“Success of the Twelve” complex

& LOY

Updated: 20-September-2019

The Synoptic Gospels contain three accounts of apostles returning to Jesus after successfully completing their mission of healing and teaching. Two versions are found in the Gospel of Luke and one version is found in the Gospel of Mark. The Gospel of Matthew never reports that the apostles returned.

Anth.’s changes to “Success of the Twelve.”

The Gospel of Luke reports the return of the Twelve in chapter 9, reflecting the version of “Success of the Twelve” he found in the First Reconstruction (FR), and the return of the Seventy-two in chapter 10, reflecting the version he found in the Anthology (Anth.). Anth.’s version preserved the complete account of Jesus’ enthusiastic response to the apostles’ report of their success. It appears, however, that the Anthologizer inserted an additional saying, Father and Son, following Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn on account of shared themes and vocabulary. FR’s version merely reported the fact of the apostles’ return without recording Jesus’ response.

Luke’s changes to Anth.’s arrangement of “Success of the Twelve.”

When the author of Luke incorporated the two versions of “Success of the Twelve” he made no changes to FR’s arrangement, but he did remove one saying, Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, from Anth.’s version in order to add it to a section in his Gospel dealing with Jesus’ use of parables.

The author of Mark relied on Luke’s FR version of “Success of the Twelve.”

The author of Matthew’s decision not to include “Success of the Twelve” set him at liberty to distribute the pericopae belonging to this section in Anth. to other parts of his Gospel.


Click on the following titles to view the Reconstruction and Commentary for each pericope in the “Success of the Twelve” complex.


Return of the Twelve Return of the Twelve

Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn

Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven

Blessedness of the Twelve


To demonstrate how the pieces of the “Success of the Twelve” complex fit together, we have assembled our paraphrases of the Hebrew reconstructions of the individual segments below. We have also assembled the Greek and Hebrew reconstructions of the entire complex and presented them following the English paraphrase.

The twelve emissaries returned to Yeshua full of excitement and they told him about everything they had done. “Lord!” they said, “even the demons submit to us in your name.”

Yeshua told them, “I saw Satan expelled from heaven like a flash of lightning from the sky. Look, I have given you power to step on snakes and scorpions and over all the enemy’s might: Nothing will hurt you. But don’t get excited about that, instead be excited that your names are recorded in heaven in the Book of Life.”

At that very moment Yeshua was filled with joy through the Holy Spirit, and he said, “I give thanks to you, my Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because although you hid these mysteries from the wisest of the wise in former generations, you have now revealed them to my own simple followers. Yes, Father, I thank you because this act of grace is what you desire.”

Then Yeshua said to his emissaries: “God has permitted you to experience the mysteries the Kingdom of Heaven had in store. But until now those mysteries were only hinted at through the symbolic language of the prophets, for ‘no eye could see, and no ear could hear, and no heart could understand’ beforehand the full scope of redemption the Kingdom of Heaven would bring.

“How privileged you are because of what you are witnessing. Yes! I want you to know that many of God’s messengers would have given anything to experience what you are experiencing, but were not so fortunate as you.”

Greek Reconstruction

καὶ ὑποστρέψαντες οἱ ἀπόστολοι πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν μετὰ χαρᾶς διηγήσαντο αὐτῷ πάντα ὅσα ἐποίησαν λέγοντες κύριε καὶ τὰ δαιμόνια ὑποτάσσεται ἡμῖν ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς ἐθεώρουν τὸν σατανᾶν ὡς ἀστραπὴν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ πεσόντα ἰδοὺ δέδωκα ὑμῖν τὴν ἐξουσίαν τοῦ πατεῖν ἐπάνω ὄφεων καὶ σκορπίων καὶ ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν δύναμιν τὴν τοῦ ἐχθροῦ καὶ οὐδὲν ὑμᾶς οὐ μὴ ἀδικήσῃ πλὴν ἐν τούτῳ μὴ χαίρετε ὅτι τὰ πνεύματα ὑμῖν ὑποτάσσεται χαίρετε δὲ ὅτι τὰ ὀνόματα ὑμῶν ἐγγέγραπται ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς

ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ ἠγαλλιάσατο ἐν τῷ πνεύματι τῷ ἁγίῳ καὶ εἶπεν ἐξομολογοῦμαί σοι πάτερ κύριε τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ τῆς γῆς ὅτι ἔκρυψας ταῦτα ἀπὸ σοφῶν καὶ συνετῶν καὶ ἀπεκάλυψας αὐτὰ νηπίοις ναὶ ὁ πατήρ ὅτι οὕτως εὐδοκία ἐγένετο ἔμπροσθέν σου

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν ὅτι ὑμῖν δέδοται γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν τοῖς δὲ λοιποῖς ἐν παραβολαῖς ὅτι βλέποντες οὐ βλέπουσιν καὶ ἀκούοντες οὐκ ἀκούουσιν οὐδὲ συνίουσιν

μακάριοι οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ οἱ βλέποντες ἃ βλέπετε καὶ τὰ ὦτα τὰ ἀκούοντα ἃ ἀκούετε ἀμὴν γὰρ λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πολλοὶ προφῆται καὶ βασιλεῖς ἐπεθύμησαν ἰδεῖν ἃ βλέπετε καὶ οὐκ εἶδαν καὶ ἀκοῦσαι ἃ ἀκούετε καὶ οὐκ ἤκουσαν

Hebrew Reconstruction

וַיָּשֻׁבוּ הַשְּׁלִיחִים אֶל יֵשׁוּעַ בְּשִׂמְחָה וַיְסַפְּרוּ לוֹ אֶת כֹּל אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ לֵאמֹר אֲדוֹנֵנוּ אַף הַשֵּׁדִים מִשְׁתַּעְבְּדִים לָנוּ בְּשִׁמְךָ וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם רָאִיתִי אֶת הַשָּׂטָן כְּבָרָק מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם נֹפֵל הֲרֵי נָתַתִּי לָכֶם רָשׁוּת לִדְרֹךְ עַל נְחָשִׁים וְעַקְרַבִּים וְעַל כֹּל גְּבוּרַת הָאֹיֵב וְלֹא יַזִּיק לָכֶם כְּלוּם אַף בְּזוֹ אַל תִּשְׂמְחוּ שֶׁהָרוּחוֹת מִשְׁתַּעְבְּדוֹת לָכֶם אֶלָּא שִׂמְחוּ שֶׁשְׁמוֹתֵיכֶם כְּתוּבִים בַּשָּׁמַיִם

בְּאוֹתָהּ הַשָּׁעָה שָׂשׂ בְּרוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ וַיֹּאמֶר אוֹדְךָ אָבִי אֲדוֹן שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ כִּי הִסְתַּרְתָּ אֵלֶּה מֵחֲכָמִים וּנְבֹנִים וְגִלִּיתָ אוֹתָם לִפְתָאיִם הֵן אַבָּא כִּי כֵּן רָצוֹן הוּא לְפָנֶיךָ

וַיֹּאמֶר לָכֶם נִתַּן לָדַעַת אֶת רָזֵי מַלְכוּת שָׁמַיִם וְלִשְׁאָר בִּמְשָׁלִים כִּי רָאוֹ לֹא רָאוּ וְשָׁמוֹעַ לֹא שָׁמְעוּ וְלֹא הֵבִינוּ

אַשְׁרֵי הָעֵינַיִם הָרֹאוֹת מַה שֶּׁאַתֶּם רֹאִים וְהָאָזְנַיִם הַשֹּׁמְעוֹת מַה שֶּׁאַתֶּם שֹׁמְעִים אָמֵן אֲנִי אֹמֵר לָכֶם הַרְבֵּה נְּבִיאִים וּמַלְאָכִים הִתְאַוּוּ לִרְאֹת מַה שֶּׁאַתֶּם רֹאִים וְלֹא רָאוּ וְלִשְׁמֹעַ מַה שֶּׁאַתֶּם שֹׁמְעִים וְלֹא שָׁמְעוּ

A view of the Jordan River from H. B. Tristram’s Scenes in the East Consisting of Twelve Coloured Photographic Views of Places Mentioned in the Bible (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1872), plate III facing p. 13. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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