New Testament Commentary – Luke

March 18

 

The Gospel of Luke

 

Luke was the only Gentile author of any part of the New Testament.  He was the “beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14), a close friend and companion of the Apostle Paul (Acts 16:10-24; Philemon 24)…and a coworker of Mark.  We don’t know anything about his younger life or conversion…but we do know that he was not an eyewitness of the life of Jesus (1:2).  Luke wrote both this Gospel and the book of Acts.  He accompanied Paul on his missionary journeys and was with him at the time of his martyrdom (2 Timothy 4:11).  We have no details on his later life.

Luke tells us that he was motivated to write this Gospel by the writings of others…so that they might know the “exact truth about things” (1:4).  He carefully consulted with others for the information (1:2), and wrote in chronological order (1:3)…under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (1:4) so that he could adequately instruct others (1:4), in particular, Theophilus (his name means: “dear to God”, or “friend of God”…he is unknown, but the form of the address to him suggests that he was a person of high rank).  Luke was with Paul when he was imprisoned for two years (A.D. 58-60) in Caesarea…that was not far from Jerusalem.  It is possible that during this time he may have met with Mary (Jesus’ mother), if she was still alive and living with John.  He might also have met with James, the half-brother of Jesus and the pastor of the church in Jerusalem.  Both of them would have been able to provide wonderful insight into the life and ministry of Jesus.

The Gospel of Luke was probably written around 60 A.D., possibly in Caesarea during Paul’s two-year imprisonment there (Acts 24:27).

There are several distinctives of Luke’s Gospel:

1-it is written with Gentiles in mind;

2-it includes many medical matters (4:38; 7:15; 8:55; 14:2; 18:15; 22:50);

3-it gives much attention to the birth of Christ;

4-there is an emphasis on prayer (3:21; 5:16; 6:12; 9:18,28-29; 10:21; 11:1; 22:39-46; 23:34,46);

5-women are given a prominent place (1; 2; 7:11-13; 8:1-3; 10:38-42; 21:1-4; 23:27-31,49);

6-its theme is “Christ, the Son of Man”, giving emphasis to the humanity of Christ, His compassion for mankind and His provision of salvation to the whole world (19:10).

 

The special emphasis of Luke is the Humanity of Jesus. Representing Jesus as the Son of God, Luke features His Kindness toward the Weak, the Suffering and the Outcast.

While each of the Gospels was intended ultimately for All Man-kind, Matthew seems to have had in immediate view the Jews; Mark, the Romans; and Luke, the Greeks.

Jewish civilization had been built around their Scriptures. Therefore Matthew appeals to their Scriptures.

Roman civilization gloried in the idea of Government, Power. Therefore Mark calls particular attention to the Miracles of Jesus as exhibiting His Superhuman Power.

Greek civilization represented Culture, Philosophy, Wisdom, Rea-son, Beauty, Education. Therefore, to appeal to the Thoughtful, Cultured, Philosophic Greek Mind, Luke, in a complete, orderly, and classical story, which has been called the “Most Beautiful Book Ever Written,” depicts the Glorious Beauty and Perfection of Jesus, the Ideal, Universal Man.

Then, to these three Gospels, John added his, to make it clear and unmistakable that Jesus was GOD in Human Form.

(Halley’s Bible Handbook, Henry H. Halley, p. 485)

 

Outline:

The Method of Writing Concerning the Son of Man   Luke 1:1-4

The Arrival of the Son of Man                                         Luke 1:5-2:38         

      Luke 1:5-25              The Announcement of the Birth of John the Baptist

      Luke 1:26-56           The Announcement of the Birth of the Son of Man

      Luke 1:57-80           The Birth of John the Baptist

      Luke 2:1-38              The Birth of the Son of Man

The Early Development of the Son of Man                  Luke 2:39-52

      Luke 2:39-40           Growing Up in Nazareth

      Luke 2:41-52           Journey to Jerusalem

The Ministry Preparation of the Son of Man                Luke 3:1-4:13         

      Luke 3:1-22              Preparation through Baptism

      Luke 3:23-38           Preparation through Certification

      Luke 4:1-13              Preparation through Temptation

      Luke 4:14-30           Preparation through Identification

The Initial Reception of the Son of Man                        Luke 4:31-9:50       

      Luke 4:31-37           He Casts a Demon out of a Man

      Luke 4:38-41           He Heals Many Diseases

      Luke 4:42-44           He Identifies Kingdom Preaching as His Focus

      Luke 5:1-11              He Calls His Disciples

      Luke 5:12-16           He Heals a Leper

      Luke 5:17-26           He Forgives a Paralyzed Man of Sin

      Luke 5:27-39           He Receives Sinners

      Luke 6:1-11              He Explains Sabbath Law

      Luke 6:12-49           He Calls and Instructs His Disciples

      Luke 7:1-10              He Heals from a Distance

      Luke 7:11-17           He Raises a Dead Man to Life

      Luke 7:18-35           He Encourages John the Baptist

      Luke 7:36-50           He Forgives a Sinful Woman

      Luke 8:1-3                He Develops His Followers

      Luke 8:4-18              He Teaches Kingdom Growth through a Parable

      Luke 8:19-21           He Identifies Kingdom Members through His Family

      Luke 8:22-25           He Calms a Storm on the Sea

      Luke 8:26-39           He Casts Many Demons out of a Man

      Luke 8:40-56           He Raises a Dead Girl to Life

      Luke 8:40-56           He Heals a Woman from Long-term Sickness

      Luke 9:1-9                He Sends the 12 Apostles into the Villages

      Luke 9:10-17           He Performs a Miracle to Feed the Multitude

      Luke 9:18-20           He is Identified as the Messiah by Peter

      Luke 9:21-22           He Identifies the Way that He Must Die

      Luke 9:23-27           He Identifies the Way that the Disciples Must Live

      Luke 9:28-36           He is Identified as the Chosen One by God

      Luke 9:37-42           He Casts a Demon out of a Boy and Gains Popularity

      Luke 9:43-45           He Speaks about the Danger of Popularity

      Luke 9:46-48           His Warns the Disciples against Seeking Popularity

      Luke 9:49-50           He Accepts Others Ministering in His Name

The Growing Resistance Against the Son of Man     Luke 9:51-11:54    

      Luke 9:51-56           Resistance from the Samaritans

      Luke 9:57-62           Resistance from the Non-committed

            Luke 10:1-24-The Ministry of the 70

      Luke 10:25-37         Resistance from a Lawyer

            Luke 10:38-42-The Identification of Priorities

            Luke 11:1-13-Teaching on Prayer

      Luke 11:14-36         Resistance from Some of the Multitudes

      Luke 11:37-54         Resistance from the Pharisees and Lawyers

The Teaching for Kingdom Members by the Son of Man     Luke 12:1-19:27

      Luke 12:1-12           The Confession They Make

      Luke 12:13-34         The Treasures They Value

      Luke 12:35-48         The Faithfulness They Practice

      Luke 12:49-59         The Divisions They Cause

      Luke 13:1-9              The Necessity of Repentance

      Luke 13:10-17         The Observance of the Sabbath

      Luke 13:18-21         The Expansive Growth of the Kingdom

      Luke 13:22-30         The Only Entrance to Join the Kingdom

      Luke 13:31-35         The Fate of Jerusalem

      Luke 14:1-6              The Observance of the Sabbath

      Luke 14:7-11           The Personal Practice of Humility

      Luke 14:12-14         The Respect for All People

      Luke 14:15-24         The Invitation to Join the Kingdom

      Luke 14:25-35         The Requirements to Join the Kingdom

      Luke 15:1-32           The Love of God for All People

      Luke 16:1-31           The Practice of Wealthy Living

      Luke 17:1-6              The Practice of Forgiveness

      Luke 17:7-10           The Attitude for Service

      Luke 17:11-19         The Attitude of Gratitude

      Luke 17:20-21         The Current Presence of the Kingdom

      Luke 17:22-37         The Coming Presence of the Kingdom

      Luke 18:1-8              The Confident Practice of Prayer

      Luke 18:9-14           The Public Practice of Humility

      Luke 18:15-17         The Necessary Attitude to Join the Kingdom

      Luke 18:18-25         The Required Priority to Join the Kingdom

      Luke 18:26-30         The Promised Reward of the Kingdom

      Luke 18:31-34         The Fulfillment of Kingdom Prophecies

      Luke 18:35-43         The Determination of a Blind Man

      Luke 19:1-10           The Salvation of a Rich Man

      Luke 19:11-27         The Reward to Faithful Members

The Final Condemnation of the Son of Man                 Luke 19:28-23:56  

      Luke 19:28-44         Sunday: Entrance into Jerusalem

      Luke 19:45-48         Monday: Cleansing of the Temple

      Luke 20:1-18           Tuesday: Questions Concerning Authority (Temple)

      Luke 20:19-26         Tuesday: Questions Concerning Taxes

      Luke 20:27-40         Tuesday: Questions Concerning Resurrection

      Luke 20:41-44         Tuesday: Teaching Concerning Authority

      Luke 20:45-47         Tuesday: Warning Concerning Pharisees

      Luke 21:1-4              Tuesday: Teaching Concerning Giving

      Luke 21:5-38           Tuesday: Teaching Concerning the Future

      Luke 22:1-6              Wednesday: Betrayal by Judas

      Luke 22:7-38           Thursday: Institution of the Lord’s Supper

      Luke 22:39-46         Thursday: Prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane

      Luke 22:47-53         Thursday: Arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane

      Luke 22:54-62         Friday: Peter’s Denial at the Home of the High Priest

      Luke 22:63-65         Friday: Jesus Beaten by the Guards

      Luke 22:66-71         Friday: Jesus Tried by the Sanhedrin

      Luke 23:1-5              Friday: Jesus Tried by Pilate, #1

      Luke 23:6-12           Friday: Jesus Tried by Herod

      Luke 23:13-25         Friday: Jesus Tried by Pilate, #2

      Luke 23:26-49         Friday: Jesus Crucified on Golgotha

      Luke 23:50-55         Friday: Jesus Buried in the Tomb (day #1)

      Luke 23:56               Saturday: Jesus in the Tomb on the Sabbath (day #2)

The Ultimate Victory of the Son of Man                        Luke 24:1-53          

      Luke 24:1-12           Sunday: Women Find the Tomb Empty (day #3)

      Luke 24:13-35         Sunday: Jesus Appears to Disciples (Emmaus Road)

      Luke 24:36-43         Sunday: Jesus Appears to Disciples (Jerusalem)

      Luke 24:44-49         Sunday: Jesus Teaches His Fulfillment of Prophecy

      Luke 24:50-53         Sunday: Jesus Ascends into Heaven

 

Luke 1:1-23

 

The Method of Writing Concerning the Son of Man   Luke 1:1-4

Luke 1:1-4-Here we find Luke’s greeting to Theophilus…his explanation for why he wrote and how he went about it.  Luke wants to write a detailed account of what transpired during the earthly ministry of the life of Jesus so that those who read it can have confidence in its accuracy and authenticity.

 

New Testament Political Rulers

 

ROMAN EMPERORS RULERS OF PALESTINE
  Herod the Great [37BC – 4/1(?)BC]
  Judea Galilee & Perea Other Provinces
Augustus Ceasar

[29 BC – AD 14]

Archelaus

(Herod’s Son)

[4/1(?) BC – AD 6]

Herod Antipas (Herod’s Son)

[4/1(?) BC – AD 39]

Herod Philip

(Herod’s Son)

[4/1(?) BC – AD 34]

Coponius (Roman)

[AD 6 – 8]

Ambivius (Roman)

[AD 9 – 12]

Annius Rufus (Roman)

[AD 12 – 15]

Tiberius Ceasar

[14 BC – AD 37]

Valerius Gratus (Roman)

[AD 15 – 26]

Pontius Pilot (Roman)

[AD 26 – 36]

Caligula

[AD 37 – 41]

Marcellus (Roman)

[AD 37]

 
Cluadius

[AD 41 – 54]

Herrod Agrippa I

(Herod’s Grandson)

[AD 37 – 44]

Cuspius Fadus

(Roman)

[AD 44 – 46]

   
  Tiberius Alexander

(Roman)

[AD 46 – 48]

Herrod Agrippa II

(Herod’s Great-Grandson)

Began to rule in AD 34 in other provinces and in AD 39 in the Galilee and Perea

Ventidius Cumanus (Roman)

[AD 48 – 52]

Nero

[AD 54 – 68]

M. Antonius Felix

(Roman)

[AD 52 – 60]

Porcius Festus (Roman)

[AD 60 – 62]

Clodius Albinus (Roman)

[AD 62 – 64]

Gessius Florus (Roman)

[AD 64 -66]

   

JEWISH REVOLT [AD 66-73]

 

Galbo, Otho & Vitellius

[AD 68 – 69]

Jerusalem and the Temple destroyed AD 70. Masada, last stronghold of the Jews, falls in AD 73. Jewish survivors sold into slavery. Judea becomes the Roman province of Syria-Palestine. Vespasian and Titus build the Coliseum in Rome with the treasure looted from Judea.
Vespasian

[AD 69-79]

Titus

[AD 79 – 81]

http://www.agapebiblestudy.com/charts/New%20Testament%20Political%20Rulers.htm

 

The Arrival of the Son of Man                                         Luke 1:5-2:38         

Luke 1:5-25                    The Announcement of the Birth of John the Baptist

 

Luke 1:5-This is Herod the Great.  Zacharias was a priest (cf. Lev. 8 for information about the priesthood) who served in the “division of Abijah”.  All of the priests were divided into groups that had specific responsibilities of service in the Temple.  Their division was named after the priest who was in charge of that division.  Zacharias was married to Elizabeth, who was also a member of a family that was of the priestly lineage of Aaron.

Luke 1:6-7-Zacharias and Elizabeth were “righteous in the sight of God”.  They were an older couple (:18) who had no children.

Luke 1:8-10-Zacharias was chosen to burn the incense in the Temple.  This was a great privilege and a priest was only allowed to do so one time during his life (Ryrie).

Luke 1:11-17-An angel appears to Zacharias while he is burning the incense.  Evidently, Zacharias had been praying for his wife to have a child because the angel said, “your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son.”  They are told to name him John.  John will bring them great joy…because “he will be great in the sight of the Lord”.  He will not drink wine or strong drink…which signified that he would be a Nazarite…a person who takes a vow of commitment and dedication to serve the Lord.

 

Nazarite

(cf. Num. 6:3; for additional information on Nazarites also see: http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/smiths-bible-dictionary/nazarite.html; http://www.gotquestions.org/Nazirite-vow.html).

 

God was going to use John to prepare the hearts of the people for the coming of Jesus.  He would minister in the “spirit and power of Elijah” (cf. Matt. 11:13-14; 17:10-13; Mk. 9:11-14)…meaning that his ministry would bear the same characteristics as those of Elijah (a message of repentance).

Luke 1:18-20-Zacharias can hardly believe what is happening.  He tells the angel that he and his wife are old, past the age of childbearing.  How will he know for sure that what the angel has said will come true?  He is probably thinking that when he leaves the Temple people are going to question him concerning why he took so long to burn the incense.  He wants to tell them that an angel appeared to him and told him that he and Elizabeth were going to have a child. But he didn’t want to appear foolish to them.  What if he told them that, but then it didn’t come true?  How could he know for sure?  The angel told him that because he did not believe what he had been told he would be given a sign….which would be that he would not be able to speak until the date the child was born. This is not so much a rebuke for unbelief as it was a sign to give him confidence.  The angel identifies himself as Gabriel (Gabriel means “man of God”, cf. Dan. 8:16; 9:21)

 

For additional information about angels see:

http://www.gotquestions.org/names-of-angels.html

 

Zacharias would recognize this name from the Old Testament and realize that this was one of God’s angels that had been used in the past to deliver messages concerning God’s plans.

Luke 1:21-23-When Zacharias came out of the Temple the people were anxious because he had been in there so long.  They tried to question him, but he could not speak.  After his time of service at the Temple was completed, he and Elizabeth returned to their home in the hill country of Judah (:39).

Prayer: Lord, please help me to be righteous in Your sight.  Of all things that might be said about a person…this is perhaps the best…because righteousness is in keeping with Your own character, and it seems to include all the attributes of a life that is pleasing to You.

 

March 19

 

Luke 1:24-56

 

The Arrival of the Son of Man, cont’d.                           Luke 1:5-2:38         

Luke 1:26-56                 The Announcement of the Birth of the Son of Man

Luke 1:24-25-Just as Gabriel had said, Elizabeth became pregnant.

Luke 1:26-27-When Elizabeth is 6 months pregnant, the angel Gabriel appears to Mary (a virgin, in Nazareth, descendant of David)…who was engaged to a man named Joseph.

 

For an explanation of the Jewish practice of marriage engagement/betrothal see:

http://www.swordofthespirit.net/bulwark/september2012p10.htm;

http://www.bible-history.com/links.php?cat=39&sub=400&cat_name=Manners+%26+Customs&subcat_name=Marriage+Customs

 

Luke 1:28-33-Gabriel tells her that she will have a son and is to name Him Jesus…He will be called, “the son of the Most High…God will give Him the throne of David…His kingdom will have no end.”

Luke 1:34-Mary asks how this will be possible since she is a virgin.

Luke 1:35-Gabriel tells her that her pregnancy will not be the result of her having had a sexual relationship with a man…but, it will be the work of the Holy Spirit.  The word “overshadow” means: to throw a shadow upon, to envelop in a shadow, to overshadow.  There is no detailed explanation of how God did this…but simply that “The Holy Spirit…the Most High”, Himself came upon Mary and made her pregnant.  That is why the child will be called “the Son of God”.

Luke 1:36-38-Gabriel then tells Mary about Elizabeth.

Luke 1:39-45-Very quickly, Mary goes to visit with Elizabeth in a city in Judah.  When Elizabeth heard Mary’s voice “the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit”…she calls Mary “the mother of my Lord” (:43).

Luke 1:46-55-Mary’s response is often referred to as “the Magnificat”…from the first word of its translation in Latin.  Mary stayed with Elizabeth until just before she gave birth to John.

Prayer: Lord, Mary’s response to what has happened to her is one of humility.  She does not respond with pride, or any hint that she thought that she was deserving, or worthy of such a thing.  She gives all the glory and praise to You…for Your choice and Your work.  Help me Lord…to always direct praise and honor and glory to You.  If not for Your grace and Your work in me…I could never accomplish anything.  So, help me to constantly direct people to You.

 

March 20

 

Luke 1:57-80

 

The Arrival of the Son of Man, cont’d.                           Luke 1:5-2:38         

Luke 1:57-80                 The Birth of John the Baptist

Luke 1:57-58-Elizabeth gives birth to John.

Luke 1:59-They brought John to be circumcised.

 

For information on the Jewish practice of circumcision see:

http://www.bible-history.com/links.php?cat=39&sub=750&cat_name=Manners+%26+Customs&subcat_name=Circumcision

 

Luke 1:60-80-Zacharias, filled with the Holy Spirit, pronounces a blessing on John (his name means: God is gracious)…predicting the type of prophetic ministry he would have and that He would proceed the coming of the Messiah (:76-79).

Prayer: Lord, both Elizabeth (:41) and Zacharias (:67) were filled with Your Holy Spirit and were responsive to You.  Please help me to be so.  Let Your Holy Spirit fill me, completely.  I give myself to You.  Please use me for Your Kingdom and to bring glory to Your name!

 

March 21

 

Luke 2:1-24

 

The Arrival of the Son of Man, cont’d.                           Luke 1:5-2:38         

Luke 2:1-38                    The Birth of the Son of Man

Luke 2:1-7-Caesar Augustus calls for a census to be taken.  Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem (the house of David), where Mary gave birth to Jesus.

 

For more information about the circumstances surrounding the birth of Christ see:

http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/IVP-NT/Luke/Birth-Jesus

http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/the-truth-of-the-nativity-and-birth-of-jesus-christ-11596840.html

 

For information concerning how Jesus fulfilled prophecy see:

http://sciencespeaks.dstoner.net/Christ_of_Prophecy.html

http://www.goodnewsdispatch.org/math.html

http://www.raptureready.com/featured/funk/statistics-probability.html

http://christiananswers.net/q-aiia/jesus-odds.html

 

Luke 2:8-18-An angel announces to the shepherds that the “Christ” (Messiah) had been born.  They also call Him “Savior”, and “Lord” (:11).  A multitude of angels appeared and began to praise God.  The shepherds go to Bethlehem, find Mary and Joseph and tell them what the angels had said.

Luke 2:19-Mary “treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart”.

Luke 2:21-24-Mary and Joseph take Jesus to Jerusalem to present Him as the first born to the LORD.  (Ryrie)-“According to the Mosaic law the mother of a male child was unclean.  On the eighth day after his birth the boy was to be circumcised…but the mother remained unclean for 33 more days, after which she presented a burnt offering and a sin offering for her cleansing (Lev. 12:4-6).”

Prayer: Lord, please help me to be responsive to You…as the shepherds were.  I don’t have choirs of angels singing…but I have the testimony of Your Word, and surely that is more than enough.  Please help me, whether coming into Your presence, or leaving, to continue to give You praise…just like the shepherds did (:20).

 

March 22

 

Luke 2:25-52

 

The Early Development of the Son of Man                  Luke 2:39-52

Luke 2:39-40                 Growing Up in Nazareth

Luke 2:25-35-Simeon lived in Jerusalem.  He was “righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel“.  “Consolation of Israel” speaks of the coming of the promised Messiah.

 

Consolation

“…consolation, comfort, solace; that which affords comfort or refreshment…thus of the Messianic salvation (so the Rabbis call the Messiah the consoler, the comforter).”

http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3874&t=NASB

 

“…and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ”…before the Messiah would come…and “he came in the Spirit” to the Temple.  Simeon declares that Jesus is the “salvation” that God has sent…and that He had not just been sent for the Jews alone, but also for the Gentiles.

Luke 2:36-38-Anna, an older woman whose husband had died…was a prophetess.  She served continuously…”she never left the Temple”…through fasting and prayer.  When she saw Jesus she came up and began to thank God and to tell everyone who was “looking for the redemption of Jerusalem” (the coming of the Messiah) about Jesus.

Luke 2:39-After the presentation of Jesus at the Temple, they returned to Nazareth.

 

Luke 2:41-52                 Journey to Jerusalem

Years have passed, and Jesus is now 12 years old.  Every year they would go to the Feast of the Passover in Jerusalem.  “At 13 a Jewish boy became a ‘son of the commandment’ and a full member of the religious community.  This age was often anticipated by one or two years in the matter of going to the Temple.” (Ryrie)  Two statements about the growth of Jesus are made (:40,52).  When Joseph and Mary left to return to Nazareth…they were unaware that He had stayed behind.  They were traveling with a group that included family and friends…so, initially they were not concerned that He was not with them…thinking that He was with the others.  Later in the day they began to worry when they could not find Him…so they returned to Jerusalem.  They searched for three days before they found Him.  He was in the Temple carrying on a dialogue with the teachers.  All who heard Him were “amazed at His understanding and answers.”  Mary was upset and asked why Jesus would cause them such anxiety.  His answer was that had they thought about it more clearly they would have known exactly where He had been all along, “in My Father’s house”.  Mary and Joseph did not fully understand what He meant by that statement.

 

For your information: In these notes, I have generally tried to place quotes from Scripture in italics so that they will be easily recognizable.  However, as you are aware, the words are not italicized in most translations of the English Bible.  In fact, when you see a word in the English Bible that is in italics…it means that that word is not actually in the original Greek text (or the Hebrew text in the Old Testament)…but that the context of the sentence implies its presence and its meaning.  So, the translators put the word in the English translation, but they put it in italics so that you will know that they have added the word.  In this passage of Scripture the word “house” is not in the Greek text, but it is implied.  So the translators have supplied the word for us in our English translation, but have put it in italics so that we would know that they had done so.

 

Luke 2:51-52-Jesus is 12-years-old.  We know nothing of the intervening years of His life until He appears on the scene again, 18 years later.

 

There are numerous non-Biblical books that purport to contain accounts of the life of Jesus (and of the Apostles and early church).  These books are not inspired by God and therefore their teachings are both spurious and untrustworthy.  The Infancy Gospel of Thomas, is one such book and claims to detail part of the childhood of Jesus.  In it, Jesus shapes lumps of clay to look like sparrows and then brings them to life; curses a boy and makes him wither up simply because he splashed the water that He was playing in; and performed other such fabricated stories.

