"Q" Source

III. Structure and Commentary

Overview of the Q Source

The Q source consists of many passages in Luke and Matthew one does not find in Mark. The total number of those passages, however, remains somewhat nebulous; scholars dispute some verses as part of the source or additions to Mark, possibly from another tradition. For convenience sake, the version used here comes from "The Complete Gospels."

I analyzed the verses below in three ways: similarity, commentary and usage by early Christians. I rated similarity in four ways: word-for-word, tracking closely, tracking loosely, tracking thematically (closest to the loosest). The comments addressed Luke and Matthew in their written state; I tried to avoid speculating about the meaning of a verse or phrase years (even decades) before the evangelists penned their gospels. However, I did speculate about the utility of the passages within the oral tradition; how did believers in the 50's and 60's CE employ the verses? They used some for external reasons, as evangelization or as apologetics-polemics; others for internal reasons as catechesis. While the vocabulary did not exist for these terms until much later, early Christians did use the passages in those directions, so I found the them useful.

A. Q Chapter 3

1. Mark-Q Overlap: Q3:2b, 3:
John's Preaching (Narrative)

a. Mark

Mark 1:2-6, 7-8

2 And just as (it) is written in Isaiah the prophet,

Look! (I) am sending you my messenger in front of me,
who will construct your way,
3 a voice of (one) crying in the desert,
"Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths."

4 John the Baptizer happened (to be) in the desert and proclaiming a baptism of metanoia into the forgiveness of sins. 5 (They) came forth towards, all of Judean region and all Jerusalemites, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. 6 John was wearing camel hair and a leather belt on his hips and (was) eating locusts and wild honey. 7 He proclaimed, saying, "(ONE) stronger than I (am) is coming after me, I am not worthy, bending down, to loosen the strap of his sandals. 8 I baptize you with with water, but HE will baptize you in the Holy Spirit."

Commentary on Mark:

After Mark's title (1:1, not translated), the evangelist placed the Baptist in the context of Scripture. While he sighted Isaiah, actually he quoted Malachi 3:1 in 1:2b and Isaiah 40:3 in 1:3. Both citations mentioned a function of the town crier as a royal advance man. The crier announced the king would visit the city and instructed the populace to begin civic improvements, specifically road construction, filling in the ruts and straightening winding roads. After the improvements, the monarch could arrive in comfort on a smooth road; grateful, the king would reward the city with moneys for new buildings or services. The "voice crying in the desert" from Isaiah referred to the prophet himself urging the captives from the Babylonian Exile (539 BCE) to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city. Mark 1:2-3 have parallels in Luke 7:27, 3:4 and Matthew 11:10, 3:3.

Mark 1:3 and Q 3:(3) overlap. When we compare Mark 1:3, Luke 3:3 and Matthew 3:1-2 we can see strong links between them. These verses inserted two terms of note: kerygma (proclamation) and metanoia (repentance). The kerygma of John about the coming Kingdom and its Messiah sparked metanoia among his audience. The disruptive nature of kerygma in the daily lives of people and the resulting metanoia changing those lives were key concepts in the early Church, both in Paul's letters and in the Gospels. Mark 1:5 described the people's reaction to John's kerygma in their metanoia.

Mark 1:6 and Matthew 3:4 listed the Baptist's clothing and diet, both describing him as a desert survivalist.

For Mark 1:7-8, see the commentary on Q 3:16b-17 below.

b. Q 3:2b, 3: Introduction of John the Baptist

Luke 3:2b, 3

2b ...the word of God came upon John, son of Zechariah, in the desert.

3 (John) came into all [the] region of the Jordan proclaiming a baptism of metanoia into the forgiveness of sins.

Matthew 3:1-2

1 In those days, John came in the desert of the Jordan, proclaiming, 2 saying, "Metanoia (your lives) for the Kingdom of heaven is near."

Context: Narrative.


While not part of the Q source, many scholars led by Kloppenborg believe this verse was added to the Q as an introductory marker. It began the narrative flow about the Baptist.

Usage: Introduction.

2. Q 3:7b-9:
Preaching of John the Baptist (Narrative)

Luke 3:7-9

7 (John) said thus to the crowd coming out to be baptized by him, "Offspring of vipers, who warned you to to escape from the intended (divine) wrath? 8 Make, therefore, good fruits of metanoia and do not start to say among yourselves, '(As) a father (we) have Abraham.' For I say to you that God is able out of these stones to waken children of Abraham. 9 Already (even now) the axe at the root of the trees is laid (swinging). So, every tree not making good fruit is cut down and into the fire thrown.

Matt 3:7-10

7 Having seen many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for his baptism, he said to them, "Offspring of vipers, who warned you to to escape from the intended (divine) wrath? 8 Make, therefore, good fruits of metanoia 9 and do not think to say among yourselves, '(As) a father (we) have Abraham.' For I say to you that God is able out of these stones to waken children of Abraham. 10 9 Already (even now) the axe at the root of the trees is laid (swinging). So, every tree not making good fruit is cut down and into the fire thrown.

Context: Narrative.

Similarity: These verses track word-for- word.


John pre-judged his audience in no certain terms before demanding metanoia, a radical change of lifestyle. He rejected any sense of entitlement by birthright (claiming Abraham as their patriarch). Instead, he based his pre-judgment on the immanent Day of the Lord. Notice the present passive in Luke 3:9 and Matthew 3:10; the passive presumed God's activity in cutting down the diseased trees (a metaphor for perverse people) and burning them (another metaphor for eternal damnation). Both the passive constructions and the present tense added urgency to John's message.

Unlike in Luke, Matthew's John directed his tirade to the religious leadership, implicitly pitting them against the people.

Usage: Polemical.

As synagogues throughout the Roman Empire and beyond ejected Jewish-Christians in the 40's and 50's CE, language became more strident. The Baptist gained a following that reached even into Asia Minor and survived him (see Acts 19:1-7); we can assume he had an honorable reputation among many Jews in the Diaspora. So, disciples leveraged John's reputation and some of his (possible) rhetoric as a polemic against leaders like the Pharisees who ordered the Christians excommunicated.

3. Q 3:16b-17: The Coming One (Prophecy)

Mark 1:7-8

7 And (John) proclaimed (as a herald), saying, "The ONE stronger than I comes after me. I am not worthy, bending down, to loosen the straps of HIS sandals. 8 I baptized you in water, but HE will baptize you in the Holy Spirit."

Luke 3:16-17

16 John answered, saying to everyone (there), "I baptize you with water, on the one hand. But, on the other hand, (he) comes, ONE mightier than I, WHOSE strap of (HIS) sandal I am not (worthy) enough to loosen on HIM. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 (He has) in his hand the winnowing shovel (in order) to (thoroughly) clear his threshing floor and (in order) to gather the wheat (harvest) into his barn, but he will burn the chaff up in an unquenchable fire."

Matt 3:11-12

11 Indeed, I baptize you with water (as a sign pointing) to repentance. But the one coming after me is stronger than me, of whom I am not worthy to carry (his) sandals. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 (He has) in his hand the winnowing shovel (in order) to (thoroughly) clear his threshing floor and he will gather his wheat (harvest) into his barn, but he will burn the chaff up in an unquenchable fire."

Context: Narrative.


Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16e and Matthew 3:11c track word-for word, but the later two added the phrase "and fire." It set the stage for Luke 3:17 and Matthew 3:12, which track almost word-for-word.


The verses in Luke and Matthew keyed off of the Marcan tradition concerning John's prophecy He proclaimed One greater that he, did not consider himself worthy to serve the Messiah as a slave, and predicted the Christ would immerse his followers in the Spirit. It drove the end times, causing the fire, either the inner passion to evangelize or the coming wrath of judgment. In the power of the Spirit, the Lord would judge in a way that caused both chaos and finality. In Luke 3:17 and Matthew 3:12, John employed a harvest analogy for the Final Judgment to make his point clear.

Were Luke 3:17 and Matthew 3:12 part of the Q or part of a proto-Mark? Or do they lend support for the Farrer thesis, that argued for the priority of Mark, but posited Matthew next, and, finally, Luke's dependence upon Matthew?

Usage: Flexible.

Assembly leaders could use them to remind early Christians they possessed the Spirit and their evangelization was part of the messianic mission, a precursor to the immanent return of the Christ. Missionaries could also employ them as a partial presentation of the Good News, recalling the Baptist as a witness to the message and his prophesy of Spirit filled community. Of course, the verses had polemical value; Jewish-Christianity claimed to be Spirit-driven, while traditional Judaism was not.

4. [[Q 3:21-22]] Baptism of Jesus (Narrative)

Mark 1:9, 10b

9 It happened in those days JESUS came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John...10b HE saw the heavens having broken (apart) and the Spirit as a dove descending into HIM.

Luke 3:31-22

21 It happened when all the people were being baptized and while JESUS, being baptized, was praying and the heavens were opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon HIM, and a voice out of heaven occurred, "YOU are my beloved SON; in YOU (I) am well pleased."

Matthew 3:13, 16b

13 Then, JESUS came from Galilee to the Jordan towards John to be baptized by him.

16b Look! The heavens opened up [before him] and HE saw [the] Spirit of God descending like a dove [and] coming upon HIM.

Context: Narrative.

Similarity: Thematic.


Scholars include these verses to the Q source as a transition between the ministry of the Baptist and the life of Jesus. The Baptism was a seminal event, revealing a Messiah who would prepare for the Kingdom like his contemporaries. In his immersion that led to metanoia, he would lead by example. But in doing so, the heaven would rip open, thus uniting with the earthly realm; the Spirit would descend upon him ("into him" in Mark 1:10b) thus empowering him to proclaim the Good News; the heavenly voice would pronounce him with favor as "my beloved Son." In other words, the Baptism revealed the immanence of God through his Son.

Usage: Didactic.

B. Q Chapter 4

1. Mark-Q Overlap: Q 4:1-4, 9-12, 5-8,13 and [[Q 4:16a]]:
The Temptation (Narrative)

Mark 1:11-12

(After Jesus was baptized,)

12 immediately, the Spirit compelled HIM (to go) into the desert. 13 He was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with wild animals and the angels were serving him.

Luke 4:1-13, (16a)

1 JESUS, full of the Holy Spirit, returned (to Galilee) from the Jordan (river) and was led about, in the Spirit, into the desert 2 for forty days, being tested by the devil. HE ate nothing during those days and, when they were at an end, HE was hungry. 3 The devil said to HIM, "If you are the Son of God, give a command (to) this stone, so it might become bread. 4 JESUS answered him, "It is written,

'Not by bread alone will man live.'" (Deuteronomy 8:3c)

5 Leading HIM up, he showed HIM all kingdoms in the (civilized) world in one moment of time. 6 The devil said to HIM, "I will give all this (ruling) power and their glory to you, because it has been given over to me and to whomever I wish to give it. 7 So, if YOU worship me, everything will be YOURS. 8 Having answered, JESUS said to him, "It is written,

'The Lord your God you will worship
and him alone you will serve.'"
(Deuteronomy 6:13 and 10:20)

9 He led HIM to Jerusalem, stood (HIM) on the pinnacle of the Temple, and said to HIM, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here. 10 It is written,

'He will give orders to his angels concerning you, to guard you (from danger)' (Psalm 91:11)

11 and

'On (their) hands, they will carry you along, so you might stub your foot on a stone.'" (Psalm 91:12)

12 Having answered, JESUS said to him,

"(You people) will not challenge the Lord your God." (Deuteronomy 6:16)

13 Having finished every test, the devil left HIM until the right time.

16 (HE) came into Nazara...

Matthew 4:1-11, (13a)

1 Then, JESUS was led into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tested by the devil. 2 Having fasted forty days and forty nights, HE was hungry afterwards. 3 Approaching, the tempting one said, "If you are the Son of God, speak, so these stones might become bread." 4 But HE, answering, said, "It has been written:

'Not by bread alone will man live, but on every word proceeding from the mouth of God.'" (Deuteronomy 8:3c,d)

5 Then, the devil took HIM into the (Jerusalem,) the Holy City, stood HIM on the highest point of the Temple, 6 and said to HIM, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written:

'He will give charge to his angels about you,' (Psalm 91:11a)


'On (their) hands, they will carry you along, so you might stub your foot on a stone.'" (Psalm 91:12)

7 JESUS said to him, "Again, it is written:

"(You people) will not challenge the Lord your God." (Deuteronomy 6:16)

8 Again, the devil took HIM onto a very high mountain, showed HIM all the lands of the world and their glory, 9 and said to HIM, "I will give all these things to you, if, bowing to the ground, you worship me." 10 Then, Jesus said to him, "Go (away), Satan! For it has been written, '

'The Lord your God you will worship
and him alone you will serve.'"
(Deuteronomy 6:13 and 10:20)

11 Then, the devil left HIM and Look! angels came and served HIM.

13 Leaving Nazara...

Context: Narrative.


These passages track thematically, only reflecting word-for word when quoting from the Septuagint (quotes in parentheses).


Compared to the mere mention of the Temptation in Mark 1:11-12, the extended scene in Luke and Matthew revolved about three tests: providing bread, gaining temporal power and demonstrating divine power at the Temple.

1. "Turn these stones into bread." Satan did not tempt Jesus merely to fill an empty stomach. He wanted the Lord to act as the national caregiver. This view dovetailed with power structure of the Empire in many ways. On one level, imperial provinces and vassal kingdoms paid monetary tribute to the Eternal City, so its populace, in the biting words of the Roman satirist Juvenal (100 CE), could enjoy "bread and circuses," temporary relief from hunger and mindless entertainment. The Evil One implicitly reduced disciples to the mob and the Messiah to their manipulator.

On another level, the pagans provided food for the masses with the free distribution of meats at the communion meals of their frequent religious feasts (see 1 Corinthians 8). Such meat was sometimes the only source of complex protein the local poor ate. So, ancient culture saw nutrition as a gift from the gods. A controversy arose in the community at Corinth. Since these gods did not truly exist, was it a sin to accept the meat or not? St. Paul acknowledged the judgment that eating such meat did not constitute idolatry, but it might violate the consciences of the scrupulous. He decided to become a vegetarian and avoid scandal among other Christians (1 Corinthians 8:13).

2. "I will give you all this if you fall down and worship me." In the second scene, Satan took Jesus onto a mountain top, the place of divine revelation. Here, he presented not wisdom or insight into the will of God, but might of the nations. "If you worship me," the Evil One stated, "all this power would be yours." Since Jews believed pagan cult equaled devil worship, he offered to make an abased Jesus the new Caesar. "Do what the Greeks and Romans do," he implied, "and I will make you the imperial King of Kings." After all, the Emperor demanded tacit loyalty and tribute from the populace that lived under his rule (see Mark 12:13-17, Luke 20:20-26 and Matthew 22:15-22). If Jesus acted like Caesar, he could become Caesar.

3. "If you step off..." Finally, Satan took Jesus to the highest point of the Temple's roof and urged him to jump off. This time, he heard the responses of the Lord that he quoted from Deuteronomy and tried to engage Jesus in a rabbinical debate, pitting verse against verse. But, he sighted an inferior source, since the Torah trumped the Psalms, so Luke and Matthew set him in the inferior position. Nonetheless, the Evil One tempted Jesus with a specific power, that of the High Priest. Many Jews in the first century CE yearned for a Temple cleansed from the corrupt priesthood and replaced with a true High Priest (see Mark 11:15-18, Luke 19:45-48, Matthew 21:12-13, John 2:13-16). In such a dynamic display, Jesus would out-shine the power of the Temple elite; the populace would declare him the new High Priest.

Satan tempted the Lord to display divine power in the very house of YHWH. The challenge was a two-edged sword. If Jesus fell to his death, he would be rejected as a fake; if Jesus produced the miraculous landing on the Temple floor below, a cult of personality would arise around him. Either way, the devil played upon the sin of pride. Either way, if Jesus did step off the roof, Satan won.

Usage: Didactic.

Leaders used these passages as tools, not only to teach followers about the true identity of Jesus, but about his true allegiance. Early Christians began to see him fulfilling the role of the Messiah in images similar to the Temptation:

Feeding of the masses in the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes (Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:31-44, Luke 9:10-17, John 6:5-15).

Hailed as the true "King of Kings" (Revelation 17:14 and 19:16).

Proclaimed the eternal High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16).

The difference between images in the Temptation and those believers developed revolved around loyalty. Satan demanded allegiance, but Jesus placed his trust in God the Father.

C. Q Chapter 6

1. Q 6:20-23 and Q 6:?24-26?
The Beatitudes (and Woes) (Sayings)

Luke 6:12, 17, 20-26

12 (It) happened in these days (for) HIM to go out into the mountain to pray, and (HE) was spending (all) the night in prayer to God.

17 Having come down with them, HE stood on level ground. And (there was) a large crowd of his followers and a great number of people from all (over) Judea, and Jerusalem and along the coast of Tyre and Sidon.

20 HE, having lifted his eyes upon his disciples, said:

"Blessed are the poor, because yours is the Kingdom of God.

21 Blessed are the (ones) hungering now, because you will be satisfied.

Blessed are the (ones) crying now, because you will laugh.

22 Blessed are you when men might hate you, when they might exclude you, when they might insult you, and when they might eject your name as evil on account of (your allegiance to) the Son of Man. 23 Rejoice on that day and jump (for joy). For, look, your reward is great in heaven. For, in the same way, their fathers did to the prophets.

24 But, woe to you rich, because you have your comfort in full.

25 Woe to you having (your) fill now, because you will hunger.

Woe to (those) laughing now, because you will mourn and cry.

26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you. For their fathers did the same for the false prophets."

Matthew 5:1-12

1 Seeing the crowds, HE went up onto the mountain. When HE sat down, his disciples came to HIM (for instruction). 2 Opening HIS mouth, HE taught them, saying:

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are the (ones) mourning, for they will receive comfort.

5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.

6 Blessed are the (ones) hungering and thirsting for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.

7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy (from God).

8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called 'sons of God.'

10 Blessed are the persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for kingdom of heaven is theirs.

11 Blessed are you when they revile you, persecute you, and, [falsely], say all (kinds of) evil against you on my account. 12a Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.

Context: Mixed, Wisdom and Eschatological


Luke 6:20b-21a and Matthew 5:3, 6a track closely, while Luke 6:21b-23 and Matthew 5:4, 6b and 11-12a track thematically.


Luke and Matthew adapted the Beatitudes for different audiences. Luke directed his comments to the common people, using the second person plural ("you"). He called the poor, the majority of the population in the Empire "blessed," opposed to the rich who faced judgment . Notice the juxtaposition between the blessings and woes in Luke 6:20-26:

Blessed are the poor, woes to the rich (6:20a, 6:24a).

Blessed are the hungering destitute, woe to the glutton (6:21a, 6:24b).

Blessed are the sad with their station in life, woe to the happy at parties (6:21b, 24c).

In each case, the future brought a reversal of conditions, a result of divine judgment. The close parallel between the blessings and woes in Luke argued for the inclusion of 6:24 in the Q source.

Matthew directed his comments more narrowly to the ideal disciple. He addressed the blessed in the third person plural ("they") and made his beatitudes spiritual: the poor in spirit (5:3), those honoring the dead at funerals (5:4), those seeking justice (5:6). He proceeded to add other blessings to the merciful, the single-hearted, the peacemaker and the persecuted. He held up the image of the enduring follower, the Christian who the entire community could emulate.

Both Luke and Matthew shifted to their present audiences who faced hostile prejudice from the synagogue (Luke 6:22) and neighbors in general (Matthew 5:11). Both framed these verses in blessing (for persecution) and rejoicing (for divine reward). Notice both focused on heavenly recompense, but Luke implied spreading the Good News had its own reward ("their fathers did to the prophets" in 6:23c); in fact, he measured heavenly effort against earthly praise ("Woe to you when all men speak well of you. For their fathers did the same for the false prophets" in 6:24d).

Usage: Didactic.

The evangelists couched blessings in terms of delayed rewards; suffering now would find relief in the Kingdom. Even the most pointed beatitude on persecution (Luke 5:22-23 and Matthew 5:11-12a) promised a place in the divine realm. The Beatitudes implied faith in the Second Coming.

2. Q 6:27-28, 35c-d, Q 6:29-30, Q 6:31, Q 6:32, 34 and Q 6:36:
On Relations with Outsiders (Sayings)

Luke 6:27-28, 35c-d

27 "But I say to you, the ones hearing me: love your enemies, do good to those hating you, 28 bless those cursing you, pray for those insulting you.

35 [But, love your enemies], do good, and lend expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Most High because he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

Luke 6:29-30

29 To him beating you on the cheek, present the other. From him lifting up your (outer) cloak, do not you hold back (your inner) tunic, as well. 30 To everyone asking you (for something), give. From him lifting up your (things), do not ask back.

