Today we begin with Jesus calling His first disciples. Luke fills in details that Matthew and Mark omit. Jesus gets into Simon’s boat to teach (5:3). The miracle of the fish (vv. 4-7) shows Jesus’s sovereignty over nature. Luke shows Simon’s willingness to obey (v. 5). We also see that Simon was business partners with James and John (v. 7, 10). Simon knows that such a miracle can only be done by a holy man of God (v. 8).
The rest of the events in the chapter are recorded in both Matthew and Luke, with chronology being the only substantial difference. Luke ends the episode of the healing of the leper with the note that Jesus would withdraw to desolate places for the purpose of prayer (v. 16 – compare Mark 1:45). Luke speaks more of Jesus praying than do Matthew or Mark, showing His reliance on God the Father. Jesus’s added statement about wine (v. 39) shows the complacency of those who are resistant to new things, even a greater understanding of God’s salvation.
Chapter 6 begins with two incidents in which Jesus declares his authority over the Sabbath. Here, Luke reveals that these two events were on different Sabbath days, not the same day (6:6). In the calling of the Twelve we again see Luke’s focus on Jesus’s prayer (v. 12). Verse 17 begins Jesus’s “Sermon on the Plain.” While the teaching echoes some of the Sermon on the Mount, Luke here says Jesus stood “on a level place” (compare Matt 5:1). The first two Beatitudes resemble those in Matthew 5:3 and 5:6. The third (v. 21) is not paralleled in Matthew 5. Here, Jesus pronounces converse woes (vv. 24-26). Taken together, these blessings and woes show that valuing blessings in this life often mean missing them in the next.
The section about loving our enemies (vv.27-36) is similar to Matthew 5:38-48. Luke includes the Golden Rule here (v. 31 – see Matt 7:12). This teaching follows the blessings/woes to encourage seeking blessings in the world to come. Notice Luke’s focus on “sinners” (vv. 33-34) and the contrast with those who have their reward in the world to come, among which are being called – along with Jesus! – sons of the Most High (v. 35 – see 1:32).
In the section about judging others (vv. 37-38), Jesus continues to focus on generosity and love, here pointing out that God is always more generous to us. Luke then includes material that is scattered throughout Matthew’s Gospel. In verse 40, Jesus adds that we who are “fully trained” will be like Him. This is better translated “prepared” and is a perfect, passive, participle. This is showing that this is God’s completed work in us which will continually affect what we do. Through our justification, we are prepared by God (not ourselves!) to do good (see Eph 2:8-10). Whereas in Matthew Jesus speaks of those who call Him “Lord, Lord” yet do not do the Father’s will (Matt 7:21), here, Jesus asks those who call Him “Lord, Lord” why they do not obey Him (Jesus). Obeying Christ and doing the Father’s will are one and the same.
Chapter 7 begins with the healing of the centurion’s servant (7:1-10). The raising of the son of the widow of Nain (vv. 11-17) is unique to Luke. We see that because of this miracle (that had previously only been done by Elijah and Elisha), the people liken Jesus to one of the prophets of old (v. 16). When John the Baptist sends messengers to Jesus, Luke tells us that Jesus answers initially by working miracles n their presence (v. 21). In verses 29-30 we see the heart of man. We are prone to agree that what we are part of is good, and what we are not is bad.
Luke then records the event of the woman and the flask of ointment. This is traditionally believed to be the same event recorded in Matthew 26:6-13 and Mark 14:3-9. There are differences in the accounts, however. It is possible that this Pharisee and Simon the Leper are the same person (Jesus calls this Pharisee “Simon” in verses 40). It is also possible that Matthew and Mark place the event right before the crucifixion to emphasize the anointing for burial and to point out the heart of Judas Iscariot.
In Luke’s account, the woman is said to anoint Jesus’s feet, and that she cleaned His feet with tears and wiped them with her hair, and kissed His feet (v. 38). The humility of this woman and love for Jesus are apparent. Instead of focusing on the reaction to the waste of ointment (as in Matthew and Mark), Luke focuses on Simon’s reaction. He doubts the reports about Jesus being a prophet because He allows this “sinner” to touch Him (v. 39). Jesus responds to Simon’s thoughts with a parable. Jesus points out that this woman showed love for Him that Simon did not (vv. 44-46). This is an indictment of Simon’s lack of understanding. He did not believe himself a sinner. This, and her faith, is why the woman is forgiven and Simon is not (vv. 47-48).
Chapter 8 begins with Luke’s revelation that there were women among Jesus’s followers (8:1-3). Neither Matthew nor Mark mention any of the women until the crucifixion occurs. Luke, however, has had a focus on Jesus’s (and the Father’s) love for the marginalized: shepherds, lepers, peasants, Gentiles, tax collectors, and “sinners.” The “many others” in verse 3 is in the feminine. Luke may even be communicating that the majority of Christ’s earthly followers were female. The rest of the chapter has close parallels in Matthew and (especially) Mark.