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Jehovah’s Witnesses

English
New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)

According to Luke 9:1-62

9  Then he called the Twelve together and gave them power and authority over all the demons+ and to cure diseases.+  And he sent them out to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal,  and he said to them: “Carry nothing for the trip, neither staff nor food pouch nor bread nor money; neither have two garments.*+  But wherever you enter into a home, stay there and leave from there.+  And wherever people do not receive you, on going out of that city, shake the dust off your feet for a witness against them.”+  Then starting out, they went through the territory from village to village, declaring the good news and performing cures everywhere.+  Now Herod the district ruler heard about everything that was happening, and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying that John had been raised up from the dead,+  but others were saying that E·liʹjah had appeared, and still others that one of the ancient prophets had risen.+  Herod said: “John I beheaded.+ Who, then, is this about whom I am hearing such things?” So he was trying to see him.+ 10  When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus all they had done.+ With that he took them along and withdrew privately into a city called Beth·saʹi·da.+ 11  But the crowds, getting to know it, followed him. And he received them kindly and began to speak to them about the Kingdom of God, and he healed those needing a cure.+ 12  Then the day was coming to a close. The Twelve now came up and said to him: “Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and provisions, because out here we are in an isolated place.”+ 13  But he said to them: “You give them something to eat.”+ They said: “We have nothing more than five loaves and two fish, unless perhaps we ourselves go and buy food for all these people.” 14  There were, in fact, about 5,000 men. But he said to his disciples: “Have them sit down in groups of about 50 each.” 15  And they did so and had them all sit down. 16  Taking now the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and blessed them. Then he broke them up and began giving them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17  So they all ate and were satisfied, and they took up the leftovers, 12 baskets of fragments.+ 18  Later, while he was praying alone, the disciples came to him,* and he questioned them, saying: “Who are the crowds saying that I am?”+ 19  In reply they said: “John the Baptist, but others say E·liʹjah, and still others say that one of the ancient prophets has risen.”+ 20  Then he said to them: “You, though, who do you say I am?” Peter answered: “The Christ of God.”+ 21  Then in a stern talk to them, he instructed them not to tell this to anybody,+ 22  but he said: “The Son of man must undergo many sufferings and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed,+ and on the third day be raised up.”+ 23  Then he went on to say to all: “If anyone wants to come after me, let him disown himself+ and pick up his torture stake day after day and keep following me.+ 24  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake is the one who will save it.+ 25  Really, what good will it do a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own self or suffers ruin?+ 26  For whoever becomes ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of man will be ashamed of that person when he comes in his glory and that of the Father and of the holy angels.+ 27  But I tell you truly, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death at all until first they see the Kingdom of God.”+ 28  In fact, about eight days after saying these words, he took Peter, John, and James along and climbed up the mountain to pray.+ 29  And as he was praying, the appearance of his face changed and his clothing became glitteringly white.* 30  And look! two men were conversing with him; they were Moses and E·liʹjah. 31  These appeared with glory and began talking about his departure, which he was about to fulfill at Jerusalem.+ 32  Now Peter and those with him were weighed down with sleep, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory+ and the two men standing with him. 33  And as these were departing from him, Peter said to Jesus: “Instructor, it is fine for us to be here. So let us erect three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for E·liʹjah.” He did not realize what he was saying. 34  But as he was saying these things, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them.+ As they entered into the cloud, they became afraid. 35  Then a voice+ came out of the cloud, saying: “This is my Son, the one who has been chosen.+ Listen to him.”+ 36  As the voice spoke, Jesus was found alone. But they kept quiet and did not report to anyone in those days any of the things they saw.+ 37  The following day when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him.+ 38  And look! a man called out from the crowd, saying: “Teacher, I beg you to take a look at my son, because he is my only one.+ 39  And look! a spirit seizes him, and suddenly he cries out, and it throws him into convulsions with foaming at the mouth, and only with difficulty does it leave him after bruising him.+ 40  I begged your disciples to expel it, but they could not.” 41  In response Jesus said: “O faithless and twisted* generation,+ how long must I continue with you and put up with you? Bring your son over here.”+ 42  But even as he was approaching, the demon hurled him to the ground and violently threw him into a convulsion. However, Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy and gave him back to his father. 43  And they were all astounded at the majestic power of God.+ While they were all astonished at all the things he was doing, he said to his disciples: 44  “Listen carefully and remember these words, for the Son of man is going to be betrayed* into men’s hands.”+ 45  But they did not understand what he was saying. In fact, it was concealed from them so that they might not grasp it, and they were afraid to question him about this saying. 46  Then a dispute arose among them about which one of them was the greatest.+ 47  Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a young child, stood him beside him, 48  and said to them: “Whoever receives this young child on the basis of my name receives me also; and whoever receives me also receives the One who sent me.+ For the one who conducts himself as a lesser one among all of you is the one who is great.”+ 49  In response John said: “Instructor, we saw someone expelling demons by using your name, and we tried to prevent him, because he is not following with us.”*+ 50  But Jesus said to him: “Do not try to prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.” 51  As the days were drawing near* for him to be taken up,+ he resolutely set his face to go to Jerusalem.+ 52  So he sent messengers ahead of him. And they went and entered a village of Sa·marʹi·tans to make preparations for him. 53  But they did not receive him,+ because he was determined to go to Jerusalem. 54  When the disciples James and John+ saw this, they said: “Lord,* do you want us to call fire down from heaven and annihilate them?”+ 55  But he turned and rebuked them. 56  So they went to a different village. 57  Now as they were going along the road, someone said to him: “I will follow you wherever you go.”+ 58  But Jesus said to him: “Foxes have dens and birds of heaven have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay down his head.”+ 59  Then he said to another: “Be my follower.” The man said: “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.”+ 60  But he said to him: “Let the dead+ bury their dead, but you go and declare abroad the Kingdom of God.”+ 61  And still another said: “I will follow you, Lord, but first permit me to say good-bye to those in my household.”* 62  Jesus said to him: “No man who has put his hand to a plow and looks at the things behind+ is well-suited for the Kingdom of God.”+

