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Luke Introduction

Luke Introduction

The writer, Luke, of this account of the life of Jesus, was a physician. We know that from Paul’s writings (Colossians 4:14). Luke had become one of Paul’s closest companions. But Luke writes this biography because, as he tells us at the beginning, he wants us to fully understand and be confident in the things we have heard about Jesus. In other words, as a good doctor, he is writing us a prescription for the best medicine on earth!

The Good News (or Gospel) According to Luke, is the longest in number of verses and most detailed of the four accounts of the life of Jesus that have been accepted as accurate by the church. Luke’s account is supplemented by his separate work entitled Acts of the Apostles. This Gospel is written not only to the Jewish people but was addressed to any “lover of God.”

Luke is most concerned to give a very well researched and complete account. As a physician, Luke is very interested in the details of the healings. He must have had access to Mary, the mother of Jesus, because of the details he offers concerning the time before Jesus’ birth. Luke must have also interviewed many others because he includes a number of accounts not in the other Gospels, such as the widow of Nain whose son was healed, the women who traveled with Jesus, and the seventy disciples who were sent out in addition to the twelve. He also reports numerous story illustrations not included in the other Gospels, including the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, and Lazarus and the Rich Man.

Luke Guide to the Transcommentary

Luke Guide to the Transcommentary

This is a little bit more than a translation and a bit less than a full commentary. It serves a similar function to the Amplified Bible, though that work’s purpose was to provide a complete sense of the meaning of the words used by the writers of scripture. This work has a somewhat different purpose:

  • To convey as close as possible the actual meaning of the sentences as they would have been understood at the time they were originally spoken or written. To accomplish this for twenty-first century Americans, dynamic equivalent words and sayings have been used at a sentence level. An attempt has been made to preserve intended wordplay and irony from the original author.

  • We have attempted to clarify ideas, references, and thought sequences that would have been clear to first century audiences but are not clear to modern audiences because of differences in culture, customs, language, or degree of familiarity with Old Testament scriptures and Messianic prophecies. The phrasing of the translation itself aims at that clarity, but we have also added words, phrases, and sentences to the narrative for improved understanding. All such additions are in brackets []. This allows the reader to have the explanatory additions when reading but also insulate these additions from the translated scripture – indeed, with a little effort they can be skipped entirely when reading aloud.

  • Color codes for different types of additional material are intended to further aid understanding:

- As in many editions, the words of Jesus are shown in red.

- Words of Father God or the Holy Spirit are shown in blue.

- Green is used for words added to descriptive narrative because they are implied or as commentary to explain the context.

References to scriptures are shown in gold.

  • As in many translations and editions, we have added headings in bold to help understand when a new theme is introduced by the author.

  • The author frequently refers to "Christ" or to "Jesus Christ".  We have employed the words “the Anointed One” rather than "Christ", since that is the meaning of “Christ”. We wanted to avoid the sense of "Christ" as Jesus’ surname, yet still recognize it as a well-known title.

  • We have also added study questions at the end of each chapter to help you think more thoroughly about the meaning and application of the author’s writing.

An example of the use of bold headings, color, and brackets can be seen in the following paragraph taken from Luke 22:

Jesus admission seals his destiny

66 Just after the break of day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the experts in the Law gathered together [for an emergency meeting of the Sanhedrin - the ruling religious council of the Jews in Jerusalem]. They led him into their meeting, 67 and asked him, “Are you [claiming to be] the Anointed One? Tell us!” And Jesus answered, “If I tell you [the truth], you will not believe. 68 If I ask you questions [to prove who I am through the Scriptures], you will not answer. [But I will answer you anyway,] 69 after this time [of my execution and resurrection is completed], the Son of Man shall sit at the right hand of the power of God! [Psalm 110:1].” 70 They replied, “So are you saying that you are the Son of God?” [For only the son of a ruler is appointed to sit at his right hand, representing his power and authority.] And he said to them, “You have said it [correctly]. [That’s who] I am!” [By using the words, “I am” (Exodus 3:14), Jesus was declaring he was God himself, which to them was a terrible affront to God.] 71 And they said, “Why do we need any further witnesses? We have heard him say it [that he is both God and the Anointed One] out of his own mouth!”

We will have succeeded in this translation if you the reader find that you can read this Gospel with greater comprehension and enjoyment than ever before.  Please let us know if you find the various supplementary materials helpful. or too distracting, or if you have any other suggestions about how to improve this approach to translation.

Richard Tittle,

Luke Chapter1

Luke Chapter 1

Reason for this account

Many have already produced their own account of the things that have been fulfilled among us [by Jesus and his followers]. These accounts were based on what was passed on to us by those, who from the beginning, were both eyewitnesses and serious students of the word[, so these are very valuable portrayals of the life of Jesus and the early church]. Likewise, since I have also been carefully investigating all these events, it seemed to me good to write an orderly account for you who are lovers of God, so that you may fully understand and be confident in the things you have been taught. [Here is that account.]

Zachariah and Elizabeth’s story

During the time of Herod, the king of Judea, there was a priest named Zachariah, who belonged to the division of the priesthood descended from Abijah. [There were twenty-four divisions of the priesthood defined during the time of David, all of them descendants of Aaron. Each in turn served a week at a time, two weeks total during the year, the order predetermined by lot and recorded in 1 Chronicles 24.] His wife, Elizabeth, was also from a family of priests and was descended from Aaron. They both were in right standing with God, observing without fail all the Lord's commandments and the requirements of the Law. They had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both now advanced in years [so they had little hope their situation would change].

Eventually, it was Zachariah's turn to serve as priest before the Lord since his division was on duty. The duties were assigned by lot, so the responsibility came to him to enter the Temple and burn incense. 10 There were many people outside the Temple the same hour he was offering the incense. 11 An angel of the Lord appeared to him on the right side of the incense altar. 12 Zachariah was startled and overcome by fear.

13 The angel said to him, “Don't be afraid - I have come because what you have asked for has been granted. Your wife, Elizabeth, shall give birth to a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 You will be joyful and dance with gladness. And many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of God. He will drink neither wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit from within his mother's womb. 16 He will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go in advance of the Lord [the Anointed One who is coming], in the same spirit and power as Elijah, causing hearts of fathers to turn once again to laying a foundation for the next generation, and leading those who resist God to hear the wisdom of the righteous, thus preparing a people for their Lord.” [All this refers to the last sentences of the Hebrew scriptures, Malachi 4:5-6.]

18 Zachariah said to the angel, “How can I know for sure this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is also advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, one appointed to serve God in his presence. [How can you doubt me – why would God send a holy messenger to speak to you a lie!] I have been sent to speak to you and proclaim to you this good news. 20 And, see here, you will now be speechless, unable to talk until these things are carried out, because you didn't believe my words, which will soon be fulfilled.” [Apparently, he was also made temporarily deaf as indicated by the need to sign to him in verse 62.]

21 The people outside were expecting Zechariah and were amazed that he stayed so long in the Temple. 22 And when he did come out, he couldn't speak to them. They could tell that he had seen a vision because he signaled with his hands but remained mute.

