I have a question concerning a potential contradiction in the order of events in Galilee.

In Luke 4:31-36, Jesus visits the Capernaum synagogue and heals the man of unclean spirits. Early in Luke 5, Jesus makes his first call for his disciples.

But in Mark 1:21, Jesus first calls his disciples before he arrives to the Capernaum synagogue to drive out the impure spirit.

Is there any way to reconcile these events?

Luke 4:31 Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. 32 They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority. 33 In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, 34 “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” 35 “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. 36 All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” 37 And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.

Mark 1:16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.

Mark 1:21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach.

  • See a partial discussion of this issue here: apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=513 and here: rationalchristianity.net/jesus_early.html May 31, 2016 at 16:08
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    I must be missing something obvious here (otherwise I'd vote down the question). Luke 5 doesn't mention spirits, impure or otherwise; it doesn't mention Capernaum; and it doesn't mention a synagogue. It does mention curing a leper, and someone with palsy, but what reason is there to believe that these two people are the same person as Mark's "man with an unclean spirit"? Jan 23, 2019 at 14:56
  • @Ray Although Jesus must have known Simon (lka Peter) already (Luke 4:38), he hadn't "called" as a disciple neither him nor anybody else, yet. That only happens "Early in Luke 5", when Jesus had already exorcised the "man possessed by a demon". The time order of the Call of the Disciples (including Simon) and of the exorcism in the synagogue is reversed in Mark. Jun 2, 2021 at 14:17

6 Answers 6


It's important to note that the Gospels were not written as strict chronological accounts of Jesus' life and ministry, but rather as theological narratives with a specific message for their respective audiences. Therefore, differences in the order of events between the Gospels are not necessarily contradictions, but rather reflect the different perspectives and priorities of the Gospel writers.

In this case, Luke may have reordered the events to emphasize Jesus' authority and power over evil spirits, while Mark may have emphasized the calling of the disciples as a priority. Additionally, it's possible that Jesus made multiple visits to Capernaum, and the events described in Luke and Mark may have occurred during different visits.

Ultimately, the different order of events in the Gospels does not detract from the central message of Jesus' life, teachings, and ministry. Instead, it offers us a more nuanced and multifaceted understanding of his life and work.


These are different events, and both chronologically fit ok without the need to preference Mark over Luke or Luke over Mark. Luke, however, states that he puts his gospel in order: something to weigh up. When you also factor in John's gospel you will find that Jesus had three calls to the disciples. Two of these events take place prior to the healing of the man with the impure spirit. John's comes first at Bethany beyond the Jordan where Jesus meets Andrew, Peter, Philip and probably John although John doesn't name himself. Then Jesus calls the four while they are working as outlined in Mark and Matthew. They follow but they are still working for a living. Then in Luke we find Jesus brings in the miracle catch of fish (after the healing) to demonstrate that they can leave all and follow as He is their provider. The Lord draws us progressively into deeper commitment and I think it is fantastic that the Lord shows us this in the gospels.

  • The Lord draws us progressively into deeper commitment and I think it is fantastic that the Lord shows us this in the gospels. What has this got to do with the Question? Jun 2, 2021 at 14:27

Well this is a good one because in John we see after he’s baptized that Andrew went to tell Simon we found the messiah but in mark we see he meets peter and Andrew on a boat in Galilee and says be my followers I’ll make you fishers of men 2 totally different stories good question


Greetings fellow truth seekers, Grace and peace is with all who reverence His King.

Did Jesus call one before or after the Wedding or when at Capernaum? We know most disciples at the outset were from different regions of Israel, yet seemed clustered in Capernaum. There is a reason for this. God always has a idea and strategy.

