Bible Study: Luke, Chapter Nine
Transcript: Today we are going to continue our interactive Bible study and we are going to cover Luke Chapter 9. After the meeting today, or sometime this week, please take the matching Quiz on Luke Chapter 9 that I have prepared on the website. It is on the right hand side and it matches this teaching. Thanks to all that have taken last week’s quiz. Let’s get started:
Luke Chapter 9 beginning in verse 1 reading from the World English Bible: He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. 2 He sent them out to preach God’s Kingdom and to heal the sick.
Jesus had chosen the twelve Apostles earlier in chapter 6, and He had been training and teaching them for a while now. He called them together and gave them “power” and “authority” and then sent them out to minister. Mark chapter 6, verse 7 tells us that Jesus sent them out in pairs of two.
Jesus had prepared the Apostles for this moment and now He gave them the power and authority to accomplish it. When God calls you to do something, He will also equip you for the task. That does not mean that it will always be easy, but you will be successful if you stick with it.
Luke mentions both demons and diseases here, because demons and diseases are not the same thing. The treatment of them is not the same either: demons were to be cast out, the diseases were to be healed. Discernment is important. Jesus healed people at times, but in the case of Peter’s mother-in-law, He rebuked her fever and it left because that fever had a personality attached to it.
Jesus sent them out to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. They would preach outdoors, street corners, marketplaces, synagogues, and people’s homes, wherever they found someone to listen.
Jesus used the media that was available in His day to spread the Gospel. They did not have newspapers, television, or the Internet like we have today, but He used what He had well.
Their message was essentially this: the King has arrived. Jesus the Messiah is now here. His Kingdom is different than we expected. He is gathering those who are willing to repent and believe. They also delivered the message with signs following them.
3 He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey—no staffs, nor wallet, nor bread, nor money. Don’t have two coats each.
The apostles were to travel light and the need was urgent. This also left them entirely dependent on God. During this time, there was a rule among the rabbis that you could not enter the temple area with a staff, shoes, or a moneybag, because you wanted to avoid even the appearance of being engaged in any other business than the service of the Lord. Also, the equipment restrictions seemed to be for this trip only and not a universal example because Jesus later told them to take a purse, bag and a sword in Luke 22:36. He was building their faith and teaching them to trust God to take care of them.
4 Into whatever house you enter, stay there, and depart from there. 5 As many as don’t receive you, when you depart from that city, shake off even the dust from your feet for a testimony against them.”
They were to stay at one house, and there would be someone interested enough to take them in. The limitation of staying at one house would also limit how long they would stay in a city. They went through the villages on a country tour, preaching and healing “everywhere.” The Apostles’ primary job was not to change people’s minds. They were to share the truth, and if the people did not receive it, then they could leave with a clear conscious knowing they had done their part. They were then to shake the dust from their feet as a testimony against them. Paul and Barnabas did this in Acts 13:51.
This is an odd gesture, but at the time, if Jewish people had to go in or through a Gentile city, when they left they often shook the dust off their feet as a gesture to say, “We don’t want to take anything from this Gentile city with us.” Essentially, Jesus told His disciples to regard a Jewish city that rejected their message as if it were a Gentile city. There were only two types of people: believers or unbelievers, instead of the usual Jew or Gentile. The people were allowed to choose their own fate.
6 They departed and went throughout the villages, preaching the Good News and healing everywhere.
Where Jesus was just one man preaching, now they had seven teams going at once - six teams of two Apostles, plus Jesus, who preached and healed “everywhere.”
7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him; and he was very perplexed, because it was said by some that John had risen from the dead, 8 and by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the old prophets had risen again. 9 Herod said, “I beheaded John, but who is this about whom I hear such things?” He sought to see him.
The last time Luke wrote of John the Baptist, John was in prison and wondered if Jesus really was the Messiah (Luke 7:18–23). Now we learn that Herod had executed John in prison, because John had rebuked Herod for marrying his brother’s wife, Herodias. This is spoken of in Matthew 14:1–12. Herod had a guilty conscious because he had John beheaded, knowing that John was a good man, and a true prophet.
This was Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great who had tried to kill Jesus as an infant, and the son was not known to have a sincere spiritual interest. Herod means: “Hero Shaped” and he is portrayed as self-centered, self-indulging, and Luke 3:19 tells us that he did a lot of evil. Herod was interested in Jesus as a famous man, a miracle worker, and maybe as a rival. Herod wanted to see Jesus, but not as a seeker. Perhaps he wanted to silence Jesus as he had with John, and there was increasing danger around the ministry of Jesus from this time onward.
