Our Father compared to Matthew's (Mt 6:6-13). While the traditional Matthean prayer contained seven petitions (and the doxology), the Lucan variant had six. Both began the prayer with the title "Father" indicating the immanence of the divine presence, but Luke's doesn't indicate the its location (in heaven, Mt 6:9). Both petition YHWH to make his name hallowed in a way that resulted in the Kingdom (Mt 6:10; Lk 11:2); note the eschatological nature of the request which Matthew reinforced in the third petition about God's will ("on earth as it is in heaven"). Both ask for daily sustenance but scholars argue if the bread in question simply supplied present needs or was food for the Kingdom (Eucharist; Mt 6:11; Lk 11:3); in other words, was the bread for today or for eternity? The same tension occurred in the next petition about forgiveness (Mt 6:12; Lk 11:4); did the petition ask for immediate forgiveness or acquittal at the Last Judgment? If the first two petitions (hallow name, bring Kingdom) tilted the entire prayer towards an entreaty of the end times, the final petition sealed that understanding. The phrase "do not bring us into temptation" referred the the Tribulation, an event that would not entice the individual into sin but one that would challenge the entire faith community (Mt 6:13; Lk 11:4); Matthew's addition ("rescue us from the Evil One") only reinforced that understanding.

The Lord's Prayer was a uniquely Christian one for its focus on the end times. Yet, over time, gained popularity simply because believers could ignore its eschatological themes and apply its petitions to their immediate situations.

b. Parables and Teachings about Prayer (11:5-13)

Luke followed his presentation of the Lord's Prayer with several parables and a teaching.

[L] He related the story of the persistent neighbor as an allegory for perseverance in prayer (Lk 11:5-8). Notice how the parable roughly paralleled the petition for "daily bread" in the Lord's Prayer. The weekly celebration of the Eucharist echoed this constant call for the God to give the faithful bread for the Kingdom. Thus, ongoing prayer was not just an individual pursuit but a shared experience.

[Q 11:9-13] Luke followed the parable with several others that acted as a moral to Lk 11:5-8. The ones knocking will find (Mt 7:7-8; Lk 11:9-10). The ones requesting their earthly fathers for food (fish, egg) will not receive death (snake, scorpion; Mt 7:9-10; Lk 11:11-12). By analogy, the heavenly Father will all the more bestow good gifts on the community (Mt 7:11), especially the Spirit (Lk 11:13).

Again, note the parallels: constant prayer (the persistent neighbor parable, knocking on the door) and the request for food (bread with persistent neighbor, fish and egg). Also consider the gift of the Spirit in Luke's account. A consistent, shared spiritual life and regular celebration of the Eucharist depended upon and found its source in the Spirit.

4. Growing Opposition (11:14-54)

a. Beelzebul Controversy (11:14-26)

[Mark-Q Overlap; Q 11:14-15, 17-20, Q 11:?21-22? and Q 11:23] Matthew and Luke (Mt 12:22-30; Lk 11:14-26) expanded Mark's account of the Beelzebul controversy (Mk 3:22-27). Unlike Mark, the other two Synoptic writers began with a healing (Mt 12:22-23, Lk 11:14). This gave rise to the accusation over the source of Jesus's true power: Beelzebul (Mt 12:24, Mk 3:22; Lk 11:15). The term Beelzebul originally was the name of a local Philistine god (Ba'al Zebub) who had an etymological association with Baal, the fertility god (see 2 Kings 1:1-16). Jews soon attributed the name as evil, equating it with Satan.

In all the Synoptics, Jesus retorted by pushing their charge to its absurd conclusion with the analogies of the divided kingdom and the infighting clan (Mt 12:25, Mk 3:23-24; Lk 11:17). He applied that image to the demonic realm (Mt 12:26, Mk 3:26; Lk 11:18). From the "Q" source, he added the rhetorical question about the source of Jewish power to exorcise (Mt 12:27, Lk 11:19). Then, again from the "Q" source, he advanced his argument to its conclusion. If his power did not come from Beelzebul, then from God. And if from God, then the Kingdom was present (Mt 12:28; Lk 11:20).

Jesus added the image of a potential theft to reinforce his argument about strength in unity (Mt 12:29, Mk 3:27; Lk 11:21-22) then, again from the "Q" source, ended with a condemnation of those who opposed him (Mt 12:30; Lk 14:23).

[Q 11:24-26] Luke added a coda to the controversy from the "Q" source. What happened when an exorcised man regained his mental balance but implicitly remained spiritually stagnate? In both Matthew and Luke, Jesus told a parable of the wandering demon who, seeing no victims (desert regions), gathered strength (fellowship with other demons), attacked the man with increased vigor and left him worse off (Mt. 12:43-45; Lk 11:24-26).

A modern analogy would be the alcoholic who, convinced of his own willpower, dallied with a sip of wine and "fell off the wagon." Pride blinded him to a need for the support of others and accountability to them. In the same way, the proud who rejected Jesus might live a moral life but their self-importance left them vulnerable to the greater evils of self righteousness.

b. Transition: Blessing on Jesus' Mother (11:28-29)

[Q 11:?27-28?] While some scholars include this transition in the "Q" source, others consider this exchange from the "L" source. An anonymous woman praised Jesus mother but, like Lk 8:19-21, Jesus responded with a beatitude for the faithful disciple (Lk 11:28-29).

c. Request for a Sign and the Parable of the Eye (11:29-35)

[Mark-Q Overlap; Q 11:16, 29-30 and Q 11:31-32] While Luke placed the request for a sign from Jesus opponents in Lk 11:16, Mark and Matthew also recorded this question (Mt 12:38-39, Mk 8:11-12) but the "Q" source connected it's symbolic value to Jonah and, thus, to the Son of Man (Mt 12:39-40; Lk 11:29-30). Matthew explicitly paralleled Jonah's experience in the whale with the Son of Man in the tomb, but Luke left the parallel unspoken. Both framed the repentant Ninevites (Mt 12:41; Lk 11:32) and the non-Jewish "Queen of the South" (Mt 12:42; Lk 11:31) as righteous judges condemning the "evil generation." Both framed the famous outsiders as wise enough to realize that "something greater" than Jonah and Solomon was present.

[Q 11:34-35] In the Mark-Q overlap, Jesus critiqued his opponents as implicitly blind to the import of his presence. The following "Q" source parable made that assessment explicit. Both Matthew and Luke emphasized the importance of the eye in a spiritual sense. That which one could understand ("see") changed one's perceptions of the reality ("your entire body is illuminated" in Mt 6:22; Lk 11:34). However, that which one ignored ("light in you is darkness"; Lk 11:35) could lead to shame when the truth was revealed ("it will be illuminated when the glaring light shines on you"; Lk 11:36). Note Matthew didn't include Luke's caveat against ignorance but simply stated the sorry fact of its existence in the person (Mt 12:23).

d. Woes (11:37-54)

[L] In Lk 11:37-38, Jesus condemned the Pharisees for their obsession over kosher washings.

[Q 39b] He considered such minor rulings as obsessive, even duplicitous (Mt 11:25; Lk 11:39).

[L] He then posed the power of the Creator to produce the elements for the cup as well as the inner life of the human (Lk 11:40).

[Q 11:?39a?, 42, 39b, 41, 43-44] Both Matthew and Luke chided the Pharisees for their taxes on such small items as spices but ignored the necessary biblical themes of justice and divine love (Mt 11:23; Lk 11:42). These godly values meant mercy and charity were the road to righteousness (Mt 12:26; Lk 11:41). The authors compared the disparity between behavior and intention to that of a honored tomb, beautifully maintained on the outside, but full of decay on the inside (Mt 11:27; Lk 11:44).

[L] Then, Luke turned his ire against the scribes (11:45).

[Q 11:46b, 52, 47-48] Matthew and Luke continued on the theme of the tomb, thereby ratcheting up Jesus' criticism. The Nazarene condemned the scribes and their legalistic minutia that suffocated the grand themes of the Torah (see Mt 23:4; Lk 11:46). Instead of comparing them to the tombs of the prophets, he charged their intellectual forefathers for the murders the YHWH's spokesmen then implicitly charged them with duplicity for honoring these righteous men, thus impuning them with the guilt of the deaths (Mt 23:29-32; Lk 11:47-48).

[Q 11:49-51] The proverb from the "Q" source could not be found in the Hebrew Scriptures; instead it represented an eschatological saying of the early Church (Mt 23:34-36; Lk 11:49-51). It continued the view that the Pharisees shared in the blood guilt of the prophets from Abel (Gen 4:1-18) to Zechariah (2 Chr 24:20-21). Divine justice required retribution in the generation of the end times.

[Q 11:52] Because of their obstinacy, the Pharisees and scribes did not allow themselves or those in the care a chance to enter the Kingdom (Mt 23:12; Lk 11:52).

5. Teachings on discipleship (12:1-13:9)

a. Worth of the Disciple (12:1-12)

Luke framed a series of Jesus' teachings directed to his disciples before a vast crowd; he added the caveat: "Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees. It is hypocrisy" (Lk 12:1). From this point, the Nazarene addressed what the disciple learned, how worthy they were and what the disciples implicitly accepted in the gift of the Spirit.

[Mark-Q Overlap; Q 12:2-3] Mark addressed the eventual public knowledge of revelation (Mk 4:22; Mt 10:26; Lk 12:2). From the "Q" source, Matthew and Luke added the images of darkness and light to revelation; what was said in darkness would be revealed in the light, even from the rooftops (Mt 10:27; Lk 12:3).

[Q 12:4-5 and Q 12:6-7] Revelation cut two ways: what the Christian would profess and how their opponents would resist them. Both Matthew and Luke warned disciples to place both in a larger picture. They should not fear their earthly opposition but heavenly judgment (Mt 10:28; Lk 12:4-5). Why? Because of their worth to the Father which was far greater than anything in creation (sparrows for sale). He cared for them in way unimaginable (counting hairs; Mt 10:29-31; Lk 12:6-7).

[Q 12:8-9] The "Q" source continued on the subject of the disciples' worth with their place at the Final Judgment. Matthew and Luke noted the Son of Man would acknowledge the faithful before the Father but he would condemn the apostate (Mt. 10:32-33; Lk 12:8-9).

[Q 12:10] This "Q" saying extended the fate of the apostates and the opponents. Matthew and Luke noted those who rejected the message implicitly denied the work of the Spirit (which the disciples accepted); Mt 12:32; Lk 12:10). The message of forgiveness inherent in the Good News had limits.

[Q 12:11-12] Luke paralleled the subject of anxiety among the disciples with Lk 12:6-7. Just as they should fear God's judgment over that of men, they should depend upon the power of the Spirit in situations of trial (Mt 10:19; Lk 12:11-12). They possessed the Spirit; their opponents rejected the Spirit.

b. On Riches (12:13-21)

[Q 12:?13-14? and Q 12:?16-21?] Many scholars dispute the inclusion of the controversy and parable on riches in the "Q"source since they could only be found in Luke. Luke recorded Jesus denied the status of the scribe. The Nazarene would not give a legal opinion on inheritance (Lk 12:13-14). He followed it with the Parable of the Rich Farmer about a man who gathered an abundant harvest, laid down self-satisfied, only to die in his sleep and lose it all (Lk 12:16-20). Jesus then stated the moral of his story: storing up heavenly treasure trumped the pursuit of earthly riches (Lk 12:21).

Scholars who argue for the inclusion of this passage based upon its proximity to the following verses on personal needs.

c. On Today's Needs (12:22-34)

[Q 12:22b-31] How should disciples live with their priorities focused on God's will? Matthew and Luke implicitly presented the answer in terms of dependence and explicitly on its corollary, freedom from anxiety. In this "Q" saying, Jesus created a chiasmus, teaching his followers that life meant more than food, drink or clothing (Step A1: Mt 6:25; Lk 12:22-23; Step A2: Mt 6:31; Lk 12:29).