Luke 6:31

31 Just as you desire that men do to you, do to them in the same way.

Luke 6:32, 34

32 "If you love those loving you, what kind (of) credit is (that for) you? For even sinners love those loving them.

[33 If you do good to those doing good to you, what kind (of) credit is (that for) you? Sinners do the same.]

34 If you lend (to those) whom you hope to receive (in full payment again), what kind (of) credit is (that for) you? Sinners lend to sinners so that they might receive back the same amount.

Luke 6:36

36 Be merciful just as your Father is merciful.

Matthew 5:38-48; 7:12

5:38 You heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." 39 But I say to you not to stand against an evil (person though legal proceedings), but whoever slaps [your] right cheek (with the back of the hand), turn the other cheek towards him also; 40 and if anyone desires to have you judged (before a court) and takes your tunic (in payment for the judgment), send him your mantle also; 41 whoever (in the army) presses you into conscription for one mile, go with him for two (miles). 42 Give to the (one) asking you and do not turn away the (one) wanting to borrow from you.

43 You have heard that it was said, "Love your neighbors" and hate your enemies. 44 But I say to you: love your enemies and pray for the (ones) persecuting you, 45 so you might be (shown as) sons of your Father, the (one) in heaven, because he raises his sun upon the evil (ones) and the good (ones), and (he) rains upon the righteous (ones) and the unrighteous (ones).

46 For if you love the (ones) loving you, what (gain of) wages do you have? Do not tax collectors do the same? 47 If you only greet your brothers, what extra (act) have you done? Do not the (pagan) Gentiles do the same? 48 So, be complete (in your devotion to God) as your Father in heaven is complete (in his devotion to you).

Matthew 7:12

12 All things, thus, you prefer that men do to you, thus you do to them, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Context: Wisdom.


Many of the verses track thematically (see the commentary below for details).


Both Luke and Matthew addressed the ethical life of the Christian by comparing their actions with that of the Father.

a. Imitating the Father. The best place to start remained the goal, described in Luke 6:36 and Matthew 5:48. In Matthew, the literal quote was "Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect." This echoed Leviticus 20:26: "You shall be holy to me; for I, YHWH, am holy, and have set you apart from the peoples, that you should be mine." Holiness in this sense meant uniqueness, otherness; many interpreted the verse as a life of exclusion. Indeed, popular belief implied that sentiment in Matthew 5:43: "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbors' and hate your enemies." Here, the evangelist combined Leviticus 19:18 with its antithesis that such exclusive groups as the Essences shared. To them, holiness meant ritual purity which meant a life apart from the corrupting influences of Gentiles, sinners and outcasts.

In Matthew, Jesus shifted that sentiment to life among the rejected. How could one imitate God living with then unclean and the non-Jew? Here he implied the covenant relationship God had with Israel. YHWH treated his people with "hesed" in Hebrew, "loving kindness." The Psalms used this word 23 times to stress his love and faithfulness, his devotion. So, the word "perfect" in Matthew 5:48 did not mean ethics without flaw, but complete devotion to God as he was to his people. Such love demanded treating others despite their ethnic background, their immoral character or reputation, even the physically imperfect and ill, with respect.

Luke shifted the sense of "loving kindness" to mercy. The evangelist addressed a Gentile audience, ones who had not received a covenant, but entered into a relationship with the Father, not because of "hesed," but because of his universal mercy.

b. Ethical living. Imitating the Father demanded the Christian act differently, even in the face of opposition and persecution. The ideal of acting as YHWH acted had an external and internal dimension.

1) Relations with those outside the community: "Love of enemies" in Luke 6:27b and Matthew 5:44a. This command differentiated Christianity from other Jewish and Gentile groups. Instead inclusion, the Jesus movement reached outward, acting in ways that seemed counter-intuitive on the surface. Jesus insisted that disciples did not respond to provocation. Both Luke and Matthew stressed passivity in the face of insult (Luke 6:29a and Matthew 5:39), property loss due to theft (Luke 6:28b) or a negative court ruling (Matthew 5:40), even in the matter of lending (Luke 6:30 and Matthew 5:42). Notice Luke addressed general living while Matthew focused upon the highly regulated life of a Jew who believed Jesus was the Messiah; such believers were subject to ruling by scribes and Pharisees, many times in the context of court proceedings. But, Matthew also addressed relations with Roman law which allowed an imperial soldier to conscript a foreigner with Roman citizenship to carry the soldier's burden for one Roman mile; in Matthew 6:41, Jesus instructed his followers to endure the service for two miles.

So, why should the disciple be passive even in the face of insult, loss and imperial bullying? Jesus gave a reason: the proper understanding of moral reciprocity found in the Golden Rule (Luke 6:31 and Matthew 7:12a). In ancient cultures, reciprocity meant an exchange of gifts between parties. Jesus couched this exchange as the believer's self-sacrifice (Luke 6:35a and Matthew 5:44), even in terms of piety ("pray for those who hate you" in Matthew). In return, the disciple would receive his reward, now with the reputation of divine son-ship and later in the context of the end times, despite the fact God treated everyone without favoritism (Luke 6:35b and Matthew 5:45).

2) Relations within the community: a warning against restricting love just to fellow believers in Luke 6:32-34 and Matthew 5:46-47. The reward described above in Luke 6:35b and Matthew 5:45 added the insight that divine providence was equitable and without prejudice. If the Father acted in this way, so should the follower. The disciple who restricted his affections only for his fellow believers in the community stood no better than the sinners and Gentiles they sought to convert. In other words, favoritism by the disciple reduced the power of the Good News. Life on a higher moral plane evangelized.


Didactic with an eye towards evangelization.

2. Mark-Q Overlap; Q 6:37-38:
The Measure (Sayings)

Mark 4:24-25

24 (HE) said to them, "Watch out for what you hear. By which measure you measure, it will be measured out to you, and increased to you. 25 For who has, (it) will be given to him, and who does not have, even that he has will be lifted away from him."

Parable: On Judging Others

Luke 6:37-38

37 Do not judge (others) so you might not be condemned (by God). Do not condemn (others) so you might not be condemned (by God). Acquit (others) and you will be acquitted (by God). 38 Give (to others) and it will be given to you (by God). Good measure (of grain), having been pressed down, having been shaken together, (and) overflowing, will be given into your lap (flap of your garment). For, in what measure you measure, it will be measured for you."

Matthew 7:1-2

1 Do not judge, so that (you) should not be judged (by God). 2 For by which judgment (you) judge, you will be judged (by God). And by which measure you measure, it will be measured to you.

Context: Wisdom.

Similarity: Luke 6:37a and Matthew 7:1 track loosely.


The proverb on making judgments came from the Q source, but Luke and Matthew combined it with Mark's comment on grain allocation in different ways.

After the milling of the harvested grain, a family member would pull up their outer tunic to form a pocket in which a grain ration would be poured. In Mark, Jesus employed the allocation image to signal the importance of the Good News; he urged his followers to listen carefully to the word of God "measured out" to them. Those who did not heed his warning would lose not only the Good News, but would lose all in the Final Judgment.

Matthew and Luke shifted the image away from evangelization to judging others. Mathew 7:2b tracked the measurement moral made in Mark 4:24b word-for-word. Luke took a different tack; he developed the image of the grain allocation (Luke 6:38ab) before he delivered the moral (Luke 6:38c) which closely tracked Matthew 5:7b and Mark 4:24b. Luke, however, tied the measure image more closely to the judgment proverb by considering how the Father judged his people. YHWH acquitted them of any transgressions; the evangelist urged his readers to do the same (Luke 6:37bc). In other words, God granted his people mercy in measures overflowing; he would judge his people in how they extended that mercy to others.

Stripped of any connection to the image of grain allocation, the saying found in Luke 6:37a and Matthew 7:1 was a stark reminder to the Christian that the undeserved gift of salvation had consequences. God treated the sinner with compassion; that act demanded compassion for others. Those who judged others harshly should expect the same treatment before the throne of the King at the end of time.


Didactic for high moral living that could evangelize.

3. Q 6:39 and Q 6:40:
Blind Guides and the Student with his Master (Sayings)

Luke 6:39-40

39 HE also told them a parable:

"Is a blind (person) able to guide (another) blind (person)? Will they not both fall into a ditch? 40 A student is not above (his) teacher, but, having been fully trained, (he) will be like his teacher.

Matthew 15:14; 10:24-25a

15:14 Forsake them. Blind are the guides [of the blind]. If ever the blind should guide the blind, both will fall into the pit.

10:24 A student is not above (his) teacher, nor a servant above his lord. (It is) enough for the disciple so (he) could be like his teacher and the servant as his lord.

Context: Wisdom.


These verses track loosely with the exception of Luke 6:40a and Matthew 10:24a which track word-for-word.


While the verses share similar forms, their context results in different meanings. Luke aimed them directly at the disciple and his devotion to Jesus. Following the sayings on harsh judgment, the evangelist called the callous follower blind; those who followed that a man could end up condemned ("in the ditch"). He reminded the sinner of his place as a disciple in training; no student could replace the Teacher.

Matthew employed the image of the blind as a polemical tool against the Pharisees. He called these leaders and their followers blind, both falling into the pit of Gehenna. But, like Luke, he tied the student proverb to the disciple, even adding the image of the servant who should lead the community in humility.


Flexible, both polemical (proverb of the blind) and didactic.

4. Q 6:41-42: On the Speck in the Eye (Parable)

Luke 6:41-42

41 Why do you see the (wood) speck in the eye of your brother, but the plank in (your) own eye (you) do not see? 42 How are you able to say to your brother, "Brother, allow (me that I) may cast out the speck in you eye," (when) yourself a plank in your eye (you) do not see? Hypocrite, cast out first the plank from your eye, and then (you) will see clearly the speck in the eye of your brother to cast out.

Matthew 7:3-5

3 Why do you see the (wood) speck in the eye of your brother, but the plank in you eye (you) do not see? 4 Or, how will you say to your brother, "Allow (me) that I cast out the speck from your eye, and, Look! (there is) and plank in you eye? 5 Hypocrite, cast out first out of your eye the plank, and then (you) will clearly see to cast out the speck from the eye of your brother.

Context: Wisdom.


Both set of passages track closely; the rhetorical question In Luke 6:41 and Matthew 7:3 tracks almost word-for-word.


Both Luke and Matthew followed the admonition against judging others (Luke 6:37a and Matthew 7:1), but the parable of the speck and the plank implied the judgment verse from Proverbs 18:17: "He who pleads his cause first seems right; until another comes and questions him." (World English Bible) In other words, Jesus gave a carpentry analogy for a court case controversy. The speck refers to a moral imperfection that the advisor considered hidden or trivial, and compromised the advice, no matter how good it was. In a court, a witness with questionable character could not be trusted, so too with the advisor. Many times, the sin of the person was pride. To remove the "speck" required humility mixed with wisdom. These two virtues strengthened character, thus improving the power of the advice.


Didactic warning against pride and Polemical against outsiders.

5. Q 6:43-45: Good Trees with Good Fruit (Parable)

Luke 6:43-45

43 For neither is (there) a good tree producing bad fruit, nor again a bad tree producing good fruit, 44 for each tree by (its) own fruit is known. For not out of thorns figs are gathered, nor out of brambles are grapes picked. 45 The good man our of the good treasury of the heart brings forth the good, and the evil (one) out of the evil does evil, from the abundant (evil in his) heart speaks his mouth.

Matthew 7:16-20; 12:33-35

7:16 By their fruit (you) will know them. (They) do not picked from thorns grapes or from thistles figs? 17 Thus, every good tree good fruit produces , but the bad tree evil fruit produces. 18 (It is) not able the good tree bad fruit to produce, not the bad tree good fruit to produce. 19 Every tree not producing good fruit is cut down and into the fire thrown. 20 No doubt, then, your of their fruit (you) will know them.

12:33 Make the tree good and its fruit (is) good, or make the tree bad and its fruit (is) bad, for by the fruit the tree is known. 34 Offspring of vipers, who are (you) able good (things) to say, being evil? For from the abundant (evil in) the heart speaks his mouth. 35 The good man our of the good treasury of the heart tosses out good, and the evil man out of his evil heart tosses out evil.

Context: Wisdom.


Much of the verses track closely; Luke 6:45a,c and Matthew 12:34b-35a track almost word-for-word.


Both Luke and Matthew placed these verses in Jesus' monologues. They emphasized the intent of the moral agent and his behavior. Were both consistent? Did one's actions correspond with one's desires? Someone might want to do the good, but was there follow through? These questions formed the basis for making judgments on others.

Jesus used a agricultural analogy as advice on sizing up the stranger. More importantly, he implicitly stated these questions as a personal moral inventory. Ethics began in the heart, but did not stop there. Notice the good tree vs. bad tree had overtones of the Eden narrative in Genesis 2. This time the tree itself became the focal point of morality, but temptation remained the same. Those inclined to become intimate with evil would do evil; those gravitating toward the good would bear good fruit.

Take note of two more details. First, both Luke and Matthew zeroed in on the sins of speech (Luke 6:45b and Matthew 12:34b). In a honor -shame society, reputation reigned. One sought to build up his reputation (and his influence), sometimes as the cost of another's reputation. Gossip and slander had real costs. Those who promoted such evils revealed the quality of their character.

Secondly, Matthew 7:19 placed the "good tree vs. bad tree" parable in the context of the end times. Fruitless trees had no purpose but to be cut down and burn. The evil person had no place in the Kingdom.


Didactic, with an eye toward polemics.

6. Q 6:46 and Q 6:47-49
Solid Foundations for Building a House (Parable)

Luke 6:46-49

46 But why do call out to ME "LORD, LORD" and do not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone coming to ME and hearing MY words and doing them, (I) will show you what is is like. 48 Similar (he) is to a man constructing a house which he dug and deepen and laid a foundation upon the bedrock. When a (flash) flood happened, it burst forth, a flood, against that house, and (it) did not have the strength to topple it because it was well constructed. 49 But the (one) hearing and not doing, similar is (he) to a man constructing a house upon the ground without foundation, against which (it) burst forth, a flood, and immediately swept (it) away and (it) was, the destruction of that house, very great.

Matthew 7:21, 24-27

21 Not everyone saying to ME, "LORD, LORD" will enter into the Kingdom of heaven, but the (one) doing the will of MY Father, the (One) in heaven.

24 Everyone, thus, who hears these words of MINE and does them, is similar to a wise man who built his house upon the rock. 25 (It) poured down, the rain, and (it) came, the flood, and (it) blew, the wind, and beat against that house, and (it) did not fall, for (it) had been grounded upon the rock. 26 The (one) hearing these words of MINE and not doing them is similar to a foolish man, which built his upon sand. 27 (It) poured down, the rain, and (it) came, the flood, and (it) blew, the wind, and beat against that house, and it fell and (it) was, the fall of it, very great.

Context: Wisdom.

Similarity: These verses tracked loosely.


In both gospels, Jesus used a construction analogy to stress the importance of consistent discipleship. In the semi-arid to arid climate of Palestine, survival depended upon access to a water source. A clan would dig a well down to a shallow water table, usually by a dried creek bed, in an area surrounded by trees that provided shade for domestic animals. Such a location had a downside, however, with the seasonal monsoon rains. The sudden shift in elevation from sea level to mountaintops to the Dead Sea (nearly 1700 ft below sea level) gathered the rain into the creeks and created conditions for flash flooding. Any structures near sources of water like a well on a dried water channel were at risk. Those built on bedrock survived, while rushing water would sweep any temporary structures away.

With this detail in mind, Jesus warned his followers of a consistent lifestyle, in the popular phrase, "to walk the talk." He urged them to hear his words and put them into action. The true disciple possessed the strength of character to withstand criticism and persecution, while the "fair weather fan" (to borrow a sports analogy) could not.

Notice several images in the construction parable. First, the rock represented the presence of YHWH (Psalm 18:2, 144:1, 1 Samuel 2:2, 2 Samuel 22:32). Next, the flood evoked the story of Noah, where the faithful were saved but the unbelievers were lost. Jesus equated the "fair weather" disciple to the unbeliever, especially with the title "foolish," not only a judgment on the person's character, but a comment on his lack of faith ("The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.'" Psalm 14:1, WEB). Finally, the activity of the true follower vs. the occasional believer made a difference. Faith required an investment of time and effort in order to spiritually mature; trust in Jesus was hard work. The believer who compartmentalized faith did not have the fortitude to face the coming judgment (symbolized by the Noahic flood). The day of YHWH would require believers to stand before the King and face judgment not unlike that God declared over a corrupt humanity just after the dawn of creation.

Usage: Didactic.

D. Q Chapter 7

1. Q 7:1, 3, 6b-9, 10
Healing of the Centurion's Servant (Miracle)

Luke 7:1-10

1 Since (HE) finished all his words (pointed) towards the hearing of the people, (HE) went into Capernaum. [2 A servant of a certain centurion having illness was about to die, who was respected by him.] 3 Hearing about JESUS, (he) sent to HIM elders of the Jews, asking HIM, so that coming, (HE) might save his servant. [4 The (ones) coming to JESUS begged HIM earnestly, saying, "Worthy is (he) for whom (YOU) will do this, 5 for (he) loves your nation and our own synagogue (he) built." 6 So, JESUS traveled with them.] When already HE was not far from the house, (he) sent friends, the centurion, saying to HIM, "LORD, do not be troubled, for not worthy am I that under my roof you should enter. 7 Hence, (I) myself did not deem (it) fit to YOU to come. But speak the command, 'Be healed, my servant.'" 8 For I, (as) a man, am under authority being assigned (by my superiors), having under me soldiers, and (I) say to this (one), 'Go,' and (he) goes, and to another, 'Come,' and (he) comes, and to my servant, 'Do this' and he does." 9 Hearing this, JESUS was amazed at him and turning to the crowd following HIM, said, "I say to you, never in Israel, so great (of) faith have (I) found." 10 The (ones) returning to the house, the (ones) being sent (to deliver the centurion's message), found the servant being in health.

Matthew 7:28; 8:5-10, 13

7:28 (It) happened when JESUS finished these words, the crowds were amazed by his teaching.

8:5 When HE went into Capernaum, (a man) approached HIM, a centurion, beseeching HIM, 6 and saying, "LORD, my (boy) servant has been laid out at home (with) paralysis, being terribly tormented." 7 (HE) said to him, "I, coming (with you), will heal him." 8 Answering, the centurion said, "LORD, I am not worthy that, under my roof (you) should enter, but only say the word, and (he) will be made whole, my (boy) servant. 9 For I, (as) a man, am under authority being , having under me soldiers, and (I) say to this (one), 'Go,' and (he) goes, and to another, 'Come,' and (he) comes, and to my servant, 'Do this' and he does." 10 Hearing (what the centurion said), JESUS was amazed and said to the(ones) following, "Amen, I say to you, never so great a faith in Israel have I found."

13 (HE) said, JESUS, to the centurion, "Go, just as (you) believed, (it) is being done for you." And (he) was healed [his] (boy) servant that hour.

Context: Narrative.


The overall details of both track loosely, but the moral of the narrative (Luke 7:6b-7 and Matthew 8:8) track closely; reasoning for the moral track word-for-word (Luke 7:8 and Matthew 8:9).


The narrative of the centurion presented a common intersection between Roman officials and Jews throughout the Empire, but with a twist. Instead of an adversarial relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed, power relationships changed places. The centurion in need sought out the help of the healer, Jesus. The soldier appeared to believe in YHWH on some level, either as a Gentile who rejected all other deities or as a pagan who honored the Jewish God among others. Surprisingly, Luke, not Matthew, painted the man as a "righteous Gentile," one who sought good relations with local Jews, even providing financial support for their synagogue. In both tellings, the centurion respected the notion of kosher; Jesus willingly placed his status of ritual cleanliness by a visit to the soldier's house, but the man would not hear of it, insisting on the command to heal. Luke 7:7b punched up that point. In the phrase "Be healed, my servant," the verb was an imperative (assuming Jesus gave the command), while the possessive pronoun "my" referred to the centurion; while the phrase might be clumsy in translation, the force of it remained clear. Using military logic within a chain of command, the centurion presented his objection to the Lord's violation of kosher, wrapping it in total trust. The centurion seemed to say, "Give the command and the demon who brought my servant to death's door will leave." And, that's what happened.


Didactic. The story taught Jewish-Christians tolerance towards their Gentile co-religionists. It also taught neophytes who left paganism to honor their Jewish elders. Both sides learned from the reversal of power relationships the narrative presented.

2. Q 7:18-20,22-23: John's Inquiry (Passage)

Luke 7:18-20, 22-23

18 (They) reported to John, his disciples, about all these (things). Calling two certain (men) of his disciples, John 19 sent (them) to the LORD, saying, "Are YOU the (ONE) having come or another should (we) expect?" 20 Coming to HIM, the men said, "John the Baptist sent us to YOU, saying, 'Are YOU the (ONE) having come or another should (we) expect?'"