Footnotes

Or “an extra garment.”
Or possibly, “joined him; were together with him.”
Or “as bright as a flash of lightning.”
Or “corrupt; perverse.”
Or “handed over.”
Or “he is not a follower along with us.”
Lit., “were coming to the full; were being fulfilled.”
Or “Master.”
Or “my house.”

Study Notes

sandals: Referring, it seems, to an extra pair because Jesus told them not to carry sandals. It was common to take along extra sandals on a long journey, as the soles on one pair might wear out or the laces might break. When giving similar instructions on an earlier occasion, Jesus directed his disciples “to put [or, “bind”] on” the sandals they already owned. (Mr 6:8, 9) And as recorded at Mt 10:9, 10, he instructed them not to “acquire” sandals, that is, not to get some in addition to the ones they already had on.

Carry nothing for the trip: When sending out his apostles on a preaching tour to proclaim “the Kingdom of God” (Lu 9:2), Jesus gave instructions on how to carry out this all-important work. His instructions are recorded in all three synoptic Gospels. (Mt 10:8-10; Mr 6:8, 9; Lu 9:3) Although there are some differences in wording, the instructions all convey the message that the apostles should not be distracted by acquiring extra provisions, since Jehovah would provide for them. All three accounts state that the apostles were not to “acquire [or “wear” or “have”] two garments,” that is, “an extra garment” (ftn.) in addition to what they were wearing. Carrying a traveler’s staff seems to have been the custom of the Hebrews (Ge 32:10), and Mr 6:8 says: “Carry nothing for the trip except a staff.” Therefore, the instruction here at Lu 9:3 (“carry nothing . . . , neither staff”) could be understood to mean that rather than go without a staff, they should not acquire or carry a staff in addition to the one they had. So Jesus was telling his disciples to travel light and to avoid carrying extra items as luggage that would burden them, since Jehovah would provide for them on their journey.—See study note on Lu 10:4, where Jesus gives similar instructions to the 70 disciples sent out on another occasion.