He then illustrated the point with two images from nature: birds of the air and lilies of the field. Just as God so cared for the birds of the air that need not work, he cared for the faithful so much more (Step B1: Mt 6:26; Lk 12:24). Just as God produced the beauty of the lilies in the spring, only to have them wilt and gathered for kilning in outdoor ovens, he would provide clothing for the faithful (Step B2: Mt 6:28-29; Lk 12:27-28).

The moral of the saying was simple. Worry could not add a moment ("cubit" or "hour") to one's life; one didn't have control either in small or large matters (Step C: Mt 6:27; Lk 12:25-26). God knows everyone's needs, even if outsiders obsess over them (Mt 6:32; Lk 12:30). So disciples should first "seek the Kingdom" and depend upon God to provide daily needs (Mt 6:33; Lk 12:31).

[L] Luke bridged the chiamus about worry to the conclusion below with a verse about the gift of the Kingdom (Lk 12:32).

[Q 12:33-34] These few verses acted as a coda for Luke. In this "Q" saying, Jesus told his followers to share what you have with the poor as a way to shift one's priorities heavenward (Mt 6:19-20; Lk 12:33). He added a proverb about one's true aims (Mt 6:21; Lk 12:34).

d. On the Second Coming (12:35-13:9)

1) Waiting for the Master (12:35-48)

[L] Luke previewed the beatitude/parable of the waiting servant with two imperatives. Be dressed (see Exo 12:11) and ready for service (Lk 12:35). And watch for the master returning from the wedding banquet (Lk 12:36-37); note the traditional, yet eschatological image of YHWH (the husband) and his people (the bride; see Hos 2:21-22, Mk 2:18-20, Rev 21:2).

[Q 12:39-40] Luke interpreted the waiter/servant image with the "Q" parable of the house owner vs. the thief. The theme of watchfulness remained but instead of welcome defense was emphasized (Mt 24:43-44; Lk 12:39-40).

[L] The evangelist interpreted the images with a question on application (Lk 12:41).

[Q 12:42-46] Luke returned to the beatitude/parable of the waiting servant, this time with a "Q" passage. He began with a rhetorical question from Jesus about the identity of the head servant who oversaw the household help (Mt 24:45; Lk 12:42); of course, the Nazarene addressed it to his closest disciples. He followed with a blessing for the waiting leader (Mt 24:46-47; Lk 12:43-44) but contrasted that person with the unfaithful, abusive overseer who believed the house master would be delayed indefinitely. That disloyal servant would face execution and replacement (Mt 24:48-51; Lk 12:45-46).

[L] Luke followed up the gruesome image of the servant "cut in half" with a comparison between the knowing but disobedient servant and the ignorant one. The former would receive a greater punishment than the later; notice the threat of death was missing. The evangelist ended the parable with a proverb about accountability (Lk 12:47-48).

2) Societal Woes (12:49-53)

Luke shifted from the waiting servant to the effects of the evangelization among pagans and Jews.

[L; Q 12:[[49]] In Luke, Jesus stated his impatience for the end times. Notice the "fire" pitched on earth echoed the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19:24-25; Lk 12:49); his baptism paralleled the prophecy of the Baptist about the Messiah (Mt 3:11, Lk 3:16-17).

[Q 51, 53] From this "Q" saying, Matthew and Luke saw the divisive nature of kerygma which would cause societal, even violent change ("sword" in Mt 10:34; "division" in Lk 12:51). The result of conversion would rip clans asunder (Mt 10:35-36; Lk 12:52-53).

3) Signs of the End and Immediate Justice (12:54-59)

[[Q 12:54-56]] In this questionable "Q" image, Matthew and Luke criticized the popular spiritual vision with a weather parable (Mt 16:2-3; Lk 12:54-56). Each evangelist used different images. Matthew compared the red skies at the sunrise vs. sunset; Luke compared the clouds rising over the Mediterranean with desert wind. Yet the message was the same. If people could accurately predict the weather, Jesus asked, why couldn't they see the coming Tribulation?

[L] The author bridged between the weather parable and one about debtor's court with a rhetorical question about right judgment (Lk 12:57).

[Q 12:58-59] In this "Q" image, Matthew and Luke presented the need for immediate repentance. They urged people to "settle a debt" with their neighbors or with God before the Final Judgment (Mt 5:25; Lk 12:58). Procrastinators would face the full penalty for their debt, down to the smallest amount (Mt 5:26; Lk 12:59).

4) Divine Justice and Repentance (13:1-9)

[L] In Luke 13, Jesus compared the guilty Galileans Pilate executed with their fellow Jews from the region (Lk 13:1-2) and the innocent who died in a tower collapse with others in Jerusalem (Lk 13:4); the Siloam tower could have referred to a city lookout Herod built in a portion of the original city wall (see Jn 9;7-11, Josephus in the Jewish War 5:145). In both cases he implied that all sinned, guilty and innocent alike; everyone needed to repent in the face of the end times (Lk 13:3; Lk 13:5).

[M 11:12-14] Jesus followed this warning up with the parable of the unfruitful fig tree (which Luke modified from Mt 21:18-19, Mk 11:12-14). When the owner wished to the cut it down due to its lack of fruit, the gardener asked for mercy, promising to tend to it in order to see if it would produce (Lk 13:6-9). The Nazarene made the point clear. God delayed judgment to allow everyone the chance to turn back to him, but he would act in due course.

6. What was the Kingdom of God like? (13:10-35)

a. Sabbath Healing (13:10-17)

[L] Luke presented Jesus healing a woman who suffered from severe osteoporosis on the Sabbath. The event thematically mirrored Mk 3:1-6 because it caused a Sabbath controversy. However, Jesus not only declared the woman free, he touched her, making himself ritually unclean on the holy day (Lk 13:10-13).

The synagogue leader incited the congregation, charging the Nazarene with violating the Law (Lk 13:14). Jesus responded in two ways. First, he cited the Torah on the merciful handling of domestic stock on the Sabbath (see Deu 5:14; Lk 13:15). Next, with that edict as context, he heightened his actions by raising the woman in status as a "daughter of Abraham" (thus, truly Jewish) and freed her from ultimate bondage (disease as the result of demonic activity) on the day of rest and, implicitly, liberation (Lk 13:16). The only response to his activity was divine praise (Lk 13:17).

Notice charism and responses, both positive and negative, led to the kerygma below.

b. Sayings on the Kingdom (13:18-27)

[Mark-Q Overlap; Q 13:18-19 and Q 13:20-21] All three Synoptic writers shared the parable of the mustard seed (Mt 13:31-32, Mk 4:30-32; Lk 13:18-19), but only Matthew and Luke share the parable of the leaven (Mt 13:33; Lk 13:20-21). Both parables emphasized the small, humble beginnings of the Kingdom that would grow almost imperceptibly until it became obvious. More important, they stressed the Kingdom was in process; kerygma and charism implicitly revealed God's reign in the here and now. This understanding stood in stark contrast to those who expected YHWH to invade history in one, great, cataclysmic event.

[L] Luke transitioned from the growing nature of the Kingdom to the question of those who would inhabit it (Lk 13:22-23).

[Q 13:24-27] In the "Q" source, Jesus proposed images that answered the question, "Who are the saved?" He didn't answer the question in terms of a birthright (as "sons of Abraham") but in the language of struggle. The disciple should work to achieve a high morality ("through the narrow gate" in Mt 7:13-14; Lk 13:24) and a deep devotion to the Christ; otherwise, even nominal Christians be denied (Mt 7:22-23; Lk 13:25-27). Notice several details about the parable. First, the gate opened access to a clan compound (implicitly in urban setting). Next, the dialogue occurred in the evening when the lookout would close the gate to protect the occupants and their possessions from theft. Finally, the "Lord" of the house spoke to those who broke the curfew and denied them access simply because he did not "know" them, despite the fact they shared in the community's kerygma ("...you taught us...") and Eucharist ("...ate and drank with you..." in Lk 13:26) or they performed charismatic signs ("...prophesy...expel demons...do powerful deeds" in Mt 7:22). He would send these slothful and marginal followers away (Mt 7:23; Lk 13:27).

c. Condemnation of the Arrogant (13:28-35)

[Q 13:28-29 and [[Q 13:30]]] From the "Q" source, Luke followed up the parable of the gate with a statement on the conditions of those rejected. The evangelist pictured the outsiders suffering while looking on as the patriarchs celebrated with peoples who populated the four corners of the world (Mt 8:11-12; Lk 13:28-29); the "peoples" could refer to Jews in the Diaspora or Gentiles. In either case, those who assumed their place in the Kingdom as a birthright would suffer disappointment for the "last shall be first..." (Mt 20:16; Lk 13:30). God saw the world differently.

[L] Luke created a bridge between the question of the saved and the fate of Jerusalem. Some friendly Pharisees warned Jesus about Herod's intent (Lk 13:31), but the Nazarene responded with a message for the leader. He would fulfill his mission to perform signs and go to Jerusalem, both couched in terms of three days (an illusion to his death, burial and resurrection; Lk 13:32-33).

[Q 13:34-35] With the pivot to Jerusalem complete, Luke focused on the fate of the holy city itself. From the "Q" source, he portrayed Jesus condemning the city for its unfaithful past ("...killing prophets…) and its refusal to reform ("to gather your children...but you did not desire it" in Mt 23:37; Lk 13:35). Thus, he emphatically declared ("Look!") Jerusalem lost (Mt 23:38; Lk 13:35). He would not return until the populace proclaimed "Blessed is he coming in the name of the Lord," possibly referring to his entry into Jerusalem (Mt 21:1-9, Mk 11:7-10, Jn 12:12-14; Lk 19:35-38; see Psa 118:26), the Second Coming or both (Mt 23:39; Lk 13:35).

7. At a Banquet (14:1-35)

a. Sabbath cure at a banquet (14:1-6)

[L] This was the second cure on the Sabbath; this time, Luke recorded Jesus healing a man with dropsy (edema, filling the cavities and areas beneath the skin with bodily fluids). Instead of curing in a synagogue, the Nazarene healed at a banquet hosted by a Pharisee (Lk 14:1-2). He called the sufferer forward to ask the same question as he did in Lk 6:8-10: "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?" (Lk 14:3-5) And again, just like the synagogue cure in Lk 6:6-11, no one dared to answer Jesus (Lk 14:6).

Luke framed the Sabbath controversy to set up his teaching on meal manners.

b. Banquet Etiquette (14:7-14)

[L] [[Q 4:11]] Luke addressed manners at banquets that local church leadership could apply at Eucharist ("wedding feast" represented fellowship meal of the Kingdom; Lk 14:8). The ambitious should take care, lest they face humiliation (invited to a lesser seat; Lk 14:7-9). The honorable servant-leaders will receive honor (sit in a higher seat than they might wish to; Lk 14:10). The evangelist wished to convey a sense of justice and service over social prejudice and favoritism (Lk 14:11).

c. Parable of the Great Banquet (14:15-24)

[L] Luke shifted from table manners to the parable of the great supper with a guest's comment: "Bless is he who feasts in the Kingdom of God" (Lk 14:15).

[Q 14:16-18, ?19-20?, 21, 23] Matthew and Luke recounted this "Q" sourced story of a rich man's feast. Matthew presented it as the wedding feast for the king's son (Mt 22:1-10) while Luke localized it to a clan celebration (Lk 14:16-24). In both cases, Jesus caught the ears of his audience with the rude response of those invited (Lk 14:16-20); Luke portrayed family and friends of the patriarch-host placed personal interest above loyalty to the clan (represented by the leader) which ran against ancient social order. So, the host sent out his servants to invite all, including the sick and those in need (Lk 14:21), even traveling strangers (implicitly the Gentiles; Lk 14:23).

[L] Informed of extra space, he extended his invitation (Lk 14:22) but denied entrance to those who rejected his initial request (Lk 14:24).

