The bull of St Luke


Chapter 5: Overview

Our reading of chapter 4 took us into chapter 5 because we have read the call of the disciples in 5,1-11 as a conclusion to the opening presentation of the adult Jesus in chapter 4, especially the three healings in Capernaum, 4,31-44.

Luke and Mark

At this point, a comparison of the opening of Jesus' ministry in Luke with Mark will be helpful. We are assuming that Luke has adapted Mark so this comparison will help us to understand Luke's agenda and priorities. Some of this we have seen when we read chapter 4 and the call of the disciples. It is a now 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 at Mk 3,20 and Lk 3,17 to see why the comparison ends.
You will discover that Luke has re-arranged some of Mark's incidents, 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 one obvious omission. You might like consider why Luke left out this passge.

Then go to my response.

Luke 5,12-6,11 Overview

Carry on reading chapter 5 from verse 12 and once again into the next chapter, up to 6,11. Why is there a break here? Look at 6,12, look as well at Mk 3,6. From 5,12 through to 6,11 we are dealing with six incidents. As we have discovered, all six are in the same order as Mark (Mk 1,40-3,6).

The five incidents in Mark as told in Mk 2,1- Mk 3,6 are arranged by the evangelist into a circular pattern. The third story, concerning fasting, is therefore central, it is central as story and it is also central for its message within the Gospel. All five stories concern conflict with the Jewish authorities. They lead to the dramatic climax in Mk 3,6 where they set out to destroy Jesus.

Now, even though Luke is following Mark in the sequence of stories, the question for us to resolve is whether he is also presenting the same message. Luke has inserted the calling of the disciples before the healing of the leper which Mark places at the end of his first chapter (Mk 1,40-45). We have seen the consequences of this insertion on the stories that precede. What do you think might be the consequence of making the insertion at this point for the stories that follow, 5,12-6,11? We have listed out the various incidents; now consider how are they connected or interlinked. Compare Luke's connections between the incidents with those of Mark. What might be the central story for Luke? See if you can spot a pattern of development, look for similar themes. It helps to compare Lk 5,17 with Mark 2,1. Compare too 5,29 with Mk 2,15. What do you make of Luke's changes (for a clue, look at 14,15-24.)

Then go again to my response.

This overview will fall into place as our reading unfolds. Let us now move on to our reading of the two healings, 5,12-26.