New Defender's Study Bible Notes
9:7 tetrarch. See note on Luke 3:19.
9:7 John. Note the esteem and awe in which Herod held John the Baptist. Although John had done no miracles himself (John 10:41), when Herod heard of the many miracles done by Jesus and His disciples, he immediately thought of John, even seriously considering the possibility that he had risen from the dead! His conscience evidently was burdening him with the enormous guilt of his crime in executing John.
9:23 his cross daily. Matthew 16:24 and Mark 8:34 recorded the same challenge from Christ, except that only Luke included the term “daily.” Except for a passing reference in Matthew 10:38, this conversation marks the first explicit reference in the Bible to crucifixion, and it apparently assumes that the disciples were aware of this typically Roman method of execution. In effect, the Lord was telling His disciples (both then and now) that following Him entails a daily willingness to die for Him if need be. “Taking up” the cross refers to the usual requirement that the condemned man haul his own cross to the place of execution. Jesus knew (though the disciples were not yet fully aware) that He would soon be doing this Himself (John 19:16-17).
9:30 Moses and Elias. This was a vision (Matthew 17:9), rather than an actual bodily visitation. This was prior to the resurrection of Old Testament saints (Matthew 27:51-53), so Moses’ body was still in the grave.
9:31 accomplish. Note that Jesus regarded His approaching death as something He would accomplish. The same word is often translated “fulfill” or “complete.” Although Matthew (17:1-8) and Mark (9:2-8) both report on the transfiguration, only Luke indicates that the approaching death of Christ was the subject He discussed with Moses and Elijah in this vision. Presumably, in his research, Luke was able to elicit this information from one of the disciples who was there—most likely John. Mark presumably got his information from Peter, but doesn’t mention this part of the conversation. Perhaps in his sleepy confusion Peter was too preoccupied with his notion of making three tabernacles (Luke 9:33) to catch these particular words. In any case, this was a vision (Matthew 17:9), so the conversation was to inform Jesus (in His human understanding) of the details of the great work He and His Father were soon to accomplish in Jerusalem.
9:50 not against us. See also Mark 9:38-40. This seems superficially to conflict with Christ’s statements in Luke 9:23; 11:23; etc. However, they refer to two different situations. When a person attempts to be neutral about Christ, he is really against Him, but when a person is sincerely trying to honor Him but doing it more out of ignorant zeal than full understanding, the Lord recognizes that he is really for Him, and will not discourage him from his efforts. In fact, by implication, Christ will somehow see to it that his sincerity will be rewarded with greater understanding (e.g., Hebrews 11:6; John 7:17).
9:51 steadfastly. He had received encouragement in this purpose through the vision on the mount, so now He sets course rigidly, with no hesitation or uncertainty, to “accomplish His decease at Jerusalem.”
9:53 did not receive him. The Samaritans were a mixed people descended from the Jews left in the land after many were carried into captivity by the Assyrians and the peoples that replaced the Israelites (II Kings 17:6,24,33). The religion of these people attempted to combine the Mosaic covenant with their own pagan gods. Also, the Samaritans were opposed to the rebuilding of the temple and city after the Babylonian captivity, and this opposition resulted in continual hostility between the Jews and Samaritans.
9:54 from heaven. This was an unthinking emotional outburst by the “sons of thunder,” who certainly had no authority or ability to call down fire from heaven, as Elijah had done in the land of Samaria nine hundred years before.
9:59 bury my father. Jesus’ seemingly harsh answer to this man recognized that his reason for not following Christ was essentially a rejection. This is an expression, used even today in the Middle East, to indicate the eldest son’s responsibility to remain with his family until the father dies and he can settle his estate. His younger brothers and sisters are considered as actually “dead,” as far as this particular responsibility is concerned. However, it is possible for the parents to go to the city elders and arrange for all the siblings to share this responsibility equally with the firstborn. Then those who had been, as it were, “dead,” could indeed “bury their dead” (Luke 9:60). But see also note on Matthew 8:22.