Bible 911 Luke

This edition of Bible 911 is from Luke and is found in the story of the feeding of the five thousand. Why would Jesus feed 5,000 people and then feed 4,000 more soon after that? How does this miracle fit into the Kingdom timeline of Jesus heading to Passover? What does each Gospel add to the narrative to form a “big picture”? Whom did Jesus want to perform this miracle?

A Little Background

Luke was a Greek doctor that was known as a traveling companion of Paul. He wrote the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts for a person known as Theophilus. Since “most excellent Theophilus” means “strongest God friend” I have to wonder if that was a play on words or some hidden meaning. In Luke 1:1-3 he makes it clear that he has done a lot of research and feels he should write an account of what he knows. It seems that Luke follows the basic timeline in Matthew and Mark but puts events and stories together differently to achieve a smooth tale for Theophilus.

Luke is the only writer to include the narrative about the 72 disciples who were sent out. I think because of this, a tradition was started that he was part of those 72 disciples. We do not know this as a fact.    

Feeding the 5,000

Luke 9: 11 And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing. (KJV) Luke’s telling of this miracle starts in verse 10 and runs through verse 17. The story of feeding the 5, 000 is one of a few events that make it into all four Gospels. The stories are basically the same. They are found in Matthew 14, John 6, and Mark 6.

John adds about the little boy’s lunch (In my tradition, that is John Mark, his nephew.) People have picked Feeding to be one of the seven miracles that show Jesus as Lord. Really, John has more miracles than just seven, but this sign was given for a reason. I think it mirrors the feeding of Israel in the wilderness, something tradition said the Messiah had to do to prove Himself. It is possible that Jesus added the feeding of the 4,000 after He refused to give the Pharisees a sign, just because He was Jesus.

I wish to highlight that this period was part of Jesus’s final push before He went to Jerusalem to die. Luke 9:11 says that He welcomed the people, taught them about the Kingdom, and healed those who needed it. The pattern of teaching about the kingdom of God/Heaven and healing the sick is well established in the Gospels and Acts. It makes you wonder what happened.

This list is compiled from all four Gospels. It may be missing parts from your favorite telling, just include them for your study. In my long-running study of the Kingdom, I noticed that in Matthew, mentions of John the Baptist and blocks/levels of specific teaching on the Kingdom go hand-in-hand. Here are twelve events that are associated with the feeding of the 5,000 and His preparation for Jerusalem.     

  1.  The Twelve are sent out and John the Baptist is killed.
  2. Jesus is seeking quiet time and feeds 5,000+ people.
  3. Jesus walks on water.
  4. John 6:15 The Bread of Life.
  5. Questioned about clean and unclean practices, and His authority.
  6. The group goes to Tyre and the Decapolis for specific healings.
  7. 4,000+ are fed.
  8. Matthew 16:1 is a demand for a sign.
  9. Yeast of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herod.
  10. Peter’s confession and Jesus predicts His death.
  11. The Transfiguration for the inner circle, while talking to Moses and Elijah.
  12. 72 are sent out to prepare the way to go to Jerusalem.  

As Master Teacher, Jesus provided hands-on learning opportunities and evaluation experiences for His students. The Twelve being sent out filled both of these learning events. In Luke 9:13 it is clear that Jesus wanted them to feed the crowd, that is a master-level evaluation. The students did not pass that test. So, Jesus began a reteach by feeding the 5,000 and walking on water. (A miracle to rival opening the Red Sea.)

Jesus was preparing the Disciples for the “ride into Jerusalem” and Pentecost. (Remember, Judas Iscariot, was present for these events.) Jesus still had His time on the East Bank and then the trek to the Mount of Olives and His Sermons on the Two Mounts.

Observations, Questions, and Comments

  • What did Jesus do when the disciples were out on their missionary trips?  Search and see if you can find any clues.
  • Jesus did reach out to Gentiles during His trips to Tyre and the Decapolis. These stops foreshadowed the work the Disciples were charged with.
  • 5,000+ people eating without washing their hands, which must have aggravated the Pharisees.  
  • Jesus told the disciples many times that He was to die. Not sure they listened well.

These are two sites from a web search about events in all four Gospels. I am adding these for reference.

10 Events Seen in All 4 Gospels (whatchristianswanttoknow.com)

The Bible in a Year: Seven stories that all the same in all 4 Gospels (sylviabibleinayear.blogspot.com)

Shadow-Metaphor 

Shadow as an idea or a real thing is used in the Bible and literature, especially poetry, as a metaphor. In Psalms, we may “hide (or rest) in the shadow of the Almighty” and know we are protected, or the Law and the earthly Ark are but shadows of better things (Hebrews). So, when you read passages and stories you have to read things in the context of what the writer is saying. 

