Luke 4-5

Chapter 4

Verses 1-13 retells the story of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness, and it’s virtually unchanged from Matthew’s version. And I still say that hunger and heat can make anyone hallucinate. The next section, about Jesus being rejected in his hometown, barely resembles its counterparts in Mark and Matthew. Luke has changed it up a lot! Most notably, he adds the part about Jesus reading Isaiah 61:1-2, and the stuff about the blind and oppressed. I discussed this back we read Isaiah and it makes sense now. But it’s more hokum, as I suspected back then. Luke also added the stuff about Elijah, and the mob trying to run Jesus off a cliff. For extra drama maybe?

The next stories, about the demon and the healings, parallel Mark 1 – almost identical. I find it curious that Jesus hasn’t acquired any disciples yet. In the other gospels, he began collecting disciples before we got to the stories about him preaching in the synagogues and healing Simon’s mother.

Chapter 5

We read a much altered version of Jesus attracting his first disciples. It leaves out Andrew, but is embellished, quite literally, with a fish story. I’m sensing that Luke is deliberately exaggerating here to emphasize Jesus’ greatness. Next Jesus heals the man with leprosy, not significantly changed from the same story in Mark 1 and Matthew 8. Then the story of Jesus healing the paralyzed man, taken straight from Mark 2:2 (also found in Matt 9). In all 3 versions, Jesus heals the man by forgiving his sins, thus proving that physical disability is caused by sin.

luke 5 paralyzed

In v 27 we get to the curious story of Levi, who is really Matthew. It’s clearly the same as in the other gospels, so why the confusion? Did the gospel writers get the names mixed up and so the contradiction was resolved by just deciding that Levi and Matthew must be the same guy? That’d be my guess. And the chapter concludes with the conversation about fasting, and wineskins. Nothing new here.

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