This author said that the devil is like a roaring lion that prowls around looking for someone to devour. They were to resist him. Other Christians throughout the world were suffering the same way. After they had suffered a little while, God would restore them. He would support them and strengthen them. They had been called to eternal glory with Jesus Christ who has power forever. Do you resist the devil?
Only worship the Lord (Lk 4:8-4:8)
“Jesus answered him.
‘It is written.
Serve only him!’”
καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ Γέγραπται Προσκυνήσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σου καὶ αὐτῷ μόνῳ λατρεύσεις.
Just like in Matthew, chapter 4:10, the wording is nearly the same, indicating perhaps a common Q source. Once again, Jesus had a very direct response to the devil (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ). He referred to another scriptural writing (Γέγραπται) from Deuteronomy, chapter 6:13. This was again a simple statement that you should only worship the Lord your God (Προσκυνήσεις Κύριον τὸν θεόν σου). You should serve him alone (καὶ αὐτῷ μόνῳ λατρεύσεις). In Deuteronomy, chapter 6:13, Yahweh had said they should only fear and serve Yahweh and swear by his name only. The only main difference with Matthew, is that Jesus told the devil to go away. That was not here in Luke.
The man with the unclean spirit (Mk 5:2-5:3)
Stepped out of the boat,
Out of the tombs,
With an unclean spirit,
Among the tombs.
No one could restrain him
Even with chains.”
καὶ ἐξελθόντος αὐτοῦ ἐκ τοῦ πλοίου, εὐθὺς ὑπήντησεν αὐτῷ ἐκ τῶν μνημείων ἄνθρωπος ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ,
ὃς τὴν κατοίκησιν εἶχεν ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν, καὶ οὐδὲ ἁλύσει οὐκέτι οὐδεὶς ἐδύνατο αὐτὸν δῆσαι
All three synoptic gospels. Matthew, chapter 8:28 and Luke, chapter 8:26-27, have Jesus travel to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Mark, like Luke, said that Jesus met a man as he stepped out of the boat (καὶ ἐξελθόντος αὐτοῦ ἐκ τοῦ πλοίου). Matthew had Jesus meet 2 people possessed by the devil, who were menacing people as they passed by. Here Mark has Jesus immediately meet one person coming out of the tombs (εὐθὺς ὑπήντησεν αὐτῷ ἐκ τῶν μνημείων ἄνθρωπος) with an unclean spirit (ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ). This demonic person lived among the tombs (ὃς τὴν κατοίκησιν εἶχεν ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν). No one could restrain or bind him (οὐδεὶς ἐδύνατο αὐτὸν δῆσαι), even with chains (καὶ οὐδὲ ἁλύσει οὐκέτι). This was a strong violent possessed person.
They brought sick and possessed people to Jesus (Mk 1:32-1:33)
They brought to him
All who were sick
The whole city
Around the door.”
Ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης, ὅτε ἔδυσεν ὁ ἥλιος, ἔφερον πρὸς αὐτὸν πάντας τοὺς κακῶς ἔχοντας καὶ τοὺς δαιμονιζομένους·
καὶ ἦν ὅλη ἡ πόλις ἐπισυνηγμένη πρὸς τὴν θύραν.
Matthew, chapter 8:16, has something similar, as well as Luke, chapter 4:40. Neither had any mention of the whole city gathered at his door. Luke never mentioned possessed people, since he concentrated on the sick only. Mark said that as evening came (Ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης), after the sunset (ὅτε ἔδυσεν ὁ ἥλιος), they brought to him (ἔφερον πρὸς αὐτὸν) all who had a sickness (πάντας τοὺς κακῶς ἔχοντας) or were possessed with demons (καὶ τοὺς δαιμονιζομένους). Mark said that everyone or the whole city (καὶ ἦν ὅλη ἡ πόλις) was gathered around his door (ἐπισυνηγμένη πρὸς τὴν θύραν). Apparently, during biblical times, there were a lot of people who were possessed by the devil. Jesus was also a daring faith healer, since many saw the connection between sickness and demonic evil spirit possession.
