Luke said that the Scribes (οἱ γραμματεῖς) and the chief priests (καὶ οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς) wanted to lay hands on Jesus (Καὶ ἐζήτησαν…ἐπιβαλεῖν ἐπ’ αὐτὸν τὰς χεῖρας) at that very hour (ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ,). However, they feared the people (καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν τὸν λαόν). There is something similar in Matthew chapter 21:46, and Mark, chapter 12:12. However, there are different groups named in each gospel. Mark said that the unnamed “they” were trying or seeking to get a hold of or arrest Jesus (Καὶ ἐζήτουν αὐτὸν κρατῆσαι). However, they were afraid of the crowd (καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν τὸν ὄχλον). Thus, they left him (καὶ ἀφέντες αὐτὸν) and went away (ἀπῆλθον). Matthew said that the chief priests and the Pharisees wanted to arrest or seize Jesus (καὶ ζητοῦντες αὐτὸν κρατῆσαι). However, they feared the crowds (ἐφοβήθησαν τοὺς ὄχλους) who regarded him as if he were a prophet (ἐπεὶ εἰς προφήτην αὐτὸν εἶχον). In fact, the idea of Jesus as a prophet still exists until today, but Matthew was the only one who called him a prophet. Luke had named the chief priests and the Scribes, but not the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the elders or presbyters. Mark simply used the vague “they”. Matthew, on the other hand, had the chief priests and the Pharisees seeking Jesus, but not the Scribes, the Sadducees, the elders or presbyters. This was an assertion that the various Jewish religious leaders were out to get Jesus. Are you out to get anyone?
Luke said that these chief priests, Scribes, and other leaders could not find anything (καὶ οὐχ εὕρισκον τὸ) that they could do (τὸ τί ποιήσωσιν), since all the people were spellbound or hanging on the words that they heard from Jesus (ὁ λαὸς γὰρ ἅπας ἐξεκρέμετο αὐτοῦ ἀκούων). Once again, this word ἐξεκρέμετο, meaning to hang from, hang upon the lips of a speaker, to listen closely or hang out, is only found in Luke, and not in any other Greek biblical writings. There was something similar in Mark, chapter 11:17. Mark said that the leaders were afraid of Jesus (ἐφοβοῦντο γὰρ αὐτόν), because the whole crowd (πᾶς γὰρ ὁ ὄχλος) was spellbound or astonished (ἐξεπλήσσετο) by his teaching (πὶ τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ). There was nothing like this in Matthew. Have you ever heard a speaker who was spellbinding to you?
Only Luke mentioned this problem with the Pharisees. Some of the Pharisees (καί τινες τῶν Φαρισαίων) who were in the crowd (ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου) spoke to Jesus (εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν), calling him teacher (Διδάσκαλε). They asked him to contain, rebuke, or order his disciples to stop (ἐπιτίμησον τοῖς μαθηταῖς σου) with their shouts. Notice that Luke mentioned that these Pharisees were in the crowd with his disciples. They also were respectful, calling Jesus a teacher. However, they wanted his disciples to stop this public display of affection for Jesus. They felt that only Jesus could put an end to this boisterous celebration. Have you ever been to an outdoor religious celebration?
Luke uniquely indicated that Zacchaeus was trying to see Jesus (καὶ ἐζήτει ἰδεῖν τὸν Ἰησοῦν) and figure out who he was (τίς ἐστιν). However, he could not (καὶ οὐκ ἠδύνατο), due to the crowd (ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου) around Jesus. Besides, Zacchaeus was a short person (ὅτι τῇ ἡλικίᾳ μικρὸς ἦν). This short rich tax collector, Zacchaeus, could not see Jesus because of the crowd around him. This was and is a problem for all small people. Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus. What do you think about small people?
Luke indicated that those who were in front of the crowd (καὶ οἱ προάγοντες) sternly ordered the blind beggar (ἐπετίμων αὐτῷ) to be quiet (ἵνα σιγήσῃ). Instead, he shouted out more loudly (αὐτὸς δὲ πολλῷ μᾶλλον ἔκραζεν) the same message “Son of David (Υἱὲ Δαυείδ)! Have mercy on me (ἐλέησόν με)!” Both Mark, chapter 10:48, and Matthew, chapter 20:31, have something similar. Mark said that many in the crowd rebuked, admonished, or ordered Bartimaeus to be quiet or silent (καὶ ἐπετίμων αὐτῷ πολλοὶ ἵνα σιωπήσῃ). But he shouted out even more loudly (ὁ δὲ πολλῷ μᾶλλον ἔκραζεν). He repeated again what he had shouted out earlier. He called Jesus, the Son of David (Υἱὲ Δαυείδ). He wanted Jesus to have mercy on him. (ἐλέησόν με). Matthew said that the crowd rebuked or admonished these two blind beggars to be quiet or silent (ὁ δὲ ὄχλος ἐπετίμησεν αὐτοῖς ἵνα σιωπήσωσιν). But they shouted out even more loudly (οἱ δὲ μεῖζον ἔκραξαν λέγοντες). They repeated again what they had shouted out earlier. They called Jesus, Lord, the Son of David (Κύριε, υἱὸς Δαυείδ). They wanted him to have mercy on them (ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς). This Greek cry of “Κύριε, ἐλέησον” “kyrie eleison,” would become a Christian cry for mercy that has found its way into the Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Word at the beginning of the regular Sunday Mass service, with the “Lord, have mercy!” Quite often, it is also part of a chant. Do you ask Jesus, the Lord, to have mercy on you?
