The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Luke 7

Luk 7:1

CAPERNAUM: His own home (Mat 4:13), called his "own city" (Mat 9:1).

Luk 7:2

This centurion: possibly Cornelius? See Luk 7:4n. Every NT ref shows centurions in a good light: Luk 7:1-10; 23:47; Act 10:1,2; 22:25,26; 23:17,18; 27:43.

ABOUT TO DIE: Note progression: "about to die" (Luk 7:2); just died (Mat 9:18); about to be buried (Luk 7:12); and dead 4 days (Joh 11:39).

Luk 7:4

Were the centurion of Luke 7 and Cornelius the same person? A comparison: Each was a lover of Israel (Luke 7:5; Acts 10:2,22). Each was a lover of God (Luke 7:4; Acts 10:2,22). Each was a lover of Christ (Luke 7:6; Acts 10:37,38).

Luk 7:5

The elders' test of worthiness: "He has built" -- Jewish dependence upon works.

OUR SYNAGOGUE: The only one in Capernaum (cp Mar 1:21).

Luk 7:6

I DO NOT DESERVE: The Jewish elders had said, "This man DESERVES to have you do this" (Luk 7:4). But of course he did not deserve it on merit, and HE knew it: "I do not deserve..."

Yet, by a strange but Biblically explainable paradox, he became worthy in the very act of declaring his "unworthiness"! The one who thinks himself worthy is NOT worthy, and the one who thinks himself unworthy IS worthy!

The Jews clearly believe that a man is justified by his works, but they are wrong. The centurion seems to understand that a man is justified only by his faith! And he is right.

TO HAVE YOU COME UNDER MY ROOF: The centurion knew the Jewish prejudice and hatred Christ could arouse by entering a Gentile house (cp Act 10: 28).

Luk 7:8

A man with delegated authority recognizes Christ as "sent" from God, with same delegated AutoRoute: (1) Emperor --> Centurion --> Soldiers. And (2) God --> Christ --> Angels --> Diseases, etc.

Luk 7:9

AMAZED: Ct Mar 6:6: sw re unbelief of Jews. The only 2 times Christ was "amazed".

NOT... IN ISRAEL: Cp Mat 8:9; Luk 7:8: the Jews could not see, in Christ, the delegated authority of God.

Here was an indication to those around Jesus that in fact there would be salvation for the Gentiles. Although it is extensively spoken of in the prophets, especially the later chapters of Isaiah, it seemed that the Jews -- even his disciples, who listened to his words every day -- were unable to accept that Gentiles could be part of God's purpose. We really should be careful that our views as to whom we expect God to save are not as blinkered or arrogant as was theirs.

Luk 7:10

V 10: Power of faith and intercession of others: Mat 8:13; 9:32; 15:28; 17:14-18; Luk 7:10; 8:50; Joh 4:49; Jos 6:17; Gen 7:1; 18:32; 19:12; Act 27:24.

Luk 7:12

Cp Elijah's resurrection of widow's son of Zarephath (1Ki 17), and Elisha likewise at Shunem (2Ki 4:21-37).

Note progression: "about to die" (Luk 7:2); just died (Mat 9:18); about to be buried (Luk 7:12); and dead 4 days (Joh 11:39).

THE ONLY SON: Mourning as for an only son (Jer 6:26; Zec 12:10; Amo 8:10).

Since the dead child was the only son of a widow, there was no opportunity for further seed. Notice how often the only son/child figures in resurrections: Isaac (Gen 22); Jephthah's daughter (Jdg 11:34); the son of the family with whom Elisha stayed (2Ki 4); a man's only son (Luke 9:38). Surely these miracles point directly to the resurrection of Jesus, the only begotten of the Father!

Luk 7:13

DON'T CRY: Cp Rev 21:4. Ct other women, told to weep (Luk 23:28).

Luk 7:14

The 3 persons whom Christ raised:

Luke 8:49
Luke 7:14
John 11:43
Jairus' daughter
Widow's son
Social position
Moderate circumstances
Stage in death
Just dead
Going to tomb
Dead and buried
Relative's faith
Father asked
Mother did not ask
Sister doubted
Other characteristics
Friends were put forth
The bier was stopped
Stone rolled away

All the occasions of Jesus touching, or being touched, in the context of healing (notice that not one of them is in John's gospel): Mat 8:3,15; 9:20,21,29; 14:36; 17:7; 20:34; Mark 1:41; 3:10; 5:27,28,30,31; 6:56; 7:33; 8:22; 10:13; Luk 5:13; 6:19; 7:14,39; 8:44-47; 18:15; 22:51.

