The seventy (Lk 10:1-10:1)

“After this,

The Lord

Appointed seventy others.

He sent them

On ahead of him,

In pairs,

Into every town

And place

Where he himself

Intended to go.”

 

Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα ἀνέδειξεν ὁ Κύριος ἑτέρους ἑβδομήκοντα, καὶ ἀπέστειλεν αὐτοὺς ἀνὰ δύο πρὸ προσώπου αὐτοῦ εἰς πᾶσαν πόλιν καὶ τόπον οὗ ἤμελλεν αὐτὸς ἔρχεσθαι.

 

Luke uniquely spoke about these 70 disciples.  He said that after these comments (Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα) about the demands of discipleship, the Lord (ὁ Κύριος), not Jesus, appointed 70 others disciples (ἀνέδειξεν ἑτέρους ἑβδομήκοντα), who were not the 12 apostles.  He sent them on ahead of him or his face (πρὸ προσώπου αὐτοῦ), in pairs (καὶ ἀπέστειλεν αὐτοὺς ἀνὰ δύο), into every town and place (εἰς πᾶσαν πόλιν καὶ τόπον) where he himself intended to go (οὗ ἤμελλεν αὐτὸς ἔρχεσθαι).  They were to be his front men or advance people.  There was no mention of these 70 disciples in the other gospel stories, only here in Luke.  This group of 70 was reminiscent of the elders with Moses in Numbers, chapter 11:24-25, where Moses gathered the 70 elders of the people around the tent.  Then Yahweh took some of the Spirit that was upon him and put it upon the 70 elders.  These elders temporarily prophesied.  This sharing of power may have helped Moses, since God gave some of the power of his spirit to these 70 elders.  Thus, the Jerusalem Jewish Sanhedrin had 70 members.  These 70 missionaries of Jesus went out in pairs, two by two, a common practice in the early Church.  Mark, chapter 6:7, said that Jesus sent out his 12 apostles in pairs, two by two, also.  Interesting enough, the activities of these 70 missionaries seem to be much like the 12 apostles as described earlier in chapter 9:2-4.  Have you ever been on a missionary expedition?

They would not receive Jesus (Lk 9:53-9:53)

“But the people

Did not receive Jesus,

Because his face

Was set

Toward Jerusalem.”

 

καὶ οὐκ ἐδέξαντο αὐτόν, ὅτι τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ἦν πορευόμενον εἰς Ἱερουσαλήμ

 

Now there was a note of discord here.  Luke continued his unique story of Jesus traveling through Samaria, on his way to Jerusalem.  Luke noted that the people of this Samaritan town did not want to receive Jesus (καὶ οὐκ ἐδέξαντο αὐτόν), because he was only passing by on his way to Jerusalem (εἰς Ἱερουσαλήμ).  These Samaritans did not look favorably on the Jerusalem pilgrims who passed by their towns on the way to the Temple.  After all, Jesus had steadfastly set his face (ὅτι τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ἦν πορευόμενον) to go there, not stopping or staying to worship at Mount Gerizim in Samaria.  Thus, Jesus was not welcome, if he was going to the Judean place of worship in Jerusalem, and just visiting or passing through here.  Would you be upset if someone said that they were planning to visit someone else but just stopped by?

Bethsaida (Lk 9:10-9:10)

“On their return,

The apostles

Told Jesus

All that they had done.

He took them

With him,

As he withdrew privately

To a city

Called Bethsaida.”

 

Καὶ ὑποστρέψαντες οἱ ἀπόστολοι διηγήσαντο αὐτῷ ὅσα ἐποίησαν. Καὶ παραλαβὼν αὐτοὺς ὑπεχώρησεν κατ’ ἰδίαν εἰς πόλιν καλουμένην Βηθσαϊδά.

 

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?

Shake off the dust! (Lk 9:5-9:5)

“Wherever

They did not welcome you,

As you are leaving

That town,

Shake the dust

Off your feet,

As a testimony

Against them.”

 

