Luke indicated that Jesus said that this persecution would give them an opportunity (ἀποβήσεται ὑμῖν) to testify as a witness or a martyr (εἰς μαρτύριον). This verse is somewhat similar to Mark, chapter 13:10, with a hint of this in Matthew, chapter 24:14. Mark indicated that Jesus said that the good news of the gospel (τὸ εὐαγγέλιον) must first be proclaimed (πρῶτον δεῖ κηρυχθῆναι) to all the gentile nations (καὶ εἰς πάντα τὰ ἔθνη). That would be a difficult task, certainly putting the end times at a further distance. This mission to the gentile nations was a trademark of the Gospel of Mark with its emphasis on the gentile non-Jewish Christians. Matthew had the same idea in chapter 10:22, and also in chapter 24:14, where Jesus said that this gospel, this good news of the kingdom (τοῦτο τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς βασιλείας) would be preached (καὶ κηρυχθήσεται) throughout the whole inhabited world (ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ οἰκουμένῃ), as a witness or testimony to all the gentile nations (εἰς μαρτύριον πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν). Then the end would come (καὶ τότε ἥξει τὸ τέλος). Matthew seemed to set a precondition before the coming of the end times that the gospel would be preached throughout the whole known world. Luke was more restrained here simply saying that there was an opportunity to be a witness or martyr. Would you be a Christian martyr?
Luke said that on the return of the apostles (Καὶ ὑποστρέψαντες οἱ ἀπόστολοι), they told Jesus all that they had done (διηγήσαντο αὐτῷ ὅσα ἐποίησαν). He then took them with him (Καὶ παραλαβὼν αὐτοὺς) as he withdrew privately to a city (ὑπεχώρησεν κατ’ ἰδίαν εἰς πόλιν) called Bethsaida (καλουμένην Βηθσαϊδά). This opening to the multiplication of the loaves story can be found in all four gospels, Matthew, chapter 14:13, Mark, chapter 6:30-33, John, chapter 6:1-2, and here. Luke was the only one to mention the town of Bethsaida, while the others talked about Jesus in a boat. This gathering of the apostles around Jesus after their mission can only be found in Mark and in Luke.Mark said that they told Jesus everything that they had done and taught. Thus, Jesus had a debriefing session with his apostles where he found out what had happened to them on their missionary adventures. Then Mark said that Jesus wanted to get away to a deserted place in a boat, but somehow the crowds followed him along the bank of the sea, so that Jesus and his apostles could not get away by themselves. Mark wanted his disciples and apostles to rest for a while, to take it easy. Many people were coming and going, so that they did not have any leisure time to eat. Thus, they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Jesus was concerned about the apostles’ mental state. He wanted them to have some down time. Matthew had pretty much the same story about Jesus and the boat with a slightly different twist. Jesus left in a boat to be in a deserted or secluded place alone. However, the crowds heard about it, so that they followed him on foot from the various towns. Jesus could not get away by himself. Do you ever want to get away by yourself?
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 said that Jesus called the 12 apostles together (Συνκαλεσάμενος δὲ τοὺς δώδεκα). He gave them (ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς) power (δύναμιν) and authority (καὶ ἐξουσίαν) over all the demons (πάντα τὰ δαιμόνια). He also gave them the power and authority to cure diseases (καὶ νόσους θεραπεύειν). This section about the power, the authority, and the mission of the 12 disciples or apostles is similar to Matthew, chapter 10:1, and Mark, chapter 6:7. Mark said that Jesus summoned or called his 12 apostles, as he began to send them out 2 by 2. He gave them authority over unclean or impure spirits. Thus, they could cast out or banish these evil spirits or demons. However, Mark did not mention curing diseases, illnesses, sicknesses, or weakness, just casting out the evil spirits that might have been the cause of their illnesses. Matthew said that Jesus summoned or called to him his 12 disciples. He called them disciples rather than the ambiguous “12.” He gave them spiritual authority over unclean or impure spirits. Thus, they could cast out or banish these evil spirits or demons. They were also able to cure, treat, or heal all diseases, illnesses, sicknesses, or weakness. In other words, Jesus was giving his own power or authority to cast out evil spirits and heal people to these 12 disciples or apostles. This was a big deal. The number 12 corresponded to the number of sons of Jacob or the 12 tribes of Israel. This authority will be referred to later as the apostolic authority. Jesus thus established these 12 disciples or apostles to carry on his work in casting out or exorcising evil spirits and curing people of their illnesses. What do you think about this apostolic authority?
