Luke is the only synoptic writer with this parable about the widow and the judge to emphasize the importance of prayer. Right from the beginning, he had Jesus tell them the purpose of the parable, rather than a secret that they would have to figure out. Then Jesus told them a parable (Ἔλεγεν δὲ παραβολὴν αὐτοῖς) about the need or duty to always pray (πρὸς τὸ δεῖν πάντοτε προσεύχεσθαι αὐτοὺς). They were not to lose heart or grow weary (καὶ μὴ ἐνκακεῖν). Do you remember to always pray?
Luke uniquely had Jesus tell this parable about being invited by someone to a wedding banquet (Ὅταν κληθῇς ὑπό τινος εἰς γάμους). He told them not to sit down or recline (μὴ κατακλιθῇς) in the place of honor (εἰς τὴν πρωτοκλισίαν). Luke was the only gospel writer who used this word κατακλιθῇς, that means to recline a table. He used it more than 5 times. Otherwise, someone more distinguished than them (μή ποτε ἐντιμότερός σου) may have been invited by their host (ᾖ κεκλημένος ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ). This is similar or based on Proverbs 6:7, where they were told not to put themselves forward in a great place before the king. It was much better to be told to come up than to be put lower in the presence of a noble person. In other words, let the host realize and show that you are important, rather than pretend that you are more important than you are. Have you ever sat at the wrong place at some banquet?
Luke uniquely said that at that very time (ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ καιρῷ), there were some people present (Παρῆσαν δέ τινες) who told Jesus (ἀπαγγέλλοντες αὐτῷ) about the Galileans (περὶ τῶν Γαλιλαίων), whose blood (ὧν τὸ αἷμα) Pilate (Πειλᾶτος) had mingled (ἔμιξεν) with their sacrifices (μετὰ τῶν θυσιῶν αὐτῶν). This is a unique passage of Luke that talked about a contemporary event of Jesus. Apparently, Pontius Pilate, who was rather cruel, had killed some Galileans when they were worshiping at the Jerusalem Temple. However, there is no other indication about this incident anywhere else, nor is it clear how many Galileans were involved. What do you think about killing people while they are praying in a place of worship?
Luke said that Jesus told his disciples (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that whoever welcomed this child (Ὃς ἐὰν δέξηται τοῦτο τὸ παιδίον) in his name (ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματί μου), welcomed him (ἐμὲ δέχεται). Whoever welcomes him (καὶ ὃς ἂν ἐμὲ δέξηται), welcomed the one who sent him (δέχεται τὸν ἀποστείλαντά με). The least among all of them (ὁ γὰρ μικρότερος ἐν πᾶσιν ὑμῖν ὑπάρχων) would be the greatest (οὗτός ἐστιν μέγας). There was the answer to the question. The greatest was the little child. This saying about welcoming this little child can also be found in Matthew, chapter 18:5, and Mark, chapter 9:37, with some minor changes. Mark indicated that Jesus said that whoever welcomed, received, or accepted such a little child in Jesus’ name, welcomed Jesus. Whoever welcomed Jesus welcomed not just Jesus, but welcomed the one who had sent him. Matthew had this welcoming saying about the little child also. Whoever welcomed such a little child in Jesus’ name, welcomed Jesus. However, there was no mention of a relationship to the Father that was in other gospel sayings. Pure and simple, anyone who accepted this little child in Jesus’ name, welcomed Jesus. Are you good with little children?
Luke said that when the voice had spoken (καὶ ἐν τῷ γενέσθαι τὴν φωνὴν), Jesus was found alone (εὑρέθη Ἰησοῦς μόνος). Peter, James, and John kept silent (καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐσίγησαν). In those days (ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις), they told no one (καὶ οὐδενὶ ἀπήγγειλαν) about any of the things that they had seen (οὐδὲν ὧν ἑώρακαν). The other two synoptics said that Jesus told them to be silent, but here they did so on their own. This leaving of Moses and Elijah can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 17:8-9, Mark, chapter 9:8-9, and here in Luke. Matthew was more elaborate than the others, but there are some differences in all 3 accounts. Mark said that suddenly or unexpectedly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone, but only Jesus himself alone with them. Once again, we are back at the messianic secret where Mark was closer to Matthew. He said that Jesus and his 3 disciples came down from the mountain. Jesus admonished them not to tell anyone about what they had seen until the Son of Man had been raised from the dead. Matthew said that when the disciples heard this voice from the cloud, they fell face down to the ground. They were greatly terrified. However, Jesus came to them and touched them. Then he told them to get up and not be afraid. When they looked up, they saw no one, but only Jesus himself alone. Where were Moses and Elijah? Was this just a dream? Matthew said that Jesus and his 3 disciples came down from the mountain. Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone about this spectacular vision until the Son of Man had been raised from the dead. They would be free to speak about this after the death and resurrection of Jesus, but not before that turning point among the followers of Jesus. Have you ever had a secret for a limited time?
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 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 replied to them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς) that his mother (Μήτηρ μου) and his brothers (καὶ ἀδελφοί μου) were those who heard (οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ…ἀκούοντες) the word of God (τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ) and did it (καὶ ποιοῦντες). Mark, chapter 3:33-35, and Matthew, chapter 12:48-50, have something similar, but Matthew was closer to Mark.Luke had this simple concluding statement that sounded like a repudiation of his biological family. Mark said that Jesus made a distinction between his biological family and his new spiritual family, as he replied to the person who told him about his relatives. He asked him who his mother was and who were his brothers? He looked at those who were sitting around him in a circle. Then he said that they were his mother and his brothers. Anyone who did the will of God, would be his brother, his sister, and his mother. Matthew also said that Jesus asked them who his mother was and who his brothers were? He stretched out his hand pointing to his disciples and said that they were his mother and his brothers. Anyone who did the will of his Father in heaven would be his brother, his sister, and his mother. This idea of a new faith family was common among many religious groups, since their fellow believers were now their new family. No longer was a biological family important, because there was now a new spiritual family of Jesus believers. How important is your biological family to you?
Luke indicated that Jesus was told (ἀπηγγέλη δὲ αὐτῷ) that his mother (Ἡ μήτηρ σου) and his brothers (καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί σου) were standing outside (ἑστήκασιν ἔξω), wanting to see him (ἰδεῖν θέλοντές σε). Mark, chapter 3:32, and Matthew, chapter 12:47, have something similar, almost word for word, so that Mark might be the source of this saying. Mark indicated that someone from the crowd sitting around Jesus said that he should look because his mother, his brothers, and his sisters were outside wanting to talk to him. Matthew and Luke never mentioned anything about his sisters, only his brothers, who were all unnamed. Matthew said that his relatives sent for Jesus, as someone told him that his mother and brothers were outside wanting to talk to him. Were they not allowed to come into where he was talking? Would you stop what you were doing to talk to your close family members?
Luke indicated that Jesus told his followers to forgive others (ἀπολύετε). Then they would be forgiven (καὶ ἀπολυθήσεσθε). This saying about forgiveness seems similar to Mark, chapter 11:25, and Matthew, chapter 6:14-15. Mark indicated that Jesus said that whenever they would stand and pray, they should forgive others, especially if they had anything against anyone. Then their heavenly Father would also forgive them. Matthew had Jesus say that their heavenly Father would forgive them if they forgave others for their missteps or trespasses. On the other hand, if they did not forgive others, their heavenly Father would not forgive them. This came right after the “Our Father” prayer in Matthew. Do you really forgive other people?