The mission of the Messiah, 1:5-9:50

6. The nature of the Messiah's kingdom, 9:1-50

i] Mission of the twelve


Jesus now sends out the twelve to proclaim the coming kingdom, in word and sign, to the people of Israel. Before sending them out, Jesus gives them instructions for the mission. They must rely, not on the stuff of this age, but on divine power and authority. If they are rejected, they must move on, leaving that village with a sign of judgment.


The sending out of the twelve serves to announce the inauguration/realization of the kingdom to the people of Israel and as such serves as a rehearsal for the mission of Jesus' disciples to the ends of the earth, a mission undertaken with the authority and power of God. The results of the mission also prefigure the coming mission of the church. The populous is stirred to such an extent that even Herod gets to hear of the mission, but confusion reigns.


i] Context: See 1:5-25. The six episodes found in the section of Luke's gospel The Nature of the Messiah's Kingdom, 9:1-50, align with Mark's synoptic tradition and follow his sequence of events, although with some logical shifts, eg. the record of John the Baptist's death. These episodes serve to draw to an end Jesus' Galilean mission. Note though that Luke ignores all of the material recorded by Mark between the feeding of the five thousand and Peter's confession, Mk.6:45-8:26 - explanations abound! Following the structure of Luke proposed by Ellis, this section of Luke's gospel serves as the last unit of six episodes under the head major The mission / acts of Messiah, 1:5-9:50. Ellis titles these episodes The Confirmation and Rejection of His Mission. Although a cohesive unit, it is difficult to observe a unifying theme in the six episodes, but they do certainly reveal more of Jesus' messiahship and thus serve to expand our understanding of messiah's kingdom, prompting our title for these episodes, The nature of Messiah's kingdom.

The first episode, The mission of the Twelve, v1-9, sets the stage by promoting questions as to the identify of Jesus - a resurrected John the Baptist, Elijah revisited, a prophet? The messiah's identify is further revealed in the following episodes. In the feeding of the five thousand we are introduced to Jesus' real identity, the prophet like unto Moses, v10-17, while in the confession of Peter we are confronted by God's messiah in the terms of Isaiah's suffering servant, v18-27, a fact confirmed in the transfiguration, v28-36. So Jesus, the new Moses, establishes the new Israel, and likewise, Jesus the Suffering Servant establishes the new servant people of God, thus defining the nature of the kingdom. We are then reminded that membership of the kingdom rests on faith, v37-45, a faith which issues in humble service, v46-50.


ii] Structure: This passage, The mission of the twelve, presents as follows:

The mission:

Commissioning, v1-2;

Instructions, v3-5;

Mission overview, v6.


News reaches Herod, v7-8;

Herod wants to meet Jesus, v9.


iii] Interpretation:

The mission serves as "a temporary extension through the twelve of Jesus' activity, and a rehearsal for their mission to the world", Evans. It therefore points to "the expansion of ministry to those who will be Jesus' witnesses in the book of Acts", Bock, so also Fitzmyer. The witnesses themselves are called to communicate the message / gospel within the context of "a simple life of trusting God as they minister", Bock.


iv] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 9:1

The mission of the twelve, v1-6: i] The commission, v1-2. Jesus now sets about preparing and authorizing his apostles for mission. Their task is to proclaim the news concerning God's coming kingdom. God is about to establish his eternal reign in and through the person of Jesus, so now is the time to repent and believe and become a full member of God's covenant community. To enable the apostles to communicate this news Jesus equips them with both words and signs. The words consist of the gospel of the kingdom and the signs consist of powerful exhibitions of the kingdom's realization / inauguration. The prophets foretold that these signs would herald the coming kingdom, so both words and signs proclaim that the kingdom is at hand.

sugkalesamenoV (sugkalew) aor. part. "when Jesus had called [the twelve] together" - having called together, summoned. The participle is adverbial, temporal, as NIV. Jesus called them together to commission them prior to sending them out.

touV dwdeka "the twelve" - Clearly a number representative of the new Israel. The twelve are given the title apostles, "sent ones", sent under the authority of Jesus.