 

“The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is a pseudepigraphical gospel about the childhood of Jesus that is believed to date to the 2nd century. It was part of a popular genre of biblical work, written to satisfy a hunger among early Christians for more miraculous and anecdotal stories of the childhood of Jesus than the Gospel of Luke provided. Later references by Hippolytus of Rome and Origen of Alexandria to a Gospel of Thomas are more likely to be referring to this Infancy Gospel than to the wholly different Gospel of Thomas with which it is sometimes confused. It would appear to be unrelated to the Canonical Gospels.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infancy_Gospel_of_Thomas

 

Explanation of the “Pseudepigrapha” and the “Apocrypha”…

 

Pseudepigrapha (also Anglicized as “pseudepigraph” or “pseudepigraphs”) are falsely attributed works, texts whose claimed author is represented by a separate author, or a work “whose real author attributed it to a figure of the past.”[1] The word “pseudepigrapha” (from the Greek: ψευδής, pseude, “false” and ἐπιγραφή, epigraphē, “name” or “inscription” or “ascription”; thus when taken together it means “false superscription or title”;[2] see the related epigraphy) is the plural of “pseudepigraphon” (sometimes Latinized as “pseudepigraphum”).

Pseudepigraphy covers the false ascription of names of authors to works, even to authentic works that make no such claim within their text. Thus a widely accepted but an incorrect attribution of authorship may make a completely authentic text pseudepigraphical. Assessing the actual writer of a text locates questions of pseudepigraphical attribution within the discipline of literary criticism.

In Old Testament biblical studies, the term Pseudepigrapha typically refers to an assorted collection of Jewish religious works thought to be written c 300 BC to 300 AD, not all of which are literally pseudepigraphical.[3] They are distinguished by Protestants from the Deuterocanonical (Catholic and Orthodox) or Apocrypha (Protestant), the books that appear in the Septuagint and Vulgate but not in the Hebrew Bible or in Protestant Bibles.[3] Catholics distinguish only between the deuterocanonical and all the other books, that are called biblical Apocrypha, a name that is also used for the pseudepigrapha in the Catholic usage. In addition, two books considered canonical in the Tewahedo churches, viz. 1 Enoch and Jubilees, are categorized as “pseudepigrapha” from the point of view of the Chalcedonian churches.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudepigrapha

 

Apocrypha are statements or claims that are of dubious authenticity. The word’s origin is the medieval Latin adjective apocryphus, “secret, or non-canonical”, from the Greek adjective ἀπόκρυφος (apocryphos), “obscure”, from verb ἀποκρύπτειν (apocryptein), “to hide away”.[1]

It is commonly applied in Christian religious contexts involving certain disagreements about biblical canonicity. The pre-Christian-era Jewish translation (into Greek) of holy scriptures known as the Septuagint included the writings in dispute. However, the Jewish canon was not finalized until at least 100–200 years into the A.D., at which time considerations of Greek language and beginnings of Christian acceptance of the Septuagint weighed against some of the texts. Some were not accepted by the Jews as part of the Hebrew Bible canon. Over several centuries of consideration, the books of the Septuagint were finally accepted into the Christian Old Testament, by A.D. 405 in the west, and by the end of the fifth century in the east. The Christian canon thus established was retained for over 1,000 years, even after the 11th-century schism that separated the church into the branches known as the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.

Those canons were not challenged until the Protestant Reformation (16th century), when both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches reaffirmed them. The reformers rejected the parts of the canon that were not part of the Hebrew Bible and established a revised Protestant canon.[2] Thus, concerning the Old Testament books, what is thought of as the “Protestant canon” is actually the final Hebrew canon. The differences can be found by looking here or by comparing the contents of the “Protestant” and Catholic Bibles, and they represent the narrowest Christian application of the term Apocrypha.

Among some Protestants, apocryphal began to take on extra or altered connotations: not just of dubious authenticity, but having spurious or false content, not just obscure but having hidden or suspect motives. Protestants were (and are) not unanimous in adopting those meanings. The Church of England agreed, and that view continues today throughout the Lutheran Church, the worldwide Anglican Communion, and many other denominations. Whichever implied meaning is intended, Apocrypha was (and is) used primarily by Protestants, in reference to the books of questioned canonicity. Catholics and Orthodox sometimes avoid using the term in contexts where it might be considered disputatious or be misconstrued as yielding on the point of canonicity. Very few Protestant published Bibles include the apocryphal books in a separate section (rather like an appendix), so as not to intermingle them with their canonical books.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocrypha

 

The Apocrypha denotes a set of books not considered authoritative, or divinely inspired, in Judaism and Protestant Christian churches, and therefore, not accepted into the canon of Scripture. A large portion of the Apocrypha, however, was officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church* as part of the biblical canon at the Council of Trent in A.D. 1546. Today, Coptic, Greek and Russian Orthodox churches also accept these books as divinely inspired by God.

The word apocrypha means “hidden.” These books were written primarily in the time period between the Old and New Testaments (B.C. 420-27).

Books of the Apocrypha

1 and 2 Esdras

Tobit*

Judith*

Wisdom of Solomon*

Sirach* (also called Ecclesiasticus)

Baruch*

Letter of Jeremiah

Song of the Three Young Men

Susanna

Bel and the Dragon

Prayer of Manasseh

1 and 2 Maccabees*

Additions to the book of Esther*

Additions to the book of Daniel*

http://christianity.about.com/od/glossary/qt/Apocrypha.htm

 

Prayer: Lord, please help me to have the heart of Simeon and Anna…and, to look for Your will to be accomplished in our lives even as they did.  And Father, give me the discernment of the Holy Spirit so that I might know the truth and not fall for the deceptions of the world.  Help me to be able to understand what You have said in Your Word, the Bible…and to use it as my absolute and final standard.

 

March 23

 

Luke 3

 

The Ministry Preparation of the Son of Man                Luke 3:1-4:30         

Luke 3:1-22                    Preparation through Baptism

Luke 3:1-2-It is now the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar (he reigned from 14-37 A.D., making it 29 A.D.).  Pontius Pilate (cf. March 18, Luke 1:1-23) is the governor of Judea.  Philip was “tetrarch”…which means “ruler of one quarter of a given territory” (Ryrie).    Annas and Caiaphas were high priests.  This is the political and religious setting into which John the Baptist arrived.

Luke 3:2-6-“the word of God came to John”.  John begins to preach around the area of the Jordan River.  His message is a call for repentance, a turning away from sin…so that their sins might be forgiven.  This forgiveness is based upon that which the prophet Isaiah had proclaimed.

Luke 3:7-14-John warns against the thought that one would go to Heaven simply because they were born of Jewish heritage.  It is not the root of the tree that is evidence of a relationship with God…but the fruit of the tree that is such evidence.  When questioned by the crowd about what this fruit is, “What shall we do?”, John identifies specific ways that people treat each other.  The evidence, the fruit, of our relationship with God is not based on who we are related to (our ancestors), but how we relate (our neighbors).

Luke 3:15-18-The people are beginning to wonder if John is the Messiah…but He quickly corrects this misunderstanding.  He says that he is the one who prepares the way for the coming of the Messiah.

Luke 3:19-20-John would be imprisoned by Herod because he publicly denounced his immoral relationship with his brother’s wife.

Luke 3:21-22-John baptizes Jesus and the Holy Spirit descends upon Him in the form of a dove.  God the Father confirmed Who Jesus was by speaking audibly…His voice was heard by those present.  Here we see the Trinity…Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

 

Luke 3:23-38                 Preparation through Certification

Luke 3:23-Jesus began His ministry at the age of 30.

Luke 3:23-38-(Ryrie) “Joseph was Jacob’s son by birth (Matt. 1:16) and Eli’s son by marriage.  This is apparently the genealogy of Jesus through His mother, Mary.”

 

For insight into the genealogy of Jesus see:

http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/issues/v05-n06/genealogy

http://christianity.about.com/od/biblefactsandlists/a/jesusgenealogy.htm

http://carm.org/bible-difficulties/matthew-mark/why-are-there-different-genealogies-jesus-matthew-1-and-luke-3

 

Prayer: Father, please help me to stand firm and to live faithfully…despite what the outcome may be.  Help me to be like John…a man who unreservedly preaches Your word.

 

March 24

 

Luke 4:1-32

 

The Ministry Preparation of the Son of Man, cont’d.       Luke 3:1-4:30   

Luke 4:1-13                    Preparation through Temptation

Luke 4:1-The traditional site where this temptation took place is northwest of the Dead Sea, near Jericho.  Jesus was “led about by the Spirit in the wilderness”.  God was preparing His Son for ministry.

Luke 4:2-For 40 days He had nothing to eat and He became very hungry.

Luke 4:3-5-Temptation #1-the attempt to Divide the Unity of the Godhead

The focal point of the first temptation was the physical hunger of Jesus.  It was the temptation to allow His human needs to supersede the plan of God the Father.  For the satisfaction of His physical needs to become more important than His obedience to what the Father intended to do with and through Him.  Bread, satisfying His hunger was not to be the number one priority for Jesus.  While the food was the medium of the temptation…it wasn’t really the objective of the temptation.  Ultimately, the objective of this temptation was to entice Jesus to operate independently of the intention of God the Father.  And in so doing…to divide the Godhead.  To lead Jesus to elevate Himself above the Father…and in so doing, to divide the oneness of the Godhead.  The structure of the Greek wording in this sentence indicates that Satan knew that Jesus was the Son of God.  He wasn’t trying to prove or disprove that.  But Satan, a proud and arrogant being, tried to attack Jesus at the very point at which he, himself had been vulnerable, his ego.  It was the temptation of pride.  “If You are the Son of God…”  It’s as if Satan was saying, “Well, what does that mean, ‘Son of God,’ if You have to do what You are told?  What good is that?  You have no will of Your own.  You’re just a lackey…doing what Your Daddy tells you to do.”  Do you hear the arrogance, the contempt, the disdain, the attempt to incense the pride of Jesus?  The attempt to make Him break with the will of the Father, the Godhead.

 

For an understanding of the sin and fall of Satan see: Isaiah 14:12-15

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/aid/v3/n1/pride-first-sin

 

Satan assumed that because he had sinned when he was tempted in this manner, that Jesus would do the same.  Perhaps he thought that if he could somehow divide the Godhead, then he could at long last conquer the Godhead.  The response of Jesus made it clear that He knew what was being done and would not forsake His unity in person and purpose with the Godhead.  “Bread” (which represents the satisfaction of any human need or desire) is not the ultimate priority.  The harmony and agreement of the Godhead takes precedence over all else.

An understanding of the passage from the Old Testament that Jesus quotes in His answer is vital to a clear understanding of what is being taught here.  His quotation is a portion of Deuteronomy 8:1-20, specifically verse 3.  In that passage, the people are about to enter into the Promised Land.  We find Moses reminding the people that…

1.-it was God Who had led them into the wilderness;

2.-it had been a time of testing to prove their obedience to Him;

3.-God had intentionally allowed them to become hungry so that He would have the opportunity to become the source to meet their need;

4.-His intention was to use this physical trial to teach them a spiritual truth…”but man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.”;

5-God did this because He loves them even as a father loves his child;

6.-this incident should be a constant reminder in the future for them to never depend on themselves, but to always depend on Him.

Now, compare those six points to the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness and you will see how they parallel each other.  For 40 years the people of Israel had been in the wilderness…now, for 40 days Jesus has been in the wilderness.  The lesson to be learned in Deuteronomy was absolute dependence on God and complete obedience to His will.  The lesson to be learned in Luke was the same…dependence on God and obedience to His will…even by the Son of God.  And, if it be true for Him…how much more so for us.  When Jesus replied to Satan, He said, “It is written…”  These words immediately showed that He was submitting His will to the will of the Father as it was recorded in Holy Scripture.  If we are to be obedient to the will of God, we must know the Word of God.

How many times does Satan tempt us to decide on our own (without consulting with God) what is good or bad, right or wrong?  He knew that Jesus was weak physically…so that is where he attacked Him.  He does the same thing with us.  He identifies our weakness(es) and then begins to tempt us to satisfy that desire, or let that attitude continue, or harbor those bitter feelings.  That’s just the temptation…it’s not the sin.  The sin is when I follow through on the temptation.  We know and recognize that sin.  However, it is also sinful when I try to handle the matter on my own.  I don’t look to the Lord for His wisdom and strength.  “It’s okay God, I’ve got it covered.  I can handle this one on my own.”  And yet, there is an even more subtle sin.  It may not necessarily be something bad or evil that Satan tempts me with.  It could be something that is inherently good.  The problem is when I become so focused on it, so caught up and infatuated by it…that I begin to lose my focus on God.  It’s not a deliberate decision.  It just slowly begins to dominate my life.  I don’t even recognize it.  But after a while it begins to make my decisions for me.  As someone has said, “I make my decisions…then my decisions make me.”  It is then that I need to remember the model that Jesus has given me, how He overcame this temptation.  He knew, ”but man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.”  I need to repent, to agree with God that I have sinned by not trusting in Him, discover what He has said in His Word concerning the matter, and put it into practice.

Luke 4:5-8-Temptation #2-the attempt to Dictate the Sovereignty of the Godhead

The focal point of the second temptation was power and control.  The answer of Jesus tells us that even having control over the entire world is not as important as worshipping God, God alone, and only God.  We are not to give worship to anything other than God…no matter how appealing it may be, no matter what it might seem to accomplish.  Satan was tempting Jesus to accomplish God’s purpose for His life through an alternative means.  Instead of gaining sovereignty over the world by paying for its sins on the cross, Satan was offering Him sovereignty over the world for giving worship at his feet.  The problem though, is that while the world would then belong to Jesus…Jesus would belong to Satan.  In gaining the kingdoms of the world, He would have lost the kingdom of Heaven.

Notice that it says that Satan “showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.”  There are those who discredit this passage because they say that there is no point high enough in all of the world, much less in Israel, from which you can see all of the kingdoms across the entire globe (to say nothing of the problem that the curvature of the earth would present).  But they miss the point.  Satan did not just show Jesus the physical earth and the kingdoms that existed at that present moment in history…but, he showed Him all of the kingdoms that had already existed up till that point in history.  Notice the words, “in a moment of time”.  They suggest that in a flash, like a video in fast-forward, Satan somehow gave Jesus a panoramic view of all the kingdoms up to that point in history.  And, he laid claim to his possession of them…with the insinuation being that he will also possess all of the kingdoms of the world that would exist in the future.  They all belong to him and he has the authority to allow whomever he wishes to govern them.  However, while Jesus would govern the world…by virtue of His having given worship to Satan…Satan would then govern Jesus.

When Jesus responds to Satan this time, He quotes a portion of Deuteronomy 6:13.  This passage commands that worship is to be offered exclusively to the LORD God…and to none other.  It follows right on the heals of Moses having reemphasized the 10 Commandments to the people of Israel, the First Commandment being…”You shall have no other gods before Me” (Deuteronomy 5:7, NASV).  The word “before” means “other than”.  Then, in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Moses gives what would later become the great theological statement of faith for the Jewish people…it is called the Shema (means: hear)…”4. Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”  Jesus is making it clear that God has no equal and that there is none other who can receive His worship.  God, and God alone is to be worshipped…regardless of the cost.

If Satan could not Divide the Godhead by tempting Jesus to make decisions on His own that would be contrary to the Father’s will…then, he will attempt to Dictate the Godhead by offering an alternative solution to accomplish the same objective.  However, by accepting this alternative solution (to gain the kingdoms of the world by worshipping Satan)…Jesus would become a slave of Satan.

Are you a slave to anything?  Is there anything in your life that you would be unwilling to get rid of if you discovered that it was hindering your walk with God?  Anything that you know would cause such difficulty, such pain, if you tried to get rid of it…that you would rather be disobedient to God than make the change?  It’s possible…

 

  1. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?

(Luke 9:25, NASV)

 

Luke 4:9-12-Temptation #3-the attempt to Diminish the Glory of the Godhead

The third temptation was for Jesus to exert His control over the angels for His own glory.  But not only His control over the angels; but, His control over the Father.  The response of Jesus makes it obvious that He knows that while Satan has tried to present this suggestion in terms of how the angels would react…in reality, what Satan is really trying to do is get Jesus to act in such a manner as to force the hand of the Father…to test Him to see if He would do what He has said He would do.  Would He really send His angels to the rescue of Jesus?  It was an attempt to make Jesus question the integrity and reliability of the Father.  If Jesus was to jump…then immediately the glory of the Godhead would be tarnished, diminished.  It would say that the Son does not fully, completely trust in the Father…but, that He had to do something drastic, something dramatic in order to force the Father to prove Himself.

Jesus responds by saying, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the LORD Your God to the test.”  This is a reference to Deuteronomy 6:16 (NASV).  It reads, “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah.”  This verse speaks of a particular test, a specific time when Israel tested God at a place called Massah.  We find this incident in Exodus 17:7.  It is during the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness and the people are grumbling because they don’t have enough water.  God tells Moses to strike a rock with his rod and that water will come out of it.  Moses does so and God provides for their need.  However, God is very displeased with the people for their lack of faith and their continual complaining.  Verse 7 says, “And he named the place Massah and Meribah because of the quarrel of the sons of Israel, and because they tested the LORD, saying, ‘Is the LORD among us, or not?’”  “Meribah” means “argument, or strife”.  “Massah” means “test”.  Notice closely that the key to their complaint and grumbling was their uncertainty, their disbelief that God was with them, “…Is the LORD among us, or not?”  Over and over again, the Israelites would question God…His existence, His presence, His love, His provision, etc., etc.   God says that when they did that they were testing Him.  So, over, and over again, God had to reprove Himself.

Satan tempts Jesus to make the Father reprove His love for Him.  “Jump off the temple and make sure that the Father really loves You.”  But Jesus refuses to do so…saying that we are not to try to force the hand of God, to make Him do something just for our own satisfaction, or our own reassurance.  If He were to do so it would diminish His glory…because now, instead of us being at His beckoning will, He is at ours.  Each time we begin to doubt, each time we don’t like our circumstances, God will have to reprove Himself, all over again.  And before long, the glory of the Godhead will be diminished into a dog-and-pony-show.  God will have nothing to do with that.  Don’t put God to the test.  Don’t keep demanding that God reprove Himself to you.  Trust Him.

Luke 4:13-“every temptation” means all the ones that he had at his disposal at the moment.  He would be back.

 

Luke 4:14-30                 Preparation through Identification

Luke 4:14-In verse 2, Jesus was hungry…but here, in verse 14, He is in the “power of the Spirit”…the time of tempting in the wilderness has strengthened Him.

Luke 4:16-Jesus attends the Synagogue service on the Sabbath, “as was His custom.”  What, couldn’t He be close to God out in the woods, or at the lake, or in the mountains?  Sure He could…and He often did so.  But on the Sabbath, the day of worship, Jesus was at the Synagogue.  That is where the Father had commanded us to be…in worship and in rest.  How is it then that people who claim to be followers of Jesus…think that they don’t need to be at church on the day of worship?  They must have something that Jesus didn’t have?  Not hardly.  They’re just sinning and making excuses for it.  On that Sabbath Jesus preached.  Can you imagine being the member who decided to sleep in that Sabbath day…and missed the opportunity to hear God Himself speak!

Luke 4:16-30-When He preaches, He is initially received by the people.  He reads from Isaiah 61:1-2a, a passage that speaks of the renewal of God’s people…the poor, the captive, the sick, the overwhelmed.  But then, He is rejected by the people when He tells them that He is a prophet and that just as other prophets before Him were largely rejected by those in their hometowns, so they will reject Him.  They became so angry that they were going to throw Him over a cliff.  But He calmly walked through the crowd and left.

Luke 4:31-32-Jesus now arrives in Capernaum.  He began teaching on the Sabbath and the people were amazed at the authority of His message.

Prayer: Lord, please help me to be able to discern when I am being tempted.  Sometimes, when I am making a decision, it is difficult to determine if You are leading, or not.  Just because something seems to have become readily accessible, or easy…does not mean that You have orchestrated it.  Nor, if something seems difficult, or even impossible…does it mean that You are not leading me to do it.  Help me to know You, Lord.  And to hear Your voice and allow nothing else to determine what I do.

 

March 25

 

Luke 4:33-44

 

The Initial Reception of the Son of Man                        Luke 4:31-9:50       

Luke 4:31-37                 He Casts a Demon out of a Man

Luke 4:33-37-Jesus heals a demon possessed man in the Synagogue.  The people are amazed.  The authority of Jesus’ teaching is authenticated by this miracle.  Word began to spread about Him, quickly.

 

Luke 4:38-41                 He Heals Many Diseases

Luke 4:38-41-Jesus goes to Simon’s home in Capernaum.  He heals Simon’s mother-in-law.  He healed many sick people and cast the demons out of many of them.  It is amazing that the demons so quickly recognized Who He was (:34,41)…and yet, the people were slow to come to that realization.

 

Luke 4:42-44                 He Identifies Kingdom Preaching as His Focus

Luke 4:42-Jesus went out to a lonely place to pray.  When the crowds found Him they tried to keep Him from leaving them.  Obviously they wanted Him to stay and continue to heal people.  While this was important, it was not the priority of Jesus’ ministry.  He had come primarily to preach concerning the kingdom of God.  He did not perform miracles strictly for their own sake…but, He did so in order to authenticate the authority of His teaching, of His message concerning the kingdom of God.

Luke 4:43-44-Jesus continued to preach in the synagogues in the cities of Judea.

Prayer: Lord, please keep me from allowing the crowds, other people, from influencing what I do.  Help me to be faithful to You and to Your will.  Keep me focused and intent.

 

 

March 26

 

Luke 5:1-16

 

The Initial Reception of the Son of Man, cont’d.         Luke 4:31-9:50       

Luke 5:1-11                    He Calls His Disciples

 

Luke 5:1-11-Jesus teaches from the seashore of Galilee.  Afterwards He got into a boat that belonged to Simon and told him to push out and try fishing one more time.  Simon tells Him that they had fished all night long and caught nothing, but at His instruction they will try one more time.  This time, they filled their boat and another boat, belonging to James and John, with so many fish that they were about to sink.  Simon realizes that Jesus is someone unique, and holy.  He says, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”.  James and John were his business partners.  Jesus then tells them, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.”  When they reached shore…they began to follow Jesus as their Master (they were His disciples).

 

For an interesting illustration of how a disciple was to follow the Master see:

http://ourrabbijesus.com/2012/01/27/covered-in-the-dust-of-your-rabbi-an-urban-legend/

 

Luke 5:12-16                 He Heals a Leper

Luke 5:12-14-A man with leprosy approaches Jesus, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”  Jesus “touched” him…and made him clean.  He then instructs him to follow the Mosaic law concerning cleansing from leprosy (cf. February 17, Mark 1:23-45).

Luke 5:15-16-The crowds were growing increasingly larger.  They wanted to hear Him and to be healed.  However, He would often go away by Himself into the wilderness to pray (cf. 4:42; 9:18,28; 11:1).

Prayer: Father, I am weak.  I want my life to show the evidence of Your power.  When I preach…I want to sense the overwhelming evidence and authority of Your Holy Spirit moving upon the people.  Please help me.  I don’t want to draw attention, or praise to myself.  I want You to be honored…and I want people’s lives to be changed by You.  Please, Lord…anoint me with Your power as I proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom.  Move in conviction, and authority, and power as Your Word is preached.  Help us all to recognize and to know and to submit to Your presence and glory…in our worship services.  Lord, Peter and his partners caught so many fish that their boats began to sink.  Then you told Peter that from then on they would be “fishers of men”.  Please Lord…as “fishers of men” help us to catch so many fish (men) that our boats begin to sink and we cry out in praise to You!

