Luke 9

Chapter 9

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve on Mission.[a] 1 Calling the Twelve together, Jesus gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them forth to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

3 He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking staff, nor sack, nor bread, nor money. Nor are you to have a second tunic. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there until you depart from that area. 5 As for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.” 6 Then they set forth and traveled from village to village, preaching the gospel and curing diseases everywhere.

John the Baptist, Herod, and Jesus.[b] 7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was taking place, and he was perplexed because some people were saying that John had been raised from the dead, 8 others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the ancient prophets had come back to life. 9 But Herod said, “John I beheaded. Then who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he was anxious to see him.

10 Jesus Feeds Five Thousand Men.[c] On their return, the apostles reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them along and withdrew privately to a town named Bethsaida. 11 When the people learned of this, they followed him. Jesus welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God. He also cured those who were in need of healing.

12 When evening was approaching, the Twelve came to Jesus and said, “Send the people away now so that they can go to the villages and farms in the area and obtain food and lodging, for we are in a deserted place.” 13 He replied, “Give them something to eat yourselves.” They said, “All we have are five loaves and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all these people.” 14 For there were present about five thousand men.

Then he instructed his disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of about fifty.” 15 They did so and made them sit down. 16 Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and blessed and broke them and gave them to the disciples to distribute among the people. 17 They all ate and were satisfied. Then they gathered up what was left over—twelve baskets of fragments.

18 Peter’s Confession That Jesus Is the Christ.[d]Once while Jesus was praying by himself, he asked his disciples who were standing close by, “Who do the people say that I am?” 19 They answered, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the ancient prophets has arisen.” 20 “But you,” he said to them, “who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him: “The Christ of God.” 21 Thereupon he gave them strict orders and commanded them not to tell this to anyone.

22 Jesus Predicts His Passion. He then went on to say, “The Son of Man must endure great suffering, be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be put to death, and on the third day be raised.”

23 The Conditions of Discipleship.[e] Then he said to all who were with him, “Anyone who wishes to follow me must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

26 “If anyone is ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 Truly I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

28 Jesus Is Transfigured.[f] About eight days after he had said this, Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up on a mountain to pray. 29 And while he was praying, the appearance of his face underwent a change, and his clothing became dazzling white. 30 Suddenly, there were two men talking with him, Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which would come to pass in Jerusalem. 32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake they beheld his glory and the two men standing beside him.

33 When they were ready to leave, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us make three tents—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But he did not truly know what he was saying. 34 While he was speaking, a cloud came and cast its shadow over them, and the three disciples became frightened as they entered the cloud. 35 Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One.[g] Listen to him.” 36 After the voice had spoken, they beheld only Jesus. They kept silent and at that time they did not tell anyone about what they had witnessed.

End of the Galilean Ministry

37 Jesus Heals a Boy with a Demon.[h] On the following day, when they descended from the mountain, a large crowd came forth to meet him. 38 Then, suddenly, a man in the crowd cried out, “Teacher, I implore you to look at my son. He is my only child. 39 A spirit seizes him and with a shriek suddenly throws him into convulsions until he begins to foam at the mouth. It hardly ever leaves him, continuously torturing him. 40 I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so.”

41 Jesus said in reply, “O unbelieving and perverse generation! How much longer shall I remain with you and have to endure you? Bring your son here!” 42 As the boy was approaching him, the demon threw him into convulsions. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, cured the boy, and gave him back to his father. 43 And all those present were awestruck at the greatness of God.

Jesus Predicts His Passion a Second Time.[i] Amid the astonishment of the crowds at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, 44 “Listen carefully to these words. The Son of Man is going to be handed over into the power of men.” 45 But they did not understand what he was saying. Its meaning was hidden from them so that they could not comprehend his message, and they were afraid to ask him what he meant.

46 True Greatness.[j] The disciples then began to argue about which of them was the greatest. 47 Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a child, placed him by his side, 48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.”

49 Whoever Is Not against You Is with You.[k] John then said, “Master, we saw someone expelling demons in your name, and we forbade him because he is not with us.” 50 Jesus replied, “Do not hinder him! For whoever is not against you is with you.”

The Journey to Jerusalem[l]

The Departure

51 Passing through Samaria.[m] As the time drew near for him to be taken up, Jesus resolutely set his sights on Jerusalem, 52 and he sent messengers ahead of him. They entered a Samaritan village to make arrangements for his arrival, 53 but the people there would not receive him because his destination was Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?”[n] 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then they journeyed forth to another village.