Luke's local version might contain more nuance than Matthew's nationwide version but they both communicated the same moral. God gave Kingdom entrance to the faithful as a gift, not as a birthright; he admitted those who the righteous would least expect in the Kingdom.

d. Sayings on Disciples (14:25-35)

1) Hating Family (14:25-27)

[L] Luke turned to the question of discipleship with a quick transition to the crowds (Lk 14:25).

[Mark-Q Overlap; Q 14:26-27, 17:33] Mk 8:34-35 stressed the social and physical dangers of discipleship; the faithful followed by picking up their crosses and be willing to die for their devotion to the Christ. Matthew and Luke added the divisions within clans faith could cause (Mt 10:37-39; Lk 14:26-27, Lk 17:33); the term "hate" did not refer to revulsion but to the priority of discipleship over loyalty to the clan.

2) Parables of Plans (14:28-33)

[L] In this section of Luke, Jesus proposed two sets of rhetorical questions about the cost of discipleship and provided the obvious answers. First, he painted the image of the tower builder (Lk 14:28) who, without foresight, endured the shame neighbors rained on him for not completing his project (Lk 14:29-30). Second, he put forth the image of an embattled king who, after measuring his diminishing chances for victory (Lk 14:31), sued for peace (Lk 14:32). In these two settings, the Nazarene demanded complete commitment to the faith (Lk 14:33).

3) Salt (14:34-35)

[Q 14:34-35] From the "Q" source, Matthew and Luke put forth the image of salt weakened by impurities; how useful was it? (Mt 5:13; Lk 14:34). In ancient Judea, villages would obtain salt pillars that formed on the banks of the Dead Sea and scoop out salt for preserving meats or flavoring foods. When these villages could no longer find their pillar useful, they would spread the impure salt on the road to harden it ("trampled under foot," Mt 5:13). Unlike Matthew, Luke saw no use for impure salt, either good enough to throw on the road or to harden manure into patties for outdoor oven fuel; in the words of Jesus, those could hear should really listen to the challenge of discipleship (Lk 14:35).

8. Parables of Repentance (15:1-32)

a. Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin (15:1-10)

[L] Luke again turned to the tension between his audience and his critics (Lk 15:1-2); the comments of the leaders led to his next set of parables (Lk 15:3).

[Q 15:4-5a, 7 and [[Q 15:8-10]] From the "Q" source, Matthew and Luke drew the parable of the Lost Sheep (Mt 18:12-13; Lk 15:4-7). Some scholars propose the "Q" source also included the parable of the Lost Coin (Lk 15:8-10). Both narratives shared the same structure: the story of the lost and found then the moral of heavenly joy over repentance. In other words, the community should focus, not on the health of itself in toto, but in the welfare of those who seek to reform.

[L] Luke added Lk 15:6 for dramatic effect.

b. Parable of the Prodigal Son (15:11-32)

The Prodigal Son by Batoni

The Prodigal Son
by Batoni

[L] Luke continued his theme of repentance when Jesus told the parable of the Prodigal Son (or the Compassionate Father, depending upon the point of view). The parable stood as a favorite of many Christians for the themes of forgiveness and acceptance. But few realized that it not only reflected the individuals need to reform but the call to reform on a national level. YHWH called the leaders both Israel and Judah to change their ways (see Hos 2, Jer 3:6-4:4). Few responded. And the lack of return led to disaster.

King Manasseh of Judah (709-643 BCE) was a classic example of grievous sin and return. He reversed the Deuteronomic reforms of his father, Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:1-4), and re-instituted idolatry in the Temple (2 Kings 21:1-5), even to the extent of offering human sacrifice to the god Moloch (2 Kings 21:6). Yet, in 2 Chr 33:10-16, he changed his heart when the Assyrians took him into exile but was later restored to the throne. The Greek Septuagint contained the Prayer of Mannaseh, a entreaty of a humble heart.

So, while Luke pointed his narrative to the sinners and outcasts of Jewish society, he echoed themes from the historical and prophetic books of Hebrew Scriptures.

The evangelist unfolded the parable with the demands of the younger son for his inheritance (read "birthright"); the son's father, the patriarch of the clan, consented (Lk 15:11-12). The son traveled to a Gentile region ("far away country") and squandered his "riches" in immoral acts (Lk 15:30; Lk 15:13). In the midst of a famine, he found employment in feeding pigs (Lk 15:14-15). Notice Luke made explicit what he at first implied; the son personified the unclean sinner, serving the most unkosher of animals, the pig.

At this point, the son "hit rock bottom" and vowed to return home so he could serve his father's clan as a hireling (Lk 15:17-19). This was his metanoia moment. Yet, the father would not receive the son as a servant; instead, he warpped the young man in his loving embrace, ignored the wayward child's entreats, and restored the prodigal to his birthright (Lk 15:20-22). The father even threw a banquet to announce the son's return, declaring "...my son was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found" (Lk 15:24).

The once proud son returned humble and, because of the father's love, was restored to his place. Such treatment caused scandal. What Jewish patriarch who lost an offspring to immoral living could stand the shame of taking back such a sinner into the family again? Luke symbolized such logic in the person of the older, faithful son who, returning from the fields, learned to find about the celebration held for his sinner brother (Lk 15:25-28). The irate elder son complained to his father about the inequity of the situation (Lk 15:28-30). But, the father tried to reassure the older brother that his birthright was intact (Lk 15:31). However, he repeated the reason for restoring the young brother's place; he was "dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found" (Lk 15:24; Lk 15:32).

We can easily consider the parable of return on the level of the individual but we can also view as allegory of salvation history. First, the patriarch's riches seemed endless, enough for the older and younger sons, just like the gifts bestowed by God. He created not only a physical cosmos full of possibility, he also shared a spiritual life of abundance. Second, the father threatened scandal, even within the family, for the good of the returning child; this contrary attitude of God echoed Isaiah 55:8-9. Third, the return of the son represented nothing less than resurrection to his father (Lk 15:24; Lk 15:32). The celebration the father gave for his returning son represented the Eucharist, the liturgy of Resurrection. Finally, if we read the celebration of return as a metaphor for the heavenly banquet, the feast of the Kingdom belonged to those who returned (Lk 15:22-24, Lk 15:27), not to those who complained for remaining faithful, judging the penitents (Lk 15:29-30); note Luke inferred an equality between the sons in the father's eyes, thus implying parity between the faithful Jew and the repentant outsider, echoing the Pauline view of equality in the Christian community (Gal 3:28). In his sly way, the evangelist shifted the question of the salvation from those who don't feel the need to reform due to their claims of faithfulness (Pharisaical Jews) towards the reformed (Christians).

9. The Wrong Priorities (16:1-31)

a. Parable of the Inventive Steward (16:1-13)

[L] Luke shifted from subject of repentance to the moral wisdom of outsiders. In the Parable of the Inventive Steward, he told the story of a middle man who had lost the faith of his employer. The middle man or steward arranged business deals, political favors and even bribes between upper class patrons and lower class clients. The middle man made money by charging the clients more than what patrons demanded and pocketing the difference. In the parable, the patron fired the middle man for his excessive greed and waste (Lk 16:1-2). Without income, the middle man lacked the strength for manual labor and felt shame even at the idea of begging (Lk 16:3). So, he devised a plan to forgo his profit (between twenty to fifty percent of the total bill) and implicitly square accounts with his former employer (Lk 16:5-7). While Luke did not finish the parable, we can fill in the result. Because of the his act of apparent kindness, the middle man shifted the loyalty of the clients away from the patron to himself. His discount of the bill pleased the clients, thus strengthening his position as a middle man and giving him leverage to renegotiate employment with his former boss or seek a new one.

Many interpret the discounted bill as a act of monetary thief by the middle man. If so, the former employer would have reacted with anger, not with praise for the middle man's wisdom (Lk 16:8). Why did the rich man respond in this manner? Ancient society depended upon acts of reciprocity between individuals to show good faith; "quid pro quo" bonded people together, helping them create social, economic and political networks. A host and guest would exchange food and lodging for entertaining stories of travel. Patrons would give clients preferential treatment in exchange for the praise of their master's "mob." Royalty bribed nobles for the latter's loyalty. In other words, one's web of patrons and clients defined one's place more than money alone; one advanced in ancient society by working networks, not by stealing. Therefore, the rich man admired the middle man for his ingenuity; the go-between manipulated the system to his advantage.

In Luke, Jesus praised outsiders for their worldly wisdom; they could outsmart disciples. Notice the terms "children of the world" and "children of light" (Lk 16:8). The latter term had cultural cache in Jewish circles for the true member of a religious movement. In the War Scroll (1QM), for example, the Essenes at Qumran applied "children of light" for their members, but they called other Jewish movements (Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians) "children of darkness." Thus, how could Jesus' disciples become "children of the light?" The Nazarene implicitly wanted them to develop networks, even using donated "ill-gotten gains" (unrighteous mammon) to evangelize, so the saved could welcome such missionaries into the Kingdom ("eternal tents"; Lk 16:9). Jesus followed up his command with a moral observation. Greed on the smallest level reflected negatively even in spiritual terms ("trust with true riches"; Lk 16:10-11). Duplicity in a relationship created distrust and reciprocity, even among disciples, broke down (Lk16:12).

[Q 16:13] From the "Q" source, Matthew and Luke pointed towards the inherent conflict when a disciple made God and money equal priorities. Piety and greed don't mix. One must choose and maintain that choice (Mt 6:24; Lk 16:13).

b. Warning the Pharisees (16:14-18)

[L] Luke employed a comment on the Pharisee's skepticism to transition to a more pointed attack on greedy leadership ("lovers of money"; Lk 16:14). Then he recorded Jesus' condemnation of self-seeking leaders (Lk 16:15).

[Q 16:16, Q 16:17] Luke pulled together three "Q" saying that Matthew kept separate. First, Jesus announce the demise of the Baptist as the close of the Hebrew Scriptures ("the Law and the Prophets"; Mt 11:12-13, Lk 16:16). Next, despite the close of the Tanack, he declared its permanence (Mt 5:18; Lk 16:17).

[Mark-Q Overlap; Q 16:18] Finally, he pronounced an halakhic judgment on the immorality of divorce (causing one's spouse to commit adultery in remarriage; Mt 5:32, Mk 10:11-12; Lk 16:18).

In the context of the parable preceding (the Dishonest Steward) and following (Lazarus and the Rich Man), Luke drew a sharp line between the priorities of the Christian and those of the Jewish religious leaders. He portrayed the latter as a caricature of greed and self-centeredness. He implied divine favor had shifted to the Church with the close of Hebrew Scripture while stressing the holy book's permanence, even to the extent of strengthening a halakhic teaching on marriage.

c. Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (16:19-32)

Lazarus at the Gate

Lazarus at the Gate
by Bronnikov

[L] While, in Luke, Jesus praised outsiders for their economic ingenuity (parable of the Dishonest Steward), he condemned them for their pursuit of the self. In the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, he weighed the lust for temporal enjoyment vs. the greater good and found it wanting. The story framed the rich man as one who lived an overtly opulent lifestyle (Lk 16:19) and described a poor, sickly, starving beggar (named Lazarus) who yearned for a scrap from the rich man's table (Lk 16:20-21). In the narrative, both men died. Angels lifted the poor Lazarus into heaven ("bosom of Abraham") while a few mourners buried the rich man (Lk 16:22). Notice the theme of ascension (Lazarus into paradise) and descent (the rich man into the earthly neither world); in the ancients' belief in a three tier universe, rising up represented salvation while descending represented damnation.

In the afterlife, the suffering rich man cried out to "Father Abraham" for relief (Lk 16:23-24) only to find divine justice reversed the conditions of the rich man and the beggar (Lk 16:25). No mercy would be provided to the condemned (Lk 16:26). If not relief, then, the rich man urged, send a heavenly message to save his brothers (Lk 16:27-28). Notice the rich man asked for Lazarus to give him relief and to act as the messenger from heaven. In other words, even in the afterlife, the rich man still saw the beggar as his inferior, his servant. This belief cut to the nature of his sin, self-absorption. The rich man had no capacity for reflection or reform. For him, Lazarus only existed in his world as a means to an end.