22 Answering, (HE) said to them, "Going (back), tell John what (you) see and hear. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor are evangelized. 23 Happy is (the person) who is not scandalized by me."

Matt 11:2-6

2 John, hearing in jail (about) the works of CHRIST, sending (word) through his disciples, 3 said to HIM, "Are YOU the (ONE) having come or another should (we) expect?" 4 Having answered, JESUS said to them, "Going (back), tell John what (you) hear and see. 5 The blind see and the lame walk and the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear and the dead are raised up and the poor are evangelized. 6 Happy is (the person) who is not scandalized by me."

Context: Narrative.


Both narratives of the exchange between Jesus and John's disciples track closely, mostly word-for-word.


We've already seen the similarity between Luke 7:22/Matthew 11:5 and Dead Sea Scroll 4Q521. Both sources found their root in Isaiah 61:1-2a:

The Lord Yahweh's Spirit is on me; because Yahweh has anointed me to preach good news to the humble. He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of Yahweh's favor,

These verses invoked images of Elijah and Elisha with demonstrations of divine power, but the gospel passages and Scroll fragment added the resurrection, a sign of the end times. When the disciples of John asked the question of identity, Jesus replied with an eye to the prophets and popular religiosity. Was he the Messiah? His answer: show, don't just tell.

By using the word "scandal," Jesus employed a beatitude that defined faith with an implicit double negative. To reverse the message's meaning, blessed is the person open to the Lord.


Evangelization with an eye to polemics. By answering John via Isaiah 61, a disciple could address those who admired the Baptist.

3. Q 7:24-28: Jesus Praises John (Passage)

Luke 7:24-28

24 After (they ) left, the disciples of John, (HE) began to speak to the crowd about John, "What did (you) go out into the desert to see? A reed by the wind being shaken? 25 But what did (you) go out to see? A man in (fine) soft clothing being clothed? Look! The (ones) in glorious clothing and in luxury living are in royal (palaces). 26 But what did (you) go out to see? Yes, (I) say to you and superior to a prophet, 27 This is the (one) about whom (it) was written:

Look! (I) send my messenger before YOUR face, who will (thoroughly) prepare YOUR road before YOU.

28 I say to you, no one is greater among (the ones) born of women than John. But, least in the Kingdom of God is greater than him."

Matthew 11:7-11

7 When these were leaving, (HE) began, JESUS, to speak to the crowd about John, "What did (you) go out into the desert to see? A reed by the wind being shaken? 8 A reed by the wind being shaken? A man in (fine) soft clothing being clothed? Look! The (ones) in soft (finery) in the homes of kings are. 9 But what did (you) go out to see? Yes, (I) say to you and superior to a prophet, 10 This is the (one) about whom (it) was written:

Look! (I) send my messenger before YOUR face, who will (thoroughly) prepare YOUR road before YOU.

11 Amen I say to you, no (one) arisen among (the ones) born of women (is) greater that John the Baptist. But, least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than him."

Context: Narrative.


Both passages track very closely, mostly word-for-word.


After Jesus defined his as the Messiah in culturally familiar terms, he addressed the place of the Baptist with a set of rhetorical questions. He employed these inquiries to define John in two ways, as a prophet in the desert and as an Elijah figure who would announce them coming Christ. He invoked Malachi 3:1 but shifted the subject of the verse ("YOU") to himself. Then, he compared the Baptist to two groups, those before his appearance, judging John superior, then to his own disciples, here finding the Baptist wanting.

In word and deed, John pointed towards the One Coming. But, with the revelation of the Messiah, the Kingdom was at hand. The disciples of the Christ proclaimed a greater message than John's; the assembly of the Nazarene was the gathering of those destined for the Kingdom. John was porter to God's reign, while the least among the disciples enjoyed citizenship under divine rule.


Polemical against the followers of John and those influenced by the Baptist.

4. [[Q 7:29-30]]
Acceptance and Rejection of John's Baptism (Passage)

Luke 7:29-30

29 All the people hearing (this) and the tax collectors, having been baptized in the baptism of John, justified God (as righteous). 30 But the Pharisees and the lawyers, not being baptized by him, rejected the will of God for themselves.

Context: Narrative.


This passage acts as an addendum to Jesus' praise for John in 7:24-28. It divided Jesus' audience who were baptized by John and heard his message from the religious leadership who rejected the Baptist.


Polemical primarily against the Pharisees.

5. Q 7:31-35: Children in the Marketplace (Parable)

Luke 7:31-35

31 To what, thus, should (I) compare the men of this generation and to what are (they) like? 32 (They) are like children in the marketplace, sitting (around) and calling out to each other, who say:

(We) piped (a tune on the flute) for you and (you) did not dance;
(We) mourned (at a funeral) and (you) did not weep.

33 For (he) came, John the Baptist, neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and (you) say, "A demon (he) has." 34 (HE) comes, the SON OF MAN, eating and drinking, and (you) say, "Look! A MAN, a glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors and sinners." 35 (It) is justified, wisdom, by all her children.

Matthew 11:16-19

16 To what, however, will (I) compare this generation? (They) are like children sitting in the marketplaces, who,calling out to one another, 17 said:

(We) piped (a tune on the flute) for you and (you) did not dance;
(We) mourned (at a funeral) and (you) did not weep.

18 For (he) came, John, neither eating nor drinking, and (they) say, "A demon (he) has." 19 (HE) came, the SON OF MAN, eating and drinking, and they say, "Look! A MAN, a glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors and sinners." (It) is justified, wisdom, by her works.

Context: Social Critique.


These verses track closely, much of them word-for-word.


Jesus triangulated three groups, himself, John the Baptist and his opponents (the Pharisees). He identified with John, placing himself and the Baptist against his critics. He condemned his enemies with a saying about inaction as inappropriate behavior. He compared his opponents to children who, when presented with a song piped on a flute, would not join in the dancing or, when mourning for the death of a loved one, would not cry. Implicitly, Jesus complained about the lack of repentance on the part of his enemies; like the flute player or the mourner who invited a response, he proclaimed the Good News, but they did not respond appropriately with metanoia. Instead, they rejected both John and Jesus. Because of the Baptist's ascetic practices, they charged John with demon possession. Because of Christ's ministry to the outcast, they complained the Lord lived on the same moral plane as those he served. But, Jesus challenged them to look beyond their prejudice and seek results. There they would find the highest value in a Hellenized Jewish culture, wisdom.


Polemical against opponents of Jesus and the Baptist.

E. Q Chapters 9-10

1. Q 9:57-60, ?61-62?:
Challenges to Discipleship (Sayings)

Luke 9:57-62

57 While they were traveling on the road, (he) said, someone to HIM, "(I) will follow you wherever you go." 58 JESUS said to him, "Foxes have dens and the birds of heaven nests, but the SON OF MAN does not have (a place) where (HIS) head (HE) can lay." 59 (HE) said to another, "Follow ME." The (man) said, [LORD], permit me going out first to bury my father." 60 HE said to him, "Allow the dead to bury (their) own dead; you, however, going forth, thoroughly declare the Kingdom of God."

61 (He) said, another (person), "I will follow you, LORD; first, however, allow me to bid farewell to the (ones) in my house." 62 (HE) said [to him], JESUS, " No one stretching the hand upon the plow and looking towards (those things) behind, is fit for the Kingdom of God."

Matthew 8:19-22

19 Approaching, one of the scribes said to HIM, "TEACHER, (I) will follow you wherever you go." 20 (HE) said to him, JESUS, "Foxes have dens and the birds of heaven nests, but the SON OF MAN does not have (a place) where (HIS) head (HE) can lay." 21 Another (one) of [HIS] disciples said to HIM, "LORD, Allow me first to take leave and to bury my father." 22 JESUS said to him, "Follow ME and allow the dead to bury (their) own dead."



Luke 9:57-60a and Matthew 8:19-22 track closely, in some cases word-for-word.


These verses addressed the nature of discipleship in a mobile ministry. Two people approached Jesus, one desiring discipleship, the other either implicitly (Luke) or explicitly (Matthew) a follower. First, Jesus warned the one eager to join that the Lord had no home base; his mission was on the road. Not surprisingly, mobility became the paradigm for Christian spirituality; adherents called their early movement "the Way." Facing opposition from their Jewish brethren and prejudice from their pagan neighbors, the disciples led a unstable, unsettled life. Add to that the missionary nature of early Christianity, where leadership traveled to evangelize non-believers and reinforce the message among faith communities in the Empire. Finally, include the fervent belief about the immanence of the Second Coming. No wonder life for the disciple felt temporary.

Secondly, Jesus addressed the priority of the disciple. Evangelization trumped any other concern. We might find the rebuke he gave to the disciple with a family duty harsh, but there was no indication the man's father had died. In other words, the follower wished to fulfill his responsibilities to his clan until his father's (or his patriarch's) death, then freed, he could follow the Lord. Jesus made his point clear. Proclaiming the Good News could not wait. Concerns of the clan came second. Allow the dead (i.e., non-believers) to bury their dead.

Luke added a third person interested in following the Lord, but who wanted an extended goodbye. Jesus replied with an admonition in the form of a proverb. The homesick missionary who had second thoughts, even regrets about leaving home (the farmer at the plow looking behind), was not fit for the Kingdom.


Didactic. These verses act as a warning for those interested in converting and those who has second thoughts about their faith commitment. Once a Christian, there was no turning back.

2. Mark-Q Overlap, Q 10:2, Q 10:3, Q 10:4, Q 10:5-9 and Q 10:10-12:
The Mission Speech (Passage)

Mark 6:8-13

8 (HE) commanded them that (they) should take nothing on the road except a staff alone, no bread, no (traveling) bag, no money in (their) belts, 9 but wearing sandals and "(You) should not wear two tunics." 10 (HE) said to them, "Whenever you go into a house, remain there until you go out from there. 11 Whichever place does not receive you nor listen to you, departing from there (vigorously) shake the dust beneath your feet in a witness against them." 12 Going out, they proclaimed (the Good News) so that (their listeners) should repent. 13 (They) threw out many demons and anointed many sick (people) with (olive) oil and healed (them).


We can divide Mark's mission narrative into to parts: Jesus' instructions and the result. He commanded his disciples to travel light, remain where they preached and condemn those who rejected the message. Leaving, they proclaimed the Good News (kerygma) for repentance (metanoia). The power of the message included the charisms of exorcism and healing.

Luke 10:2-12

(1 After this, (HE) appointed, the LORD, another seventy [two] and sent them by two [by two] before his face into every town and place where (HE) HIMSELF intended to go.)

2 (HE) said to them, "On the one hand, the harvest (is) full, but, on the other hand, the workers few. Beg, therefore, the Lord of the harvest so that workers (he) might compel into his harvest. 3 Go out. Look! (I) send you as lambs in the midst of wolves. 4 Do not bear (money) purse nor (leather) bag (for food?) nor sandals, and no one on the road (you) should greet. 5 Into whichever house you should enter, first say, 'Peace upon this house.' 6 If there (is) a son of peace, (it) will stay upon him, your peace, but if not, to you (it) will return. 7 In that house remain, eating and drinking the (food and drink) from them, for worthy (is) the worker of his wage. Do not change from house to house. 8 Into whatever city (you) might enter and (the town's people) receive you, eat the (food) presented to you. 9 Heal the sick in that (town) and say to them, '(It is) near to you, the Kingdom of God.' 10 Into whatever city you enter and (they) do not receive you, going out into their streets and say, 11 'The dust clinging from your city onto (our) feet (we) scrap off against you. Nevertheless, know this that (it is) near, the Kingdom of God.' 12 I say to you that Sodom on that day more tolerable will be than that city."

Matthew 9:37-38; 10:7-16

9:37 Then (HE) said to his disciples, "On the one hand, the harvest (is) full, but, on the other hand, the workers few. 38 Beg, therefore, the Lord of the harvest so that (he) might compel workers into his harvest.

10:7 Traveling, proclaim, saying, '(It is) near, the Kingdom of heaven.' 8 (Ones) being sick, heal; dead, raise up; lepers cleanse; demons expel. Freely (you) received, freely give. 9 Neither take along (as a possession) gold nor silver nor copper in your belts, 10 neither (leather) bag (for food) on (the) road nor two tunics nor (two) sandals nor (two) staffs, for for worthy (is) the worker of his meal. 11 Into whatever city or village you enter, (thoroughly) inquire who in that (place) is worthy and there remain until (you) should depart. 12 Entering into the house, greet it. 13 If ever, on the one hand, the house (is) worthy, let (it) come, your peace, upon it; if ever, on the other hand, (it) should not be worthy, your peace (back) to you will return. 14 Whoever should neither receive you nor listen to your words, depart from the house or that city, (violently) shaking off the dusty from your feet. 15 Amen, I say to you, more tolerable (it) will be for the soil of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that city. 16 Look! I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; be as wise as snakes and simple (hearted) as doves."

Context: Command.


These verses track from loosely (instructions on the mission) to tightly (imperative to proclaim in Luke 10:9b and Matthew 10:7; the judgment in Luke 10:12 and Matthew 10:15). Parts even track word-for-word (Luke 10:2, 7b and Matthew 9:37-38, 10:10c).


Using Luke's passage as a model, we can divide the passage into six parts:

1) Command to pray for missionaries (Luke 10:2 and Matthew 9:37-38). Using a harvest analogy, Jesus stressed the timely value of evangelization. Just as a crop will rot without a quick harvest, the vast unsaved needed to hear the Good News in the face of the immanent end times. Hence, he urged his followers to pray for more missionaries (harvest workers).

2) A word to the wise (Luke 10:3 and Matthew 10:16). Jesus warned his followers of the challenge they would face. Because of the opposition they would face, they would be innocents (like lambs in Luke or sheep in Matthew) in the midst of evil men (a ravenous wolf pack). Implicitly, they should not expect welcome but persecution.

3) Travel instructions (Mark 6:8-9, Luke 10:4 and Matthew 10:9-10). Jesus told the missionaries to travel light (no money or extra clothing) for three reasons: travel quickly (even avoiding greetings on the road in Luke 104b), deter thieves from muggings and depend upon the hospitality of others. Implicitly, they should trust God to lead them.

4) Guest etiquette (Luke 10:6-8 and Matthew 10:11-12). Jesus stressed three ways to act in a host's home: greeting, table manners and duration of visit. The guest missionary should enter the home with the greeting, "Shalom," the prayer for God's peace. Notice the missionary greeted the house (read "clan" not building) and the spoken command possessed a power independent of the new guest, just like the word of God in Isaiah 55:10-11 ("For as the rain comes down and the snow from the sky, and doesn't return there, but waters the earth, and makes it grow and bud, and gives seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so is my word that goes out of my mouth: it will not return to me void, but it will accomplish that which I please, and it will prosper in the thing I sent it to do." World English Bible).

Once received into the home, Jesus wanted the missionary to eat whatever the host served him, even at the cost of breaking kosher. Deference to the host insured good relations and opened the possibility of conversion. In this sense, evangelization trumped the duty to remain ritually clean.

Finally, Jesus urged his missionaries not to move from clan to clan, looking for the "best deal." Such behavior made the traveling follower look selfish, thus bringing his intention into question (Mark 6:10, Luke 10:7ac and Matthew 9:11b).

Matthew added an interesting twist to the host the missionary chose. In Matthew 10:11a, Jesus instructed his disciples to seek out the house of the "worthy," the clan with a morally upright patriarch who implicitly led the community. By converting the leader of the village, many others would follow his example.

5) Ministry instructions (Luke 10:9 and Matthew 10:7-8a). In these brief verses, Jesus gave the core command, proclaim the Good News and heal the sick. Such was the guest's reciprocation for the host's hospitality. This also mimicked the mobile ministry of the Lord. For food and board, share the word and power of the message. Notice in Matthew 10:8a, he paralleled their ministry with the answer he gave the disciples of the Baptist when they inquired about his status as the Christ (Luke 7:22 and Matthew 11:5).

6) Judgment on those who reject the message (Luke 10:10-12 and Matthew 10:14-15). Again, we can subdivide these verses into two parts, the judgment of the disciples and that of Jesus. The Lord instructed his followers to scrap (Luke) or violently shake off (Matthew) the dust of the town from their feet. In this context, the dust had many different meanings. First, because the Good News trumped any other form of kosher, the ground of the sinful town became unclean; to maintain cleanliness for the missionary, the dust must go. Next, ground level was home to the serpent, the image for Satan. In the mind of the missionary, those who rejected the message of Jesus aligned themselves with the devil. Hence, the disciple needed to remove the dust from the level of evil. Last, the ground itself has a moral inference in Middle Eastern culture, even today. Dirt was "the lowest of the low" and foot wear represented a layer that separated the moral (above the ground) from the immoral. For example, throwing footwear at an adversary meant rejecting that person as morally inferior. So, scrapping or shaking off dust from the faithless town contained a sharp rebuke and a clear condemnation (Mark 6:11, Luke 10:11 and Matthew 10:14).

Jesus raised that condemnation to cosmic level. In the Final Judgment, the places that rejected the Good News would face a divine wrath greater than that of Sodom (and Gomorrah in Matthew).

Mark 6:8-13 laid out the outline of the instructions, but the Q source elaborated beyond that narrative with the command to pray, the word to the wise, expanded guest etiquette and the elevation of judgment to the cosmic level.


Didactic with an eye towards leadership and missionaries.

3. Q 10:13-15/Matt11:?23b-24?:
Judgment on Towns in Galilee (Sayings)

Luke 10:13-15

13 Woe to you, Chorazin, woe to you Bethsaida, because if in Tyre and Sidon (they) happened, the mighty (miraculous works) occurring among you, long ago, then, sitting in sack cloth and ashes, (the foreign cities would have) repented. 14 Rather in Tyre and Sidon, more tolerable (it) will be in (Final) Judgment than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, (is it) not towards heaven (you) will be raised up? Towards Hades (you) will be thrown down.

Matthew 11:21-24

21 Woe to you, Chorazin, woe to you Bethsaida, because if in Tyre and Sidon (they) happened, the mighty (miraculous works) occurring among you, long ago, then, in sack cloth and ashes, (the foreign cities would have) repented. 22 Rather, (I) say to you, in Tyre and Sidon, more tolerable (it) will be on the Day of Judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, (is it) not towards heaven (you) will be raised up? Towards Hades (you) will be thrown down.

Because if in Sodom (they) happened, the mighty (miraculous works), the (ones) occurring among you, (it would have) remained even up to today. 24 Rather, (I) say to you, that in the land of Sodom more tolerable (it) will be on the Day of Judgment than for you.



Besides the doublet in Matthew 11:23b-24, the verses track closely, mostly word-for-word.


These passages follow the condemnation that refused the disciples (Luke 10:12 and Matthew 10:15). The hamlets mentioned witnessed the ministry of Jesus. All sat on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, in close proximity to each other. Besides the mention above, no other reference existed for Chorazin. Scholars puzzled over the location of Bethsaida, possibly a neighborhood of Capernaum that served as the home to Philip, Andrew, Peter and perhaps James and John (John 1:44, 12:21). Possessing a population upwards of 1500, Capernaum was a city in the Greek sense, with many cultural, legal and religious institutions (Luke 7:1-10); it witnessed many miracles (Mark 2:1-12, for example) and, for a while, acted as home base for Jesus (Matthew 4:12-17).

Jesus condemned these areas either for their rejection or indifference to his ministry. However, he framed his critique within the image of the Final Judgment (Luke 10:13) or the Day of YHWH (Matthew 11:22). To add insult, he compared these Jewish areas with pagan cities on the coast of modern day Lebanon; he insisted the towns that saw the power of the Lord and did not repent would face a far greater judgment than Gentiles. (Matthew's doublet in 11:23b-24 increased the insult by comparing the Jewish population to the famously sinful town of Sodom.)


Polemical against both opponents and those apathetic to the Good News.

4. Q 10:16: Rejecting/Receiving the Missionary (Sayings)

Luke 10:16

16 The (one) hearing you hears ME and the (one) rejecting you rejects ME. But the (one) rejecting ME rejects the (One) sending ME.

Matthew 10:40

40 The (one) receiving you receives ME and the (one) receiving ME receives the (One) sending ME.

Context: Social Critique.


Despite the differences in verbs ("rejecting" vs."receiving"), the two verses track in a similar manner.


Luke divided those outside the community into those who outright rejected the message and all others; he considered anyone, either indifferent or mildly interested in the Good News, as potential candidates for evangelization. Matthew, however, focused on the host who showed hospitality to the traveling missionary, receiving such men into his home; such hosts were open to evangelization.