23 Eventually, when his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 Soon after this, his wife Elizabeth conceived, but she remained at home for five months. 25 She declared, “Look what the Lord has done for me. He has paid attention to me [, allowing me to become pregnant,] and removed my disgrace before men!”

Mary’s pregnancy

26 In her sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Be glad, God's favorite one, the Lord is with you.” 29 She was concerned because of what he said, trying to figure out what he could mean by such a greeting.

30 And the angel said to her, “Don't be afraid, Mary. God is happy with you and wants to bless you. 31 This is what is going to happen - you will conceive in your womb, and give birth to a son, and you will call him Jesus – ‘God saves’. 32 He will be the greatest of all men and will be called ‘Son of the Most High’, and God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will rule over the house of Jacob [Israel], and his rule will never come to an end.” [2 Samuel 7:12-13] [Though Jesus was recognized by many in his lifetime as a king, he did not then take the throne or rule over the Jewish people, so this speaks of the time of his return.]  

34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How is this even possible, since I have not been intimate with any man?” 35 The angel replied to her, “The Holy Spirit himself will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will envelop you [and plant the seed of this child within you]. The holy one who will be born will rightly be called ‘Son of God’. [This would fulfill the word of the Lord in Isaiah 7:14.] 36 And look, your cousin Elizabeth, even in her old age, has also conceived a child, and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. 37 No word from God comes without the power to be accomplished!” 38 Mary said, “Look, I am only the Lord's servant. I receive it just as you have said it.” And the angel left her.

39 So within a few days Mary eagerly went off to a town in the hill country of Judah, 40 to the house of Zachariah, and called out a greeting to Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard the greeting, the baby in her womb jumped, and she was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Elizabeth cried out in a loud voice [as she greeted her cousin], “Of all women you are blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 How can it be that the mother of my Lord has come to me? 44 For as soon as the sound of your voice reached my ears, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45 And how blessed is she who believed the things spoken to her by the Lord will be fully accomplished!” [The Holy Spirit revealed to Elizabeth both that Mary was pregnant and who the child was.]

46 And Mary said, “My soul is filled with how great the Lord is, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God who has saved me! 48 He noticed me, his lowly servant, and look, every generation will call me the blessed one! 49 For the Almighty has done great things for me, and his name is holy!”

50 “His mercy is [unbroken] from each generation to the next for everyone who fears him. 51 [By bringing the Anointed One into the world,] he is showing how powerful he is, frustrating the schemes in the hearts of those who are proud. 52 He is pulling down the powerful from their thrones and raising up the lowly instead. 53 He is filling the hungry with good things, and sending away the rich with nothing. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering the mercy he promised when he spoke to our fathers, 55 toward Abraham and all of his descendants forever.” [God promised in Genesis 12:3 that all the earth would be blessed through Abraham, and the coming of Jesus is the primary fulfillment of that blessing.]

Birth of John the Baptist

56 Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and returned to her home. 57 Now it was fully time for Elizabeth to deliver, and she gave birth to a son. 58 The announcement went forth to her neighbors and family how greatly God had blessed them, and they all rejoiced with her.

59 On the eighth day, they came to circumcise the baby and would have named him Zachariah after his father, 60 but Elizabeth spoke up and said, “No, his name is John.” 61 They said to her, “But none of your family has that name,” 62 so they signed to the father, asking him what he would have them name the baby. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet, writing, “His name is John,” and they were all surprised. 64 At that very moment, his mouth and tongue were released [because he now believed and fulfilled the word of the angel that had been spoken to him], and he spoke, praising God. 65 And fear came on all who lived around them, and the news of these events spread through all the hill country of Judea. 66 Thinking about these things, they wondered, “Who will this child turn out to be, for the hand of God is on him?”

67 And Zachariah, his father, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying, 68 “Praised be the Lord, the God of Israel, who has come to his people and brought them his deliverance! 69 He is raising up for us a vessel containing our salvation through one to be born in the family of his servant David. 70 It's just as he spoke through the mouths of his holy prophets long ago - 71 he is delivering us from our enemies and from the power of those who hate us! 72 He is accomplishing the mercy promised to our fathers and remembering the holy covenant he made 73 through his oath to our father Abraham. 74 He is delivering us from the hand of our enemies, so that we can serve and worship him without fear, 75 holy and righteous all the years of our lives [Genesis 12:3].

76 “And you, my child, shall be called ‘Prophet of the Most High [God],’ for you shall go in advance of his presence to prepare his pathway [Malachi 4:5-6, Isaiah 40:3-5]. 77 You will give his people the knowledge of salvation by removing their sins. 78 This is the loving kindness of our God, from whom comes a new dawn from the highest place, 79 giving light to those living in darkness and in the shadow of death and guiding our feet into the pathway of peace!”

Discussion questions

1. How do you think John the Baptist knew so well about what would be true about the Anointed One?

2. How would you feel at your church on Sunday if someone acted strange and the pastor cast a demon out of him right in front of you? Should Jesus have done that in a back room or outside?

3.  Do you think it was unrealistic for Jesus to think that someone would not tell others about their healing? Can you imagine what it was like for Jesus to travel with people following him everywhere?

Reason for this account
Zachariah and Elizabeth's story
Mary's pregnancy
Birth of John the Baptist
Luke Chapter 1 discussion questions

80 The child grew up and became strong in spirit. He lived in the wilderness right up until the time he first came before Israel.

Luke Chapter 2

Luke Chapter 2

Birth of Jesus

Around that time, a command was issued from the ruler, Augustus, that all the Roman Empire should be registered to be taxed. This was the first tax registration, which occurred when Quirinius was governor of the province of Syria. Everyone had to travel to their own home town to be registered. So Joseph also had to go all the way from Nazareth in Galilee to the town of Bethlehem in Judea, because he was from King David's family [and Bethlehem was King David's home town - 1 Samuel 17:12].

Birth of Jesus

[There has been controversy over apparent discrepancies in the timing of Jesus’ birth. Both Matthew and Luke say that Jesus was born when Herod was king, but Herod died in 4 BC, 10 years before Quirinius was governor of Syria.  We can trust the Biblical accounts though they may not tell the whole story. Luke undoubtedly interviewed Jesus’ mother Mary. It may be that the meaning of the text is that this tax registration was "before" Quirinius was governor rather than the "first" registration when he was governor.]

He was registered along with his espoused wife, Mary, who was pregnant. [“Espoused wife” means Mary and Joseph were wedded but the marriage was not complete. Since Mary was pregnant by the Holy Spirit, Joseph and Mary by mutual agreement had not consummated their marriage, and until this happened some time after the birth of Jesus, their marriage was technically not considered complete. Probably no one knew this but them.] They were still in Bethlehem when she was ready to give birth. And she gave birth to a son, her first-born, and she wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a feeding stall because there was no place for them in the guest house.

There were shepherds who lived in the fields nearby, watching over their flocks during the night. And the angel of the Lord came and stood there, and the glory of the Lord was bright all around them, and they were really frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Don't be afraid, because look, I bring you great news for everyone! 11 A deliverer has been born for you this day, who is the Anointed Lord, in the city of David. 12 You can prove this for yourselves, for you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, lying in a feeding stall.”

