Luke has Jesus tell another parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector that is only found in this gospel. Luke indicated that Jesus said (Εἶπεν δὲ) that some people trusted in themselves (Εἶπεν δὲ καὶ πρός τινας τοὺς πεποιθότας ἐφ’ ἑαυτοῖς) that they were righteous (ὅτι εἰσὶν δίκαιοι). They regarded or despised others with contempt (καὶ ἐξουθενοῦντας τοὺς λοιποὺς). Thus, here was this parable (τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην) for them. Jesus explicitly called this a parable that was meant for these self-righteous people who trusted in themselves. At the same time, they looked down on others. Do you look down on others?
Luke indicated that Jesus said that it would be better for anyone (λυσιτελεῖ αὐτῷ) if a stone from a mill (εἰ λίθος μυλικὸς) were hung around their neck (περίκειται περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ). Luke alone used the term μυλικὸς meaning mill. They should be thrown into the sea (καὶ ἔρριπται εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν), rather than cause one of these little ones to stumble (ἢ ἵνα σκανδαλίσῃ τῶν μικρῶν τούτων ἕνα). This saying about causing little believing children to sin or stumble can also be found in Mark, chapter 9:42, and Matthew, chapter 18:6, with some minor changes, with Matthew closer to Mark. Matthew indicated that Jesus said that if anyone of them caused these little ones, who believed in him, to stumble, to sin, or be scandalized (ὃς δ’ ἂν σκανδαλίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων τῶν πιστευόντων εἰς ἐμέ), it would be better for them to fasten a great heavy millstone around their necks (συμφέρει αὐτῷ ἵνα κρεμασθῇ μύλος ὀνικὸς περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ) and thus sink and be drowned in the deep sea (καὶ καταποντισθῇ ἐν τῷ πελάγει τῆς θαλάσσης). Mark indicated that Jesus said that if anyone of them caused these little ones, who believed in him, to be scandalized or stumble (Καὶ ὃς δ’ ἂν σκανδαλίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων τῶν πιστευόντων), it would be better for them (καλόν ἐστιν αὐτῷ μᾶλλον) to fasten a great heavy millstone around their necks (εἰ περίκειται μύλος ὀνικὸς περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ). They should be thrown or cast into the deep sea (καὶ βέβληται εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν). Causing the believing little children to sin meant it was better for that person to die in deep water with a heavy millstone around their neck. This millstone was a stone for grinding various grains. Luke never mentioned that they were believing little ones, just little ones. Have you ever caused little children to sin?
Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said that if their whole body (εἰ οὖν τὸ σῶμά σου) was full of light (ὅλον φωτεινόν), with no part in total darkness (μὴ ἔχον μέρος τι σκοτεινόν), it will be full of light (ἔσται φωτεινὸν ὅλον). Thus, it will be like a lamp (ὡς ὅταν ὁ λύχνος) that shines or gives light with its rays (τῇ ἀστραπῇ φωτίζῃ σε). Many ancient societies believed that the eye was the source of the light for seeing. If there was no darkness in a person, they would be like a bright light. Notice, that throughout history, holy people were usually portrayed with a halo light around them, emphasizing light and goodness. This was an inner light that would shine with its bright light. Your body would be like a lampstand shining light on the whole world. Do you light up a room when you arrive?
Luke alone went on to a further explanation about the question or meaning of neighbor. He said that this lawyer wanted to justify himself (ὁ δὲ θέλων δικαιῶσαι ἑαυτὸν) and his earlier question. He asked Jesus (εἶπεν πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν) point blank, ‘Who is my neighbor (Καὶ τίς ἐστίν μου πλησίον)?’ This question has haunted Christians for centuries. Were these very Jewish people their neighbors? Were only those who believed exactly like them their neighbors? The answer will be clear as this story unfolds. Who do you think your neighbor is?