Didactic to followers evangelizing (Luke) and showing hospitality (Matthew)

5. Q 10:21 and Q 10:22: The Father and the Son (Sayings)

Luke 10:21-22

21 In that hour, (HE) rejoiced (greatly) [in] the Holy Spirit and said, "I acknowledge you (in praise), Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that (you) hid> these (things) from the (self-professed) wise and the prudent, and revealed them to babes. Yes, Father, because, thus, delightful (it) happened before you. 22 Everything to ME was given from MY Father, and no one (truly) knows who is the SON except the Father, and who is the Father except the SON and to whomever (HE) intends, the SON, to reveal."

Matthew 11:25-27

25 In that (right) moment, answering, JESUS said, "I acknowledge you (in praise), Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that (you) hid these (things) from the (self-professed) wise and the prudent, and revealed them to babes. 26 Yes, Father, because, thus, delightful (it) happened before you. 27 Everything to ME was given from MY Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, not the Father whomever (claims to) knows except the SON and to whomever (HE) intends, the SON, to reveal."

Context: Prayer.


These verses track closely, mostly word-for-word.


In this prayer of praise, Jesus acknowledged the Father for his choice in revelation. YHWH did not chose those who studied the Law and made pronouncements on judicial matters; the pride the found in their self-proclaimed expertise denied them the spiritual eye sight only humility could bring. Only the little ones (disciples and servants of the Christian community) could see the power of God in their midst. This pleased the God, for those who saw the work of the Spirit revealed in the Son soon realized the exclusive relationship the Son had with the Father. The spiritual sight of those with open hearts and minds led them to discipleship.


Didactic and evangelistic to encourage the poor.

6. Q 10:23-24:
Beatitude on the Privileged Disciples (Saying)

Luke 10:23-24

23 Turning towards the disciples, in private (HE) said, "Blessed (are) the eyes the (ones) seeing what (you) see. 24 For I say to you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see and did not behold (it), and to hear what you hear and did not hear (it)."

Matthew 13:16-17

16 Of yours, blessed (are) the eyes that see and the ears of yours that hear. 17 Amen I say to you that many prophets and righteous (ones greatly) desired to see what you see and did not behold (it), and to hear what you hear and did not hear (it)."

Context: Prayer.


Luke 10:23 and Matthew 13:16 track moderately, while Luke 10:24 and Matthew 13:17 track closely.


These verses acted as commentary on Jesus' prayer of praise. The revelation they saw and heard fulfilled the aspirations of Israel's fathers in faith. Notice the first person quality of the Lord's beatitude; those who witnessed would proclaim it to others. Early Christians coveted eye witness testimony of the Apostles. Only with the close of the apostolic age would the creation of the written gospels take on urgency.


Didactic and evangelistic to hear eye witnesses.

F. Q Chapter 11

1. Q 11:2b-4: The Lord's Prayer (Sayings)

Luke 11:2-4

2 (HE) said to them, Whenever (you) should pray, say,

'Father, make holy your name,

bring your Kingdom.

3 Our bread of the day, give to us day by day,

4 and forgive us our sins,

for (we) ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us,

and do not bring us into (the area) of temptation.

Matt 6:9-13

9 Thus, you (are to) pray,

Our Father, the (One) in heaven

10 make holy your name,

bring your Kingdom,

do your will, as in heaven, on earth.

11 Our bread of the day, give to us today,

12 and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,

13 and do not bring us into (the area) of temptation, but rescue us from the Evil (One).

Context: Prayer.


If we follow the minimal structure of Luke and ignore the additions in Matthew, the verses track closely, sometimes word-for-word.


Using Luke as a template, we can divide the Lord's Prayer into five imperatives.

1) Make holy your name. The word "holy" governed the power of the petition. Holy meant the uniqueness only the divine possessed. So, we could translate "make" as "preserve." Keep the name (YHWH) special, for the name revealed the power and presence of the one it was attached to. This petition begged God from having his name profaned.

2) Bring your Kingdom. This clearly entreated God for the end times; it colored what followed toward the day of YHWH.

3) Our bread of today, give to us day by day. The term "of today" remained controversial. The Greek word "epiousion" was rare, with an uncertain meaning. Did it mean "of today" or "of tomorrow" or "of everyday?" Or did it refer to the Final Day? If Jesus insinuated the later meaning, the petition could be translated, "Our bread of the Kingdom, give to us today." In other word, the petition could imply Eucharistic overtones, focused upon the end times.

4) Forgive us our sins, as we forgive our debtors. While Luke 11:4a focused on "our sins" ("harmartia" an archery term meaning, "missing the mark"), Matthew 6:12 shifted the word to "debts." Both added the caveat of forgiving those indebted to us. Notice the economic view of sin, seeing transgressions as incurring a debt owed to the one slighted. In this light, we sinners faced the possibility of incarceration in debtors' prison unless we repaid what we owed. Of course, we could not possibly square the books with so large a load; only forgiveness (setting aside) the debt made sense. But, when would we realize that forgiveness, now or at the Final Judgment? While, from a theological viewpoint, we could answer "both," reading the petition in view of the end times favored the latter meaning.

5) Do not bring us into temptation. Here, we could translate the word "temptation" as "the Great Test" or the the Tribulation. This petition begged for mercy in face of the divine wrath at the end. While we could read it for daily living, such an understanding weakened the force of the prayer as simply asking for rescue from compromising situations.

Notice two more points about the prayer. First, Matthew added two petitions to the form found in Luke; these verses only reinforced the five listed. Secondly, most of us pray the Our Father for our daily needs, focused on the moment. While this is legitimate, we cannot ignore the future orientation of the prayer.


Didactic and liturgical.

2. Q 11:9-13:
Seek and Knock, Father Giving Gifts (Parables)

Luke 11:9-13

9 And so to you I say, ask and (it) will be given to you, seek and (you) will find, knock and (it) will be opened for you. 10 For everyone asking receives and seeking finds and to the (one) knocking (it) will be opened. 11 But who among you, (being a) father, (when) the son will ask for a fish, instead of a fish, (you) will give him a snake? 12 Or, (when he) will ask for an egg, (you) will give him a scorpion? 13 If, thus, you behaving (as) evil (people) know to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father [the (One)] in heaven give the Holy Spirit to the (ones) asking him.

Matthew 7:7-11

7 Ask and (it) will be given to you, seek and (you) will find, knock and (it) will be opened for you. 8 For everyone asking receives and seeking finds and to the (one) knocking (it) will be opened. 9 Or is anyone among you, (being) a man, who, (when) his son will ask for bread, instead will give him a stone? 10 Or (when he) will ask for a fish, instead (he) will give him a snake? 11 If, thus, you, being evil, know to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father the (One) in heaven give good (gifts) to the (ones) asking him.

Context: Wisdom.


The beginning and ending of these passages track closely, almost word-for-word, while the rhetorical questions about fathers tricking their sons track very loosely, almost thematically.


Jesus presented two images to highlight the power of prayer: the traveler seeking lodging and the tricky father. In the ancient world, especially in the Roman Empire, depended upon the hospitality of strangers for safe lodging at night; the triple imperatives of "ask, seek and knock" received a positive response, just as the audience of the Lord expected.

Jesus then flipped expectations to the negative with a set of rhetorical questions about paternal gifts; no reasonable father would trick his son, exchanging food for something undesirable or dangerous.

1) Stone for bread (Matthew 7:9). In the time of Jesus, the poor baked with barley grain; precious wheat rose to the grain of the rich. Women baked barley loaves about the size of an average fist. Since barley turned gray in color after its time in the oven, loaves looked like large river rocks.

2) Scorpion for an egg (Luke 11:12). Scorpions roll up into a shape similar to that of an egg.

3) Snake for a fish (Luke 11:11 and Matthew 7:10). Many types of elongated fish (eels and trumpet fish) lived in the Mediterranean. A child could mistake a snake for one of these type of fish.

Turning from the negative answer to the rhetorical question about the bad parent, Jesus presented the moral of his teaching: the petitioner should expect God to give him the Spirit (Luke 11:13) or charisms from the Spirit (Matthew 7:11).


Didactic to encourage prayer.

3. Mark-Q Overlap:
Q 11:14-15, 17-20, Q 11:?21-22? and Q 11:23:
The Beelzebul Accusation.

Mark 3:22-27

22 The scribes having come from Jerusalem said, "(HE) has Beelzebul (within HIM)" and "By the ruler of the demons (HE) throws out demons." 23 Having called them, (HE) said to them in parables,"How is Satan able to throw out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom is not able to stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house is not able to stand. 26 If Satan stands against himself and is divided, (he) is not able to stand but has an end. 27 But (definitely) no one is able going into the house of a strong (man) to plunder his possessions, unless first (he) might bind up the strong (man), and then (he) will plunder his house."

Commentary: See below.

Parable: On Beelzebul

Luke 11:14-23

14 (HE) was expelling a demon [and it was] mute. (It) happened when the demon went out, the (former) mute spoke and the crowd marveled. 15 But some among them said, "In Beelzebul, the ruler of demons, HE expels demons."

16 But others testing (HIM) sought a sign out of heaven from HIM.

17 But HE, perceiving their thoughts, said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste and house falls upon house. 18 If, therefore, Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? Because you say in Beelzebul I expel demons. 19 If I in Beelzebul expel demons, in whom do your sons expel (demons)? 20 If by the finger of God [I] expel demons, then already the Kingdom of God (is) upon you.

?21 Whenever a strong (man) being armed keeps watch over his own mansion, at peace is his possessions, ?22 but, when a (man) stronger than him approaching conquers him, (the stronger) takes away his armaments upon which (he) relied and divides up his spoils.

23 The (one) not being with ME (is) against ME and the (one) not gathering with ME, scatters."

Matthew 12:22-30

22 When the brought to HIM (one) being demon-possessed (with) blindness and deafness, and (HE) healed him, so the deaf (man was able) to speak and to see. 23 All the crowds were astounded and said, "Is HE not the son of David?" 24 The Pharisees hearing (this) said, "HE does not expel demons except in Beelzebul, the ruler of demons." 25 Perceiving their thoughts, (HE) said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan expels Satan, against himself (he) is divided. How, then, will his kingdom stand? 27 If I in Beelzebul expel demons, in whom do your sons expel (demons)? Because of this, (you) yourselves will be your (own) judges. 28 But if, in the Spirit of God, I expel demons, then already the Kingdom of God (is) upon you. 29 How is someone able to enter the house of a strong (man) and to steal his goods, unless first (he) should bind the strong (man)? Then (the thief) will plunder his house. 30 The (one) not being with ME (is) against ME and the (one) not gathering with ME, scatters."

Context: Controversy.


The exclusive Q sections of the overlap are:

1) Healing: Luke 11:14 and Matthew 12:22. These track thematically.

2) Question of Jewish Exorcism: Luke 11:19-20 and Matthew 12:27a, 28. These track closely, mostly word-for-word.

3) With me, against me: Luke 11:23 and Matthew 12:30. These track word-for-word.

With the overlap, Luke 11:15b and Matthew 12:24c, Luke 11:17 and Matthew 12:25a,b, Luke 11:18b and Matthew 12:26c track very closely, mostly word-for-word, but have only thematic correspondence with Mark.


At its root, Jesus and his opponents battled over power relationships. Who spoke for God? The Lord claimed his power to exorcise demoniacs from God, while his enemies (specifically the scribes in Mark 3:22 and the Pharisees in Matthew 12:24) employed knowledge and application of the Torah as their power base. To defend themselves, his opponents attacked him with the charge of being demon-possessed. He was "in Beelzebul, ruler of the demons."

Jesus went on the offense with two images, the divided kingdom/clan and the thief. The first spoke to internal strife and civil war. The social structure of the ancient world depended upon the clan, an extended family ruled by a patriarch. Economic, political and cultural stability depended upon interlocking relationships between clans; lower class clans relied on higher class families for favors while paying the price in fees and expected loyalties. We can visualize the social structure of the Roman Empire as a pyramid of clans: at the top, lie the imperial family; at the base, the nameless masses of the poor; in-between, commissioned military, imperial bureaucrats and local city fathers. If one influential clan or army (loyal to their general first, then to the Emperor) revolted, the entire social structure could face injury, even collapse (Mark 3:25, Luke 11:17 and Matthew 12:25). Strife within a clan, no matter where it stood on the class scale, weakened the cohesiveness of the family and its ability to influence its economic, political and social standing; fighting among family members would certainly cause gossip and bring shame on the clan. Inner battles in higher class families would create uncertainty with lower class clans who had relationships with those families ("house falls upon house" in Luke 11:17b, where "house" was synonymous with "clan"). Jesus applied the image of the divided kingdom/clan to the reign of Beelzebul (Satan) in the form of a rhetorical question. If he were demon-possessed as he exorcised the demoniacs, what would Satan stand to gain? Obviously nothing. As a corollary (in the Q source), the Lord asserted the origin of his power by asking the rhetorical question about the power of exorcists beyond his circle of disciples (Luke 11:19 and Matthew 12:27). He finished by placing his power in the context of the Kingdom (Luke 11:20 and Matthew 12:27; notice here that Matthew used the phrase "Kingdom of God" instead of his favored "Kingdom of heaven.")

Next, Jesus turned to the image of the thief who overcame the strong, well armed patriarch and plundered his possessions. This portrait crystallized the power relationship. As the outsider, the Lord was the usurper, the One who entered into the stronghold of the Pharisees and gained a following through his message and his miracles. His presence/activity upset the social order and demanded a choice, either allegiance or rejection (in the Q source, Luke 11:23 and Matthew 12:30).

The phrase "in Beelzebul" requires some explanation. Mentioned above, the phrase meant demon-possessed. Jesus rejected that charge. If he were not "in Beelzebul" then he must be Spirit-possessed (Matthew 12:28a). In the end-time battle between the forces of YHWH and those of Satan, the popular thinking went, those on either side were motivated, even possessed by their leaders, either "in Beelzebul" or "in the Spirit." No one could remain a bystander in this cosmic struggle.

Besides the additions to Mark's material, scholars argue for the inclusion of Luke's and Matthew's word-for-word verses into the Q because they differ so radically from Mark in form.


Polemical against Pharisaical Jews.

4. Q 11:24-26: Return of an Unclean Spirit (Parable)

Luke 11:24-26

24 Whenever and unclean spirit departs from the man, (it) goes throughout waterless regions seeking rest but not discovering (any). [Then] (he) says, "(I) will return to my house where I departed," 25 and, coming, (he) discovers (it) being swept clean and decorated. 26 Then (he) goes throughout and receives (in fellowship) seven other spirits more evil than itself and, entering, (he) lives there and cause the final (condition) of that man (to be) more evil than the first.

Matthew 12:43-45

43 Whenever and unclean spirit departs from the man, (it) goes throughout waterless regions seeking rest but not discovering (any). 44 Then (he) says, "Into my house I will return from where I departed." Coming, (he) discovers (it) empty, being swept clean and decorated. 45 Then (he) goes throughout and receives (in fellowship) seven other spirits more evil than itself and, entering, (he) lives there and cause the final (condition) of that man (to be) more evil than the first. Thus it will be for this evil generation.

Context: Controversy.


These verses track closely, mostly word-for-word, with a few deviations.


Without context, this parable of the wandering demon was puzzling. One who purged his demon only found many, more powerful devils possessed him. On a psychological level, the person who attempted moral improvement could fall to other, more insidious temptations.

Beyond that, what did the story mean? There were two possibilities, depending upon the context: polemics against Pharisaic Judaism or moral teaching for neophytes. Luke and Matthew placed the narrative as an invective against opponents of Christianity. Luke set the parable directly after the exorcism controversy, where Jesus' enemies accused him of being "in Beelzebul, ruler of the demons." By employing the story, the Lord made an implicit charge in Luke 11:25 that Matthew 12:44 made explicit: the house was swept and clean (the person tried to set his moral life in order) but was empty. In other words, the person who withdrew from the demonic power ("in Beelzebul") but did not enter into a life of charisms ("in the Spirit") remained morally vulnerable at best, self-righteous at worst. Without allegiance to a spiritual power, evil or Godly, one was cast adrift, filling the void with a zealous religiosity that fed only the ego. Jesus saw the self-contained holy man as one filled with seven demons, a number that represented fullness and completion. Yes, in Luke, he judged his opponents as completely evil. (Later, Catholic moral theology would develop the notion of the cardinal sins, seven temptations to selfishness). Matthew extend the parable as a condemnation of the present generation that rejected the person and mission of Jesus (Matthew 12:45b; see Matthew 12:38-42).

In a didactic setting, Church leaders could have used the parable as a warning to the newly baptized that freedom from sin did not end spiritual struggle. Washed clean, they now faced a life in the Spirit and a charismatic community. As St. Paul stated in Romans 6:11: "Think of yourselves dead to sin but living to God in Christ Jesus." This left no space for a self-help spirituality.


Didactic warning to neophytes and Polemical against Pharisaical Jews.

5. Q 11:?27-28?:
Beatitude on Blessed Mother vs. Blessed Disciple (Passage)

Luke 11:27-28

?27 (It) happened in his speaking about these (things), raising (her) voice, a woman out of the crowd said, "Blessed the womb having bore YOU and the breast which suckled (YOU)." ?28 HE said, "Rather blessed the (ones) hearing the word of God and keeping (it)."

Context: Narrative.


These verses in Luke stand alone as a comment on the verses before and after them. In Luke 11:27, the woman praised not only Jesus but his mother; his positive reputation and character spoke well of his mother's moral standing. Note he did not dispute the woman's comment, only pointed to the greater need for evangelization. Jesus' message trumped his family bonds; he expected the same from his audience.


Didactic to remind disciples of their place.

6. Mark-Q Overlap:
Q 11:16, 29-30 and Q 11:31-32:
Request for a Sign.

Mark 8:11-12

11 The Pharisees came out and began to argue with HIM, seeking from HIM a sign from heaven, testing HIM. 12 Sighing (deeply) in HIS spirit, (HE) said, "Why does this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you, (there) will be given to this generation."


A folk healer like Jesus would face opposition from a religious establishment that treated disease through quarantine. His hands-on approach stood diametrically opposed to the separation the Pharisees demanded. Add to that his preaching about the apocalyptic and immanent Day of YHWH. No wonder the leaders pressed him about a heavenly sign to authenticate his ministry (Mark 8:11, Luke 11:16 and Matthew 12:38). But, in Mark 8:12, Luke 11:29cd and Matthew 12:39ab, he refused to provide such a sign, implicitly insisting that the Good News justified his ministry. The additions from the Q source (Luke 11:29e-32 and Matthew 12:39c, 41-42) make that justification explicit with the parables of Jonah and the Queen of the South. The citizens of Nineveh and the queen of Ethiopia would rise at the Last Judgment to condemn those who doubted his message.

Request for a Sign (Parable)

Luke 11:16, 29-32

16 Others testing (HIM) sought a sign out of heaven from HIM.

29 While the crowds grew (in number), (HE) began to say, "This generation is an evil generation. (It) seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, thus will be the SON OF MAN to this generation. 31 The Queen of the South will rise up in judgment against the men of this generation and will condemn them, because (she) came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon and, Look! (something) greater than Solomon (is) here. 32 The men of Nineveh will rise up in judgment against this generation and will condemn it, because (they) repented at the preaching of Jonah, and Look! (something) greater than Jonah (is) here."

Matthew 12:38-42

38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees responded to HIM, saying, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from YOU." 39 Answering, (HE) said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. 40 For just as Jonah (was) in the belly of the (large) fish for three days and three nights, thus will the SON OF MAN be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up in judgment against this generation and will condemn it, because (they) repented at the preaching of Jonah, and Look! (something) greater than Jonah (is) here. 42 The Queen of the South will rise up in judgment against this generation and will condemn it, because (she) came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon and, Look! (something) greater than Solomon (is) here.

Context: Controversy.


The condemnation of the Queen of the South and the men of Nineveh track mostly word-for-word (Luke added "the men"), while the introduction that led up to the doublet tracked thematically.


In these verses, Jesus compared his ministry with that of Jonah, then the pilgrimage of the Queen of the South. In Luke, he focused upon his evangelization, while, in Matthew, he foresaw his death and resurrection with the fish belly narrative of Jonah's journey. Notice the parallels of Jonah's call to repentance and the wisdom of Solomon. The listener could find both in the message of the Lord. Indeed, in both Luke and Matthew, we can find the buzz words of the early Church, metanoia (repentance) and proclamation (kerygma) (Luke 11:32 and Matthew 12:41). In the doublet, the Good News itself possessed the power of divine judgment: accepting the message meant salvation, rejecting it meant divine wrath. In the resurrection of the dead, the Queen of the South and the repentant men of Nineveh (Gentiles all) would rise up to condemn those who failed to believe and change their lives.


Polemical against Pharisaical Jews.

7. Q 11:33: Lamp and Bushel (Parable)

Luke 11:33

33 No one lighting a lamp places (it) in a cellar (to hide the light) [nor under a bushel (basket)] but upon a light stand, so that the (ones) having entered can see the light.