 

March 27

 

Luke 5:17-39

 

The Initial Reception of the Son of Man, cont’d.         Luke 4:31-9:50       

Luke 5:17-26                 He Forgives a Paralyzed Man of Sin

 

Luke 5:17-26-Jesus heals a man on a pallet who had been brought by his friends.  They couldn’t get to Jesus because the crowd was so large.  So, they climbed on top of the house and let him down with ropes…right in front of Jesus.  What wonderful friends…who would not stop until they had gotten their friend to Jesus!  Lord, let me have friends like that.  Better yet, let me be that kind of friend.  Jesus recognized the man’s physical problem…but, He began with his spiritual problem, sin.  He told him that his sins were forgiven.  The Pharisees said He was blaspheming.  Only God can forgive sin…and when Jesus proclaimed that the man’s sins were forgiven, He was in essence equating Himself with God.  Guess what…they were right.  That is exactly what Jesus was doing…and He knew it.  So, He asked them which was easier…to tell the man that his sins were forgiven, or to tell the man to stand up and walk.  They probably smirked at Him and under their breath said, “As if He could do either.”  So, Jesus did both.  His authority extended over both the physical and the spiritual realms.  Take careful notice…Jesus did not refute the statement of the Pharisees that He was making claim to be God.  He did not say that it wasn’t true.  He didn’t say that they had misunderstood.  But, neither did He directly say that He was God.  Why?  Because at that moment they would have taken up stones and killed Him.  No.  He simply healed the man…and left the obvious, indirect conclusion up to them.  They were right…only God can pronounce forgiveness for sin.  “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.”

 

Luke 5:27-39                 He Receives Sinners

Luke 5:27-32-Jesus meets a tax-gatherer by the name of Levi (his last name is Matthew, Mark 2:14).

 

For an explanation of why tax-gatherers were so disliked and distrusted see:

http://www.bible-history.com/taxcollectors/TAXCOLLECTORSHistory.htm

 

Jesus calls Matthew to follow Him, to become one of His disciples.  Levi then has a meal with his friends and Jesus is criticized by the Pharisees for attending such a meal where sinners are present.  His response is that He has come for those who are willing to recognize that they are in need of help.  The Pharisees felt that they needed no one’s help…they were adequate to please God on their own.

Luke 5:33-39-The Pharisees then complain that their disciples and those of John the Baptist practice fasting and prayer, but Jesus does not teach His disciples to do these things.  Jesus’ response is two-fold.  First, this is not the time for fasting…a time of mourning.  As long as He is with them it is a time of joy and celebration.  Later, when He has been crucified and He is no longer with them…that will be the time for fasting.  Second, Jesus teaches that His teaching is about grace, not just laws.  Grace cannot be constrained within a teaching that only emphasizes the Law.  Grace is much more expansive than the narrow restrictions of the Law.  It deals not just with the narrow confines of what is to be done or not done…but, it deals with the very spirit and intent of these matters, why they are to be done.  They are satisfied with the Law…but to be His follower involves a much deeper commitment.  They go through the external, outward motions of fasting…but His followers will learn the true intent of a heart that is broken by sin and expresses sorrow for it.

Prayer: Lord, please help me to be the kind of friend who does whatever is necessary to bring people to you.  And Lord, please help me to be a friend to everyone…sinners and self-righteous, alike.

 

March 28

 

Luke 6:1-28

 

The Initial Reception of the Son of Man, cont’d.         Luke 4:31-9:50       

Luke 6:1-11                    He Explains Sabbath Law

 

Luke 6:1-5-The Pharisees dispute with Jesus about His disciples picking grain to eat on the Sabbath.  They were claiming that doing so constituted working on the Sabbath and the law clearly forbade that. Jesus quotes an Old Testament passage to demonstrate that the Pharisees misunderstand the spirit, the intent of the law…that determines the letter, the application of the law.  It isn’t that He is dismissing the law (Matthew 5:17), but that they have incorrectly interpreted it and how it is to be practiced, and He is correcting their mistake.  They had chosen what parts of the law to obey…and had left part of it out.  Jesus clarifies the part that they had left out.  The Gospel of Mark (2:26-28) records this same incident and includes Jesus’ clarification that, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”  The Pharisees had obviously left out this understanding of the law concerning the Sabbath.  Jesus had previously claimed deity (5:20), now He claims sovereignty over the Sabbath…and His right to interpret the laws without reference to the traditions of the Pharisees.  He tells them that He is “Lord of the Sabbath.”

Luke 6:6-11-On another Sabbath Jesus was teaching in a synagogue…a man with a withered hand was there.  The scribes and Pharisees were watching to see if He would heal the man “in order that they might have reason to accuse Him.”  Jesus knew what was going on.  Jesus calls the man forward and asked those present if it was right, or not, to help someone on the Sabbath, when you have the ability to do so.  To have the power to heal and to not do so would have been evil (v. 9).  He then healed the man.

 

Luke 6:12-49                 He Calls and Instructs His Disciples

Luke 6:12-16-Jesus spent the night in prayer on a mountain (cf. 4:42).  The next day He chose the 12 Apostles.

Luke 6:17-19-People began to come to Him from all over seeking to hear Him teach and to be healed.  The power to heal was so great that they were simply trying to touch Him in order to be healed.

Luke 6:20-49-Jesus preaches a sermon similar to the Sermon on the Mount (it may be Luke’s record of it, or it may be a different occasion).  See the contrast between vv. 20-23 (Blessed…) and vv. 24-27 (Woe…).  Jesus says the same thing two times…from the opposite perspectives.

Prayer: Lord, it is impossible for me to do what You speak of here, on my own.  Please help me…to remember that there is a priority that is greater than the things of this earthly existence, that there are values that exceed those that we have here, and that the way that we treat others should be a reflection of how You have treated us.  Help those standards to be what guides my life.

 

March 29

 

Luke 6:29-49

 

The Initial Reception of the Son of Man, cont’d.         Luke 4:31-9:50       

Luke 6:12-49                 He Calls and Instructs His Disciples, cont’d.

 

Luke 6:29-49 are specific applications of the preceding verses.  Verse 31 (referred to as the Golden Rule) tell us that the pattern for our behavior towards others should be how we would want to be treated if we were in their place.

Luke 6:32-38-Love, do good, and give to others (speaking here of doing so not to those that you would normally do so because of your good relationship with the…but of those that you do not have a good relationship with)…not expecting anything in return from them…but knowing that God will repay you.  Verse 35 tells us that the motivation for this behavior is the character of God.  Since God is our Father, we should have the same character as He does.  When we behave in a manner that is in keeping with Him, then we will be called the “sons of the Most High” (:35,36).  And, verse 38 encourages us to behave this way with generosity…because to the extent that we do so for others, we are in effect telling God that this is the extent that we want Him to do for us.  So, in consideration of how we treat other people we should ask:

1.-What would I want done if I was in the other person’s shoes?;

2.-What would God do in this circumstance?;

3.-Am I doing just enough to get by, or, am I truly expressing the bountiful grace of God in my actions?

Luke 6:39-40-Do not use the standards of other people to guide your behavior…since their standard is inadequate.

Luke 6:41-42-Do not use your own standards to guide your behavior toward other people…since we have problems of our own which warp our attitudes.

Luke 6:43-49-The only standard we should allow to guide our behavior is that of Christ.  If we truly follow Jesus as our Lord, then our lives will be in keeping with His character.  We will do what He says and act on His words.  Then, we will be like a house built on His words…and that will be evidenced by our obedience to His words, and by the strength in our lives that results from that obedience

Prayer: Lord, help me to be like You, like my Father.  It is easiest, and humanly natural…to treat others from my own perspective.  I try to do the right things.  But I confess that even then…I get in the way.  Please help me to have Your heart, and Your discernment…so that I will treat others the way that You do.  Fill my heart, Lord, with You.

 

March 30

 

Luke 7:1-30

 

The Initial Reception of the Son of Man, cont’d.         Luke 4:31-9:50       

Luke 7:1-10                    He Heals from a Distance

 

Luke 7:1-10-Jesus goes to Capernaum.  A centurion’s servant is sick and he sends some of the Jewish leaders in his community to request that Jesus heal him.  As Jesus is making his way there the centurion sends word to Jesus that it is not necessary for Him to come to his home to heal the man.  The centurion says that he understands the nature of authority and he believes that Jesus can give the command from where He is and the servant will be healed.  Jesus said, “…not even in Israel have I found such great faith.”  When the Jewish leaders arrive back at the village the servant is healed.

 

Luke 7:11-17                 He Raises a Dead Man to Life

Luke 7:11-17-Jesus travels to the city of Nain (located about 10 miles southeast of Nazareth).  There, He encounters a funeral procession for the son of a widow.  When Jesus saw the woman He felt compassion for her and raised her son from the dead.

 

Luke 7:18-35                 He Encourages John the Baptist

Luke 7:18-23-John the Baptist sends two of his disciples to ask Jesus if He was the “Expected One”.  At that very moment Jesus was healing the sick and casting out demons.  He then replies to their question by quoting Isaiah 61:1, a prophetic passage pointing to the Messiah.  He tells them to tell John what they have seen and heard…they saw Him heal and they heard Him reply affirmatively to their question.

Luke 7:24-35-Jesus speaks about John the Baptist and identifies him as the one who would precede the Messiah (Malachi 3:1).  John was the greatest prophet of the Old Testament era.

Luke 7:29-30-The sinners accepted John’s message and baptism, but the religious rejected it.

Prayer: Lord, please help me to understand and submit to Your authority as this man did.  Give me this kind of faith.

 

March 31

Luke 7:31-50

 

The Initial Reception of the Son of Man, cont’d.         Luke 4:31-9:50       

Luke 7:18-35                 He Encourages John the Baptist, cont’d.

 

Luke 7:31-35-Jesus says that the people cannot be pleased.  John came following the practices of a Nazarene, yet he was rejected…Jesus came a friend of sinners, yet He was rejected.

 

Luke 7:36-50                 He Forgives a Sinful Woman

Luke 7:36-50-Jesus eats in the home of a Pharisee named Simon.  A woman who was a “sinner” (most likely a prostitute) poured expensive perfume over his feet.  It was common for someone to host a dignitary or notable person in their home and to allow local people to stand around the inside of the room and listen to their conversation.  However, it does seem a bit unusual that a Pharisee would allow a “sinner” to be in his home.  When Jesus did not rebuke the woman for her behavior, Simon was indignant and saw it as evidence that Jesus was not a prophet.  Jesus responds by teaching a parable about appreciation for forgiveness.  Simon had not even offered Jesus water to wash His feet, a kiss of greeting, or oil to anoint His head.  Yet, this woman had washed His feet with her tears, her kisses, and her expensive perfume.  Jesus says, “He who is forgiven little, loves little”.  Jesus says to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven…Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”  Others at the table were saying that only God can forgive sins.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for forgiving me…for I am a great sinner.  Please help me to express my love to You with extravagance!

 

April 1

 

Luke 8:1-21

 

The Initial Reception of the Son of Man, cont’d.         Luke 4:31-9:50       

Luke 8:1-3                      He Develops His Followers

 

Luke 8:1-3-There were several women traveling with Jesus and the Apostles…they helped provide financial support.

 

Luke 8:4-18                    He Teaches Kingdom Growth through a Parable

 

Luke 8:5-8-The Parable of the Sower and the Seed (cf. January 17, Matthew 13:1-8).  Not everyone who hears these parables will respond in a positive manner.  Only those who “have ears to hear”…those who are willing to accept and obey what He is teaching.

Luke 8:9-10-Jesus says that He teaches in parables because the people would not repent even if they did fully understand everything that He taught (cf. Matthew 13:15-“they have closed their eyes…lest…they should see with their eyes”…they have intentionally closed their ears, and eyes, and hearts because they do not want to repent.

Luke 8:11-15-The explanation of the Parable of the Sower and the Seed

The seed represents the “word of God”…the message of Jesus and salvation.  The ground, or place where the seed lands, represents four different types of people (and how they each respond to the message).

  1. No Understanding: Hard Heart…the seeds that landed beside the road…(:5,12) Just like the ground here is hard, so are their hearts.  The seed (message) does not penetrate into the soil (heart).  If a person does not respond to the message of Christ, it isn’t long before “the evil one” (Satan) does something to keep the person from giving it any further consideration.  Satan may do this by distracting the person with other things, causing them to doubt what they have heard, or offering something that promises pleasure.  Why?  To keep them from being saved.
  2. No Permanence: Hard Times…the seeds planted on the rocky places (:6,13) This is the person who likes the idea of salvation, eternal life, Heaven (“receive the word with joy”)…but only accepts it for its intellectual satisfaction, or emotional stimulation.  He doesn’t actually accept Jesus as Savior…just the idea of the benefits of being saved.  Then, “in time of temptation” (because of their nominal affiliation with Jesus)…they quickly change their mind…because the message had not truly taken root in their heart.  There was no  “moisture”…nothing to sustain it during these times…because the plant had only grown up, but not down.
  3. No Commitment: Hard Decisions…the seeds that were sown among the thorns (:7,14) This is the person who hears about Jesus, but is so distracted and consumed by all that is going on in his life (“worries and riches and pleasures”) that there is not room for Jesus.  There is no room for Jesus in their life…because if He comes in, something else will have to go out.  Jesus does not allow there to be anything in our lives that is in competition with our commitment to Him.  So, “they go on their way”, as opposed to going with Jesus.
  4. No Reservations: Hard Proof…the seeds that land on the good soil (:8,15) This is the person who hears the message and responds in faith to it…the integrity of this faith is proven by the “fruit” (“perseverance” in lifestyle and works) that is seen in his life.

Luke 8:16-18-The Parable of the Lamp…Jesus gives a warning about how we are to listen…if we don’t listen in order to learn from what we have heard and make the necessary changes, even what we do have (do believe) will be taken away.  Our spiritual life is never at a standstill.  Either you are moving forward, growing, maturing…or, you are losing whatever spiritual maturity you may have previously had.

 

Luke 8:19-21                 He Identifies Kingdom Members through His Family

Luke 8:19-21-Jesus’ mother and brothers come to see him but are unable to get to Him because of the crowd.  He says that His true mother and brothers are those who “hear the word of God and do it.”  Thereby giving those in a spiritual relationship with Him priority over those with a natural relationship.

Prayer: Lord, please teach me how to listen in order to grow in faith…not just to hear in order to learn more facts.  I want to understand what You are saying so that my faith in You will grow.  Please help me to know You through Your Word.

 

April 2

 

Luke 8:22-56

 

The Initial Reception of the Son of Man, cont’d.         Luke 4:31-9:50       

Luke 8:22-25                 He Calms a Storm on the Sea

 

Luke 8:22-25-Jesus and the disciples cross the Sea of Galilee in a boat and encounter a fierce storm along the way.  The disciples were professional fisherman…they were accustomed to dealing with storms.  And yet, this one was proving to be too much for them and the boat was about to be sunk.  In the meantime, Jesus was calmly sleeping…so the disciples woke Him and told him that they were all about to die.  Jesus spoke with authority (:24-“rebuked”) to the elements of nature, the wind and the waves, and calmed the storm.  They were fearful and amazed.  He asked, “Where is your faith?”  What is interesting is that Jesus had told them, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.”  If Jesus says He is going to the other side…no storm on earth can stop Him.  Since they were in the boat with Him…they should have known that they too, were safe.

 

In order to rebuke something there must be the authority to do so.  Notice how the rebukes of Jesus demonstrated His authority…

Rebuke (Verb and Noun):

primarily, “to put honor upon,” then, “to adjudge,” hence signifies “to rebuke.” Except for 2Ti 4:2; Jud 1:9, it is confined in the NT to the Synoptic Gospels, where it is frequently used of the Lord’s rebukes to

(a) evil spirits, e.g., Mat 17:18; Mar 1:25; 9:25; Luk 4:35, 41; 9:42;

(b) winds, Mat 8:26; Mar 4:39; Luk 8:24;

(c) fever, Luk 4:39;

(d) disciples, Mar 8:33; Luk 9:55; contrast Luk 19:39.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2008&t=NASB

 

Luke 8:26-39                 He Casts Many Demons out of a Man

Luke 8:26-39-(for a fuller explanation of this encounter see February 23, Mark 5:1-20) Jesus encounters a man possessed by demons (a Legion of them) in Gerasene (on the east shore of the Sea of Galilee).  The man is so controlled by the demons that when Jesus asks him his name, he responds by saying that his name is “Legion”, signifying the number of demons that are in him.  The demons knew that Jesus had authority over them and requested that they be allowed to enter a herd of pigs that were nearby.  He allowed them to do so.  They then charged the entire herd over a cliff and they died.  The people who saw it happen reported it to the local inhabitants (who owned the pigs).  Instead of recognizing Who Jesus was (even the demons had done this), they were upset over the death of their pigs and told Him to leave.  The man who had formerly been possessed by the demons asked if He could follow along with Jesus.  Jesus told him to go home and tell them “what great things God has done for you.”…and he did so.

 

Luke 8:40-56                 He Raises a Dead Girl to Life

Luke 8:40-56-A man named Jairus approaches Jesus and requests that He come to his home.  The only child that he had was his daughter…and now, she was dying.  He is a “synagogue official”.  As Jesus is going to his home the crowd became so impenetrable that He was having a difficult time making progress.  Suddenly, a woman who had been sick with a hemorrhage for 12 years snuck up behind Him and touched His coat.  Instantly, she was healed.  Jesus knew that healing power had gone from Him and asked who it was that had touched Him.  Peter seemed a little surprised that He would even ask such a question since the crowd was pressing in on them so tightly.  Finally, the woman admitted it was her and Jesus told her, “your faith has made you well; go in peace”.  While He is speaking with the woman, people arrive from Jairus’ home and tell them that his daughter has died.  Jesus says, “Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well.”  He arrived and told the people to stop crying because the little girl was not dead, only asleep.  The people laughed (to scorn, to deride) at Him.  He took Peter, John, James and the parents with Him and went to the girl.  He brought her back to life…and told her parents to tell no one what had happened.  It was still early in His ministry and He knew that the more word got out about what He was doing…the more of a target He would become for the religious rulers (they would feel threatened by Him).

If we aren’t careful we can easily miss an extremely important principle, here.  Jairus, because of his position in the synagogue, was a very prominent person in the community.  No one would be surprised that when he sent for Jesus that He quickly responded to his request.  And after all, his daughter who was only 12 years old, was dying.  Surely this would touch the hearts of every person that lived there.  In fact, Peter seemed a little irritated (:45) that Jesus was slowing down on His way to the home of Jairus.  Could anything, or anyone, be more important than this appointment?  After all, this would be good for public relations: “Miracle Worker Heals Child of Local Leader”.  On the other hand, there is this woman.  She’s lost in the throng of people.  No one even notices her.  It isn’t until Jesus presses the crowd for the identification of who had touched Him that they are even aware that she is among them.  On top of that…she has had a “hemorrhage” (an issue of blood) for 12 years.  This would have made her ceremonially unclean and she would not have been allowed to even enter the synagogue for all of those years.  In addition, by now, she would have become alienated from everyone else in the community because if they touched her they too would become ceremonially unclean.  No one would want to risk that.  So, it’s better to just stay away from her.  Leave her alone.  Leave her to her own.  She’s a nobody.  But notice, Jesus calls her “daughter”…the same tender word used of Jairus’ child.  Why?  Why did Jesus refer to her with this most loving of terms?  I think that He was making a point.  This woman was as important to Him as the daughter of Jairus.  Their position in the community did not determine their significance to Him.  Someone has said that God doesn’t play favorites.  I disagree.  I think that everyone of us is God’s favorite.  Jesus is showing us that this woman, who was a nobody in the eyes of the community she lived in, was just as important to Him as anyone else…even the daughter of one of the most significant people who lived there (cf. Matthew 5:40,45).

Do you ever feel insignificant, lost in the crowd?  Have you ever wondered if Jesus is even aware of what is going on in your life?  Does He even know my name?  Well, just ask this woman.  Probably, for the rest of her life, she told the story of how one day, when she was at her wit’s end she took a chance.  She took a chance on Jesus.  She didn’t intend for Him to even know.  She just believed.  She had heard how He had healed others and she had enough faith in Him that if she could touch just the “fringe of His cloak” (Ryrie-8:44-“A tassel which a rabbi wore on his outer garment.  The garment was draped over the back so that the tassel of one corner hung between the shoulder blades.”)…it didn’t even have to be Him, just the fringe…that she would be healed.  But He knew when it happened.  He knew about…her.  It scared her at first…”she came trembling (terrified, afraid) and fell down”.  Would He be angry?  Would He take back her miracle!  But the first word out of His mouth dispelled her fear…”Daughter…”  Perhaps, no one had called her that for years.  Perhaps, no one had called her at all for years.  And now, Jesus stops everything that is going on just for her.

Take a chance on Jesus, today.  Whatever it is that is troubling you…He knows.  He is passing your way.  Don’t let the crowds or business or fear stop you.  Reach out and touch the hem of His garment.  He will stop whatever is going on just for you.  Your miracle is just an act of faith away.

Prayer: Lord, Your power is so evident here.  Please allow me to experience Your power in my life…and please let Your power move through me in the ministry that You have called me to.  I don’t want to operate in my own strength, or ability, or knowledge.  God…I would rather have Your power move through one word from me, than no power and 10,000 words from me.  I must have Your power, or else all is in vain.  It is so senseless to try to do Your work…on my own.  Please, Lord, help me to have complete faith in You; but still, help me to always marvel at You as the disciples did…”Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?”

 

April 3

 

Luke 9:1-36

 

The Initial Reception of the Son of Man, cont’d.         Luke 4:31-9:50       

Luke 9:1-9                      He Sends the 12 Apostles into the Villages

 

Luke 9:1-6-Jesus sends the 12 out to perform ministry in His behalf.  He “…gave them power and authority over all demons, and to heal diseases. And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God, and to perform healing.”  Notice that they were to minister in the same manner as He did.  They would perform miracles…that validated the authority of their teaching.  God will never tell us to do what He does not enable us to do.  And, if we are not operating in His power, then our words will have little affect.

He instructed them to take no supplies.  They were to accept the hospitality of those that they minister to, and reject those who rejected them.

Luke 9:7-9-Herod the tetrarch (who had beheaded John the Baptist) heard about the ministry of Jesus and was confused.  He was uncertain about who Jesus was…some saying John the Baptist had risen from the dead, others Elijah, or one of the other prophets.  He wanted to see Jesus, for himself.  Herod was like a lot of people that I’ve met.  They really are fascinated by Jesus.  They are uncertain about Who He is and how He does such miraculous things.  To some degree this disturbs them…”What if what they say about Him is true?”  But that’s about the end of it.  They would like to see Jesus…possibly just for entertainment sake.  But they are either too busy, or too caught up in life to make the effort.

 

Luke 9:10-17                 He Performs a Miracle to Feed the Multitude

Luke 9:10-17-the Apostles return and give a report on their ministry.  Jesus takes them aside to Bethsaida, but the multitudes followed Him.  Late in the day the disciples told Jesus to send the people away so that they might find food in the neighboring villages.  He told them to feed the people, but they only had 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.  So, Jesus fed the 5,000 men (plus women and children) by multiplying what the disciples had.  Afterwards, they picked up 12 baskets of leftovers.

 

Luke 9:18-20                 He is Identified as the Messiah by Peter

Luke 9:18-22-Jesus asks the Apostles who people were saying He was.  They say John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the prophets who has risen from the dead.  He then asked who they thought He was.  Peter’s replies, “The Christ (Messiah) of God” (:20).  Jesus warns them to not say anything about this to anyone.  He knew that it would be grounds for the Pharisees to arrest Him.

 

Luke 9:21-22                 He Identifies the Way that He Must Die

He then teaches them about His coming death, burial, and resurrection.

 

Luke 9:23-27                 He Identifies the Way that the Disciples Must Live

Luke 9:23-26-Jesus then discloses what will be required of those who decide to follow Him.  He tells the Apostles that they too must be willing to die…“deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (:23-26).  Jesus then identifies three characteristics if those who will follow Him.  They must be willing to: 1.-deny themself; 2.-take up their own cross (Ryrie 9:23-“The first mention of a cross in Luke.  The cross was well-known as an instrument of death, so it represents here the death or separation from the old life that must mark a disciple [Rom. 8:13].)”; 3.-follow Him.  Jesus then gives three examples of the attitude that those who will follow Him must have.  They must be: 1.-unconcerned about losing their life; 2.-unattracted to gaining the world; 3.-unashamed of telling others about Jesus.

Luke 9:27-There are some standing there that day who would be present at the Day of Pentecost…when the power of God comes into His church.