13 All of a sudden, around the angel appeared a great heavenly army, praising God and saying, 14 “To God be glory in the highest places, and to men, peace and good will!” 15 When the angels had returned into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let's go into Bethlehem and see what's happened that the Lord has just made known to us.” 16 With great enthusiasm, they quickly found Mary and Joseph, and there was the baby, lying in the feeding stall. 17 After they had seen all this, they told everyone what had been told them about this child. 18 Everyone who heard these things was amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured each story and valued them as she thought about what had been said. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for the things they had seen and heard, which were exactly as they had been told.

Simeon and Anna

Simeon and Anna

21 After the eight days passed, it was time for his circumcision, and they named him Jesus, the name the angel had given him even before he was conceived. 22 And when the forty days of her purification were done in conformance with the Law of Moses, they brought him to Jerusalem to present him before the Lord. 23 For it is written in the Law that the Lord requires that every male child that opens the womb [that is, the first-born] be declared holy to the Lord. 24And so they offered the sacrifice specified in the Law, a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. [The days of purification after birth are specified in Leviticus 12:1-4, the dedication of the first born is described in Exodus 13:2, and the offering of atonement to restore purity is in Leviticus 12:8.]

25 At that time, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, who lived right and was carefully observant of the Law, and he was expectantly waiting for the one who was coming to comfort Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had seen the Lord's Anointed One. 27 Guided by the Holy Spirit, he entered the Temple, where the parents brought the child to do [the presentation and blessing] what was customary according to the Law. 28 Then he took the child in his arms, thanked God, and said, 29 “Now release your servant to go in peace, for now, 30 just as you said, I have seen with my own eyes the salvation 31 that you have prepared in front of all people, 32 a light to bring revelation to the non-Jews, and the glory of your people Israel.” [Simeon was given prophetic insight that included even that Jesus would bring light to non-Jews but would still belong in a special way to the Jewish people.]

33 Joseph and the mother of the child were amazed at all the things that were spoken about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “This child is chosen to bring about the overthrow and the rising again of many in Israel, and he will himself be a sign that is spoken against! 35 And you will suffer a sword piercing through even your own soul so that the conclusions of many hearts may be made clear!” [The persecution and crucifixion of Mary’s son would be the most painful thing a mother could endure, but Jesus’ life and death would be used to test the hearts of countless souls.]

36 And there was also Anna, a prophetess, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, who was very old. She had lived with her husband for seven years after their marriage [until his death], 37 but since had lived all the way to the age of eighty-four, not departing from the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer. 38 And she came at that same hour and praised God and spoke of the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the deliverance of Jerusalem. [During this time of history, many were anticipating the coming of the Anointed One, whom people expected would set Jerusalem free from the Roman occupation.]

39 When Mary and Joseph had performed everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee and their own city of Nazareth. 40 There the child grew up, became strong and healthy, full of wisdom, and the favor of God was on him.

Jesus at the Temple

Jesus at the Temple

41 His parents went every year to Jerusalem to the feast of Passover. 42 And when Jesus was twelve years old, they went to the feast as usual, 43 but when the feast was over, and they were on their way home, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem, but Joseph and his mother were unaware. 12 Thinking he was in the group they were traveling with, they journeyed a whole day, but then they looked for him among family and friends. 45 When they didn't find him, they turned back towards Jerusalem, searching carefully for him. 46 After three days, they found him in the Temple, seated among the teachers, both listening and questioning them. 47 And everyone that heard him was astonished at his understanding and his responses.

48 And when they saw him, his parents were shocked, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been out of our minds searching for you!” 49 And he said to them, “Why did you search? Didn't you know I must be at my Father's?” 50 They didn't understand what he meant by what he said to them. 51 He went back with them to Nazareth and was obedient to them, but Mary kept all these stories in her heart. 52 And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom as he grew up, and he also grew in favor with both God and man.

Discussion questions

1. Can you see the level of research that Luke must have done into Jesus’ life? Who do you think he must have interviewed to get the information he presents in this chapter? Does this information help you, the reader, believe that the basic story must have happened?

Luke Chapter 2 discussion questions

2. What are the implications of what Simeon told Mary? What was the “sword” that would pierce her heart?

3. When Jesus said to his parents they should have expected him to be “at his Father’s”, where is he referring to? How do you think Jesus found out about who he was?

Luke Chapter 3

Luke Chapter 3

Ministry of John the Baptist

It was now the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, the Roman Emperor. Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod Philip was ruler of Galilee, his brother the ruler of the regions of Iturea and Trachonitis [present day Jordan], and Lysanias the ruler of Abilene [present day western Syria]. Caiaphas and Annas were the high priests of the Jews. At this time, the word of God came to John, son of Zachariah, in the wilderness, and he came into all the country on both sides of the Jordan River, proclaiming that a baptism of repentance was the way out of the bondage of sin.

Ministry of John the Baptist

It was just as it was written by Isaiah the prophet [Isaiah 40:3-5], “There is a voice of someone crying in the wilderness, ‘Get the highway ready for the Lord to come, clear the way for him.’ Every valley shall be filled up and every mountain and hill brought low. The crooked shall be made straight, and the uneven shall be made level. And then all flesh will see the deliverance of the Lord.”

He said to the crowds of people who came out to be baptized by him, “You children of poisonous snakes! I see you have been warned to escape from God's vengeance that's coming. Bear fruit on your outside that shows you really have changed on the inside. And don't start telling me you are sons of Abraham. God can turn these stones into children of Abraham. For now the axe is already set to the roots of the tree, and every tree that doesn't bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” [God expects his investment in our lives to pay off, but for all who don't respond, they are destined for eternal fire.]

10 The people asked him, “Then what should we do?” 12 John answered them, “Whoever has two coats, let him give one to someone who has none. Likewise, if you have food, share it!” 12 Then two tax collectors came up to be baptized as well, and they said, “Teacher, what should we do?” 13 And he replied, “Collect no more than what they owe you.” 14 Some soldiers also questioned him, “What should we do?” He told them, “Stop pushing people around and intimidating them into giving you money. Instead, be satisfied with your pay.”

15 The people were expectantly waiting for the Anointed One to come, and so they were thinking that perhaps John was the one. 16 He answered their question, “I have the assignment to baptize you with water, but there is one coming who has a much greater assignment. In fact, I'm not worthy even to serve him by taking off his shoes. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire! [You will be filled with God and then tested by fire in your lives.] 17 He already has his grain shovel, and he will use it to thoroughly separate the wheat. The grain he shall collect and store in the barn but the worthless part he shall burn with a fire that will never go out. [Those whose lives bear fruit through their belief in God will be preserved for a heavenly eternal life but those who choose to not follow God will end up eternally in a place of flames.]

Baptism and genealogy of Jesus

21 All the people were being baptized, and when Jesus too was baptized, he prayed, and heaven opened. 22 The Holy Spirit came down on him in a physical form like a dove, and a voice came from heaven, “This is my dear son. I am very pleased with him.” [It is normal for a father to bless his son when he embarks on his life's work.] 23 When Jesus started out [in his ministry], he was about thirty years old.