The fourth narrative section revealed the increasing opposition to Jesus. Thus, his disciples had to prepare for his absence. These instructions emphasized responsibility and humility. Simon was renamed Peter, the rock upon which he was going to build his church, especially the mystery of the kingdom of heaven.
While Jesus was preaching in the various towns, John the Baptist was put in prison. The disciples of John questioned Jesus and Jesus responded. Jesus then asked questions about John. Was John more than a prophet? Then Matthew had a series of Old Testament scriptural quotations about John. How great was John the Baptist? Was John Elijah?
Jesus warned that this was a childish generation that was indifferent as they kept on eating and drinking, as if nothing important was happening. Jesus was against the various Galilean cities and towns, especially Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. Jesus explained that there were hidden things from the wise ones, especially the relationship of the Father with the Son, but that the disciples had an easy yoke to bear.
Next came the question of eating on the Sabbath. The Pharisees reacted against Jesus, but he used the example of David and the priests in the Temple to respond to them. God was the Lord of the Sabbath. Thus, when Jesus went into the synagogue, they asked him if he would heal anyone on the Sabbath? Jesus compared sheep to human beings and then healed the man’s hand. Thus, the Pharisees conspired against Jesus, while he took a low profile.
Jesus said that the fulfillment of the prophesy of Isaiah was at hand in the servant of Yahweh. Jesus cured the blind and mute man as the crowds were amazed. However, the Pharisees compared Jesus to Beelzebul, the devil. Jesus responded that a divided kingdom would not stand. The Spirit of God was with Jesus. The bandits tied up people before stealing from them. You were either for or against Jesus. They should be aware of the sin against the Holy Spirit.
Jesus then issued a series of sayings about a tree and its fruit. He compared the Pharisees to a brood of vipers. There could be good and bad treasures. Words would either save or condemn them.
Jesus told them about the sign for this evil generation that was always seeking signs. He was only going to give them the sign of Jonah. Notice how the men of Nineveh reacted. The Queen of Sheba brought gifts to Solomon. The unclean spirit would return with other evil spirits. The relatives of Jesus, his mother and brothers showed up, but Jesus said that he had a new family.
Then Jesus spoke in parables siting in a boat by the sea. There was the parable of the sower with his lost seeds, where only a few of the seeds fell on good soil. His disciples wanted to know why he was speaking in parables, so that Jesus explained why he used parables. Once again, he referred to a prophecy of Isaiah. He explained about the seeds on the rocky ground and the seeds among the thorns. Finally, he explained the meaning of the seeds on good ground or path since they were the blessed ones.
Then there was the parable about the weeds among the wheat. The slaves let the weeds grow and then separated them at harvest time. There were other parables about the mustard seed and the yeast. Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, but he explained these parables to his disciples, especially the sower, the field, and the seeds. He explained the enemy and the burning of the weeds. The punishment for the weeds came at the harvest end times. Thus, the reward for the righteous will be at the end times.
The kingdom of heaven was like a treasure, like pearls, and like a fishing net. Jesus explained the parables because the disciples did not understand them. They were like new and old treasures.
Jesus was an astonishment in his own home town. They all knew the family of Jesus. Thus, he was a prophet without honor in his own country.
Herod thought that Jesus was a resurrected John the Baptist, but he was afraid of John the Baptist. At his birthday party, Herod granted the wish to have the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Meanwhile, John the Baptist’s disciples buried him.
Jesus was worried as he was healing the sick people. The disciples complained about the crowds, so that Jesus told them to give them something to eat. However, they only had five loaves and two fish. Then Jesus blessed the five loaves of bread and distributed them to the crowd. There were even leftovers from this crowd of five thousand people.