Luke uniquely indicated that this blind beggar heard (ἀκούσας) a crowd going by or passing through (δὲ ὄχλου διαπορευομένου). He then inquired (ἐπυνθάνετο) what was going on (τί εἴη τοῦτο)? Luke was the only one to have this beggar ask a question. Matthew, chapter 20:30, has something similar, two blind men, instead of one, were sitting by the roadside (καὶ ἰδοὺ δύο τυφλοὶ καθήμενοι παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν), but they did not ask any questions as Jesus and the crowd went by them. What do you do when you hear a noisy crowd?
Luke uniquely said that this physical healing made the leader of the synagogue become indignant (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ ἀρχισυνάγωγος, ἀγανακτῶν). Jesus had cured this crippled lady on the Sabbath (ὅτι τῷ σαββάτῳ ἐθεράπευσεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς). This leader said to the crowd of people (ἔλεγεν τῷ ὄχλῳ) that there were 6 days when work ought to be done (ὅτι Ἓξ ἡμέραι εἰσὶν ἐν αἷς δεῖ ἐργάζεσθαι). They could come on those days to be cured (ἐν αὐταῖς οὖν ἐρχόμενοι θεραπεύεσθε), but not on the Sabbath day (καὶ μὴ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ σαββάτου). This synagogue leader took offense at Jesus for physically curing this crippled woman on the Sabbath at the very Sabbath service itself. He told the synagogue crowd that healings should take place anytime during those days, but not on the Sabbath. Would you think about going to a doctor on a Sunday?
This is a unique saying in Luke, not found in the other synoptics. Luke said that someone in the crowd yelled to Jesus (Εἶπεν δέ τις ἐκ τοῦ ὄχλου αὐτῷ), calling him respectfully teacher (Διδάσκαλε). He wanted Jesus to tell his brother (εἰπὲ τῷ ἀδελφῷ μου) to divide up the family inheritance with him (μερίσασθαι μετ’ ἐμοῦ τὴν κληρονομίαν). Apparently, the oldest son got twice as much as the other sons, according to Deuteronomy, chapter 21:17. This man wanted Jesus to get involved with a family dispute. This is the second time that someone in the crowd uniquely yelled out something here in Luke. Have you ever been involved in a family inheritance dispute?
Luke continued with a diatribe against the Pharisees. Luke indicated that the crowd gathered by the thousands (Ἐν οἷς ἐπισυναχθεισῶν τῶν μυριάδων τοῦ ὄχλου), so that they trampled on one another (ὥστε καταπατεῖν ἀλλήλους). This was the first mention of a problem with crowd control. Jesus then began first to speak to his disciples (ἤρξατο λέγειν πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ πρῶτον). He told them that they should be aware (Προσέχετε ἑαυτοῖς) of the yeast (ἀπὸ τῆς ζύμης) that is the hypocrisy (ἥτις ἐστὶν ὑπόκρισις) of the Pharisees (τῶν Φαρισαίων). This saying about the yeast of the Pharisees can be found in Mark, chapter 8:16, and Matthew, chapter 16:6, but there are slight differences. Mark and Luke did not mention the Sadducees, but Matthew did. Matthew said that Jesus told his disciples to watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Matthew had a clear rebuff of both these groups and their growing yeast, leaven, or power that was expanding, but there was no mention of the Scribes. For Mark and Matthew, this discussion took place about bread on a boat trip. The disciples discovered that they had no food when they landed on the other side of the Sea of Galilee. However, Mark said that it took place while they were still in the boat. Mark was the only one to mention Herod, the Roman appointed political leader in Galilee. Mark said that Jesus cautioned or instructed his disciples. They were to watch out for and be aware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod. This was a clear rebuff of both the Pharisees and Herod. Their growing yeast, leaven, or power was expanding. Here, it is a simple warning against the Pharisees only. Do you know anybody who is a hypocrite?
Luke continued with this unique incident. Luke indicated that Jesus responded to this woman who had shouted out from the crowd. He said (αὐτὸς δὲ εἶπεν) that blessed rather (Μενοῦν μακάριοι) are those who hear (οἱ ἀκούοντες) the word of God (τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ) and obey it (καὶ φυλάσσοντες). Thus, the really happy, fortunate, or blessed ones (μακάριοι) are not his mother, but rather those who hear and keep or observe the word of God. Jesus seemed to point out that his true followers were happier or more blessed than his mother. Listening and following the word of God was more important than anything else. Spiritual ties were more important than biological ties. Who do you think are the blessed ones?