Jesus dealt with this same Herod a few times, Luke 13:32 tells us that this Herod wanted to kill Jesus and Jesus told them: “Go tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast our demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’” Luke also tells us later that Jesus finally met this Herod on the morning of His crucifixion and He asked Jesus to perform a miracle for him. When Jesus remained silent, Herod treated Him with contempt, mocked Him by dressing Him in a purple robe, and sent Him back to Pilate.
10 The apostles, when they had returned, told him what things they had done. He took them and withdrew apart to a desert region of a city called Bethsaida. 11 But the multitudes, perceiving it, followed him. He welcomed them, spoke to them of God’s Kingdom, and he cured those who needed healing.
The apostles returned and Jesus withdrew to an area near the city of Bethsaida and let them rest for a while. Bethsaida was a small fishing village near the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River. It was later enlarged and beautified by Phillip the tetrarch, Herod’s brother. The crowds soon followed along behind Him like sheep. Instead of turning them away, Jesus welcomed them, taught them, and healed them. Jesus is wonderful like that, time and time again.
12 The day began to wear away; and the twelve came and said to him, “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding villages and farms, and lodge, and get food, for we are here in a deserted place.”
Either the twelve apostles thought that the crowd was a bother because they had come aside to rest, or they knew that they did not have enough food here and that sending them away would allow them to get something somewhere else.
13 But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.”They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we should go and buy food for all these people.” 14 For they were about five thousand men. 14 He said to his disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 They did so, and made them all sit down.
This miracle of feeding 5,000 men is the only miracle that is recorded in all four of the Gospels. Jesus turned this chaos into an outdoor banquet so that everyone could enjoy the meal in small groups. It is helpful to study this feast from all four Gospels as we can piece together what happened better. Mark 6:39 tells us that they sat down on the “green grass” meaning that it was probably springtime. Matthew 14:16 tells us that Jesus said that the hungry people did not need to go away, and that He ordered the loaves and the fish brought to Him so that He could bless them. John 6:9 tells us about the “five barley loaves” which was cheap food used only by the poor.
This act is incredible even today that you could feed over 5,000 people, and that was just men, not including the women and children that were present. I have been to large events and dinner time gets chaotic when you have a few thousand people scrambling to get in line.
16 He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to the sky, he blessed them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. 17 They ate and were all filled. They gathered up twelve baskets of broken pieces that were left over.
Jesus prayed over the food, and thanked God for providing the food for them. Then He fed over 5,000 people using five small loaves of bread and two small fish. They ate all that they wanted, and had twelve baskets of broken pieces left over. The closest event to this in the Old Testament was when Elisha fed 100 men with 20 loaves in:
2 Kings 4:42–44. 42 Then a man came from Baal Shalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley bread, and newly ripened grain in his knapsack. And he said, “Give it to the people, that they may eat.” 43 But his servant said, “What? Shall I set this before one hundred men?” He said again, “Give it to the people, that they may eat; for thus says the LORD: ‘They shall eat and have some left over.’ ” 44 So he set it before them; and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the LORD.
Multiplying food has always been one of God’s signs and wonders, and it still is.
18 As he was praying alone, the disciples were with him, and he asked them, “Who do the multitudes say that I am?” 19 They answered, “ ‘John the Baptizer,’ but others say, ‘Elijah,’ and others, that one of the old prophets has risen again.” 20 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
Jesus was praying alone, and apparently His disciples interrupted Him. Something interesting, and as far as I know, Jesus never prayed with His disciples as a group. Jesus left them behind and went to pray alone, and they sometimes followed along and interrupted Him. When He prayed in their presence, it was not “with them”. His praying seemed to be on a different plane.
The crowds knew Jesus as one thing, but His closest disciples should know Him better, and Jesus asked them who they thought that He was. Peter answered Him and said the “The Christ of God.”, the Messiah, the Anointed one.
21 But he warned them, and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up.”
Now Jesus went on to tell them some very hard things. The people thought that Jesus would deliver them from the Roman occupiers, that the new King had arrived. Jesus told them that He “must” suffer many things, be rejected and killed, but on the third day, He would be raised up.
23 He said to all, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life for my sake, will save it.
Now in the time of the Roman empire, the people there knew what “take up his cross meant.” That was a one way ticket. When the Romans crucified a criminal, they didn’t just hang them on a cross. They first hung a cross on them and made them carry it to the place of execution. Jesus was speaking about death to self, denying yourself and following Him. As some have said the cross is when our will and His meet.
