Saturday, January 31, 2015

NT: Luke 5-8

I’d forgotten how (comparatively) beautifully written the Gospel According to Luke is. It almost reads like Shakespeare - lilting and flowing - containing more imagery than Mark, less choppy, less crude. I know, I know - over the years, I have probably been indoctrinated by other commentators, but it’s true. Luke is readable, and it conveys much of the imagery that sticks with you when you construct your mental image of Jesus. Too bad they coupled this to the Hebrew Bible’s cosmology and deity. They could have really had something!

It’s the longest book in the NT - both by word count and verse count. The author of Luke and Acts was a wordy so-and-so! I did mention that both books are believed to have the same author, didn’t I?

Chapter 5 depicts the “miraculous catch of fish”, which appears no where else. We also are treated to a couple of healings, a few parables, and the parabolic questions about fasting and the presence of the bridegroom. Clearly, we are being shown Jesus’ care for the ailing and disadvantaged (as opposed to the well-off), while He also intimates “Last Days”.

Chapter 6 finds Jesus and his followers plucking ears of corn on the sabbath, which raises the ire of the Pharisees. It seems that he’s always getting the stink-eye from the Pharisees, but since these events tend to be recapitulated across the Gospels, it’s less often than it seems.

We also see Jesus explicitly pick his apostles from among his disciples. I don’t believe it’s done this way elsewhere, although it really makes no difference.

13 And when it was day, he called [unto him] his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;

...then proceeds to speak many of the blessings that we’re so familiar with:

20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed [be ye] poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

It goes on like this for the rest of the chapter. He must have done a quadruple espresso that day!

In Chapter 7 we get a healing of a centurion’s servant, and a raising from the dead. Naturally, John the Baptist is intrigued, so sends some of his people to inquire about whether Jesus is the one that they seek:

19 And John calling [unto him] two of his disciples sent [them] to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? Jesus performs some more healings, JB’s entourage Entourage is suitably impressed and leaves with the news. Jesus then begins preaching again, using JB’s greatness (as a prophet) as a milestone against which He compares the greatness of those that belong to the Kingdom of God. Jesus is quite an effective salesman!

Chapter 8 brings us “The Ministering Women”, the “Interpretation of the Parable of the Sower”, “He who has Ears to Hear, Let him Hear”, “Jesus' True Kindred Relatives”, “Stilling the Storm”, the “The Gerasene Demoniac”, and “Jairus' Daughter and the Woman with a Hemorrhage”. If it looks like I’m cribbing from another source, I am! I have no analysis to add, just a crude list. My only comment is that each of these events is mirrored in both Matthew and Mark, except for The Ministering Women. Well done, author of Luke and Acts!


As I just alluded, Luke chapters 5 through 8 are pretty consistent with Matthew and Mark. In fact only one pericope in each chapter is unique to Luke, all others are found in either or both of the other Synoptics. The only concern is how they’re dispersed, as the ordering varies more between Luke and the other two, as opposed to just between Matthew and Mark alone.

Interesting stuff!

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