Father Abraham responded to the rich man's latest plea with a religious truth. The man's brothers already possessed divine revelation in the Scriptures ("Moses and the prophets") so they had no need for a heavenly messenger (Lk 16:29). And if they did not heed the Scriptures, Abraham insisted, how could they believe in one risen from the dead, a clear reference to the Resurrection (Lk 16:30-31).

The parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man turned on the cardinal sins of greed, envy, sloth and gluttony. The rich man implicitly indulged in these vices and his lifestyle based on such blinded him from faith, both in the Scriptures and in the Risen Christ. Luke portrayed the Pharisees as caricatures, primarily concerned self indulgence over the good of others. In the evangelist's eyes, the rich man represented Jewish leaders while Lazarus represented the poor Christians who truly believed in the words of Scripture and in Jesus risen from the dead.

10. Living the Kingdom of God (17:1-37)

a. On Sin and Forgiveness (17:1-4)

[Q 17:1-2, Q 17:3-4] Luke turned from the parables condemning greed to the scandal of personal sin and the need for forgiveness. In the gospel, Jesus pointed to willful immorality and its effects upon the innocent in the community; by analogy, a horrible death in the depths of the evil unknown was better than the shame produced (Mt 16:18; Lk 17:1-2). Yet, the community should forgive the repentant, preferably in private (Mt 18:15, Mt 18:20-21; Lk 17:3-4).

b. On Increasing Faith (17:5-10)

[L] Luke pointed to the need for faith implicitly to refrain from sin and forgive from the heart. The disciples wanted Jesus to increase their faith (Lk 17:5). Jesus responded with two parables.

[Q 17:6] In the first, he told his followers that a little trust (small mustard seed) could accomplish great deeds (ordering a tree to uproot and be planted in the sea; Mt 17:20; Lk 17:6).

[L] In the second, he proposed the story of a servant and put a series of absurd rhetorical questions into it. Would a servant expect his master to gratefully serve him after a long day's work? Of course not! The Nazarene concluded the true measure of faith lie in humility, not pride (Lk 17:6-10)

c. Healing of the 10 Lepers (17:11-19)

[L] While there are a few narratives about healing "leprosy" (2 Kings 5:1-19, Mt 8:1-4), Luke's version stood out for the geography of the miracle, the number of the sick and the faith of the Samaritan leper. (A side note: Biblical "leprosy" was not "Hansen's disease," an auto-immune condition that attacked the nerves. Lev 13 inferred "lepers" suffered from a contagious and severe skin rash that could disappear over time (Lev 13:1-3, Lev 13:11, Lev 13:45-46)

In the gospel, Jesus traveled in a gray area that had some allegiance either to Galilee or Samaria; in this way, Luke emphasized his theme of Jesus as one who broke down barriers. The Nazarene entered a village where he was confronted with a community ten "lepers" who cried out for mercy (Lk 17:11-13). Like the narrative of the centurion who sought the healing of his servant (Mt 8:5-13, Lk 7:7-10), Jesus merely gave a command, in this case, for them to present themselves to the priest to affect the cure (Lk 17:14). Unlike the former sufferers, the Samaritan in the group returned to give him grateful homage (Lk 17:15-16). He responded with a rhetorical question about the faith of the other nine as a means to highlight the Samaritan's reaction (Lk 17:17-18). In this way, he inferred that God's favor knew no boundaries; anyone could receive those blessings if they believed like the "foreigner" (Lk 17:19).

d. On the End Times (17:20-37)

Luke detailed Jesus' teaching on the end times in a highly redacted series of statements. In this short passage, the Nazarene publicly eased expectations for the end times, then addressed disciples anticipating the advent of the Messiah, chided unbelievers for their spiritual sloth, warned believers to be vigilant, and finally prophesied both the sudden arrival of the Kingdom and participation of imperial troops in that arrival.

[Mark-Q Overlap] [[Q 17:20-21]] Luke placed a caveat on expectation for the immanence of the Messiah and his Kingdom, first by referring to God's realm then to the person of the Christ.

Spurred on by the Pharisees, Jesus warned against mere observation for clues to the coming Kingdom (Lk 17:20) or false announcements about it's arrival (Lk 17:20). Indeed, he pointed to the interior dimension of the Kingdom as "already in your midst" (Lk 17:21). Some scholars consider this doublet as a part of the "Q," others as purely part of the L source.

In Matthew and Mark, however, Jesus prophesied a "shortened" time span until the Kingdom arrived in order to save those seeking God (Mt 24:23, Mk 13:20) warned against faith in false Messiahs (Mt 24:24, Mk 13:21). Notice Luke softened the urgency of anticipation found in the other two Synoptic gospels, even shifting the focus of the saying away from the person of the Christ and placing it on one's present spirituality.

[L] Next, Jesus waved his followers away from a zealous expectation for the coming of the Christ (Lk 17:22).

[Q 17:23-24] Addressing his disciples, Jesus returned with the second part of the doublet, this time referring to the identity of the Messiah. Like Matthew, the doublet "Look, here...look, there..." stressed the Nazarene's emphasis on caution, but Luke did not identify a location (Lk 17:24) as Matthew did (Mt 24:26). In both evangelists' gospels, Jesus described the Second Coming as a cosmic event ("as lightening flashing across the sky," Mt 24:27; Lk 17:24).

[L] In Luke, Jesus transitioned from the end times to his more immediate fate (his Passion) then to the rejection by the "present generation" to introduce the "Q" sayings on the "days of Noah" (Lk 17:25).

[Q 17:26-27, ?28-29?, 30] Jesus described the willful ignorance of and lack of faith by his contemporaries in reference to two figures from Genesis: Noah (Gen 6:8-14) and Lot (Gen 19:1-25). The peoples in the time of both men conducted their lives without concern for the divine will, so suffered when the wrath of YHWH descended upon them. In like manner, the amoral "evil generation" of Jesus' time would undergo sudden, divine judgment with the appearance of the "Son of Man" (Mt 24:37-40; Lk 17:26-30).

[M 13:15-16] Luke shifted from the unaware non-believer to the vigilant one. Jesus urged the faithful city dweller ("on the rooftop") and the farm tenant (‘in the fields") to flee at the moment of immanent danger. They should leave without recovering goods or turning back (Mt 24:17-18, Mk 13:15-16; Lk 17:31).

[L] Based upon the phrase "turning back", Luke's Jesus inserted "Remember Lot's wife, thus tying his instruction back to the Lot reference in Lk 17:28-29 (Gen 19:26; Lk 17:33).

[Q 17:34-35] Luke now stressed the suddenness of judgment on the Day of YHWH. One of a pair in bed or at the grinding wheel would be taken, the other left behind. Unlike many modern theologies, the identity of the saved or the damned remained undetermined in Luke.

[Q 17:37]  Luke led to his conclusion with a question from Jesus' disciples. When, Lord? Jesus responded with a cryptic statement that seemed after the fact. "Where the corpse lie, the eagles will gather" (Mt 24:28; Lk 17:37). Some translations replace "eagles" with "vultures." Both birds are scavengers, but the eagle stood on the standards of the Roman troops as a symbol for the Empire, implying plundering after destruction after a successful military campaign. In other words, Luke portrayed Roman conquest and brutal suppression as part of divine will for the end times. This view supported a date of composition after the fall of Jerusalem (70 CE).

11. Attitudes toward the Kingdom (18:1-19:27)

a. Parables on Prayer (18:1-14)

1) On Perseverance in Prayer (18:1-8)

[L] In Luke 18, Jesus spoke to the need for perseverance in prayer (Lk 18:1) with two caricatures, the unrighteous judge and the widow. He described the judge as one who "didn't fear God" nor respect humanity (Lk 18:2, Lk 18:4). Fear of God meant being awestruck more than shriveling and cowing ; Psa 14:1 equated those who did not stand in awe of the divine as morally corrupt. So, Jesus portrayed the judge in the parable as too self-absorbed to have a relationship with God nor did he care to enforce the Torah edicts.

Yet, the Law explicitly instructed such an official to give the widow preferential treatment (Deu 24:17-19). The prophets held such care for widows realized faithfulness to YHWH's covenant (Mal 3:5, Isa 1:17, Isa 1:23, Isa 10:2, Jer 7:6, Jer 22:3, Eze 22:7, Psa 93:6); if the religious leaders did not rule for the widow, God would (Psa 67:5, Psa 145:9). Sirach 35:14-18 summed up the widow's status before the Law.

But, the widow gained her request not based upon her standing before the Law but for her tenacity (Lk 18:3, Lk 18:5). So, too, Jesus insisted, should the elect (note Luke implied disciples were God's Chosen). He wanted them to persist in prayer, no matter what time of the day, even if the Father, who ruled over them with patience, seemed distant (Lk 18:6-7). For, the Son of Man would return to quickly serve up justice, but would the delay of the Second Coming exhaust disciples to the point they gave up their faith? (Lk 18:8). Notice the tension between the expectations of the faithful and the delayed fulfillment of their hopes, especially in an environment of hostility. Jesus expected his followers to continually pray even if they felt God did not seem to listen; they should not despair.

2) On Humility in Prayer (18:9-14)

[L] While Jesus, in Luke, insisted on persistence in prayer, he chided those who beseeched God with a proud heart. In the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, both entered the Temple to pray (Lk 18:9). The Pharisee didn't really pray but bragged about his moral purity viz a viz outsiders (like the tax collector; Lk 18:11) and his exemplary spiritual practices (Lk 18:12). The tax collector, however, did implore God, asking for mercy (Lk 18:13). Jesus ended the parable with a moral about fall of the haughty and the rise of the humble (Lk 18:14).

Notice the parallels between the two parables. Luke painted the leaders (unrighteous judge and Pharisees) as religious insiders while Jesus audience (represented by the widow and the tax collector) remained outsiders. Yet, in his typical fashion, the evangelist turned social expectations upside down by showing God's favor towards the outcast (i.e., Christians). Hence, he wrote these stories to impress the value of humble, yet consistent prayer on his audience.

b. Accepted in the Kingdom I (18:15-30)

1) Accepting Children (18:15-17)

[M 10:13-16] Luke returned to Synoptic material in a scene with children (Mt 16:13-15, Mk 10:13-16; Lk 18:15-17). Jesus rejected social norms about the place of children in ancient society. He accepted them when his disciples tried to dissuade parents from presenting them to the Nazarene (Mt 19:13, Mk 10:13; Lk 15). Notice the emphatic language he used in opposing imperatives ("allow...do not hinder," Mt 19:14, Mk 10:14; Lk 18:16) and the triple negative ("not receive...not, not enter," Mk 10:15; Lk 18:17). He made the strongest possible statement about entering the Kingdom as a child both in attitude and in stature. The opposite of the child (the proud and self-absorbed) could not go in to the divine realm.

2) The Rich in the Kingdom (18:18-30)

Jesus and the Rich Man

Jesus and the Rich Man
by Hoffman

[M 10:17-31] Luke continued the entry theme with the rich man's inquiry. (Mt 19:16-30, Mk 10:17-31, Lk 18:18-30) This man represented what the children were not; he had not only wealth but implicit social connections which gave him social and political clout. So, he asked a question that lay upon the minds of many contemporaries: What do I have to do to gain eternal life? (Mt 19:16, Mk 10:17; Lk 18:18) The inquiry into the Kingdom revealed an insecurity about the Law in first century Judaism; was mere adherence to Torah edicts enough? Note that, while Jesus rejected the title of "good" that a faithful Jew could only give to God (Septuagint Psa 53:3, Psa 72:1, Psa 134:3, Psa 135:1; see Psa 117:1-4, Psa 117:29), he listed the commandment in relation to others (Exo 20:16-20, Deu 5:16-20; Lk 18:19-20). In other words, he defined right religion as ethics. The rich man affirmed he kept those commandments (Lk 18:21); he was a faithful Jew.

