Bailey, Kenneth E.. The Cross & the Prodigal: Luke 15 Through the eyes of Middle Eastern Peasants, second edition. (IVP Books, Downers Grove IL, 2005).
————————- Finding the Lost Cultural Keys to Luke 15. (Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis MO, 1992).
————————- Jacob and the Prodigal: How Jesus Retold Israel’s Story. (Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove IL, 2003).
Byrne, Brendan. The Hospitality of God: a Reading of Luke’s Gospel. (Liturgical Press, 2000 , Collegeville MN).
Craddock, Fred B. Luke. Part of Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching edited by James L. Mays. (John Knox Press, Louisville, 1990).
Culy, Martin M., Mikeal C. Parsons, and Joshua J. Stigall. Luke: A Handbook on the Greek Text. (Baylor University Press, 2010, Waco TX).
Fitzmyer, Joseph A. The Gospel According to Luke I – IX. A New translation with Introduction and commentary. Part of the Anchor Bible Commentary Series edited by W. F. Albright and David Noel Freedman. (Doubleday, New York, 1970).
————————– The Gospel According to Luke X – XXIV. A New translation with Introduction and commentary. Part of the Anchor Bible Commentary Series edited by W. F. Albright and David Noel Freedman. (Doubleday, New York, 1985).
Gillman, John. Luke: Stories of Joy and Salvation. Part of the Spiritual Commentaries on the Bible series edited by Mary Ann Getty-Sullivan. (New City Press, Hyde Park NY, 2002).
Gonzalez, Justo L. Luke. Part of the Belief: A theological commentary on the Bible series, Amy Plantinga Pauw and William C. Placher General Editors. (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2010).
Hendrickx, Herman. The Third Gospel for the Third World. (Liturgical Press, Collegeville MN, 1997).
- Volume One – Luke 1:1-2:52
- Volume Two – A Luke 3:1-6:49
- Volume Two – B Luke 7:1-9:50
- Volume Three – A Luke 9:51-13:21
- Volume Three – B Luke 13:22-17:10
- Volume Three-C Luke 17:11-19:44
- Volume Four – A Luke 19:45-21:38
Johnson, Luke Timothy. The Gospel of Luke. Part of the Sacra Pagina biblical commentary series edited by Daniel J. Harrington S.J.. (Liturgical Press, Collegeville MN, 1991).
Levine, Amy-Jill and Marc Zvi Brettler editors. The Jewish Annotated New Testament / New Revised Standard Version Bible Translation. (Oxford University Press, New York, 2011).
Marshall, I. Howard. The Gospel of Luke. Part of the New International Greek Testament Commentary (NIGTC) series edited by I. Howard Marshall and Donald A. Hagner. (Eerdmans, 1978, Grand Rapids MI)
McKenna, Megan. Luke: The Book of Blessings and Woes. (New City Press, Hyde Park NY, 2009).
Patella, Michael F.. The Gospel According to Luke. Part of the New Collegeville Bible Commentary edited by Daniel Durken O.S.B. (Liturgical Press, Collegeville MN, 2005).
Walker, Thomas W.. Luke. Part of the Interpretation Bible Studies series . (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2001).
Healing of Centurion’s Slave
Byrne p. 70: “This conforms to the general schema in Luke where Jesus, in his histor4ical life, does not deal with the Gentile world but models patterns of outreach later to be played out when, after Pentecost, the disciples carry the good news to that world. The episode invites Gentile hearers of the Gospel to identify with the centurion and his commendable faith. Like the centurion, they do not enjoy physical contact with Jesus, but faith enables them to access the hospitality of God reaching out to them and their households.”
The centurion was probably in a category of folks known as “God-fearers” – Gentiles who obeyed as much of the Jewish Law as they could but who did not convert (due to circumcision requirement, profession, or some other reason). This category made up many of the early Christian converts and was likely the reason St. Paul always started in the synagogues of the cities that he visited. (God-fearers could attend synagogue services.)
