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Adam Clarke Commentary

Luke 9


Christ sends his apostles to preach and work miracles, Luke 9:1 -6. Herod, hearing of the fame of Jesus, is perplexed; some suppose that John Baptist is risen from the dead; others, that Elijah or one of the old prophets was come to life, Luke 9:7 -9. The apostles return and relate the success of their mission. He goes to a retired place, and the people follow him, Luke 9:10 , Luke 9:11 . He feeds five thousand men with five loaves and two fishes, Luke 9:12 -17. He asks his disciples what the public think of him, Luke 9:18 -21. Foretells his passion, Luke 9:22 . Shows the necessity of self-denial, and the importance of salvation, Luke 9:23 -25. Threatens those who deny him before men, Luke 9:26 . The transfiguration, Luke 9:27 -36. Cures a demoniac, Luke 9:37 -43. Again foretells his passion, Luke 9:44 , Luke 9:45 . The disciples contend who shall be greatest, Luke 9:46 -48. Of the person who cast out devils in Christ's name, but did not associate with the disciples, Luke 9:49 , Luke 9:50 . Of the Samaritans who would not receive him, Luke 9:51 -56. Of the man who wished to follow Jesus, Luke 9:57 , Luke 9:58 . He calls another disciple who asks permission first to bury his father, Luke 9:59 . Our Lord's answer Luke 9:60 -62.

Verse 1

Power and authority - Δυναμιν και εξουσιαν. The words properly mean here, the power to work miracles; and that authority by which the whole demoniac system was to be subjected to them. The reader will please to observe:1. That Luke mentions both demons and diseases; therefore he was either mistaken, or demons and diseases are not the same.2. The treatment of these two was not the same: - the demons were to be cast out, the diseases to be healed. See Matthew 10:1 .

Verse 1

CLASS IV. Comprehends the account of all our Lord's transactions in Galilee, for the whole three years of his ministry, from Luke 4:1 to Luke 9:1-50. This seems evident: for as soon as Luke had given the account of our Lord's temptation in the deserts Luke 4:1 -13, he represents him as immediately returning in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, Luke 4:14 ; mentions Nazareth, Luke 4:16 ; Capernaum, Luke 4:31 ; and the lake of Galilee, Luke 5:1 ; and thus, to Luke 9:50 , goes on to describe the preaching, miracles, etc.; of our Lord in Galilee.CLASS V. and last, commences at Luke 9:51 , where the evangelist gives an account of our Lord's last journey to Jerusalem: therefore this class contains, not only all the transactions of our Lord from that time to his crucifixion, but also, the account of his resurrection, his commission to his apostles, and his ascension to heaven. Luke 9:51 , to Luke 24:53 , inclusive.A plan similar to this has been followed by Suetonius, in his life of Augustus: he does not produce his facts in chronological order, but classifies them, as he himself professes, cap. 12, giving an account of all his wars, honors, legislative acts, discipline, domestic life, etc., etc. Matthew therefore, is to be consulted for the correct arrangement of facts in chronological order: Luke, for a classification of facts and events, without any attention to the order of time in which they occurred. Many eminent historians have conducted their narratives in the same way. See Rosenmuller. It must not, however, be forgotten, that this evangelist gives us some very valuable chronological data in several parts of the three first chapters. These shall be noticed in their proper places.

Verse 2

To preach the kingdom of God - For an explication of this phrase, see on Matthew 3:1 (note).

Verse 3

Take nothing - See on Mark 6:7 , Mark 6:8 (note).Neither money - See on Matthew 10:9 (note).Neither have two coats - Show that in all things ye are ambassadors for God; and go on his charges.

Verse 4

There abide, and thence depart - That is, remain in that lodging till ye depart from that city. Some MSS. and versions add μη, which makes the following sense: There remain, and depart Not thence. See the note on Matthew 10:11 .