edwken (didwmi) aor. "He gave" - The disciples received the power to cast out demons and heal disease and the authority/right under God to exercise that power. Mark has "authority" only, but obviously such authority comes with the power to exercise the authority.

autoiV dat. pro. "them [power and authority]" - to them. Dative of indirect object.

epi + acc. "to drive out [all demons]" - over [all demons]. Spacial, expressing influence over. The power to exorcise demons and heal the sick is not a power in its own right, but serves as a visible (sign) proclamation of the coming kingdom, cf. v2. When the sick are healed and the possessed set free, as foretold by the prophets, then may the remnant of Israel know that the promised kingdom is upon them. Such signs do not proclaim a coming kingdom to Gentiles and where therefore not central to the Gentile mission. "To deal with every kind of demon", Rieu.

qerapeuein (qerapeuw) pres. inf. "to cure [diseases]" - to heal [diseases]. The infinitive is epexegetic further explaining the nature of the substantives "power and authority". "He gave them power and authority over all demons as well as to heal diseases", Moffatt.


aposteilen (apostellw) aor. "he sent [them]" - As noted above the apostles are the sent-ones, which role defines the central function of the church in relation to the world - the church gathers for worship, but in relation to the world it goes out to proclaim.

khrussein (khrussw) pres. inf. "to preach" - The infinitive is adverbial, final, expressing purpose; "in order to peach."

thn basileian (a) "the kingdom" - A shorthand version of the message, such that to preach the kingdom is to preach that "the time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God / heaven is at hand, repent and believe the gospel". Note how Mark and Matthew add "has drawn near." "The kingdom" entails the dynamic reign of God in Christ, which entity a person may enter into for salvation, the means being faith.

tou qeou (oV) gen. "of God" - The genitive is best treated as adjectival, possessive, but is often classified as verbal, subjective.

iasqai (iaomai) pres. inf. "to heal" - The infinitive as for "to preach"; "in order to preach ... and to heal". The kingdom is proclaimed in word and sign, see above, although Fitzmyer is somewhat puzzled by the repeated mention of healing, p753. The variant touV asqeneiV "the sick", probably should be read since it is Lucan in style, so Marshall, cf. Metzger, 146f.


ii] Mission instructions, v3-5. The apostles are to follow Jewish missionary customs. They are to look to each village community for provisions and hospitality, and when offered, they must not even think about moving to better accommodation. By these actions they show that they carry an authorized word from God. If a village community rejects the gospel then the apostles must symbolically demonstrate that this community now stands under the judgment of God.

airete (airw) pres. imp. "take [nothing for the journey]" - take up [nothing to the way]. "take up" as in "take/carry along". "Take nothing for the road", Barclay.

mhte .... mhte "no [staff], no [bag] ......" - neither ..... nor. No staff for the journey, nor travelling bag / knapsack, no provisions, and no money. Mark allows a staff and suggests sandals!!! In typical fashion it is the responsibility of the Israelite community to provide for those who carry a prophetic word from God, ie. the dress-code represents missionary custom. By this action Jesus reinforces the divine nature of the message carried by the apostles to the Israelite community. A staff and going two by two, as noted in Mark, would actually reinforce the wondering prophet image. Later, when carrying the gospel to the Gentiles, disciples may better be equipped with a sword, 22:36!!!! Other suggestions have been forthcoming for the dress-code of the missionaries: i] the need for speed / urgency, "a deliberately staged prophetic sign of eschatological urgency", Nolland; ii] the sacred nature of the mission, so Manson; iii] "simplicity and detachment from the world", Evans, so Fitzmyer; iv] "reliant on the resources of the king", Danker, so Bock; v] the need for divine protection from want and evil, Conzelmann.

ecein (ecw) pres. inf. "[no extra tunic]" - [nor] to have [two shirts]. Possibly "undergarments". The infinitive here is rather unusual. Plummer suggests that it serves to express a "change from direct to oblique oration", ie. it forms a dependent statement, indirect speech, expressing what Jesus told the disciples. Possibly imperatival, BDF.389, "do not have", parallel to the negated imperative "take nothing", so Marshall, Fitzmyer. McKay opts for result or purpose; "take nothing with you on the way so that you will have neither ..." Culy thinks it is epexegetical; "take nothing on the journey - no staff, no travel bag, nor ...."