Matthew 5:15

15 No one lighting a lamp places (it) in a cellar (to hide the light) [nor under a bushel (basket)] but upon a light stand, so that the (ones) having entered can see the light.

Context: Wisdom.

Similarity: Word-for-word.


This wisdom saying addressed the need for personal integrity, both in a faith commitment and in moral character. In the vernacular, Jesus called the person "to walk the walk" as well as "talk the talk." In the context of discipleship, one's faith life should give others an example to follow.


Didactic for Christian lifestyle.

8. Q 11:34-35: Eye and Light (Parable)

Luke 11:34-36

34 The lamp of your body is your eye. Whenever your eye might be clear, your entire body is illuminated, but if (it) might be infected (with evil), you body (is) darkened. 35 Thus, take heed not (that) the light in you is not darkness. 36 If, then, your entire body (is) illuminated, not having any section darkened, (it) will be illuminated as when the glaring light (of a lamp) shines on you.

Matthew 6:22-23

22 The lamp of the body is the eye. If, then, your eye should be clear, your entire body will be illuminated. 23 If, however, your eye should be inflicted (with evil), your entire body will be darkened. If, then, the light in you is darkness, how great (is) the darkness.

Context: Wisdom.


Most of the verses track loosely, some parts thematically. Only the introduction tracks word-for-word.


These verses play off a dual analogy; the eye is both the lamp (that gives light to the interior life of the person in Luke 11:34a and Matthew 6:22a) and the window (that allows certain types of experiences into the person in Luke 11:34b-36 and Matthew 6:22b-23). When the eye is clear, like a cleaned window, light enters into the person. When the disciple acted in a way that "gave light" (glorified God with an example of faith or high moral living), others could see and "be filled with light" (have faith). However, one could choose to turn away, even cast dispersions on the disciple ("move away from the light towards darkness.") Thus, Jesus implicitly gave his audience a choice, either faith (light) or rejection (darkness). Notice these verses tied closely to Luke 11:33 where faith is the light and the eye is the lamp/window for that light.


Didactic for Christian lifestyle.

9. Q 11:?39a?, 42, 39b, 41, 43-44:
Regulated Lifestyle (Woe)

Luke 11:?39a?, 42, 39b, 41, 43-44

?39a The LORD said to him,

42 Woe to you Pharisees, because (you) tithe on the mint and the rue and every herb, but (you) pass by the justice and love of God. However, (it) is necessary to do these and those not to pass by.

39b Now, you Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and plate, but inside of you are full of extortion and wickedness.

41 Rather give (as) alms the (things) inside (your heart) and Look! All is clean for you.

43 Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the lead seats in the synagogues and (fancy) salutations in the marketplaces. 44 Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, and men waling upon (them) not seeing (them).

Matthew 11:23, 25-27

23 Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because (you) tithe on the mint and the dill and the cummin and (you) set aside the weightier (matters) of the Law, justice and mercy and fidelity. However, (it) is necessary to do these and those not to pass by.

25 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because (you) make clean the outside of the cup and platter but inside (you) are full of extortion and (material) excess. 26 Blind Pharisee, first make clean the inside of the cup so that the outside of it will be clean. 27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because (you) are like tombs having been whitewashed, which, on the one hand, on the outside appear beautiful, but (on the other hand), on the inside are filled (with) the bones of the dead and everything unclean.

Context: Controversy.

Similarity: Thematic to close.


In these verses, Jesus criticized the Pharisees for their scrupulous lifestyle and for the attention it garnered. The Pharisaical community lived according to strict guidelines that controlled almost every aspect of life; their leaders saw such attention to detail as the means to grow spiritually and acted accordingly. Notice Jesus did not criticize the lifestyle itself but spiritual distraction such minutia could bring. The leader absorbed in small matters often overlooked the bigger issues. Such leaders might even callously manipulated the details to empower themselves, defining holiness within narrow limits. Most Pharisees would consider tithing herbs as trivial, but Jesus used the practice to chide them for their lack of charity, implicitly towards his audience of sinners and outcasts. The Pharisees were so determined to keep kosher, their rulings acted as determents to the outsider and Gentile.

In the end, he gave them the harshest critique of all, likening their spiritual myopia to death itself. They were like tombs, beautiful on the outside but the unkosher status of decay on the inside.


Polemical against the Pharisaical Jews.

10. Q 11:46b, 52, 47-48: Prophet's Tombs (Woe)

Luke 11:46b, 52, 47-48

46b And to you, lawyers, woe, because (you) overload oppressive burdens on men and yourselves not one of your fingers do (you) touch the burdens.

52 Woe to you, lawyers, because (you) lift away the key of knowledge. Yourselves do not enter and the (ones) exiting you hinder.

47 Woe to you, because (you) build the (grave) memorials of the prophets, but your fathers put them to death. 48 Thus (you) are witnesses and (are) assenting to the works of your fathers, because they, on the one hand, killed them, but, on the other hand, you construct (their memorials).

Matt 23:4, 13, 29-32

4 (They) bind heavy [and oppressive] burdens and lay (them) upon the shoulders of men, but (they) themselves not with a finger wish to remove them.

13 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because (you) close the Kingdom of heaven before men. For you do not enter, nor the (ones) entering do (you) permit to enter.

29 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you construct the tombs of the prophets and decorate the (grave) memorials of the righteous. 30 (You) say, "If we existed in the days of the our fathers, (we would) not in any way exist as partakers in the blood of the prophets." 31 Thus, (you) yourselves witness (to the fact) that (you) are sons of the (ones) murdering the prophets. 32 You, (completely) fulfill the measure of your fathers.

Context: Controversy

Similarity: Thematic to loose.


In these woes, Jesus charged his opponents with legalism, denying their clients the Good News and acting as opponents to their own Scripture. First in Luke 11:46b and Matthew 23:4, he accused them of valuing the edicts and guidelines they drew from the Torah over the mercy preached by the prophets. In other words, the myopia of the legal experts failed to stress the reason for the Law, YHWH's loving kindness. The virtues of empathy and compassion trumped any ideology of strict adherence.

Next, Jesus painted his enemies as elites. They claimed the Torah as their exclusive providence, denying any spiritual insight to the common people. As those who issued decrees on God's Law, they implicitly denied the possibility of divine providence outside his edicts in Scripture. Hence, as in Matthew 23:13, they hindered those seeking the Kingdom. They kept the keys of knowledge to themselves and shut out anyone who sought the possibility of another path to God.

The core unstated theme (especially in Luke 11:52) was the Good News. Acceptance or rejection of Jesus' message depended in part on orientation. The experts on the Torah focused on the activity of YHWH in the past, especially in the revelation of the Law, then parsed its commandments to make them relevant to the present times. Jesus, however, considered the moral imperfections of the world in light of the coming Kingdom. The scribes and Pharisees concerned themselves with the present in light of the past, while the Lord preached on the present in light of the future. His opponents would not or could not conceive of his message as applicable to the people; hence, not only did they try to dissuade the people from following Jesus, some opposed him at every turn, for he and his preaching challenged their very authority. Jesus revealed God to the crowds in a way the leaders never could.

Finally, we can find the argument in Jesus' most stinging condemnation (Luke 11:47 and Matthew 23:29). A quick reading of these verses miss the import of his attack. He implied that the construction of memorial tombs did not honor the slain prophets, per se, but acted as praise to their murderers. After all, the prophets preached in opposition to the moneyed elites and their religious lapdogs, but, when the power brokers moved against them with violence, these leaders memorialized the prophets in blood. Jesus contended that, by raising up grave memorials to the prophets, his contemporary opponents honored those who were really like them, both in word and in status. Matthew 23:30-31 stressed the same point in a different way. But, Matthew 23:32 goaded the leaders to fulfill their fate by killing Jesus in the same way their fathers opposed and killed God's messengers.


Polemical against Pharisaical Jews.

11. Q 11:49-51: Sending of Prophets (Sayings)

Luke 11:49-51

49 Because of this, the wisdom of God said, "I will send among them prophets and apostles, and (they) will kill and persecute (some) out of them," 50 so that the blood of all the prophets being poured out from the beginning of the cosmos might be demanded by this generation, 51 from the blood of Abel until the blood of Zechariah, the (one) being murdered between the altar and the dwelling (of God). Yes, I say to you, (the prophet's blood) will be demanded from this generation.

Matthew 23:34-36

34 Because of this, Look! I send to you prophets and wise (men) and scribes, (some) of them (you) will kill and crucify, (some) of them (you) will flog in your synagogues and will pursue from city to city, 35 so (it) might come upon you, all the blood of the righteous being poured out upon the earth from the blood of righteous Abel until the blood of Zechariah, son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Amen, I say to you, all this (responsibility) will come upon this generation.

Context: Controversy.

Similarity: These verses track loosely to thematically.


These verses consist of three parts, 1) divine commission to the prophets, 2) persecution of these men by their opponents and 3) the collective guilt by the present generation for their ill-treatment. Notice all three parts formed one long sentence in both Luke (11:49-51a) and Matthew (23:34-35), despite differences in language; the short sentence at the end (Luke 11:51b and Matthew 23:36) formed a doublet of part three, thereby adding emphasis. Also notice the judgment against Jesus' contemporaries was not divine (from the top down) but rose up from the earth as blood (from the bottom up). Blood meant life to the ancient Jew, so spilling blood meant murder. Thus, creation itself condemned them for the collective guilt against those whom God sent.

Jesus saw a chain of martyrs from the beginning of creation (Abel in Genesis 4:1-3) to the end of the prophets (Zechariah in 2 Chronicles 24:20-21, the last historical book in the Hebrew Scriptures). Zechariah was slain between the altar and the Holy of Holies (the literal home of YHWH in Luke 11:51a and the Temple proper in Matthew 23:35b). Because this prophet died on holy ground, his opponents compounded their sin of murder with that of blasphemy. So, by association, Jesus equated their murder with a greater charge of profaning God himself.

Why were the contemporaries of Jesus guilty? He drew a parallel between the message of the prophets and the Good News, then charged his listeners with the same sin their ancestors committed: rejecting God's word.


Polemical against Pharisaical Jews.

G. Q Chapter 12

1. Mark-Q Overlap: Q 12:2-3:
Revealing the Hidden (Sayings)

Mark 4:22

22 For, (it) is not secret except that (it) should be made manifest, nor (it) happens to kept hidden but that should come into the light.

Commentary: See below.

Luke 12:2-3

2 Nothing is hidden (which) will not be revealed and the private (which) will not be known. 3 Because what you say in the dark, (it) will be heard in the light, and the (word) in the ear you speak (silently) in the (secluded inner) room will be proclaimed on the rooftops.

Matthew 10:26-27

26 Do not fear them, for nothing is hidden (which) will not be revealed and the private (which) will not be known. 27 The (word) I speak to you in the dark, speak in the light and the (word) in the ear you speak (silently) proclaim on the rooftops.

Context: Wisdom.


These verses track closely, in part word-for-word.


Humans thrive in a social setting; where people live, gossip will rise up. Indeed, social networks thirst for juicy tidbits of personal information; whatever someone tries to keep quiet will soon become public knowledge. In these verses, Jesus acknowledged that fact but placed it in the context of discipleship. He could not teach his followers a secret gnosis without it becoming widely known (Matthew 10:27a), nor could he expect his disciples to contain the Good News. In fact, he demanded the opposite, to proclaim (kerygma in Luke 12:3b and Matthew 10:27b) his message from the rooftops.

Mark 4:22 overlaps with Luke 12:2 and Matthew 10:26 but the later pair track almost word-for-word against Mark. This argues for an independent tradition.


Didactic to encourage evangelization

2. Q 12:4-5 and Q 12:6-7: Sparrows (Parable)

Luke 12:4-7

4 I tell you, my friends, don't fear the (ones) killing the body and, after this, not having anything more which to do. 5 (I) will show you whom (you) should fear. Fear the (One), after (you opponents) kill (you), having the authority to cast you into Gehenna. Yes, I tell you, fear this (One). 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two assarion? (But) not one of them is neglected before God. 7 But, all the hairs of your head are numbered (by God). Don't fear; (you) surpass (the worth of) many sparrows.

Matthew 10:28-31

28 Don't fear the (ones) killing the body, but not being able to kill the soul. But fear far more the (one) being able to (fully) destroy the soul and body in Gehenna. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a assarius? (But) not one of them falls to the upon the earth without (the will) of your Father. 30 But all the hairs of your head are numbered (by God). 31 Thus, do not fear; you surpass (the worth of) many sparrows.

Context: Wisdom.


These verses track between loosely to closely, with one phrase word-for-word.


This passage divides into two subjects: fear of persecution and worth before God. Jesus told his followers not to fear death; instead, they should fear the ultimate judgment before YHWH on the final day, being cast into Gehenna forever because they shied away from evangelization.

Indeed, they had worth in the eyes of God. Jesus employed a rhetorical question about the sale of sparrows to make his point. Merchants sold these birds to the poor for food and as an offering to YHWH in the Temple. The assarius people used to purchase the sparrows was worth one sixteenth of a denarius (a day's wage) in the first century CE; it was a minor coin in Roman currency. He ended this subject with some of the smallest objects on the body of a human: hair. God's concern, he insisted, even focused on the smallest of matters, the number of hair strands on the head of a person.

Jesus closed these verses when he merged the imperative against fear with the worth of the disciple (Luke 12:7b and Matthew 10:31).


Didactic for Christian lifestyle.

3. Q 12:8-9:
Acknowledgment Before the Father (Sayings)

Luke 12:8-9

8 I say to you, all whoever acknowledges ME before men, the SON OF MAN will acknowledge him before the angels of God. 9 The (one) denying ME before men will be denied before the angels.

Matthew 10:32-33

32 All, thus, who will acknowledge ME before men, I will acknowledge him before MY Father, the (One) in the heavens. 33 But whoever denies ME before men, I will deny him before MY Father, the (One) in the heavens.

Context: Mixed, Wisdom and Eschatological.

Similarity: Thematic.


These verses set up an opposing pair of acknowledgment or denial. In this context, acknowledgment equaled evangelization; the person to aligned himself to Christ should tell others about the Master. Jesus, then, argued for consistency; the disciple should spread the Good News, the opponent should press against the Christian. Note, however, the use of the future tense in Matthew 10:32a ("All, thus, who will acknowledge ME before men..."); this foreshadowed the Final Judgment when the Son of Man would return to acquit or condemn humanity. He would save (acknowledge before the Father) those who acknowledged him; in an honor-shame society, this represented the highest honor anyone could receive.

While the Lord and his followers would make their allegiance manifest at the end, their relationship began and continued in the present. Acknowledgment, in other words, meant unwavering, public devotion from the moment the person became a disciple through times of tribulation.


Didactic to encourage evangelization.

4. Q 12:10: Blasphemy Against the Son (Sayings)

Luke 12:10

10 All who speak a word against the SON OF MAN, (the word) will be forgiven him, but the (one) blaspheming against the Holy Spirit, (it) will not be forgiven.

Matthew 12:32

12 Whoever speaks a word against the the SON OF MAN, (the word) will be forgiven him. But whoever speaks against Holy Spirit, (it) will not be forgiven him, neither in this age nor in the coming (age).

Context: Mixed, Wisdom and Eschatological.

Similarity: Loose to close.


These verses presented "blaspheming the Holy Spirit." In the context of his times, Jesus saw the Good News as a conduit for the activity of the Spirit. The message of his preaching contained the power of God. So, to deny the "evangelion" was to deny the presence and activity of God among his people. God could forgive an insult to the man who gave the message, but could not forgive a rejection of the message itself, since it meant a rejection of its divine author.

We must remember the early Church faced a Judaism led by Pharisees. This school of thought held its adherents enjoyed divine favor by living strict obedience to the Torah and separation from the unclean, Gentiles and apostates. So, they criticized the followers of Jesus for derivations from the Law. On the other hand, Christians chided the Pharisees' camp for their lack of repentance and openness to the message of the Nazarene. So, animosity existed between Jews and Christians.

We must also call to mind the Christian expectation of the immanent Second Coming. The Lord would return at any moment to judge the living and the dead. From the standpoint of the early Church, the decision to believe had an urgency, based upon a short "shelf life." In the minds of the disciples, the moment of faith contained eternal ramifications; "believe now or be forever lost." Rejecting the movement of the Spirit found in the charismatic communities of the first century CE meant a rejection of the source, forever.

This controversy, of course, does not answer the greater question: what does "blaspheming the Holy Spirit" mean to us? The answer lies outside the limits of this study, but we begin with the subject of faith in our own context. Do we trust in God and his activity in our lives? Or not?


Didactic warning to neophytes and Polemical against Pharisaical Jews.

5. Q 12:11-12:
Depending on the Spirit Under Trial (Sayings)

Luke 12:11-12

11 Whenever (they) lead you into the synagogues and the leaders and the authorities, do not (anxiously) think about beforehand how or what (you) should defend (yourself), or what (you) should say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that hour what is necessary to say.

Matthew 10:19

19 Whenever (they) should hand you over (to the authorities for trial), (you) should not (anxiously) think about beforehand how or what (you) should say, for it will be given to you in that hour what to say.

Context: Wisdom.

Similarity: Thematic.


Jesus addressed the persecuted disciple facing trial. The person under pressure fears losing control and "role plays" responses to imagined scenarios. Rarely do these flights of imagination match reality. The Lord recognized that human weakness, then pointed to the One really in charge, the Holy Spirit. Hence, even in times of trial, the disciple should rely on Christian charisms, for he witnessed to the power of the Spirit found in community.


Didactic to encourage evangelization.

6. Q 12:?13-14? and Q 12:?16-21?:
Disputed Inheritance (Passage)

Luke 12:13-14

13 Someone out of the crowd said to HIM, "Teacher, tell my brother to share with me the inheritance." 14 (HE) said to him, "Man, who appointed ME judge or administrator over you?"

Parable of the Rich Farmer

Luke 12:16-21

16 HE told a parable to them, saying, "The land of a certain wealthy man produced (an abundant crop) 17 and reflected within himself, saying, 'What should I do, because I do not have (a place) where I will gather my crops.' 18 And he said, 'This I will do, I will pull down my barns and build larger (ones) and gather there all the grain and my goods. 19 I will say to my soul, "(O, my) soul, (you) have many goods laid (up) for many years: relax, eat, drink, rejoice." 20 But God said to him, "Fool, this night (I) will demand your soul back from you, but what (you) prepared (for yourself), to whom will (they) belong?" 21 Thus (it is for) the (one) amassing (things) for himself but (is) not wealth to God.


Since we can only read these verses in Luke, their inclusion in the Q source is questionable. Luke addressed the theme of wealth in the so-called "L" source (see the Magnificat in Luke 1:46-55), where he equated riches with arrogance and self aggrandizement.

In 12:13-14, an anonymous speaker addressed Jesus as a scribe, someone whose stature and knowledge of the Law gave him the authority to make legally binding judgments in civic matters. The Lord would have none of this. Then, he jumped to the parable of the rich farmer, who gathered such a great harvest, the man could not house it. So, he decided to build even larger buildings then he could relax and enjoy his life. In 12:19-20, he term "soul" (psuche in Greek) could be translated as "life." This context begs the question: do we possess life or live life? Is life a thing to have or the process of existence? The context left this philosophic question unanswered, but clearly Jesus considered wealth differently than his contemporaries.

The phrase "eat, drink and be merry" (12:19 b) found its roots in Ecclesiastes 11:9:

Rejoice, young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth, and walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.

(World English Bible)

The verse encouraged the young person to enjoy life free of responsibilities before marriage and familial obligations required sober maturity. In the early Church, the phrase described the self-absorbed person who lived without purpose. In 1 Corinthians 15:32b, St. Paul considered the value of life without the possibility of resurrection:

If the dead are not raised, then "let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die."

(World English Bible)

In the greater picture, the life lived only for pleasure implicitly rejected the activity of God in one's world, especially the resurrection.

By bridging the demands for inheritance in 12:13-14 and the parable of the rich farmer in 12:16-21, Jesus drew the moral found only in Luke 12:15:

HE said to them, "Look out and guard yourself from all kinds of greed, because one's life is not measured by an abundance of his property."