Good or Bad 

Like knowledge or wine/grapes, a shadow may be a good thing or a bad thing. We can hide in the shadow of God’s wings, or someone can shoot arrows at us from the shadows (hiding). In the Lord of the Rings, Frodo was passing into the shadows or shadowland after he was stabbed. On a hot day, who does not like to sit in the shadow (shade) of a tree or umbrella?  

Luke 13:19 is the story of a mustard seed (Kingdom of God) growing into a tree and birds using its shade (shadow) to nest in. In this story, the shade is good because it represents the Kingdom, but those birds (usually a metaphor for bad things) are taking advantage of the Kingdom and raising things that will just use the Kingdom.  

The Ancients 

Moses, David, and Jesus (the Holy Spirit) all used shadow as a metaphor in their teachings and writings; it has been around for a very long time. (Use the sites below as a learning tool, I did. I just may not agree with everything they wrote.) I enjoy looking at the roots and early thoughts of words and ideas, it is how our “box” was formed so we can think outside of it. 

A shadow is a place of separation. It can separate light from dark and thus became a divider for good and evil. The shade also becomes a symbol of protection because of His hand, wings, or Himself. 

In the NIV shadow is used in forty-four verses, some things the KJV (60+ times) would call shadow, it uses darkness. Other translations have varying numbers of verses that use shadow. To be fair you might have to search shade or even cover to find verses that you want.  

WORD STUDY – THE SHADOW OF HIS WINGS – בצל כנפיכ | Chaim Bentorah  

Tselem: Being IMAGE bearers – Hebrew Word Lessons 

Fighting Words

This post about fighting words is a spinning-off of the post War and Rumors. This is not a complete study of fighting words. These Greek words have different English words they are translated into like strife, quarrel, boxing, and others. I used the NIV, Mounce Reverse-Interlinear, Strong’s Concordance, and the KJV to do this study.

Logomachia-G3055-1 Timothy 6:3-5. Fighting about words. It is used only once in the Bible.

Agōnizomai-G75-John 18:36 and 1Timothy 6:12 (the first word). This refers to a person fighting in public.

Agōn-G73-1Timothy 6:12 (Second word), 2 Timothy 4:7. This refers to where the fight is occurring, like a stadium.

Machomai-G3164-James 4:2. To fight, quarrel, contend or dispute. It is used in Acts 7:26 and other verses.

Polemeō-G4170-James 4:2 and Revelation 2:16. To quarrel, fight, battle, or make war.

Pykteuō-G4438-1 Corinthians 9:26. To box, fight, or beat with your fist. The object of this is beating (derō) the air.

Strateia-G4752-2 Corinthians 10:4. Military service or campaign. This word is also in 1 Timothy 1:18. In most translations, it has two “war or fight” words, but in the Mounce Interlinear, it only has one. It could be read-look at the prophecies about you and have a good campaign. I do not envy translators.

Theomachos-G2314-Acts 5:39. Fighting or opposing God. Theomachos is used only once in the Bible.

James 4:1 also has words that describe fighting/quarreling and disputes. It is polemos-G4171. Again, different translations will give you different words. This word is also used for battle or war.

Linguistics (study of words) is not a simple academic field. Combine that with dogma and you have a difficult task, to say the least. Latin, Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew may still be in use in one form or another, but I feel we do not understand how the original people used these words and phrases. My case-in-point is all of the musical terms and not-understood lines in the Hebrew text. If you really want to feel bad, wade into the tenses and break down of the ancient Greek text. Yes, these may be necessary but they are not for everyone.

I believe there is a good understanding and many faithful renderings of Scripture. It is distressing to see a modern Logomachia over Scripture. My prayer is that we do not extend this into a Theomachos over His plan and purpose for His Church. (They may have been used once in the New Testament but letters today would repeat them many times.)

As I pondered all of this, a strange comparison came into view. The original language that the New Testament was written in was Greek, not Latin. But it did not take long to convert Scripture and most religious writings into Latin. Greek was more for the common people and Latin was for knowledgeable people. Latin was favored by the learned- science, theology, and other subjects taught in universities. For what it is worth, the greatest thing the Reformers did was to translate the Bible out of a dying language to one that the people could understand.

The comparison and contrast I saw were the two trees in the Garden-one was for Knowledge and the other was for Life. Jesus’ teachings on the Kingdom, with miracles confirming His words, were new treasures given to bring life to hurting people. This is why the Pharisees and Sadducees opposed Him, Jesus’ teachings clarified and used Scripture in a way that went against their knowledge. (Of course, claiming to be the Son of Man also got under their knowledge-skin and dogma.)

The modern fighting over words is now with liberal, woke, post-modernist who are changing the God-given uses of words into something different, something anti-God.  

Yeast

This study on yeast will focus on Matthew 16: 5-12, where we get the term “yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees”. Some background information will help make sense of my study. (See below for other studies on yeast.) I have termed this section of Scripture the third block of teaching about the Kingdom of God (Matthew 13:53 to 20:34).