καὶ ὅσοι ἂν μὴ δέχωνται ὑμᾶς, ἐξερχόμενοι ἀπὸ τῆς πόλεως ἐκείνης τὸν κονιορτὸν ἀπὸ τῶν ποδῶν ὑμῶν ἀποτινάσσετε εἰς μαρτύριον ἐπ’ αὐτούς.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to his 12 apostles that wherever they did not receive them or welcome them (καὶ ὅσοι ἂν μὴ δέχωνται ὑμᾶς), as they were leaving that town (ἐξερχόμενοι ἀπὸ τῆς πόλεως ἐκείνης), they were to shake the dust off their feet (τὸν κονιορτὸν ἀπὸ τῶν ποδῶν ὑμῶν ἀποτινάσσετε) as a testimony or witness against them (εἰς μαρτύριον ἐπ’ αὐτούς).  Equivalent passages to this can be found in Matthew, chapter 10:14-15, and Mark, chapter 6:11.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that if any place would not receive them or listen to their words, they were to leave that place.  They should shake off the dust from their feet, as a witness or testimony against them.  This indicated that the dust of that house was useless.  Some orthodox texts have the statement about Sodom and Gomorrah that was in Matthew, chapter 10:15, where Jesus make a comparison between those places that had rejected them with the famous wicked cities of Genesis, chapter 18:20-19:29, Sodom and Gomorrah.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that if anyone would not receive them or listen to their words, they should leave that house or town.  They were to shake off the dust from their feet, indicating that the dust of that house or town was useless.  Matthew had Jesus make a comparison between these non-welcoming towns that had rejected them with the famous wicked cities of Genesis.  This was a solemn statement that it would be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah on judgment day than these towns that had rejected his disciples.  They had lacked hospitality to the followers of. Jesus, so that they were worse than those terrible cities in Genesis.  Do you know a town worse than Sodom and Gomorrah?

Stay where you go (Lk 9:4-9:4)

“Whatever house

You enter,

Stay there!

Leave from there!”

 

καὶ εἰς ἣν ἂν οἰκίαν εἰσέλθητε, ἐκεῖ μένετε καὶ ἐκεῖθεν ἐξέρχεσθε.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to his 12 apostles that whatever house they entered (καὶ εἰς ἣν ἂν οἰκίαν εἰσέλθητε), they were to stay there (ἐκεῖ μένετε) and leave from there (καὶ ἐκεῖθεν ἐξέρχεσθε).  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 and stay there.  Where do you stay when you travel?

They asked Jesus to leave (Lk 8:37-8:37)

“Then all the people

In the surrounding country

Of the Gerasenes

Asked Jesus

To depart from them.

They were seized

With great fear.

Thus,

Jesus got into his boat

And returned.”

 

καὶ ἠρώτησεν αὐτὸν ἅπαν τὸ πλῆθος τῆς περιχώρου τῶν Γερασηνῶν ἀπελθεῖν ἀπ’ αὐτῶν, ὅτι φόβῳ μεγάλῳ συνείχοντο· αὐτὸς δὲ ἐμβὰς εἰς πλοῖον ὑπέστρεψεν.

 

Luke said that all the people in the surrounding country of the Gerasenes (ἅπαν τὸ πλῆθος τῆς περιχώρου τῶν Γερασηνῶν) asked Jesus (καὶ ἠρώτησεν αὐτὸν) to depart from them (ἀπελθεῖν ἀπ’ αὐτῶν).  They were seized with great fear (ὅτι φόβῳ μεγάλῳ συνείχοντο).  Thus, Jesus got into his boat (αὐτὸς δὲ ἐμβὰς εἰς πλοῖον) and returned (ὑπέστρεψεν) to the other side.  All 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew chapter 8:34, Mark, chapter 5:17, and Luke here, said that the people in this east bank area of the Sea of Galilee begged Jesus to leave their neighborhood, with slight nuances in each story.  Mark simply said that the people began to implore Jesus to leave their region.  Matthew had the people in the Gadarenes area ask Jesus to leave their neighborhood.  The whole town went out to meet Jesus.  They then begged him to leave their area.  Not in my neighborhood, as economics was more important than any miraculous events.  Jesus was too disruptive to their way of life.  Does Jesus disrupt your life?

The herdsmen tell everyone (Lk 8:34-8:34)

“When the swine herdsmen

Saw what had happened,

They ran off.

They reported this

In the city

And in the countryside.”

 

ἰδόντες δὲ οἱ βόσκοντες τὸ γεγονὸς ἔφυγον καὶ ἀπήγγειλαν εἰς τὴν πόλιν καὶ εἰς τοὺς ἀγρούς.

 

Luke said that when the swine herdsmen saw what had happened (ἰδόντες δὲ οἱ βόσκοντες τὸ γεγονὸς), they ran off (ἔφυγον).  They reported (καὶ ἀπήγγειλαν) this in the city (εἰς τὴν πόλιν) and the in the countryside (καὶ εἰς τοὺς ἀγρούς).  All three synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 8:33, Mark, chapter 5:14, and Luke here, have the herdsmen of these pigs tell everybody in the area what happened, with slight nuances in each story.  Mark said that the shepherds of this herd of pigs fled when they saw what had happened to their flocks.  They recounted the whole story about what had happened to the demoniac and their herd of pigs to the town and the countryside.  However, people came out to see what had happened, to see what had taken place.  Matthew said that the shepherds of these herds of pigs ran off when they saw what had happened to their flocks.  They went into the town, probably Gadara.  Then they told the whole story about what had happened to the demoniacs and their herd of pigs.  They were without a job.  Have you ever lost your job suddenly?