Verse 7

Herod the tetrarch - See on Matthew 2:1 (note); Matthew 14:1 (note).By him - This is omitted by BCDL, two others, the Coptic, Sahidic, Armenian, and four of the Itala. It is probable that Luke might have written, Herod, hearing of all the things that were done, etc.; but Matthew says particularly, that it was the fame of Jesus of which he heard: Matthew 14:1 .He was perplexed; - He was greatly perplexed διηπορει· from δια emphat. and απορεω, I am in perplexity. It is a metaphor taken from a traveler, who in his journey meets with several paths, one only of which leads to the place whither he would go; and, not knowing which to take, he is distressed with perplexity and doubt. The verb comes from α, negative, and πορος, a way or passage. A guilty conscience is a continual pest: - Herod had murdered John, and he is terribly afraid, lest he should arise from the dead, and bring his deeds to light, and expose him to that punishment which he deserved. See Mark 6:16 .

Verse 10

Told him all - Related distinctly - διηγησαντο, from δια, through, and ἡγεομαι, I declare: hence the whole of this Gospel, because of its relating every thing so particularly, is termed διηγησις, Luke 1:1 , a particular and circumstantially detailed narration. See on Mark 6:30 (note).

Verse 11

The people - followed him - Observe here five grand effects of Divine grace.1. The people are drawn to follow him.2. He kindly receives them.3. He instructs them in the things of God.4. He heals all their diseases.5. He feeds their bodies and their souls. See Quesnel.Reader! Jesus is the same to the present moment. Follow him, and he will receive, instruct, heal, feed, and save thy soul unto eternal life.

Verse 12

Send the multitude away - See this miracle explained at large, on the parallel places, Matthew 14:15 -21 (note); Mark 6:36 -44 (note).

Verse 16

Then he took the five loaves - A minister of the Gospel, who is employed to feed souls, should imitate this conduct of Christ:1. He ought to exhort the people to hear with sedate and humble reverence.2. He should first take the bread of life himself, that he may be strengthened to feed others.3. He ought frequently to lift his soul to God, in order to draw down the Divine blessing on himself and his hearers.4. He should break the loaves - divide rightly the word of truth, and give to all such portions as are suited to their capacities and states.5. What he cannot perform himself, he should endeavor to effect by the ministry of others; employing every promising talent, for the edification of the whole, which he finds among the members of the Church of God. Under such a pastor, the flock of Christ will increase and multiply. See Quesnel.

Verse 18

Whom say the people - Οἱ οχλοι, the common people, i.e. the mass of the people. See this question considered on Matthew 16:13 (note), etc.

Verse 20

But whom say ye that I am? - Whom do ye tell the people that I am? What do ye preach concerning me? See also on Matthew 16:14 (note); and see the observations at the end of this chapter, (note).The Christ of God - The Coptic and later Persic read, Thou art Christ God. After this comes in Peter's confession of our Lord, as related Matthew 16:16 (note), etc., where see the notes; and see also the observations of Granville Sharp, Esq., at the end of this chapter.

Verse 23

If any man will come after me - See on Matthew 16:24 (note), and on Mark 8:34 (note), where the nature of proselytism among the Jews is explained.Daily - Καθ' ἡμεραν is omitted by many reputable MSS., versions, and fathers. It is not found in the parallel places, Matthew 16:24 ; Mark 8:34 .

Verse 24

Will save his life - See on Matthew 16:24 (note), etc.

Verse 25

Lose himself - That is, his life or soul. See the parallel places, Matthew 16:25 (note); Mark 8:35 (note), and especially the note on the former.Or be cast away? - Or receive spiritual damage η ζημιωθεις. I have added the word spiritual here, which I conceive to be necessarily implied. Because, if a man received only temporal damage in some respect or other, yet gaining the whole world must amply compensate him. But if he should receive spiritual damage - hurt to his soul in the smallest degree, the possession of the universe could not indemnify him. Earthly goods may repair earthly losses, but they cannot repair any breach that may be made in the peace or holiness of the soul. See on Matthew 16:26 (note).

