Luke 9:7-17

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

January 17, 2001


We left off last week after Jesus had given authority and instructions to the twelve apostles, sending them out to preach in the cities of Galilee.

:7  Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead;

perplexeddiaporeo – to be entirely at loss, to be in perplexity


Matthew fills in some details here –

(Mat 14:1-12 KJV)  At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, {2} And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do show forth themselves in him. {3} For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife. {4} For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. {5} And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. {6} But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. {7} Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask. {8} And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger. {9} And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath's sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her. {10} And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. {11} And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother. {12} And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.
Herod seemed to have a strange fondness for John, but he was still the one responsible for ordering John’s death.
You kind of get the idea that Herod seemed “haunted” by Jesus, that he felt guilt over what he had done to John the Baptist.


Peer pressure

Herod clearly knew what was right.
Yet he allowed himself to be influenced by “peer pressure”. 
He was more concerned about what the people around him thought than what he knew was right.
You don’t have to be like everyone else.  You don’t have to give in to pressure.
An atheist

A young woman teacher with obvious liberal tendencies explains to her class of small children that she is an atheist. She asks her class if they are atheists too. Notreally knowing what atheism is but  wanting to be like their teacher, their hands explode into the air  like fleshy fireworks.  There is, however, one exception. A beautiful girl named Lucy has not gone along with the crowd. The teacher asks her why she has  decided to be different.  “Because I’m not an atheist.” Then, asks the teacher, what are you?  “I’m a Christian.”  The teacher is a little perturbed now, her face slightly red. She asks Lucy why she is a Christian.  “Well, I was brought up knowing and loving Jesus. My mom is a  Christian, and my dad is a Christian, so I am a Christian.”  The teacher is now angry. “That’s no reason,” she says loudly. “What if your mom was a moron, and your dad was a moron.  What would you be then?”  A pause, and a smile….       “Then,” says Lucy, “I’d be an atheist.”

:8 And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again.

appearedphaino – to bring forth into the light, cause to shine, shed light; shine; to become evident, to be brought forth into the light, come to view, appear; to meet the eyes, strike the sight, become clear or manifest

oldarchaios – that has been from the beginning, original, primal, old ancient; of men, things, times, conditions

risen againanistemi – to cause to rise up, raise up; raise up from laying down; to raise up from the dead; to rise, stand up


There was a prophecy that the prophet Elijah would appear again, before the coming of the Messiah:

(Mal 4:5 KJV)  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

In a way, Elijah had already appeared.  John the Baptist came in the “spirit of Elijah”.

(Luke 1:17 KJV)  And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias …

Elijah himself will still come before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.  We believe he will be one of the Two Witnesses:

(Rev 11:3 KJV)  And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

old prophets

John Gill writes,

“It is well known,  that the Jews distinguish the prophets into the former and latter; the books of the prophets of the Old Testament are so distinguished; the writings of the former prophets are those of Joshua,  Judges,  1 and 2 of Samuel,  and the first and second of Kings: the latter prophets are Isaiah,  Jeremiah, Ezekiel,  which are the greater prophets,  and the twelve lesser ones: and in the Talmud {q} it is asked,
 “who are Mynwvarh Myaybn,  "the former prophets?" Says R. Huna, they are David,  Samuel,  and Solomon—and why are they called former prophets? to except (or distinguish) them from Haggai,  Zachariah,  and Malachi,  who are the latter.”
So that by one of the old prophets,  may be meant one of those that were before the times of Elias,  as Samuel or David.”

:9 And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him.

beheadedapokephalizo (“from” + “head”) – to cut off the head, behead, decapitate

he desiredzeteo – to seek in order to find; to seek i.e. require, demand; to crave, demand something from someone

Herod had a curiosity about Jesus.

:10 And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.

Jesus had just sent the disciples out on their first preaching tour.  They now return.

returnedhupostrepho – to turn back; to turn about; to return

tolddiegeomai (“through” + “lead”) – to lead or carry a narration through to the end; set forth, recount, relate in full, describe

he took themparalambano – to take to, to take with one’s self, to join to one’s self

went asidehupochoreo (“by” + “country”) – to go back; withdraw

privatelyidios – pertaining to one’s self, one’s own, belonging to one’s self


Take time to rest

Looking at the parallel passages –
This “retreat” happened for several reasons:
(Mark 6:30-34 KJV)  And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. {31} And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. {32} And they departed into a desert place by ship privately. {33} And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him. {34} And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.

1)  The apostles were tired and Jesus wanted them to take a break.

(Mat 14:10,13 KJV)  And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison…. {13} When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.

2)  Jesus seemed to be upset with the death of His cousin, John the Baptist.

It’s okay to get away.  It’s okay to get some rest.  I think that sometimes some of us can tend to push a little too hard.
Banker and Fisherman
The American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.  Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.  The Mexican replied, only a little while.   The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?  The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.  The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”  The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life.”  The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you.  You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat, with the proceeds from the bigger  boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”  The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”  To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”  “But what then?”  The American laughed and said that’s the best part.  “When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to then public and become very rich, you would make millions.” 
“Millions..  Then what?”
The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
“A relaxed, easygoing Christian is miles more attractive and effective than the rigid, uptight brother who squeaks when he walks and whines when he talks.”

Charles R. Swindoll (1934– )

“Jesus knows we must come apart and rest awhile, or else we may just plain come apart.”