Baptism and genealogy of Jesus

24 Jesus was considered the son of Joseph [though actually his father was God himself], who was the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melki, the son of Janna, the son of Joseph, 25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semei, the son of Joseph, the son of Judah, 27 the son of Johanan, the son of Resa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Salathiel, the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melki, the son of Addi, the son of Kosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29 the son of Jesu, the son of Eliezer, the son of Joram, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Matatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nashon, 33 the son of Aminadab, the son of Aram, the son of Esrom, the son of Phares, the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Thara, the son of Nachor, 35 the son of Saruch, the son of Ragou, the son of Phalek, the son of Heber, the son of Salah, 36 the son of Canaan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Malalelel, the son of Canaan, 38 the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

[This genealogy is different from Matthew’s. Matthew appears to present the Jewish legal line of inheritance from the first Jew Abraham forward to Jesus. Luke appears to show the blood relationship through Mary, even though Mary is not mentioned. The point is that the blood relationship can’t be through Joseph because of the virgin birth. Joseph is described as Heli’s son, which makes sense if Heli is Mary’s father and she had no brothers. Joseph would have been adopted as Heli’s heir. Both Joseph and Mary are descended from David, which is one of the prophetic qualifications for the Anointed One.]

Discussion questions

1. John the Baptist was not interested in people’s credentials. He wanted to see if people were living as followers of God. What do you think would happen if John came and preached at your church?

Luke Chapter 3 discussion questions

2. Are you surprised that Jesus was as old as thirty when he began his ministry? What do you think he was doing between the age of twelve when he was last mentioned and thirty, when he is baptized by John?

3.  Why do you think Luke wanted to trace Jesus’ inheritance all the way back to Adam?

Luke Chapter 4

Luke Chapter 4

Temptation of Jesus

Then Jesus, full of Holy Spirit, came back from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where he was tested for forty days by the devil. [It is a normal thing to be tested just after being promoted.] He ate nothing for all that time and when the time was over, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the son of God, tell this rock to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written in the scriptures [Deuteronomy 8:3], ‘Man does not live on bread only.’” [This was the test - whether he would use the power available to him to serve himself or God alone.]

Temptation of Jesus

And the devil took him up to a high place and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single moment, and he said, “I will give you the authority to rule over all this and to receive all these riches, for it has all been turned over to me, and I can give it to anyone I choose. If you will bow down and worship me, I will give you all this.” But Jesus answered him, “It is written in the scriptures [Deuteronomy 6:13], ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” [This was the test -  whether he would take a short cut to becoming both king and lord, but his desire was only to honor his Father.]

The devil took him to Jerusalem and placed him on a tower of the Temple and said, “If you are the son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written [Psalms 91:11-12], ‘He will give his angels charge over you to guard you 11 and to catch you in their hand to keep you from hitting your foot against a stone.’” [Quoting scripture doesn't necessarily mean it is being used for God's purpose.] 12 And Jesus answered him, “It says in the scripture [Deuteronomy 6:16], ‘Do not test the Lord your God.’” [This was the test – would he feel the need to prove his trust.  Jesus trusted his Father to initiate every action in his life.] 13 And when the devil had completed every test, he departed until a more advantageous time [when Jesus would be at his weakest – the night of his agony before his betrayal and execution].

Jesus in Nazareth

14 Jesus returned to Galilee full of the Spirit [having first been filled and then tested], and the stories about him went out into all the surrounding countryside. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being praised by all. 16 Then Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and he entered the synagogue on a Sabbath day just as he usually did, and he stood up to read the scripture. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed over to him. After he unrolled the scroll, he found the place it is written [Isaiah 61:1-2], 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me - in fact, God has poured out his Spirit on me for this purpose - to proclaim good news to the poor, to declare freedom to those who have been taken captive, recovering of sight to the blind, to send away repaired those who have been broken, 19 to declare now is the time of God's favor.” 20 He then rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the synagogue attendant, and sat down to speak [this was the standard way for a rabbi to speak in a synagogue], while everyone's eyes were riveted on him.

Jesus in Nazareth

21 He began [his message] by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. [God has poured out his Spirit on me so that I can do the things Isaiah prophesied. And as I do them, I am demonstrating the love that God has for his people.] 22 And everyone had good things to say about him because they couldn't believe what wonderful words they heard coming out of his mouth. But then they said, “Isn't this Joseph's son? [He's someone we know - he couldn't possibly be the one who fulfills God's promises, could he?]

23 And he said to them, “I'm sure you would like to quote to me the saying, ‘Doctor, heal yourself!’. [Prove your credentials and] do what we've heard you've done in Capernaum here in your own home region too.” 24 He said, “This is the truth - no prophet is ever accepted in his own region. [But let me tell you, it's always been the case that familiarity breeds contempt.]

25 “Isn't it the truth that there were many widows during the time of Elijah, when in all of Israel the skies were shut up for three and a half years and there was great hunger throughout the land. 26 But Elijah was sent to no one in Israel but instead to a widow in Zarephath, a town in Sidon [Lebanon]. 27 Likewise, there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, but he healed only Naaman, who was Syrian.” [Both these prophets went outside the homeland to demonstrate the kingdom because the people at home, the Jews, rejected both God and his representatives.]

28 Everyone in the synagogue who heard what he said was furious [because of his claims about who he was and because they felt he had insulted them], 29 so they rose and forced him out of the city and up to the crest of the hill on which the city was built, to throw him over the side. 30 But passing right through the midst of them, he went on his way.

Authority over demons and disease

Authority over demons and disease

31 And he went from there to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and taught there in the synagogue on the Sabbath days, 32 and they were amazed at his teaching, for he brought his word with authority. [Demons become restless and afraid when God’s word is taught with authority.] 33 In the synagogue there was a man with an unclean spirit [a demon], who cried out with a loud voice, 34 “Leave us alone. We don't want anything to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth. Have you come to destroy us? We know who you are - the Holy One of God!”

35 And Jesus commanded him, “Shut up, and come out of him!” And the demon threw him [the demonized man] down in the middle of the people and went [out of the man], but the man was unhurt. 36 They were all amazed, saying to each other, “We've never seen a sermon like this, for he commands the unclean spirits with authority and power, and they obey him.” 37 And news about him went out everywhere in the surrounding countryside.

38 Leaving the synagogue, Jesus [and his disciples] went to the house of Simon's mother-in-law because she was suffering from a high fever and they had come to him about her. 39 He stood over her and commanded the fever to go, and it left immediately, and she got up and served them.

40 As the sun went down, everyone who had anyone who was sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid hands on every one of them and healed them. 41 And demons came out of many, crying out and saying, “You are the son of God.” And cutting them off, he wouldn't allow them to speak, for they knew that he was the Anointed One. [He wanted people to reach this understanding themselves, not through the word of demons. Also, this revelation would bring such crowds that ministry would become more difficult.]

42 The next morning, Jesus went away to a place by himself [to recharge himself and hear from the Father]. The people from the crowds searched for him and came to where he was and tried to hold him back from leaving them. 43 He had told them, “I must go and preach the good news of the kingdom of God to other cities as well, for that is the purpose for which I was sent.” 44 So he continued proclaiming his message in synagogues throughout the Jewish countryside.