money: Lit., “silver,” that is, silver used as money.

stay there: Jesus was instructing his disciples that when they reached a town, they should stay in the home where hospitality was extended to them and not be “transferring from house to house.” (Lu 10:1-7) By not seeking a place where the householder could provide them with more comfort, entertainment, or material things, they would show that these things were of secondary importance when compared to their commission to preach.

shake the dust off your feet: Pious Jews who had traveled through Gentile country would shake what was perceived to be unclean dust off their sandals before reentering Jewish territory. However, Jesus evidently had a different meaning in mind when giving these instructions to his disciples. This gesture would signify that the disciples disclaimed responsibility for the consequences that would come from God. A similar expression occurs at Mt 10:14 and Mr 6:11. Mark adds the expression “for a witness to them,” whereas Luke adds for a witness against them. Paul and Barnabas applied this instruction in Pisidian Antioch. (Ac 13:51) When Paul did something similar in Corinth by shaking out his garments, he added the explanatory words: “Let your blood be on your own heads. I am clean.”Ac 18:6.

King Herod: That is, Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great. (See Glossary, “Herod.”) Matthew and Luke use Antipas’ official Roman title of “tetrarch,” or “district ruler.” (See study notes on Mt 14:1; Lu 3:1.) His tetrarchy consisted of Galilee and Perea. However, he was popularly referred to as “the king,” the title used once by Matthew (Mt 14:9) and the only title Mark uses with reference to Herod.Mr 6:22, 25, 26, 27.

Herod: That is, Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great.—See Glossary.

district ruler: Lit., “tetrarch” (meaning “ruler over one fourth” of a province), a term applied to a minor district ruler or territorial prince ruling only with the approval of the Roman authorities. The tetrarchy of Herod Antipas consisted of Galilee and Perea.—Compare study note on Mr 6:14.

he was praying alone: This occurred near Caesarea Philippi. (Mt 16:13; Mr 8:27) Only Luke reports that Jesus was praying alone.

the Baptist: Or “the Immerser; the Dipper”; referred to as “the Baptizer” at Mr 1:4; 6:14, 24. Evidently used as a sort of surname, indicating that baptizing by immersing in water was distinctive of John. The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus wrote of “John, surnamed the Baptist.”

John: The English equivalent of the Hebrew name Jehohanan or Johanan, meaning “Jehovah Has Shown Favor; Jehovah Has Been Gracious.”

John the Baptist: See study note on Mt 3:1.

Elijah: From the Hebrew name meaning “My God Is Jehovah.”

let him disown himself: Or “let him give up all right to himself.” This indicates a person’s willingness to deny himself utterly or to relinquish ownership of himself to God. The Greek phrase can be rendered “he must say no to himself,” which is fitting because it may involve saying no to personal desires, ambitions, or convenience. (2Co 5:14, 15) The same Greek verb is used by Matthew when describing Peter’s denial that he knew Jesus.Mt 26:34, 35, 75.

let him disown himself: Or “let him give up all right to himself.” This indicates a person’s willingness to deny himself utterly or to relinquish ownership of himself to God. The Greek phrase can be rendered “he must say no to himself,” which is fitting because it may involve saying no to personal desires, ambitions, or convenience. (2Co 5:14, 15) The same Greek verb and a related one are used by Luke when describing Peter’s denial that he knew Jesus.—Lu 22:34, 57, 61; see study note on Mt 16:24.

torture stake: Or “execution stake.” In classical Greek, the word stau·rosʹ primarily referred to an upright stake or pole. Used figuratively, this term sometimes stands for the suffering, shame, torture, and even death that a person experienced because of being a follower of Jesus.—See Glossary.

life: Or “soul.”—See Glossary, “Soul.”

