The bull of St Luke


Chapter 5: Overview

We continued our reading of chapter 4 into chapter 5 so that we could read the call of the disciples in 5,1-11 as a conclusion to the opening presentation of the adult Jesus in chapter 4.

Luke and Mark

At this point in our reading, we need to take further our comparison of the opening of Jesus' ministry as told by Luke with the account of Mark. We are assuming that Luke has adapted Mark's story so this comparison will help us to understand Luke's agenda and his priorities. Some of this we have seen already when we read chapter 4 and the call of the disciples and this will continue with the rest of chapter 5.. It is now a good moment to take a proper overview of this first part of the two Gospels
Begin therefore by listing in a column all the incidents in Mark's Gospel from Mk 1,14-3,19. Then see where these incidents occur in Luke 4,14-6,16. Look as well at Mk 3,20 and Lk 3,17 to see were and why the comparison ends.
You will discover that Luke has re-arranged some of Mark's incidents, that he has omitted some and added some. Look further into Mark's Gospel for the most important addition; we've noted it already. There is also one obvious omission. You might consider why Luke left out this passage.

Then go to my response.

Luke 5,12-6,11 Overview

Following this comparison, we are now reading chapter 5 from verse 12 and once again continuing into the next chapter, up to 6,11. Why is there a break there? Look at Mk 3,6 and look as well at 6,12.
Then from 5,12 through to 6,11 list the incidents in detail. You will see that it all appears to be in the same order as Mark (Mk 1,40-3,6). However, we need to see how Luke's editing has joined together two incidents in Mark.

The healing of the leper (Mk 1,40-45) is placed rather on its own at the end of Mark's first chapter; the second chapter opens with a new beginning. Mark then continues from this healing with the five incidents told in Mk 2,1- Mk 3,6 and these have been arranged by the evangelist into a circular pattern. The third story thus becomes central in the sequence. All five stories concern conflict with the Jewish authorities and they lead to the dramatic climax in Mk 3,6 where those authorities plot to destroy Jesus.

Even though Luke is following Mark in the sequence of stories, what we need to explore is how his editing has changed the message. We have seen that Luke has inserted the calling of the disciples before the healing of the leper and we saw the consequences of this insertion on the stories which precede. Consider now the consequence of making the insertion at this point for the stories which follow, the incidents recounted from the healing of the leper onwards from 5,12 up to 6,11.
Take a close look at 5,33 and how it differs from both Mark, Mk 2,18, and Matthew, Mt 9,14. Compare too 5,29 with Mk 2,15. What therefore has Luke done in 5,27-39? Consider how these verses can be divided into two parts.

What conclusions can we draw from Luke's editing? What as a result might be the theme at the centre of the sequence for Luke? The consequences we will explore further in due course.

Then go again to my response.

The result of this overview will be bourne out more fully as our reading unfolds.
Our reading plan will take the two healings together (5,12-26) on the first page.
Then we will read the central epsiode (5,27-39) on the second
and finally a third page to read the two Sabbath controversies (6,1-11)

Let us now move on to our reading of the two healings, 5,12-26.