 

Luke 9:28-36                 He is Identified as the Chosen One by God

Luke 9:28-36-the Transfiguration (cf. January 24, Matthew 17).  Peter, James, and John accompany Jesus up a mountain.  While they are there, Moses (representing the Law) and Elijah (representing the prophets) appear…“speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish in Jerusalem.” (meaning His crucifixion and resurrection).  The three disciples had fallen asleep, but they woke up.  Peter suggested they make three tabernacles…giving a relative sense of equality between Jesus, Moses, and Elijah.  But a voice from Heaven told them to listen to Jesus…showing that He was the ultimate and final authority over the Law and the prophets.

Prayer: Lord, there is so much in these verses.  But as I read them I am aware that I must know and worship You for Who You truly are…and not be confused, or give any of Your glory to anyone else.  In doing that, then I will listen to You, and You alone.  And, I will be able to accomplish anything that You tell me to do.  Lord, what would my life be like if You were truly the only source of authority in my life?  If I didn’t listen to anyone else, didn’t allow their opinions, or ideas, or limitations to affect me?  What if I didn’t allow my longing to be accepted, and liked by other people to have any influence in my life?  What if I truly, 100% followed You, and You alone?  Why am I not doing that?  Where am I not doing that?  What are the places where, as Paul says, there is a difference between being “of the world” and being “in the world”.  How do I live in the world, and yet not be of the world?  Holy Spirit, please identify these areas in me and help me to repent.  I want to be Yours…and Yours alone!

 

April 4

 

Luke 9:37-62

 

The Initial Reception of the Son of Man, cont’d.         Luke 4:31-9:50       

Luke 9:37-42                 He Casts a Demon out of a Boy and Gains Popularity

 

Luke 9:37-43- The next day they came down from the mountain.  All three of the Synoptic Gospels record this event.  In doing so, Matthew directs our attention to the power of faith…nothing is impossible (see January 24, Matthew 17); Mark emphasizes the prerequisite of faith…prayer (see March 2, Mark 9:1-29); and Luke accentuates the result of faith…God receives glory (:43-44).  They arrive to find a man whose son is demon-possessed.  This demon seems to take particular wicked delight in causing the boy physical and emotional harm.  And, it’s been happening since he was just a small child (Mark 9:21).  Notice how the Gospels portray the result of this demon’s attack…Matthew 17:15-“he is a lunatic and very ill; for he often falls into the fire, and often into the water”; Mark 9:17-18-“possessed with a spirit which makes him mute; and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth, and stiffens out; Luke 9:39-“a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly screams, and it throws him into a convulsion with foaming at the mouth, and it mauls him, it scarcely leaves him”.  The father had asked the disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so.  Remember, only a short time before, Jesus had given them “power and authority over all the demons” (9:1).  So something else must be involved, here.  Jesus chastises them for being “unbelieving”…for not having enough faith in Him.

Jesus casts out the demon and heals the boy.  “And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.”  These verses should be the anchor for the prayers for every parent who has a wayward child.  Notice what it says, “Jesus…gave him back to his father” (:42).  Every parent should come to Jesus and plead with Him to rescue their child from the forces of darkness and give their child back to them.

 

Luke 9:43-45                 He Speaks about the Danger of Popularity

Luke 9:44-45-Jesus tells the disciples to keep the words that they had heard on the mountain (and those being spoken of Him after this miracle, :43-44) engrained in their minds…because He was soon going to be crucified and they would need to remember this incident so that at that time they would be strong in their faith in Him.

 

Luke 9:46-48                 His Warns the Disciples against Seeking Popularity

Luke 9:46-48-Jesus had just predicted His death but they don’t understand it.  Then, right on the heel of these two statements…about God’s greatness and about His death (in other places Jesus would equate this with true greatness)…the disciples start to argue about which one of them was the greatest.  Jesus says that greatness is about being the “least among you”.  Jesus uses a child as an illustration of this principle.  He says that whoever receives a child in His name (meaning: in His behalf)…is in all actuality receiving Him (meaning: what you do in the name of Jesus, in behalf of Jesus, you are actually doing to Jesus, Himself).  We should never refuse to receive someone because we think that we are their superior.  Instead, we should always think of those whom receive as being superior to ourself.

 

Luke 9:49-50                 He Accepts Others Ministering in His Name

Luke 9:49-50-The disciples tell Jesus that they had tried to stop a man from casting out demons in His name (see March 3, Mark 9:30-50).  Jesus tells them to not do so because if they are not against you, then they are for you.  It is interesting that they were trying to stop a man from doing what they were unable to do themselves (:40; cp. also 11:23).

 

 

The Growing Resistance Against the Son of Man     Luke 9:51-11:54    

Luke 9:51-56                 Resistance from the Samaritans

Luke 9:51-56-Jesus determines that He must go to Jerusalem, because the day for His ascension is quickly approaching.  As they are traveling to Jerusalem, the residents of a Samaritan village refuse lodging to Jesus (because they know that He is on the way to Jerusalem to worship and they believe that their temple is the only true place of worship).  James and John want to command fire to fall from heaven to destroy them.  Jesus said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy lives, but to save them.” (these words are not found in all of the ancient copies of the Scriptures).  The point is that Jesus is telling them that when you encounter someone who has a misunderstanding about truth, you do not seek to destroy them, but to save them from their error.  They had taken it personally, as an insult…when in reality, the insult was against God, not them.  If God wants them to be destroyed, He will do so.  As for you, tell them the truth.  We are to be about the redemption of men, not their destruction.

 

Luke 9:57-62                 Resistance from the Non-committed

Luke 9:57-62-Three men say they want to follow Jesus, but each one (for a different reason) is not willing to be totally committed.  The first man says that he will follow Jesus “wherever You go”.  But Jesus responds that, “the Son of man has nowhere to lay His head”.  Did this man’s words betray that he was anticipating that Jesus would “go” somewhere, as in become something (perhaps the king, etc.) and Jesus knew that he did not qualify to follow Him because he would not go where He was really heading?  Or, was this man assuming a level of worldly security and certainty…that Jesus said would not be present?  The second man said, “permit me first to go bury my father”.  On the surface, that doesn’t sound like too unreasonable of a request.  But Jesus says, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead, but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.”  Jesus tells this man that his priorities were out of order.  Following Him was not something that he could do whenever, or however he chose.  This man wanted to put off the decision until there was nothing else to do, nothing else standing in the way, when it was convenient and not disruptive.  Jesus told him to “go” now.  The request of the third young man betrayed his unwillingness to follow Jesus completely.  He will always be second-guessing his decision to leave home.  Jesus tells him that once he makes the decision to follow Him…there is no turning back.  So, the responses of Jesus tell us that we must be willing to follow Him (1)-without qualification; (2)-without hesitation; (3)-without limitation.

Prayer: Lord, please use my life so that people will be amazed at Your greatness…“the greatness of God.”

 

April 5

 

Luke 10:1-24

 

The Growing Resistance Against the Son of Man, cont’d.     Luke 9:51-11:54 

Luke 10:1-24-The Ministry of the 70

 

Luke 10:1-24-Jesus appoints 70 people to go out in His name ahead of Him into the cities that He was coming to…in groups of two.  Luke is the only Gospel that records this mission endeavor.  Jesus’ following must have become quite large if there were 70 men that could be sent out.

Luke 10:1-16-He tells them that, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.”  They are to find a “man of peace” (a Hebrew saying simply meaning a “peaceful man”) and stay with him.  They are to say to the people of the cities, “the kingdom of God has come near to you”, meaning that they are witnessing the work of God right before their eyes as they would heal the sick and cast out demons in Jesus’ name.  If they were not received by the people, they were to move on.  Their responsibility was to be faithful to do what Jesus had commanded.  The response to what they did was the responsibility of the people who saw and heard.  If they were not received…then they were to kick the dust off of their shoes as they left the town (this was a demonstration that they had completed their assignment and were free from any additional responsibility) and then proclaim that God will judge them for their failure to respond.  Sodom had rejected the message of God and look how it had been held accountable (cf. Genesis 19).  And now, the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida have not responded appropriately and they will be held to a greater level of accountability than Tyre and Sidon because they had a greater level of revelation.  And so it will also be true for Capernaum.  When the people of these cities reject the message of these men, they are rejecting Jesus…and that means that they are rejecting God, Himself.

Luke 10:17-24-When they returned they gave a report.  They told Jesus that they even had power over demonic influences.  Jesus told them that He was aware of this and that as they were casting out these demonic forces the very power of Satan was being broken.  This authority over demonic power came from Him.  However, Jesus warned them to not get caught up in the sensationalism of what had happened, but to rejoice because they are a part of His kingdom.  Jesus tells the disciples that only He determines who will see and understand the things that He has shown them.

Prayer: Lord, don’t let me focus my faith on the wrong thing.  Or, to base my spiritual health on the wrong standard.  These men could have easily become infatuated by their sensational involvement with demonic powers and allowed that element of their ministry to determine their attitudes towards what it means to be spiritual.  Even today, we still have to be wary of allowing those things that are thrilling and exciting from becoming the measure of our success.  And there are other things that can become disproportionately important…even good things (the size of our church, the blessings we receive, the effectiveness of our efforts, the answers to our prayers).  Lord, please help me to be mindful of the difference between the results of our ministry, and our relationship with You.  As You told these men, “do not rejoice in this…but that your names are recorded in heaven” (:20).  Help me to keep my eyes on You, and You alone.  Please reveal Yourself and Your truth to me…that I may worship You ever more truly.

 

April 6

 

Luke 10:25-42

 

The Growing Resistance Against the Son of Man, cont’d.     Luke 9:51-11:54 

Luke 10:25-37               Resistance from a Lawyer

 

Luke 10:25-37-A lawyer (scribe) tries to test (trick) Jesus by asking, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”. (Ryrie) “Scribes, who belonged mainly to the party of the Pharisees, functioned as members of a highly honored profession.  They were professional students and defenders of the law (scriptural and traditional), gathering around them pupils whom they instructed in the law.  They were also referred to as lawyers because they were entrusted with the administration of the law as judges in the Sanhedrin (cf. Matt. 22:35).”  Since he is an expert in the Law, Jesus questions him about what the Law says concerning this matter.  He responds with Deut. 6:5.  Jesus tells him that he is correct.  But then, the man tries to “justify himself”.  Perhaps, even as he quoted the Law, he realized that he wasn’t personally doing what he had just said was necessary, so he tries to create a loophole by defining his “neighbor” as being the one who loved him, not the one who needed to be loved by him.

In response, Jesus then tells the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  It is a story about a man who was on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho.  Today, it takes about 6½ hours (not including breaks due to the heat, etc.) to cover the distance of 15 miles (24 km) with an elevation decrease of about 3400 feet (1060 m).  Jesus traveled this route many times.  In fact, every time that he came to Jerusalem from Galilee, he would have traveled up the same Ascent of Adumim…the gorge where the ascent is going up to Jerusalem from Jericho (unless permitted to travel through Samaria; cf. John 4 and Luke 9:52-53).  Scriptures record at least one trip of Jesus through Samaria and two trips by way of Jericho.  He possibly traveled this road dozens of times in his life.  This is probably the road his parents had to climb back up to Jerusalem after realizing that their twelve-year-old boy wasn’t in their caravan (Luke 2:41-50).  It was a very treacherous road with many nooks, crannies, and turns where thieves could hide…and consequently had a notorious reputation for being a dangerous place to travel, especially alone.

 

 

 

The top photo is an old picture of the road leading from Jerusalem to Jericho.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2121/2314500564_fc8ff751a6.jpg

In the second photo, the road is seen near the bottom of the gorge on the bottom left-hand-side.

http://www.ebibleteacher.com/taxonomy/term/213

 

Jesus says that a “man”, but doesn’t identify what kind of a man was making this journey.  Along the way he was attacked by robbers who stole his clothes, beat him up, and left him “half dead”…apparently they didn’t kill him, then they would be guilty of murder.  They just killed him halfway and probably intended to let the exposure to the elements and wild animals do the rest.  After some time, a Priest came down the road.  But the Priest went by without providing any help, because the man wasn’t a Priest.  Then, a Levite came by.  But the Levite went by without helping him because the man wasn’t a Levite.  Both of them “saw him”, they recognized that he was in trouble but did nothing.  Then, a “Samaritan” came by.  (Ryrie) “Samaritans were descendants of colonists whom the Assyrian kings planted in Palestine after the fall of the Northern Kingdom in 721 B.C.  They were despised by the Jews because of their mixed Gentile blood and their different worship, which centered at Mt. Gerizim (John 4:20-22).”  The Samaritan “saw him” and “felt compassion” and helped him.  Notice the extent that the Samaritan went to in order to help this man: 1.-he stopped, instead of passing him by…this in itself was potentially dangerous since it could have been a trap set by thieves; 2.-he bandaged up his wounds…using his own supplies; 3.-he put him on his own beast…now he was inconvenienced because he would have to walk; 4.-he took him to an inn where he personally took care of him; 5.-he left instructions and payment with the innkeeper to continue taking care of him; 6.-he told the innkeeper that if the expenses exceeded what he had given him, then when he came by next time he would pay him the difference.  It seems that Jesus was intentionally going to quite length to make the distinction between the responses of the Priest, Levite, and Samaritan, so that there would be no mistaking the point He was about to make.  Jesus then teaches the scribe that your neighbor is simply the person who is in need, there is nothing that limits who your neighbor is.  The man was trying to define love by showing its limitations (who it was to be expressed to), but Jesus was defining love by showing its application (how it was to be expressed).  The man was asking the wrong question, on purpose…in order to defend his wrong attitude.  You can often ask the wrong question…in order to get the answer that you want and appear to be right.  The question was not “who to love” (we should love everyone), but “how to love”.

 

Luke 10:38-42-The Identification of Priorities

Luke 10:38-42-Jesus arrives at the home of Mary and Martha (“a certain village” was Bethany, John 12:1).  He meets Martha (the worker-“distracted”), and Mary (the listener).  Martha complained to Jesus that Mary wasn’t helping.  Jesus tells Martha that she needs to realize what is really important, what her real priorities should be.

Prayer: Lord, there is so much here.  Please help me to love others based on Your love (Who You are), not on who they are.  And Lord, please keep me from becoming caught up in all of the work, no matter how important it is, and not keeping my focus on You.  Lord, there are so many things (good and bad) in my life…that demand my attention.  Please help me to never allow them to distract me from You.

 

April 7

 

Luke 11:1-28

 

The Growing Resistance Against the Son of Man, cont’d.     Luke 9:51-11:54 

Luke 11:1-13-Teaching on Prayer

 

On numerous occasions the disciples had observed Jesus as He prayed.  And, they had recognized the importance of prayer that He had in His own life.  So now, they ask Him to teach them to pray like He does.

He teaches them what to pray (:1-4)

  • Begin by recognizing that God is holy. The word “hallowed” comes from the Greek word “holy”.  It is because of His holiness, sovereignty, and power that He is capable of answering the requests you are about to make…it is important to remember this if you are going to actually anticipate an answer.

 

Holiness, Holy, Holily:

akin to A, Nos. 1 and 2, which are from the same root as hagnos (found in hazo, “to venerate”), fundamentally signifies “separated” (among the Greeks, dedicated to the gods), and hence, in Scripture in its moral and spiritual significance, separated from sin and therefore consecrated to God, sacred.

(a) It is predicted of God (as the absolutely “Holy” One, in His purity, majesty and glory): of the Father, e.g., Luk 1:49; Jhn 17:11; 1Pe 1:15,16; Rev 4:8; 6:10; of the Son, e.g., Luk 1:35; Act 3:14; 4:27,30; 1Jo 2:20; of the Spirit, e.g., Mat 1:18 and frequently in all the Gospels, Acts, Romans, 1 and 2 Cor., Eph., 1 Thess.; also in 2Ti 1:14; Tts 3:5; 1Pe 1:12; 2Pe 1:21; Jud 1:20.

(b) It is used of men and things (see below) in so far as they are devoted to God. Indeed the quality, as attributed to God, is often presented in a way which involves Divine demands upon the conduct of believers. These are called hagioi, “saints,” i.e., “sanctified” or “holy” ones.

This sainthood is not an attainment, it is a state into which God in grace calls men; yet believers are called to sanctify themselves (consistently with their calling, 2Ti 1:9), cleansing themselves from all defilement, forsaking sin, living a “holy” manner of life, 1Pe 1:15; 2Pe 3:11, and experiencing fellowship with God in His holiness. The saints are thus figuratively spoken of as “a holy temple,” 1Cr 3:17 (a local church); Eph 2:21 (the whole Church), cp. Eph 5:27; “a holy priesthood,” 1Pe 2:5; “a holy nation,” 1Pe 2:9.

“It is evident that hagios and its kindred words… express something more and higher than hieros, sacred, outwardly associated with God;… something more than semnos, worthy, honorable; something more than hagnos, pure, free from defilement. Hagios is… more comprehensive… It is characteristically godlikness” (G.B. Stevens, in Hastings’ Bib. Dic.).

The adjective is also used of the outer part of the tabernacle, Hbr 9:2 (RV, “the holy place”); of the inner sanctuary, Hbr 9:3, RV, “the Holy of Holies;” Hbr 9:24, “a holy place,” RV; Hbr 9:25 (plural), of the presence of God in heaven, where there are not two compartments as in the Tabernacle, all being “the holy place;” Hbr 9:8, 12 (neuter plural); Hbr 10:19, “the holy place,” RV (AV, “the holiest,” neut. plural), see SANCTUARY; of the city of Jerusalem, Rev 11:2; its temple, Act 6:13; of the faith, Jud 1:20; of the greetings of saints, 1Cr 16:20; of angels, e.g., Mar 8:38; of apostles and prophets, Eph 3:5; of the future heavenly Jerusalem, Rev 21:2, 10; 22:19.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=G40&t=NASB

 

  • Ask Him to establish His kingdom here…not just in the world, but in your heart. By doing this, I am actually submitting my life to Him over which He can rule.
  • Ask Him to provide what is necessary for daily life. This is the recognition of God’s awareness of our personal situations, circumstances, and needs.
  • Ask Him to forgive you of your sins. As I submit my life to God, the first thing He is going to deal with is anything that would inhibit my relationship with Him from developing further…that means sin.
  • Ask Him to help you to forgive those who have sinned against you. This is the clearest evidence of a changed life.  The Spirit of Christ is so active in me, that my attitudes toward others is a reflection of the attitude of Christ toward me.  And if I truly believe that God forgives me when I sin against Him, then that same forgiveness should be expressed by me towards others.  So much so, that it is stated as a fact, not an option.  Forgiveness is not an option in the Christian’s life.
  • Ask Him to keep you from temptation. The word “temptation” can speak of sinful spiritual enticements and it can also speak of situations that present physically difficult, trying times (which can also lead to temptation to not trust in God).  For some, this is a difficult verse since they cannot understand why a holy God would intentionally lead His people into a situation in which they have the potential to sin.  However, two points help us to resolve this dilemma.  First of all…God will never lead His people into a situation with the intent of them sinning.  However, He will lead us into a situation where we have the opportunity to be faithful to Him and in so doing to bring Him glory, and to mature spiritually.  Remember, the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted (Luke 4:1-2, not so that He could fail and sin, but so that He could be faithful and learn obedience, Hebrews 5:7-9).  It could be that Jesus had told His disciples about this encounter with temptation and now expected them to make the connection between His being led into temptation and being delivered…and their being led into temptation and delivered.  Second, Matthew (6:13) helps us to understand the complete thought that is conveyed here.  He wrote, “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”  Matthew gives us the complete thought.  Luke introduces the thought to us…and expects us to finish it on our own.  We could paraphrase the verse as, “And do not lead us into temptation; but on the other hand, deliver us from it.”

He teaches them how to pray (:5-10)

  • Jesus tells a story about a man who goes to his neighbor to borrow some food when a friend unexpectedly shows up. The neighbor is initially unwilling to even get out of bed to help.  But after the man continues to pound, and pound, and pound on the door…the neighbor finally gets out of bed and gives him everything he has asked for…not out of the kindness of his heart, but out of the interference with his sleep.  The lesson is that we are to keep praying persistently…until we have an answer.

 

“Persistence” (NASV)…“denotes “shamelessness, importunity” (a, negative, n, euphonic, and aidos, “shame, modesty”), and is used in the Lord’s illustration concerning the need of earnestness and perseverance in prayer, Luk 11:8. If shameless persistence can obtain a boon from a neighbor, then certainly earnest prayer will receive our Father’s answer.” (http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G335&t=NASB, Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words).

 

If this neighbor (who was seemingly uncaring about the man’s dilemma) would answer his request, how much more so will our loving Father answer our requests.

  • The words “ask, seek, and knock” in verse 9 are all present tense verbs. He is telling them that they are to do these things.  But, the key to answered prayer is to not stop doing them.  So, in verse 10 the same words are all participles…”ing” words…meaning that you are to do so, and you are to keep on doing so.  To paraphrase verse 10…”And I’m telling you, that everyone who asks and doesn’t stop asking…he will be given what he is asking for; and everyone who seeks and doesn’t stop seeking…he will find what he is looking for; and everyone who knocks and doesn’t stop knocking…will have the door opened for him.”
  • Question: Are we supposed to pray persistently because God is not aware of our needs and we have to make Him aware and then virtually impose our will on Him?   We are to pray persistently…because persistent prayer causes us to evaluate those matters more closely that we are bringing before God.  As we pray and seek God’s answer…we should assess the matter that we are praying about and ask if what we are requesting is in God’s will.  Also, as we are praying, we should be refining our prayer, being more specific and definite about what we are asking…so that when the answer is given (1) we will recognize it as an answer from God and not just assume it was a matter of circumstances lining up in such a way that what we had been praying about just happened to come about.  It will be so precise of an answer that we can see the direct connection between the prayer and God’s answer and God will receive glory.  And, (2) we begin to make prayer a serious pursuit of our Christian life and not use it like some kind of magic formula that we chant and expect an answer.  We are persistently, continuously praying and seeking God about a matter.  As important as the matter that we are praying about is…it is even more important in that it offers an opportunity for me to spend sustained time in conversation with God…getting to know Him and love Him more and more as I seek His will concerning the matter that I am praying about.  Ultimately, prayer is not so much about me getting what I want from God…as it is about God putting what He wants into me.

He teaches them what to expect when they pray (:11-13)

  • First, we are to expect to receive an answer from God. Sons expect that much from their earthly fathers.
  • Second, we are to expect to receive the right, best answer from God. Sons expect their earthly fathers to give them what is good for them.
  • Third, we are to expect to receive an answer from God that is in keeping with the very best gift that He will ever give us…the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Even earthly fathers, who are sinful men, know how to give a gift that is in keeping with the values that they have taught their children.  God knows much better than us how to answer our requests.

 

Luke 11:14-36               Resistance from Some of the Multitudes

Luke 11:14-23-Jesus casts a demon out of a man, and then is accused of doing so by Satan’s power.  The people then demanded a sign from Heaven.  Jesus explains that if that were so, then certainly the power of Satan would be divided and he would wind up defeating himself, but this is not what has happened.  Jesus says that He does so by “the finger of God”.  Does this mean that all God has to do to defeat Satan is lift His little finger!  God created the Heavens with His fingers (Psalm 8:3).  Jesus tells them that while Satan certainly is strong (:21), He is much stronger (:22) and will overcome him and remove what power he has.  They have to make a decision to either believe in Him and be a part of His work for the Kingdom; or, to not believe in Him and in doing so to be opposed to Him.  There is no middle, passive ground.  You are either with Jesus, or against Jesus.

Luke 11:24-26-Jesus explains that it is not enough just for a demon to be cast out.  That is not the end of the story.  A new resident must move in…God.  If He doesn’t, then the dwelling is empty and the demon may return.  Jesus says that the demon “passes through waterless places seeking rest”.  He is using a human analogy to explain a truth of the spiritual realm.  There is a need of demons that is somehow met when they possess a human.  Just like water meets a human need…in a similar way when a demon possesses a human it meets this need of the spiritual realm.  The demon may leave…but will return to see if the dwelling (human) is unoccupied.  If so, the demon will move back in.