Didactic for Christian lifestyle

7. Q 12:22b-31:
Anxieties Compared to the Birds (Parable)

Luke 12:22-31

22 (HE) said to [his] disciples, "Because of this I say to you, do not worry about life (sustained by) what (you) should eat, nor the body (by) what (you) should wear. 23 For life is more (than) nourishment and the body (more than) clothes. 24 Observe the ravens because (they) neither sow nor harvest, (for) whom (there) are neither pantry not barn, and God feeds them. How much more do you have value (than) the birds. 25 Which among you anxious (ones) is able to add a cubit to his age. 26 If, then, you are not able (to do) the smallest (task like this), why do (you) have anxiety about the rest (of life)? 27 (Completely) observe the lilies how (they) grow. (They) neither work nor spin. (I) say to you, not (even) Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these (lilies). 28 If the grass, being in the field today and being thrown into the (earthen) oven tomorrow, God thus clothes, how much over (will he clothe) you, incredulous (ones). 29 You, do not seek what (you) should eat and what (you) should drink and do not be anxious (about these items). 30 For these (things) all the nations of the cosmos crave, and your Father knows that (you) need these (things). 31 Rather, seek his Kingdom and all these will be given in addition to you.

Matthew 6:25-33

25 Because of this I say to you, do not worry about life (sustained by) what (you) should eat [or what (you) should drink], nor your body (by) what (you) should wear. Is not (there) more to life than nourishment and (to) the body (more than) clothes? 26 Look up to the birds of heaven because (they) neither sow nor harvest nor gather into barns, and your heavenly Father feeds them. Do you not have more value (than) them? 27 So, who among you, being worried, is able to add to his age one hour? 28 Concerning clothing, why do (you) worry? (Completely) observe the lilies of the field, how (they) grow; (they) neither work nor spin. 29 (I) say to you, not (even) Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these (lilies). 30 If, then, the grass being in the field today and being thrown into the (earthen) oven tomorrow God thus clothes, how much over (will he clothe) you, incredulous (ones). 31 So, (you) should not be anxious, saying, "What should (we) eat?" or "What should (we) drink?" or "What should (we) wear?" 32 For these (things) all the nations crave. For your heavenly Father knows that (you) need all these (things). 33 Seek first the Kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these (things he) will give to you.

Context: Wisdom.


Except for Matthew 6:27, these verses track closely, in places word-for-word.


The advice Jesus gave pointed towards two audiences: the typical believer and the missionary. In a subsistence environment, the poor Christian, whose faith practice cut him off from his pagan or Jewish neighbors, would naturally worry over the necessities of life. Explicitly, the Lord told this disciple to depend upon God in faith; implicitly, he advised the person to network within the local Church for support. This wisdom passage addressed the more pressing needs of the missionary, however. Traveling light and depending on the hospitality of hosts in the foreign city they visited, these people (many of them Jewish) could not know what their caregivers would serve them. Notice the subjunctive mood ("should") in Luke 12:29 and Matthew 6:31. His advice to the missionary, do not worry about the kosher aspect of the meal; evangelizing took precedence over such concerns.

Jesus employed two images from nature to make his point: the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. The thrived without the human cares of survival. The lilies, whose bright colors out shown even the most glorious of Israeli kings, Solomon, would wither in late spring, then be used for cooking fuel for earthen ovens. God cared for his creation, why wouldn't care for his faithful? This, along with all the other rhetorical questions the Lord posed in these verses, were answered in its moral. Seek the Kingdom; God would supply the disciple what he needed. Worry could not add anything to the disciple's life.


Didactic for Christian lifestyle.

8. Q 12:33-34: Treasure in Heaven (Parable)

Luke 12:33-34

33 Sell the (things) being owned by you and give alms. Make for yourselves (money) pouches not wearing out, (an) unfailing treasure in the heavens, where the thief does not come near and the moth does not ruin. 34 For where your (plural) treasure is, there your (plural) heart will be.

Matthew 6:19-21

19 Do not store up treasure for yourselves on earth, where the moth and the rust corrupt and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But, store up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust corrupt and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your (singular) treasure is, there your (singular) heart will be.

Context: Wisdom.


These verses track loosely. However, the moral tracks word-for-word except for the differences in number (plural for Luke 12:34, singular for Matthew 6:21).


This passage presented another wisdom saying about priorities, using the accumulation of wealth as a metaphor. What's more important, hoarding goods in this life that could decay and present the opportunity for theft, or "accumulating" spiritual (timeless) virtues? Luke 12:33a pointed out the practical means for looking to God, selling what one owns and giving to the poor. Both versions end with the moral; the heart determines one's priorities, one's "treasure."


Didactic for Christian lifestyle.

9. Q 12:39-40: Homeowner and Thief (Parable)

Luke 12:39-40

39 Know this, that if the householder had seen (in his mind) at what hour the thief came, (he) would not permit (the thief) to dig through (the adobe wall) of his house. 40 You (are) to be ready because the hour (you) do not think (HE will arrive) the SON OF MAN comes.

Matthew 24:43-44

43 Know that (point), that if the householder had seen (in his mind) at what watch the thief came, he would keep (careful) watch and not allow (the thief) to dig through (the adobe wall) of his house. 44 Because of this, you (are) to be ready because the hour (you) do not think (HE will arrive) the SON OF MAN comes.

Context: Eschatological.


These verses track closely, mostly word-for-word, expect for a few additions in Matthew.


This passage employs the metaphor of a watchful householder to impress the need for spiritual preparation. The early Christian community faced persecution while it awaited the Second Coming, which they believed was immanent. The night implied in the watch (Matthew 24:43) was the time of darkness. The bandit who dug through the mud walls of a clan compound for a raid represented outside forces pressing in (Pharisees who directed excommunications of Jewish Christians and pagan neighbors who shut out followers of Jesus); disciples saw these thieves as Satan and his agents. Keeping watch in these tough times meant remaining faithful, especially when the spirits of the believers reached a low point. The Son of Man would return when the community least expected his arrival.


Didactic to encourage watchfulness.

10. Q 12:42-46: Faithful House Servant (Parable)

Luke 12:42-46

42 The LORD said, "Who, therefore, is the faithful house steward, the wise (one), whom the lord appoints over his (domestic) servants to give (them) [the] (proper meal) portion at the right time? 43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord coming (home) will find thus working. 44 Truly I say to you that (the lord) will appoint him over all his goods. 45 But, if that servant might say in his heart, 'My lord is waiting to return,' and he begins to beat the man servants and the women servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 the lord of that servant will arrive when (the servant) does not anticipate and at (an) hour which (the servant) does not know, and (the lord) will cut him (in half) and will place his measure with the unfaithful.

Matthew 24:45-51

45 Who, therefore, is the faithful servant, the wise (one), the wise (one), whom the lord appoints over his house servants to give to them food at the right time? 46 Blessed is that slave, whom his lord coming (home) will find working thus. 47 Amen I say to you that (the lord) will appoint him over all his goods. 48 But, if that evil servant might say in his heart, 'My lord is waiting (to return)' 49 and beings to beat his (fellow) servant and should eat and drink with the (ones) being drunk, 50 the lord of that servant will arrive when (the servant) does not anticipate and at (an) hour which (the servant) does not know, 51 and (the lord) will cut him (in half) and will place his measure with the hypocrites. (In his measure) there will be lamentation and gnashing of teeth.

Context: Eschatological.


Besides the addition to Matthew 24:51b, these verses track closely, in places word-for-word.


This passage addressed the leadership of the local house churches. Jesus employed the metaphor of the servant hierarchy in a wealthy residence as a blessing and a warning to the assembly elders. They were like house stewards (Luke 12:42) or head slaves (Matthew 24:45) in charge of the domestic help (the congregation). If they were wise and faithful, they would serve those in their care with their meal portion at the proper time. Notice the Eucharistic overtones of that image; not only would they break bread in the assembly, they would care for the poor in the church with food. However, if they set aside the belief of the immanent Second Coming and abused their privilege, even terrorizing the faithful, they would face condemnation at the Final Judgment and divine wrath at its worst.

This passage paralleled the theme of Luke 12:39-40 and Matthew 23:43-44: watchful waiting for the Lord's return. This time, however, the theme applied to the local leadership; Jesus expected loving care over his flock, not aggrandizement.


Didactic to encourage watchfulness.

11. Q 12:[[49]], 51, 53:
Conflict Over the Good News (Sayings)

Luke 12:49, 51-53

[[49 Fire (I) came to throw upon the earth and how I wish if (it) were already light.]]

51 Do (you) imagine that, having coming, (I was) to give peace on the earth? No, I say to you, but division.

52 For, (there) will be, from now on, five in a house being divided, three against two and two against three.

53 (They) will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.

Matthew 10:34-36

34 Do not suppose that (I) came to throw peace upon the earth. I did not come to throw peace but a sword. 35 For I came to set a man against his father and a daughter against her mother and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 and an enemy of the man (is) his relatives.

Context: Mixed, Wisdom and Social Critique.

Similarity: Thematic.


Jesus acknowledge the divisive power of the Good News. Any message powerful enough to change people's lives through repentance would cause controversy and scandal. Movement beyond familiarity and comfort zones will create fissures in families. By addressing the shake up of the basic social unit in ancient society, the clan, he recognized that discipleship would cause shifts in society at large. This was the fire (Luke 12:49) and the sword (Matthew 10:34b) Jesus spoke of.

Matthew 10:35 (echoed in Luke 12:53) drew upon Micah 7:6:

For the son dishonors the father, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man's enemies are the men of his own house.

(World English Bible)

Micah placed his skepticism over clan relationships in the context of a lament. He and the nation had sinned; he called out to God for mercy. Jesus quoted the prophet, implying that the people ignored the message from Scripture.

Usage: Didactic.

12. [[Q 12:54-56]]: Signs of the Times (Parable)

54 (HE) said to the crowds, "Whenever you see [the] cloud arising in (the) west, immediately (you) say, 'A thunderstorm comes' and (it) happens thus. 55 Whenever (there is) a (southwest) wind, (you) say, '(There) will be a burning heat,' and (it) happens. 56 Hypocrites, the face of the earth and the sky (you) know how to discern, but this right time, how can (you) not know how to discern?

Matthew 16:2-3

2 Answering, (HE) said to them, [Being late (in the day), (you) say, '(It is) clear weather for the sky is reddened.' 3 and (at) dawn, 'Today (is) rainy, for the sky is reddened, being gloomy.' On the one hand, (you) know how to discern the face of the sky, but, on the other hand, the signs of the right times (you) are not able (to discern)?]

Context: Controversy.

Similarity: Thematic.


Jesus used the example of weather patterns to chide his audience about their apathy to his message. Palestine lay between the Mediterranean Seas to the west and the desert to the south and east. If a low pressure system developed over the Mediterranean, its counter-clockwise winds blew eastward, driving rain inland; a cloud coming from the west or a dark red sky at morning would indicate that a storm approached from the sea. If a high pressure system developed over the desert, its clockwise winds would drive heat westward; when the wind met the onshore flow from the Mediterranean, it would shift from the west towards the north. Thus, inhabitants of Judea and Galilee would feel the heated winds from the south. If winds were calm, water vapor over the Mediterranean would rise at sunset, turning the sky red and forecasting pleasant weather. Common people knew these weather patterns by experience.

Jesus pulled this knowledge into his apocalyptic world view. The time was right ("karios" in Greek; Luke 12:56 and Matthew 16:3) for God to act, but his audience could not see that fact. The immanence of the Kingdom demand repentance and preparation, but the urgency of that message fell on deaf ears.


Didactic to encourage watchfulness and Evangelizing.

13. Q 12:58-59:
Settling With the Debt Collector (Parable)

Luke 12:57-59

57 So, why for yourselves do (you) not judge the right (course of action)? 58 For as (you) go with your opponent before the judge, on the way give due diligence to release (yourself) from him, lest (he) should drag before the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the (court) officer and the officer will throw you into jail. 59 I say to you that (you) should never depart from there until (you) repay the last lepton.

Matthew 5:25-26

25 Give (yourself), reconciling with your opponent without delay, even while (you) are with him on the way, lest the opponent should hand you over to the judge and the judge to the (court) officer and (he) will throw (you) into prison. 26 Amen, I say to you that (you) never will depart from there until (you) should ever pay the last quadrans.

Context: Mixed, Wisdom and Eschatological.

Similarity: Thematic.


Jesus employed the legal process of debt collection to press his point on repentance and reconciliation. In the first case, the obstinate sinner needed to turn his life around, otherwise the Good News itself (his opponent in the parable) would present the charges before God (the judge) for incarceration. In the second case, the Christian who fought with another believer cause controversy in the community; if he refused reconciliation, his opponent would take him before the local Church to be judged for excommunication, if necessary. In either case, the debt (sin or unresolved dispute) needed redress; without it, the offending party "lie shackled in prison," awaiting his family and friends to "pay the ransom." Notice that his action affected others, thus requiring total resolution, down to the smallest part (the "lepton" in Greek and the "quadrans" in Latin were the least valuable coin in circulation), Sin and dispute have a social dimension that demand immediate resolution.


Didactic for Christian lifestyle and Evangelizing .

H. Q Chapters 13-14

1. Mark-Q Overlap: Q 13:18-19 and Q 13:20-21:
Mustard Seed (and Leaven) (Parables)

Mark 4:30-32

30 (HE) said to them, "In what way can (we) compare the Kingdom of God or in what parable can (we) place it? 31 (It is) as a mustard seed, which, when (it) should be sow into the earth, being smallest of all the seeds, the (ones) on the earth, 32 when it is sown, grows up and becomes largest of all the herb (plants) and makes large branches, so to be able, under its shade, for the birds of heaven to nest."


This clumsy sentence compared the Kingdom to a wild mustard plant, common to the semi-arid environment of Palestine. See below for the rest of the commentary.

Mustard Seen and Yeast

Luke 13:18-21

18 Then, (HE) said, "To what is the Kingdom of God like and to what will I compare it? 19 (It) is like a seed of a mustard (plant), which, taking, a man placed in his own garden, and (it) grew and turned into a tree and the birds of the sky nested in its branches. 20 Again, (HE) said, "To what will I compare the Kingdom of God? 21 (It) is like yeast which, taking, a woman mixes into three measures of wheat until that entire (mixture) had risen."

Matthew 13:31-33

31 Another parable (HE) presented to them, saying, "The Kingdom of heaven is likened to a seed of a mustard (plant), which, taking, a man sowed in his field. 32 (It) is, on the one hand, the smallest of all the seeds, but, on the other hand, whenever (it) should grow, (it) is largest of the herbs and becomes a tree, so the birds of the sky come and nest in its branches." 33 Another parable (HE) told to them, "The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast which, taking, a woman mixes into three measures of wheat until that entire (mixture) had risen."

Context: Wisdom.


The parable of the yeast, which tracked word-for-word.


Jesus used two common sights as parables for the Kingdom: mustard plants and kneading common bread. In both images, the small grew into the large. The small mustard seed quickly sprouted and branched out into a large bush; as a common annual plant, its rapid appearance would be noticed. The use of yeast was common knowledge for the baking of bread.

These stories caught audience of Jesus off guard simply because Jews who held to an apocalyptic world view expected the sudden appearance of the Kingdom with dramatic fanfare; it would invade and destroy the current order, replacing it with a divinely ordained age. But, here, he stated God's reign would start small and emerge organically, not from without but from within. He planted the seeds of the Kingdom with the Good News, and they would sprout, spreading rapidly. And, as a the pinch of yeast rises and transforms flour into dough, his message would change the spiritual landscape of Israel and beyond.

Scholars include the parable of the mustard seed in the Q source based upon it close parallel to the leaven parable. Both have similar structure and meaning. While Q 13:18-19 share the same theme as Mark 4:30-32, clearly Q 13:20-21 is unique.


Didactic towards evangelization and Evangelizing.

2. Q 13:24-27: Narrow and Wide Gates (Parable)

Luke 13:24-27

24 Struggle (with all your might) to enter through the narrow gate, because many, I say to you, with seek to enter and will not have the strength to. 25 When once the house master rises up and shuts the gate, (you) will begin to stand outside and knock on the gate, saying, "Lord, open up to us," and answering (he) will say to you, "(I) do not know where you are (from)." 26 Then (you) will begin to say, "We ate and drank before you and in our streets (you) taught." 27 (He) will say, speaking to you, "(I) do not know where [you] are (from). Depart from me, (those) doing unrighteous (acts)."

Matthew 7:13-14, 22-23

13 Enter through the narrow gate because broad (is) the gate and wide the road carrying away (ones) into destruction, and many are the (ones) having entered through it. 14 But, narrow (is) the gate and troubled the road, the (one) carrying away (ones) into life, and few are the (ones) finding it.

22 Many will say to ME on that day, "LORD, LORD, did (we) not, in YOUR name, prophesy, and, in YOUR name, expel demons, and, in YOUR name, perform many powerful (acts)?" 23 Then, I will confess to them, "Never at any time did (I) know you. Depart from ME, the (ones) doing unlawful (acts)."

Context: Mixed, Wisdom and Eschatological.

Similarity: Thematic.


Jesus began with the image of the gate, but his message diverged between Luke and Matthew. The gate in Luke clearly referred to the courtyard entrance of a clan compound. At dusk, after the animals brought into the courtyard of the compound for safety, the patriarch (house master in Luke 13:25) would order the gate shut and a watch posted to deter marauders from stealing. The adjective "narrow" not only described the width of the gate, but its height. A gate with a short entrance point required horse riders to dismount and enter on foot, thus dissuading thieves from making lightening raids on horse back. Notice that entering through such an opening required time and effort; its struggle symbolized the energy a neophyte would invest to become a Christian. Since disciples met in house churches, the image of the gate resonated with the community as a symbol of Baptism.

For Luke, simple familiarity or acquaintance with Jesus was not sufficient for salvation. Those who shared a meal with the Lord or witnessed him teaching in their neighborhoods could not claim discipleship. Doing the right thing meant following him (Luke 13:27).

Matthew did not focus on the gate as a means to enter the Kingdom, but as way to exit the community. He focused on the errant believer, the one who prophesied, exorcised and performed miracles, all in the name of Jesus; notice the triplet in Matthew 7:22 ("in YOUR name") emphasized the activity of the questionable follower and highlighted his defensive posture. The way out for the backslider was easy and his way to damnation uncrowded.

Like Luke, Matthew saw the gate to salvation a struggle to enter and the way to God difficult, especially in times of persecution. The shut gate represented the end times and the rejection of the house master (Luke 13:27) or Jesus himself (Matthew 7:23) symbolized eternal condemnation.

Usage: Didactic.

3. Q 13:28-29 and [[Q 13:30]]:
Dining in the Kingdom (Saying)

Luke 13:28-303

28 There will b3e lamentation and gnashing of teeth when (you) see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God, but you having been ejected outside. 29 (They) will arrive, from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and (they) will recline (at table) in the Kingdom of God. 30 Look! The last are the (ones who) will be first and the first are the (ones who) will be last.

Matthew 8:11-12; 20:16

8:11 I say to you that many from the east and the west will arrive and will recline (at table) with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of heaven, 12 (but) the sons of the Kingdom will be ejected in the utmost darkness. (In that place,) there will be lamentation and the gnashing of teeth.

20:16 Thus, the last will be first and the first last.

Context: Eschatological.

Similarity: Thematic.


Jesus again addressed divine judgment in the end times; this time he proclaimed who would find salvation and who would receive condemnation. He upended expectations when he declared the outsiders (the Gentile disciples) would recline at table along with the patriarchs of the nation, while the insiders (Jews related by bloodlines) would lie in the darkness, suffering. Why did he hold to this surprising change of events? The moral of the teaching provided the key to understanding: the last will be first and the first last (Luke 13:20 and Matthew 20:16). Such was God's mercy and loving kindness.

Usage: Polemical and didactic.

4. Q 13:34-35:
Condemnation of Jerusalem (Prophecy)

Luke 13:34-35

34 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the (city) killing the prophets and stoning the (ones) sent out to you, how long did (I) desire to gather (together) your children the way a hen (gathers) her own chicks under (her) wing, and (you) did not desire (it). 35 Look! Your house is abandoned to you. [But] (I) say to you, (you absolutely) will not see ME until [(the time) will come when] (you) say, "Blessed (is) the (one) having come in the name of the Lord."

Matthew 23:37-39

37 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the (city) killing the prophets and stoning the (ones) sent out to you, how long did (I) desire to gather (together) your children the way a hen (gathers) her chicks under (her) wing, and (you) did not desire (it). 38 Look! Your house is abandoned to you (as) desolate. 39 For (I) say to you, (you absolutely) will not see ME from now until whenever you should say, "Blessed (is) the (one) having come in the name of the Lord."

Context: Eschatological.


These verses track closely, mostly word-for-word.


We can divide this Jerusalem passage into three parts: the desire for in-gathering, the declaration of abandonment and the prophecy of revelation/acceptance. Jesus began with his desire to gather together its populace with the faith in the Good News. But, he recognized the city's history of rejecting God's messengers and implicitly foresaw his own demise ("you did not desire it"). He employed an analogy of the protective mother hen to make his point.