Jesus heals – in the prophetic tradition, through the power of the Spirit of God
2 Kings 5: 1-14
Naaman, the army commander of the king of Aram, was highly esteemed and respected by his master, for through him the LORD had brought victory to Aram. But valiant as he was, the man was a leper. Now the Arameans had captured from the land of Israel in a raid a little girl, who became the servant of Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would present himself to the prophet in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” Naaman went and told his master, “This is what the girl from the land of Israel said. ”The king of Aram said, “Go. I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman set out, taking along ten silver talents, six thousand gold pieces, and ten festal garments.
He brought the king of Israel the letter, which read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” When he read the letter, the king of Israel tore his garments and exclaimed: “Am I a god with power over life and death, that this man should send someone for me to cure him of leprosy? Take note! You can see he is only looking for a quarrel with me!” When Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had torn his garments, he sent word to the king: “Why have you torn your garments? Let him come to me and find out that there is a prophet in Israel.”
Naaman came with his horses and chariot and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent him the message: “Go and wash seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will heal, and you will be clean.” But Naaman went away angry, saying, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand there to call on the name of the LORD his God, and would move his hand over the place, and thus cure the leprous spot. Are not the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be cleansed?”* With this, he turned about in anger and left.
But his servants came up and reasoned with him: “My father, if the prophet told you to do something extraordinary, would you not do it? All the more since he told you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times, according to the word of the man of God. His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
Raising of Widow’s Son
This miracle occurs only in Luke – part of his special source.
Byrne p. 70: “Jewish society considered widows particularly vulnerable; the Law singled them out for concern. But the situation of a woman who had lost not only her husband but her only son as well was extreme. It is the plight of the woman rather than her son that draws Jesus’ concern.”
1 Kings 17: 17-24
Some time later the son of the woman, the owner of the house, fell sick, and his sickness grew more severe until he stopped breathing. So she said to Elijah, “Why have you done this to me, man of God? Have you come to me to call attention to my guilt and to kill my son?” Elijah said to her, “Give me your son.” Taking him from her lap, he carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his own bed. He called out to the LORD: “LORD, my God, will you afflict even the widow with whom I am staying by killing her son?” Then he stretched himself out upon the child three times and he called out to the LORD: “LORD, my God, let the life breath return to the body of this child.” The LORD heard the prayer of Elijah; the life breath returned to the child’s body and he lived. Taking the child, Elijah carried him down into the house from the upper room and gave him to his mother. Elijah said, “See! Your son is alive.” The woman said to Elijah, “Now indeed I know that you are a man of God, and it is truly the word of the LORD that you speak.”
Messengers from John the Baptist
Here John the Baptist does not appear to know Jesus is the Messiah. Byrne, p. 71, suggests it is because John had imagined a Messiah full of judgment and wrath and therefore was doubting that Jesus was the one.
Jesus responds to John’s messengers by referring to Isaiah’s vision in Isaiah 61.
Isaiah 61: 1,2
The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me;
He has sent me to bring good news to the afflicted,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
release to the prisoners,
To announce a year of favor from the LORD
and a day of vindication by our God;
To comfort all who mourn;
Has John “taken offence” at Jesus? Or someone else? Byrne p. 71, 72 suggests that John can’t make the shift from OT to NT, is the last of the OT. Therefore, in the next unit, the least in the kingdom to come is greater than he is.
Jesus’ testimony about John
Byrne p. 72: “In the divine plan of salvation John’s ministry was meant to prepare for that of Jesus by breaking the outer shell, as it were, of human resistance. The common people, by and large, including outcasts like the tax collectors, accepted John’s message and the baptism of repentance he offered; they thereby came under the scope of God’s saving plan. The Pharisees and the lawyers, on the other hand, frustrated that plan by refusing to submit to it.”
Jesus uses John to set up the Pharisees – you didn’t like or follow him and complained, you don’t like or follow me and complained in the opposite way. Make up your mind!!! Like the older son in Prodigal Son story – they hear the music and feasting but they choose to stay outside.
Pardon of the Sinful Woman
So, who has accepted the call from John / Jesus? Sinners, not Pharisees. Who is being hospitable? Who is responding to God’s hospitality?