Today, people often speak of having a positive mental attitude, etc.  But this is not enough.  While this may provide some physical, earthly relief…there is a spiritual realm that is unfazed.  In fact, while to a degree, a person may be able to exert his will and not succumb to evil, or to demonic seduction, Satan is more wily and subtle than we realize.  While we may think that we have gained control over our life by our own will power…Satan now has the element of pride and ego to use against us.  At just the moment that we feel satisfied and smug about our accomplishment, we provide Satan with an even greater opportunity to attack us…an even greater vulnerability than before.  If we are to truly have substantive, lasting change in our life…there must be a spiritual regeneration.  This is the work of the Holy Spirit as we submit our lives to Him.

Luke 11:27-28-Jesus says that those that are truly blessed are those who hear the word of God, and put it into practice.

Prayer: Lord, teach me to pray…as You taught the disciples.  Oh, Father, that even the power of Your little finger would rest upon my life, would be enough for me.  Please, Lord, fill me completely.  I give my life totally to You.

 

April 8

 

Luke 11:29-54

 

The Growing Resistance Against the Son of Man, cont’d.     Luke 9:51-11:54 

Luke 11:14-36               Resistance from Some of the Multitudes, cont’d.

 

Luke 11:29a-The people say that they “seek” for Jesus to give them a sign, a miracle of some kind, that will prove Who He is and that what He is saying is authoritative, being from God.  While the word “seek” can simply mean…

 

“to seek [in order to find out] by thinking, meditating, reasoning…to enquire into“; in this case it also carries the thought of “to seek, i.e. require, demand, to crave, demand something from someone” (http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2212&t=NASB, Vine’s Expository Dictionary).

 

…they weren’t really interested in Jesus performing a sign that would help them to understand the truth better.  Actually, they were demanding a display, an exhibition, a show.  They were more interested in the sign for it’s stimulation of their senses than for its explanation of their questions.  And the problem with performing signs for that affect…is that the sensation value quickly wears off and the people want yet another sign.  And each time it has to be bigger than the one before.  Jesus did perform signs.  He healed the sick.  He raised the dead back to life.  He performed many other signs.  But He did not do so in order to satisfy the lust of the people for a circus side-show.  When Jesus performed signs it served two purposes: 1.-To meet the physical and spiritual needs of the people He was ministering to.  He was sincerely interested in expressing God’s love for them.  2.-The signs that He performed provided authority and validation for His teachings.  They authenticated what He had to say.  The line of reasoning was…if He could perform such signs, such miracles in the power of God…then His teachings were also from God.  Jesus often left an area where He was performing signs…in order to go somewhere else where He could preach.

Luke 11:29b-32-Jesus says that this behavior is wicked and that He will not respond to their demands.  The only sign that He will provide for the sake of being a sign will be His death, burial, and resurrection.  He refers to this as “the sign of Jonah”, since they would be aware of the story of Jonah in which he was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights (cf. Matthew 12:38-41).  The sign of Jonah was a warning of coming judgment…and the people of Nineveh repented when they saw it and heard Jonah preach.  Jesus tells these people that, unlike the people of Nineveh, they will be held accountable for not repenting after hearing Him speak the truth.  The “Queen of the South” is a reference to the “queen of Sheba” (1 Kings 10:1-13), ruler of the Sabeans in the southern part of Arabia.  She traveled 1,200 miles on camelback to meet with King Solomon after hearing of his great wisdom.  After doing so, she said, “Blessed be the LORD your God who delighted in you…”.  The Jews have not responded in such a way to Jesus, so they will be held responsible for their inactions.

Luke 11:33-36-When you light a lamp, and have light by which to see, you don’t then hide it in a place where you cannot benefit from it.  But, you put it to work, you allow it to serve its purpose.  We receive light and wisdom, through the things we see (our eyes are like a lamp).  We must be careful to discern those things that are true (light), and those things that are false (darkness).  A lamp can give good light (bright), or bad light (dark).  Just like we are responsible to tend the lamp, we are responsible to tend what we see and believe.  To tend, discern light from dark, truth from falsehood.  The light (the truth) that we receive should affect every facet (“your whole body”) of your life.  If we have light, but fail to allow it to guide us…then we will suffer the consequences.

 

Luke 11:37-54               Resistance from the Pharisees and Lawyers

Luke 11:37-52-Jesus dines with a Pharisee, who is then critical because He does not follow their traditions.

 

For a detailed explanation of the Pharisee’s practice of ceremonially washing their hands see:

(The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Alfred Eidersheim, http://biblehub.com/library/edersheim/the_life_and_times_of_jesus_the_messiah/chapter_xxxi_the_cavils_of.htm)

 

He then chastises them, “Woe to you Pharisees…lawyers”, because you are only concerned with your appearance, not your true condition.  They were concerned about washing the outside.  He was concerned about cleansing the inside.  Jesus reprimands (this is the significance of the word “Woe”) the Pharisees and Lawyers because they: 1.- (:39-41) are only concerned with outer appearances, the technicalities and observations of the keeping of the Law, and not the inner life of the heart, the real reason for the law; 2.- (:42) focus on things, not people; 3.- (:43) see themselves as more important than others; 4.- (:44-45) cause others to be like them.  To step on a grave, even unknowingly, caused a person to be ceremonially unclean and defiled (cf. Numbers 19:16).  Jesus says that without even realizing it…people who follow the false teachings of the lawyers are becoming as unacceptable to God, as they are.  One of the lawyers was insulted when he realized that everything Jesus was saying about the Pharisees also applied to them since they received much of their training from the Pharisees; 5.- (:46) so Jesus responds to the lawyers, as well, and says that they impose laws on people and then not help them to fulfill them; 6.- (:47) claim to follow God’s teachings (prophets), and yet honor the very ones who killed them; 7.- (:52) they have perverted the truth and prevented others from being able to know it.

Luke 11:53-54-From that time forward the Pharisees tried to catch Jesus in some theological error so that they might condemn Him.

Prayer: Lord, please help me to see the truth, unfiltered, unhindered.  Give me Your wisdom and discernment…to know light from darkness.

 

 

April 9

 

Luke 12:1-34

 

The Teaching for Kingdom Members by the Son of Man     Luke 12:1-19:27

Luke 12:1-12                 The Confession They Make

 

Luke 12:1-12-If we are not careful, we allow the chapter break to stop the flow of thought that is present here.  Notice…Jesus has just chastised the Pharisees for their wrong attitudes and actions.  It is a very direct, intense time and the response of the Pharisees is extremely antagonistic.  Verse one then says, “Under these circumstances…”.  First of all, the circumstances that He is speaking of is what just happened in chapter 11.  But second, Luke continues the sentence and says, “after so many had gathered together that they were stepping on one another…”.   Here is the flip side.  While the Pharisees were rejecting Jesus, the common people were flocking to Him in great numbers.  Jesus now warns the disciples about the Pharisees…that they are going to seek to discredit and destroy them, in the same way that they are seeking to do to Him.  Eventually, the disciples will become the object of their wrath.  His purpose is to strengthen the disciples for this coming assault so that they will remain faithful when it comes.  In particular, He speaks to them about their heart, their intentions for what they do.  Don’t be like the Pharisees, who are hypocrites…because they say they believe one thing, and then do another.  This is “leaven”, sin.  He tells them that one day everything will be revealed, and that it is more important to be concerned about what God thinks, that what man thinks.  Even the most minute of details will be known by God (:2-3).  When that time of persecution arrives, remember, it is more important to honor God, than man…because while men may be able to affect your physical, temporal life (even end it), God is control of your spiritual, eternal life (:4-5).  Don’t allow the difficulties to make you think that God is not aware of what is happening.  He knows every single matter in your life (:6-7).  Let the fact that if you “confess” to men that you belong to Jesus…then one day, Jesus is going to “confess” to His Father that you belong to Him…be a source of confidence and faithfulness.  But also, be forewarned, that if you “deny” belonging to Him before men (refuse, reject), He will “deny” that you belong to Him, before the Father (:8-9).  The phrase “blasphemes the Holy Spirit” speaks of attributing the work of Jesus to Satan, an absolute, final, and total denial of the saving grace of God (for an explanation, cf. January 16, Matthew 12:31-33).  When you are persecuted, at that very moment, God will give you the words to speak.

 

Luke 12:13-34               The Treasures They Value

Luke 12:13-34-In response to a request by someone in the crowd, Jesus teaches the principle for determining the true values of life.

Jesus first issues a warning (:15a).  Summary: We should live with a cautious fear.  The word “beware” comes from a root word that literally means to stare at something, to carefully observe it.  In the form that it is used in this passage it means to see something with an understanding of its true nature, to perceive and know what it actually is, and not just what it appears to be.  The concern that Jesus is going to address here is not just a matter of having possessions, or even desiring good things in life.  The concern is greed.  Notice that Jesus says that greed can be hard to detect…because it comes in many different varieties, “every form of greed”.  We must be diligent in our efforts to carefully discern the true values of all that we deal with in life because there is so much as stake.

 

The word “greed” (NASV) is translated by Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words as “covet”.  It is a harsh word with dark, sinister overtones.

Covet, Covetous, Covetousness:

“covetousness,” lit., “a desire to have more” (pleon, “more,” echo, “to have”), always in a bad sense, is used in a general way in Mar 7:22 (plural, lit., “covetings,” i.e., various ways in which “covetousness” shows itself); Rom 1:29; Eph 5:3; 1Th 2:5. Elsewhere it is used,

(a) of material possessions, Luk 12:15; 2Pe 2:3; 2Cr 9:5 (RV, “extortion”), lit., “as (a matter of) extortion” i.e., a gift which betrays the giver’s unwillingness to bestow what is due;

(b) of sensuality, Eph 4:19, “greediness;” Col 3:5 (where it is called “idolatry”); 2Pe 2:14 (AV, “covetous practices”).
See EXTORTION.

Note: Cp. the corresponding verb pleonekteo, “to gain, take advantage of, wrong.” See ADVANTAGE, DEFRAUD, GAIN, B, Note (2), WRONG.

http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4124&t=NASB

 

Jesus then states the principle (:15).  Summary: We should live with the right focus. “for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions”.  You may have an abundance of worldly goods, but not possess what is necessary for true life…the treasures of Heaven.  The problem with greed is not that you have possessions, but that the possessions have you.  They control you because you cannot get enough…you always have to have more.  Jesus begins this teaching and ends this teaching with a statement of the principle.  He ends by saying, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Next, Jesus illustrates this principle with a parable (:16-21)Summary: We should live in light of the future.  It is a parable about greed commonly referred to as the Parable of the Rich Man…“So is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (:21).  This man was so consumed with making the provisions of his earthly life (food, clothes, etc.), that he had given no thought to making provision for his eternal life. In verse 17, Jesus said, “the man began reasoning to himself”.  In other words, he gave no attention to what God had to say…only to what he thought.  Notice the number of times the personal pronouns “I” and “my” are used in verses 18-19.  Being “rich toward God” means that you treasure His kingdom more than this life and world…verses 31-34 are a summary of this teaching.  This man had incorrectly estimated the capability of his possessions.  He thought that they could guarantee a long and happy life.  However, while they had the potential to add a certain quality to his life, they had no potential to affect the quantity of his life (:20,25,28).

Jesus demonstrates the principle by showing God’s provision for things of far less value to Him, than men (:22-28).  Summary: We should live as an act of faith.  He tells them that they have become infatuated by things of far less value…things that God will provide in their necessary degree.  In essence, our worry over and pursuit of the things of this world, reveal not only our lack of understanding of what is of true value, but also our lack of faith in God.  We are acting like the “nations of the world” (lost people), not those who call God their Father.

Jesus then explains the principle (:29-34).  Summary: We should live as with a loving Father.   Notice the words “anxious” (:23,25,26), “seek, eagerly seek” (:29,30), “worrying” (:29), and “afraid” (:32) in relation to the efforts to obtain for the things of this world…as opposed to having faith (:28) in God’s provision and to “seek” (:31) these things.  If it isn’t enough that we worry that we won’t have what we think that we need for life; but, when we once begin to accumulate those things, we are then worried that we are going to lose them.  We then go into overdrive in order to gain more and protect what we have gained.  The achievements of life become more important than the attainment of life.  Two keys: One, have faith in God’s loving provision for the things that we need in this life.  It is not that we shouldn’t be aware of the need, or that we do nothing to meet the need.  But, we don’t allow these things to dominate and become the priority of our lives.  Our loving Father is fully aware of these needs and we must learn to trust in Him and to access His provision (:29-30).  And two, seek the true treasures of God’s kingdom (:31-34).  These are the treasures that will last forever (:33).  What we value and treasure most in life…will determine the course of our life.

Prayer: Lord, show me what You value, that I may value it, too.  It isn’t that food and clothing are bad…it’s just that I should not be anxious or worried about them.  Help me to see them as the by-product of Your kingdom, not as the kingdom, itself.  And don’t let me deceive myself.

 

April 10

 

Luke 12:35-59

 

The Teaching for Kingdom Members by the Son of Man, cont’d.     Luke 12:1-19:27

 

Luke 12:35-48               The Faithfulness They Practice

Luke 12:35-59-Jesus tells the disciples that they should live their lives in readiness (i.e.-daily practicing the things He is teaching them).  He now tells three stories in a row to illustrate the importance of living in readiness.  Each successive story involves: 1.-more awareness of personal responsibility; 2.-an increased level of responsibility; 3.-more emphasis on the critical nature of being continuously ready; and 4.-greater reward or punishment.  Perhaps this is the answer to Peter’s question (:41).  Jesus was speaking to the disciples and to the rest of the people, as well.  Everyone is responsible for what has been revealed to them and will be held accountable to faithfully fulfill the Master’s will until the day He returns.  But, ignorance of His will not be an acceptable excuse for disobedience.  While the punishment will not be as intense, there will be punishment, none-the-less.

Luke 12:35-38-To illustrate this truth He first uses a story of a master who has left his household while he attends a wedding feast.  His servants do not know when he will return…so, they have to be ready for his return all of the time, continuously.  The “second watch” was from 9:00pm until midnight.  Notice key words that He uses to emphasize this attitude: verse 35-“dressed in readiness, lamps alight,” verse 36-“waiting, immediately”, verse 37-“alert”, verse 40-“ready”, verse 43-“doing so”.

Luke 12:39-He illustrates this same truth again, telling of a thief robbing a home.  You never know what time a thief will come, so you have to be prepared all of the time.  While being asleep when the master returns would be bad…allowing the house to be robbed because of apathy would be much worse.

Luke 12:40-41-Jesus then says that they need to be ready (as He had illustrated in these two stories)…because they will not know when He will return.  Peter is confused and asks if Jesus is directing His teaching just to the disciples, or to people in general.

Luke 12:42-Jesus uses a third story to illustrate what He is teaching.  This story is about a servant who has been put in charge of the rest of the servants.  When the master returns, if the servant is found to have been faithfully carrying out his duties, he will be blessed by being put in charge of the entire household.  However, if it is discovered that the servant had begun to take advantage of the master’s absence, had failed to fulfill his responsibilities, and abuses his privileges, then when the master returns he will be severely punished.  The more aware that a man is of his responsibility, the more accountable he will be held to fulfill it.

 

Luke 12:49-59               The Divisions They Cause

Luke 12:49-53-By “fire”, Jesus is speaking of judgment.  The “baptism” that He speaks of is His death.  Jesus tells the disciples that He will be the cause of division among people, even families.

Luke 12:54-59-Jesus tells them that they pay such close attention to the signs that reveal the conditions of the weather, and yet they don’t pay attention to the more important things…the signs that reveal to them the condition of their lives.  They need to pay attention to these signs…because one day they will have to give an account for their lives…and nothing will be left out.  Jesus also says that they are smart enough to try and settle a dispute with a neighbor before it reaches the point that it goes to court.  They know that once it goes to court, it is out of their hands and they have to accept the decision of the judge.  In a similar manner, they should correct their lives now…before they stand before God, the eternal judge.  Once it is in His hands…they will have no more opportunity to make changes.  They will have to make a payment for every wrong deed they have ever committed in their life…down to “the very last cent”.

Prayer: Lord, help me to live as if You were coming back today.  What would I do different?

 

April 11

 

Luke 13:1-21

 

The Teaching for Kingdom Members by the Son of Man, cont’d.     Luke 12:1-19:27

Luke 13:1-9                    The Necessity of Repentance

 

Luke 13:1-3-Some people came to Jesus and told him about a group of Galileans that had been killed by Pilate’s soldiers while they were making their sacrifices (there is no other record of this incident).  Evidently, their own blood and the blood of their sacrifices had become mixed.  Those telling Jesus assumed that because they had been killed while making their sacrifice that they were worse sinners than other people.  Like many people they may have wondered, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”  In this situation, it appears that they assumed that suffering is always directly proportionate to sinfulness.  Or as it is said, “You get what you deserve.”  Jesus quickly dismisses this incorrect thought.  Suffering and death did enter into the world as the result of sin.  So they were correct that there is a connection between moral evil and physical suffering.  However, for an individual, the proportion of suffering is not necessarily directly connected to the degree of sin.  Jesus knew that there was a danger that people might begin to think that because they had not suffered as much as others…that meant that they were better than others.  So, He said that the fact is that we are all sinners and must repent.  He redirected their thinking from the consequences of the sinfulness of others, to the responsibility for their own sinfulness.

Luke 13:4-5-To reinforce His point, Jesus tells of another similar incident and says again that all men must repent.

 

Tow in Siloam

Upon whom the tower in Siloam fell – The name Siloah or Siloam is found only three times in the Bible as applied to water – once in Isaiah 8:6, who speaks of it as running water; once as a pool near to the king’s garden in Nehemiah 3:15; and once as a pool, in the account of the Saviour’s healing the man born blind, in John 9:7-11. Josephus mentions the fountain of Siloam frequently as situated at the mouth of the Valley of Tyropoeon, or the Valley of Cheesemongers, where the fountain long indicated as that fountain is still found. It is on the south side of Mount Moriah, and between that and the Valley of Jehoshaphat. The water at present flows out of a small artificial basin under the cliff, and is received into a large reservoir 53 feet in length by 18 feet in breadth. The small upper basin or fountain excavated in the rock is merely the entrance, or rather the termination of a long and narrow subterranean passage beyond, by which the water comes from the Fountain of the Virgin. For what purpose the “tower” here referred to was erected is not known; nor is it known at what time the event here referred to occurred. It is probable that it was not far from the time when the Saviour made use of the illustration, for the manner in which he refers to it implies that it was fresh in the recollection of those to whom he spoke.

Barnes Notes on the Bible, http://biblehub.com/commentaries/luke/13-4.htm

 

Luke 13:6-9-Jesus tells a parable of a fig tree that does not bear fruit…and will be cut down if it does not.  Bearing fruit was the purpose of the tree and was the physical evidence that it was fulfilling its purpose.  Repentance is the evidence that we are fulfilling our purpose.  If there is no repentance…there will be judgment.

 

Luke 13:10-17               The Observance of the Sabbath

Luke 13:10-17-Jesus heals a woman who had been bent over double and could not even stand up straight for 18 years.  The sickness was “caused by a spirit” (:16-“Satan”).  This took place while Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on a Sabbath.  The woman began glorifying God…and the synagogue leader became upset.  What a difference of response.  Could it be that the leader was jealous?  How many years had he seen this woman come to the synagogue and he had done nothing?  The leader says there are six days in the week to do work, the Sabbath is a day of rest.  Jesus tells them that they have no problem giving their ox or donkey water on the Sabbath and by their own standards that constitutes work.  Shouldn’t this woman at least be given the benefit that their animals receive?  In fact, Jesus says that there is no better day in the week for her to be healed, than the Sabbath…because it is a day for worshipping God (:16).

 

Luke 13:18-21               The Expansive Growth of the Kingdom

Luke 13:18-21-Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed…then to leaven.  In both instances, what started small grew to become much larger.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for saving me, the sinner.  It is easy to judge others as being greater sinners than myself.  And yet, from what You say here we are all sinners and all in need of salvation.  Please help me to make Your way of salvation known to all people, from all places.

 

April 12

 

Luke 13:22-35

 

The Teaching for Kingdom Members by the Son of Man, cont’d.     Luke 12:1-19:27

 

Luke 13:22-30               The Only Entrance to Join the Kingdom

Luke 13:22-30-Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem.  Someone questions if many people will be saved.  To be saved means to be a part of the kingdom of God (:29).  In response, Jesus gives us several vital details about how we are saved:

  • The path is narrow (:24)…meaning only one way, not many (John 14:6) that lead there. Many will try to go there, but will not make it, they will fail…1.-because they try to use a different path (they will want to be saved by their own works, through another religion, etc.); 2.-because they begin the journey, but don’t finish (“strive” means “to endeavour with strenuous zeal, strive: to obtain something”…it speaks of the fact that those that are truly saved will not only begin down the narrow path of salvation, but will continue down the narrow path their entire life, http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G75&t=KJV).
  • There will come a time when the opportunity to enter in will end (:25)…this is a frightful warning to those who think that they will wait until later to be saved, when they are ready. Jesus says that God knows their heart and their reasoning and there will come a time when He will close the door, remove the offer of salvation.  Man does not dictate to God either how, or when he will be saved.  God is not to be mocked.
  • It isn’t enough to just listen or be a part of a “Christian crowd”. You must make a personal decision to receive Christ.  How many people have been part of a church youth group, gone to Sunday School, attended church services…but never received Christ (:26-27)?
  • There will be sorrow for those who do not enter (:28)…they will be “cast out”.
  • People from all over the world will be there (:29).
  • Your importance here does not qualify you to go there, or determine your importance there (:30).

 

Luke 13:31-35               The Fate of Jerusalem

Luke 13:31-32-Some Pharisees apparently try to scare Jesus off from coming to Jerusalem by telling Him that Herod is going to kill Him.  Jesus tells them that He is going to keep on doing what He is doing…and then makes a reference to His death.

Luke 13:33-35-Jesus prophesies the destruction of the Temple…and His own second coming.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for saving me…for providing the way for me to be saved…for giving me the faith to accept Jesus.  Help me now, Lord, to lead others to You.  And Lord, please give me discernment that I might know the real intentions of people.  These Pharisees tried to make it appear that they were helping Jesus…when in reality, they were just trying to accomplish their own desires.  Don’t let me be deceived…even by those that seem to be well-intentioned.

 

April 13

 

Luke 14:1-24

 

The Teaching for Kingdom Members by the Son of Man, cont’d.     Luke 12:1-19:27

Luke 14:1-6                    The Observance of the Sabbath

 

Luke 14:1-6-Jesus eats in the home of a Pharisee.  Evidently, the Pharisees had invited some other Pharisees to join them because it says, “they were watching Him closely”.  Notice the plural “they”.  The word “watch” doesn’t mean that they were simply looking at Him, but that they were observing Him closely in hopes of His making a mistake and their catching Him.

 

Observation, Observe

“to watch closely, observe narrowly” (para, used intensively, and No. 2), is translated “ye observe” in Gal 4:10, where the Middle Voice suggests that their religious observance of days, etc. was not from disinterested motives, but with a view to their own advantage.

Watch (Noun and Verb), Watchers, Watchful, Watchings:

“to observe,” especially with sinister intent (para, “near,” and No. 2), is rendered “to watch” in Mar 3:2; Luk 6:7; 14:1; 20:20; Act 9:24.

(http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3906&t=KJV, Vine’s Expository Dictionary)

 

While there, Jesus notices a man who has “dropsy” (a disease that causes the body to swell due to retention of excessive fluid).  He asks the Pharisees if it was legal (in their thinking) to heal on the Sabbath.  They do not respond.  So, He heals the man.  Jesus then accuses them by saying that if they had a child or an animal that fell into a well on the Sabbath they would pull it out…but they would not help this man.  There is no excuse that they can come up with, so they just sit there in silence.

 

Luke 14:7-11                 The Personal Practice of Humility

Luke 14:7-11-As Jesus looks around, He notices that when the guests arrived they would try to position themselves in the best seats in the house.  As if they deserved those seats more than anyone else.  Jesus takes this as an opportunity to teach about humility.  Don’t try to exalt yourself, be humble and allow God to determine your status.  If you don’t, it could lead to an embarrassing situation if someone who is more important than you are arrives and you are asked to move so that he can have your seat.  It would be far better if the host saw you and invited you to sit closer to the head of the table.  The principle to remember is that if you seek to exalt yourself, you are setting yourself up for embarrassment.  On the other hand, if you are worthy of being recognized, how much better it will be when someone else brings attention to it.

