Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said that they would say to their slave (ἀλλ’ οὐχὶ ἐρεῖ αὐτῷ), who was returning from the field, that he should prepare the supper for him (Ἑτοίμασον τί δειπνήσω). Instead, this land owner would tell the slave to put on his apron or gird himself (καὶ περιζωσάμενος), so that this slave might serve him (διακόνει μοι), while he ate and drank (ἕως φάγω καὶ πίω). Then later after all this had been taken care when the owner had eaten and drank (καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα), then the slave would be allowed to eat and drink (φάγεσαι καὶ πίεσαι σύ). There clearly was a caste system. The slaves did not eat with their land owners. They would have to serve their master, before they could eat their own food. What do you think about this kind of system?
This long parable story about the prodigal son can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories. Luke indicated that Jesus said that this young prodigal son went and hired himself out (καὶ πορευθεὶς ἐκολλήθη) to one of the citizens of that country (ἑνὶ τῶν πολιτῶν τῆς χώρας ἐκείνης), where he was living. This land owner sent him to his fields (καὶ ἔπεμψεν αὐτὸν εἰς τοὺς ἀγροὺς αὐτοῦ) to feed the pigs (βόσκειν χοίρους). Obvious, this was a non-Jewish country where pigs were raised for food, not a Jewish country where there would be no pork eaten. What could be more humiliating for a Jewish person than taking care of unclean swine or pigs? Have you ever had a job that you felt was degrading to you?
Luke indicated that Jesus, the Lord asked them (καὶ εἶπεν ὁ Κύριος) who was the faithful and prudent or wise household manager (Τίς ἄρα ἐστὶν ὁ πιστὸς οἰκονόμος ὁ φρόνιμος)? His lord or master would put him (ὃν καταστήσει ὁ κύριος) in charge to care (ὃν καταστήσει ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ) for his other slaves. He would then give to the other slaves (αὐτοῦ τοῦ διδόναι) their correct allowance or measure of food (τὸ σιτομέτριον) at the proper time (ἐν καιρῷ). This is the only use of the word σιτομέτριον, meaning, a measured portion of food, in the biblical literature. There is a similar parable about this good slave in Matthew, chapter 24:45, almost word for word, indicating a possible Q source. Matthew indicated that Jesus asked who was the faithful and wise slave (Τίς ἄρα ἐστὶν ὁ πιστὸς δοῦλος καὶ φρόνιμος)? This lord or master had put this slave in charge over his other household slaves (ὃν κατέστησεν ὁ κύριος ἐπὶ τῆς οἰκετείας αὐτοῦ). He was to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time (τοῦ δοῦναι αὐτοῖς τὴν τροφὴν ἐν καιρῷ). The lord or master had put one wise and faithful servant in charge of his other slaves. Are you a wise and faithful servant of God?
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 indicated that Jesus said to the 70 disciples that they were to remain in the same house (ἐν αὐτῇ δὲ τῇ οἰκίᾳ μένετε). They should eat (ἔσθοντες) and drink (καὶ πίνοντες) whatever they were provided (τὰ παρ’ αὐτῶν). Jesus said that the laborer deserved to be paid or was worthy of his wages (ἄξιος γὰρ ὁ ἐργάτης τοῦ μισθοῦ αὐτοῦ). They were not to move around (μὴ μεταβαίνετε) from house to house (ἐξ οἰκίας εἰς οἰκίαν). This is similar to what Luke, chapter 9:4 indicated that Jesus said to his 12 apostles. There Jesus told the apostles that whatever house they entered, they were to stay there and leave from there. Equivalent passages to this can be found in Matthew, chapter 10:11, and Mark, chapter 6:10. Mark indicated that Jesus had a very simple message about where to stay. Wherever they entered a house, they should stay there in one place until they left. They should not switch places. Matthew also had Jesus give a very simple message about where to stay when they entered a town or village. They should try to find a place to stay with someone who was worthy, honorable, or suitable. They should not switch places. They should stay in that one place until they left. They were not to go wandering around. Find a suitable person and place! Then stay there! This message to the 12 apostles and 70 disciples was the same. Matthew, chapter 10:10 also indicated that these laborers deserved their food, just like Luke here. Luke even indicated that they should eat and drink whatever they get, and not be picky. Where do you stay when you travel?
