Greek Study Luke 9:51-62
51When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; 53but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” 55But he turned and rebuked them. 56Then they went on to another village.
57As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”61Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
v51 εγενετο (γινομαι) "Once upon a time…"
εν τω συμπληρουσθαι (συμπληροω) pres. inf. "as the time approached" a temporal clause. Given that τας ημερας, "the days, are likely the days leading up to Jesus death and resurrection, the phrase would be better rendered "when the time was fulfilled."
της αναλημψεως (ις εως) gen. "[for him] to be taken up to heaven" - genitive is epexegetical and probably refers to the whole work of Christ in his death, resurrection and ascension, in much the same way as John's "lifting up" is wider than just the crucifixion.
εστηρισεν (στηριζω) aor. "[Jesus] resolutely" a Hebraic phrase "to set one's face in a certain direction" means "resolved firmly”.
του πορευεσθαι (πορευομαι) pres. inf. "set out [for Jerusalem]" - a genitive articular infinitive often used to express purpose or more generally, as here, end-goal. So, to set one's face is to achieve a certain goal, here a final trip to Jerusalem.
v52 απεστειλεν (αποστελλω) aor. "he sent [messengers]" - this is not actually a mission to the Samaritans, but rather alludes to the role of the disciples as sent-ones.
πορευθεντες (πορευομαι) aor. pas. part. "who went" εις κωμην Σαμαριτων "into a Samaritan village" - A Jew would not normally pass through Samaria heading to Jerusalem, so it begs the question why? This may foreshadow the coming worldwide mission, but more likely illustrates Jesus' urgent resolve to fulfill his destiny in Jerusalem so he takes the shortest possible route.
ως ετοιμασαι (ετοιμαζω) inf. "to get things ready" – an uncommon construction, ως with the infinitive, expresses purpose. Jesus sent the messengers ahead for the purpose of getting things ready
v53 ουκ εδεξαντο (δεχομαι) aor. mid. "the people did not welcome [him]" - this negative reaction may be toward the disciples as they made plans for Jesus' arrival.
οτι "because" ην πορευομενον (πορευομαι) pres. part. "he was heading" - a periphrastic imperfect construction emphasizing aspect; "because he was making for Jerusalem"- the implication is the villagers are not so much rejecting Jesus but rather reacting to another holier-than-thou Jewish rabbi who wants to get out of Samaria as quickly as possible so he isn't overly polluted by the experience.
v54 ιδοντες (οραω) aor. part. "when [the disciples James and John] saw this" a temporal clause.
ειπωμεν (ειπον) aor. subj. "[do you want] us to call [fire down ....]" - an allusion to 2 Kings 1:10, 12. The disciples have asked for an Elijah type judgement.
καταβηναι (καταβαινω) aor. inf. "down" with αναλωσαι, "destroy", forms an object clause expressing what the disciples should call on fire to do.
v55 στραθεις (στρεφω) aor. pas. part. "[but Jesus] turned" – an emphatic attendant circumstance participle expressing action – note Luke's use of the phrase "Jesus turned" to emphasize his engagement with someone or some group of people following him.
επετιμησεν (επιτιμαω) aor. "rebuked [them]" judgement will come to those who deserve it, but this is not the time for judgement, but for journey. The disciples are rebuked for a lack of perception.
v56 επορευθησαν (πορευομαι) aor. pas. "they journeyed”.
v57 πορευομενων (πορευομαι) pres. part. "as they were walking" – begins a new section, so this is a seam in the test. Luke is again underlining the journey to the cross.
ακολουθησω (ακολουθεω) fut. "I will follow σοι dat. pro. "you"
οπου εαν απερχη "wherever you go" - an indefinite locative clause which explains where the action of "I will be your disciple" is located, namely, "wherever you take me."
v58 του ουρανου (ος) gen. "[birds] of heaven
που + subj. interrogative particle ∀where" with the subjunctive κλινη, "may lay", forms a dependent statement expressing, so "wherever he may lay his head". No response is recorded, and what response is Jesus looking for? It is usually understood Jesus is teaching would-be-disciples the cost of discipleship but such an interpretation rests on the assumption Jesus is always on about " suffering." But it is possible Jesus is just describing his own status in the world, not of those who would follow him. Jesus is the lowly one and the question is, are we willing to become the disciple of an unsuccessful man?
v59 ακολουθει (ακολουθεω) pres. imp. "follow" Jesus does the inviting.
επιτρεψον (επιτρεπω) aor. imp. "[first] let [me]" – a real request - the father is possibly dying, which may "delay discipleship indefinitely", so the son is willing to accept Jesus' call, but he first seeks permission to fulfill his family responsibility and take charge of his father's burial.
απελθοντι (απερχομαι) dat. aor. part. "go" - having gone. Matthew uses an infinitive απελθειν at this point, producing two awkward coordinating infinitives, "allow me to go and to burry". Luke's use of a participle, instead of an infinitive, serves to introduce an object clause expressing what the man wishes Jesus to "allow", namely "to go."
v60 αφες (αφιημι) aor. imp. "let [the dead]. The sense of the words "let the dead bury their own dead" is a matter of debate: i] Allow those in sheol to worry about each other; ii] "Let the spiritually dead bury their own"; iii] In more general terms it may mean something like, "don't get yourself worked up about the death of a relative, focus on the living. What's important is the proclamation of the gospel is to the living, for only they can hear it and respond to it." This doesn't mean that Jesus is telling him he can't go to his father's funeral, but rather, that he must get his priorities right.
θαψαι (θαπτω) aor. inf. "bury"
απελθων (απερχομαι) aor. part. "you go" participle is possibly attendant circumstance and therefore read as an imperative.
διαγγελλε (διαγγελλω) pres. imp. "proclaim" - present tense implies continuation.
v61 ετερος "another [said]" σοι dat. pro. "you" - ακολουθησω, "I will follow"
επιτρεψον (επιτρεπω) aor. imp. "[but first] let" μοι dat. pro. "me"
αποταξασθαι (αποτασσω) aor. inf. "say good-by" - lit. give up. μοι dat. art. "[and say goodbye to my family]" - to the ones [in the house of me].
v62 επιβαλων (επιβαλλω) aor. part. "[no one] who puts [his hands to the plow]" - a relative clauses; "who puts his hand ......"
βλεπων (βλεπω) aor. part. "looks [back]" - a potential disciple cannot have two minds. The present tense underlines this sense; "while still looking back." The proverb is often applied to believers who are pondering the "bright lights", or even now wandering off into them, but again, this interpretation reflects the tendency, within the Christian church, for guilt. Clearly, Jesus is calling on a potential disciple to decide to follow, or to go his own way.
ευθετος adj. "[is] fit" – a person who is two minded cannot be trusted for the task. As with the man who wanted to bury his father, this man is similarly reminded of the urgent need for a clear decision.
τη βασιλεια/ (α) dat. "for service in the kingdom" - "is useless for the kingdom". A person in two minds does not possess the necessary aptitude required of a disciple with respect to the business of preaching the gospel.