 

Luke 14:12-14               The Respect for All People

Luke 14:12-14-Jesus tells His host that when he has a party…invite people who cannot repay him…then God will repay him at the resurrection.  No one can bless…like God can bless!

 

Luke 14:15-24               The Invitation to Join the Kingdom

Luke 14:15-24-A man at the party commented that it will be a blessing for everyone who eats in the kingdom of God.  His remark seemed to be so pious, so righteous…but it was actually just an attempt to defray the point of Jesus’ remark.  As if the man thought that it wasn’t necessary to worry about the poor, cripple, lame and blind, now.  They will have their chance for better things in God’s kingdom (Heaven), so we shouldn’t be too overly concerned with them, now.  Jesus seizes the moment to tell a parable about those who are invited to enter the kingdom of God.  He tells about a man who gave a big dinner party, many guests were invited.  However, not everyone responded to the invitation.  Those first invited have various excuses for not coming…

  • I have bought some land and I need to go look at it (:18)
  • I have bought some oxen and I am trying them out (:19)
  • I have just gotten married (:20).

So, the host sends out an invitation to people he did not even know (:21), but there is still room for more people.  Notice who he tells his servant to bring…the poor, crippled, blind and lame.  These are the same ones that Jesus had told the host that he should invite to his parties.  Finally, the host tells his servants to expand the search and “compel” (:23) people to come.  The point of the parable is that we should treat people the same way on earth, as we anticipate they will be treated in Heaven.  And, He concludes by saying that those who are invited but do not respond will not be allowed to participate.  Once the party has begun in Heaven…the doors will be shut and there will be no second chance.  As we found in the previous chapter (13:22-30).  You don’t play games with God.  When you receive His invitation to Heaven, you had better respond quickly in a positive manner.  Time could run out for you and you will miss your chance, altogether.  Make sure that you arrive on time!

Prayer: Lord, help me to not just love those who will love me back, or pay me back, or can do something for me.  Please help me to love everyone equally.  And Lord, please help me to always respond to You in the appropriate manner and time.  Don’t let me be satisfied with lame excuses for not doing so.

 

April 14

 

Luke 14:25-35

 

The Teaching for Kingdom Members by the Son of Man, cont’d.     Luke 12:1-19:27

Luke 14:25-35               The Requirements to Join the Kingdom

 

Luke 14:25-32-Many people were beginning to follow Jesus…so, He takes time to clearly establish the extent of the commitment necessary if they were going to continue to follow Him…

(:26)-love Him more than anyone else;

(:27)-take up our own cross (in other words, be willing to die to anything, to give up anything, that would inhibit our ability to follow Him);

(:28-30)-be willing to continue through to the end, knowing ahead of time what the cost is;

(:31-32)-be willing to give everything that you have in order to so.

Luke 14:33-35-He then uses salt as an illustration of total commitment.  Salt is only good as long as it remains salty.  In a similar way, our commitment is no good if it is not good to the end.  Partial commitment is no commitment at all.  Like salt that has lost its flavor…commitment that fails to follow through is worthless.  Also, if salt loses its saltiness…is there anything that can salt, salt?  In other words, once it has lost its saltiness there is little that can be done to restore it.  Even so, once a person has lost their commitment…there is little that can be done to restore it.  It must be decided and settled once and for all, in the beginning, on the front end.  There is no room for partial commitment.  You cannot try being committed to Christ for a while to see how it goes…and then decide whether to remain, or not.  It is all, or nothing.  Beginning to end.

Prayer: Lord, I confess to You that it can be hard to be faithful…there are so many distractions, so many temptations, so many struggles that I must face.  Holy Spirit, please strengthen me.  This is not something that I can do on my own.  And when I think I can…I realize that I am in danger of being proud, and self-sufficient.

 

April 15

 

Luke 15:1-10

 

The Teaching for Kingdom Members by the Son of Man, cont’d.     Luke 12:1-19:27

Luke 15:1-32                 The Love of God for All People

 

Luke 15:1-2-Tax gatherers and sinners were coming to Jesus and the Pharisees (the religious, self-righteous people) were complaining that He received them and spent time with them.  These were not respectable people…they were people with a disgraceful history, scandalous people.  Certainly, these were not the kind of people that a Rabbi should be entertaining.  Or, so they thought.  Jesus then tells them a parable of being lost and found (15:4-32).  The parable teaches that God rejoices over those who are lost…when they are restored to Him.  He tells the parable by using three illustrations of things that have been lost, and then found…1 out of 100 sheep (:4), 1 out of 10 coins (:8), 1 out of 2 sons (:12).  His intention is to teach the Pharisees that God is pleased when these tax gatherers and sinners are found…when they are restored to God.  But He knows that the Pharisees have a negative opinion towards them.  So, He begins by first giving two illustrations that they will have no problem with…sheep and money.  Having agreed that the owner will indeed rejoice when they are found…He then tells the story of the lost son.  They will agree with this, as well.  But, included in this illustration is a second son, the older brother…and this son is not happy that the father is receiving the wayward son back.  The second son represents the Pharisees and their attitude towards the tax gatherers and sinners.  The father (who represents God’s perspective) corrects the thinking of the son…and in so doing, indirectly shows the Pharisees the error in their thinking.  While the younger son was wrong in what he had done, the older son was just as wrong in his self-righteous attitude, judgmental behavior and unwillingness to forgive that he exhibited towards his brother.  It is interesting that Jesus does not tell us if the second son ever changed his mind.  Instead, He left him in the story at the very point that the Pharisees were at…with the responsibility to accept the father’s correction and repent, or to continue in their wrong attitudes.

Luke 15:3-7-The parable of the lost sheep.  Jesus is intentionally directing this story directly to the Pharisees by saying, “What man among you…”  In other words, let’s not allow this story to be too ambiguous…but think of it as if this was your sheep that had been lost.  Even the story itself would play to the Pharisees sense of self-righteousness.  They probably looked at each other piously and nodded, as if saying, “Oh, absolutely.  That is the right thing to do and that is exactly what I would do.  And you could count on me to keep looking until I found it.  No matter how long it took!”  And notice, this shepherd is not shy about telling others that he is glad that the rebellious sheep has been brought back.  He even calls together his friends and tells them.  He wants everyone to know what has happened.  Can you see the folks gathered there, including the Pharisees?  They are nodding their heads in approval.  It was a good story.  Then, very quickly, Jesus makes His point (:7)…God is just as pleased when a sinner repents as that shepherd was that his sheep had been found.  And notice, He adds that the repentance of this one sinner brings more joy to God than “ninety-nine righteous person who need no repentance”.  These ninety-nine only think that they have no need to repent.  The very fact that they see themselves as having no need of repentance tells us that they are deceived and do need to repent…because no one is without sin.  They have become utterly deceived.

Luke 15:8-10-The parable of the lost coin.  Jesus quickly continues with another story.  He doesn’t give the Pharisees time to dwell on what He has just said about sinners…and to begin to construct their argument against it.  Without hesitation, He now tells a parable about a woman who loses a silver coin.  Remember, women were not highly respected in their culture (their testimony was not even acceptable in the court of law).  So, perhaps playing on their male ego just a little, it’s as if Jesus is saying that even a woman would recognize the truth that I am telling you here.  Once again, great value is placed on that which is lost and the woman will not be deterred from her search until she finds and restores the lost coin.  And when she does…she too gathers together her friends and neighbors and they rejoice with her.  Probably most of the people listening had lost something of value at some time, or another, and then later found it.  The story struck a cord in each and every heart as they remembered the feelings of that time in their own life.  And once again, they are all nodding in approval…at the persistence of the woman, and at the joy over something lost being restored.  Without missing a breath, while they are still smiling at each other, Jesus again speaks of the joy in heaven when a sinner repents, and is restored to God.  This time the angels get involved in the rejoicing…and who would argue with an angel!

Prayer: Lord, help me to receive those that are seemingly unfit in the eyes of society…even our church society.  Help me Lord, to see people through Your eyes.

 

April 16

 

Luke 15:11-32

 

The Teaching for Kingdom Members by the Son of Man, cont’d.     Luke 12:1-19:27

Luke 15:1-32                 The Love of God for All People, cont’d.

 

Luke 15:3-10-In these verses, Jesus told two illustrations, two stories, one about a man and another about a woman.  Both had lost something…diligently searched for it, found it, and then restored it.  In both of these stories…just as His listeners were smiling at the “happy ending” and nodding to each other in approval…Jesus had said that in the same way that there is joy on earth when something lost is restored, so there is joy in Heaven when a sinner (someone who has lost their way from God, someone who is far from God) repents.  These stories, and the lesson that they contain, are directed towards the Pharisees.  Previously, they had been critical of Jesus because He was associating with tax gatherers and sinners.  Jesus tells these stories to illustrate that instead, they should be rejoicing because these people are turning to God.  After all, that is exactly what happens in Heaven.

Luke 15:11-32-The parable of the prodigal son.  Once again, Jesus wastes no time in-between His stories.  He doesn’t allow the Pharisees to have the opportunity to develop excuses for their behavior, or arguments for their attitudes.  They were beginning to be uneasy with the direction that this teaching of Jesus was going.  Quickly, Jesus now tells the third story in His parable about being lost and found.  In this story, we find a new element introduced.  Neither the sheep, nor the coin had the mental capacity to realize what they were doing.  In fact, it appears that the shepherd and the woman lost the sheep and the coin through their own negligence.  But now, the son, the one who would be lost, makes a decision of his own that leads to his predicament.  He is responsible for what happens to him.  This is made clear by his continuing to make bad decisions…not just to leave home, but literally to throw his inheritance away through “loose living”.

 

“loose” (NASV), “riotous” (KJV) comes from the Greek word “asotia”, which means…

Having no hope of safety; extravagant squandering, dissoluteness, prodigality…An asotos, a prodigal, is one who spends too much, who slides easily under the fatal influence of flatterers and the two patients with which he has surrounded himself into spending freely on his own lusts and appetites. Asotia is a dissolute, debauched, profligate manner of living…Lawless insolence and unmanageable caprice.

(The Complete Word Study Dictionary New Testament, Spiros Zodhiates, p. 284)

 

It is worth noting here that the father was not required to give his son his share of the inheritance.

 

But the prodigal son went even further. Not only did he ask for his inheritance, which was bad enough, but he did something that was utterly unthinkable and downright illegal. He sold his inheritance in a hurry, took the money and skipped town.

Was it really that bad?  Indeed it was. The Jewish Mishna, which was probably developing in the time of Jesus, gives this rule: “If one assign in writing his estate to his son to become his after his death, the father cannot sell it since it is conveyed to his son, and the son cannot sell it because it is under the father’s control” (Baba Bathra viii.7). Even if a father decided to divide up his property among his heirs, neither the father nor the heirs could dispose of the property while the father was still alive.

(http://www.crivoice.org/inheritance.html)

 

As is often the occasion, it appears that the son’s life quickly got out of control.  Matters got far worse than he had ever anticipated.  Before long, all of his money is gone and he is working for a pig farmer.  A pig farmer!  Jews despised pigs…and Jews doubly despised pig farmers.  Life could not get much worse.  But it did.  The word “attached” literally means “to be glued together”, and it is in the passive voice, meaning that it was something done to him.  His life is out of his control.  He is probably not only out of money, but is now in debt.  So, to pay his debt, he has been forcibly employed…against his own will.  Life continues in a downward spiral.  No one was willing to help him and without any money, he had now become so hungry.  His empty stomach ached, and feeling like he was starving, he began to look at the “pods” (the husks, the leftover pig food and slop) that the pigs were eating…and for just a moment he thought about digging in!  Then, “he came to his senses”.  It didn’t have to be this way.  Even the men that his father hired as day workers had it better than this.  That was it.  He would return home…confess his sin to his father…and plead with him to just hire him as one of those workers.  After an arduous journey (made difficult both because of his empty stomach and his wounded ego) the day came when he was approaching home.  It is interesting that his father saw him “while he was still a long way off”.  A loving father…standing by the roadside.  The very road that his son had taken when he left home.  How many times had he stood there…with a worried face and a heavy heart and looked down that long, winding road that led to a “distant country” where his son had disappeared?  He knew only too well what dangers lay there.  This time, in the distance…he sees a figure slowly walking towards him.  There is something familiar about it.  The gait, the stride.  “It looks like…but that man is so dirty, so filthy.  It couldn’t be…could it?  Could it be?  Is that my son?  Has he returned?”  I love the next words.  Read them slowly, deliberately…and realize that Jesus is using this earthly father to portray the love of our Heavenly Father.  “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him, and kissed him.”  Thank you, Lord.  Thank You, that when I was still far from You and could do nothing on my own…You took the initiative, You came, and You rescued me.  The son tried to make his request.  But the father had other plans.  And it had nothing to do with this hired worker business.  He intended to restore his son fully and completely in their relationship…father and son.  That’s what the robe, and the ring, and the sandals are all about.  And just to make sure that there was no mistaking what he was doing…he threw a big party where he would have an opportunity to make his decision public.

 

(22) Bring forth the best robe.—It is hardly necessary, perhaps, in such a parable, to press the symbolic interpretation of each minute detail; but in this instance the symbolism lies so near the surface that it is at least well to ask ourselves what meaning either earlier or later associations would lead the disciples to attach to them. The “best robe” cannot well be other than the “garment of praise” (Isaiah 61:3), the vesture of righteousness, the new life and immortality with which it is the desire of the penitent to be clothed upon; the ring, as the signet upon the right hand (Jeremiah 22:24), must be the token of the special favour of the Giver, the seal of his “calling and election;” the shoes must answer to that “preparation” or “readiness” which comes from the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15), and which makes him eager to do his work as a messenger who proclaims that gospel to others, and which he need not lay aside (comp. Exodus 3:5) even when he treads on the “holy ground” where man holds communion with God, the forgiven and restored son with the Eternal Father.

Elliot’s Commentary for English Readers, http://biblehub.com/commentaries/luke/15-22.htm

 

For an excellent and more detailed explanation of the spiritual meaning of each of these pieces of clothing see:

MacLaren’s Expositions, http://biblehub.com/commentaries/luke/15-22.htm

 

In the two previous stories, Jesus had only vaguely alluded to the Pharisees.  In this third story, He is much more direct.  There is another son, an elder son, and he represents the Pharisees and scribes…in their attitudes about receiving back those who have sinned.  The older son felt it was not right that the younger son should be so readily received back after all that he had done.  And, he felt that he had not been fairly treated.  After all, he had never done the things that this brother had done…and yet, his father had never thrown a party for him.  The Pharisees would immediately recognize that Jesus is identifying them with the older son.  They too felt that it was unfair that those who had sinned should be so readily received back by Jesus…certainly there should be some penalty for their behavior.  And undoubtedly, they would feel that they should be awarded more appreciation since they had never sinned like those sinners had.  The problem though, is that they revealed in this very attitude the sin of pride that was as bad as the sin that the ones they were condemning had committed.  They felt they deserved something more because they were not such bad sinners…and in this attitude the sin of their self-righteousness was exposed.  The father is patient with his older son…calling him “my child”.  He tells him that he has always had the opportunity to enjoy the privileges of being his son.  And nothing has changed.  But his younger brother was “dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found”.  Surely, such a wonderful event necessitated that they “be merry and rejoice”.  Jesus has made it clear that God joyfully receives sinners when they repent.  And, that we should have the same attitude.

Prayer: Lord, please forgive me when I judge others and yet fail to judge myself rightly.  Please help me to assist people to return to you.  No matter how far they have wandered.  And, help me to rejoice when people return to You.

 

April 17

 

Luke 16:1-18

 

The Teaching for Kingdom Members by the Son of Man, cont’d.     Luke 12:1-19:27

Luke 16:1-31                 The Practice of Wealthy Living

 

Luke 16:1-9-Jesus tells the disciples a parable about a man who was an employee that managed the financial affairs of another man.

 

“steward”

The manager of household or of household affairs… esp. a steward, manager, superintendent (whether free-born or as was usually the case, a freed-man or a slave) to whom the head of the house or proprietor has entrusted the management of his affairs, the care of receipts and expenditures, and the duty of dealing out the proper portion to every servant and even to the children not yet of age.

(http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3623&t=NASB)

 

The employee was doing a poor job of handling his employer’s money.  The word “squandering” is the same word that Jesus used in the Parable of the Prodigal Son (15:13), “he squandered his estate”.    The Greek word literally means “to scatter” and is used in other passages to speak of a farmer scattering seed (Matthew 25:24) and a herd of sheep being scattered (Mark 14:27).  In this context it means that the man was not being diligent, meticulous and attentive to the employers money…it was being scattered because of negligence.  The employer told him to prepare to give an account of the finances that he was responsible for managing because he was about to be fired.  The employee became very worried.  His body was to weak to do manual labor, and his ego was too strong to ask for help.  So, he came up with a scheme.  The employee went to all of the people who owed his employer money and settled accounts with them for only a fraction of what they actually owed.  When the employer found out he told him that he had done a good job at the end…finding a way to get at least part of what was owed back and not losing everything…and, doing something that would provide for his own future.  One commentary (Ryrie, :8) says that the employer did not praise him for his dishonesty, but for “using his present to prepare for the future”…which is what the parable is teaching.  Jesus then applies the employer’s remark about the employee to people who are going to Heaven, “for the sons of this age (the people of the world that the employee represents) are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light (those that are going to Heaven).“  Verse 9 tells us to use the material things of this world (money, etc.) as a resource, or investment opportunity to prepare for Heaven.  What we do with what we have on earth will have an affect upon us in Heaven.

Luke 16:10-13-Jesus tells the disciples that a person who is faithful with a little can be trusted with more; and accordingly, the person who is not faithful with a little can not be trusted with more.  The little He is referring to here are the things of this world (“unrighteous mammon”), and the much (“true riches”) are the things of Heaven.  The things of this world do not really belong to us, but to God…and they are entrusted to us to manage so that God can determine what we shall be given to truly own in Heaven.  The guiding principle is to remember that God is the owner and He determines the value and use of things on earth (:13).  You have to determine for yourself that you are going to serve God with the things you have on earth, and to not misvalue the things of earth and wind up serving them, instead.  You will serve one or the other, God or the possessions…you cannot serve the both.

Luke 16:14-18-The Pharisees were “scoffing” at Him…they were laughing at Him, ridiculing what He was saying.  After all, who did this simple carpenter from Nazareth think He was to lecture them on principles of financial management?  Jesus responds to them by saying that they are the ones who don’t understand God’s principles of financial management.  Before John the Baptist the Law was in effect, but now that the Good News of the Kingdom has been proclaimed, everyone wants to get in.  However, the Good News doesn’t mean that the true purpose of the Law is no longer in effect…sin is still sin, the true purpose of the Law was to point that out…and it still does so.  Divorce and remarriage was an act of adultery before John (as the Law declared) and it still is.  Jesus says that the Pharisees (:15) have ways that they try to argue themselves around the Law…so that they appear to be good to people (even when they are sinning).  And yet, God knows the true condition of their hearts.  As in verse 13, they value and serve the things and people of this world…more than God.  They are willing to ignore the Law…in order to receive the approval of men.

Prayer: Lord, please help me to value this life from Your perspective.  Don’t let me deceive myself.  Lord, the things of this world seem so close, so immediate, so real, so tangible…that it is easy to allow them to have an inappropriate value and meaning in my life.  Lord, I need to know Your presence with me every moment of the day…so that I don’t become too comfortable, and too familiar with the things of this world…and begin to misvalue them…and begin to live as if this life is all that there is.  I get so busy with this life…that I allow it to begin to control me.  Their reality can seem more actual, and more important…than Yours…because it seems easier to recognize them…I can see them, and touch them, and see the immediate result of what they can do.  Help me to always remember the temporary, transient nature of the things of this world…and to value those things that will last forever.

 

April 18

 

Luke 16:19-31

 

The Teaching for Kingdom Members by the Son of Man, cont’d.     Luke 12:1-19:27

Luke 16:1-31                 The Practice of Wealthy Living, cont’d.

 

Jesus has been speaking about what our true values should be.  This began when the Pharisees and scribes were criticizing Him because He so willingly received “tax-gatherers and sinners”.  They were quick to acknowledge what they believed to be the value of money and worldly possessions…but failed miserably to recognize the greater value of people, all people…even sinful people.  So, Jesus told a parable (15:1-32) that had three stories in it…each speaking of the value of something that had been lost, and then found.  The third story is what we refer to as the Parable of the Prodigal Son.  The younger of two sons was the prodigal.  He had wrong values, realized his error, and repented (he represented the tax-gatherers and sinners).  The older brother had wrong values, as well, but did not repent (he represented the Pharisees).  The intent of this parable-in-three-parts…was to reveal God’s love for that which is lost, that being lost people.  And, God’s joy when they are returned.  Next, Jesus told the Parable of the Unfaithful Steward (who was judged for mishandling funds).  The intent of this parable was to demonstrate that our life on earth has an affect on our life in Heaven.  Keeping in mind the context of this teaching…we are aware that Jesus is still teaching about the value of people.  So, the way that we treat people here in this life, will have a direct affect upon how we are treated in Heaven.  He then accused the Pharisees of bending the law so that it appeared to benefit them…because “they were lovers of money” (:14-18).  His point…they may fool other people by their outward appearances of piety, but God knows the heart and He is perfectly aware of their true values, motives, and ambitions (:19).  They could twist and distort the teachings of the “Law and the Prophets” all that they wanted to…in order to justify their actions…to enable them to use people for their own benefit (:18)…but in the end, those teachings will remain the same (:17) and ultimately they will be judged by them according to God’s interpretation.  What you do in this earthly life, will have an affect in your eternal life.

Luke 16:19-31-Jesus now tells a parable about money…and wrongly valuing it more than anything else, especially people.  It is a parable about a rich man and a poor man (named Lazarus)…both of them died.  Notice how dramatically Jesus distinguishes between the situations of the two men while they were on earth.  The one man was “rich”, he “habitually” dressed in the finest of clothing, “gaily” living “every” day.  On the other hand, the “poor” man was “laid” at the gate (being so weak and overcome by hunger and sickness that he was unable to even get there by himself), “covered” with sores (quite a distinction from what covered the rich man), “longing” for the bare minimum of food just to survive, and even worse, his life was in constant threat as the “dogs” wandering the streets were relentlessly waiting for him to die so that they could make a meal of him.  Both received the results of what they valued on earth…Lazarus went to Heaven, and the rich man went to Hades (Hell).

 

(Ryrie)

16:23  in Hades.  The unseen world in general, but specifically here the abode of the unsaved dead between death and judgment at the great white throne (Rev. 20:11-15)…In this saying, the Lord taught: (1) conscious existence after death; (2) the reality of torment in hell; (3) no second chance after death; and (4) the impossibility of the dead communicating with the living (v. 26).  The two men in this story illustrate two different lives, two different deaths, and two different destinations.

 

In Hades, the rich man recognized Abraham from “far away”…he was in Heaven.  We are not told how this is possible…but it is a disturbing thought that those who go to Hell will be aware of Heaven, and be unable to do anything to change their fate (this awareness could be one of the worst punishments of Hell).  The rich man appeals to Abraham for help.  Abraham told him that he had “received” (got what he valued) on earth…but when Lazarus had come to him for help he did not help him.  This showed the rich man’s true values…he had valued possessions, over people.  Now, Lazarus is being “comforted” in Heaven.  In other words…there are those in Heaven who are doing the very things that the rich man should have done on earth.  For both of them, their present situation is eternal (:26).  The rich man then pleads with Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his brothers about Hell.  But, Abraham tells the rich man that the Scriptures are adequate for people to know what is to come, and what to do about it (:27-31).

Prayer: Lord, there are so many people around me that I could help.  Please show me how to help them in the most effective manner with what You have entrusted to me.  And Lord, please help me to always value people over possessions.

 

April 19

 

Luke 17:1-19

 

The Teaching for Kingdom Members by the Son of Man, cont’d.     Luke 12:1-19:27

Luke 17:1-6                    The Practice of Forgiveness

 

Luke 17:1-2-Jesus warns the disciples to be wary of people (“stumbling blocks”) who would keep them from truly following His teachings.  God’s judgment for those people that cause others to stumble (to not follow through in their faith) will be decisive and harsh.  It is one thing for an individual to be unfaithful, but it is much worse for that person to cause others to also not be faithful.