about eight days after saying these words: The accounts of Matthew and Mark say “six days later.” (Mt 17:1; Mr 9:2) Luke reports the number of days from a different perspective than that of Matthew and Mark, apparently including the day when Jesus made the promise (Lu 9:27) and the day when the transfiguration took place. Matthew and Mark count six whole days as the intervening time. It is noteworthy that Luke gives the period in an approximate number—“about eight days.”

to pray: Only Luke adds this detail about prayer in connection with Jesus’ transfiguration. The next verse also mentions that Jesus “was praying.” (Lu 9:29) Other instances in which Luke alone mentions Jesus’ praying are Lu 3:21; 5:16; 6:12; 9:18; 11:1; 23:46.

his departure: The Greek word eʹxo·dos used here also occurs at 2Pe 1:15 (departure) and at Heb 11:22 (exodus). Jesus’ departure, or exodus, evidently involved both his death and his subsequent resurrection to spirit life.

a voice came out of heaven: The first of three instances in the Gospel accounts where Jehovah is reported as speaking audibly to humans.—See study notes on Lu 9:35; Joh 12:28.

a voice came out of the cloud: The second of three instances in the Gospel accounts when Jehovah is reported as speaking directly to humans.—See study notes on Lu 3:22; Joh 12:28.

only: The Greek word mo·no·ge·nesʹ, traditionally rendered “only-begotten,” has been defined as “the only one of its kind; one and only; the only one or member of a class or kind; unique.” The term is used when describing the relation of sons and daughters to their parents. In this context, it is used in the sense of an only child. The same Greek word is also used of the “only” son of a widow in Nain and of Jairus’ “only” daughter. (Lu 7:12; 8:41, 42) The Greek Septuagint uses mo·no·ge·nesʹ when speaking of Jephthah’s daughter, concerning whom it is written: “Now she was his one and only child. Besides her, he had neither son nor daughter.” (Jg 11:34) In the apostle John’s writings, mo·no·ge·nesʹ is used five times with reference to Jesus.—For the meaning of the term when used about Jesus, see study notes on Joh 1:14; 3:16.

majestic power of God: Or “greatness (majesty) of God.” When curing people, Jesus did not direct attention to himself as the healer. Instead, he attributed these miracles to God’s power.

for him to be taken up: The Greek term a·naʹlem·psis occurs only here in the Christian Greek Scriptures. It is usually understood to refer to Jesus’ ascension to heaven. The related verb is used at Ac 1:2, 11, 22, where it is rendered “was taken up.”

he was determined to go to: Lit., “his face was going to [or “set toward”].” (Compare Lu 9:51.) Similar expressions can be found in the Hebrew Scriptures with the sense of looking toward some goal, purpose, or desire (1Ki 2:15, ftn.; 2Ki 12:17, ftn.) and carrying the thought of strong intention and determination.—2Ch 20:3, ftn.; Da 11:17, ftn.

Lord: Some manuscripts do not include this word, but it has support in a number of early authoritative manuscripts.

bury my father: The wording likely does not mean that the man had just lost his father in death and was asking only to make funeral arrangements. Had this been the case, it is unlikely that he would have been there talking to Jesus. In the ancient Middle East, a death in the family would be followed very quickly by a funeral, generally on the same day. So the man’s father may have been ailing or elderly, not dead. And Jesus would not have told the man to abandon a sick and needy parent, so there must have been other family members who could care for such vital needs. (Mr 7:9-13) The man was saying, in effect, ‘I will follow you, but not as long as my father still lives. Wait until my father dies and I have buried him.’ In Jesus’ view, however, the man was missing an opportunity to put the interests of the Kingdom of God first in his life.—Lu 9:60, 62.

bury my father: The wording likely does not mean that the man had just lost his father in death and was asking only to make funeral arrangements. Had this been the case, it is unlikely that he would have been there talking to Jesus. In the ancient Middle East, a death in the family would be followed very quickly by a funeral, generally on the same day. So the man’s father may have been ailing or elderly, not dead. And Jesus would not have told the man to abandon a sick and needy parent, so there must have been other family members who could care for such vital needs. (Mr 7:9-13) The man was saying, in effect, ‘I will follow you, but not as long as my father still lives. Wait until my father dies and I have buried him.’ In Jesus’ view, however, the man was missing an opportunity to put the interests of the Kingdom of God first in his life.—Lu 9:60, 62.