Luk 7:15

JESUS GAVE HIM BACK TO HIS MOTHER: "So it was that among the hills of Galilee overlooking the plain that has been and is yet to be so typical of man's conflict and death, the apostles learned the highest ministry of their Lord. Multitudes would continue to stream forth from the city gate bearing their dead. But the Redeemer had come to say to those that mourned, 'Weep not', and to follow his words of love with power so great that death itself could not prevail against it. A wave of awe swept the people. God was glorified: His prophet was acknowledged and his fame spread abroad.

"The great tragedy is that the beneficent effect faded with the passing years, and the Lord of Life was to take a lonely road to the garden grave. The tragedy continues despite the final triumph of the empty tomb. The multitudes pass by unheeding, or pause to watch and wonder and forget. Only the disciples remain. But to them he gives power to become the sons of God. Though death may step in to rob them of their promise now, he who is alive for evermore and has the keys of the grave and of death, will one day stand at the graveside to crown their mortal strivings with eternal blessings" (MP 152,153).

Luk 7:18

Perhaps John sought to dispel doubts in his followers, not in himself. Or, 'How can this popular miracle-worker poss be the suffering lamb of God (ie Isa 53)?' (Xd 121:373).

Luk 7:22

BLIND... LAME...: Jesus is healing those people who previously would have been excluded from the Lord's service (Lev 21:17-21; cp 2Sa 5:8) -- those people who, if they had been animals, would have been imperfect sacrifices (Lev 22:22-24; Mal 1:8,13,14). So here is emphasized the fact that we are all imperfect specimens and imperfect "sacrifices" -- and we all need the only One who is perfect to heal and cleanse us! And he can do this: through the forgiveness of sins -- which he only can provide -- he can present us, as a radiant bride or church, "without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish" (Eph 5:27).

THE GOOD NEWS IS PREACHED TO THE POOR: The last point on Jesus' list... "the poor have the gospel preached to them"... is the greatest miracle of all! Because it lifts Jesus' work out of the physical realm and puts it into the spiritual. In fact, it comprehends all the other "miracles" in one: because the gospel, believed, does -- in the most meaningful sense -- give sight to the spiritually blind, give strength to the weak, and cleanness to those who were "leprous" with sin, and hearing to the spiritually deaf. So here is Jesus' way of lifting his work out of the ordinary (if any miracles can be ordinary!) and putting it on the higher plain: the greatest "miracle" (and such miracles are occurring all around us) is a life changed by true belief in Jesus Christ. Which means... the greatest work of God's Holy Spirit has never ceased from among men, and never will, so long as sinners hear the Word of God and repent.

Luk 7:23

BLESSED IS THE MAN WHO DOES NOT FALL AWAY ON ACCOUNT OF ME: Nothing that was 'blemished' was fit for the animal sacrifice, for it would be offensive. Jesus had outward scars, but his life was perfect, and so he could make the perfect sacrifice.

One might look at Jesus, even then, and say: "He's not perfect"... and of course, and especially, when he might see that same man, beaten and broken, on his way to the cross, it was painfully true that "he had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not" (Isa 53:2,3). To all outward signs and human expectations, Jesus couldn't be the perfect sacrifice either... because of his physical appearance. And thus the observer -- who saw only the surface of things -- might be offended, and fall away (cp Isa 8:12-15).

But the heart, and the life, of Jesus was perfect -- and that was what the Father saw. And that is what we must see, with the "eye of faith", as well.

Even the cross itself was -- as Paul said -- "foolishness to those who are perishing" (1 Co 1:18), and the man who looked at the mere "letter of the Law" would undoubtedly be offended by the whole process: "This just CAN'T be right!"

But the man of faith sees his own sins "mirrored" in the face of the suffering Saviour, and his own deserved punishment reflected in the bruises of his Lord. And he realizes the absolute perfection that is necessary to cleanse, and forgive, and pardon him.