Next, he stated the city was abandoned. Did he declare the spiritual bankruptcy of the religious leaders (Temple priesthood)? Or did he prophecy the destruction of the capitol in 70 CE by the Romans in the Great Jewish War? On the one hand, the common view among his contemporaries questioned the legitimacy of the High Priest and his minions; their corrupt, money grubbing practices polluted the city itself; even the Essences desired to sweep them from power and replace their cult with a pure offering. On the other hand, Matthew and Luke wrote after the imperial legions suppressed the Jewish revolt, so viewed the abandonment in hindsight as a literal event. Did Jesus make an sharp social critique or a prediction of destruction? Or both?

Finally, the prophecy of appearance and acceptance shifted the focus towards the Second Coming. True, the people exclaimed a variation of the blessing when Jesus entered Jerusalem before his death (Matthew 21:9, Luke 19:38, John 12:13), but this foreshadowed the final arrival, the ultimate revelation. Luke 13:35b and Matthew 23:39 strongly implied a complete conversion of the city itself, only possible at the end times.


Polemic and didactic, tying Jerusalem with the revelation of the Christ.

5. [[Q 14:11]]: Humility and Pride (Saying)

Luke 14:11, 18:14b

14:11 & 18:14b Because everyone exalting himself will be humbled and the (one) humbling himself will be exalted.

Matthew 23:1

But whoever will exalt himself will be humbled and whoever will humble himself will be exalted.

Context: Wisdom.

Similarity: These verse track loosely.


Jesus summarized his philosophy of leadership in this wisdom passage. In a shame-honor society, reputation trumped even morality. While the moral person might have a sterling character, he still relied on others to spread his fame. The Lord proposed a greater value than reputation, service. The humble servant downplayed reputation to fulfill the needs of others. God, not men, would recognize the efforts of such a helper. But no one lived in a vacuum; others would see the humble disciple and his actions would reflect well on the community he represented. So, the humble-exalted comparison really came down to the question of intent. Did the person act for self-aggrandizement or for the good of others? The answer to that question revealed the type of leadership the person in question aspired to.


Didactic for Christian lifestyle.

6. Q 14:16-18, ?19-20?, 21, 23:
Invitation to the Feast (Parable)

Luke 14:16-24

16 (HE) said to them, "A certain man was giving a great banquet and called on many (to attend). 17 (He) sent his servant at the hour of the banquet to say to the (ones) being called on (to attend), 'Come because even now (it) is ready.' 18 All began at once (or "with one mind") to beg off. The first (one) said to him, '(I) bought a field and (I) have need, going away, to inspect it. (I) ask you, have me being (marked as) excused.'

19 Another said, '(I) bought five teams of oxen and (I) am going to inspect them. (I) ask you, have me being (marked as) excused.' 20 Another said, 'A wife (I just) married and, because of that, (I) am not able to come.'

21 Coming (back) the servant reported this to his lord. Then, becoming angry, the house master said to his servant, 'Go out quickly into the (public) squares and the streets of the cities and bring the poor and the maimed and the blind and the lame here.'

22 The servant said, 'Lord, the (message) you ordered happened and yet (there) is (more) room.'

23 The lord said to his servant, ' Go out into the roads and hedged (by-ways) and urge (them strongly) to enter, so my house might be filled. 24 For, I say to you that none of those men, the (ones) being called on (to attend) will taste my banquet.'"

Matthew 22:1-10

1 Having answered, JESUS spoke again in parables to them, saying, 2 "The Kingdom of heaven is like a man, a king, who prepared a wedding (banquet) for his son. 3 (He) sent his servant to call the (ones) having been called (to attend) to the wedding (banquet), and (they) chose not to come. 4 Again (he) sent other servants, saying, 'Say to the (ones) having been called (to attend), 'Look! My dinner has been prepared, my bulls and fatted (calves) having been slaughtered and all (is) ready. Come to the wedding (banquet).' 5 But, the (ones) having little regard (for the king or his celebration) went off, one, on the one hand, to his own field, one, on the other hand to his (place of business) traffic. 6 The rest seizing his servants killed (them). 7 The king became enraged and, dispatching his soldiers, (he) destroyed those murderers and burnt down their cities. 8 Then (he) said to his servants, 'On the one hand, the wedding (banquet) is ready, but, on the other hand, the (ones) having been called (to attend) were not worthy. 9 Go, thus, into the forks of the roads and whomever (you) might find, call into the wedding (banquet).' 10 Going out on the roads, those servants gathered all whom they found, both the evil and the good, and the wedding (banquet) was full of (the ones) reclining (at table).

Context: Eschatological.

Similarity: Thematic.


The parable of the feast contained the same elements but diverged in details. Jesus' audience assumed the unspoken social reality behind the story, the clan (in Luke) or the nation clan (in Matthew). People who united by ethnicity or allegiance to a political order or worship of a deity considered themselves part of an extended family. The term "house of Israel" in Matthew 10:6, for example, saw the people in a kindred relationship, where "house" referred to family, not to a structure. His audience also assumed a clan or nation had a leader; in Luke 14:21, the house master was the patriarch of the clan, while Matthew 22:10 listed a king of a nation.

In both versions, the leader threw a banquet. At the time of Jesus, the feast served as a means to cement social, political and economic bonds between clans and social classes. The meal host invited those connected to his family (usually people of a lower class); those who attended tacitly gave the host a degree of allegiance. Together, the group defined a sphere of influence where the host stood as the superior and the guests as the inferiors. Many times, the feast provided the arena to make business and political deals.

Thematically, however, the banquet represented the Kingdom (Matthew 22:1 made this explicit). In God's realm, the drink would flow and the food would be served continuously (Isaiah 25:6-9), directed by the Messiah (Dead Sea Scroll 1Qsa 2:11-12, 1 Enoch 25:4-6, 1 Enoch 63:13-16). The audience of Jesus clearly understood the image, especially the wedding motif from Matthew, where YHWH took Israel as his bride (Isaiah 54:5) but the nation slid into adultery (i.e., apostasy; Hosea 1:1-23).

Jesus introduced a memorable twist into the story with the apathetic (Luke 14:18-20), even rebellious response (Matthew 22:5-6) to the invitation. In other words, the invited snubbed the patriarch/king, thus rejecting his social status and their allegiance to him. The host responded by reaching down to the lowest levels of society, not only to fill his banquet hall (Luke 14:21-23 and Matthew 22:7-10), but to insure the loyalty of these new clients, thus cutting out the level of clans between the patriarch/king and common people, those families who rejected the invitation. In modern American vernacular, the host "cut out the middle man." Without the loyalty of those at the bottom, the clans further up the socio-economic ladder would have no source of income or power.

Again, returning to the theme of the parable, the patriarch/king represented God reaching out to people with the invitation to his Kingdom. The messengers represented the missionaries who preached an apocalyptic message of YHWH's immanent reign. The intended audience of the Good News, fellow Jews, especially those who followed the school of the Pharisees, treated the call to repent and believe with apathy, even hostility; the immediacy of daily problems blinded the people to their role as the conduit of God's salvation, "a light to the nations" ( Isaiah 49:6, 42:6). So, the missionaries, reached out to the outcast, the undesirable and the foreigner; Jesus led the way in his ministry (Luke 15:1, Matthew 9:11, Mark 2:15); Simon Peter and Paul followed in his footsteps (Acts 10, Acts 13:46-47). By identifying this new target audience as the guests at the Kingdom's banquet, Jesus implicitly rejected the authority of the Pharisees (Luke 14:24, Matthew 22:7).


Polemical (rejecting the authority of the synagogue) and didactic (affirming the place of the Christian in the Kingdom).

7. Mark-Q Overlap:
Caring One's Cross/Losing One's Life:
Q 14:26-27, 17:33 (Saying)

Mark 8:34-35

34 Calling the crowd together with his disciples, (HE) said to them, "If someone wishes to follow ME, (he) must deny himself, and lift up his cross and follow ME. 35 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it. But, whoever loses his life because of ME and the Good News will save it."


In this passage from Mark 8, Jesus defined discipleship as losing life for a greater purpose, the Lord and his gospel. It meant self-denial, picking up the cross like Jesus and following him even to death. As such, it transcended daily problems and personal trials. It implied public witness.

Hating Family

Luke 14:26-27, 17:33

14:26 If someone comes to ME and does not hate his (own) father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, even his (own) life, (he) is not able to be MY disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his (own) cross and come behind ME, (he) is not able to be MY disciple.

17:33 Who ever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever might loose (it) will save it.

Matthew 10:37-39

37 The (one) loving father or mother above ME is not worthy of ME, and the (one) loving son or daughter above ME is not worthy of ME. 38 Who (ever) does not receive his cross and follow behind ME is not worthy of ME. 39 The (one) finding his life will lose it and the one losing his life because of ME will find it.

Context: Wisdom.

Similarity: Thematic.


These verses use two step to build to a moral: rejection of clan and risk of persecution. In the context of extended families, the term "hate" (Luke 14:26) or "love" (Matthew 10:37) did not refer to familial affection, but allegiance. In ancient society, social order built upon the clan, allegiance to the family was paramount; the patriarch possessed complete control over anyone in the house, even questions of life and death. Under Roman law, the actions of the "paterfamilias" (clan leader) were unquestioned by authorities; while society frowned upon the killing a family member due to the shame that person brought to the clan, it tolerated such acts.

If a neophyte declared his or her faith in Christ and the patriarch disapproved, which commitment took precedent? If the new disciple disobeyed the family head, that person could bring shame on the clan and would suffer for his or her impertinence. He or she could suffer punishment ranging from internal isolation to ostracism , even to death. Jesus clearly stated that faith trumped family honor or loyalty; one who placed clan first could not join the Church in good standing (Luke), nor was worthy of allegiance to the Messiah (Matthew). The risks of joining his band of followers was the cross the disciple bore, for it could lead to a shameful death, like the Master suffered.

Placing family loyalty second and suffering the risks that choice entailed led to its moral: to gain life, one must lose life. "Life" in this sense had a plastic meaning, stretching from destruction of reputation to public ridicule and persecution to death. (Indeed, the subjunctive verb in the phrase "whoever might lose his life" (Luke 17:33b) could be translated as the indicative mood; "whoever loses his life now will save it.") In other words, the reputation of the disciple within the community rose in proportion to destruction of his fame outside the Church). In other words, being a follower of the Christ inherently contained danger.

Clearly, the message of family denial found in Luke 14:26 and Matthew 10:37 transcended that of selflessness in Mark 8:34-35 (along with Luke 14:27, 17:33 and Matthew 10:38-39). This shift in emphasis argued for inclusion of the Lucan and Matthean verses in the Q source.

Usage: Didactic.

8. Q 14:34-35: Salt Loosing Qualities (Parable)

Luke 14:34-35

34 Thus, salt is good, but if (ever) salt also loses (its) flavor, in what (way) will (it) flavor (food)? 35 Neither upon the ground nor upon the dung (hill) is (it) fit. (They) throw it out. The (one) having ears to listen, listen.

Matthew 5:13

13 You are the salt of the earth. If (ever) salt loses (its) flavor, in what (way) will (it) flavor (food)? (It) is good for nothing except for being thorn outside to be trampled (down) by men.

Context: Wisdom.


Thematic except for the rhetorical question about salt, which was almost word-for-word.


Jesus employed a salt metaphor to describe the strength of a disciple's faith. In plain terms, the Christian who lost faith was useless and should be excommunicated. In the ancient world, salt had many uses: flavoring and preserving meats, for example. People threw impure salt on village streets to harden its surface. They also mixed impure salt into manure which dried as fuel cakes to fire outdoor ovens; the salt hardened the manure as it dried and also evened the heat of the cake while cooking.

Both Luke and Matthew harshly rebuked the backsliding believer. In Matthew 5:13c, Jesus evoked the image of "being trampled underfoot." In terms of moral standing and reputation, ground level represented the lowest of the low. Consider English terms we use for low morality: "in the gutter, lower than a snake's belly, dirty." The Lord implied the errant believer would suffer under the "heel" of those of higher integrity.

The rebuke in Luke 14:35a stung even more. In plain terms, the backslider was so repugnant that he or she was not even worthy of being trampled underfoot or thrown on the dung pile. No wonder, Luke's verse ended with a wake up call to "Listen!"


Didactic against backsliding believer

I. Q Chapters 15-16

1. Q 15:4-5a, 7 and [[Q 15:8-10]]:
Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin (Parables)

Luke 15:4-10

4 Which man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one out of them does not leave behind the ninety nine in the wilderness and travel towards the (one) having been lost until (he) might find it? 5 Finding (it), (he) places (it) upon his shoulders,

rejoicing. 6 Coming to (his) house, (he) calls together (his) friends and neighbors, saying, "Rejoice with me because (I) found my sheep, the (one) having been lost."

7 I say to you that thus (there) will be (more) joy in heaven about one sinner repenting than ninety nine righteous (men) who have no need of repentance.

8 Or which woman having ten drachmas, if (ever she) should lose one drachma, (would she) not light a lamp and sweep the house and search diligently until (she) might find that (coin)? 9 Finding (it she) calls together (her) friends and neighbors, saying, "Rejoice with me because I found my drachma, the (one) being lost." 10 Thus, (I) say to you, (there) is joy before the angels of God about one sinner repenting.

Matthew 18:12-13

12 What does (this) seem to you? If (there) were a hundred sheep (belonging) to a man and one out of them wanders (off), does (he) not leave aside the ninety nine on the mountain and, traveling, seek the (one) having wandered (off)? 13 If (ever he) happens to find it, amen, I say to you, (he) rejoices about it more than about the ninety nine, the (ones) not wandering (off).

Context: Wisdom.

Similarity: Thematic.


In Luke 15:4-7 and Matthew 18:12-13, Jesus employed a pastoral image to focus upon the social events of metanoia. When a sinner changed towards the good, others changed their attitude towards him. But the context of the pastoral metaphor caught the ear of the his audience. While the people held image of the shepherd in high esteem (Psalm 23:1-6), they considered contemporary shepherds anti-social, at best, cowards, at worst (especially hirelings who cared for the flock of a rich man). Many would run at the sight of danger, leaving the flock at the mercy of predators or thieves. If the shepherd owned his flock, he would protect his investment; if one of the sheep wandered far away from the others, the herdsman would abandon it and "cut his losses." Jesus, however, portrayed the owner as a fool who abandoned the other sheep to their own devices and struck out to find the lost one. To add to the man's lack of sense, the Lord pictured the herdsman bragging to his family and friends about the one sheep he rescued! Yet, such was the upside-down logic of Jesus' message. YHWH cared for all, even the sinner, the outcast and the foreigner, even more than the self-righteous who had no need to repent.

Many scholars consider Luke 15:8-10 part of the Q source because it echoed the themes of the lost sheep parable in a different context. The parable of the lost coin shared the desperation of the losing the valued, the search for the lost and the shared joy returning it to its owner. It also shared the unusual logic of the searcher, bragging about the find and making the person appear as a fool in the process. (What poor woman would broadcast the news she had the coins in the first place?) Yet, the thinking of the fool on earth matched the celestial joy over the changed person.


Apologetic, defending the target audience of the early Church. Didactic, reassuring those in the community.

2. Q 16:13: Loyalty to Two Masters (Saying)

Luke 16:13

13 No (house) servant is able to be slave to two lords. For either the one will hate and the other (he) will love (without condition), or the one he will hold fast to and the other (he) will despise. (You) are not able to serve God and mammon.

Matthew 6:24

24 No one is able to be slave to two lords. For either the one will hate and the other (he) will love (without condition), or the one he will hold fast to and the other (he) will despise. (You) are not able to serve God and mammon.

Context: Wisdom.


Word-for-word, except for the subject in Luke 16:13a and Matthew 6:24a.


This wisdom saying addressed the struggle of priorities. The term "mammon" has an unclear etymology but loosely referred to money. In the context of the passage, it meant the desire for wealth; hence, the battle explored in the verses fought over devotion to God vs. a lust for riches. One cannot pretend to live as a disciple while satiating a hunger for money. Indeed, both pagans and Jews in the late apostolic period shunned Christians, thus denying them access to the social networks that were necessary to conduct business and accumulate wealth.


Didactic on Christian priorities.

3. Q 16:16: Force Against the Kingdom (Saying)

Luke 16:16

16 The Law and the prophets (were) until John (the Baptist). From then (on), the Kingdom of God has been evangelized and everyone forces (their way) into it.

Matthew 11:12-13

12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of heaven has been forced (into) and the forces are seizing it. 13 For all the prophets and the Law until John (the Baptist) prophesied (about the attack).

Context: Social Critique.

Similarity: Thematic.


These verses spoke to the opposition the Good News faced. Notice how Jesus conflated evangelization with the Kingdom; the missionary to proclaimed God's reign gave a taste of the divine realm to the listener, like the town crier to hailed an official edict represented imperial rule. But, instead of obedience, the messenger faced opposition, even violence. An attack on the missionary meant a revolt against the rule he represented. So, by extension, the Kingdom itself suffered violence.

The term "the Law and the prophets" referred to the Hebrew Scriptures. In Luke 16:16, Jesus implied their use was provisional; the Good News superseded them. Matthew 11:13, however, side-stepped the question of legitimacy; instead, Jesus stated "the prophets and the Law" foretold the opposition from the Christian opponents.


Didactic and polemic, to remind both believers and opponents alike of the Final Judgment.

4. Q 16:17: Permanence of the Torah (Saying)

Luke 16:17

16 (It) is easier for heaven and earth to pass away then one (accent) mark (on a Hebrew letter) to fall (away).

Matt 5:18

18 For, amen I say to you. Until heaven and earth might pass away, one iota or one (accent) mark (on a Hebrew letter) should not ever pass away from the Law, until all (these things) happen.

Context: Halakhah.

Similarity: Thematic.


This passage stressed the permanence of God's Law (Isaiah 40:8). For the Greeks in a philosophic culture, permanence meant the immovable, the perfect stasis only God had. For Jews, permanence meant the constant activity of YHWH in the life of the nation, the dynamism of their God. Divine edicts would stand beyond the destruction of the cosmos (Luke 16:17) and/or the establishment of the Kingdom (Matthew 5:18). (Notice that Luke 16:17 the provisional nature of the "Law and the prophets" that 16:16a implied).


Didactic to stress the power of the Law, even upon Gentile believers.

5. Mark-Q Overlap: Q 16:18:
On Divorce (Saying)

Mark 10:11-12

11 (HE) said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another (woman) commits adultery with her. 12 If she divorces her husband and marries another (man) commits adultery."


Luke 16:18

18 Any (person) divorcing his wife and marrying another commits adultery, and the (one) marrying (a woman) having been divorced from (her) man commits adultery.

Matthew 5:32

32 But I say to you that any (person) divorcing his wife, except for the reason of fornication, causes her to commit adultery, and whoever might marry (a woman) having been divorced, commits adultery.

Context: Halakhah.

Similarity: Thematic, except for a brief phrase.


In this passage, Jesus admonished his audience about the problem of divorce. Scholars debate over the frequency and reasons for divorce in first century Palestine, but the practice was common enough for Jesus to make his remark. The heated debate among Pharisees and scribes at the time also gave an opportunity for Jesus to give his opinion about it.

Divorce was a land mine field of controversy. A Jewish man could send his wife away by simply giving her a "bill of divorce," a legal paper stating the marriage ended (Deuteronomy 24:1), however, gaining that document required the help of a scribe to draw up the papers correctly. It could also involve some legal proceedings. How would the scribe and/or the court rule on the bill for divorce? Since marriage (especially between clans) could establish contractual obligations, how would the parties involved settle the arrangements of the agreement? In addition, ending a marriage was a messy affair, not only legally, but socially, due to the scandal involved.

Like many comments found in the gospels, especially in Matthew, Jesus painted the subject in extreme language to make his point. But, divorce caused a multitude of problems and must be taken seriously. Indeed, divorce set up a slippery slope that could led to adultery, since a person who lived through the heartbreak of the breakup might find the presence of another lover appealing. Hence, Jesus conflated the practice to marital infidelity.

In the third century CE, Jewish scholars penned the Misnah, a collection of rulings on the Torah and tales that supported those rules. In one story the Misnah dated to the first century BCE, Rabbi Shammai debated the bill of divorce with Rabbi Hillel. Shammai and his followers allowed divorce only for the reasons of infidelity, while Hillel and his school allowed almost any reason for a man to divorce his wife, as long as the woman's action (whatever that might have been) brought "shame" onto her man. Many scholars place Jesus in the context of that debate, where he sided with the Shammaite school. But, as John P. Meier pointed out in the four volume of his "A Marginal Jew" series, no textual evidence existed before the life of Jesus that support such an interpretation. On the contrary, up to the first century CE, Jewish tradition consistently argued for a ruling favoring the husband's prerogative. Hence, Jesus stood alone in his opposition to the ongoing legal opinion on divorce.