Discussion questions

1. Two out of the three temptations had to do with proving Jesus’ identify as God’s son. What is your identity with respect to God? How does the enemy test you to prove it?

Luke Chapter 4 discussion questions

2. Jesus makes two scripture references to show that the problem of being rejected in your home region was not unprecedented. Why did this make the people of Nazareth so mad?

3. Do you think any of the people in your church are oppressed by demons? Is the word being preached with such authority that any demons could not stand it?

Luke Chapter 5

Luke Chapter 5

Fishers of men

One day, Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret [Sea of Galilee], as the crowds pressed in close to hear the word of God. He saw two boats at rest by the lake, and the fishermen were gone from them, washing their nets [nearby]. He boarded one of the boats, which was Simon's [whom Jesus later called Peter] and asked him to pull out a little from the shore, and from there he taught the people.

Fishers of men

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Pull out into the deep, and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered him, “Teacher, we have worked hard all night and caught nothing. But even so, because you say so, I will lower the nets.” When they did so, they caught a very large number of fish, and their net was at the breaking point. So they signaled to their partners to bring the other boat and join them, and they filled both boats with the fish, to the point they were both sinking.

When Simon Peter saw this [miraculous catch], he fell at Jesus' feet and said, “Go away from me, Lord, for [you must be a holy man to do what you just did and] I am a sinful man,” for he was amazed at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were all the others who were with him, including James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with him. And Jesus said to Simon, “Don't be afraid [of what I have just done or of what I’m about to tell you]. From now on, you'll be fishing and catching men!” 11 And when they had brought their boats to shore, they abandoned them there and became his followers.

12 Later, Jesus was in another city where there was a man covered with leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he fell on his face before him, and said, “If you wanted to, you could cleanse me from this.” 13 Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said, “I do want to. Be clean!”, and immediately the leprosy left him. 14 And he instructed the man, “Tell no one what happened, but go and show yourself to the priest, and bring an offering, as Moses commanded [Leviticus 14], as a proof to the people.”

[This would be a proof that the man was indeed free of leprosy, but also proof that Jesus was the Anointed One, since no one had ever healed leprosy, and this was known as one of the signs that the Anointed One had come.] 15 But despite that [the instruction to remain silent, the man told others about what Jesus had done for him, and] the word about him circulated even more, so that great crowds came to hear him and to be healed. 16 And he went off by himself into the wilderness and prayed.

Healing and forgiveness

17 Another day, Jesus was teaching, and there were Pharisees and interpreters of the Law sitting there from towns all over Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem, and the power of God was with him for healing. [According to Mark 2:1, this was the same house he had healed Peter’s mother-in-law and others, referred to simply as “the house”.] 18 Some men carried a man who was paralyzed and laying on a mat and looked for how to lay him down before Jesus. 19 They could find no way to bring him in to Jesus through the crowd, so they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the roof tiles, in the middle of everyone, right in front of Jesus. 20 Seeing their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” [This was the opposite of Nazareth. Because someone had faith, Jesus could work powerfully. This man's illness was rooted in his sins and guilt, so being forgiven was his first step of healing.]

Healing and forgiveness

21 The scribes and the Pharisees began to question this, saying, “He has no right to say such things. God alone can forgive sins.” 22 But perceiving their reasoning, Jesus answered them, “Why are you even questioning this in your hearts? 23 Would you agree that forgiving a man is no more difficult than healing a man? 24 Then I will prove to you the Son of Man does have authority on the earth even to forgive sins.” [He was sent from heaven with the authority of God, but emptied himself to walk as only a man, and went about setting new precedents for what Holy Spirit-enabled men have the authority to do.] He turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Rise, pick up your mat, and go home.” 25 Immediately, he got up, picked up the mat he had been laying on, and left for his own house, praising God as he went. 26 Everyone was struck with amazement and awe, saying, “Today we have seen things we have never seen before!”

Call to save sinners

27 After Jesus left that place, he noticed a tax collector named Levi [also called Matthew] sitting at his collection booth, and said to him, “Follow me [and be my disciple].” 28 And, leaving everything behind, Levi got up and followed him. 29 And Levi held a great banquet in his honor, inviting a large group of tax collectors and many others to sit down at the table with them. 30 But the Pharisees and teachers of the Law grumbled to his disciples, “Why are you eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 But Jesus himself responded, saying, “It's not those in good health that need a doctor, but rather those who are sick. 32 My call is not to the righteous, but it is to bring sinners to change their minds [and live a life pleasing to God].”

Call to save sinners

33 But the Pharisees and teachers of the Law said to him, “Why do John's disciples frequently fast and pray, and so do the Pharisees' disciples, but yours just eat and drink?” 34 And Jesus said to them, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is still with them? [I am the Anointed One who comes as a bridegroom in the marriage of God's people to their God, and every day with me is a celebration. Furthermore, walking with me will make them close to God.] 35 But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and in those days they indeed will fast.” [Jesus is specifically talking about the days between his death and when he appeared to them in his resurrected body.]

New ways of doing things

36 And he gave them these illustrations, “You don't patch a piece of new fabric on an old article of clothing, because [over time the new cloth will shrink with washing and] now you have a hole in the mended clothing, and the patch of new cloth doesn't even match the old. 37 Likewise, you don't put new [fermenting] wine into old wineskins, because [fermentation makes the wine expand and] the wineskins will burst, the wine will be lost, and the wineskins ruined. 38 Instead, pour new wine into new wineskins [which can stretch as the wine ferments]. 39 And if you are used to drinking the old wine you don't want the new; instead, you'll say, ‘The old wine tastes fine.’[What I am teaching and demonstrating is new so don't expect to handle it the same way as the old doctrine you have learned. In fact, most of you are so used to the old doctrine, you will not be interested in the new.]

New ways of doing things

Discussion questions

1. If a new friend came to your place of work and miraculously showed you how to do what you normally do much better than you’d ever done it, would you be inclined to quit your job and follow him, as Peter followed Jesus?

Luke Chapter 5 discussion questions

2. Jesus shows that sin has a connection to sickness. What is it Jesus did that helped sinners get well?

3. How would you characterize how kingdom life was different with Jesus from the religious life that had been practiced before? How do you think life is to be lived in the age of the Holy Spirit?

Luke Chapte 6

Luke Chapter 6

Lord of the Sabbath

On a Sabbath day, Jesus was walking through a grain field, and his disciples were plucking the heads of grain, rubbing off the husks in their hands, and eating the grain. And some Pharisees said, “Why do you thresh wheat, which is not allowed on the Sabbath?” And Jesus answered them, “Haven't you read what David did when he and those with him were famished? How he accepted the bread in the Temple set aside to God and ate it and gave it to those with him, even though according to the Law only the priests can eat it.”

Lord of the Sabbath

[Leviticus 22 explains that only the priestly family was allowed to eat the showbread, and 1 Samuel 21 describes the story of when David talked the priest into allowing him and his men to eat the holy bread. Jesus’ point is that the Pharisee’s had no problem with King David giving precedence to preservation of life over the keeping of the Law.] And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord over the Sabbath. [In God's kingdom, the needs of men are more important than the keeping of rules. And I am the one with authority to define for you how the Sabbath is to be utilized.]