Let the dead bury their dead: As shown in the study note on Lu 9:59, the father of the man to whom Jesus is talking was likely ailing or elderly, not dead. Therefore, Jesus is evidently saying: ‘Let those who are spiritually dead bury their dead,’ that is, the man should let his other relatives care for his father until he died and needed to be buried. By following Jesus, the man would put himself on the way to eternal life and not be among those who were spiritually dead before God. In his reply, Jesus shows that putting the Kingdom of God first in one’s life and declaring it far and wide are essential to remaining spiritually alive.

Media

Staff and Food Pouch
Staff and Food Pouch

Rods or staffs were common among the ancient Hebrews and were used in a variety of ways: for support (Ex 12:11; Zec 8:4; Heb 11:21), for defense or protection (2Sa 23:21), for threshing (Isa 28:27), and for reaping olives (De 24:20; Isa 24:13), to name just a few. A food pouch was a bag, usually made of leather, carried over the shoulder by travelers, shepherds, farmers, and others. It was used to hold food, clothing, and other items. When sending out his apostles on a preaching tour, Jesus gave them instructions regarding, among other things, staffs and food pouches. The apostles were to go as they were and not be distracted by procuring anything extra; Jehovah would provide for them.—See study notes on Lu 9:3 and 10:4 for a discussion of how the details of Jesus’ instructions were to be understood.

Coin Made by Herod Antipas
Coin Made by Herod Antipas

These photos show both sides of a copper alloy coin that was minted about the time that Jesus was engaged in his ministry. The coin was commissioned by Herod Antipas, who was tetrarch, or district ruler, of Galilee and Perea. Jesus was likely passing through Herod’s territory of Perea on his way to Jerusalem when the Pharisees told Jesus that Herod wanted to kill him. Jesus responded by calling Herod “that fox.” (See study note on Lu 13:32.) Since most of Herod’s subjects were Jewish, the coins he made depicted such emblems as a palm branch (1) and a wreath (2), images that would not offend the Jews.

Foxes’ Dens and Birds’ Nests
Foxes’ Dens and Birds’ Nests

Jesus contrasted his own situation of not having a permanent home with foxes that have dens and birds that have nests. The type of foxes shown here (Vulpes vulpes) inhabit not only the Middle East but also Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America and have been introduced into Australia. Unless foxes use a natural crevice or the deserted or usurped burrow of another animal, they commonly dig holes in the ground to form their dens. The bird, a Cetti’s Warbler (Cettia cetti), is one of an estimated 470 varieties that may be found in Israel at some time during the course of a year. Bird’s nests likewise are diverse, located in trees, in hollow tree trunks, and on cliffs, and are made of such materials as twigs, leaves, seaweed, wool, straw, moss, and feathers. The diverse topography of the country, ranging from cool mountain peaks to deep sweltering valleys and from arid deserts to maritime plains all lying together near the southeast corner of the Mediterranean Sea, makes it an attractive habitat for birds that either live here permanently or migrate throughout the region.

Plowing
Plowing

Plowing was often done in the autumn when rains softened soil that had been baked hard by the sun during the hot summer months. (See App. B15.) Some plows consisted of a simple pointed piece of wood, perhaps metal-tipped, attached to a beam and pulled by one or more animals. After the soil was plowed, the seed was sown. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the familiar work of plowing was often alluded to in illustrations. (Jg 14:18; Isa 2:4; Jer 4:3; Mic 4:3) Jesus frequently used agricultural activities to illustrate important teachings. For example, he referred to the work involved in plowing to emphasize the importance of being a wholehearted disciple. (Lu 9:62) If a plowman became distracted from the work at hand, he would make crooked furrows. Similarly, a disciple of Christ who gets distracted or turns aside from carrying out his responsibilities becomes unfit for God’s Kingdom.