  1. Galilee was a trade route hub. So the people there had alot of experience with different cultures from merchants.
  2. The culture was different than that of Jerusalem, less cerimonial strict, more relationshional thru communication vs the family bloodline.
  3. The Roman government was the perfect example of God's Kingdom structure of authority, ranks of regional governors and ambassadors...including the senate(ecclesia).
  4. Jesus uses the Galilee culture wedding as example of the Kingdom of Heaven and how the Son will develop relations, find his bride, and make a covenant, redeem land, build a house (kingdom), and come back for her...when the Father is ready to let the Son come again to get His Bride.
  5. St Paul writes "In the fullness of time God sent His Son. The reference here is eon or window of time. God waited for a culture to perfectly develop a system resembling His Kingdom of Heaven so the people can easily "get the message". Csear actually is not a name, but a title...as Christ or Messiah is not a name, but a title...Many writing comments of Paul refer to God's Kingdom and authorities, powers, etc. And the ecclesia Jesus established as Moses established a shadow priesthood, king, governmental order, military, civil court (judges). Yet not perfect...it was not the fullness of time.

May we ask ourselves..of the strategy of Jesus in those He chosen as Hebrew Galiellian...as the question.

Jesus is specific to assemble the first disciples to build HIS CHURCH (ecclesia). This is not a Hebrew word, but a Roman/Greek new term.

Jesus was specific to say, MY CHURCH as Rome had its church, not religion, but government.

The purpose of the ecclesia (senate) as they are appointed by the caesar or king, called out from society for their talents, excellence of soul, and attitudes are deemed useful in service to the king. These are called out of their former society life into a focused, new life of service only to speak and represent their king. These called out specialists were required to attend private meetings to get the Mind of The King, to create and introduce His policies according to Kings vision. The end game is to colonize, and reproduce the culture of the Kingdom. In Christ case, the Kingdom of Heaven in others. Just as Rome sent ambassadors and governors in new territories and colonize, the mission of the church is to expand God's Domain through the earth.

May we do it swiftly...(BEFORE HE BURNS IT UP for the iniquities of FALSE PROPHETS AND SCOFFERS who REJECT THE KING AGAIN, who are demonic in nature. God will destroy their kosmos a 3rd time by Fire and the sword of Fire out of His mouth...and the slain of the Lord shall be many.) and recreate a new kosmos on earth permanently set in RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Thus Jesus chose men from Galilee who were businessmen or working for Rome...diligent workers with grit. These were leaders, team players so to say...with grit. Even Thomas and Judas had grit! At what point Jesus called them, is not eternally vital, as he was gathering followers all along, the original ecclesia were the first senate of Christ Jesus, to colonize the earth and replicate the Kingdom of Heaven and its culture.

May we wash our robes, while we are granted repentance. The Creator and Messiah wish no one to be on the other side of the King's Wrath on that day!

Be strong in the Lord...and the word of His testimony.



If Mark and Luke were independent of each other, this would be a puzzling contradiction that we would need to resolve if we ever wanted to know in what order events really occurred. However, it is now the strong consensus of scholars that Luke was based on Mark's Gospel, with further sayings material taken from the hypothetical 'Q' document. Some of the reasons for this conclusion are found here, although there are some more technical reasons that scholars use and which are not listed in those answers. Adam Winn (The Purpose of Mark's Gospel, page 1) says the theory of Markan priority is one of the few that has reached a high level of consensus among New Testament interpreters.

The (anonymous) author of Luke's Gospel states that his community received the gospel from others, the earliest of whom he assumes were eyewitnesses, confirming the above conclusion:

Luke 1:1-2: Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;

From this, we can establish that Luke 4:44-5:11 was copied from Mark 1:16-21. Modern historians expect events to be recorded exactly as they happened, but this was not always the case in ancient times. As far as we can know, the sequence of events should be as established in Mark's Gospel.

  • Dick, in one Answer you have introduced not only one, but even two "hypotheses": 1) Makan Prioriy and 2) inaccurate treatment by Luke of his sources (for you including Mark), in spite of his firm commitment (Luke 1:1-4). Jun 2, 2021 at 14:25

Luke 5:1-11 describes the disciples who were to become Apostles (Luke 6:12-16), but the passage does not say that those disciples were actually called at that instance. Matthew (4:18-22) and Mark (1:16-20) describe the event when the first Apostles were called. Luke does not.

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