Then, Jesus added the next step: discipleship. He challenged the rich man to sell his possessions and give the profit to the poor. But implicitly, this meant cutting social, economic and political ties to become a follower and endure the hardships and rejection that title meant (Lk 18:22). The man could not give all his riches, status and power up and lower himself to the place of an outsider (Lk 18:23). Unlike Mt 19:22 and Mk 10:22, Luke did not record the rich man leaving the scene; did the evangelist imply the man had a second chance?

Reacting to the man's sorrow, Jesus declared the difficult road the wealthy underwent for the Kingdom; he meant the images of the "camel" and the "eye of the needle" literally (Mt 19:23-24, Mk 10:23-25; Lk 18:24-25). The disciples were incredulous; "Who then can by saved?" (Mt 19:25, Mt 10:26; Lk 18:26). Here stood a man blessed by God in this life; they assumed he would enjoy divine favor in the Kingdom. If the blessed could not enter the realm of YHWH, who could? The Nazarene responded by emphasizing the Kingdom as a gift, not as a birthright; the impossible for humans was possible for God (Mt 19:26, Mk 10:27; Lk 18:27).

As the leader of the disciples, Peter asked the obvious question: what about us? (Mt 19:27, Mk 10:28; Lk 18:28) When Jesus made his offer to the rich man, he implied that eternal life depended upon giving up possessions and social connections to follow the Nazarene. The disciples did what the rich man failed to do. Jesus responded with the promise of treasures in the present life and in the Kingdom (Mt 19:28-29, Mk 10:29-30; Lk 18:29-30). Either Luke meant his audience to interpret earthly "treasures" metaphorically as a emotionally fulfilled life or as an end time prophecy where followers would replace the rich and powerful on the day of YHWH. (Note Luke deleted the "last shall be first" phrase found in Mt 19:30 and Mk 10:31.)

c. Prediction of the Passion (18:31-34)

[M 10:32-34] Following Mark's flow, Luke proceeded to a prediction of the Passion and Resurrection (Mt 20:17-19, Mk 10:32-34, Lk 18:31-34). While all the Synoptics couched the statement in terms of the "Son of Man," only Mt 20:18-19 and Lk 18:31-33 recorded Jesus stating that his purpose in Jerusalem would fulfill the Prophets and pointed to the Gentiles as the instruments of his death. Of course, the disciples did not understand his statement (Lk 18:34).

d. Accepted in the Kingdom II

1) Healing of the Blind Man (18:35-43)

[M 10:46-52] Luke removed the leadership request of John and James (Mk 10:35-45) and moved directly to the healing of the blind man at Jericho (Mt 20:29-34, Mk 10:46-52; Lk 18:35-43). Unlike Mk10:46, he did not name the beggar (Bartimaeus) but follow the Mark's narrative closely. Hearing Jesus walked by the blind man shouted out a challenge "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me" (Mt 20:30, Mk 10:47; Lk 18:36-38). Despite the rebuke of the crowd, he shouted it again (Mt 20:31, Mk 10:48; Lk 18:39).

Note the blind man gave Jesus the title "Son of David" that referred to Solomon, the wisest of the Davidic kings; the title inferred if someone had God's wisdom, he must have divine power. The request "have mercy on me" had debtor overtones; the poor would ask for financial relief with the term "mercy." In other words, the blind man saw his malady as an effect of his personal sin against God; he owed YHWH a debt. He called out for Jesus to share his divine power for mercy, relief of that debt.

Instead of dismissing the man, Jesus invited him forward and asked what he wanted. Of course, he desired sight which he received (Mt 20:32-33, Mk 10:49-51; Lk 18:40-42). But he gained more than physical sight; his request gave him faith. So formerly blind man followed Jesus (Mt 20:34, Mk 10:52; Lk 18:43).

If we look back to Lk 18:15-17, we can see some parallels. The disciples rebuked parents who wanted Jesus to touch their children; the crowd tried to hush the blind man when he shouted his request. In both cases, Jesus accepted those rejected. He declared the Kingdom for children. His healing gift made a disciple of the blind man.

2) Zacchaeus (19:1-10)

[L] Since Luke made some parallels between the children of 18:15-17 and the blind man of 18:35-43, he reinforced the comparison with the story of Zacchaeus in response to the rich man who could not follow Jesus (Lk 18:18-30). Unlike the latter who directly addressed the Nazarene with the question of eternal life, the short Zacchaeus sought to see him from a distance, up on the limb of a sycamore tree (Lk 19:1-4). But, Jesus invited them both to fellowship, the rich man to become a disciple, the tax collector Zacchaeus to lunch (Lk 18:5). The righteous rich man could not accept Jesus' invitation while Zacchaeus the outcast gladly accepted (Lk 19:6-7). Note what the rich man could not do, Zacchaeus joyfully did; he gave away much of his wealth to the poor and to repay people he cheated (Lk 19:8). Taking Zacchaeus at his word, Jesus declared the tax collector saved as one who truly lived out the spirit of the Law, "a true son of Abraham" (Lk 19:9).

Compare the morals of the two stories: "...with God all things are possible" (Lk 18:27) and "the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost" (Lk 19:10). Like many of his parables, Luke turned popular expectations upside down. God's reign did not depend upon blessings received but upon faith. The righteous rich man who turned down discipleship would find entrance into the Kingdom difficult. The outcast Zacchaeus found salvation by accepting fellowship with Jesus.

e. Parable of the Minas (19:11-27)

From the "Q" source, Luke and Matthew presented variations on the Parable of the Minas/Talents. While Matthew recorded it as the tale of an absentee landowner, Luke portrayed it as an allegory close to the rise of Herod the Great.

[L] Like Mark 13, Matthew began his posed his discourse on the end times (Mt 24) but added a series of parables (Mt 25). Luke included this story in the vicinity of Jerusalem (Mt 24:1, Mk 13:1; Lk 19:11). But the evangelist explained Jesus told the parable as a warning to those who expected the immanence of the end times.

[Q 19:12-13] Like Mt 25:14, the rich man traveled abroad, but Luke explained the reason for the journey: to become a vassal king of a foreign power (Lk 19:12). In 40-39 BCE, the regional power to the East, the Parthians, moved west and gained a foothold in the eastern Mediterranean basin. Aligned with Rome, Herod fled to the Imperial City and gained the backing of the Senate which appointed him the vassal "King of the Jews." When Rome retook the region, it placed him on the throne of Judea.

[L] Luke recorded local opposition to the rich man; the dissenters appealed to the foreign power for relief (Lk 19:14). While no record existed that Herod's opponents made such a move, Josephus noted his son, Herod Archelaus, was removed due to complaints of abuse and corruption by his own family.

[Q 19:15-24] Luke recorded the distribution of ten mina coins (Lk 19:13). The Greek "mina" came from the Hebrew. It originally was a unit of weight which Semites adapted to currency. The coin equaled about a season's pay for an agricultural worker.

When the new king returned, he called his servants to account for his investment. How much did they gain by "trade?" (Lk 19:15) Most likely, "trade" meant either excessive taxes or loan-sharking, usury that demanded exorbitant rates; both practices were common in ancient society. Hence, two of the servants were able double their money; these received political power from the new regent (see Mt 25:14-23; Lk 19:16-19).

However, the last servant hid his mina and returned it intact. Since ancient societies did not have financial safety nets, loaning money involved risk. And, since these societies considered wealth static, if one lost money, he could not expect to recover it or earn it back. So, common wisdom encouraged hording which the last servant did (Mt 25:24-25; Lk 19:20) especially in the face of his employer's reputation as an unscupulous man who stole the toils of others (Mt 25:24-25; Lk 19:21-22). Yet, instead of praise, the employer berated (and condemned in Matthew) the cautious servant for even lacking the wisdom to invest it with a middle-man loaner (Mt 25:26-27, Mt 25:30; Lk 19:23). So the employer stripped the money (and dignity) away from the cautious servant (Mt 25:28; Lk 19:24).

[L] Luke added the scandal of the money (Lk 19:25) to heighten the importance of the parable's moral.

[Q 19:26] Luke and Matthew both intended the reader to interpret the moral from the "Q" source metaphorically. The person of deep faith will strengthen his or her resolve ("the one having will be given more") while the person of weak faith will see fear and doubt wash it away ("the one not having will have it taken away" in Mt 25:29; Lk 19:26).

[L] Luke ended the parable with lethal retribution against those who opposed the king (Lk 19:27), reminisent of Herod's ruthless rule.

E. Step C1: Jerusalem (Luke 19:28–24:49)

1. Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem (19:28-47)

a. Entry into the City (19:28-40)

The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem marked an event that all the evangelists recorded. The actions of the Nazarene set his eventual death into motion.

[L] Luke transitioned from travel to arrival at the capital

[M 11:1-10, M 21:1-9, J 12:12-15] By seeking a colt so close to Jerusalem (Mk 11:1-6, Mt 21:1-3, Mt 21:6; Lk 19:29-34) and riding it into the Judean capital to the adulation of the crowd (Mk 11:7-10, Mt 21:7-9, Jn 12:14-15; Lk 19:35-38), Jesus produced three results. First, he implicitly couched his entry in terms of Zec 9:9 (see Mt 21:4-5, Jn 12:14-15), the ascent of the humble king into Jerusalem, the city of his ancestor David (Lk 19:35-36). Second, the crowd recognized his intent and respond with cheers of praise: "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!" (Psa 118:26; Mt 21:9, Mk 11:10; Lk 19:37-38).

[L] Third, he gained the ire of the city leaders (Lk 19:39-40) only to respond with cheers of creation itself (see Gen 4:10, Hab 2:11; Lk 19:40).

Jesus clearly intended his entrance as an act that asserted authority even over the Temple elite, thus creating a polarized situation.

b. Condemnation of Jerusalem (19:41-44)

[L] In Luke 19, Jesus described some of the conditions that culminated in the siege, breach and destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE by imperial troops under Titus. He complained that "things which belong (or bring about) your peace" remained "hidden from your eyes" (Lk 19:41-42). While the meaning of the phrase remained unclean, it could refer to the city's conversion that might have averted its destruction; the city insisted upon its daily routine which blinded it to Jesus and his message.

Next, Jesus predicted the event of Jerusalem's fall. Roman troops did build a barricade, breached the wall and proceeded to brutally ravage the city, throwing down the walls of the Temple itself. All this because the populace refused to recognize "the time of your visitation" (Lk 19:43-44). Many scholars see these verses as evidence that Luke did pen his gospel after 70 CE.

c. Cleansing the Temple (19:45-46)

[M 11:15-17, M 21:12-13, J 2:13-17] Luke shortened the cleansing narrative which all the other evangelists recorded. Temple officials allocated space for money changers and merchants so they could collect the Temple tax (see Philo's "Embassy to Gaius") and sell animals for sacrifice to traveling pilgrims; Luke reduced the commercial activity to the later category (Mt 21:12, Mk 11:15-16, Jn 2:14-15; Lk 19:45). To justify his action, Jesus combined two Scriptural quotes: "my house is a house of prayer" (Isa 56:7) and "a den of thieves" (Jer 7:11; Mt 21:13, Mk 11:17; Lk 19:46).

d. Conspiracy against Jesus (19:47-48)

[L] Luke ended this section with two details: Jesus taught in the Temple and the leaders conspired against him (Lk 19:47) but did not act, fearing a popular backlash (Lk 19:48).