Verse 26

Ashamed of me - See on Mark 8:38 (note).

Verse 28

About an eight days after - See the whole of this important transaction explained at large on Matthew 17:1 -13 (note).

Verse 31

His decease - Την εξοδον αυτον, That going out (or death) of his. That peculiar kind of death - its nature, circumstances, and necessity being considered. Instead of εξοδον, thirteen MSS. have δοξαν, glory. They spoke of that glory of his, which he was about to fill up (πληρουν) at Jerusalem. The Ethiopic unites both readings. The death of Jesus was his glory, because, by it, he gained the victory over sin, death, and hell, and purchased salvation and eternal glory for a lost world.

Verse 33

It is good for us to be here - Some MSS. add παντοτε, It is good for us to be Always here.

Verse 35

This is my beloved Son - Instead of ὁ αγαπητος, the beloved one, some MSS. and versions have εκλεκτος, the chosen one: and the Ethiopic translator, as in several other cases, to be sure of the true reading, retains both.In whom I am well pleased, or have delighted - is added by some very ancient MSS. Perhaps this addition is taken from Matthew 17:5 .

Verse 37

Much people - See on Matthew 17:14 (note).

Verse 39

A spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out - Πνευμα λαμβανει αυτον. This very phrase is used by heathen writers, when they speak of supernatural influence. The following, from Herodotus, will make the matter, I hope, quite plain. Speaking of Scyles, king of the Scythians, who was more fond of Grecian manners and customs than of those of his countrymen, and who desired to be privately initiated into the Bacchic mysteries, he adds: "Now because the Scythians reproach the Greeks with these Bacchanals, and say that to imagine a god driving men into paroxysms of madness is not agreeable to sound reason, a certain Borysthenian, while the king was performing the ceremonies of initiation, went out, and discovered the matter to the Scythian army in these words: 'Ye Scythians ridicule us because we celebrate the Bacchanals, και ἡμεας ὁ θεος ΛΑΜΒΑΝΕΙ, and the God Possesses Us: but now the same demon, οὑτος ὁ δαιμων, has Taken Possession, ΛΕΛΑΒΗΚΕ, of your king, for he celebrates the Bacchanals, and ὑπο του θεου μαινεται, is filled with fury by this god." Herodot. l. iv. p. 250, edit. Gale.This passage is exceedingly remarkable. The very expressions which Luke uses here are made use of by Herodotus. A demon, δαιμων, is the agent in the Greek historian, and a demon is the agent in the case mentioned in the text, Luke 9:42 . In both cases it is said the demon possesses the persons, and the very same word, λαμβανει is used to express this in both historians. Both historians show that the possessions were real, by the effects produced in the persons: the heathen king rages with fury through the influence of the demon called the god Bacchus; the person in the text screams out, (κραζει), is greatly convulsed, and foams at the mouth. Here was a real possession, and such as often took place among those who were worshippers of demons.

Verse 42

The devil threw him down, and tare him - See this case considered at large, on Matthew 17:15 -18 (note), and on Mark 9:14 -27 (note).

Verse 43

The mighty power - This majesty of God, μεγαλειοτητι του Θεου. They plainly saw that it was a case in which any power inferior to that of God could be of no avail; and they were deeply struck with the majesty of God manifested in the conduct of the blessed Jesus.

Verse 44

Let these sayings sink down into your ears - Or, put these words into your ears. To other words, you may lend occasional attention, but to what concerns my sufferings and death you must ever listen. Let them constantly occupy a place in your most serious meditations and reflections.

Verse 45

But they understood not - See the note on Mark 9:32 .

Verse 46

There arose a reasoning - Εισηλθε δε διαλογισμος, A dialogue took place - one inquired, and another answered, and so on. See this subject explained on Matthew 18:1 (note), etc.

Verse 49

We forbade him - See this subject considered on Mark 9:38 (note), etc.