Byrne p. 74 says this is NOT Mary Magdelene. He also points out that she has not earned forgiveness – that it came first along with acceptance and these are what generated her response of love.
Byrne p. 75: “Jesus, the divine visitor to the world, comes as guest to this house but receives little or no hospitality from the one who as host ought to have provided it. A person publicly known as a sinner – one, therefore, on the margins- is drawn to the occasion. Though certainly not welcomed by the Pharisee, she has sensed – correctly, asi it turns out- that a wider, deeper welcome (“acceptance”) awaits her.”
Byrne p. 76,77: “From a feminist perspective, this brief notice will not be particularly appealing. There is a suggestion that women are prone to mental illness; their role seems to be the auxiliary one of providing for Jesus and those (the male disciples) who had “left all and followed him” (5:11). At the level of interpretation, these problems cannot be denied. At the same time it is important to note what is likely to have been Luke’s intention at this point. In comparison with men, women in the ancient world belong to the margins of society. … is that among the marginalized who received healing from Jesus and responded with generous service were a significant number of women.”
Johnson p. 131 – no reason to connect Mary of Magdala to the sinful woman in previous passage.
Parable of the Sower
The parable presents the reality of sowing in Israel. There are an amazing number of rocks out there in the fields!
Byrne p. 79: “How can he afford to be so careless and wild? Because he knows that the yield from the seed that falls into good ground will abundantly compensate for all that is lost.”
Purpose of Parables and Parable of Sower Explained
Johnson p. 132: “The disciples are given an explanation, but the rest must be content with the coded language of the parables. The motif of secrecy is only vestigial in Luke.” Meaning that the “messianic secret” of Mark has been mostly left behind in Luke but rears up here.
General critical scholarship holds that explanations of parables are post-resurrection thoughts of the early church / gospel writer. The fundamental rule is that symbols in liturgy / poetry etc. can’t be and shouldn’t be “explained”, nor should parables. Intent of Jesus would have been to get folks to think on their own.
Parable of the Lamp
2 Samuel 22:29: 29
You are my lamp, O LORD!
My God brightens the darkness about me.
With you I can rush an armed band,
with my God to help I can leap a wall.
God’s way is unerring;
the LORD’s promise is tried and true;
he is a shield for all who trust in him.
Jesus and Family
Byrne p. 80: “Jesus’ response is not a tribute to his mother’s faith; nor, on the other hand, is it a put down or slight. Jesus uses the occasion of his family’s approach to make a wonderful point: those who hear the word that he is preaching and keep it in the way the parable (the sower) commends, make up his new family.”
Calming of the Storm
It is fairly likely that none of them could swim.
Byrne p. 81: “In the ancient world water out of control was a standard symbol of chaos. In rebuking and calming the sea, Jesus exercises a power that the biblical tradition accords to the Creator.”
Genesis 1: 1-9
In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth and the earth was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters. Then God said: Let there be light, and there was light. God saw that the light was good. God then separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” Evening came, and morning followed—the first day.
Then God said: Let there be a dome in the middle of the waters, to separate one body of water from the other. God made the dome, and it separated the water below the dome from the water above the dome. And so it happened. God called the dome “sky.” Evening came, and morning followed—the second day.
Then God said: Let the water under the sky be gathered into a single basin, so that the dry land may appear. And so it happened: the water under the sky was gathered into its basin, and the dry land appeared.
Healing of Gerasene Demoniac
Jesus operates now in Gentile territory, the man possessed by demons is likely a Gentile. Pigs are not found in Jewish territories – pigs become a marker of foreign lands (Prodigal son story).
Byrne p. 82: “The one who before had no home save the abode of the dead is sent back to his home and told to make it a little beachhead of the hospitality of God. Through his living witness, the people of the city will have a second chance to access God’s grace.”
Healing of Jairus’ Daughter and Woman with Hemorrhage
Five miracle stories in a short space of the gospel – Jesus over death, over nature, over demons, over incurable illness, and over death again. Establishes all that needs to be established.