2. Controversies with the Temple Leadership (20:1-21:4)

a. A Question of Authority (20:1-8)

[M 11:27-33, M 21:23-27] In the Synoptics, Jesus and the Temple leaders clashed over the question of authority. The priests and scribes confronted Jesus after he had taught the people in the Temple; they asked him about the source of his authority (Mt 21:23, Mk 11:27-28; Lk 20:1-2). He parried with his own question about the source of the Baptist's ministry: was it heaven-sent or was it a human invention? (Mt 21:24, Mk 11:29-30; Lk 20:30). The leaders mulled over the consequences of their answer. If they agreed with popular opinion that God inspired John to preach repentance, they would face a charge of hypocrisy; why didn't they heed his message? However, if they stated John acted on his own, they feared a backlash from the populace (Mt 21:25-26, Mk 11:31-32; Lk 20:5-6). So they demurred, claiming ignorance. That's when Jesus pounced and asserted his authority, denying them an answer to their demand (Mt 21:27, Mk 11:33; Lk 20:7-8).

Notice that, from his arrival in Jerusalem to the question about the source of his ministry, Jesus implicitly claimed power greater than that of the religious elite. His teaching trumped theirs.

b. Parable of the Rebellious Tenants (20:9-19)

[M 12:1-12, M 21:33-46] Luke followed the authority question with the parable of the rebellious tenants which struck at the heart of religious leaders' claims. We're familiar with the story as an allegory. An absentee landlord (YHWH) developed a vineyard (Israel) and hired tenant farmers (religious leaders) to tend its fruit (see Isa 5:1-7, Psa 80:7-15). At harvest time, the owner sent out servants (the prophets) to collect his portion but the farmers abused the lord's underlings. So, the landlord sent his own son, expecting respect for his offspring (Jesus). But the farmers, expecting to gain squatters' rights, killed the man's son (Mt 21:33-39, Mk 12:1-8; Lk 20:9-15).

At the end of the parable, Jesus asked a rhetorical question: what should the owner do? In Mt 21:40-41, the leaders answered the question, urging retribution; in Mk 12:9 and Lk 20:15-16, the Nazarene provided the answer (Luke added the gasp of the audience in 21:16b). Then, Jesus drilled the point home, quoting Psa 118:22-23 that addressed the subject of human rejection vs. divine appointment; "that which builders rejected became the (Temple) cornerstone" (Mt 21:42, Mk 12:10-11; Lk 20:17). In Mt 21:44 and Lk 20:18, he followed the quotation with a proverb about power of the stone which was a Christian symbol of the Messiah (see Eph 2:20-22, 1 Cor 3:11).

In the end, the leaders clearly understood Jesus meant the moral of the parable as a broadside against their position (Mt 21:45-46, Mk 12:12; Lk 20:19).

c. Paying Taxes to Caesar (20:20-26)

Image of Caesar

Image of Caesar
on a Denarius

[M 12:13-17, M 22:15-22] Luke followed Mark's lead by following the parable with the controversy over paying taxes. All three Synoptic writers recorded it as a trap to either alienate the people (pay taxes as imperial tribute) or ensnare Jesus in charges of treason (reject taxes and loyalty to Rome; Mt 21:15-16, Mk 12:13; Lk 20:20-21). Note they framed their challenge as a point of Torah obedience: "is it lawful to pay (Roman) taxes or not?" (Mt 22:17, Mk 12:14; Lk 20:22).

Jesus faced their test (Mt 22:18, Mk 12:15; Lk 20:23) in two ways. First, he asked for a denarius, a Roman coin paid as a day's wage; since Luke had not moved the scene from the Temple, possession of such a foreign polluted the holy space and made the bearer unclean. Second, he posed a rhetorical question about the name and image on the coin; of course, the answer to both parts was "Caesar" (Mt 22:19-20, Mk 12:16; Lk 20:24-25).

Then Jesus answered their challenge with what can be best described as a "political response." "Give to Caesar what belongs to him; give to God what belongs to him" (Mt 22:21, Mk 12:17; Lk 20:25). On one level, Jesus avoided the question of the Law with such a vague answer. On another, he stated common practice. In the real world, all Jews in the Empire paid taxes in Roman coins. The rich who hired Gentiles to engage in economic and political realities to keep themselves "pure" from the imperial world were really hypocrites. On this plain, Jesus merely stated the obvious. Yet, everyone, even his enemies, felt awe at his ingenious answer (Mt 22:22, Mk 12:17; Lk 20:26).

d. Controversy over the Resurrection (20:27-40)

[M 12:18-27, M 22:23-33] Next, Luke presented another group of enemies, the Sadducees. These were the Temple elite and the city fathers of Jerusalem who together challenged Jesus not on a point of the Law (like the question over paying Roman taxes) but coherence with the Torah. For they not only did not believe in the resurrection of the dead (Mt 22:23, Mk 12:18; Lk 20:27), they held such a belief violated the Law itself.

The Sadducees challenged Jesus with a scenario that invoked the levirate command where the brother of a deceased man was obligated to marry the widow in order to maintain the departed's name through children and to support the widow (see Deu 25:5-10; Mt 22:24, Mk 12:19; Lk 20:28). They proposed a sequence of marriages then deaths of seven brothers. In the general resurrection, whose wife would the woman be? (Mt 22:25-28, Mk 12:20-23; Lk 20:29-33). They implicitly maintained the resurrection did not cohere with an edict in the Law and, more important, that YHWH would never allow a situation that violated the Law itself. Hence, there was no resurrection.

Jesus had to respond to this two prong attack. First, he stated that the marital state did not exist after the resurrection; in fact, as "children of the resurrection," they lived as angel-like "children of God" (Mt 22:30, Mk 12:25; Lk 20:34-36). Hence, he took the question of marriage off the table. Second, he argued that, not only did the resurrection cohere with the Law itself, belief in rising from the dead lay at the core of Judaism. He pointed to prime revelation of God to Moses in the burning bush where YHWH referred to himself as "the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" (see Exo 3:6). Then he ended with "he is not the God of the dead but the living, for all are alive to him" (Mt 22:31-32, Mk 12:26-27; Lk 20:37-38). In other words, the patriarchs lived in God's presence for "only the living can praise You..." (Isa 38:18-19). This belief influenced such apocryphal texts as the Testament of Abraham where, after death, the patriarch's soul ascended into heaven.

e. Question about Messiah (20:41-44)

[M 12:35-37, M 21:41-46] In Luke, Jesus went on the attack with a question about the origin of the Messiah. Many assumed the Christ would sport an impeccable lineage that began at King David. Many of Jesus' critics held the Galilean had no such ancestry and even may have seen his rise as a mobile minister as the work of demons (see Lk 11:14-23). So he asked his own absurd question, quoting Psa 110:1, then adding a rhetorical question: "If David calls him Lord, how is he his son?" (Mt 22:41-46, Mk 12:35-37; Lk 20:41-44). Notice as Jesus eviscerated the Sadducees over the matter of the general resurrection, he questioned their grasp of Scripture itself. If they could not believe in the resurrection, how could they see the possibility of a Risen Christ?

f. Warning about Scribes (20:45-47)

[M 12:38-40, M 23:1-4] In Luke, Jesus cautioned the people about the greed of the leaders. He portrayed his opponents as both self-absorbed and self-seeking. They pointed attention to themselves, to the determent of the poor (Mt 23:1-4, Mk 12:38-40; Lk 20:45-47).

g. Gift of the Poor Widow (21:1-4)

[M 12:41-44] The passage about the gift of the poor widow existed only in Mark and Luke. In Luke's account, Jesus observed the rich contributing their money into the "treasury," a donation dedicated to the poor of the region (Mk 12:41; Lk 21:1). The widow put in her two coins, "lepta," the smallest coin in circulation around the Jerusalem at the time, almost worthless (Mk 12:42; Lk 21:2). The Nazarene noted not the quantity of the offering, but its quality, based upon the amount of self-sacrifice (Mk 12:43-44; Lk 21:3-4).

3. End Times Commentary (21:5-38)

Like Matthew, Luke followed the general outline of the end times discourse in Mark chapter thirteen. But he did redact Mark's account in several areas.

a. Prophecy of Temple Destruction (21:5-7)

[M 13:1-4; M 24:1-3] In the Synoptics, Jesus predicted the destruction of the Temple (Mt 24:1-2, Mk 13:1-2; Lk 21:5-6). His disciples interpreted his remarks in view of the end times on the Mount of Olives (Mt 24:3-4, Mk 13:3-4); Luke did not mention the place of the followers' question (Lk 21:7).

b. Signs of the End Times (21:8-19)

[M 13:5-13, 13:21-23; M 24:4-14, 24:23-26] All three Synoptic writers began when Jesus warned his followers against false Messiahs and the presence of civil war along with natural signs/disasters (Mt 24:4-8, Mk 13:5-8; Lk 21:8-9). But, Luke edited out the doublet that Mark and Matthew placed after fleeing Jerusalem (Mt 24:33-36, Mk 13:21-23); this passage completed a chiasmus (Step A2 in Mark) that highlighted persecution and the Tribulation. The evangelists did recognize the tempting prophecies of end time seers that ran rampant at the later end of the first century CE (see Josephus' Jewish War 6:285-287, 6:300-309). By eliminating the doublet, Luke streamlined the discourse.

In Luke, Jesus set personal persecution, both Jewish and pagan before the Tribulation (Lk 21:10-12) while, in Mark and Matthew, he implied these suffering occurred during the Great Trial (Mt 24:9-10, Mk 13:9). In Luke, he stated disciples would receive inspiration as they spread the Good News (Lk 21:13-15). In Mark, he required universal evangelization before the Spirit strengthened them in the face of opposition (Mk 13:10-11); in Matthew, he foresaw "preaching to all the nations, then the end would come" without mentioning divine inspiration (Mt 24:14). In the Synoptics, he stated believers would face opposition from family members, even to the point of martyrdom (Mk 13:12; Lk 21:16), but they would "win" their lives in the end (Mt 24:13, Mk 13:13; Lk 21:17-19).

c. Siege of Jerusalem (21:20-24)

[M 13:14-20; M 24:15-22, 24:27-28] At this point in the Synoptics, Jesus turned to the future of Jerusalem. He envisioned the siege and conquest of the great city; Mt 24:15 and Mk 13:14 described it as the "abomination of desolation" from Daniel (Dan 9:27, Dan 11:31, Dan 12:11); Lk 21:20 only inferred the reference to the apocalyptic prophet. In the face of overwhelming force, the Nazarene encouraged his followers to flee the region (Mt 24:16, Mk 13:14; Lk 21:21) despite their physical condition, for the conquerors would show no mercy (Mt 24:19-21, Mk 13:17-19; Lk 21:23-24; Rome would fulfill both the words of Scripture (Lk 2:22) and of Jesus (Lk 21:24).

d. Second Coming (21:25-28)

[M 13:24-27; M 24:29-31] In Luke, Jesus followed the subject of Jerusalem's fall with signs of cosmic unrest (Mt 24:29, Mk 13:24-25; Lk 21:25). Then the Son of Man would return in glory (Mt 24:30, Mk 13:26; Lk 21:27). Luke mentioned universal despair during the Tribulation (Lk 21:26) while Matthew alluded to it during the Second Coming (Mt 24:30). Luke edited out the Great In-gathering (Mt 24:31, Mk 13:27). In Luke, Jesus encouraged his disciples in the face of heavenly judgment, for their "redemption was near" (Lk 21:28).

e. Timing of the Eschaton (21:29-33)

[M 13:28-31; M 24:32-35] In all three Synoptics, Jesus compared the tentative wisdom of the world with the certainty of his words. He began with the agricultural parable of the fig tree in summer All can see the changes of the season reflected in the tree, so they should use that wisdom to discern the coming of the Kingdom (Mt 24:32-33, Mk 13:28-29; Lk 21:29-31). Then, he pointed to the present generation as the last as proof of immanent eschaton (Mt 24:34, Mt 13:30; Lk 21:32). In contrast to the contingent nature of the world, Jesus assured his followers of the timelessness of his words (Mt 24:35, Mk 13:31; Lk 21:33).

f. Be Watchful (21:34-36)

[L] Luke deviated from the other two Synoptics with Jesus' warning against immoral living in light of the Second Coming's sudden arrival (Lk 21:34-35).

