"Somehow of all the Gospel writers, one would have liked to meet Luke best of all." - William Barclay

(1907 - 1978)
Professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism at the University of Glasgow, Barclay dedicated
his life to "making the best biblical scholarship available to the average reader."

The result was the Daily Study Bible, a set of commentaries on the New Testament, exploring verse by verse through Barclay's own translation of the New Testament, listing and examining every possible interpretation known to Barclay and providing all the background information he considered possibly relevant.

The 17 volumes of the set were all instant best-sellers and continue to be so to this day.

Barclay wrote many other popular books, mostly in the same accessible but scholarly style. In The Mind of Jesus (1960) he states that his aim was "to make the figure of Jesus more vividly alive, so that we may know him better and love him more."


The Words of Jesus Christ
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Lacey, WA 98503




Chapters Seven and Eight

He to whom little is forgiven loves little." He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." Those who were at table with him began to say to themselves, "Who is this who forgives even sins?" He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."

When Jesus had completed all his words in the hearing of the people, he went into Capernaum. The servant of a certain centurion was so ill that he was going to die, and he was very dear to him. When he heard about Jesus he sent some Jewish elders to him and asked him to come and save his servant's life. They came to Jesus and strenuously urged him to come. "He is, " they said, "a man who deserves that you should do this for him, for he loves our nation and has himself built us our synagogue."

So Jesus went with them. When he was now quite near the house the centurion sent friends to him. "Sir," he said, "do not trouble yourself. I am not worthy that you should come under my roof; nor do I count myself fit to come to you; but just speak a word and my servant will be cured. For I myself am a man under orders, and I have soldiers under me, and I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes; and I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."

When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him. He turned to the crowds who were following him and said, "I tell you I have not found such great faith not even in Israel." And those who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant completely cured.

Next, after that, Jesus was on his way to a town called Nain; and his disciples and a great crowd accompanied him on the journey. When he came near the gate of the town - look you - a man who had died was being carried out to burial. He was his mother's only son, and she was a widow. There was a great crowd of townspeople with her. When the Lord saw her he was moved to the depths of his heart for her and said to her, "Don't go on weeping!" He went up and touched the bier. Those who were carrying it stood still. "Young man," he said, "I tell you, rise!" And the dead man sat up and began to speak. And he gave him back to his mother. And awe gripped them all. They glorified God saying, "A great prophet has been raised up amongst us," and, "God has graciously visited his people." This story about him went out in all Judaea and all the surrounding countryside.

John's disciples told him about all these things; so John called two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord saying, "Are you he who is to come, or, are we to look for another?" When they arrived, the men said to him, "John, the Baptizer, has sent us to you. Are you the One who is to come," he asks, "or are we to look for another?" At that time he cured many of their diseases and afflictions and of evil spirits, and to many blind people he gave the gift of sight. "Go," he answered them, "and tell John what you have seen and heard. The blind recover their sight; the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed; the deaf hear; the dead are raised up; the poor have the Good News told to them; and blessed is he who does not find a stumbling block in me."

When John's messengers had gone away, Jesus began to say to the crowds concerning John, "What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothes? Look you - those who wear expensive clothes and live in luxury are in royal palaces. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and something more than a prophet. This is he of whom it stands written - 'Look you, I send my messenger before you to prepare your way before you.' I tell you there is no one greater amongst those born of women than John. But he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he." When the people and the tax collectors heard this they called God righteous for they had been baptized with John's baptism.

But the Pharisees and the scribes frustrated God's purpose for themselves because they were not baptized by him. "To whom," asked Jesus, "will I compare the men of this generation? And to whom are they like? They are like children seated in the market place who call to one another, 'We have piped to you, and you did not dance. We have sung you a dirge and you did not weep.' John the Baptizer came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, "He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you say, 'Look! A gluttonous man and a wine-drinker, the friend of tax-collectors and sinners.' But wisdom is justified by her children."

One of the Pharisees invited Jesus to eat with him. He went into the Pharisee's house and reclined at table; and - look you - there was a woman in the town, a woman of poor reputation. She knew that he was at table in the Pharisee's house, so she took an alabaster phial of perfume and stood behind him, beside his feet, weeping. She began to wash his feet with tears, and she wiped them with the hairs of her head; and she kept kissing his feet and anointing them with the perfume. When the Pharisee, who had invited him, saw this, he said to himself, "If this fellow was a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of a person this woman is who keeps touching him, for she is a bad woman." Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." He said, "Master, say it."

Jesus said, "There were two men who were in debt to a certain lender. The one owed him $20, the other $2. Since they were unable to pay he canceled the debt to both. Who then will love him the more?" Simon answered, "I presume, he to whom the greater favor was shown." He said to him, "Your judgment is correct." He turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house - you gave me no water for my feet. She has washed my feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. You did not give me any kiss. But she, from the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil. She has anointed my feet with perfume. Wherefore, I tell you, her sins - her many sins - are forgiven for she loved much. He to whom little is forgiven loves little." He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." Those who were at table with him began to say to themselves, "Who is this who forgives even sins?" He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."