On another Sabbath day, Jesus entered a synagogue to teach, and there was a man there whose right hand was paralyzed. The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees were keeping a close watch on him to see if he would heal on the Sabbath, so they might have a basis for accusation against him [since the Law says not to work on the Sabbath, and by their interpretation, healing was work].

Knowing what they were thinking, he said to the man with the paralyzed hand, “Come over and stand in front of everyone,” and the man got up and came in front of them. And Jesus said to those gathered, “Let me ask you something. What does the Law allow on Sabbath days? Doing good? Or doing evil? Saving lives? Or destroying?” 10 And looking around at them all, he said, “Man, stretch out your hand,” and he did stretch it out, and it was completely restored. 11 This filled the scribes and Pharisees with insane anger, and they plotted with one another what they should do about Jesus.

Appointing the twelve

12 Around that time, Jesus went away to a mountain to pray, and stayed there praying all night. 13 The next day he called to himself all his followers and chose out of them twelve whom he named as apostles [which means “sent out ones” since they would be sent out to represent him] - 14 Simon (whom he also called Peter), Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, 15 Matthew and Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon called the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot who became his betrayer.

Appointing the twelve

17 And he came down from the mountain and stood in a large level area with his many followers and a great crowd of people from all over Judea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, 18 who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were harassed by unclean spirits were cured. 19 And everyone in the crowd tried to touch him because power was coming out from him there and healed them all. [The more he healed, the greater the people’s faith, but the greater their faith, the greater they drew out his power to heal.]

Reversals of fortune

20 And he lifted up his eyes to all his followers and [began to explain how the kingdom of God is so different from the world,] saying, “Be happy if you are poor, for you get the kingdom of God [and you will be poor no longer]. 21 Be happy if you are hungry now, for you will be filled. Be happy if you are weeping now, for you will laugh. 22 Be happy when men hate you, reject you, kick you out of their synagogues, and even make your name a curse because you are loyal to the Son of Man. 23 Be joyful when that happens - even jump for joy - for you have gained a great reward in heaven. This is exactly how their ancestors treated the prophets.

Reversals of fortune

24 “Be sad if you are rich, for you have received all the comfort you will get. 25 Be sad if you are full, for you will be hungry. Be sad if you are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep. 26 Be sad if all men speak well of you, for that's the same way their ancestors treated the false prophets.

How to treat others

27 “But to all of you who can hear me, I tell you, love those who oppose you. 28 Do good towards those who can't stand you. Say good things about those who are saying bad things about you and pray for those who falsely accuse you. 29 And if someone strikes you on the one cheek, [don't hit him back and make it into a fight. Instead, let him see his own anger,] offer him the other one as well. If someone takes your cloak [without asking], don't hold back from letting them have your coat as well. 30 If someone is asking you for something, give, but if someone takes what belongs to you, don't ask for it back. 31 However you would like to be treated, that's how you should treat others!

How to treat others

32 “If you love those who love you, why should you receive any reward, since even sinners love those who love them? 33 Likewise, if you treat well those who treat you well, why should you be rewarded, since even sinners do that? 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope also to receive, why should you be rewarded, since even sinners lend, hoping to receive just as much in return?

35 “But love your enemies and treat them well, lend without expecting anything back, and you will be paid well in return, and you will be children of the Most High, for he is kind to even those who are unthankful or evil. 36 Treat people with kindness even if you think they don't deserve it, for that's the way your Father treats you!

37 “Don't look for fault in others and fault won't be found in you. Don't pass judgment that someone else is guilty, or you will have judgment passed on you as well. Instead, pardon others, and you will be pardoned too. 38 Become a giver, and what you give will be given back to you, but in greater measure than you expect, as though it had been pressed down [to make more fit], shaken [to make sure it settled], and poured in over the top, into your lap, by others. The same measuring stick you use to measure out what you give will determine the measure of what you receive.”

39 And he spoke this example to them, “Can a blind person lead another blind person? Won't both end up in a ditch? 40 Well, a disciple is not better than his teacher. In fact, when he is fully taught, he will be just like his teacher. [Don't try to teach someone else how to act when your own standards are questionable.]

41 “And how can you notice a speck in your brother's eye without being aware of the huge beam that is your own? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you have that beam in your own? Hypocrite! First, take out the beam from your eye, so you can see well enough to take the speck out of your brother's eye!

43 “For [you wouldn't say] a tree is good that produces bad fruit; nor [would you say] a tree is bad that produces good fruit. 44 In fact, the type of every tree is recognized by the fruit it produces.  For example, you don't collect figs from a thorn tree, and you don't collect grapes from a bramble bush. 45 A man is good if he brings forth good things out of the storehouse of good things that are in his heart. Likewise, a man is bad if he brings forth bad things out of the storehouse of bad things that are in his heart. For it is from the overflow of the heart that a person's mouth speaks.

Building on a firm foundation

46 “I am telling you all these things, but why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ [as if you were obedient,] and then you don't follow the things that I say. 47 If someone comes to me, hears the things I am saying, and follows through on them, let me tell you what he is like. 48 He is like a man who was building a house. He dug deep so that he could put the foundation of the house on rock. When floods came, and the waters hit that house, it wasn't shaken loose, because of how well built it was. 49 But the one who hears me but doesn't do what I am saying is like a man who built his house on a foundation of earth alone, and when the floods came, his house was destroyed, and he suffered tremendous loss."

Building on a firm foundation

Discussion questions

1. How do you think Jesus would like to see the Sabbath used, based on his argument with the Pharisees and the interpreters of the Law?

Luke Chapter 6 discussion questions

2. When Jesus says to be happy if your life has difficulties now, because there is a future where it will be the opposite, do you think he is talking about a future on the earth, or in heaven?

3. How can you change and become generous in terms of kindness, thoughtfulness, forgiveness? Why does Jesus say that changing and doing these things will be like building your house on a rock?

Luke Chapter 7

Luke Chapter 7

Faith of the centurion

When Jesus had finished with his teaching that the people heard, he entered Capernaum. There was a centurion there who had a servant whom he cared about who was sick and near to death. And when the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent the elders of the Jews to ask Jesus to come and heal his servant. When they arrived, they urged Jesus, saying, “This man is worthy of your doing this, for he loves our people and has even built for us a synagogue.”

Faith of the centurion

So Jesus traveled with them, and was not far from the place, when the friends sent by the centurion came to him, saying on his behalf, “Lord, don't make any further trouble for yourself, [since Jewish ceremonial law added to the Old Testament made it unlawful for a Jew to visit a non-Jew (example Acts 10:28)] for I am not worthy for you to come under my roof. For the same reason, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you in person, but only speak one word, and my servant will be healed. I too am a man appointed to authority, for I have soldiers who report to me, and I tell this one, go, and he goes, and that one come, and he comes, and to my servant, do that, and he does it.” When Jesus heard what the centurion said, he was amazed, and turned to those who were with him and said, “I have not heard faith as great as this in Israel!” 10 And when the friends returned to the house from which they were sent, they found the servant restored to health.