Luke said that when daylight or the day came (καὶ ὅτε ἐγένετο ἡμέρα), Jesus called his disciples (προσεφώνησεν τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ). However, he chose twelve of them (καὶ ἐκλεξάμενος ἀπ’ αὐτῶν δώδεκα), whom he named apostles (οὓς καὶ ἀποστόλους ὠνόμασεν). The number 12 corresponded to the number of sons of Jacob or the 12 tribes of Israel. These 12 had what was later referred to as apostolic authority. Jesus thus established or picked out these 12 disciples to carry on his work. The distinction was that disciples were learners or followers. The apostles, on the other hand, were to be sent out on a mission to do something. There is something similar in Mark, chapter 3:13-14, where Jesus called these special disciples, apostles, also. Jesus called these 12 that he wanted to be with him. They, of course, came to him. Matthew, chapter 10:1, said that Jesus gave these 12 apostles authority to cast out unclean spirits just as he had done. Jesus summoned or called his 12 apostles to give them spiritual authority over unclean or impure spirits. Thus, they could cast out or banish these evil spirits or demons. They were also able to cure, treat, or heal all diseases and illnesses, sicknesses, or weakness. In other words, Jesus was giving his own power or authority to cast out evil spirits and heal people to these 12 apostles. This was a big deal.
Luke indicated that Jesus answered them (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς). He said to them (εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς) that those who are well (οἱ ὑγιαίνοντες) do not need a physician (Οὐ χρείαν ἔχουσιν…ἰατροῦ). However, those who are sick do need one (ἀλλὰ οἱ κακῶς ἔχοντες). Mark, chapter 2:17, and Matthew, chapter 9:12, are almost word for word to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this saying. Mark and Matthew said that Jesus heard what the Pharisees were saying to his disciples. Jesus responded to them that the well people or strong ones did not need a physician or medical doctor, but the sick did. As Pope Francis likes to say, the Church is a mobile ambulance, not a hospital waiting for people to come in. Jesus saw his mission as reaching out, rather than expecting people to come to him.
Luke said that these angels left the shepherds to go back to heaven (Καὶ ἐγένετο ὡς ἀπῆλθον ἀπ’ αὐτῶν εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν οἱ ἄγγελοι), since their mission was complete. Meanwhile, the shepherds said to one another (οἱ ποιμένες ἐλάλουν πρὸς ἀλλήλους) that they wanted to go to Bethlehem (Διέλθωμεν δὴ ἕως Βηθλεὲμ). There they could see what had taken place (αὶ ἴδωμεν τὸ ῥῆμα τοῦτο τὸ γεγονὸς ὃ). They would be able to see what the Lord had made known to them (ὃ ὁ Κύριος ἐγνώρισεν ἡμῖν). However, there was no indication of where in Bethlehem they would find this new born baby.
This addition of Mark, is like the addition in Matthew, chapter 28:19-20. This text indicated that Jesus told the 11 apostles (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that they were to go into the whole world (Πορευθέντες εἰς τὸν κόσμον ἅπαντα). They were to proclaim the good news or preach the gospel (κηρύξατε τὸ εὐαγγέλιον) to all creation (πάσῃ τῇ κτίσει). Obviously, the mission of the early Christians was to preach the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ, to everyone.
καὶ εἰς πάντα τὰ ἔθνη πρῶτον δεῖ κηρυχθῆναι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον.
This verse is unique to Mark, but there is a hint of this in Matthew, chapter 24:14. Jesus said that the good news of the gospel (τὸ εὐαγγέλιον) must first be proclaimed (πρῶτον δεῖ κηρυχθῆναι) to all the gentile nations (καὶ εἰς πάντα τὰ ἔθνη). That would be a difficult task, certainly putting the end times at a further distance. This mission to the gentile nations was a trademark of the Gospel of Mark with its emphasis on gentile non-Jewish Christians.
This is similar to Luke, chapter 19:34. Mark said that the response of these 2 disciples was what they had been prepared to say. They told them (οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτοῖς) what Jesus had told them to say (καθὼς εἶπεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς). Thus, these people in this town allowed these unnamed disciples to take the colt with them (καὶ ἀφῆκαν αὐτούς). Mission accomplished!