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Exegetical Study

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Theology Assignment
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  Carey Assignment 3:   Exegetical study and application of a passage from the Bible Luke 9:1-6 NRSV Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money-not even an extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there, and leave from there. Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” They departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere.  Introduction:  (note: all scripture references are from NRSV)The main theme of this passage is the commissioning of the twelve disciples for ministry. This means they were called by Jesus and given power and authority over demons and to cure diseases. Their purpose was twofold: to proclaim the kingdom of God, and to heal. They had been witnesses to Jesus’ preaching and healing, and were now charged with the exciting yet daunting task of replicating his message and miracles. Jesus was training them up by giving them an opportunity to preach and heal under his authority, and to challenge people to either accept or reject Jesus’ message. The commissioning concludes with Jesus’ disconcerting instructions- that they were to be completely reliant on others for all their material needs.  In their town:   Background Details The Gospel of Luke does not mention the author’s name, but all evidence points to Luke the doctor, Paul’s companion on his missionary journeys. 1  It is written to someone called “most excellent Theophilus.” The title ‘most excellent’ indicates Theophilus was a man of some influence. 2  The purpose of Luke is to write an orderly account detailing the events of Jesus so that Theophilus may have confidence in the truth about which he had been instructed (1:4). The bulk of Luke explains how Jesus prepared the disciples for his departure and prepared them to minister in his absence. 3  Our passage (Luke 9:1-6) gives impetus to this preparation. Jesus is giving opportunity for practical experience in both preaching and healing. Both Matthew (ch 10) and Mark (ch 6) include the commissioning of the twelve, and there is a rather surprising reflection in Luke 22:35 where Jesus talks about the sending of the twelve, but is outside the scope of this exegetical study.  Verse 1-2 Authority and commission given It is interesting to note that in the previous chapter (ch 8) Luke mentions that Jesus “went through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him”(vs 1). Obviously the Twelve heard Jesus’ message about the kingdom of God many times. Luke then goes on detailing the parable of the sower, and its explanation, mentions the lamp being put on a lampstand 1  The Lion Handbook to the Bible (Lion Publishing plc Sandy Lane West, Oxford, England 1973), 514 2  Who was in the Bible (Thomas Nelson Publishers 1999), 394 3  Darrell L Bock, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Luke 1:1-9:50 (Baker Books 1994), 2  rather than under a jar, that his true family are “those who hear the word of God and do it”, followed by his amazing display of calmness and power over the storm, and the unclean spirit named “Legion” in Gerasene. The chapter concludes with Jesus’ power even over death with his raising of Jairus’ daughter and the healing of the woman with bleeding. This is the setting when in chapter 9 Jesus “called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases”. Jesus was saying, you’ve seen me do all these things, now I want you to do the same, but under my authority and in my power. In commissioning the twelve, Jesus told them to proclaim the kingdom of God, and to heal. Proclaiming the kingdom of God meant proclaiming the good news of the ‘rule’, or ‘kingdom’, of God. In the Old Testament the prophets looked forward to a future era when God would act in power and set up his rule over Israel. This hope was associated with the coming of a king (or Messiah; Greek, ‘Christ’) who would belong to the kingly line of David. 4   Verse 3-5 Instructions about provision and lodging  The disciples were given instructions regarding where they were to stay and their basic daily needs. They were to depend on God as they journeyed, to travel with no extra provisions. In those days travelling religious figures often carried a beggar's bag in which they kept the money that they received or for which they had begged. 5  Jesus instructed the twelve to not take anything: no money, no bread, not even an extra tunic. 4  Howard Marshall, the gospels and Jesus Christ,The Lion Handbook to the Bible (Lion Publishing plc Sandy Lane West, Oxford, England 1973), 468-473 5  Darrell L Bock, Baker Exegetical Commentary, Luke 1:1-9:50, 814   A tunic was the main basic garment worn under the cloak. 6  They were to rely only on those who responded to them and their message, to supply their fundamental needs.  As they travelled, they were to stay in one place once they entered a city. If there was no response, they were to leave, “shaking the dust off their feet”- a figure of speech which symbolically says “good riddance” to those they leave behind. 7  In the parallel verse in Matthew 10:15 Jesus says “Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgement than for that town.” The proclaimed kingdom of God message challenged the hearer to make a decision, to either accept or reject the good news of the Kingdom.  Verse 6 The Twelve take up the mission The disciples depart and take Jesus’ message about the Kingdom of God and healing the sick to the people. No longer do the people need to take the journey to find Jesus, his message and miracles are finding their way to them.  Conclusion In commissioning the twelve for ministry, Jesus is actively training them so they would be prepared to proclaim the good news and to heal the sick after his departure. In regard to their daily needs-they would ultimately have to rely on God rather than themselves.  6  Howard F. Vos, New Illustrated Bible Manners & Customs (Nashville, Tennesse, Thomas Nelson, Inc 1999), 447 7  Darrell L Bock, Baker Exegetical Commentary, Luke 1:1-9:50, 818-819
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