Luke 9:37

ESV On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him.
NIV The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him.
NASB On the next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met Him.
CSB The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him.
NLT The next day, after they had come down the mountain, a large crowd met Jesus.
KJV And it came to pass, that on the next day, when they were come down from the hill, much people met him.

What does Luke 9:37 mean?

Luke 9:18–50 presents seven stories in which Jesus calls the disciples to a deeper relationship. As the stories progress, they increasingly show the disciples' lack of understanding of who Jesus is. Peter starts strong by calling Jesus "The Christ of God" (Luke 9:20), but then wavers when he seems to show Moses and Elijah the same honor as Jesus (Luke 9:33). Here, the disciples lose their faith to cast out demons—a power Jesus had given them (Luke 9:1). Next, they will show confusion when Jesus again predicts His crucifixion (Luke 9:43–45), argue over who is the greatest (Luke 9:46–48), and attempt to exclude someone they should invite into their community (Luke 9:49–50). All this occurs right before Jesus begins His transition from serving and teaching the crowds in Galilee to training the disciples to prepare them for His crucifixion and the establishment of the church (Luke 9:51).

Jesus had taken Peter, James, and John to the top of a mountain. The disciples fell asleep while Jesus spoke with Moses and Elijah. When the three woke up, Jesus and the Old Testament legends shone with God's glory. Peter offered to make tents for them. God chose that time to reveal His glory and affirm Jesus as His Son, the Chosen One, thus fulfilling Jesus' prophecy in Luke 9:27. Peter, James, and John won't speak of the event until much later (Luke 9:28–36; 2 Peter 1:16–18; 1 John 4:14).

Now, the four have returned. We aren't told exactly where this mountain is. Scholars present three candidates: Mount Hermon in Philip the Tetrarch's territory to the west and northwest of the Sea of Galilee, Mount Tabor in the south of Galilee, or Mount Meron, west and just north of Bethsaida.

Wherever they are, the crowd is typical. Jesus is often surrounded by mobs; some come to hear Him teach and some to receive healing. This time, it turns out, the crowd initially gathered around the remaining nine disciples. Earlier, Jesus had given them the power to heal and cast out demons (Luke 9:1–6). A man has asked them to rescue his possessed son, but the disciples, once powerful with faith, cannot command the demon out. Luke rarely records Jesus becoming frustrated with His disciples, but he does here. Despite His irritation, Jesus heals the boy (Luke 9:38–43).

Mark and Matthew include an interlude, describing that as Jesus and His three disciples descend from the mountaintop, they talk about the role of Elijah in the end times (Matthew 17:9–13; Mark 9:9–13). Luke often includes historical Hebrew background for his Gentile audience, but this time chose not to.

Mark also mentions that the nine disciples are arguing with scribes. We don't know why for certain; when Jesus asks, the father immediately starts talking about his demon-possessed son (Mark 9:14–18).

Gospel writers often group stories by theme, rather than by time. In this case, the connection seems important. This account is tied to the transfiguration both by time—"on the next day"—and location—"from the mountain."
What is the Gospel?
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