Vance Havner

From Mrs. Lettie Cowman's wonderful book, Springs in the Valley (pp. 196-197), comes this interesting tale from African colonial history:

In the deep jungles of Africa, a traveler was making a long trek. Coolies had been engaged from a tribe to carry the loads. The first day they marched rapidly and went far.  The traveler had high hopes of a speedy journey.  But the second morning these jungle tribesmen refused to move.  For some strange reason they just sat and rested. On inquiry as to the reason for this strange behavior, the traveler was informed that they had gone too fast the first day, and that they were now waiting for their souls to catch up with their bodies.

Then Mrs. Cowman concludes with this penetrating exhortation:

This whirling rushing life which so many of us live does for us what that first march did for those poor jungle tribesmen. The difference: they knew what they needed to restore life's balance; too often we do not.

It is incredible to realize that Lettie Cowman wrote these words almost fifty years ago.

: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.

followedakoloutheo – to follow one who precedes, join him as his attendant, accompany him

he receiveddechomai – to take with the hand; to take hold of, take up; to take up, receive; to receive favourably, give ear to, embrace, make one’s own, approve, not to reject

healingtherapeia – service rendered by one to another; spec. medical service: curing, healing

had needchreia – necessity, need; duty, business

healediaomai – to cure, heal; to make whole

Even though it was a good thing for Jesus to take the disciples and get away for a little while, it didn’t quite work out that way.  The people followed Jesus.

:12 And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place.

to wear awayklino – to incline, bow; intransitively – to incline one’s self; of the declining of the day

cameproserchomai – to come to, approach; draw near to

send … awayapoluo – to set free; to let go, dismiss, (to detain no longer); to bid depart, send away; to let go free, release

round aboutkuklo – in a circle, around, round about, on all sides

townskome – the common sleeping place to which labourers in the field return, a village; the name of the city near which the villages lie and to whose municipality they belong

countryagros – land; the field, the country; a piece of land, bit of tillage; the farms, country seats, neighbouring hamlets

lodgekataluo – to dissolve, disunite; of travellers, to halt on a journey, to put up, lodge (the figurative expression originating in the circumstance that, to put up for the night, the straps and packs of the beasts of burden are unbound and taken off; or, more correctly from the fact that the traveller’s garments, tied up when he is on the journey, are unloosed at it end)

a related word – kataluma – an inn, lodging place; an eating room, dining room

victualsepisitismos – foraging, providing food; supplies, provisions, food

:13 But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people.

Givedidomi – to give; to give something to someone.  An imperative, a command.

buyagorazo – to be in the market place, to attend it; to do business there, buy or sell

meatbroma – that which is eaten, food

John tells us where the loaves and fish came from –

(John 6:5-9 KJV)  When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? {6} And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. {7} Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. {8} One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him, {9} There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?

:14 For they were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company.

five thousand men – It has been suggested that since only the men were counted, that there might have been somewhere close to ten thousand people there when you include women and children.

Make them sit downkataklino – in the NT in reference to eating, to make to recline; to recline (at a table)

companyklisia – a hut erected to pass the night in; a tent; anything to recline on; a company reclining; a row or party of persons reclining at meal

I find it interesting that Jesus seemed to organize things a little.

With fifty in a group, there would be about ten groups.  Perhaps ten of the disciples each had a group with the other two helping Jesus pass out bread to the ten?

:15 And they did so, and made them all sit down.

sit downanaklino – to lean against, lean upon; to lay down; to make or bid to recline

:16 Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude.

looking upanablepo – to look up

he blessedeulogeo – to praise, celebrate with praises; to invoke blessings; to consecrate a thing with solemn prayers; to ask God’s blessing on a thing

brakekataklao – to break in pieces

to set before paratithemi – to place beside or near or set before; food, i.e. food placed on a table; to set before (one) in teaching

I often look at this as a picture of how I need to approach my teaching.  I often feel as if I don’t have much to offer, let alone to so many people.

:17 And they did eat, and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets.

were … filledchortazo (from the word for “grass”) – to feed with herbs, grass, hay, to fill, satisfy with food, to fatten; to fill or satisfy men; to fulfil or satisfy the desire of any one

taken upairo – to raise up, elevate, lift up; to take upon one’s self and carry what has been raised up, to bear

that remainedperisseuo – to exceed a fixed number of measure, to be left over and above a certain number or measure; to be over, to remain; to exist or be at hand in abundance; to be great (abundant)

fragmentsklasma – a fragment, broken piece; remnants of food

basketskophinos – a basket, wicker basket


How to minister when you’re tired.

I would have just run from the people or tried to send them away.
But sometimes you don’t have that luxury.
Jesus welcomed them as friends and kept ministering to people.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians,

(2 Cor 12:15 KJV)  And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you …

1.  What do you have available?
Jesus asked the disciples what was available.
What do you have available to give to the Lord?

It doesn’t take much to bless a lot.

2.  Give it to Jesus.
Have you given what little you have to Jesus?  Is it in His hands?  Does He have the ability to do whatever He wants with it?
Jesus took what the disciples had and blessed it.
3.  Receive from Jesus.
Jesus gave it back to the disciples to give to the people.
If you want to be useful to the Master, you need to eat at His table.

Imagine what it would be like working for UPS.  You go out to your truck Monday morning, start it up and go off to your route.   But nobody has packed your truck.  There are no packages for the customers on your route. You're just a UPS delivery driver for the Lord.  Delivering His special delivery packages from heaven.