Luke indicated that Jesus said (εἶπεν οὖν) that a nobleman (Ἄνθρωπός τις εὐγενὴς) went to a distant country (ἐπορεύθη εἰς χώραν μακρὰν) to get royal power for himself (λαβεῖν ἑαυτῷ βασιλείαν). After that, he would return later (καὶ ὑποστρέψαι). This might have been a hint about the local leaders going to Rome to get their royal powers. It may also be about Jesus going to heaven and then returning at the last judgment or the Second Coming. However, there was the overriding theme of the need for responsibility, productivity, and not laziness. There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 25:14, where the story is about a man with a household of slaves and not a nobleman as here. The slaves were given money to take care of things while the rich man was gone. In Matthew, Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven would be like a man going on a journey (Ὥσπερ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος ἀποδημῶν). This very generous man called or summoned his slaves (ἐκάλεσεν τοὺς ἰδίους δούλους) to entrust them or give them his property and possessions, while he was gone (καὶ παρέδωκεν αὐτοῖς τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ). In Mark, 13:34, Jesus said that the end times would be like a man going on a journey (ὡς ἄνθρωπος ἀπόδημος). He left his house (ἀφεὶς τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ). He gave his slaves the authority (καὶ δοὺς τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ τὴν ἐξουσίαν) to perform their own individual tasks (ἑκάστῳ τὸ ἔργον αὐτοῦ). He commanded a doorkeeper to stand watch over this whole situation (καὶ τῷ θυρωρῷ ἐνετείλατο ἵνα γρηγορῇ). However, the story for Mark ended there, unlike Luke and Matthew that have more details about the slaves in this household. What do you do when you go on a long journey?
Luke has Jesus conclude this parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector that is only found in this gospel. Luke indicated that Jesus said with a solemn pronouncement (λέγω ὑμῖν) that this man, the tax collector, went down to his house justified (κατέβη οὗτος δεδικαιωμένος εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ) rather than the other man, the Pharisee (παρ’ ἐκεῖνον). Then he added a remark that all who exalt themselves (ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ὑψῶν ἑαυτὸν), will be humbled (ταπεινωθήσεται). But all who humble themselves (ὁ δὲ ταπεινῶν ἑαυτὸν), will be exalted (ὑψωθήσεται). This was also in in Matthew, chapter 23:12, where Jesus said that whoever exalted themselves would be humbled (Ὅστις δὲ ὑψώσει ἑαυτὸν ταπεινωθήσεται,). On the other hand, anyone who humbled themselves would be exalted (καὶ ὅστις ταπεινώσει ἑαυτὸν ὑψωθήσεται). This role reversal was an indication of the end times in Matthew. Luke mentioned this earlier in chapter 14:11, word for word, when Jesus said that all who exalted themselves (ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ὑψῶν ἑαυτὸν) would be humbled (ταπεινωθήσεται). On the other hand, all those who humbled themselves (καὶ ὁ ταπεινῶν ἑαυτὸν), would be exalted (ὑψωθήσεται), but within a different context also. Do you humble or exalt yourself?
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 prodigal son set off to go to his father (καὶ ἀναστὰς ἦλθεν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα ἑαυτοῦ). While he was still far away (ἔτι δὲ αὐτοῦ μακρὰν ἀπέχοντος), his father saw him (εἶδεν αὐτὸν ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ). He was filled with compassion (καὶ ἐσπλαγχνίσθη). He ran to him (καὶ δραμὼν). He put his arms around him or fell upon his neck (ἐπέπεσεν ἐπὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ) and he kissed him (καὶ κατεφίλησεν αὐτόν). In case there was any doubt, the father was going to accept the prodigal sinning son without any conditions. There was not even an “I’m sorry!” from the son. This compassionate father ran out to embrace him before he even got close to their house. Obviously, he was out in the fields working. Do you feel closer to the wasteful repentant prodigal son or the compassionate forgiving father?
Luke indicated that Jesus said that this unclean spirit went and brought 7 others more evil spirits than him (τότε πορεύεται καὶ παραλαμβάνει ἕτερα πνεύματα πονηρότερα ἑαυτοῦ ἑπτά). They entered and lived there (καὶ εἰσελθόντα κατοικεῖ ἐκεῖ). Thus, the last state of that possessed person or man (καὶ γίνεται τὰ ἔσχατα τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐκείνου) was worse than the first or original state (χείρονα τῶν πρώτων) of that person. This saying about the returning unclean spirit can be found almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 12:45, indicating a Q source. This implied a failed exorcism or a failed healing, so that the evil unclean spirit would return with more evil spirits. Thus, the unclean spirit brought 7 more evil spirits (τότε πορεύεται καὶ παραλαμβάνει μεθ’ ἑαυτοῦ ἑπτὰ ἕτερα πνεύματα πονηρότερα ἑαυτοῦ). All these evil spirits entered and lived there (καὶ εἰσελθόντα κατοικεῖ ἐκεῖ). Finally, the last state of that person would be worse than the original situation (καὶ γίνεται τὰ ἔσχατα τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐκείνου χείρονα τῶν πρώτων). Thus, it would be the same for this evil generation (οὕτως ἔσται καὶ τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ τῇ πονηρᾷ). Jesus had just called this generation evil, earlier in that chapter. Luke never mentioned this current evil generation here. Do you think that more evil comes to an empty house?