Luke said that Jesus took (λαβὼν) the 5 loaves (δὲ τοὺς πέντε ἄρτους) and the 2 fish (καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας). He looked up to heaven (ἀναβλέψας εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν). He blessed them (εὐλόγησεν αὐτοὺς). He broke them (καὶ κατέκλασεν). He gave them to his disciples (αὶ ἐδίδου τοῖς μαθηταῖς) to set before the crowd (παραθεῖναι τῷ ὄχλῳ). This is the only blessing miracle that is recorded in all four gospels, Matthew, chapter 14:18-19, Mark, chapter 6:41, and John, chapter 6:12, plus here. The blessing of the bread and the fish was exactly the same in all the synoptic gospels, but merely summarized in John. This feeding of a large group of people harkens back to the Exodus story, chapter 16:1-36, about the manna and the quails in the wilderness. Yet the blessing itself has almost a foretaste of the Eucharistic Last Supper of Jesus, when Jesus blessed and broke the bread. Mark said that Jesus took the 5 loaves and the 2 fish. He looked up to heaven. He blessed them. Then he broke up the loaves of bread into pieces. He gave the loaves of bread to his disciples. They, in turn, set the broken pieces of bread or served them to the crowd. Jesus also divided or shared the 2 fish among them all, something that Luke did not mention explicitly. Matthew indicated that Jesus told his disciples to bring him the food, the 5 loaves of bread and the 2 fish. Then he ordered or directed the crowd to sit down on the grass. He took the 5 loaves and the 2 fish. He looked up to heaven. He blessed them. Then he broke the loaves of bread and the fishes into pieces. He gave the loaves of bread to his disciples. They, in turn, gave them to the crowd. This almost sounds like a large later distribution of Holy Communion. Have you ever been to a large communion service?
Luke said that Jesus told the apostles and disciples (εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτούς) to give this crowd something to eat (Δότε αὐτοῖς φαγεῖν ὑμεῖς.). However, they responded (οἱ δὲ εἶπαν) that they only had (Οὐκ εἰσὶν ἡμῖν πλεῖον) 5 loaves (ἢ ἄρτοι πέντε) and 2 fish (καὶ ἰχθύες δύο). Otherwise, they would have to go to buy (εἰ μήτι πορευθέντες ἡμεῖς ἀγοράσωμεν) some food (βρώματα) for all these people (εἰς πάντα τὸν λαὸν τοῦτον). The fact that Jesus wanted to feed everyone was recorded in all four gospels, Matthew, chapter 14:16, Mark, chapter 6:37, and John, chapter 6:5-7, plus here in Luke. Despite the fact that the disciples wanted to send the crowds home, Jesus wanted to feed them there. Mark indicated that Jesus answered his disciples, telling them to give the people something to eat. Only Mark has this response of the disciples explaining the problem of buying food. The disciples said to Jesus if they were to go to buy food, that it would cost about 200 denarii to buy enough bread for all these people to eat. A denarius was worth one day’s pay, so that that 200 denarii would be over a half year’s pay, a large amount of money. The disciples thought that Jesus wanted them to buy some bread for the crowd. In John, there was a conversation between Jesus and Philip about this. Mark indicated that Jesus told his disciples to go and see how many loaves of bread they had. Once the apostles found out, they said to Jesus that they only had 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Matthew said that despite the fact that the disciples wanted to send the crowds home, Jesus wanted to feed them there. Jesus said to his disciples that the crowds did need not to go away, because Jesus and his disciples were going to give them something to eat. The disciples replied to Jesus that they had practically no food to eat, only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. How much food do you need to eat well?