Pharisees and Sadducees

The Sadducees aligned with the priest or kohen. It is probable that Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, was a Sadducee. The Temple was the center of their religious world.

The Pharisees believed more in the priesthood of every father for his family. They still worshipped at the Temple, but the local synagogue was their focus.

Both groups had their own “teachers of the Law”. Many times, the term applies to the Sadducees, but it may have been specific men inside each group.

In the Gospel of Matthew, there are four groups of scriptures that have these two groups in conflict with Jesus-Chapter 9, Chapter 12, Chapters 15-16, and Chapters 19-23. Yes, there are other references. Chapters 15 and 16 come after feeding the 5,000 and the 4,000. (Only Matthew and Mark have the feeding of the 4,000.) Matthew has the Pharisees confronting Jesus after the feeding of the 5,000 with the complaint that the disciples (people) did not wash their hands according to the oral tradition. Where would they find that much water on the mountainside? Matthew 15:12 states that Jesus’ answer offended them. After feeding the 4,000, the Pharisees demanded a “sign from heaven” to prove Jesus was for real. In Chapter 19, they ask about divorce and the same topic comes into play on the Temple Mount before Passover.

Yeast

In the Bible, there is two yeast. Physical yeast for making bread, beer, and wine (The Egyptians used baked bread to make beer.), and metaphorical yeast, as in Matthew 16:6 and Matthew 13:33. Most of the references to yeast carry a negative connotation however, in 13:33 it refers to the work of the Church of Jesus.

I want to share a yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees from 16:5-7. The disciples forgot bread and then decided Jesus was mad because- “It is because we didn’t”. Yes, this is just part of verse seven, but the principle is there. We didn’t do something; how can we be good enough?

The yeast of the kingdom is different. The best two examples I thought of were Matthew 28:19, “go and make disciples”. My other one is Acts 2: 42- “they devoted themselves to”. You may have others, but these are the two that came to my mind.

Yeast-Before Passover

Yeast, a Model of Church Growth

Yeast, All Bad?

What I Learned From Yeast

Logos-Seek

A look into the word “seek” is well worth the time. As with many words, seek changes in the number of times it is used and how it is rendered, depending on the translation you use. KJV has it almost 300 times, while the NIV has it about 150 times. Part of this study is to look at the word seek in the Greek-zeteo and its variation-epizeteo. I will reference Luke 12:30-31; Matthew 6:32-33 is the favored verse because it has “and His righteousness” in it. The biggest reason for using Luke is that it has the word seek in both verses. (Free thought-righteousness in Matthew is almost redundant because the only way to seek His kingdom includes looking for His righteousness. It is not a separate thing that stands out by itself or something separate.) Luke 12:30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. 31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. (KJV)

The first seek, associated with the world and pagans, is epizeteo. The prefix “epi” adds a lot to the meaning of zeteo. Epizeteo occurs thirteen times in the New Testament according to Mounce and is Strong’s # G1934. (PLEASE, do not look at just one reference source or dictionary for a meaning of a word.) A very general idea is that by adding “epi” it becomes intensified and is at an extreme level of seeking or wanting something. Matthew uses epizeteo two more times-12:39 and 16:4. Both refer to a wicked and adulterous generation that wants miraculous signs and all they will get is the sign of Jonah. (May I suggest you look at all the times epizeteo is used in the Gospels and the Epistles.) First, “the sign of Jonah” may not have been understood by those listening. We get it because the story has been narrowed down to the part where he was in the whale and “dead”. Second, the need for miracles on demand is and was a problem. Jesus used miracles to show that He had the power/authority of God working in Him so that they would seek God and His kingdom, not just the miracle. The Jews, by the first century, had developed a list of things the Messiah would have to do to be the Messiah. John in his Gospel speaks about the miracles. We have stressed seven, but there are more written in that book than just seven. We may need to see miracles, but God loves righteousness and wants us to enter His kingdom with a changed heart and life.

The second verse tells us to seek the kingdom of God, that seek is zeteo, it is Strong’s # G2212. So, why not switch the two words? The writer used epizeteo in Hebrews 11:14 and 13:14 when it talks about looking for the land and city of our own. I feel the important word in the second verse is “first” (proton) and not just the seek This word “first” is in Matthew 6:33. If we will first seek God because He wants a relationship with us and has given us Jesus on the cross, His blood that covers us, and grace for everything (pas) else; we may not care about going crazy for what the world has to run after.

In the First Covenant (Old Testament) God starts in Deuteronomy and goes to Malachi telling us to seek Him, that He loves it when we do, that we will be found by Him. One verse, however, stood out-Malachi 2:15. This speaks about what God seeks after-Godly offspring. That explains the attacks of the woke and ungodly against children in the womb and at such early ages of four and five years old.

https://www.billmounce.com/greek-dictionary/epizeteo

https://www.billmounce.com/greek-dictionary/zeteo