The bull of St Luke


A Great Banquet: Lk 5,27-39

Reading through the passage recall the overview and how the evangelist has linked together several parts to form one incident. How is the overall unity of the passage marked? We can read the passage in two stages.

The call of Levi: 5,27-29

The previous two stories have told us about the ability of Jesus to reach out to the sick and to sinners. The leaders of the people by contrast just don't want to know. For them, Jesus is speaking blasphemies, 5,21.
Now we see this is taken a step further as Jesus calls Levi, a tax collector, to follow him (5,27-28). Tax collectors were tax farmers, local people contracted to pay a certain amount to the Romans. Anything they could raise above that was their profit. This led to great exploitation. What therefore do you think might have been their status in the eyes of their fellow Jews? Look at 3,12 and 19,8 for clues.

Levi the tax collector (Mk 2,14) is also known as Matthew (Mt 9,9). See also 6,15.

How does this call of Levi compare with the call of Peter in 5,1-11? Compare 5,28 with 5,11. What do Peter and Levi have in common - have a look at 5,8?

Compare 5,29 with Mk 2,15 and notice Luke's emphasis. See also 14,13.

Reaction of the Pharisees: 5,30-39

5,30 gives us the reaction of the Pharisees, to whom are they speaking? How is there an advance on 5,21?

How has Luke altered Mark in 5,31-32?

Jesus' reply in verse 33 makes reference to the bridegroom. Look at the OT background, for example Hosea 2,16-23 or Isaiah 61,10.

Note how the expression in 5,36 is repeated in 6,39

How does the parable apply to the Pharisees and their view of Jesus?

What do you make of the saying in 5,39?

Now take a look at my response.

We continue into the next chapter and complete the sequence by reading about the two controversies on the sabbath, 6,1-11.