h}n a]n + subj. "whatever [house you enter]" - [into] which-ever [house you may enter]. This construction forms an indefinite relative conditional clause, 3rd. class, where the condition has the possibility of coming true; "whichever, as my be the case, house you enter, then remain there." An example of short-talk, so "when you enter a village/town, if the first home offers you hospitality, then stay with the members of that household until it is time to leave the village/town." Possibly the point is "don't move from house to house seeking better lodgings", Marshall.

menete (menw) pres. imp. "stay [there]" - remain, abide, continue [there]. "Stay in the house you first go into", Barclay.

exercesqe (exercomai) pres. imp. "until you leave [that town]" - [from there] go out. "Leave it only when you leave the town", Rieu.


o{soi an + subj. "if people" - whoever. Forming an indefinite relative conditional clause 3rd. class where the condition has the possibility of coming true; "when leaving from their town, whoever, as the case may be, do not receive you, then shake off the dust ......" = "whosoever will not receive you", AV. There is no real antecedent for the relative pronoun o{soi so it is unclear whether towns/villages, populations, or individuals are in mind. It is likely that being plural it refers in a general way to ekeinhV "[the town] of theirs", ie. the population of the town. Luke has in mind "a whole town making a corporate response to the missioners", Nolland. So, not so much "if any city refuses to welcome you", Junkins, or the individualistic "as for those who do not welcome you", REB, but possibly "where they (the local community) do not welcome you", Berkeley.

apotinassete (apotinassw) pres. imp. "shake off [the dust]" - Clearly a symbolic gesture serving as a marturion ep autouV "a witness to/against them", ie. to/against the inhabitants of the town. Witness of what? Probably not "good riddance", but certainly "exclusion from what God is now doing", Nolland. Most commentators take the view that the gesture replicates the action of a pious Jew who shakes the dust off his feet when leaving Gentile territory. To repeat this action outside a Jewish town implies "that they (the town population) were not part of the true Israel; they had refused the message of the kingdom of God", Marshall, and thus the gesture "warns of impending judgment", Bock.

exercomenoi (exercomai) pres. part. "when you leave / leave their town" - coming out, going out. The participle is adverbial, temporal, as NIV, or attendant circumstance expressing action accompanying the imperative "shake off", "leave their town and shake off ...", as TNIV.

apo + gen. "-" - [coming out] from [that/their town]. Expressing separation; "away from."

ep (epi) + acc. "against [them]" - Spacial, expressing opposition; "to make them see the seriousness of what they have done", Barclay.


iii] The missions brief - preaching the good news and healing (preaching in sign), v6. So, the apostles set off on their mission throughout Galilee.

exercomenoi (exercomomai) "so they set out" - coming out, going out. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb "they were passing though"; "they departed and went through", TH.

dihrconto (diercomai) imperf. "went" - they were passing through. The imperfect is iterative, expressing repeated action, or simply durative; "kept on going through."

kata + acc. "from [village] to [village]" - throughout [the villages]. Here distributive; "one village after another", Zerwick.

euaggelizomenoi (euaggelizw) pres. part. "preaching the gospel" - proclaiming, communicating. This participle, as with "healing", is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of the apostles' "going". The apostles went in word and sign, they went proclaiming/communicating and healing. Both word and sign display the divine revelation now made known in Christ, namely the coming kingdom.

pantacou ad. "everywhere" - "Everywhere they went", Peterson.