Luke 17:3-6-Jesus then tells them that if a “brother sins” (even over and over, again)…presumably because of one of the “stumbling blocks” that he has just mentioned…to forgive him.  The disciples realize how hard this would be (humanly speaking) and say to Him, “Increase our faith!”  Perhaps, this faith is to keep them from stumbling, as well as to forgive those who do.  Jesus tells them that if they had faith the size of a “mustard seed” (a very small seed)…that they could tell a “mulberry tree” (which has large, deep roots) to be uprooted and planted in the sea.  In other words, it’s not the size of the faith that counts…but the size of what that faith is placed in that makes the difference.  They have adequate faith…what they need is obedience…which is what Jesus explains, next.

 

Luke 17:7-10                 The Attitude for Service

Luke 17:7-10-He tells them that in the same way that a servant does what his master tells him…they are to do what He tells them.  The servant is not then congratulated for something he has done (as in having a lot of faith)…but, he has simply done what was expected of him.  In the same way, they are not congratulated because they have exhibited great faith (and done something that they can receive thanks and applause for)…they have simply trusted in the command of the Lord and been obedient to what He has said.  They “have done only that which we ought to have done.”

 

Luke 17:11-19               The Attitude of Gratitude

Luke 17:11-19-As Jesus is gong to Jerusalem, 10 lepers approach Him.  They request that He heal them.  He tells them to go to the Priest and show themselves to him.  At this point, there is no apparent healing.  But a leper would only go to the Priest if he had been healed and wanted the Priest to certify it.  The lepers left and headed for the Priest.  It was an act of faith in Jesus…that they would be healed.

 

For a description of leprosy see:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v2/n3/the-disease-that-shuns

For an explanation of the Priest’s role when a leper was healed see:

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0012_0_12153.html

 

Notice then it says, “And it came about that as they were going, they were cleansed.”   I wonder, how far had they traveled before they were cleansed?  We don’t know, but all of a sudden…it happened!  Fingers, eyelids, lips, noses, ears…parts of their bodies that had the appearance of rotting meat…were suddenly whole and healthy.  Can you imagine the emotions that must have flooded their hearts?  Can you hear them shouting and whooping in sheer joy as they run down the road towards Jerusalem?  What must people along the road have thought?  Ten men…lepers from the appearance of their clothing…running down the road dancing and shouting.  What is the world coming too?  Then one of them stopped.  He knew that he had a religious duty to go to the Priest before he could be officially proclaimed healed.  That would come.  He would do that.  But for the moment, there was something more important…Someone more important.  He turned around and went back to Jesus.  This leper, this “former” leper…got it right.  He glorifies God for being healed.  And he thanks the Son of God, for healing him.  When Jesus sees him, He is disappointed that only one out of the ten got it right.  And this one…this one was a Samaritan, not even a Jew.  Then Jesus looked at him and said, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”  It is a wonderful truth of the Gospel, that God is more interested in where we are going, than where we have come from.

Prayer: Lord, help me to be obedient to You…and to not think that I have to have more faith.  If I am not careful, I would turn the tables and even make faith the result of something that I have done…and try to get credit for it.  And Lord, please help me to always remember to take time to give You praise for what You have done in my life.

 

April 20

 

Luke 17:20-37

 

The Teaching for Kingdom Members by the Son of Man, cont’d.     Luke 12:1-19:27

Luke 17:20-21               The Current Presence of the Kingdom

 

Luke 17:20-The Pharisees question Jesus concerning when the Kingdom of God would come.  He tells them that there would not be physical signs…because the kingdom of God “is in your midst” (:21).  By this Jesus was telling them that it was already there, they just did not recognize it…because they did not recognize Him, or Who He is.  Jesus then tells His disciples what will happen prior to the revealing of the Son of Man.  They will be carrying on with life as always, not expecting anything to happen.

 

Luke 17:22-37               The Coming Presence of the Kingdom

Before much time passes, He will not be with them…and they will longingly remember the time they had with Him (:22).  Then, they will long for His return.  However, don’t get caught up in all of the talk about signs saying that He has returned.  When it happens, there will be no doubt about it (:23-24).  Before the kingdom of God can truly be established, He must first be rejected by His own people (the Jews) and be crucified (:25).  Then, He will return, but it will not be when people are expecting Him and are ready.  It will be like it was during the life of Noah and Lot…people will be going through their daily routines without even so much of a thought about Him…and suddenly, He will return (:26-30).  So, Jesus gives several illustrations that emphasize that they need to be ready for Him to return, whenever it happens.  The Pharisees has asked “when” the kingdom of God would arrive (:20).  Jesus has explained that they should not be concerned about when it will take place.  But, that they should be ready no matter when it takes place.  So, the disciples now ask “where” it will take place (:37).  Jesus doesn’t tell them exactly where, but He tells them what to look for…”Where the body is, there also will the vultures be gathered.”  This is a reference to the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19:17-19).

Prayer: Lord, help me to live in anticipation of Your coming…as if I knew that You were coming tomorrow.  Lord, while my heart yearns for You to come tomorrow…there are many of my family and friends that do not yet know You as their Savior.  So please be patient a little longer…and bring them to You.

 

April 21

 

Luke 18:1-17

 

The Teaching for Kingdom Members by the Son of Man, cont’d.     Luke 12:1-19:27

Luke 18:1-8                    The Confident Practice of Prayer

 

Luke 18:1-8-Jesus teaches His disciples about prayer…specifically to pray and not become discouraged when they don’t immediately receive an answer.  He illustrates it by telling them about a judge who refused to hear a widow’s request.  He didn’t respect people, or God…so it did no good to appeal to either.  Finally, he did so because she would not leave him alone (:3-“kept coming”, :5-“bothers me”, :5-“continually coming”).  The point: if an evil man (the judge “did not fear God, and did not respect man”, :2,4) hears the requests of people, how much more will God hear the requests of His people.  Notice that God’s people “cry to Him day and night” (:7).  As a result, God response is to “not delay long over the” (:7) and to act “for them speedily” (:8-this does not necessarily mean immediately; but, that when happens it will do so quickly).  The question Jesus poses in verse 8 is: When He comes, will people still be living obediently (in faith) even though they may not have received an answer to their prayers?  In other words, is there anything that we demand as a prerequisite (for instance: requiring that God answer our prayers) for our being obedient to God?  Or, will be obedient, regardless?

 

Luke 18:9-14                 The Public Practice of Humility

Luke 18:9-16-Jesus teaches about those who “trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and view others with contempt.”  He tells a parable about two men who went to the Temple to pray…a Pharisee, and a tax-gatherer.  It is a lesson on humility in prayer.  None of us deserve to have God hear, much less answer, our prayers.  It is a humbling thought when we realize that Almighty God, creator and sustainer of the universe…would allow us the privilege of lifting up our prayers to Him.  The moment that we begin to compare our worthiness to be heard by God to others, and believe that we somehow are more deserving…at that moment, God will begin a process to humble us.  We can either recognize the greatness of God and humble ourselves before Him…or, God will humble us.

Luke 18:15-17-When the disciples tried to stop people from bringing their babies to Jesus to be blessed…He stopped them.  He said that all people must come to Him as these children do.  Another lesson on humility.  These children had no pretensions.  They did not see themselves as being worthy to come to Jesus.  They simply came…because He was willing to receive them…not because they were worthy of coming.  And so it must be with us, as well.

Prayer: Lord, thank You that You readily hear and receive my prayers.  Please…help me to pray with anticipation.  Thank You that You are willing to receive me.

 

April 22

 

Luke 18:18-43

 

 

The Teaching for Kingdom Members by the Son of Man, cont’d.     Luke 12:1-19:27

Luke 18:18-25               The Required Priority to Join the Kingdom

 

Luke 18:18-30-A “certain ruler” asked Jesus what he had to do to inherit eternal life.  It is helpful for us to know more about this man.  Luke (18:18) tells us that he was a “ruler”.  Matthew (19:20) tells us that he was “young”.  Matthew (19:22), Mark (10:22), and Luke (18:23) all tell us that he was “rich”.  He is therefore commonly referred to as the “rich young ruler”.  Mark tells us that this man “ran up to Him and knelt before Him” (10:17).  Perhaps something had happened, something that made him think about spiritual matters.  That despite all that he had…something was missing.  He had heard about Jesus and now he discovers that He is in his very community.  Quickly he makes his way to Jesus, finds Him, and drops to his knees before Him…seeking His wisdom concerning the issue that is plaguing him.  He addresses Jesus, “Good Teacher…”  At face value, this is a polite way to speak to Him.  But Jesus knows this man’s heart, before he ever even speaks.  Jesus replies, “Why do you call Me good?  No one is good except God alone.”  There are some who read those words and suggest that Jesus is denying that He is God.  Just the opposite is true.  Jesus is directing the man to the reality of Who He is.  This man needs to recognize Who Jesus is…because He is about to answer his question in a way that is going to cause him much distress…and Jesus wants him to know that He is not just some ordinary, run-of-the-mill, itinerant teacher that dispenses a few good sounding, optional, non-compulsory self-help philosophies.  No, not at all!  Jesus is in fact God, and what He has to say is the absolute truth, the decisive answer, and is not open for arbitration.  Many people come to Jesus like this young man.  They want His advice, but not His authority.  They don’t want it to be binding.  They are looking for suggestions, not commands…proposals, not demands.  Jesus wants this young man (and us, as well) to realize that when He answers…the deliberation ceases.  He is God…and His answers are final.

Jesus responds by quoting the 5th through the 9th of the 10 Commandments.  The man tells Jesus that he has done all of those things from his youth.  Mark writes, “Jesus felt a love for him…” (10:21).  Isn’t it amazing?  Jesus knew that, indeed, the man had done what was required.  But had not really done what was intended.  He had only done what was prescribed…he had met the requirements, the letter of the Law, but nothing more.  His intent had been to keep the Law, with precision…but not to fulfill the intent, the spirit of the law.  He was more concerned about keeping the Law, than about loving people.  He was more intent on loving the Law, than loving God.  And yet, Jesus still loved him.

Then Jesus said, “One thing you still lack…”  Matthew adds, “if you wish to be complete” (19:21).  Suddenly the man was listening…this is what he had come for.  This was the reason that he had run to find Jesus.  Here was the answer to his empty heart.  That one thing that he sensed that he was lacking.  But what Jesus had to say, was nowhere near what he had expected to hear.  Remember that Jesus had already referred to the 5th thru the 9th Commandments.  Then He said, “One thing you still lack…”  What He is about to tell the young man is a direct reference to the 10th Commandment concerning “coveting”.  This young man had stopped short of the 10th Commandment in his obedience.  Jesus did not confront this young man’s belief in God, nor the practice of his religion.  Instead, He confronted the core issue of his life…his ultimate values, what he cherished more than anything else in life…what drove and determined his life…the fact that he coveted the possessions of this world more than he loved God.

“One thing you still lack…”  This one thing was the main thing, the sole thing, the only thing that truly mattered.  He had done everything else but not based it on the right thing…this one thing.  His motivations were wrong.  He was doing the right things, for the wrong reasons.  Jesus was telling him to get rid of that which was adversely affecting why he did these things…so that he could do it for the right reason.  He had wanted to know what to “do” to have eternal life.  Jesus was showing him that it wasn’t a matter of doing, but of being.  Jesus directed him from his actions, to his reasons for his actions.  Was “eternal life” just one more thing that he wanted to add to his portfolio?  One more thing that he had to “do”?  It should have been the entire content of his portfolio.  Had he heard someone talk about spiritual matters, realized that he was lacking in this area, and wanted to add it on?  God is not an add-on, an optional accessory to the values of earth.

 

“…sell all that you possess, and distribute it to the poor…”  Those words must have hit him like a ton of bricks.  They were devastating.  Luke says, “he became very sad” (18:23).  Matthew says, “he went away grieved” (19:22).  Mark adds, “his face fell” (10:22).  And the reason was that he “owned much property” (Matthew 19:22; Mark 10:22) and “was extremely rich” (Luke 18:23).

 

RYR: (A man ran up to Jesus, falling at His feet…after all, it was the proper thing to do.)  “Teacher, what do I have to do in order to be certain that I have obtained eternal life?”

Jesus: “You know what the Law says…’Don’t commit adultery, don’t murder, don’t be a false witness, honor you parents.’”

RYR: “I’ve done those things my whole life, since I was a kid.  But, I still feel like there’s something missing.  I’ve heard some of my friends talk about Heaven…it’s almost like they already have it in their grasp.  How can I have that?”

Jesus: (Jesus loved this honest admission.  It meant that the man was close to the truth.)  (What the Jesus said…) “There is only one thing that you still lack…”

RYR: (What the man heard…) “You’ve done everything else, there is only one more thing to do.” (He thought: “I knew it!  I’ve been so diligent, so determined, I’ve worked so hard.  I’ve got everything else.  But what could I possibly lack?  What…me worry?”)

Jesus: “You’re so consumed by the things that you possess…all that you’ve accomplished and accumulated…that you have no room in your life for God.  You no longer posses them, but they posses you.  Listen closely.  There is no half-way, for you.  If you want to have treasures in Heaven, you’re going to have to trade in your treasures of earth.  It’s either them, or God.  Then come and follow Me…and I promise you, you will never miss what you have given away.”

RYR: (For a moment the man just stared back in disbelief, thinking: “This has got to be a joke.  He just told me to keep the Law, and now he tells me that I have to give away all that God has blessed me with for keeping the Law!  That doesn’t add up.  That can’t be the answer. I come to Him asking about Heaven, and all He can do is talk about earth.  Doesn’t He know the difference?  The next thing this guy is going to tell me is that you can’t take it with you!”  With that, the man turned, shook his head in disappointment, and walked away…he was really bummed out.  He was so disappointed in this teacher…”I guess I shouldn’t have expected much from Him…I hear that He was just a carpenter…probably never even thought about franchising.  I wonder what’s going to happen with this Roman tax situation.  Maybe I’ll invest in some water-front property down by the Dead Sea…I hear there’s a group of Essenes moving in there…”

Jesus: (Watching the man as he walked away with his head hanging down.)  “It’s so hard for a man who thinks that he has everything, to realize that he has nothing…if he doesn’t have eternal life.  They seldom go to Heaven.”

Disciples: (They have been listening in on this conversation.  With astonishment, almost at the same time, they all respond to Jesus’ comment…)  “If a rich man can’t be saved, then who can be?”

Jesus: “Remember guys, it is impossible for anyone, rich or poor, to save himself.  But, it is possible for God to save anyone.  Anyone who comes to Him, in faith.”

Peter: (He’s thinking about what Jesus told the RYR.)  “Lord, we left our treasures behind and followed You.”

Jesus: “You are exactly right.  And I’m telling you, as a result, you’re going to be blessed here on earth with a kind of treasure that exceeds anything this world has to offer.  And Heaven…well, just know this, there’s no end to the treasures that you will have there.”

 

The man had it exactly backwards…180 degrees.  He thought that having riches on earth would guarantee happiness on earth and in Heaven (eternal life).  Jesus told him that having correct priorities on earth would guarantee treasure in Heaven.  He offers no such guarantee for earth.  But, He does tell him how to identify those correct priorities on earth…” come, and follow Me” (18:22).  In other words, Jesus is the priority of earth.  When we have that priority in place, then we have the treasures of both Heaven and earth.

Jesus then makes a statement that startled His disciples, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!”  It was a common misconception that those who were wealthy were already enjoying the treasures of Heaven.  This was the obvious sign of God’s blessings on their life.  It would be a natural, easy transition for them to go from earth to Heaven.  Jesus corrects this by saying that wealth, instead of being a blessing, was often a distraction and a deterrent to people since they were so consumed by it, that they valued it above God, Himself.  Like the rich young ruler…they are unwilling to let go of the things of the world (riches), in order to grasp the things of Heaven (treasures).

One might find a subtle play on words, here.  The word “riches” generally speaks of things that are valued…such as gold, precious stones, land, etc.  But the word “treasure” speaks of the place where they are stored…not just the riches, but something of such grandeur that the riches are kept in it.  How much better to have the place where the riches are stored and the riches within…than just the riches.  How sad…that we might be deceived into valuing the wrong thing!

 

Treasure (Noun and Verb):

denotes

(1) “a place of safe keeping” (possibly akin to tithemi, “to put”),

(a) “a casket,” Mat 2:11;

(b) “a storehouse,” Mat 13:52; used metaphorically of the heart, Mat 12:35, twice (RV, “out of his treasure”); Luk 6:45;

(2) “a treasure,” Mat 6:19-21; 13:44; Luk 12:33, 34; Hbr 11:26; “treasure” (in heaven or the heavens), Mat 19:21; Mar 10:21; Luk 18:22; in these expressions (which are virtually equivalent to that in Mat 6:1, “with your Father which is in Heaven”) the promise does not simply refer to the present life, but looks likewise to the hereafter; in 2Cr 4:7 it is used of “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” descriptive of the Gospel, as deposited in the earthen vessels of the persons who proclaim it (cp. ver. 4); in Col 2:3, of the wisdom and knowledge hidden in Christ.

http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Luk&c=18&t=NASB#s=t_concf_991022

 

Luke 18:26-30               The Promised Reward of the Kingdom

The disciples, still thinking that somehow wealth must be a qualifier for entrance into Heaven, ask, “Then how it is possible for anyone to go to Heaven?”  If your wealth is not necessarily a blessing from God and it will not meet the criteria for entrance into Heaven…then what is a person to do?  Jesus tells them again, it is not what you do that will get you into Heaven, but what God does (:27).

So, are we to sell all that we have, give it to the poor, and follow Jesus?  The answer is an unequivocal, “Yes, and No.”  For this man…he valued his riches more than he valued God.  Jesus knew that and told him that he must dispose of everything that fit into that category.  For others, riches may not be the most important thing in life.  It might be acceptance, respect, recognition, success, prominence among their peers.  It might be power, a position of authority, leadership, a management role in business, to be the CEO.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.  It could be marriage.  It could be love.  No matter what it is…if it is of more value than God, if it has a greater prominence than God, if it dictates your life more than God…then you need to realign your values and place God in first position.

Luke 18:28-30-Peter says that they have done what Jesus told the man to do.  They have left everything to follow Him.  Jesus says that anyone who has done so will receive much more in return, in Heaven.  The privilege to follow Him is the treasure on earth.

 

Luke 18:31-34               The Fulfillment of Kingdom Prophecies

Luke 18:31-34-Jesus tells His disciples that they are going to Jerusalem and He mentions all that will happen to Him there…trial, death, burial, resurrection.  But, at this time, they did not understand what He was talking about.  Consider the timing of this disclosure concerning the future.  It falls right on the heals of Jesus’ teaching concerning ultimate values.  And indeed, if these things were going to happen to Jesus and the disciples were going to follow Him…then they had better have decided ahead of time what was of ultimate value.  Otherwise, it would be far easier to return to the riches and comfort of the world…than to follow where His cross would lead them.

 

Luke 18:35-43               The Determination of a Blind Man

Luke 18:35-43-As Jesus came into Jericho a blind man called out to Him.  The people tried to make him stop…but he refused to quit.  Jesus called him over, healed him, and said, “…your faith has made you well.’ And immediately he began following Him, glorifying God; and when all the people saw it, they gave praise to God” (:42-43).  Oh, that we would as quickly give glory to God for what He has done in our lives, follow Him faithfully, and bring others to Him.

Prayer: Lord, I am blessed with so much…family, home, possessions.  I truly want to be Your follower and to be 100% faithful to You.  Please show me, Lord…what it means for me to “leave” these things for the “sake of the kingdom of God”.  It can be difficult for me sometimes to be sure if I have truly made that commitment…or, if I just think that I have done so, but am deceiving myself.  Trying to have the best of both…calling You Lord, and still holding onto the things of this world.  Please, Lord, help me to see these things clearly and to understand how to forsake all things for You.

 

April 23

Luke 19:1-28

 

The Teaching for Kingdom Members by the Son of Man, cont’d.     Luke 12:1-19:27

Luke 19:1-10                 The Salvation of a Rich Man

 

Jesus is passing through Jericho.

 

Jericho has a long and interesting history

http://www.bibleplaces.com/jericho.htm

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/vie/Jericho.html

 

Jesus saw Zaccheus (a rich chief tax collector…this meant that he was over all of the taxes and other tax collectors in Jericho) who had climbed into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, because he was small in stature.  Jesus told him to climb down and that He was going to stay at his house.  Some of the people complained that Jesus was associating with a “sinner” (:7).  Zaccheus said that he would give one-half of his possessions to the poor and give back to anyone four-times as much as whatever he had gained from them by fraud (:8).  Jesus said, “Today salvation has come to this house…” (:9)  He then said, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (:10).  The word “salvation” (:9) and “save” (:10) come from the same Greek root word…”soteria”.  It means: “deliverance, preservation, safety, salvation”.  But what helps us to understand the true meaning of salvation (and what it means to be “saved”) even clearer is when we see what we are saved from, which is summarized in the word, “lost”.  In the Greek, it is a “perfect active participle”, showing that it is a state of existence that has been previously established and has on-going consequences.  From a purely human perspective, the state of lostness is permanent, and self-perpetuating.  It’s root word means far more than to just be lost, as in something that is missing, or cannot be found.  It actually means to be “destroyed”.  To be lost from God…is for life to be destroyed.  Lostness destroys all of it’s meaning, all of it’s purpose, all of it’s significance.  Lostness destroys all of it’s future, all of it’s hope, all of it’s promise.  Jesus “seeks”…that which is lost.  Jesus “saves”…that which is destroyed.

 

Destroy, Destroyer, Destruction, Destructive:

“ruin, destruction,” akin to A, No. 6, always translated “destruction,” is used in 1Cr 5:5, of the effect upon the physical condition of an erring believer for the purpose of his spiritual profit; in 1Th 5:3; 2Th 1:9, of the effect of the Divine judgments upon men at the ushering in of the Day of the Lord and the revelation of the Lord Jesus; in 1Ti 6:9, of the consequences of the indulgence of the flesh, referring to physical “ruin” and possibly that of the whole being, the following word apoleia (see No. 1) stressing the final, eternal and irrevocable character of the “ruin.”

(http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G622&t=NASB, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words)

 

Luke 19:11-27               The Reward to Faithful Members

Luke 19:11-28-Jesus continues in His teaching and tells a parable…“because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately” (:11).  For Jews, the mere sight of their capital city of Jerusalem evoked memories of past glories (under their great kings such as David and Solomon) and hope of future expectations (under the coming Messiah…that they often saw as a conquering military/political leader).  There were those who believed that Jesus was this very Messiah that they were looking for.  The parable, which Jesus tells, is about His going to Heaven and then one day returning.  In the parable, some of the people did not want the nobleman (who represented Jesus) to reign over them and said so when He left.  Before leaving, the nobleman placed his kingdom into the hands of managers…and told them to manage it while he was gone.  When he returned he rewarded those who had done well and punished those who had not.  He also punished those who had been against him.  It is a parable about what will happen when Jesus returns from Heaven to earth at the Second Coming.  God expects us to manage what we have been given…to be productive with it for His Kingdom.  It is His and He expects us to multiply it and to give an account of what we have done with it.  Those who don’t want Him to rule over them will one day face His judgment.  There are those today who don’t want God to rule over them and their lives.  They are not willing to use Kingdom resources for Kingdom work…but rather, they want to do with it what they want.  We don’t know when Jesus will return…so we had better be ready at all times.  He gave equal responsibility to everyone…not necessarily expecting them to all have the same productivity…but, that they would all have the same faithfulness.  Notice that they were each rewarded in a manner that was comparable to how they had managed what they had been given responsibility for.  How am I managing what am I responsible for…because what I do with it will determine my blessings in Heaven.  The difference between this parable and the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) is that in the latter they were given different amounts to be responsible for.

Prayer: Lord, I can see the joy of salvation on the face of Zaccheus and hear it in his voice.  Please, help me to have that same joy all of my days.  Don’t ever let it diminish, or subside.  Help me to live in the joy of Your salvation each and every day.  Let Your salvation change my life as certainly as it did Zaccheus’ life.  Help me to not keep it to myself…but let it be expressed through my life to others.  And guide me, Lord, to use the resources that You have placed in my life to advance Your kingdom.