Luke said that while the young man was coming to Jesus (ἔτι δὲ προσερχομένου αὐτοῦ), the demon threw him down to the ground (ἔρρηξεν αὐτὸν τὸ δαιμόνιον) with convulsions (καὶ συνεσπάραξεν). But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit (πετίμησεν δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς τῷ πνεύματι τῷ ἀκαθάρτῳ). He healed the boy (καὶ ἰάσατο τὸν παῖδα). He gave him back to his father (καὶ ἀπέδωκεν αὐτὸν τῷ πατρὶ αὐτοῦ). Both Matthew, chapter 17:18 and Luke here have a summary of a more detailed longer statement from Mark, chapter 9:20-27, about this mute epileptic boy. Mark said that they brought the boy to Jesus. However, when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it immediately convulsed the boy. The boy fell on the ground and began to roll around, foaming at the mouth. In fact, Jesus got to see what the father had described to him earlier. Jesus asked the father of this boy how long had these convulsions been happening to him. The father said that it had been happening since his childhood. This evil spirit would often cast him into both fire and water, as Matthew had mentioned, in order to destroy him. Then the father asked Jesus, if he was able to do anything to help his son. He wanted Jesus to have pity and compassion on him and his son. Jesus said to him that all things could be done for the one who believed. Belief was the key ingredient for any success in this area. The father of the child cried out that he believed, but he wanted help with his unbelief. This was a strong statement of belief that also recognized unbelief at the same time. Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit. He directly commanded this unclean evil spirit that had kept this boy from speaking and hearing to come out of him, never again to enter him. Jesus then got rid of the unclean spirit that was in this boy in a public act in front of a crowd. After crying out and terribly convulsing the boy with spasms, the evil spirit came out of the boy, who became a corpse. Most of the people said that the boy was dead. Could this boy live without the evil spirit in him? Jesus took the boy by the hand. He lifted him up, so that he rose up, and was able to stand up on his feet by himself. The boy was not dead. There was a clear equivalence between the illness of epilepsy and demonic possession. Once the devil or evil spirits had left the boy, he was cured of his various ailments. Have you ever dealt with an epileptic?
Luke indicated that Herod said (εἶπεν δὲ Ἡρῴδης) that he had beheaded John (Ἰωάνην ἐγὼ ἀπεκεφάλισα). Who then was this Jesus (τίς δέ ἐστιν οὗτος) about whom he had heard such things (περὶ οὗ ἀκούω τοιαῦτα)? He wanted to see Jesus (καὶ ἐζήτει ἰδεῖν αὐτόν). There is nothing like this in Matthew, but in Mark, chapter 6:16, there was something similar. King Herod had his own opinion. He believed that Jesus was John resurrected. Mark said that when Herod heard about this, he had no doubt. He said that it was John, whom he beheaded, that was raised up in Jesus. Herod saw an equivalence between John the Baptist and Jesus. Thus, here in Luke, he wanted to see Jesus, which was not in the other gospel stories. How would you compare John the Baptist to Jesus?
Luke said that those friends of the centurion, who had been sent to Jesus (οἱ πεμφθέντες), returned to the centurion’s house (καὶ ὑποστρέψαντες εἰς τὸν οἶκον). There, they found the slave in good health (εὗρον τὸν δοῦλον ὑγιαίνοντα). There is a slightly different ending to this healing of the centurion’s servant in Matthew, chapter 8:13, where Jesus talked about the failure of the sons of Abraham. He then told the centurion to go home. The healing was going to take place as he had believed that it would. Simply the word of Jesus, not his presence would cure his servant. Then Matthew indicated that at that very moment, at that very hour, the servant was healed, without the presence of Jesus. In both gospel stories, the servant was healed without Jesus being physically present to do so, due to the great faith of this non-Israelite Roman centurion person. What kind of faith do you have?
Luke had Elizabeth praise Mary. Elizabeth said that Mary was blessed or happy (καὶ μακαρία) because she believed (ἡ πιστεύσασα) that what had been told her (τοῖς λελαλημένοις αὐτῇ) from the Lord (παρὰ Κυρίου) was going to happen or be fulfilled (ὅτι ἔσται τελείωσις). Mary believed everything that the angel of the Lord had said to her. Elizabeth praised her and called her a happy blessed person because of her belief.
Only this long Mark addition has these comments about what the disciples of Jesus would be able to do. This addition to Mark indicated that Jesus said that these signs (σημεῖα) would accompany (παρακολουθήσει) those who believed (δὲ τοῖς πιστεύσασιν ταῦτα) in the name of Jesus (ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου). They would be able to cast out demons (δαιμόνια ἐκβαλοῦσιν,). They would also be able to speak in new tongues (γλώσσαις λαλήσουσιν καιναῖς). Certainly, the early Christians believed that these actions would be important among the followers of Jesus. They would be able to cast out evil spirits and speak in tongues.
This argument among the Jewish leaders can be found in Matthew, chapter 21:25, and Luke, chapter 20:5, almost word for word. Mark said that the high priests, Scribes, and the elders argued or discussed with each other (καὶ διελογίζοντο πρὸς ἑαυτοὺς). If they said that his baptism was from heaven (λέγοντες·Ἐὰν εἴπωμεν Ἐξ οὐρανοῦ), then Jesus would ask them why they had not believed in John the Baptist (ἐρεῖ Διὰ τί οὖν οὐκ ἐπιστεύσατε αὐτῷ)? This was a real option, but one they did not want to take.