25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits his own self? 26 For whoever will be ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed, when he comes in his glory, and the glory of the Father, and of the holy angels.
That is a scary thought, but what would being ashamed of Jesus look like today. How about this:
* Ashamed of Him means that you don’t want to be seen together in public.
* Ashamed of Him means that you don’t want to talk about Him.
* Ashamed of Him means that you avoid Him when possible.
* Some are ashamed of Him because of fear, others from social pressure,
* Some are ashamed of Him because of their intelligence, or their pride.
27 But I tell you the truth: There are some of those who stand here who will in no way taste of death until they see God’s Kingdom.”
This could refer to the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended in the upper room, but it is quite possibly speaking about the Mount of Transfiguration which is coming up in the next paragraph.
28 About eight days after these sayings, he took with him Peter, John, and James, and went up onto the mountain to pray. 29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became white and dazzling. 30 Behold, two men were talking with him, who were Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory, and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.
Jesus was transformed before them and His clothing became dazzling white. This was a preview of the coming return of Jesus in the power and glory of the Kingdom.
Luke does not name the mountain but it has been thought to be Mt. Tabor, which is west of the Sea of Galilee, or Mt. Hermon, which is north of Caesarea Philippi.
Matthew 17:2 says that Jesus’ face shown like the sun, and Matthew and Mark say that He was transfigured. Luke tells us that the appearance of His face was altered. For a brief moment, Jesus revealed His true image: the King of Glory. This was nothing new, but was His “normal” look.
Two men also appeared with Jesus, and the disciples seemed to immediately recognize them as Moses and Elijah. This may tell us that we will not need name tags in heaven as they recognized them with no introduction, though they had never seen them before.
Why Moses and Elijah? It does not say but Moses represents the Law, and Elijah represents the Prophets. So the whole of Old Testament revelation came to meet with Jesus. These two are very likely the witnesses of Revelation 11:3-13 as well. They spoke about what He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem and His departure, meaning His crucifixion.
32 Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they were fully awake, they saw his glory, and the two men who stood with him. 33 As they were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let’s make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah,” not knowing what he said.
Jesus probably went a little ways off to pray as He often did, and He continued on praying until the disciples fell asleep. There is no telling how many times this had happened, or what encounters they had slept through. They finally woke up and saw the three of them together. Also, it tells us that they “stood together” on the ground and were not floating in the air. Peter spoke up and offered to build three shelters for them, one each for Moses, Elijah and Jesus which put them all on the same level. That is when God showed up:
34 While he said these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered into the cloud. 35 A voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him!” 36 When the voice came, Jesus was found alone. They were silent, and told no one in those days any of the things which they had seen.
The cloud which overshadowed them was what was known in the Old Testament as the Shekinah, the tangible glory of God that they followed with the Ark of the Covenant. Peter and the apostles at first felt it is good for us to be here, but as the glory intensified, it began to create in them the awe and dread that sinners feel in the presence of God. The voice from the cloud made it clear that Moses and Elijah were not on the same level of Jesus, for this was His beloved Son.
37 On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great multitude met him. 38 Behold, a man from the crowd called out, saying, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 39 Behold, a spirit takes him, he suddenly cries out, and it convulses him so that he foams, and it hardly departs from him, bruising him severely. 40 I begged your disciples to cast it out, and they couldn’t.”
From the mountain top, to the valley. The disciples were just with Jesus, transfigured as the King of Glory, and now they faced a demon that they were unable to cast out. The boy here seemed to have what we would call an epileptic seizure today, but Jesus recognized it as a demon.
Now Jesus had previously given the apostles the power to cast out devils and they had some success, but this one was stronger or very stubborn to leave. There are ranks of demonic powers according to Ephesians 6:12, and evidently some are stronger and more resistant than others. In Matthew 17:21, Jesus said that their failure was due to a lack of prayer and fasting. It isn’t that fasting makes us more worthy, it is that it gets us in tune with God and that brings us in line with the power of the Holy Spirit.
41 Jesus answered, “Faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.”
There is a sense here that Jesus was frustrated with His disciples. They had just spoke of His departure on the Mount of Transfiguration and His season of ministry on earth was coming to an end. Perhaps He felt frustration that the disciples did not have more faith by now. Jesus only marveled at people’s belief, and their unbelief.
42 While he was still coming, the demon threw him down and convulsed him violently. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father.
The demon threw the boy down. That is just like the devil, isn’t it? They always want to throw the ones down that are coming to God. Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, and healed the boy.
