Luke 9:61
And another also said, Lord, I will follow you; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(61) Lord, I will follow thee.—This third example of our Lord’s method of dealing with half-hearted disciples is peculiar to St. Luke. Here, as in the first instance, there is what has the appearance of a spontaneous offer, coupled with a plea for postponement. The man pleads a wish to take a formal farewell of his kindred. The form of expression, the absence of any definite mention of father, or wife, or children, half-suggests the thought that the man was free from the closer and more binding ties of relationship, and that the plea urged was therefore hollow and unreal.

9:57-62 Here is one that is forward to follow Christ, but seems to have been hasty and rash, and not to have counted the cost. If we mean to follow Christ, we must lay aside the thoughts of great things in the world. Let us not try to join the profession of Christianity, with seeking after worldly advantages. Here is another that seems resolved to follow Christ, but he begs a short delay. To this man Christ first gave the call; he said to him, Follow me. Religion teaches us to be kind and good, to show piety at home, and to requite our parents; but we must not make these an excuse for neglecting our duty to God. Here is another that is willing to follow Christ, but he must have a little time to talk with his friends about it, and to set in order his household affairs, and give directions concerning them. He seemed to have worldly concerns more upon his heart than he ought to have, and he was willing to enter into a temptation leading him from his purpose of following Christ. No one can do any business in a proper manner, if he is attending to other things. Those who begin with the work of God, must resolve to go on, or they will make nothing of it. Looking back, leads to drawing back, and drawing back is to perdition. He only that endures to the end shall be saved.Bid them farewell - To take leave, inform them of the design, and set things at home in order. Jesus did not suffer this, because he probably saw that he would be influenced by a love of his friends, or by their persuasions, not to return to him. The purpose to be a Christian requires "decision." Men should not tamper with the world. They should not consult earthly friends about it. They should not even allow worldly friends to give them "advice" whether to be Christians or not. God is to be obeyed rather than man, and they should come forth boldly, and resolve at once to give themselves to his service. 61. I will follow … but—The second disciple had a "but" too—a difficulty in the way just then. Yet the different treatment of the two cases shows how different was the spirit of the two, and to that our Lord addressed Himself. The case of Elisha (1Ki 19:19-21), though apparently similar to this, will be found quite different from the "looking back" of this case, the best illustration of which is that of those Hindu converts of our day who, when once persuaded to leave their spiritual fathers in order to "bid them farewell which are at home at their house," very rarely return to them. (Also see on [1620]Mt 8:21.)Ver. 61,62. Matthew (who mentioned the other two) mentions not this third person. Some doubt whether we well translate these words, apotaxasyai toiv eiv ton oikon mou, bid them at my house farewell; or whether it were not better translated, to order the things or persons relating to my house. Let it be translated either way, it signifies a too much worldliness of mind in this disciple, which our Saviour checks in the next words, saying,

No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, eiv ta opisw, to the things behind,

is fit for the kingdom of God. Some think it is an allusion to the story of Elisha’s call. 1 Kings 19:19,20. Elijah passing by him ploughing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth, cast his mantle upon him. And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. Be that as it will, here is a plain allusion to the work of a ploughman, and a comparing of a minister of the gospel in his duty with the ploughman in his work. The ploughman is obliged to look forward to his work, or he will never draw his furrows either straight enough, or of a just depth; so must a minister of the gospel: if he be once called out of secular employments to the service of God in the ministry, he is bound to mind and attend that; that is enough to take up the whole man, and his whole strength and time, he had need of no other things to mind or look after, the things of the world are things behind him. Not that God debars his ministers (in case of exigence) to work for their bread with their hands, as Paul did; but they ought not, without apparent necessity, to entangle themselves with the things of this life, so as to make them their business. And another also said,.... "To him", as the Syriac and Arabic versions add, that is, to Christ; the Ethiopic version reads, "and a third said to him"; for this is the third person mentioned in this relation of Luke's; only two are spoken of by Matthew, but a third is added here:

Lord, I will follow thee; he moves it himself, to be a disciple of his, and a preacher of his Gospel, only with this condition:

but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house: as Elisha desired Elijah, that he might go and kiss his father and his mother and then he promises he would follow him, 1 Kings 19:20. The Syriac version adds, "and I will come"; and the Persic, "and give commands, and then, will I:come": and the phrase not only signifies, that he desired to take leave of his friends, but to compose and set in order his family affairs, and dispose of his worldly effects among his domestics, relations, and friends, in the best manner he could; and then he should have leisure, and be at liberty to follow Christ, and attend his service.

{15} And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.

(15) Those who follow Christ must at once renounce all worldly cares.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 9:61-62. Peculiar to Luke.