And so he sees the beauty of this divine arrangement, and thankfully embraces it, and joyfully proclaims, as does Isaiah himself, prophetically: "Surely he took up OUR infirmities and carried OUR sorrows... he was pierced for OUR transgressions, he was crushed for OUR iniquities; the punishment that brought US peace was upon him, and by his wounds WE are healed" (Isa 53:4,5). If Jesus appeared to be a blemished and imperfect offering, we need not be "offended" nor "stumble" at this. Instead, we need only remember that such blemishes and imperfections were inflicted, and accepted, on OUR behalf. He was made "sin" for us, so that we might be made "righteousness" in him (2Co 5:21).

Luk 7:25

ARE IN PALACES: "Kings' courts" (KJV), while John was in a king's dungeon! -- cp Luk 6:22,26.

Luk 7:28

At the very least, John the Baptist was the greatest of the prophets in the sense that he was the immediate forerunner of (and hence the last prophet pointing forward to) the Messiah: "For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it" (Luk 10:23,24).

The least of disciples -- who preach kingdom now -- are greater (more able) than was John -- for they know Jesus as Christ.

Luk 7:29

Luke's interest in tax-collectors: Luk 3:12; 5:27; 7:29; 15:1; 18:10; 19:2.

Luk 7:30


God sends no one away empty except those who are "full" of themselves!

Luk 7:31

V 31: KJV adds at beginning: "And the Lord said"... prob from early church lectionaries (WRI 116).

Luk 7:32

Cp Michal's complaint to David: 2Sa 6:16-23. Weddings/funerals: austere John/convivial Jesus: both approaches were alike despised by "Jews".

Luk 7:33

HE HAS A DEMON: A campaign of same sort against Jesus: Mat 12:24; Joh 7:20; 8:48; 10:20.

Luk 7:34

Cp Luk 5:30. And did not such a man deserve to be stoned (Deu 21:20,21)?

Luk 7:35

WISDOM IS PROVED RIGHT BY ALL HER CHILDREN: In this case, the end justifies the means: the end = preaching of gospel, glory of God; the means = either suffering or rejoicing. (Notice: the personification of "wisdom": Pro 8:22,31-33; 9:1-6.)

Luk 7:36

Poss Mary of Bethany/Mary Magdalene/woman of Luk 7 are all the same woman: See Lesson, Mary, "three women".

HE WENT TO THE PHARISEE'S HOUSE: Thus "proving" he was gluttonous and, later, a friend of sinners.

Luk 7:37

BROUGHT: In other 10 occurrences, sig "received". From where? A servant in the house. Conclusion: she was in a position to issue orders.

Luk 7:38

At Jesus' feet, the place of: rest (Luk 8:35); pardon (Luk 7:38); healing (Luk 17:16); teaching (Luk 10:39); comfort (Joh 11:32); intercession (Mar 7:25); and worship (Mat 28:9).

The anointing she administered to Jesus showed him a High Priest (Exo 30:25)!

WITH HER TEARS: Cp another combination of "tears" and a "bottle" in Psa 56:8. Here is a story to be worked out in some beautiful detail -- a story of sin and repentance, tears and remembrance, forgiveness and renewal.

HER HAIR: "Never was a woman's hair more of a glory than on this occasion (1Co 11:15)" (WGos 245).

Luk 7:39

'Not so fast, Simon; you have not seen through your guest, but he has seen through you!' He knew so little of the spirit of Christ; do we know more?

TOUCHING: The risk of physical defilement is the only thing that mattered to Simon.

All the occasions of Jesus touching, or being touched, in the context of healing (notice that not one of them is in John's gospel): Mat 8:3,15; 9:20,21,29; 14:36; 17:7; 20:34; Mark 1:41; 3:10; 5:27,28,30,31; 6:56; 7:33; 8:22; 10:13; Luk 5:13; 6:19; 7:14,39; 8:44-47; 18:15; 22:51.

Luk 7:40

Similar "hearings" by the Spirit in Luk 7:39,40; Mar 2:8; 9:33-37.

Luk 7:46

As though to show to the other Pharisee guests (v 49) that he, Simon, was certainly not a disciple of Jesus.

Luk 7:47

Anointed by a sinner in prospect of forgiveness (Luk 7), and by a saint in prospect of glory (Mat 26).

HER MANY SINS: Jesus is not a sentimentalist, but a realist facing facts.

BUT HE WHO HAS BEEN FORGIVEN LITTLE LOVES LITTLE: Putting down the mighty, and sending the rich away empty: Luk 1:52,53.

Luk 7:49

WHO IS THIS...?: Jesus ignores question; he is concentrating on the woman.

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