Stopping a Funeral

11 The day after, Jesus went to a city called Nain [a town in Galilee not far from Nazareth], and many of his followers and quite a few of the crowd went with him. 12 As Jesus approached the gate of the city, a man who had died was being carried out. He was the only son of a widow woman, and many of the people from the city were with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he felt deep compassion and said to her, “Don't weep!” 14 And he came and put his hand on the coffin stand so that the bearers stopped, and he said, “Young man, wake up!” 15 The one who had been dead sat up and began to talk. Thus, Jesus gave him back to his mother. 16 A great fear came on all of them, and they praised God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us. God has come to visit his people.” 17 And this word traveled all around Judea and the surrounding region.

Stopping a funeral

Proof that Jesus is the one

18 John the Baptist's disciples brought the news to John about all these things. 19 John called two of his disciples to himself, and sent them off to Jesus, asking him, “Are you the ‘one to come’ [the Anointed One] or is there still another we are waiting for?” 20 When the men came to Jesus, they told him exactly what John the Baptist had sent them to ask, “Are you the ‘one to come’ or is there still another we are waiting for?”

Proof that Jesus is te one

21 While they were there, Jesus healed many who were sick and suffering as well as those afflicted by evil spirits, and he restored the sight to many who were blind. 22 Then Jesus said to those who came from John, “Go back and tell John what you have seen and heard - the blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor [just as Isaiah predicted concerning the Anointed One in Isaiah 61:1]. 23 And blessed is the man who does not fail to recognize me!”

24 When John's messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? Only a [natural wonder like a] reed shaking in the wind? 25 What did you really go out to see? A man wearing soft robes? Men that look great and live in luxury are found in kings' palaces. 26 Then what did you really go out to see? A prophet, I tell you! And he was more than a prophet, 27 he was the one who fulfilled the scripture [in Isaiah 40:3], ‘See the one who comes before your appearing, who shall prepare the way before you.’ 28 I tell you, of those born of women [the whole human race], no one has lived who is greater than John the Baptist. Yet despite how great he is, the least regarded person in the kingdom of God [anyone has become my disciples and is doing the Isaiah 61 kingdom ministry] is greater than John.”

29 The common people who heard him, including even tax collectors, showed they believed the righteousness of God [that John presented] by being baptized with his baptism. 30 But the Pharisees and experts in the Law rejected God's counsel about themselves and were not baptized.

Forgiveness and love

31 [Jesus described how the Jewish leaders avoided responding to God’s invitation,] “The men of this generation - to whom shall I compare them? 32 They are like children in a public place, sitting around and challenging one another, ‘Hey, I played happy music, but you wouldn't dance.  Then I sang sad music, but you wouldn't mourn.’ [It's impossible to please you!] 33 John the Baptist came but didn't eat bread or drink strong drink, and you say he must have a demon. 34 The Son of Man comes both eating and drinking [with the common people], and you say, ‘Look, a man who is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35 But wisdom is proven by all her children.” [Jesus and John were quite different from one another, yet both had wisdom that came from God.]

Forgiveness and love

36 One of the Pharisees invited him to eat, so Jesus came, entered the Pharisee's house, and reclined for the meal. 37 There was a woman of that city who, when she found out that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment. 38 Positioned behind Jesus, at his feet, she wept, and washed his feet with her tears, wiped them dry with her hair, and then kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now, when the Pharisee who had invited him witnessed this, he said to himself, “If this man were truly a prophet, he would have known who this woman is and what kind of person, since she is a sinner who has touched him [and made him unclean].”

[Each of the gospel writers tells a story of Jesus being anointed by a woman – in Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, Luke 7:35-50, John 12:1-8. Only Matthew and Mark’s stories are almost exactly the same. All of the stories have elements in common as well as differences. Matthew, Mark, and John all take place in Bethany, and in all there is anger at the waste of the valuable ointment. Luke’s story is implied to be in Galilee and focuses on the “woman of sin”. In Matthew and Mark, Jesus’ head is anointed. In Luke and John, Jesus’ feet are anointed. John is clear that it is Mary the sister of Lazarus who does the anointing. It seems most likely that Luke is recounting one story concerning the love and forgiveness of a formerly sinful woman, and the others Gospel writers are telling a second story about anointing Jesus for his soon coming burial. Perhaps Simon the Leper hosted the party in Bethany for Lazarus and Jesus. Perhaps Mary anointed both Jesus’ head and feet, and each writer recorded a different memory of the occasion.]

40 And Jesus, answering [this unspoken question], said, “Simon, I have something to say to you,” and Simon replied, “Teacher, go ahead and speak.” 41 [Jesus said,] “Once there were two men who owed money to the same lender. One owed five hundred denarii and the other owed fifty denarii. 42 When neither one of them could pay him, he graciously forgave their debt. Which one do you suppose will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one who was forgiven more.” Jesus said, “You have judged correctly.”

44 Turning to the woman, but speaking to Simon, Jesus said, “Do you see this woman? You provided no water to wash my feet when I came to your house, but this woman has washed my feet with her tears and then dried them with her hair. 45 You never greeted me with a kiss, but she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You didn't anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 I tell you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, and so she loves much, but he who has been forgiven little, loves little.”

48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 And those that sat at the meal with him began to say to themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 Jesus then said to the woman, “Your faith has made you whole. [Wholeness means an absence of sin and guilt as well as no sickness.] Go in peace.”

Discussion questions

1. The centurion with the sick servant has confidence in Jesus’ authority. But, generally the authority of men is carried out by someone going and carrying out orders. How does Jesus’ authority work at a distance? Furthermore, where does Jesus even say the word to heal the servant?

Luke Chapter 7 discussion questions

2. Why do you think Jesus saw John the Baptist, who did no miracles, as greater than Moses and Elijah and the other prophets? Why does he say that any of us in the kingdom of God (those who follow Jesus as Lord and do his ministry) are greater than even John the Baptist? Do you believe that?

3. Why did Jesus imply the woman who anointed his feet already had been forgiven much, but then Jesus told her, “Your sins are forgiven”? What do you think kept Simon from also having his sins forgiven?

Luke Chapter 8

Luke Chapter 8

Jesus’ traveling band

Afterwards, Jesus traveled to each city and town, where he proclaimed and demonstrated the good news of the kingdom. The twelve were with him, and certain women who had been healed from evil spirits and physical infirmities, including Mary called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had been cast out, Joanna who was the wife of Herod's steward Chuza, and many others, who ministered to him out of what they owned.

Jesus' traveling band

Story of the sower

And when a large crowd had gathered together of people from every city and town, Jesus spoke to them through this story. “A sower went out to sow his seed, and as he spread it, some fell to the side of the field, on the path, where it was trampled, and birds came and ate it. And some seed fell where there were rocks, and when it sprouted, it quickly dried up, because it lacked moisture. And some seed fell among thorns, and they grew together, but the thorns choked the seedlings. And some seed fell in good soil, where it grew and produced a hundred times as much fruit as seed.” When he finished saying these things, he cried out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” [This was a deliverance declaration that Jesus often made to clear people’s ability to hear and understand.]