Jesus and Herod, v7-9. i] News of the mission even reaches Herod, v7-8. The reported reaction of Herod serves to illustrate the effect of the apostolic mission. There is a popular response to the mission which is generally positive, but ill-informed. There is little agreement as to who this Jesus is. Some say that he is John the Baptist come back to life. Some say that Elijah has come from heaven to visit the people of Israel, while others think that Jesus is like one of the Old Testament prophets who has appeared on the scene again. A genuine faith-response is lacking. John has now obviously been executed. The gospels have Jesus' mission beginning at the point of John's arrest, presumably soon after Jesus' baptism by John. Here though we get the impression that Jesus' mission proper begins after the death of John.

hkousen (akouw) aor. "heard" - Possibly an inceptive aorist, "began to hear".

oJ tetraarchV (hV) "[Herod] the tetrarch" - Mark has "king", the common designation, but Luke, with Matthew, gives the correct title. The title is given to Herod Antipas as a prince, under the authority of Rome, who rules a fourth part of his father's kingdom, an area covering Galilee and Perea, from the death of Herod the Great in 4BC through to 39AD when deposed by Caligula "for seeking to make the courtesy title of king into a real title", Fitzmyer.

ta ginomena (ginomai) pres. part. "[about all] that was going on" - [all] the things happening. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting panta "all".

dihporei (diaporew) imperf. "he was perplexed" - he was in doubt, perplexed, puzzled, at a loss. "Did not know what to make of it", REB.

dia to legesqai (legw) pres. pas. inf. "because [some] were saying" - because to say. This preposition with the neuter articular infinitive forms a causal clause, as NIV.

uJpo + gen. "[some]" - by [some]. Expressing agency; "because it was told by some that ...", Berkeley.

oJti "that" - that. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement indirect speech expressing what "some were saying."

hgerqh (egairw) aor. pas. "[John] had been raised" - was raised. Obviously a piece of popular myth - an example of 1st. century new-age thinking!

ek + gen. "from" - out of [realm of the dead]. "Resurrected from the dead", Junkins.


uJpo + gen. "[others]" - by [some also]. Expressing agency.

oJti "that" - Again introducing a dependent statement expressing what "some" had [said].

efanh (fainw) aor. pas. "had appeared" - Elijah appears because he was translated to heaven and did not die.

allwn gen. adj. "[and] still others" - [and by] others. Genitive after an assumed uJpo, "by", expressing agency.

twn arcaiwn gen. adj. "[one of the prophets] of long ago" - [a certain prophet] of the old. The adjective serves as a substantive, while the genitive is probably ablative, expressing source / origin; "one of the prophets from the old times." Referring to any of the Old Testament prophets who lived in times gone by. Bock argues that the speculation that Old Testaments prophets would come back from the dead and minister to God's people in need was a common Jewish view. Fitzmyer suggests that its not so much that the prophets of old come back from the dead, but that the present situation is like the "appearing on the scene" of the prophets of old, in which case people are speculating that Jesus is like an Old Testament prophet.


ii] Herod's question sets the tone of for the following episodes; "Who can this be?", v9. Herod has only just had John's head cut off so he is not very impressed with this idea that the Baptist has risen from the dead and is now wondering around Galilee. At any rate, Herod has heard great things about Jesus and so he wants to meet him.

apekeqalisa (apokeqalizw) aor. "I beheaded [John]" - The aorist is punctiliar. The sense in Luke's account is that Herod is not overly influenced by the common speculation of a resurrected John the Baptist. Herod had John beheaded, and that's the end of it.

egw "I [beheaded John]" - Emphatic position in the Gk. The second egw before akouw is not well attested. If original it would also be emphatic denoting some agitation on Herod's part.

peri + gen. "about" - about, concerning [whom I hear such things]. Reference / respect; "who is this of whom I hear such strange reports", Rieu.

ezhtei (zhtew) imperf. "he tried" - he sought, desired, longed. The imperfect is durative; "he continued seeking", Plummer, "he made efforts", Barclay. Herod wants to get to know Jesus so that he can make up his own mind about him, ie. he is motivated by curiosity, not malice or faith, so Marshall.

idein (oJraw) aor. inf. "to see [him]" - The infinitive is best treated as complementary, completing the sense of the verb "he sought", but it can be treated as forming a object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what he sought, "he was seeking that he might see him." "He tried to find a way to meet him", TH.


Luke Introduction



[Pumpkin Cottage]