[M 13:35-37; M 24:42] Like in Matthew and Mark, Jesus urged watchfulness for his glorious return (Mt 24:42, Mk 13:35-37; Lk 21:36). But here he did tell the parable of the prepared servants/doorman as in Mk 13:34. Nor did he tell the discourse of Noah (Mt 24:38-39), the parables of the one of the two taken (Mt 24:40-41), the parable of the watchful master (Mt24:43) or the parable of the wise servant (Mt 24:45-51). Here in Luke, the end times discourse concluded.

g. Jesus in the Temple (21:37-38)

[L] Luke added one transitional verse that described Jesus' daily activities in the city (Lk 21:37) and the people's thirst for his teaching (Lk 21:38).

4. The Lord's Supper and the Mount of Olives (22:1-53)

From this point onward, I will keep my comments brief. I wrote a full commentary on Luke's Passion in word-sunday.com. And I compared the Passion account of all four gospels in the hypothetical reconstruction of the Passion-Resurrection.

a. Preparation for the Meal and the Last Supper (22:1-38)

1) Plot against Jesus (22:1-2)

[M 14:1-2; M 26:3-6] The leaders plotted against Jesus but in the dark for fear of the people (Mt 26:3-6, Mk 14:1-2; Lk 22:1-2).

(See Lk 7:36-39 for the passage about the woman washing Jesus' feet).

2) Betrayal by Judas (22:3-6)

[L, J] Lk 22:3 and Jn 13:37 mentioned "Satan entering Judas" but at different times in the Passion narrative.

[M 14:10-11; M 26:14-16] Luke then shared Judas' part in the plot against Jesus (Mt 24:14-16, Mk 14:10-11; Lk 22:4-6).

3) Preparation for the Passover (22:7-13)

[M 14:12-16; M 26:17-19] This passage described the unusual sight of a man carrying a water jar as the signal for the disciples (Mt 26:17-19, Mk 14:12-16; Lk 22:7-13); ancient societies delegated water carrying to women. Luke differed from Mark by naming Peter and John as the two disciples who prepared the meal (Mk 14:13; Lk 22:8).

4) Jesus' Prophecy about Feasting in the Kingdom (22:14-18)

[M 14:17; M 26:20] Jesus gathered the Twelve at table (Mt 26:20, Mk 14:17; Lk 22:14).

[L] In light of the Jesus' hope to share the fellowship cup in the Kingdom (Mt 26:29, Mk 14:25; Lk 22:18), Luke added a prediction about his Passion (Lk 22:15) and the meal itself (Lk 22:16) to emphasize the breaking of bread and the sharing of the cup as eschatological signs. He used these statements to foreshadow the Words of Institution in the Lord's Supper (22:17).

[M 14:25; M 26:29] (Fasting from wine until the Kingdom in Mt 26:29, Mk 14:25; Lk 22:18.)

5) The Words of Institution (22:19-20)

[M 14:22-24; M 26:26-28] Here, Luke followed the Pauline tradition found in First Corinthians (1 Cor 11:23-25; Lk 22:19-20) instead of the words shared in Mark and Matthew (Mt 26:26-28, Mk 14:22-24).

6) Prophecy of Judas' Betrayal (22:21-23)

[M 14:18-20; M 26:21-23] Luke changed Mark's flow by placing the prediction of Judas' duplicity after the Words of Institution (Lk 22:21-23) instead of before (Mt 26:21-23, Mk 14:18-20).

7) Controversy over Leadership (22:24-30)

[L] In Luke, Jesus began his teaching on leadership with a comparison: earthly rulers vs. Christian leaders. Despots exerted power from above (Lk 22:25) while disciples served the community (Lk 22:26) in the image of the servant Christ (Lk 22:27). Community leadership did not depend on reputation and prerogative (Lk 22:24) but on charity and deference.

[Q 22:28, 30; L] Jesus shifted to disciples as those faithful even in the midst of his trials for they would sit on judgment thrones in the Kingdom (Mt 19:28; Lk 22:28, Lk 22:30). Luke added the gift of the Kingdom to the disciples as a transition from being followers in this life to positions of power in the next life (Lk 22:29).

8) Prophecy of Peter's Denials (22:31-34)

[L] [[M 14:27-29; M 26:31-33]] Mark and Matthew set up the prophecy of Peter's denial after arriving at the Mount of Olives (Mt 26:30, Mk 14:26) and in the context of the Passion and reuniting in Galilee after the Resurrection (see Zec 3:17; Mt 26:31-32, Mk 14:27-28). John saw during the Passover meal and in response to Jesus' nebulous remark "Where I am going, you cannot follow, but you will follow afterwards" (Jn 13:36). Like John, Luke placed the denial during the Last Supper but in response to Jesus' assessment of Peter's weak character (Lk 22:31-32).

In Mark and Matthew, Peter denied he would find offense in Jesus' future (Mt 26:33; Mk 14:29). In John and Luke, he swore allegiance even to death (Jn 13:37; Lk 22:33).

[M14:30; M 26:34] All four gospel record Jesus' prediction that Peter would deny him three times. Mark and Matthew track closely together and include Peter's vehement reaction (Mt 26:34-35, Mk 14:30-31). Luke and John, however, track in a different tradition and do not include Peter's reaction (Jn 13:38; Lk 22:34).

9) Departing the Passover Meal (22:35-38)

[L] Since Luke, unlike Mark and Matthew, placed Jesus' prophecy of Peter's denials before the journey to the Mount of Olives, he provided a transition that would foretell the arrest of the Nazarene. Jesus contrasted his missionary instructions to implicitly rely on God (Lk 22:35) with his directives to make the short trip to the Mount as a common criminal (see Isa 53:12; Lk 22:36-37). With more than enough evidence (two swords; Lk 22:38), they left.

b. Agony in the Garden and the Arrest (22:39-53)

1) Agony in the Garden (22:39-46)

Agony in the Garden

Agony in the Garden
by El Greco

[L] Luke transitioned into the garden scene on the Mount of Olives (Lk 22:39).

[M 14:32-36; M 26:36-39] All three Synoptic gospels turned to the subject of prayer. However, in Mark and Matthew, Jesus instructed his disciples to "sit while he prayed" (Mt 26:36, Mk 14:32) while in Luke, he told his followers to petition God so "they might not fall into temptation" (Lk 22:40).

Luke edited out Jesus' invitation for Peter, James and John to join him, his comment on his grief and his command for watchfulness (Mt 26:37-38; Mk 14:33-34).

All the gospels recorded Jesus begging for relief in a prayer position but acquiescing to the divine will (Mt 26:39, Mk 14:36, Jn 12:27 out of context; Lk 22:41-42). Luke changed the posture from prostration to knelling.

[L] In some manuscripts, Luke added the details of angelic service to Jesus and his sweating blood (Lk 22:43-44). Since some scholars consider this segment a variant, they dispute its authenticity.

[M 14:37-38, M 26:40] All three Synoptic gospels recorded Jesus comment about the disciples' slumber and the need to resist temptation (Mt 26:40, Mk 14:37-38; Lk 22:45-46). Luke edited out the second and third prayers of Jesus and his command to wake at the arrival of Judas (Mt 26:42-46, Mk 14:39-42).

With his redaction, Luke created a chiastic structure where the caveat of Jesus "not to enter into temptation" formed the A Steps (Lk 22:40, Lk 22:46); he highlighted Jesus's prayer of surrender as the B Step (Lk 22:42).

2) Jesus' Arrest (22:47-53)

[M 14:43, 45; M 26:47, 49] Luke compressed Judas' kiss into one verse (Mt 26:47, Mt 26:49, Mk 14:43, Mk 14:45; Lk 22:47) while editing out the Iscariot's comment (Mt 26:48, Mk 14:44).

[L] Luke added Jesus' ironic question about Judas' signal to the arrest party (Lk 22:48).

[M 14:46-47; M 26:50-51] Luke followed the arrest and sword attack (Mt 26:50-51, Mk 14:46-47, Jn 18:10; Lk 22:49-50).

[L] Luke added Jesus' command to cease and healing (Lk 22:51).

[M 14:48-49; M 26:55-56] In all three Synoptic gospels, Jesus objected to his arrest as a common thief when he taught daily in the Temple (Mt 26:55-56, Mk 14:48-49; Lk 22:52-53). Luke, however, added the comment about the "hour of darkness." He also cut "the fulfillment of Scripture" and the disciples running away.

5. Jesus' Trials (22:54-23:25)

a. Transition to the Trial (22:54-55)

[M 14:53-54; M 26:57] In all the gospels, the arrest party took Jesus to the home of Caiaphas for questioning and Peter followed them at a distance, entering the high priest's courtyard (Mt 26:57, Mk 14:53-54; Jn 18:12-16, Jn 18:24; Lk 22:54-55).

b. Peter Denied Jesus (22:56-62)

[M14:66-72; M 26:69-75] Luke rearranged the flow of the text, placing the denial of Peter before the council's interrogation. While John tracked the incident loosely (Jn 18:17-18, Jn 18:25-27), the Synoptics tracked the incident closely (Mt 26:69-75, Mk 14:66-72; Lk 22:56-62). Luke added the time span of an hour (Lk 22:59) and the look of Jesus (Lk 22:61).

c. The Interrogation (22:63-23:1)

[M 14:55, 60-65; M 26:62-67] Luke differed from the accounts of Mark and Matthew in several ways. He edited out the false testimony about the destruction of the Temple (Mt 26:59-61, Mk 14:56-59). He front-loaded the abuse of the arrest party (Mt 26:67, Mk 14:65; Lk 22:63-64), indicating the party insulted and beat Jesus to "soften" him up (Luke) instead of a condemnation for blasphemy (Mark and Matthew). Unlike the other two Synoptic writers, Luke identified the interrogators as the council itself (Lk 22:66-67, not as the high priest (Mt 26:63, Mk 14:61). In all three gospels, Jesus answered the question directly (Mk 14:62; Lk 22:70) or indirectly (Mt 26:64) but, in all accounts, he prophesied the leaders would "see the Son of Man" returning in glory, "coming on the clouds in the sky" (Mt 26:64, Mk 14:62; Lk 22:69). Notice that, in Luke, the council asked Jesus twice about his personal identity ("If you are the Christ, tell us" in Lk 22:67; "Are you the Son of God?" in Lk 22:70); like In Matthew, Jesus deflected as first, then admitted his identity with the second question, like Mark. In all three, either the council or the high priest declared they had no other need of witnesses (Mt 26:65, Mk 14:63; Lk 22:71).

[L, J] In Luke, the council took Jesus directly to Pilate (Jn 18:28; Lk 23:1).

d. Trial before Pilate 1 (23:2-7)

[L] In Luke, the council accused Jesus of treason for three reasons: moral sedition, refusing tribute and declaring himself king (Lk 23:2).

[M 15:2; M 27:11] All of the Synoptic gospels presented the same question about Jesus's identity as "King of the Jews." Jesus would flip responsibility back on Pilate with the enigmatic "You say" (Mt 27:11, Mk 15:2, Jn 18:33, Jn 18:37; Lk 23:3).

[L] Here, Luke injected the theme of Jesus' innocence from the lips of Pilate (Lk 23:4). But the leaders insisted on his judgment (Lk 23:25). So, Pilate attempted to shift the matter of judgment to Herod, ruler of Galilee, who was in the city for Passover (Lk 23:6-7).

e. With Herod (23:8-12)

[L] In Lk 9:7-9, Herod sought to see Jesus because he heard that the martyred Baptist or ancient prophet had risen from the dead. Now, in the gospel, Pilate had provided him that chance.

Lk 23:8 picked up on Herod's desire to see Jesus, even to witness a miracle. Despite the regent's many questions, the Nazarene remained silent (Lk 23:9); note the similarities with Mk 15:3-4, Mt 27:12-14, Jn 19:8 which echoed the silence of Isaiah's Suffering Servant (Isa 53:7). The leaders peppered Jesus with accusations (Lk 23:10). In Luke, Herod, not Pilate, handed the Nazarene over to the soldiers who mocked him and dressed him in fine clothing (Lk 23:11); again notice the similarity with Mk 15:17, Mt 27:28-29 and Jn 19:1-3.