After that, Jesus traveled through the country, town by town, and village by village, preaching the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, as were certain women, who had been cured from evil spirits and from illnesses. There was Mary, who is called Mary Magdalene, out of whom there went seven devils, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, who was Herod's agent, and Susanna and many others. It was their habit to minister to their needs out of their resources.

When a great crowd had gathered, and when they came to him from every city, Jesus spoke to them by means of a parable. The sower went out to sow his seed. As he sowed some seed fell by the wayside. It was trampled upon and the birds of the heaven devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it grew up and withered because there was no moisture. Other seed fell in the middle of thorns and the thorns grew up along with it and choked the life out of it. Other seed fell into good ground and it produced a crop a hundredfold. As he told the story he said, "He that has an ear to hear let him hear."

The disciples asked him what the parable meant. He said, "It is given to you to know the secrets of the kingdom of God. To the others it is presented in parables, so that they may see, and yet not see, and so that they may hear and yet not understand."

The meaning of the parable is this. The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside stand for those who have heard, and then the devil comes and takes the word from their hearts so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky ground stand for those, who, whenever they hear the word, gladly receive it; but they have no root; they believe for a time; but when a time of trial comes they fall away. The seed that falls among thorns stands for those, who, when they have heard, go their way and are suffocated by the cares, the wealth and the pleasures of this life, and so never complete their crop. The seed that is in the good ground stands for those who have heard the word and keep hold of it in a heart that is fine and good, and bear fruit with fortitude.

No one lights a lamp and then hides it under a vessel or puts it under a bed. No! He puts it on a lamp-stand so that those who come in may see the light. There is nothing hidden which will not be made manifest; there is nothing secret which will not be known and brought into the open. Take care, then, how you listen; for to him who has it will be given; and from him who has not there shall be taken away even what he thinks he has.

Jesse's mother and brothers came to him, and they could not get at him because of the crowd. He was given a message. "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and they want to see you." "My mother and my brothers," he answered them, "are those who hear the word of God and do it."

One day Jesus and his disciples embarked upon a ship. "Let us go over," he said to them, "to the other side of the lake." So they set sail. As they sailed he fell asleep. A violent squall of wind came down upon the lake; and the boat began to fill with water; and they were in peril. They came to him and woke him. "Master, Master," they said, "we are perishing." When he awoke, he rebuked the wind and the surf of the water. They ceased their raging, and there was a calm. "Where is your faith?" he said to them. But they were awe-stricken and amazed. "Who can this be," they said to each other, "because he gives his orders even to the winds and the water, and they obey him?"

They came in their voyage to the district of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. When Jesus had disembarked on the land there met him a man from the town who had demons. For a long time he had gone unclothed, and he did not stay in a house and fell down before him and shouted, "What have you and I to do with each other, Jesus, you Son of the Most High God? I beseech you - don't torture me!" - for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For many a time it had snatched at him, and he was kept bound with chains and fetters, but when he was driven into the deserted places by the demons, he would burst the fetters. Jesus answered, "What is your name?" He said, "A regiment" - because many demons had entered into him, and they begged him not to order them to depart to the abyss.

There was a herd of many pigs there, feeding on the mountainside. The demons asked him to allow them to go into them. He did so. So the demons came out of the man and into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the precipice into the lake and was drowned. When those who were in charge of them saw what had happened, they fled and brought the story to the town and to the countryside round about. They came out to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone out sitting there at Jesus' feet, clothed and in his senses - and they were afraid. Those who had seen what had happened told them how the demon-possessed man had been cured; and the whole crowd from the Gerasene countryside asked him to go away from them, because they were in the grip of a great fear. So he embarked on the ship and went away. The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to be allowed to go with him; but he sent him away. "Go back," he said, "to your home and tell the story of all that God did for you." So he went away and proclaimed throughout the whole town all that God had done for him.

When Jesus came back the crowd welcomed him for they were all waiting for him. A man called Jairus came to him. He was the president of the synagogue. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and asked him to come to his house, because he had an only daughter who was about twelve years of age and she was dying. As he went the crowd pressed round him . . . While he was still speaking someone came from the president's house. "Your daughter is dead," he said. "Don't bother the Master any more." Jesus heard this. "Don't be afraid," he said. "Just have faith and she will be cured." When he had come to the house he allowed no one to come in with him, except Peter and John and James, and the girl's father and mother. They were all weeping and wailing for her. "Stop weeping," he said, "for she is not dead but sleeping." They laughed him down because they were sure she was dead. He took hold of her hand and said to her, "Child, rise!" Her breath came back to her and immediately she rose. He told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were out of themselves with amazement; but he enjoined them to tell no one what had happened.

There was a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years. She had spent all her living on doctors and she could not be cured by any of them. She came up behind Jesus and she touched the tassel of his robe; and immediately her flow of blood was stayed. Jesus said, "Who touched me?" When they were all denying that they had done so, Peter and his companions said, "Master, the crowds are all round you and press in upon you." Jesus said, "Someone has touched me, for I know that power has gone out of me." The woman saw that she could not hide. She came all trembling; she threw herself at his feet; and in front of everyone she had told him why she had touched him, and that she had been cured there and then. "Daughter," he said to her, "your faith has cured you. Go in peace."

turn to chapters nine and ten

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