- This is somewhat of an odd event. No way to know where all the disciples go, how long they’re gone or what Jesus does during their absence. It could be that this is a rehearsal for what they’ll be called to do after the ascension. Jesus gives them a mini-great commission and sends them out.
- Notice in verse 2 they are to proclaim the kingdom of God. This is a theme Luke returns to over and over throughout the book. It’s what Jesus has said on several occasions is His mission (8:1, 4:43). By sending the disciples to proclaim the same message, He multiplies its spread.
- Interestingly, in verse 6 it says they go about preaching the gospel. In this case, it’s not the same gospel they’ll preach after Jesus dies and rises from the dead, but it’s good news nonetheless. Messiah is here and the age of God’s kingdom on earth has begun.
- The power Jesus gives them is real. Notice in verse 6 that they heal everywhere. They truly replicate Jesus’ ministry wherever they go.
- These verses don’t seem to fit here (although Mark places this story in a similar place – Mark 6:7-16). It’s not clear what causes Herod to say these things but it likely has nothing to do with the disciples going out. He refers to Jesus specifically.
- Some people explain Jesus’ miracles by saying that He is John the Baptist risen from the dead. This gets Herod’s attention because he had John beheaded. It makes Herod want to meet Jesus (which he will do after Jesus is arrested in Jerusalem and Pilate sends him to Herod to get Herod’s opinion on Jesus’ guilt or innocence).
- Jesus’ fame is such that He can’t go anywhere without drawing a crowd.
- That said, even though He tries to get away alone, He still welcomes the crowd when they find Him (vs 11).
- Notice what He speaks to them about (vs 11) – the kingdom of God.
- Numbers in the Bible are always difficult to interpret, but if there are really 5000 adult males in the group, then the total group could number close to 20,000 people. That means the magnitude of this miracle is staggering but also brings up logistical issues. How can Jesus hand the disciples enough food on His own to feed that many people? Wouldn’t it have taken hours?
- Verses 7-9 would almost fit better here based on the discussion of Jesus’ identity.
- The disciples rehearse for Jesus the same thing that Herod had learned – people say that Jesus is John the Baptist raised from the dead, or Elijah, or one of the prophets. [It shows how different this time is than our own that they theorize that Jesus can do what He does because He is someone who’s risen from the dead.]
- Peter speaks for the disciples when he says that Jesus is the Messiah. This explains why the twelve haven’t deserted Him – they truly believe and understand.
- Jesus tells them clearly that He will be executed. We know from other scriptures that they don’t understand at all what He says. God keeps them blind all the way to the crucifixion.
- Notice how often someone must take up his cross if he’s going to follow Jesus. He must do it daily (vs 23).
- The disciple of Christ must do three things: deny himself; take up his cross; and follow Jesus. And he must do all three daily.
- Jesus’ declaration in verse 27 could refer to what Peter, James and John are about to witness in the transfiguration. They won’t taste death until they see Jesus in His glorified state and see what the fully realized kingdom of God will be like.
- The disciples see Jesus in His glorified state on the Mount of Transfiguration.
- Elijah and Moses appear. They are the two most important leaders/prophets in the OT. Some Jewish traditions teach that Moses didn’t actually die a physical death and so he and Elijah are here because neither actually died. Moses prophesied about the Messiah – said a prophet would come along to fill the role Moses filled – and Elijah is prophesied to return to pave the way for the Messiah (the role John the Baptist filled), so perhaps these two facts play a role in their appearance here.
- The disciples sleep – perhaps this is what they did while Jesus prayed? They wake to an incredible sight.
- We don’t know how the disciples know the two men with Jesus are Elijah and Moses.
- Peter makes a mistake by assuming that Moses and Elijah are equal to Jesus.
- God sets things right by speaking of Jesus’ divinity from heaven.
- The disciples keep the event to themselves for now (in those days – vs 36).
- In other gospel accounts, Jesus says of the boy the disciples couldn’t heal that some miracles can only be accomplished through much prayer.
- Note that the people and the disciples are amazed at the greatness of God (vs 43). They understand that Jesus performs God’s works.
- Jesus tells the disciples plainly that He will be delivered up and executed. This is the first time we see that they don’t grasp what He says because God won’t allow it. It explains how Jesus can predict His death on numerous occasions (in all the gospel accounts) and yet the disciples seem to have no clue it’s coming. When Jesus is arrested and executed, they essentially fall apart because they’re completely unprepared. This verse gives us a clue as to why they’re oblivious.
- Jesus sees the end coming and determines to go to Jerusalem to fulfill His divine purpose. He sets His face toward the end of His physical life but also toward His coming ascension. He knows the joy set before Him and determines to endure the cross in order to reach it (Heb 12:2).
- The Samaritans don’t recognize Jerusalem as the center of worship – that’s apparently why they reject the messengers Jesus sends ahead.
- James and John want to exercise the newfound power they received when Jesus sent them out at the beginning of the chapter. They can heal, they can cast out demons, and now they want to see if they can punish an entire town by calling down fire.
- Likely that Jesus looks at the James and John and sighs. They’re so out of line and going against so much of what He’s taught. He rebukes them and they continue traveling. The group simply avoids the Samaritan village and continues to another.
- Jesus’ words in verse 58 echo what He said in the Sermon on the Mount. Seek God’s kingdom, not material goods (Matt 6:25-34). Don’t worry about provision – God knows you need this – worry about seeking and proclaiming God’s kingdom. Jesus owns virtually nothing because what’s important is proclaiming and living for the Kingdom of God.
- Jesus sends another group just like He sent the disciples in Chapter 9. We see more detailed instructions with this group.
- Note what Jesus says about judgment in verses 12-15. They are apparently degrees of judgment. This goes along with degrees of reward which are referenced in other texts.
- Note too that Jesus’ words about Tyre and Sidon mean that God did NOT allow works to be done in those cities that would have caused their residents to repent.
- Watching Satan fall – the age of Satan’s and sin’s domination is over. Jesus’ redemptive work will break the power of sin.
- Denominations exist that take verse 19 literally.
- Jesus rejoices in the Holy Spirit because He knows the good news of the kingdom of God has been heard and accepted. Happiness for Jesus is knowing the good news is spreading. This gives us insight into what our Savior loves. He LOVES gathering sheep into His fold.
- He thanks the Father for revealing the mysteries of the gospel to the little children and hiding them from the wise and intelligent. The cognoscenti reject the good news. This goes along with God choosing to reveal the birth of Christ to shepherds before anyone else (Lk 2:8-18).
- Jesus obviously uses the characters He uses in the Good Samaritan parable to provoke. The priest and Levite are bad guys while the Samaritan is a good guy. His point is that your neighbor is EVERYONE. Likely not what the lawyer believes.
- Note that the lawyer asks the follow-up question to justify himself (vs 29). He’s already decided his own answer to his question and how he’s going to live. He just wants Jesus to affirm his beliefs. Some people are worthy of his love and some aren’t.
- The lawyer unwittingly proves what Jesus just thanked God for – the wise and intelligent and powerful don’t understand and accept the good news of the Kingdom of God.
- Mary and Martha are the sisters of Lazarus and live in Bethany (just outside of Jerusalem).
- Martha needs to seek God’s kingdom – not the needs of the world. Mary is correct in her actions because she appreciates who sits in their house and what it means to hear Him and commune with Him. There is a lesson here for us – nothing is more important than fellowship with our Savior. How we prioritize time must reflect this.