The paralyzed man did exactly what Jesus told him to do. He got up and went to his home. Jesus had forgiven this man his sins and at the same time cured him of paralysis. Normally, the power to forgive sins was what only God could do. Luke said that this paralytic stood up before them (καὶ παραχρῆμα ἀναστὰς ἐνώπιον αὐτῶν). He took his bed that he had been lying on (ἄρας ἐφ’ ὃ κατέκειτο) and went home (ἀπῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ). At the same time, he was glorifying or praising God (δοξάζων τὸν Θεόν). Mark, chapter 2:12, and Matthew, chapter 9:7-8, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this saying. Mark said that the paralyzed man did exactly as Jesus had told him to do. He stood up and immediately took his pallet bed in front of everybody. Jesus had forgiven this man’s sins and cured him of paralysis. How was the power to forgive sins, which only God could do, related to his healing powers? How were these powers related?
Luke said that Jesus went down with his parents to Nazareth (καὶ κατέβη μετ’ αὐτῶν καὶ ἦλθεν εἰς Ναζαρὲθ). There he was obedient to them or submitted to them (καὶ ἦν ὑποτασσόμενος αὐτοῖς). He did not go out on his own. His mother treasured all these things (καὶ ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ διετήρει πάντα τὰ ῥήματα) in her heart (ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτῆς). This may be a hint that some of this information came from Mary, the mother of Jesus. Jesus could have begun his public ministry as a boy wonder in Jerusalem, but he chose not to do so. Instead he went back to Nazareth to be an obedient submissive child for at least 10-15 years. That seems like a strange decision. Meanwhile, his mother pondered or kept all these events in her heart as memoires.
Now we have another unique saying of Luke about the age of Jesus. When Jesus was 12 years old (Καὶ ὅτε ἐγένετο ἐτῶν δώδεκα), the whole family went up to Jerusalem (ἀναβαινόντων αὐτῶν) as usual for the festival of Passover (κατὰ τὸ ἔθος τῆς ἑορτῆς). This was not a bar mitzvah or confirmation, since this Jewish practice came later. However, Jesus would have been on the verge of puberty. The number 12 would play a major role in the life of Jesus, since he had 12 apostles, who were called the Twelve. This episode is the only insight into the life of Jesus between his birth and the baptism by John, that can be found in any of the canonical biblical gospel narratives. There are many stories about the boyhood of Jesus in some apocryphal gospels. Thus, this story takes on a special canonical importance.
Luke alone continued to show how Jesus and Mary followed the Torah or Jewish law, since every year (κατ’ ἔτος), the parents of Jesus went (Καὶ ἐπορεύοντο οἱ γονεῖς αὐτοῦ) to Jerusalem (εἰς Ἱερουσαλὴμ) for the festival of Passover (τῇ ἑορτῇ τοῦ πάσχα). Passover was one of the 3 major festivals, and the most important, when observant Jewish people went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Luke put a lot of emphasis on Jerusalem, the Temple, and the Law.
Without any specific directions, Luke said that these shepherds hurried to Bethlehem (καὶ ἦλθαν σπεύσαντες). There was no indication of what happened to the sheep that they were watching. Nevertheless, they found Mary (καὶ ἀνεῦραν τήν τε Μαριὰμ) and Joseph (καὶ τὸν Ἰωσὴφ), with the child lying in a manger (καὶ τὸ βρέφος κείμενον ἐν τῇ φάτνῃ), just as the angels had told them.
Luke said that all the people went to be registered (καὶ ἐπορεύοντο πάντες ἀπογράφεσθαι). Each one of them went to their own town or city (ἕκαστος εἰς τὴν ἑαυτοῦ πόλιν). In other words, people returned to their ancestral home towns. It is not clear how long and why Joseph and Mary were in Nazareth. However, there had to be a reason for Jesus to be born in Bethlehem, the city of David. Matthew, chapter 2:1, did not say why Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, since he never mentioned anything about registering for any kind of census, like Luke here.