The disciples left in a boat, so that Jesus prayed alone. The boat was in the middle of the sea when Jesus walked on water to come to them. Peter talked to Jesus and then attempted to walk on the water. Jesus then saved Peter who recognized Jesus as the Son of God. Then there were the healings at Gennesaret, where Jesus cured the sick.
The Pharisees from Jerusalem came to Jesus to ask him why his disciples did not wash their hands before eating. Jesus responded by telling them to honor their parents since there was hypocrisy in their traditions. He cited Isaiah about vain worship. He told them to hear and understand. They should watch what came out of their mouth rather than what went into their mouth as defilement. The Pharisees were offended, but Jesus called them blind guides. Peter wanted to understand more so that Jesus explained the mouth should speak from the heart.
Jesus went to the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon where he met a Canaanite woman. He said that he was only going to the lost sheep of Israel, but this Canaanite woman persistently asked for help. Jesus refused again saying that he could not feed the dogs. However, she responded that dogs eat crumbs from the table. Jesus said that she had great faith and healed her.
As Jesus healed the crowds of people in the mountain near the Sea of Galilee, he had compassion for them. Where will they get food? His disciples said that they had seven loaves. Jesus then gave thanks over them and distributed the bread to four thousand men as there was a second multiplication of bread loaves.
Jesus went to Magadan. There the Pharisees asked for a sign from heaven. Once again, Jesus said that there are weather signs, but he would only give this evil generation the sign of Jonah.
The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, but Jesus warned them about the yeast of the Pharisees. He reprimanded his disciples for their lack of faith as he reminded them about the multiplication of the loaves of bread. They should be worried about the Pharisees not food.
What was the role of Peter? Jesus asked about the Son of Man as the disciples responded. Then Jesus asked them about himself. Peter gave a very positive response, so that Jesus rewarded him. The Messianic secret was tied to the future of Jesus in this conversation between Peter and Jesus. He would have to take up his cross if wanted to save his life because the Son of Man in his kingdom would be coming soon.
Jesus took three of his apostles up a mountain where he was transfigured before them. Moses and Elijah appeared with him. Peter wanted to set up three tents for them. A voice from the cloud came as the three apostles adored him. Jesus asked them to be silent about this. What was the role of Elijah and John the Baptist?
An epileptic man knelt before Jesus that his disciples were unable to heal. Jesus then healed him, so that his disciples wondered why they were unable to heal this epileptic? Jesus spoke about the future of the Son of Man. Should they pay the Temple tax? Jesus responded that the son of the king did not pay taxes, but he told Peter to pay them anyway.
Finally, we have the ecclesiastical discourse about who is the greatest. A child is the greatest because when you welcome a little child, you welcome Jesus. They were not to cause children to sin. They were not to tempt people. It would be better to be maimed and blind than suffer eternal fire. They were not to despise the little ones. Jesus explained the parable of the lost sheep and fraternal correction. What were you to do with a sinning brother. Let him become a gentile, if he does not listen. Common prayer was important so that they should gather in his name. How often should they forgive? The response was the seventy times seven.
Then there was the parable of the unforgiving servant slave. The master settled accounts with servant slaves. One owed ten thousand talents, so that the king forgave him his debt. However, this servant slave would not forgive the debt of his fellow slaves, who were angry. Thus, this unforgiving slave was tortured. This parable explanation was simple, forgive your brothers.
The disciples could not heal the epileptic (Mt 17:15-17:16)
“The kneeling man said.
Have mercy on my son!
He is an epileptic!
He suffers terribly!
He often falls
Into the fire.
He often falls
Into the water.
I brought him
To your disciples.
But they were not able
To cure him.’”
καὶ λέγων Κύριε, ἐλέησόν μου τὸν υἱόν, ὅτι σεληνιάζεται καὶ κακῶς ἔχει· πολλάκις γὰρ πίπτει εἰς τὸ πῦρ καὶ πολλάκις εἰς τὸ ὕδωρ.