Verse 51

That he should be received up - Bishop Pearce says: "I think the word αναληψεως must signify, of Jesus's retiring or withdrawing himself, and not of his being received up: because the word συμπληρουσθαι, here used before it, denotes a time completed, which that of his ascension was not then. The sense is, that the time was come, when Jesus was no longer to retire from Judea and the parts about Jerusalem as he had hitherto done; for he had lived altogether in Galilee, lest the Jews should have laid hold on him, before the work of his ministry was ended, and full proofs of his Divine mission given, and some of the prophecies concerning him accomplished. John says, John 7:1 : Jesus walked in Galilee; for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him. Let it be observed, that all which follows here in Luke, to Luke 19:45 , is represented by him as done by Jesus in his last journey from Galilee to Jerusalem."He steadfastly set his face - That is, after proper and mature deliberation, he chose now to go up to Jerusalem, and firmly determined to accomplish his design.

Verse 52

Sent messengers - Αγγελους, angels, literally; but this proves that the word angel signifies a messenger of any kind, whether Divine or human. The messengers in this case were probably James and John.

Verse 53

His face was - They saw he was going up to Jerusalem to keep the feast; (it was the feast of tabernacles, John 7:2 ; and knowing him thereby to be a Jew, they would afford nothing for his entertainment; for, in religious matters, the Samaritans and Jews had no dealings: see John 4:9 . The Samaritans were a kind of mongrel heathens; they feared Jehovah, and served other gods, 2 Kings 17:34 . They apostatized from the true religion, and persecuted those who were attached to it. See an account of them, Matthew 16:1 (note). Those only who have deserted the truth of God, or who are uninfluenced by it, hate them who embrace and act by it. When a man has once decidedly taken the road to heaven, he can have but little credit any longer in the world, 1 John 3:1 .

Verse 54

That we command fire - Vengeance belongs to the Lord. What we suffer for his sake, should be left to himself to reprove or punish. The insult is offered to him, not to us. See the note on Mark 3:17 .

Verse 55

Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of - Ye do not consider that the present is a dispensation of infinite mercy and love; and that the design of God is not to destroy sinners, but to give them space to repent, that he may save them unto eternal life. And ye do not consider that the zeal which you feel springs from an evil principle, being more concerned for your own honor than for the honor of God. The disciples of that Christ who died for his enemies should never think of avenging themselves on their persecutors.

Verse 56

And they went to another village - Which probably did entertain them; being, perhaps, without the Samaritan borders.The words, Ye know not of what spirit ye are; for the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them, are wanting in ABCEGHLS-V, and in many others. Griesbach leaves the latter clause out of the text. It is probable that the most ancient MSS. read the passage thus: But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not of what spirit ye are. And they went to another village. See the authorities in Griesbach.

Verse 57

A certain man - He was a scribe. See on Matthew 8:19 -22 (note). It is probable that this took place when Christ was at Capernaum, as Matthew represents it, and not on the way to Jerusalem through Samaria.

Verse 61

Another also said - This circumstance is not mentioned by any of the other evangelists; and Matthew alone mentions the former case, Luke 9:57 , Luke 9:58 .Let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home - Επιτρεψον μοι αποταξασθαι τοις εις τον οικον μου - Permit me to set in order my affairs at home. Those who understand the Greek text will see at once that it will bear this translation well; and that this is the most natural. This person seems to have had in view the case of Elisha, who made a similar request to the Prophet Elijah, 1 Kings 19:19 , 1 Kings 19:20 , which request was granted by the prophet; but our Lord, seeing that this person had too much attachment to the earth, and that his return to worldly employments, though for a short time, was likely to become the means of stifling the good desires which he now felt, refused to grant him that permission. That which we object to the execution of God's designs is sometimes the very thing from which we should immediately disengage ourselves.