57 The Cost of Following Jesus.[o] As they traveled along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus told him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

59 To another he said, “Follow me.” The man replied, “Lord, allow me to go first and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead. You are to go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

61 Another man said, “I will follow you, Lord, but allow me first to say farewell to my family at home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and then looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”


  1. Luke 9:1 The Twelve are to share the mission of Jesus, to announce and attest the coming of salvation. Like their Lord, the apostles of the kingdom must be disinterested and conscious of the grave importance of the Gospel. They will accept hospitality simply and without consideration of personal interest. It is by clearly dissociating themselves from incredulity that they will announce the judgment that is coming (see Acts 13:51; 18:5).
  2. Luke 9:7 People speak of the return of Elijah as a precursor of the day of the Lord (Mal 3:23). They have known John. Now Jesus’ renown reaches the palace of the prince whom he will encounter in the course of his Passion (see Lk 23:7-12). The murderer of John evinces an idle curiosity. The action of Jesus compels each of us to ask ourselves: What do we say of Jesus?
  3. Luke 9:10 The preaching of Jesus so excites the crowd that they go so far as to disturb him in his retreat. He receives them and speaks to them about the kingdom of God. The miracle of the loaves is like a renewal of the prodigy of the manna expected at the time of the Messiah. In this account, Christians already discern the signs of the Eucharist: God nourishes his people. See also notes on Mt 14:13-21; 14:19; and 14:21; and Mk 6:43.
  4. Luke 9:18 At the opening of this passage, Jesus is found in prayer—thus Luke underlines the importance of the moment. Christ invites the Twelve to declare themselves concerning who he is. Peter precedes the others—in the Gospel, Peter’s faith has a large role (see Lk 22:31-33)—in acknowledging Christ as God, that is, as the expected Messiah whose unity with God is astonishing. In order to avoid all ambiguity about himself, Jesus recommends secrecy and for the first time announces his Passion. Contrary to what people expect, the Messiah will not save his people by a popular or political uprising but by his Death and Resurrection. The title “Son of Man” suggests the Passion and announces a glorious coming on the last day.
  5. Luke 9:23 To believe in Christ is to strive to share the mystery of his Death and Resurrection. To do so it is necessary for each of us to go beyond ourselves and our egoism in the ordinary conditions of life. See the kingdom of God: this expression evokes the appearances of the risen Lord or the work of the Spirit in the primitive Church.
  6. Luke 9:28 In a vision on a mountain, three disciples behold, for one instant, the divine splendor of Jesus. Moses and Elijah, who announced God’s plan in the Law and the Prophets, attest that it will now be accomplished by the Passion, that “passage” of Jesus, which is the new “Exodus.” As formerly in the Exodus God manifested himself in the cloud, now through the one he designates as his Son, his Chosen One (see Isa 42:1; 49:7), he will give to all people the definitive liberation. The evangelist hardly explains the unfolding of this mysterious event. He gives us the shattering experience of Jesus’ inner life to prompt our faith in Christ: to hear this man is to hear God.
  7. Luke 9:35 My Chosen One: this is similar to a Palestinian Jewish title found in the literature of the Dead Sea Scrolls and to Isa 42:1.
  8. Luke 9:37 Returning to the people, Jesus resumes the struggle. In contrast with the lapse of the disciples, the Messiah manifests his sovereign power against all the forces that enchain us, of which the person afflicted with a demon is a striking example.
  9. Luke 9:43 Amid popular success, Jesus keeps his eyes fixed on his Passion, the decisive act of salvation. For the believers, as for the disciples, it remains difficult to accept the necessity of the cross.
  10. Luke 9:46 As a result of their lack of pretense, children are the beloved of God and become models for the believer (see Lk 18:15-17). We must share this regard of Christ for the little ones, even in the way of thinking and living.
  11. Luke 9:49 It is necessary to accept the initiative of all those who make use of the name of Christ.
  12. Luke 9:51 We are at a crossroads in the life of Christ: Jesus begins to go to Jerusalem where his mystery is to be accomplished. This journey will take him from Galilee to the Holy City. In this section, Luke brings together a part of the teaching of Jesus that the other evangelists do not have or that they give in very different contexts. In these ten chapters, we find some of the most moving words of Christ about the mercy of God.
  13. Luke 9:51 The Samaritans refused passage to Jewish pilgrims on their way to the temple in Jerusalem, because they did not give recognition to that sanctuary. The critical text says simply that Jesus “rebuked” the disciples (v. 55); some manuscripts have: “And he said, ‘You do not know what kind of spirit you are of, for the Son of Man did not come to destroy lives, but to save them.’ ”
  14. Luke 9:54 An allusion to 2 Ki 1:10-12.
  15. Luke 9:57 Jesus demands an unconditional commitment from those who hesitate. The preaching of the kingdom is of primary urgency. On its account, we are to renounce every possession and free ourselves from even the most sacred human attachments.

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