Luke 16:18 and Matthew 5:32 are thematically close to Mark 10:11-12. So, why include this verse in the Q source? Luke and Matthew expand the notion of the marriage bond outside the relationship between the original husband and wife; they placed the onus on the husband. He was responsible for the moral integrity of his spouse, even after he divorced her. The original bond was so strong, whoever married the man's ex-wife committed adultery with her. This addition from Luke 16:18c and Matthew 5:32c argued for their inclusion in the Q source.


Didactic on moral choice for Christians.

J. Q Chapters 17, 19 & 22

1. Q 17:1-2: Scandalizing Little Ones (Parable)

Luke 17:1-2

1 (HE) said to his disciples, "(It) is impossible for scandals not to come, nevertheless woe through whom (it) came. 2 (It) is (more) advantageous for him if a (large) stone from a mill house be hung around his neck and (he) be flung into the sea (rather) than (he) might scandalize one of these little (ones)."

Matthew 18:6-7

6 If (one) should scandalize one of these little (ones), the (ones) believing in ME, (it) is better for him that a (donkey turned) stone of a mill be hung around his neck and (he) should be drown in the depth of the lake. 7 Woe to the world because of scandals. For, (it) is necessary for scandals to come, nevertheless woe to the man through whom the scandal came.

Context: Wisdom.

Similarity: Loose to thematic.


In this passage, Jesus spoke to the dangers of the apostate. The disciple who lost faith and left the community would cause scandal, not only through gossip, but by giving an example others might follow.

The word "scandal" came directly from the Greek (the Greek word used in the passage above was literally "scandal," both in noun and verb forms). In its original meaning, scandals were "stumbling stones" caravan organizers would place around a herd of camels to corral them at night; the camel feared that, by trying to step over the stone, they might stumble and fall. The scandal Jesus referred to in the passage was the sin of apostasy or a grave sin that would give a disciple a reason to lose faith.

Who were the "little ones?" Most modern readers automatically think of the innocent believers in the pew, but, in the time of Jesus, they could refer to the leadership (the one humbling himself like a child in Matthew 18:4) or the traveling missionaries (offering hospitality to the "child" in Matthew 18:5). Depending upon the context, the term could refer to almost anyone in the local Church.

Execution by forced drowning with a millstone also came from the Greeks. Through they were a sea faring people, they feared the depths of the waters. While the drowning person died quickly, the thought of perishing in a place where evil lurked and the body could not be recovered by loved ones terrorized the condemned. They would die and suffer in the afterlife alone.

So, Jesus condemned the one who lost faith in a way that caused scandal. In his eyes, the sinner deserved a death almost as hideous as crucifixion.


Didactic on moral choice for Christians.

2. Q 17:3-4: On Forgiveness (Saying)

3 Pay attention to (your) selves. If ever your brother should sin, scold him and, if (he) repents, forgive him. 4 I ever seven (times) a day (he) should sin against you and seven (times) he returns to you, saying, "I repent," (you) will forgive him.

Matthew 18:15, 21-22

15 If ever your brother should sin [against you], go speak between you and him alone. If ever (he) should listen to you, (you) won (back) your brother.

21 Then, approaching, Peter said to HIM, "LORD, how many times will my brother sin against me and I will forgive him? Up to seven times?" 22 JESUS said to him, "Not, I say to you, up to seven times but up to seventy seven times."

Similarity: Thematic.


This passage addressed personal disputes within the community. Jesus insisted on coupling honesty with forgiveness, airing grievances in private to avoid public scandal and, more importantly, public shame. In an honor-shame society, protecting reputation ranked as highly as charity.


Didactic for life in the community.

3. Q 17:6: Mustard Seed (Parable)

Luke 17:6

6 But, the LORD said, "If you have faith like a seed of a mustard (plant), (you) could bid [this] mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and be planted into the sea,' and it would obey you.

Matthew 17:20

20 But, (HE) said to them, "(It is) because of your small faith. For, amen I say to you, if (ever you) have faith as a seed of a mustard (plant), (you) will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and (it) will be moved and nothing will (ever) be impossible for you."

Context: Wisdom.

Similarity: Thematic.


This passage addressed uncertainty in faith. Such doubts did not arise from challenges to orthodoxy, although St. Paul did face opposition from Judaizers in Galatians 2:14 (see Acts 15:1-35) and philosophic influences on the assembly in Corinth (see 1 Corinthians 15:12, 35). Instead, disciples questioned their faith based upon the prejudice and persecution they faced from the outside. The temptation to a bunker mentality may have impeded the display of charisms; after all, to keep a low profile, a Christian might not want to act in way that bought attention to himself. Notice, such a fear stood in sharp contrast to the command of evangelization. Showing the gifts of the Spirit invited others to faith; evangelizing others meant great risks, but also meant great rewards.


Didactic to encourage evangelization.

4. Mark-Q Overlap: [[Q 17:20-21]]:
On False Messiahs (Prophecy)

Mark 13:20-21

20 If not the Lord had shortened the (number of) days, not anyone (of) flesh would be saved. But because of chosen which he chose, (he) shortened (the number of) days. 21 Whenever someone says to you, "Look! Here, the Christ," (or) "Look! There (he is)," do not believe (him).

Matthew 24:22-23

22 If (number of) those days had not been shortened, not anyone (of) flesh would be saved. But, because of the chosen, (the number of) those days have been shortened. 23 Whenever someone says to you, "Look! Here the Christ." or "There (he is)," (you) should not believe (him).

Luke 17:20-21

20 Being demanded by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God was coming, (HE) answered them and said, "The Kingdom of God does not come with (any) observations, neither will (people) say 'Look! Here' or 'There, look!' For the Kingdom of God is inside of you."

Context: Controversy.


Matthew tracks closely with Mark, while Luke shifted the context from the identity of the Messiah to the appearance of the Kingdom.


With Luke's shift of theme, the evangelist presumed Jesus was the Messiah; his debate with the Pharisees simply pointed toward the reality of God's realm. In other words, through Luke, the Lord implicitly said, "Where I am, the Kingdom is." It did not require cosmic signs of immanent destruction, not the dramatic rise of a glorious Davidic warrior. His presence and that of the Kingdom were one and the same.

Note, the phrase "for the Kingdom is inside of you" did not connote a spiritual insight of divine indwelling (a notion popular with Hindu influenced philosophies). Instead, the phrase denoted a relationship. Because Jesus stood among his opponents debating them, and because he presented the Kingdom to them without their awareness of that fact, God's realm was "inside" their circle. Some scholars translate "inside of you" as "among you" or "in your midst."

Luke's shift in theme led some scholars to argue for the inclusion of 17:20-21 in the Q source. Others doubt this subtle change warrants such a change, hence its questionable status.

Usage: Polemical.

5. Q 17:23-24, Q 17:37, Q 17:26-27, ?28-29?, 30 and Q 17:34-35:
Coming of the Son of Man (Saying and Parable)

Luke 17:22-24, 26-30, 34-35, 37

22 (HE) said to the disciples, "Days will come when (you) will desire to see one of the days of the SON OF MAN and (you) will not see (it).

23 (They) will say to you, 'Look! There' [or] 'Look! Here.' Neither should (you) go after (such beliefs) nor should (you) pursue (them). 24 For, just as the lightning flashing (as lightning) lights from (one side) of the sky to (the other side) of the sky, so will be the SON OF MAN [in his day].

37 Answering, (they) said to HIM, "When, LORD?" But, (HE) said to them, "Where the (dead) body (is), the eagles will be gathering (together)."

26 Just as (it) happened in the days of Noah, thus (it) will be also in the days of the SON OF MAN. 27 (They) ate, drank, married, were betrothed (in marriage) up to the day Noah went into the Ark and the Flood came and destroyed everyone.

28 Likewise, thus, (it) happened in the days of Lot, (they) ate, drank, went to market, traded, planted (crops), built (homes); 29 but, when Lot went out from Sodom, fire rained (down) and sulfur from heaven and destroyed everyone.

30 In the same (way, it) will be on the day (when) the SON OF MAN (is) being revealed.

34 (I) say to you, on that night, (there) will be two (men) in one bed, the one will be taken and the other will be left (behind). 35 (There) will be two (women) grinding in the same (place), the one will be taken, but the other will be left (behind).

Matthew 24:26-28, 37-41

26 If (ever), then, (they) should say to you, "Look! (He) is in the wilderness,' do not go out (there), (or) 'Look! (he is) in the inner room (of the palace), do not believe (him). 27 For, just as lightning come out of the rising (of the sun, i.e., the east) flashes towards sunset (i.e., the west), thus will be the return of the SON OF MAN. 28 Wherever is the corpse, there will be gathered (together) the eagles."

37 For, just like the days of Noah, thus will be the return of the SON OF MAN. 38 For, thus (it) was in the [those] days the (ones) before the Flood, (they were) eating and drinking, married and being betrothed (in marriage), until the day Noah went into the Ark. 39 (They) did not know (what would happen) until the Flood came and swept away everyone. Thus, the return of the SON OF MAN will be [also]. 40 Then two (men) will be in the field, one will be carried away and the other will be left (behind). 41 (There are) two (women) grinding (grain) in the mill, one will be carried away, the other will be left (behind).

Context: Eschatological.


Mostly thematic but some verses track loosely.


These passages focus upon the Parousia (translated as "return" in Matthew 24:28, 37, 39). When will the Son of Man reappear? The remained a burning question for early Christians.

The evangelists answered the inquiry in three ways: 1) urging patience on the part of the disciple, 2) socially commenting on the attitudes of their non-Christian neighbors and 3) making a vague comment on the political landscape before the sudden coming the end times. First, the followers needed patience in the face of their troubles and their needs. Early Christianity had a strong apocalyptic streak, expecting the appearance of the Messiah at a moment's notice. But, as time went on, the fervor of many wained, while others became obsessed with the immanence of the Second Coming. Where would he show up? In the desert? In a palace? (Matthew 24:26) Jesus, in both Luke 17:23 and Matthew 24:26 sought calm, for pursuing such rumors could lead the disciple on a "wild goose chase," even out of the community.

But, secondly, such a call for patience did not lessen the import of expectation. The Son of Man would return so suddenly, his appearance would be like lightning flashing across the sky. His coming would catch the general populace, the non-believers, unaware. Here, Jesus made a social commentary on the lives of Pharisaical Jews and pagans. Culture would carry on as usual. Clans would strengthen economic, political and social ties through traditions of the banquet ("eating and drinking" in Luke 17:27-28 and Matthew 24:38) and arranged marriages ("marrying and betrothing in marriage" in Luke 17:27 and Matthew 24:38). People would live their daily lives by going to the market, trading with others and building homes (Luke 17:28). Then, in one cataclysmic event, everything would come crashing down, like the Flood in the story of Noah (Luke 17:26-27 and Matthew 24:37-39). The appearance of the Son of Man would change everything. (Note: many scholars include Luke's addition of the Lot narrative (17:28-29) into the Q source because its similarity in structure and theme to the Noah verses (17:26-27).)

Jesus added two short parables about ordinary life to reinforce his point: the daily activity of two men (sharing a common bed in Luke 17:24 or working in the field in Matthew 24:40) and daily activity of two women (grinding grain in Luke 17:35 and Matthew 24:41). Suddenly, one was snatched away while the other one was left behind. With the rise of belief in the Rapture, many modern readers assumed God plucked the man and woman away to save them, like Noah or Lot. But, the ones left behind could be the blessed; after all, they inherited the Promised Land (Matthew 5:5). So, gentle reader, do not read any more into the message than the suddenness of the separation.

Finally, Jesus remarked on the gathering of scavenger birds over a carcass as a sign for the end times. While many translations name the birds as "vultures," both Luke 17:37 and Matthew 24:28 specifically mention eagles, the symbol placed upon the standards of the Roman legions. Was this a reference to the Great Jewish War of 66-70 BE? Or, more specifically to the siege and fall of Jerusalem by the XV Legion under Titus in 70 CE?


Didactic to encourage watchfulness.

6. Q 19:12-13, 15-24, 26: The Minas/Talents (Parable)

Luke 19:12-27

12 Thus (HE) said, "A certain well-born man traveled to a far-away territory to receive for himself a kingdom and (intended) to return. 13 Calling ten of his servants, (he) gave to them ten minas and said to them 'Conduct trade until the (time) when I come (back).'

14 But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation (of the elders) after him laying, 'We do not wish this (one) to reign (as king) over us.'

15 (It) happened in the (time for) him to return (from) receiving the kingdom, (he) said for those servants to be called to him, to whom (he) had given the silver (coins), so that (he) might know how much (they) gained by trading. 16 The first (one) approached, saying, 'Lord, your mina gained ten minas (more).' 17 (The well-born man) said to him, "(Very) good, servant, that in smallest (matter you) were faithful, be (now) having authority over ten cities.' 18 The second (servant) came, saying, 'Your mina, lord, made five minas (more).' 19 (The well-born man) said to that (servant), 'You (are) to be over five cities,' 20 The other (servant) spoke, saying, "Lord, look! (This is) your mina which I have kept (safely) way in (this piece of) cloth. 21 For I feared you, because (you) are a hard man; (you) pulled up what (you) did not set down and (you) reap what (you) do not sow." 22 (The well-born man) said to him, "Out of your mouth I will judge you, evil servant. You had seen that I am a hard man, pulling up what (I) did not lay down and reaping what (I) did not sow. 23 Why then didn't (you) put my money down upon a (broker's) table (to be loaned out)? And I, coming, might collected on it with interest. 24 To those standing by (he) said, 'Take away from him the mina and give (it) to the (one) having ten mina.'

25 (They) said to him, 'Lord, (he) has ten minas.'

26 (I) say to you that to everyone the (one) having (already), (he) will be given (more), but to the (one) not having, the (possession he) has will be taken away.

27 Nevertheless, those enemies of mine not wishing me to reign over them, bring (them) here and slay them before me."

Matthew 25:14-30

14 (It is) exactly like a man traveling abroad (who) called his own servants and entrust to them his property. 15 To (one), on the one hand, he gave five talents, to (one), on the other hand, two (talents) and to (one) one (talent), each according to (their) own ability, and (the man) went abroad immediately. 16 Having gone out, the (servant) receiving five talents traded with (other moneys) and gained five more. 17 Likewise the (servant with) two (talents) gained two more. 18 But the (servant) receiving one (talent), going out, burrowed in the earth and hide the silver (coins) of his lord. 19 After a long (period of) time, the lord of those servants came (home) and took an account with them. 20 Approaching the (one) receiving five talents brought forth another five talents, saying, "Lord, (you) entrusted five talents to me. Look! (I) gained another five talents." 21 His lord said to him, "Well (done), good and faithful servant, in small (matters you) were faithful, over many (matters) you will be appointed. Come into the joy of your lord." 22 Approaching, [however,] the (one receiving) two talents said, "Lord, (you) entrust two talents to me. Look! (I) gained another two talents." 23 His lord said to him, "Well (done), good and faithful servant, in small (matters you) were faithful, over many (matters) you will be appointed. Come into the joy of your lord." 24 Approaching, the (one) having received one talent said, "Lord, I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where (you) did not sow and gathering where (you) did not scatter, 25 and, being afraid, going out, (I) concealed you talent in the ground . Look! (You) take possession of the (money that is) yours. 26 Responding, his lord said to him, "Evil and lazy servant, (you) have seen that (I) harvested where I did not sow and gathered where (I) did not scatter? 27 Thus, it was necessary (for) you to deposit my silver (coins) with money loaners, and coming (home) I would receive the (money) of mine with interest. 28 So, take away the talent from him and and give (it) to the (one) having ten talents. 29 For the (one) having (already), (he) will be given (more) and (he) will have a super-abundance, but, of the (one) not having, the (possession he) has will be taken away from him. 30 Toss out the useless servant into the dark outside. (In that place), there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Context: Eschatological.


Thematic except for the moral which tracks closely, almost word-for-word.


The Parable of the Mina/Talents told the story of a man born into wealth and power, who entrusted large sums of money for his servants to invest. The only way to turn a quick profit extorted cash from the poor. The servants had two options, loan-sharking or excessive taxation. First, they could loan money to the rich man's clients at excessive rates. Second, they could buy a tax franchise from the imperial government; any revenues collected beyond the base amount the Romans stipulated were profit. Failure to repay the loans or pay taxes could result in jail time.

In Luke's account, the noble man traveled to a distant land to be appointed as a puppet king. This verse eerily paralleled the rise of Herod the Great. When the Parthians conquered Palestine in 40-39 BCE, Herod fled to Rome, seeking protection and revenge. The Senate appointed him "King of the Jews" and, with the reconquest of the region, set him up as a puppet monarch. The reaction of the local citizens to the appointment mimicked the objections Jewish leaders had to the ruthless rule of Herod's son, Archelaus; giving in to the complains, Augustus banished the heir to Gaul in 6 CE. In Luke 19:15, Jesus mentioned the way the servants doubled their money, through trade. Most likely, they imposed excessive tariffs on imports and exports, just another form of taxation. The "mina" mentioned in Luke 19:16, 18, 20, 24, referred to a unit of weight used to measure minerals (equivalent to measuring precious metals by the Troy ounce); the mina was worth $50.

In Matthew, Jesus did not specify the origin of the rich man, but his travels abroad inferred he was foreign born. The "talent" mentioned in Matthew 25:15-16, 20, 22, 24, 28 was also a unit of weight; since the base measure of silver was the shekel, the talent had a worth of three thousand shekel (or 3,000 silver coins), about $2500.

With these details out of the way, let's look at the parallels with each version. The rich man entrusts money to three servants, then travels to a foreign land. Two of the three servants double their master's money, while the third hid the coins, only to return them to his master when the lord returned. The master chided then ejected the last servant from his service. The lord insisted that that servant could have at least invested his moneys with loan agents who would have turned a profit and returned the moneys with interest.

The parable caught the ear of Jesus' audience, turning their expectations upside-down. In the story, the heroes were the rich man and the savvy servants who doubled their master's money. Poor Jews who lived in Palestine and in the Diaspora hated rich foreigners. These noble men owned most of the land and controlled the lion's share of the economy. At every opportunity, they gouged the people to make a profit, through the rents they charged on tenet farmers or shepherds, the tariffs they demanded for fishing rights in the Mediterranean or the Sea of Galilee, through the taxes they charged on the poor. By extension, they hated his agents.

Ancient society saw economic capital as limited and the distribution of wealth as divinely preordained. With so little at hand and so much to be responsible for, the prudent servant would not endanger his master's money through risky loans; instead, he would guard it until his lord returned.

So, imagine the shock of the audience when they heard the parable. It flew in the face of common wisdom. Of course, the story needed a thematic translation. The rich man was the Christ, the servants were the disciples who evangelized, the money gained represented converts, the return of the rich man was the Second Coming. The last servant, then, represented the Christian in name only, the one who insisted on receiving benefits of community life, but never taking the mission of evangelization seriously. This one was the "evil and lazy servant."


Didactic to encourage evangelization.

7. Q 22:28, 30:
Sharing Power with Disciples (Prophecy)

Luke 22:28-30

28 But you are the (ones consistently) remaining with ME in MY trials.

29 And, so, I grant to you, just as MY Father granted to ME, a Kingdom,

30 so that (you) might eat and drink at MY table in MY Kingdom, and (you) will sit upon thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Matthew 19:28

28 But JESUS said to them, "Amen, I say to you, that you, the (ones) following ME in the (Messianic) restoration, whenever the SON OF MAN should sit upon HIS throne of glory, you will sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Context: Eschatological.

Similarity: Thematic.


Both passages addressed the end of time, with its promised judgment and renewal. In Luke 22:28-29, Jesus addressed his trials and his glory, a Kingdom given by his Father. In like manner, the faithful would receive vassal kingdoms. This arrangement mimicked the Emperor creating puppet monarchs to control ethnic areas more suitable for local control that direct Roman governance. In Luke 22:30a, he would gather his followers together for a royal banquet, indicating fellowship of the lesser monarchs with the King of Kings.

In Matthew 19:28ab, Jesus mentioned the Messianic restoration, the moment the cosmos will be divinely renewed without the infection of evil. He would reward those who remained faithful. The trigger in 19:28b was the coronation of the Son of Man. At this point, followers would also sit on judgment thrones over the twelve tribes of Israel. Notice three details about Matthew 19:28c and its parallel in Luke 22:30b. First, the Christ projected the glory of a warrior-king. He increased his reputation and stature through conquest. Thus, his power to judge came through might. Next, at the end of time, a hierarchy would be established with minor kings (followers) under an ultimate monarch (the Christ), equivalent to the imperial arrangement listed above. Third, the Christ (Son of Man) and his followers would preside over the Chosen People, judging their faithfulness. In other words, loyalty to the Christ trumped loyalty to the Jewish community and the Torah. Jesus focused his apocalyptic vision on himself and his disciples.


Didactic to encourage disciples under persecution.