43 They were all astonished at the majesty of God. But while all were marveling at all the things which Jesus did, he said to his disciples, 44 “Let these words sink into your ears, for the Son of Man will be delivered up into the hands of men.” 45 But they didn’t understand this saying. It was concealed from them, that they should not perceive it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.
Jesus tried to explain what was coming but it was concealed from them. They could not understand it, and they were afraid to ask Him.
46 An argument arose among them about which of them was the greatest. 47 Jesus, perceiving the reasoning of their hearts, took a little child, and set him by his side, 48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this little child in my name receives me. Whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For whoever is least among you all, this one will be great.”
The disciples were often concerned about the question of greatness. They seem to ask this question thinking that Jesus has already chosen one of them as greatest, or as if they wanted Jesus to decide among them. This particular argument may have happened because Peter, James and John were taken up to the Mount of Transfiguration, but not the rest of them.
Jesus knew what was in their hearts and sat a little child beside Him and explained that in the kingdom of God there is a reversal of values. The last will be the first; the least will be the greatest. The humble will be exalted. Those who exalt themselves, will be humbled.
49 John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he doesn’t follow with us.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Don’t forbid him, for he who is not against us is for us.”
We just read how the disciples of Jesus could not cast out a certain demon, and now they saw someone else casting them out and told them to stop. I guess they didn’t want the competition. Jesus explained that those who were not against them, were for them. In Philippians 1:15–18, Paul saw many men preaching Christ from many motives, some of them were even evil motive, yet he just rejoiced that Christ was being preached.
51 It came to pass, when the days were near that he should be taken up, he intently set his face to go to Jerusalem 52 and sent messengers before his face. They went and entered into a village of the Samaritans, so as to prepare for him. 53 They didn’t receive him, because he was traveling with his face set toward Jerusalem.
The Prophet Isaiah wrote of Jesus during this time about 700 years before it happened:
Isaiah 50:6-7 I gave My back to those who struck Me, And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting. 7 “For the Lord GOD will help Me; Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.
54 When his disciples, James and John, saw this, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from the sky, and destroy them, just as Elijah did?”
55 But he turned and rebuked them, “You don’t know of what kind of spirit you are. 56 For the Son of Man didn’t come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” They went to another village.
In Mark 3:17. Jesus called James and his brother John “Boanerges”, meaning “Sons of Thunder”. They were ready to incinerate the village for rejecting Jesus by calling fire down from heaven. The Prophet Elijah had done this a few times in 2 Kings 1:10.
Jesus rebuked them for their attitude. They did not represent the heart of God, nor see that He loved the Samaritans as well. It is a grave danger to believe that God only dwells with us, for He is much bigger than that. Though these closest apostles had been with Jesus all this time, they still did not understand His character, or His mission. He came to save the lost, not to burn them up with fire from heaven.
57 As they went on the way, a certain man said to him, “I want to follow you wherever you go, Lord.” 58 Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
Jesus didn’t tell this man “No, you can’t follow Me.” But He told him the truth, without painting a glamorized version of what it would be like to follow Him. This is the opposite of many evangelists today. Jesus wanted the man to know what it would really be like, and to count the costs before he came.
“The Son of Man has no place to lay his head” does not mean that Jesus was penniless or homeless, for He had all that He needed, but His mission kept Him and His followers constantly on the move.
59 He said to another, “Follow me!” But he said, “Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father.” 60 But Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead, but you go and announce God’s Kingdom.”
The first man was too quick to follow Jesus; this man was too slow. For he did not ask for permission to dig a grave for his dead father, but wanted to remain at his father’s house and care for him until the father died. This was an undetermined amount of time, which could drag on and on. This man wanted to follow Jesus, but not just yet. He knew it was good and that he should do it, but he felt there was a good reason why he could not do it now. Not yet…sitting here today, I could name so many people who have told me the exact same thing. I’m not ready yet…
61 Another also said, “I want to follow you, Lord, but first allow me to say good-bye to those who are at my house.” 62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for God’s Kingdom.”
Here is another man that wants a short delay, and Jesus tells him that no one having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for God’s kingdom. I grew up on a farm and was driving a tractor by 7 or 8 years old. When plowing a field, you pointed the nose of the tractor at a tree or a stationary object a long ways away and headed towards it, then the rows would be nice and straight. But if you looked over your shoulder, you would pull the wheel left or right and it would be as crooked as a snake. When following Jesus, we are to keep our eyes on Jesus, and never take our eyes off Him. It is easy to look back at our old life and wonder if we made the right choice, but James wrote in James 1:8 that a double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways.
Keith Green said it best when he wrote: “It’s so hard to see, when my eyes are on me.”