καὶ προσήνεγκα αὐτὸν τοῖς μαθηταῖς σου, καὶ οὐκ ἠδυνήθησαν αὐτὸν θεραπεῦσαι.
The story of the man with the incurable epileptic son can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 9:17-18, Luke, chapter 9:38-40, and here in Matthew, but there are minor differences in all 3 accounts. Here it is the kneeling man, and not someone from the crowd who yells out to Jesus. He addressed Jesus as the Lord (καὶ λέγων Κύριε). He wanted Jesus to have mercy on his son (ἐλέησόν μου τὸν υἱόν), who was an epileptic (ὅτι σεληνιάζεται). Epileptics were often considered to be possessed by the devil. Even today, we are still unsure of the exact cause of epilepsy seizures. This man’s son suffered very badly (καὶ κακῶς ἔχει). He often fell into a fire (πολλάκις γὰρ πίπτει εἰς τὸ πῦρ) and into water (καὶ πολλάκις εἰς τὸ ὕδωρ). Then there is the kicker that he had asked Jesus’s disciples to cure his son (καὶ προσήνεγκα αὐτὸν τοῖς μαθηταῖς σου), but they were not able to cure him (καὶ οὐκ ἠδυνήθησαν αὐτὸν θεραπεῦσαι). Why were the disciples of Jesus unable to cure his son?
The weeds among the wheat (Mt 13:25-13:26)
“But while everyone was asleep,
An enemy came.
He sowed weeds
Among the wheat.
Then he went away.
When the plants came up,
They bore grain.
Then the weeds appeared as well.”
ἐν δὲ τῷ καθεύδειν τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ἦλθεν αὐτοῦ ὁ ἐχθρὸς καὶ ἐπέσπειρεν ζιζάνια ἀνὰ μέσον τοῦ σίτου καὶ ἀπῆλθεν.
ὅτε δὲ ἐβλάστησεν ὁ χόρτος καὶ καρπὸν ἐποίησεν, τότε ἐφάνη καὶ τὰ ζιζάνια.
There is no equivalent to this parable in the other synoptic gospels. Only Matthew has this parable about the good seed and the weeds. As with all good stories, a protagonist unnamed enemy appeared, who might have been the evil one or the devil but is only called an enemy here. While everyone was asleep (ἐν δὲ τῷ καθεύδειν τοὺς ἀνθρώπους), their unnamed enemy came and went away (ἦλθεν αὐτοῦ ὁ ἐχθρὸς… καὶ ἀπῆλθεν). However, this enemy “ἐχθρὸς” sowed weeds among and in the middle of the good wheat seeds (καὶ ἐπέσπειρεν ζιζάνια ἀνὰ μέσον τοῦ σίτου). When the wheat plants sprouted (ὅτε δὲ ἐβλάστησεν ὁ χόρτος) and produced grain (καὶ καρπὸν ἐποίησεν), the weeds appeared as well (τότε ἐφάνη καὶ τὰ ζιζάνια). Thus, the wheat and the weeds grew together.
The Pharisees compare Jesus to Beelzebul (Mt 12:24-12:24)
“But the Pharisees heard it.
‘It is only by Beelzebul,
The ruler of the demons,
That this man
Casts out the demons.’”
οἱ δὲ Φαρισαῖοι ἀκούσαντες εἶπον Οὗτος οὐκ ἐκβάλλει τὰ δαιμόνια εἰ μὴ ἐν τῷ Βεελζεβοὺλ ἄρχοντι τῶν δαιμονίων.