Gerasenes (Lk 8:26-8:26)

“Then they arrived

At the country

Of the Gerasenes,

Which is opposite Galilee.”

 

Καὶ κατέπλευσαν εἰς τὴν χώραν τῶν Γερασηνῶν, ἥτις ἐστὶν ἀντιπέρα τῆς Γαλιλαίας.

 

Luke said that Jesus and his disciples sailed down (Καὶ κατέπλευσαν) to the country of the Gerasenes (εἰς τὴν χώραν τῶν Γερασηνῶν), which was opposite Galilee (ἥτις ἐστὶν ἀντιπέρα τῆς Γαλιλαίας).  All three synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 8:28, Mark, chapter 5:1, as well as Luke here, have Jesus cross to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.  They went to the country or region of the Gerasenes.  Matthew called it Gadarenes, while Luke called it Gerasenes, like Mark.  This might be one of two different towns on the east bank of the Jordan in the Decapolis territory, a group of 10 cities.  One was called Gadara, about 6 miles away from the southeast side of the Sea of Galilee, near where the Sea of Galilee ran into the Jordan River.  Today, it is in the country of Jordan, known as Umm Qais.  The other Decapolis town was called Gerasa, a town about 40 miles from the Sea of Galilee, which would be more inconsistent with this story.  Nevertheless, this was Gentile territory with only a few Jewish people there.  Jesus had traveled over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee to its southern tip, to one of the 10 cities of the Decapolis territory.  Have you ever traveled to an area where they had different religious beliefs than you?

A parable for the crowd (Lk 8:4-8:4)

“A great crowd

Gathered.

People

From town

After town

Came to him.

He spoke

In a parable.”

 

Συνιόντος δὲ ὄχλου πολλοῦ καὶ τῶν κατὰ πόλιν ἐπιπορευομένων πρὸς αὐτὸν εἶπεν διὰ παραβολῆς

 

Luke continued to emphasize the popularity of Jesus.  He said that a great crowd gathered around Jesus (Συνιόντος δὲ ὄχλου πολλοῦ).  People from many towns came to him (καὶ τῶν κατὰ πόλιν ἐπιπορευομένων πρὸς αὐτὸν) so that he spoke to them in a parable (εἶπεν διὰ παραβολῆς).  A similar statement can be found in Matthew, chapter 13:1, and Mark, chapter 4:1.  Mark indicated that Jesus began to teach beside the Sea of Galilee.  As a great crowd assembled around him, Jesus got into a boat.  He then sat there in the boat, while the whole crowd was on the beach shore land.  Matthew said that Jesus sat beside the Sea of Galilee, in the usual gesture of teaching.  But he also had Jesus get into a boat because of the crowds.  Luke did not indicate where Jesus was, except that there was a large crowd from many different towns.  He never mentioned the Sea of Galilee or any boat, since he was more concerned about this parable.  Do you like parables?

Mary Magdalene (Lk 8:2-8:2)

“Some women

Who had been cured

Of evil spirits

And infirmities

Were with him also.

Mary,

Called Magdalene,

From whom

Seven demons

Had gone out,

Was with him also.”

 

καὶ γυναῖκές τινες αἳ ἦσαν τεθεραπευμέναι ἀπὸ πνευμάτων πονηρῶν καὶ ἀσθενειῶν, Μαρία ἡ καλουμένη Μαγδαληνή, ἀφ’ ἧς δαιμόνια ἑπτὰ ἐξεληλύθει,

 

Luke uniquely said that some women (καὶ γυναῖκές), who had been cured of evil spirits (τινες αἳ ἦσαν τεθεραπευμέναι ἀπὸ πνευμάτων πονηρῶν) and other infirmities (καὶ ἀσθενειῶν), were with him also.  Mary (Μαρία), called Magdalene (ἡ καλουμένη Μαγδαληνή), from whom 7 demons had departed (ἀφ’ ἧς δαιμόνια ἑπτὰ ἐξεληλύθει) was with him also.  This Mary Magdalene, who traveled with Jesus as one of his followers, probably came from the town of Magdala, a fishing town on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.  She was explicitly mentioned by name 12 times in the canonical gospels, more than most of the other apostles, indicating her importance.  She certainly was a key figure in the gospel stories about the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Jesus apparently healed her in some way that is not indicated, since Luke said that 7 demons had been driven out of her, a statement that Mark, chapter 16:9, also said.  She helped support Jesus’ ministry, indicating that she was probably relatively wealthy.  This Mary was a central figure in later apocryphal Gnostic Christian writings.  She had a very popular following in the Middle Ages as the repentant woman.  In the late 20th century, she became more popular with her role in the play of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Jesus Christ Super Star” (1971) and Dan Brown’s novel and movie “Da Vinci Code” (2003 and 2006).  What do you think about Mary Magdalene?