Verse 62

Put his hand to the plough - Can any person properly discharge the work of the ministry who is engaged in secular employments? A farmer and a minister of the Gospel are incompatible characters. As a person who holds the plough cannot keep on a straight furrow if he look behind him; so he who is employed in the work of the ministry cannot do the work of an evangelist, if he turn his desires to worldly profits. A good man has said: "He who thinks it necessary to cultivate the favor of the world is not far from betraying the interests of God and his Church." Such a person is not fit, ευθετος, properly disposed, has not his mind properly directed towards the heavenly inheritance, and is not fit to show the way to others. In both these verses there is a plain reference to the call of Elisha. See 1 Kings 19:19 , etc.1. Considering the life of mortification and self-denial which Christ and his disciples led, it is surprising to find that any one should voluntarily offer to be his disciple. But there is such an attractive influence in truth, and such a persuasive eloquence in the consistent steady conduct of a righteous man, that the first must have admirers, and the latter, imitators. Christianity, as it is generally exhibited, has little attractive in it; and it is no wonder that the cross of Christ is not prized, as the blessings of it are not known; and they can be known and exhibited by him only who follows Christ fully.2. It is natural for man to wish to do the work of God in his own spirit; hence he is ready to call down fire and brimstone from heaven against those who do not conform to his own views of things. A spirit of persecution is abominable. Had man the government of the world, in a short time, not only sects and parties, but even true religion itself, would be banished from the face of the earth. Meekness, long-suffering, and benevolence, become the followers of Christ; and his followers should ever consider that his work can never be done but in his own spirit.Since the notes on Matthew were published, I have received from Granville Sharp, Esq., a short Treatise, entitled, Remarks on an important Text, (viz. Matthew 16:18 , which has long been perverted by the Church of Rome, In Support Of Her Vain And Baneful Pretensions To A Superiority Or Supreme Dominion Over All Other Episcopal Churches.As I should feel it an honor to introduce the name of such a veteran in the cause of religion, liberty, and learning, into my work, so it gives me pleasure to insert the substance of his tract here, as forming a strong argument against a most Anti-christian doctrine.And the apostle then proceeds (in the very next verse) to his citation of the above-mentioned text from Isaiah: - 'Wherefore also,' (says he, 1 Peter 2:6 , 'it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a Chief Corner Stone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on him' (επ' αυτῳ, on him, that is, on Jesus Christ, the only Chief Corner Stone) 'shall not be confounded. Unto you, therefore, which believe' (he) 'Is Precious,' (or, an honor; as rendered in the margin), 'but unto them which be disobedient' (he is, δε, also) 'the stone which the builders disallowed, the same' (οὑτος, for there is no other person that can be entitled to this supreme distinction in the Church) 'is made the Head Of The Corner.'That the power of the keys, or of binding and loosing, belonged equally to all the apostles, the author goes on to prove.

Luke 9

  1 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
  2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.
  3 And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.
  4 And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart.
  5 And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.
  6 And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.
  7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead;
  8 And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again.
  9 And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him.
  10 And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.
  11 And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.
  12 And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place.
  13 But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people.
  14 For they were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company.
  15 And they did so, and made them all sit down.
  16 Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude.
  17 And they did eat, and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets.
  18 And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?
  19 They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again.
  20 He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.
  21 And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing;
  22 Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.
  23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
  24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
  25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
  26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.
  27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.
  28 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.
  29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.
  30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:
  31 Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.
  32 But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.
  33 And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.
  34 While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.
  35 And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.
  36 And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.
  37 And it came to pass, that on the next day, when they were come down from the hill, much people met him.
  38 And, behold, a man of the company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son: for he is mine only child.
  39 And, lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth again, and bruising him hardly departeth from him.
  40 And I besought thy disciples to cast him out; and they could not.
  41 And Jesus answering said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither.
  42 And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father.
  43 And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples,
  44 Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.
  45 But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying.
  46 Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.
  47 And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him,
  48 And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.
  49 And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us.
  50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.
  51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,
  52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
  53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.
  54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
  55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
  56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
  57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
  58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
  59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
  60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
  61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
  62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

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