ἀποτάξασθαι κ.τ.λ.] to say farewell to my family. Comp. 2 Corinthians 2:13, and see on Mark 6:45; Vulg.: “renuntiare.” So also Augustine, Maldonatus, and others. Literally, and likewise rightly (see Luke 14:33; Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 24). But the answer or Jesus, Luke 9:62, gives for ἀποτάξ. the idea of attachment, not of renunciation.

τοῖς εἰς κ.τ.λ., according to the above explanation of ἀποτάξ., must be masculine, not neuter. (Vulgate in Lachmann, Augustine, Maldonatus, Paulus.)

εἰς] not instead of ἐν (thus de Wette, however), but a case of attraction, such as we very frequently meet with in the classical writers. The two ideas, ἀπέρχεσθαι εἰς τὸν οἶκόν μου and ἀποτάξ. τοῖς ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ μου, are so blended together that the former is forced into the latter, and has driven out ἐν for εἰς. See in general, Kühner, II. p. 318 f., ad Xen. Anab. i. 1. 5. Comp. Buttmann, Neut. Gr. p. 286 [E. T. 332].

Luke 9:62. The meaning of the proverbial saying, in which, moreover, “cum proverbio significatur, cui rei aptetur proverbium” (Grotius) is, No one who has offered to labour in my service, and, withal, still attaches his interest to his earlier relations (βλέπων πάλιν ἐπὶ τὸν κόσμον, Theophylact), is well fitted (adapted, available) for the kingdom of the Messiah (to labour for it). Entire devotion, not divided service! On εἴς τι βλέπειν, oculos aliquo convertere, see Tittmann, Synon. p. 112.Luke 9:61-62. The third case, peculiar to Lk., and setting forth a distinct type.—ἀκολουθήσω σοι, I will follow Thee, implying that he also has been asked to do so, and that he is ready, but on a condition.—ἐπίτρεψόν μοι: this is a type of man who always wants to do something, in which he is himself specially interested first (πρῶτον), before he addresses himself to the main duty to which he is called.—ἀποτάξασθαι: in this case it is to bid good-bye to friends, a sentimental business; that also characteristic.—τοῖς εἰς τὸν οἶκόν μου. The verb ἀπ. is used in later Greek both with the dative of a person to denote “to take leave of,” and with the dative of a thing = to renounce (so in Luke 14:33). Both senses are admissible here, as τοῖς may be either masculine or neuter, but the first sense is the only one suitable to the character (sentimental) and to the request, as property could be renounced on the spot; though this reason is not so conclusive, as some legal steps might be necessary to denude oneself of property.61. let me first go bid them farewell] The incident and the allusion closely resemble the call of Elisha (1 Kings 19:20). But the call of Jesus is more pressing and momentous than that of Elijah. “The East is calling thee, thou art looking to the West,” Aug. Neither Elijah nor Elisha is an adequate example for the duties of the Kingdom of Heaven, of which the least partaker is, in knowledge and in privileges, greater than they.Luke 9:61. Πρῶτον, first) This person was one as yet entangled in natural affections; therefore the less indulgence was to be given him in respect of them.[89] Moreover, he seems to have had in mind the example of Elisha, to whom Elijah gave the same indulgence; for Jesus replies in an image derived from the plough (comp. 1 Kings 19:19). The kingdom of God demands souls more unencumbered for its service than the prophetic discipleship: nor must we appeal to Elijah or Elisha, without making the necessary distinctions between the case now as compared with then; see Luke 9:53.—ἀποτάξασθαι, to bid farewell) Perhaps attended with a sumptuous farewell feast.

[89] Lest they should rob him of that self-denial which the Christian, and especially the preacher, needs.—ED. and TRANSL.Verses 61, 62. - And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. There is an implied reproach in our Lord s reply to what, on first thoughts, would seem a reasonable request. The offer in this case came from the man himself. It would appear that this would-be disciple, on thinking the matter over, considered it might be desirable to hear what his family and friends thought about his project. At all events, one thing is clear his first ardour was cooled, his first love left. The Master, in his pithy but striking comment, shows when such is the case, that there is little or no hope of any real noble work being carried out. The simile is drawn from agricultural imagery. Jesus was evidently very familiar with all the little details of rural life. We find a similar saying in Hesiod, "He who would plough straight furrows, must not look about him" ('Works and Days,' 2:60).



To bid farewell (ἀποτάξασθαι)

In this sense the word is used only in later Greek. In classical Greek it signifies to set apart or assign, as a soldier to his post or an official to his office, and later to detach soldiers. Hence to dismiss one with orders. This latter sense may, as Kypke suggests, be included in the meaning of the word in this passage; the man desiring to return home, not merely to take formal leave, but also to give his final instructions to his friends and servants. Similarly, Acts 18:18, of Paul taking leave of the brethren at Corinth, and, presumably, giving them instructions at parting. In the New Testament the word is used invariably in the sense of bidding farewell. Mark 6:46 is rendered by Rev. after he had taken leave of them. See note there, and compare Luke 14:33; 2 Corinthians 2:13.

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