Luke portrayed Jesus as the one who broke barriers, even between sinners. His presence brought Jew (represented by Herod) and pagan (represented by Pilate) together although in opposition to the Nazarene (Lk 23:12).

By front-loading the mockery of Jesus and shifting its agency from Pilate to Herod, Luke allowed Pilate to maintain the innocence of the Nazarene.

f. Trial before Pilate 2 (23:13-25)

[L; J 18:38] In Luke, Pilate gathered the leaders together and declared Jesus innocent of their charges (see Jn 18:38; Lk 23:13-16) , echoing his initial assessment in Lk 23:4.

[M 15:6; M 27:15; J 18:39] Like the other gospels, Luke mentioned the Passover custom of releasing a prisoner as a sign of mercy (Mt 27:15, Mk 15:6, Jn 18:39; Lk 23:17). Outside of the gospels, there was no other evidence that such a practice existed.

[L; J 18:40] In Luke and John, the mob reacted to the custom and demanded the release of Barabbas and the execution of Jesus (Jn 18:40; Lk 23:18).

[L] Lk 23:19-20 transitioned to the cry of the mob.

[M 15:13-15; M 27:22-23, 26; J 19:4, 6, 16] All four gospels recorded the crowd's demand, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" Mark and Matthew separated the two outbursts with Pilate's question "Why, what evil has he done?" (Mk 15:13-14, Mt 27:22-23; see Jn 19:4) Luke and John did away with the question to heighten the cry (Jn 19:6, Jn 19:16; Lk 23:21). In Luke, Pilate did ask the question of innocence again (Lk 23:22) but eventually caved into the political reality at the scene (Mt 27:24, Mk 15:15, Jn 19:16; Lk 23:23-25).

6. The Crucifixion (23:26-56)

a. Simon the Cyrene (23:26)

[M15:20-21, M 27:31-32] In the Synoptics, soldiers pressed Simon to carry the cross (Mt 27:31-33, Mk 15:20-21; Lk 23:26). Note, in Luke, Simon carried the cross following Jesus, echoing the standard for discipleship (see Lk 9:23, Lk 14:27).

b. Jesus and the Women of Jerusalem (23:27-31)

[L] Here, Luke inserted a speech for the inhabitants of Jerusalem ("Daughters of Jerusalem" see Mic 1:8, Zech 3:14, Zep 2:10, Isa 6:23, Jer 6:2) that responded to his lament over the city (Lk 19:41-44). The "days are coming" referred to the end times when the daily blessings of motherhood would be curses and people would prefer death to existence (see Hos 10:8). If siege of the city occurred in the spring ("green tree") when well water was abundant, how much worse would it be in the fall (""in the dry") when the wells dried up (Lk 23:27-31)?

c. The Crucifixion (23:32-33)

[M 15:22, 27; M 27:33, 38; J 19:17-18] All the gospels mentioned the crucifixion of the three condemned men and the place of crucifixion ("the Skull" or "Golgotha" in Hebrew; Mt 27:33, Mt 27:38, Mk 15:22, Mk 15:27, Jn 19:17-18; Lk 23:32-33).

d. "Father, forgive them..." (23:34)

[L] To emphasize the Lucan theme of reconciliation, Jesus forgave his executioners (Lk 23:34).

[M 15:24; M 27:35; J 19:23] Luke placed the division of clothing in the context of his forgiveness (Mt 27:35, Mk 15:24, Jn 19:23; Lk 23:34).

e. Mocking and Inscription on the Cross (23:34-39)

[M 15:26, 29-32; M 27:37, 39-44; J 19:19] Mark and Matthew portrayed the mocking of Jesus by almost everyone (Mt 27:39-44, Mk 15:29-32). Luke, however, limited derision to the leaders and the soldiers (Lk 23:35-36); Luke changed the offer of drugged wine (Mt 27:34, Mk 15:23) to vinegar and transformed it into an act of insult.

Unlike the other Synoptics, Luke switched the passage on the inscription ("King of the Jews") from before the mocking to afterwards (Mt 27:37, Mk 15:26; Lk 23:38). This allowed Luke to create a chiamus where the mocking of the soldiers ("If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself" in Lk 23:37) and the insult of the "bad" thief ("If you are the Christ, save yourself and us" in Lk 23:39) as A Steps and the inscription as the B Step.

f. The Good Thief (23:39-43)

[L] The A2 Step of the mocking chiamus (Lk 23:39) provided a transition to Luke's beloved scene of last minute conversion. The "Good Thief" objected to his counterparts cynical lack of faith and emphasized the theme of Jesus' innocence (Lk 23:40-41). Finally, he plead remembrance by Jesus as an act of faith (Lk 23:42); note this is one of the few times in the gospels someone addressed Jesus by name, implying intimacy. Jesus responded with the promise of salvation (Lk 23:43).

g. The Death of Jesus (23:44-46)

[M 15:33; M 27:45] Like the other Synoptics, Luke established the afternoon as the time frame for Jesus' death (Mt 27:45, Mk 15:33; Lk 23:44); counting dawn as the "first" hour, the "sixth hour" was noon and the "ninth hour" was 3:00 PM. John, however, portrayed Jesus before Pilate during the "sixth" hour so his death later in the afternoon could correspond to the slaughter of the Passover lambs in the Temple (Jn 19:14). Like the other Synoptics, Luke described the day as dark; John did not mention the conditions of the sky.

[M 15:38; M 27:51] Mark and Matthew set the death of Jesus as the beginning of the end times with the split in the Temple curtain (symbolizing the grief of the divine presence; Mt 27:51, Mk 15:38). Again, Luke rearranged this sign before his death in order to heighten the significance of the event (Lk 23:45).

[L] Luke replaced the dejection found in Jesus' last words (Psa 22:1; Mt 27:50, Mk 15:37) with a statement of self-giving hope (from Septuagint Psa 30:6; Lk 23:46). His prayer was his dying breath.

h. Praise of the Centurion (23:47)

[M 15:39; M 27:54] All three Synoptic gospels recorded the remark of the centurion. In Mark and Matthew, he proclaimed his faith in Jesus as the "Son of God" (Mt 27:54, Mk 15:39). Luke, however, used the remark as the fifth proclamation of Jesus' innocence (Lk 23:47).

i. The Women Followers (23:48-49)

Burial of Jesus

Burial of Jesus
by Caravaggio

[L] In Luke, the passive crowd (Lk 23:35) returned home grieving (Lk 23:48).

[M 15:40-41; M 27:55-56] Those who remained, Jesus' relatives and female followers watch from a distance (Mt 27:55-56, Mk 15:40-41; Lk 23:49). Luke did not detail the names of the followers.

j. Joseph of Arimathaea (23:50-56)

[M 15:42-47; M 27:57-61; J 19:38, 40-42] All four gospels related the narrative of Joseph from Arimathaea (Mt 27:57-61, Mk 15:42-47, Jn 19:38, Jn 19:40-42; Lk 23:50-55). Luke rearranged some details but followed Mark's flow.

[L] Luke ended the Passion narrative with a transitional verse that would tie the burial of Jesus to the Resurrection scene (Lk 23:56)

7. Resurrection and Appearances (24:1-53)

a. Resurrection (24:1-7)

[M 16:1, 4-6; M 28:1, 5-6; J 20:1] Luke edited Mark's account by eliminating the name of the Magdalene (Lk 24:1) and the reaction of the women to the open tomb (Mk 16:2-3). He added the lack of the body and doubled the witness in white (Lk 24:3-4). While he maintained the key testimony of the messengers ("He is not here" in Mt 28:6, Mk 16:6; Lk 24:6), he opened with a rhetorical question (Why do you seek the living among the dead?" in Lk 24:5) and concluding with a thumbnail of the Good News (Lk 24:7)

b. Return to the Disciples (24:8-12)

[L, M 28:8] Unlike Mark, Luke and Matthew recorded the women returned to the disciples and testified concerning the empty tomb (Mt 27:8; Lk 24:8-9). Here, he named the women (Lk 24:10). However, they were met with incredulity (Lk 24:11).

[L, J 20:3, 6, 10] Luke and John related Peter's visit to the burial place and his wonder (Jn 20:3, Jn 20:6, Jn 20:10; Luke 24:12).

c. Road to Emmaus (24:13-35)

Emmaus Supper

Emmaus Supper
by Caravaggio

[L] This famous passage formed a metaphor for community liturgy in two parts: 1) proclamation and explanation of the Word and 2) breaking of the Bread. The first section denoted Christian teaching in a dialogue fashion. On the way (code word for the Christian lifestyle), two men discussed meaning of the Passion (Lk 24:13-14). Suddenly, Jesus joined in the conversation (Lk 24:15-18) and heard a summary of the men's disappointment (Lk 24:19-21) and disbelief the women's witness about the Resurrection (Lk 24:22-24). (These honest remarks could have reflected the frustration many in Luke's community felt about the delayed parousia.) Jesus responded with an explanation of the Passion and Resurrection in light of the Hebrew Scriptures (Lk 24:25-27).

Jesus' remarks fired up the men's desire for divine intimacy (Lk 24:28-29) which they realized in breaking of the Bread (Eucharist; Lk 24:30-31). With their faith rekindled (Lk 24:32), they sought the Eleven and shared the Good News in community (Lk 24:33-35). Notice the the structure of Word and Eucharist despite the air of informality; such could have reflected worship in the small communities of the early Church.

d. Appearance of Jesus (24:36-49)

[L; J 20:19, 20-21, 26-27, 21:9, 12-13] Luke laid out the appearance of Jesus and the evangelical commission of the Eleven. He shared several details found in other New Testament writings. The Risen Jesus appeared to his followers (1 Cor 15:4-8, Mt 28:17, Jn 20:19; Lk 24:36) and he greeted them with "peace" (Jn 20:19, Jn 20:21, Jn 20:26; Lk 24:36). Despite their apprehensions (Lk 24:37-38), he command his followers to touch his body (Jn 20:27; Lk 24:39). He ate or shared cooked fish with them (Jn 21:9, Jn 21:12-13; Lk 24:41-43).

After Jesus proved he lived, he explained his Messiahhood in light of the Scriptures (Lk 24:44-45), similar to his exposition to the two on their way to Emmaus (Lk 24:25-27). He summed up his review with a thumbnail of the Good News. The Christ died and rose according to the Scriptures so his followers could evangelize all peoples with the message of forgiveness (Lk 24:46-47). He urged them to wait for the Spirit then, as eye witnesses, they could preach the Gospel (Lk 24:48-49).

F. Step D1: Ascension (Luke 24:50–53)

[L] Luke concluded his gospel with the Ascension. Jesus blessed his followers as he rose into heaven (Lk 24:50-51). Then, his followers returned to their lives in Jerusalem of prayer and Temple worship (Lk 24:52-53). This section set up the events to follow in Acts.

Photo Attribution

Angel Gabriel. Titian [Public domain]

Nativity. El Greco [Public domain]

The Presentation in the Temple. AnonymousUnknown author [Public domain]

Call of Peter and Andrew. Caravaggio [Public domain]

John the Baptist. El Greco [Public domain]

Jesus Calms the Water. Rembrandt [Public domain]

The Transfiguration. Raphael [Public domain]

The Good Samaritan. Jacob Jordaens [Public domain]

The Prodigal Son. Pompeo Batoni [Public domain]

Lazarus at the Gate. Fyodor Bronnikov [Public domain]

Jesus and the Rich Man. Heinrich Hoffman [Public domain]

Denarius. Classical Numismatic Group, Inc. http://www.cngcoins.com [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]

Agony in the Garden. El Greco [Public domain]

Burial of Jesus. Caravaggio [Public domain]

Supper at Emmaus. Caravaggio [Public domain]