This seems a little out of context since Matthew did not mention casting out a demon, but only curing the mute and blind demoniac. However, this is similar to Luke, chapter 11:15 and Mark, chapter 3:22, as well as the earlier passages from Matthew, chapters 9:34 and 10:24-25. Beelzebul was an ancient Canaanite god known as the “Lord of the flies,” but had become another name for the devil or demons in early Christianity and late Judaism. The Pharisees heard (οἱ δὲ Φαρισαῖοι ἀκούσαντες) that the people were calling Jesus the “Son of David,” a messianic name. However, they accused Jesus of being in cahoots with Beelzebul (εἶπον Οὗτος…εἰ μὴ ἐν τῷ Βεελζεβοὺλ), the leader of the demons (ἄρχοντι τῶν δαιμονίων). In other words, Jesus was casting out (οὐκ ἐκβάλλει τὰ δαιμόνια) demons because he was working with the devil, the leader of the demons, the ancient Canaanite god, Beelzebul.
The teacher and his disciples (Mt 10:24-10:25)
“A disciple is not above
A slave is not above
It is enough
That the disciple is
To be like his teacher.
The slave is
To be like his master.
If they have called
The master of the house
How much more
Will they malign
Those of his household.”
Οὐκ ἔστιν μαθητὴς ὑπὲρ τὸν διδάσκαλον οὐδὲ δοῦλος ὑπὲρ τὸν κύριον αὐτοῦ.
ἀρκετὸν τῷ μαθητῇ ἵνα γένηται ὡς ὁ διδάσκαλος αὐτοῦ, καὶ ὁ δοῦλος ὡς ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ. εἰ τὸν οἰκοδεσπότην Βεελζεβοὺλ ἐπεκάλεσαν, πόσῳ μᾶλλον τοὺς οἰκιακοὺς αὐτοῦ.
Something similar can be found in Luke, chapter 7:40, and in John, 13:16. Obviously, no disciple is greater than his teacher (Οὐκ ἔστιν μαθητὴς ὑπὲρ τὸν διδάσκαλον). A slave or servant is not greater than his master or lord (οὐδὲ δοῦλος ὑπὲρ τὸν κύριον αὐτοῦ). The student or disciple of the teacher should become like his teacher (ἀρκετὸν τῷ μαθητῇ ἵνα γένηται ὡς ὁ διδάσκαλος αὐτοῦ). The servant or slave should be like his master or lord (καὶ ὁ δοῦλος ὡς ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ). If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul (εἰ τὸν οἰκοδεσπότην Βεελζεβοὺλ ἐπεκάλεσαν), how much more will they malign those of his household (πόσῳ μᾶλλον τοὺς οἰκιακοὺς αὐτοῦ). Thus, the disciples of Jesus should expect some of the same bad treatment that Jesus endured. Just as earlier, Jesus was called the leader of the demons in 9:34. Beelzebul was an ancient Canaanite god known as the “Lord of the flies,” but had become another name for the devil or demons in early Christianity and late Judaism.
Turn the other cheek (Mt 5:39-5:39)
“But I say to you!
‘Do not resist
But if anyone
On the right cheek,
Turn the other also.’”
ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν μὴ ἀντιστῆναι τῷ πονηρῷ· ἀλλ’ ὅστις σε ῥαπίζει εἰς τὴν δεξιὰν σιαγόνα σου, στρέψον αὐτῷ καὶ τὴν ἄλλην·
Matthew is not alone in having Jesus solemnly speak (ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν) about turning the other cheek. Luke, in chapter 6:29, around his blessings and curses, had the exact same saying, perhaps another example of the Q source. Jesus told them not to resist the evildoer (μὴ ἀντιστῆναι τῷ πονηρῷ). Is this evil one the devil, as implied earlier in this chapter? Or is this just another evil person? If they were struck on the right cheek (ἀλλ’ ὅστις σε ῥαπίζει εἰς τὴν δεξιὰν σιαγόνα σου), they should turn the other cheek (στρέψον αὐτῷ καὶ τὴν ἄλλην). A slap on the right cheek was usually a back handed slap since most people were right handed. Jesus himself would be struck on the cheek in the passion narrative. They would be true followers of Jesus, if they did not resist, as in the passion story. This is one of the strongest arguments for Christian pacifism.