Luke said that when the day was growing to a close (Ἡ δὲ ἡμέρα ἤρξατο κλίνειν), the twelve apostles came to Jesus (προσελθόντες δὲ οἱ δώδεκα). They said to him (ἶπαν αὐτῷ) to send the crowd away (Ἀπόλυσον τὸν ὄχλον), so that they might go into the surrounding villages and the countryside (ἵνα πορευθέντες εἰς τὰς κύκλῳ κώμας καὶ ἀγροὺς) to find lodging and provisions (καταλύσωσιν καὶ εὕρωσιν ἐπισιτισμόν). They said that they were in a deserted lonely place (ὅτι ὧδε ἐν ἐρήμῳ τόπῳ ἐσμέν). There were similar indications about this crowd needing to eat in Matthew, chapter 14:15, and Mark, chapter 6:35-36. Mark said that the disciples wanted to send the crowds home. After all, there were no fast food places to get something to eat. However, there were some places in the nearby villages where you could buy some food. Mark said that when it grew late, Jesus’ disciples came to him. They told him that they were in a deserted place. They wanted to send the crowds away, so that they could go into the surrounding region and nearby villages to buy food for themselves. This seemed like a good or reasonable plan. Matthew also said that the disciples wanted to send the crowds home. When it was evening, the disciples came to Jesus. They told him that there were in a deserted place at a late hour. They wanted to send the crowds away so that they could go into the nearby villages to buy food for themselves. Have you ever been in a large crowd without food?
Luke indicated that Jesus told the 12 apostles (καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς) to take nothing for their journey (Μηδὲν αἴρετε εἰς τὴν ὁδόν). They were not to take a staff (μήτε ῥάβδον), a bag (μήτε πήραν), bread (μήτε ἄρτον), or money (μήτε ἀργύριον). They were not to take even 2 tunics (μήτε ἀνὰ δύο χιτῶνας ἔχειν). Equivalent passages to this can be found in Matthew, chapter 10:9-10, and Mark, chapter 6:8-9, who is closer to Luke here. Mark indicated that Jesus told them what they could not bring with them on their mission. Jesus instructed them that they should not bring anything for their journey. They could only bring a staff or walking stick, but they could not bring any bread, a bag or a sack, or money in their belts. Mark said that they should wear sandals and have a walking stick, but without any food or bread. However, all 3 synoptics agreed that they did not need two tunics, since one would be enough. Matthew also indicated that Jesus told them what they could not bring with them on their mission. They were not to bring with them any gold, silver, or copper, in their money belts, since they did not need money. This was similar to what Mark had said about not bringing any money belts. They were not to take any bags or sacks for their journey. They were not to take two tunics, since one would be enough. They were not to take any sandals or a staff. However, these laborers did deserve their food. Mark had said that they should bring a staff or sandals, but not bring food. Matthew was the opposite. He said that they were not to bring sandals, but could bring food. They did not need any money or material things, but they certainly needed something to eat for nourishment. This was a very strong demand on these 12 missionaries of Jesus. Do you travel light with few things?
Luke also uniquely mentioned Joanna (καὶ Ἰωάνα), the wife of Chuza (γυνὴ Χουζᾶ), Herod’s steward (ἐπιτρόπου Ἡρῴδου), and Susanna (καὶ Σουσάννα). He also said that many other women (καὶ ἕτεραι πολλαί) provided or ministered for them at table (αἵτινες διηκόνουν αὐτοῖς) out of their means, possessions, or resources (ἐκ τῶν ὑπαρχόντων αὐταῖς). Joanna shows up again with Mary Magdalene in the resurrection story of Luke, chapter 24:10. She must have been a woman of means because her husband had an important role at the court of King Herod Antipas of Galilee as his head steward. The name Susanna only appears here among all the canonical gospels, but a Susanna played a role in the Book of Daniel. However, there were other women, not explicitly named, who provided for Jesus and his followers with their money or resources. In other words, there was a small entourage of women who traveled with Jesus, probably providing the food for him and his disciples, since they were not called disciples themselves. What should be the role of women as followers of Jesus?