Story of the sower

And his disciples asked him, “What is this story about?” 10 He replied, “To you [who are eagerly seeking him,] God has granted that you should understand the mysteries of the kingdom, but to the others only stories, so that [as Isaiah 6:9 tells us] 'seeing, they may not see, and hearing they may not hear' [there is a veil over the truth that they will only remove if they are truly seeking]."

11 “Now, here is the [key to the] story. The seed is the word of God. 12 Those on the path by the side of the field are the ones who hear the word and the devil comes and snatches the word from their hearts to keep them from believing and being made whole. 13 Those among the rocks are the ones who hear the word and receive it joyfully, but they have no roots, so for a while they believe, but when temptation comes, they fall away. 14 Those among the thorns are the ones who hear the word but go forth with cares, and riches, and pleasures of this world, which suffocate the life from them, and no fruit is brought forth to completion. 15 But those in the good soil are the ones with good and caring hearts, who when they hear the word, are careful to follow it, and patiently endure until they bring forth much fruit.

16 “No one lights a candle and then hides it under a basket or puts it under their bed, but instead they place it on a candlestick, so that whoever comes in can see by the light. [Once you do understand the truth, don't keep it to yourself, but live in a way that demonstrates that truth to everyone.] 17 For there is nothing secret that shall not be revealed, nothing hidden that shall not become visible and come completely out into the open. [If you keep seeking, every mystery will be revealed to you, and eventually it will be fully clear to you.] 18 Watch how you hear, for notice that more is given to those who already have, and to those who have little, even what they do have will be removed. [However, the way you personally listen and put into practice, building on what you have already understood, will determine whether you add to that truth, or forget the little you thought you understood.]

19 Then his family tried to come to him but could not get to him because of the crowd of people. 20 And someone told him his mother and family were waiting for him beyond the crowd, wanting to see him. 21 And he replied, “My mother and family are those which hear the word of God and then do it! [I am more closely related to those hungry for following God than I am those to whom I am related only by blood.]

Deliverance of the demoniac

22 On another day, Jesus boarded one of the boats with his disciples and he said to them, “Let's cross over to the other side”, and so they launched forth. 23 As they sailed, he fell asleep, but then a storm with great wind came upon them, and the boat was nearly swamped, and they were in danger. 24 So they came to him and woke him, saying, “Master, we are all going to be destroyed.” He rose and spoke sharply a commandment to the wind and the waves, and they ceased, and it was calm. 25 He said to them, “Where is your faith [and why didn't you exercise it]?” They were all afraid and amazed, saying, “What kind of man is this, who commands even the wind and the waves, and they obey him?”

Deliverance of he demoniac

26 They arrived at the territory of the Gerasenes which was across the Sea of Galilee [on the eastern shore]. 27 When Jesus went forth on the land, he encountered a man there from the town who had demons [that controlled him], and who for a long time had been naked and homeless, living among the tombs. 28 When the man saw Jesus, he came and prostrated himself before him, crying out with a loud voice, “What are you going to do with me, Jesus, son of the Most High God? I beg you, don't torture me!”, 29 for Jesus had already commanded the spirit to come out of the man. Often, others had caught the man and put him in chains and shackles, but he had broken his bonds, and the demon had driven him away from everyone.

30 And Jesus asked him [the demon controlling the man], “What is your name?” And the man said, “Legion,” for he had many demons inside of him. [The one of them who spoke through the man was the controlling demon.] 31 And the demons kept begging Jesus to not command them into the bottomless pit [the ultimate destination for demons at the end of time]. 32 There was a herd of many pigs feeding on the hillside nearby, and the demons begged him to permit them to enter them, and he gave them permission. 33 Then the demons all left the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd ran down the slope into the lake and drowned. [These demons' nature was to bring destruction - though the man probably became inhabited by demons through idol worship. He had been strong enough to resist killing himself even though he was otherwise controlled by them.]

34 Those who tended the pigs saw what had happened and ran away, telling what they had seen both in the city and the surrounding countryside. 35 Some who heard came to find out what had happened, so they came to Jesus, and found the man who had been delivered from the demons sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid [for they wondered what power could accomplish this].

36 Those who had seen what happened explained the method by which Jesus had delivered the man from the demons [by casting them into the pigs]. 37 Then all the people from the land of the Gerasenes were taken with great fear and asked him to leave their territory, so he got into the boat to leave. 38 The man from whom Jesus had delivered the demons asked if he could come with him, but Jesus sent him back instead, telling him, 39 “Return to your home and tell others what great things God has done for you.” And the man did what he was told, going throughout the city, declaring to everyone what great things Jesus had done for him.

40 When Jesus returned to the other side of the lake, the people were happy to see him for they had eagerly anticipated his return. 41 A man named Jairus came to him, one of the leaders of the synagogue, and he fell at Jesus' feet, urging him to come to his house, 42 for his only daughter, about twelve years old, lay dying.

Woman healed of flow of blood

Woman healed of flow of blood

43 But as they went, many people crowded around him. And there was a woman, who had a flow of blood for the last twelve years, and had spent her life savings on doctors, but none had been able to heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the tassel of his cloak [, believing that just touching his clothing could heal her,] and immediately the flow of blood dried up.

45 And Jesus immediately said, “Who touched me?” Peter replied, “Teacher, the crowd is all around you and right up against you as we walk.” 46 And Jesus said, “I know someone touched me, because I felt power go out of me.” 47 And when the woman saw that she had been discovered, she came trembling and bowed down before him, and she confessed before all the people the reason she had touched him and how she had been healed. [Leviticus 15:25-27 says that her flow of blood would cause Jesus to be unclean.] 48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your believing has made you well. Go in peace”[, releasing her from any guilt for touching him and commending her for her faith].

Raising Jairus' daughter

Raising Jairus’ daughter

49 While he was still speaking, someone came from the synagogue leader's house and said, “Your daughter is dead. No need to trouble the master any further. [There's nothing he can do now.]50 When Jesus heard that, he responded, “Don't be afraid. Just believe, and your daughter will be made well.” 51 When he came into the house, he didn't allow anyone else to go in, except for Peter, James, and John, and the father and mother of the girl.

52 And all [the others that were there] were weeping and beating themselves with grief for her. But Jesus said to them, “She isn't dead, but has only fallen asleep. [I can easily wake her up.] 53 And they ridiculed him, knowing that she had died. 54 And he took the girl by the hand and said to her, “Child, wake up!” 55 Her spirit returned to her body and she immediately got up, and he gave the order for them to give her some food. 56 Her parents were amazed, but he told them all emphatically that no one should talk about what had happened. [He didn't want additional publicity at the time.]

Luke Chapter 8 discussion questions

Discussion questions

1. Does it surprise you that Jesus traveled with women among his followers? Do you think that would have caused any problems? Why do you suppose that none of these were counted among the twelve that became apostles?

2. When you learn new truth from God’s word, how can you make sure that you remember it and incorporate it into your life?

3. Why do you think Jesus needed to send the demons into the pigs? What affect do you think Jesus had in the region on the other side of the lake by delivering the demons out of the man?

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