 

April 24

 

Luke 19:29-48

 

The Final Condemnation of the Son of Man                 Luke 19:28-23:56

Luke 19:28-44               Sunday: Entrance into Jerusalem

 

Luke 19:29-34-This verse begins the week of the crucifixion.  As Jesus approaches Jerusalem, He sends two disciples ahead to find a colt for Him to ride on.  This is a fulfillment of the prophecy found in Zechariah 9:9.  The site of Bethpage is unknown, but Bethany was on the southeast side of the Mount of Olives.

 

Bethany

http://www.bibleplaces.com/mtolives.htm

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Society_&_Culture/geo/Bethany.html

 

Luke 19:35-40-As He entered Jerusalem the people began to celebrate His entrance by singing Psalm 118:26.  The Psalm spoke of the entrance of a king (cf. v. 11) and they were referring it to Him.  This is commonly referred to as the “Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem” of Jesus.  The Pharisees told Him to stop them…but Jesus said if He did so, the very stones would take up their cry.

Luke 19:41-44-As Jesus approached Jerusalem, He reached a spot along the road where He could see the Temple, the dwellings surrounding it, and much of the city.  When He got to that point, His heart went out and He wept over the city, because He knew what lay ahead in its future.  Jesus predicts the destruction of Jerusalem…because the people refused to recognize Who He was when He came.

 

The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

In 70 A.D., the Romans would totally destroy Jerusalem.  The Jewish historian, Josephus, in his History of the Jewish War, books IV-VI wrote:

“While the sanctuary was burning…neither pity for age nor respect for rank was shown.  On the contrary, children and old people, laity and priests alike were massacred” (VI.271).

“The emperor ordered the entire city and the temple to be razed to the ground, leaving only the loftiest of the towers…and the portion of the wall enclosing the city on the west…All the rest of the wall that surrounded the city was so completely razed to the ground as to leave future visitors to the spot no reason to believe that the city had ever been inhabited” (VII.103).

(New Testament Commentary, The Gospel of Luke, William Hendriksen, pp. 878-879)

 

For a timeline of the history of Jerusalem and additional information about its destruction see:

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Peace/jerutime.html

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/2ndtemp.html

 

 

Luke 19:45-48               Monday: Cleansing of the Temple

Luke 19:45-48-Jesus entered the Temple and cast out the merchants, saying, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a robbers’ den” (cf. Isaiah 56:7; Jeremiah 7:11; see January 31, Matthew 21:1-22).  Each day He would teach in the temple.  The Jewish leaders were trying to destroy Him.  But the people “were hanging upon His words” (:48).

 

The Passion Week

The time frame from the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem as found in these verses through His resurrection is commonly referred to as the “Passion Week” or “Holy Week”.  It is helpful to have in mind a clear picture of the events that took place during this time.  The link below provides a description of those events and a visual timeline.

http://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2011/04/holy-week-timeline-visualization/

 

Prayer: Lord, help me to hear Your voice…and let me hang onto every word that You speak.

 

April 25

 

Luke 20:1-26

 

The Final Condemnation of the Son of Man, cont’d.        Luke 19:28-23:56        

Luke 20:1-18                 Tuesday: Questions Concerning Authority (Temple)

 

Luke 20:1-8-While Jesus was teaching in the temple the Jewish leaders demanded to know by what authority He did so.  He said that He would tell them if they first told Him by what authority John the Baptist preached.  They refused to answer…and so did He (see March 7, Mark 11:27-31).

Luke 20:9-18-Jesus tells a parable about a man who planted a vineyard and then went on a trip (see February 1, Matthew 21:33-46; March 8, Mark 12:1-12).  At harvest time he sent a slave to collect some of the produce…but the people who had rented the vineyard beat him and sent him away with nothing.  So, he sent another slave and they did the same thing.  A third time the same thing happened.  Finally, he sent his own son…but they killed him thinking that without an heir to the owner the property would go to them.  Jesus said that the landowner would kill the renters and give the vineyard to others.  The Jewish leaders agreed with Him that the behavior of the vine-growers was wrong…but were incensed with His assessment that the vineyard (God’s kingdom) would be given to someone other than Jews.  In response to their denial of His assessment, Jesus quotes Psalm 118:22 and in essence asks, “If I am wrong, then what does this verse mean?”  In this verse, the builders refused to accept the stone that was intended to be the chief stone.  The integrity of the rest of the building depended on this stone.  If the wrong stone was chosen, then there was a likelihood that the entire building would collapse and anyone within would be killed.  Jesus had intended that this parable be applied to Himself…God is the vineyard owner, the vineyard is inclusion in God’s kingdom, the renters are Israel, Jesus is the son that was rejected…and the others who will receive the vineyard are the gentiles.  He is also the chief cornerstone, the stone that they had rejected.  The Messiah was referred to in the Old Testament as the “cornerstone” (cf. Isaiah 28:16).  Jesus is telling the Pharisees that they have rejected Him…as the vine-growers had rejected the son of the owner of the vineyard, and as the builders had rejected the cornerstone.  To do so would result in their destruction.

 

Chief corner stone

Verses 17, 18. – And he beheld them, and said, What is this then thai; is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. In spite of the deprecating expression, the severity of the tone of Jesus increases in his next words, when, looking at them with grave anger (ἐμβλέψας), he proceeds to speak of himself under the figure of the rejected stone. Quoting a well-known psalm (Psalm 118:22), and using the imagery of Isaiah 8:14, 15 and Daniel 2:44, he describes his fortunes under the imago of a corner-stone – that stone which forms the junction between the two most prominent walls of a building, and which is always laid with peculiar care and attention. In Luke 2:34 of our Gospel Simeon refers to the same well-known prophetic saying. The husbandmen who had just been described as vine-dressers are now described as builders, and the murdered son is reproduced under the image of a corner, stone tossed aside as useless. In the first part of the picture, the earthly humiliation of Messiah is portrayed when the stone is laid in the earth. In the second, the stone falling from the top of the building represents the crushing of all earthly opposition by Messiah in his glory. Woe to the builders, then, who had scornfully rejected him.

(Pulpit Commentary, http://biblehub.com/commentaries/pulpit/luke/20.htm)

17-19. written—(in Ps 118:22, 23. See on [1709]Lu 19:38). The Kingdom of God is here a Temple, in the erection of which a certain stone, rejected as unsuitable by the spiritual builders, is, by the great Lord of the House, made the keystone of the whole. On that Stone the builders were now “falling” and being “broken” (Isa 8:15), “sustaining great spiritual hurt; but soon that Stone should fall upon them and grind them to powder” (Da 2:34, 35; Zec 12:3)—in their corporate capacity in the tremendous destruction of Jerusalem, but personally, as unbelievers, in a more awful sense still.

(Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary, http://biblehub.com/commentaries/pulpit/luke/20.htm)

 

Luke 20:19-26               Tuesday: Questions Concerning Taxes

Luke 20:19-26-The Jewish leaders knew that the parable was about them and became so angry that they were ready to arrest Jesus right there…but they feared the reaction of the people (:19).  Instead, they sent imposters, “who pretended to be righteous,” to ask loaded questions in order to find some area in which He was breaking the Law so that they could arrest Him.  For instance, they tried to trick Him concerning the paying of taxes to the Roman government.  “But He detected their trickery…” (:23).

Prayer: Lord, thank You for extending Your mercy and forgiveness to all people.  We are unworthy…it is only by Your grace that anyone will ever be saved.  Please help me to always be aware that it is Your favor that has been extended that allows me to know You.

 

April 26

 

Luke 20:27-47

 

The Final Condemnation of the Son of Man, cont’d.        Luke 19:28-23:56        

Luke 20:27-40               Tuesday: Questions Concerning Resurrection

 

Luke 20:27-40-(cf. February 3, Matthew 22:23-46).  The Sadducees (who did not believe in the resurrection) tried to trick Jesus concerning the resurrection by telling a hypothetical story about a woman who had been married to seven brothers.  She married the first brother, but then he died.  And, so it happened with the other six, one after the other, until they all had died (the law of Levirate marriage).

 

For an explanation of the law Levirate marriage see:

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/Halitza.html

http://www.myjewishlearning.com/life/Relationships/Spouses_and_Partners/About_Marriage/Levirate_Marriage.shtml

 

Eventually, the wife died.  Their question was whose wife would she be after the resurrection.  They were trying to use a convoluted situation to confuse the issue of the resurrection.  However, they misunderstood the nature of the resurrection.  Jesus tells them that there is no marriage in Heaven.  So, their improbable scenario has neither merit, nor relevance, since she would not be married to any of them.  Much to their chagrin, He then uses this very conversation to reaffirm that there is a resurrection and referred to a passage from the Old Testament as a proof text (Exodus 3:6).  This passage teaches that God still had a relationship with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, even though they had died long before.  Therefore, there must be a resurrection, since they are living and not still dead.

 

Who were the Pharisees and Sadducees?

  1. http://www.gotquestions.org/Sadducees-Pharisees.html

 

Luke 20:41-44               Tuesday: Teaching Concerning Authority

Luke 20:41-44-Jesus then quotes Psalm 110:1, as further proof of the resurrection.  King David had been dead for many centuries.  And yet, this passage says that he dialogues with the Messiah, who is still yet to come.  How is that possible if there is no resurrection?  If David is dead, and there is no resurrection, then he could not have this conversation with the Messiah who had not even been born, yet.  Jesus was also using this passage to show that the Messiah was of the human lineage of David…as He was, Himself.

Luke 20:45-47-Jesus warns those who were listening about the “scribes”…who do everything they can to attract attention to themselves from other people.

 

Who were the Scribes?

  1. http://www.gotquestions.org/scribes-Jesus.html

 

Jesus mentions five different examples of this behavior.  But mixed in among these examples He drops one phrase, “who devour widow’s houses.”  The word “devour” is a strong, intense word that speaks of wanton destruction, of abuse for personal gain, and of total disregard for the welfare of another person.

 

Devour:

kata, “down,” intensive, and No. 1, signifies

(a) “to consume by eating, to devour,” said of birds, Mat 13:4; Mar 4:4; Luk 8:5; of the Dragon, Rev 12:4; of a prophet, “eating” up a book, suggestive of spiritually “eating” and digesting its contents, Rev 10:9 (cp. Eze 2:8; 3:1-3; Jer 15:16);

(b) metaphorically, “to squander, to waste,” Luk 15:30; “to consume” one’s physical powers by emotion, Jhn 2:17; “to devour” by forcible appropriation, as of widows’ property, Mat 23:14 (AV only); Mar 12:40; “to demand maintenance,” as false apostles did to the church at Corinth, 2Cr 11:20; “to exploit or prey on one another,” Gal 5:15, where “bite… devour… consume” form a climax, the first two describing a process, the last the act of swallowing down; to “destroy” by fire, Rev 11:5; 20:9.

(http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2719&t=NASB, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words)

 

It is hard to imagine that someone would willfully mistreat another person in such a demeaning manner…in the name of God.  But the reality is that it was done in the days of Jesus, and it is done in our day, as well.  People will use God for their own purposes.  Jesus warns us to “beware” of such people.

 

Beware:

lit., “to hold to” (pros, “to,” echo, “to have, to hold”), hence, “to turn one’s mind or attention to a thing by being on one’s guard against it” is translated “beware” in Mat 7:15; 10:17; 16:6, 11, 12; Luk 12:1; 20:46.

(http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4337&t=NASB, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words)

 

To “beware” means more than just being “aware” of something.  It also means to do something about it, when it is discovered.  To not allow it to continue to happen.  Those who practice such avarice behavior will face a greater judgment (:47).  Those who see it happening and don’t do anything about it…become part of the system that allows it and will also be held to a greater degree of accountability before God.  With knowledge comes responsibility.  Why did Jesus make this comment about the scribes, at this time?  Could it be a continuation of his conversation with the Sadducees?  Because they did not believe in the resurrection, they therefore did not fear the judgment that they would face at the resurrection.  Notice that in verse 39, the scribes told Jesus that He had done a good job in His answer to the Sadducees.  Almost as if they were telling Him that He had really put them in their place!  But, Jesus is aware that while not everyone in the crowd accepted the beliefs of the Sadducees towards the resurrection…many who believed in the resurrection, none-the-less reflected the behavior of the Sadducees.  While they said they believed in the resurrection…they lived like they thought that they would never have to stand before God in judgment for their actions and behaviors in this life.  So, Jesus uses this moment to warn the people (using the scribes as His example) to not think that they can do whatever they want to do in this life…and not have to be accountable for it in the next life.

Prayer: Lord, it seems that the Sadducees were so intent on tripping up Jesus that they failed to see the simple truth that was right in front of them.  They were so convinced that they were right and were so intent on proving it, that the truth was ignored.  Please help me to not become caught up in trying to construct arguments and defenses to the degree that I lose sight of the truth.  Guide me to Your truth.  Help me to know and understand what You have said is true…and not merely try to defend what I believe, or want to be true.

 

April 27

 

Luke 21:1-19

 

The Final Condemnation of the Son of Man, cont’d.        Luke 19:28-23:56        

 

Luke 21:1-4                    Tuesday: Teaching Concerning Giving

Luke 21:1-4-Jesus and the disciples were watching the people present their offerings to God.  He brought it to the attention of the disciples that the rich people were just giving “out of their surplus” (the extra cash that they would never miss, pocket change).  On the other hand, He pointed out how a “poor widow” was giving.  She had no leftovers to give.  So, she gave the very money she needed to live on.  In God’s eyes…her offering amounted to much more than everything put together that the rich people had given.  God is more interested in the reason that we give, than the amount that we give.  If our attitude is right, then the amount will be right.  If our attitude is wrong, then no amount will ever suffice.

 

Luke 21:5-38                 Tuesday: Teaching Concerning the Future

Luke 21:5-19-They were looking at the beauty of the Temple and Jesus prophesied that one day not one stone would be left standing.

 

For information on the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. see:

http://www.templemount.org/destruct2.html

http://biblehub.com/library/schaff/history_of_the_christian_church_volume_i/section_38_the_jewish_war.htm

 

The disciples asked Him when that would take place, and what would be the sign that it was about to happen.  Jesus warns them to not be misled…for many will come claiming to be the Messiah, there will be wars and disturbances…these things will happen, but do not mean that it is about to happen.  He then continued by mentioning other cataclysmic events that will take place (:8-11).  But even before these take place they will be persecuted…giving them an opportunity to share their testimony (:12-17).  Don’t try to prepare a defense beforehand…because He will give “utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute” (cf. 12:11).  This does not mean that we should not have a clear, rational presentation of the Gospel.  But, that we should not be solely dependent upon our own abilities, persuasiveness, and logic.  The explanation is that God will give us wisdom and understanding concerning how to respond in each particular circumstance.  He will give us power that goes beyond human reasoning and ability.  Jesus then gives a wonderful word of encouragement and confidence by telling them that “not a hair of your head will perish”.  From historical accounts we know that of the 11 Apostles alive after the resurrection, 10 of them suffered martyrdom.  So, Jesus must not be speaking of physical death, here.  He is actually speaking of the fact that even though they would die physically (some would die gruesome deaths), their eternal life was secure and despite everything that the world would bring against them…nothing, absolutely nothing could change that reality.  And in fact, their faithful endurance in the face of these trials would be a testimony that they were Heaven bound (:19-20).

 

How did the Apostles die?

http://amazingbibletimeline.com/bible_questions/q6_apostles_die/

https://www.reclaimingthemind.org/content/Parchmentandpen/DeathoftheApostles.pdf

 

Prayer: Lord, please fill me with the very kind of spiritual power that You speak of here.  I will prepare and be ready to give testimony concerning You at all times…but unless You give me supernatural power I am nothing.  Please anoint me with Your Holy Spirit and with power.

 

April 28

 

Luke 21:20-38

 

The Final Condemnation of the Son of Man, cont’d.        Luke 19:28-23:56        

Luke 21:5-38                 Tuesday: Teaching Concerning the Future, cont’d.

 

Luke 21:20-36-The sure sign that Jerusalem is about to be destroyed will be armies surrounding it.  Jerusalem will be attacked the entire time that the Gentiles are in power…until “the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (:24-this is a reference to the time period which began in 587 B.C. when the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem and extends until the days of the tribulation period, cf. Revelation 11:2).

 

What is “the time of the Gentiles”?

http://www.gotquestions.org/times-of-the-Gentiles.html

 

There will be many cosmic events during this time…then “they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (:27-this is the Second Coming of Christ at the beginning of the seven years of the Tribulation).  At this point, redemption is near.  Jesus says that when you see trees in bloom you know that summer is near…even so, when you see these things happen you will know that the kingdom of God is near.  The generation that sees the things mentioned here will still be alive at His return.  “Generation” does not refer to the people that Jesus was speaking to, but to the people who see the things He has been talking about.  Jesus tells them to not waste their lives…but to be prepared to face the terrible things that He has spoken about.

Luke 21:37-38-Jesus taught in the Temple during the day…“all the people would get up early in the morning to come to Him in the temple to listen to Him” (:38).  He spent the night on the Mt. of Olives.

Prayer: Lord, don’t let me be caught up in the mundane matters of the world.  Help me to live expectantly, looking for You to return at any moment.

 

April 29

 

Luke 22:1-30

 

The Final Condemnation of the Son of Man, cont’d.        Luke 19:28-23:56        

Luke 22:1-6                    Wednesday: Betrayal by Judas

 

Luke 22:1-Passover is approaching.

 

Jewish Annual Calendar

http://www.chabad.org/holidays/default_cdo/year/2015/jewish/2015-Holidays.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_calendar

 

Luke 22:3-“Satan entered into Judas…”.  This phrase does not tell us how Satan influenced Judas, but it does give us the results of his influence.  Judas made a deal with the chief priests to betray Jesus for money.  To some degree, Judas allowed his ambitions to be manipulated by Satan.  Perhaps he was so intent upon the overthrow of the Roman government that he was willing to manipulate Jesus for his cause.  Or, perhaps he believed that Jesus was actually the Messiah (whom he thought to be a military/political leader)…but that Jesus did not fully grasp what role He was supposed to play…so, he would force Him into a situation in which He would have to respond in a manner that he felt was in keeping with his Messianic role.  Either way, by following this course of thought and action, Judas allowed himself to become the pawn of Satan’s plan.  In fact, he had become so obsessed with his plan…and perhaps so possessed by Satan…that Jesus referred to him as a “devil” (John 6:70)…so closely allied with the Devils plans…that he had become a reflection of his person.

 

Accuser:

“an accuser” (cp. ACCUSE, B, No. 1), is used 34 times as a title of Satan, the Devil (the English word is derived from the Greek); once of Judas, Jhn 6:70, who, in his opposition of God, acted the part of the Devil. Apart from Jhn 6:70, men are never spoken of as devils…

Devil, Devilish:

…Judas, who gave himself over to the “Devil,” was so identified with him, that the Lord described him as such, Jhn 6:70 (see Jhn 13:2)…

(http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1228&t=NASB, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of the New Testament)

 

What a warning is issued to us here.  Is it possible that people can become so passionate about their own ideas, desires, or causes…that they try to compel them on other people, and even God?  And in so doing, actually work against God and in behalf of Satan.  The cause does not have to be inherently wrong, or sinful…just not what God desires.  Many people have left churches because of conflict over such mundane personal preferences and partialities as the color of paint, and the style of carpet.  The Judas disposition seems to be alive and well, today.

 

Luke 22:7-38                 Thursday: Institution of the Lord’s Supper

Luke 22:7-13-It is Thursday…the first day of Unleavened Bread, Passover.  Jesus sent Peter and John to make preparations for Passover for the disciples.

Luke 22:14-20-Jesus tells the disciples that He had been anticipating eating this Passover with them.  This time as at they share in it together…its significance will be revealed by Him.  The next time they share in it together…its significance would have been fulfilled by Him.  He then institutes the Lord’s Supper.

 

See February 11, Matthew 26:20-54 for the historical significance of the Passover for the Jews and its symbolism for Christians.

For additional information on the Passover and the point at which Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper in the context of the Seder Feast see:

http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Spring_Holidays/Pesach/pesach.html

 

Luke 22:21-22-Jesus tells the apostles that one of them will betray Him.  While to some, this betrayal will seem to be the cause of His crucifixion…but it is not.  Judas is just the vehicle that God will use.  The crucifixion of Jesus had been predetermined by God, “the Son of Man is going as it has been determined” (:22).  Nevertheless, Judas will be held accountable for his betrayal.

Luke 22:23-30-The disciples begin to discuss who the betrayer might be.  It turns into an argument in which each one is trying to prove that it cannot be him because of his supposedly being greater than the rest.  Jesus tells them that they shouldn’t be anxious over their greatness (who was the leader), but that they should be like servants to one another…as He has served them.  The day will come when they will be given leadership responsibilities in Heaven.  But as of now, they are to lead by serving.  It is a sad reflection on the Apostles that at this moment, the very moment when Jesus tells them that one of them would betray Him, instead of focusing their concerns on Him…they begin to focus their attention of themselves.  They seemed more worried to prove that they weren’t the betrayer, than to show their love for the One Who would be betrayed.  How terribly self-centered we can be.

Prayer: Lord, when the disciples began to discuss among themselves who it was that would betray Jesus, they evidently began to pass judgment on one another.  The next thing, they arguing about who is the greatest.  It seems that one action leads to the next.  The moment I begin to judge someone else…I begin to elevate myself above them.  Instead, You tell me to think of my brother as being worthy of being served…and then, I will be able to judge myself rightly.  Please help me to always think well of my brothers and sisters.  Help me Lord to serve them as You did.

 

April 30

 

Luke 22:31-53

 

The Final Condemnation of the Son of Man, cont’d.        Luke 19:28-23:56        

Luke 22:7-38                 Thursday: Institution of the Lord’s Supper, cont’d.

 

Luke 22:31-34-Jesus tells Simon that Satan is going to tempt him.  The phrase, “to sift you like wheat” means that it will be extremely intense and will push him to question the very existence and substance of his faith.  Indeed, Jesus says, “when once you have turned again.”  The words “turn again” mean “to turn, to return”…suggesting that Peter would make the wrong decision during this time of temptation.  In order to return, you must have first turned the wrong way.  This was no small indecision on Peter’s part, it would be a crisis of his faith.  But, Jesus gives him assurance by telling him two things.  First, He has prayed for him that his faith will not “fail” (means: to quit, stop, cease), but that it will endure.  There is a wonderful significance to the word “prayed”.  The basic meaning of this particular word for prayer means, “to bind, tie, secure”.  So, Jesus is telling Peter that He has bound Himself together with him, spiritually.  His strength, His faith will be accessible to Peter…so that he will endure the temptation and not fail.  This was a reminder to Peter that his “faith” was not to be placed in his own ability to be “faithful”…but, his “faith” was to be placed in the ability of Jesus.  Jesus would not be standing at a distance cheering him on in his struggle, “Go Peter, you can do it!  Try harder.  Man up!”  No, instead, He would be with Peter in the midst of the temptation.  Peter’s faith would not fail, because Jesus could not fail…and Peter was bound to Jesus!  When Jesus said that He had prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail…He was not saying that He hoped that it would not fail; but that it was a settled fact that it would not fail.  “I have prayed for you…and as a result, your faith will not fail.”  The prayers of Jesus never fail…so Peter would not fail.  Second, He tells him that after it is over, he is to strengthen the other disciples.  The fact that Jesus tells him to do this assures Peter that no matter how intense it becomes he will make it through.  Peter would falter, but not fail.  In verse 33, we find the focal point of the temptation that Peter would face.  He says, “Lord, with You I am ready to go to prison and to death!”  Peter meant it.  The only problem was that in a short time it would appear that Jesus would no longer be with Peter.  Peter assumed that Jesus would always be there and that side-by-side they would continue in His ministry.  But, within hours all of that would begin to change.  Peter would come to the realization that Jesus was going to die…and without Jesus there, it gave a totally different perspective on his willingness to go to prison and to dying for the cause.  Perhaps this is the reason that Jesus had told Peter that He had prayed for him…remember, it means to be bound together with him.  Peter would definitely need to remember that.  Jesus then tells Peter that before it was over he would deny Him three times.  At the moment, Peter was probably very disturbed that Jesus would say such a thing, maybe even a little embarrassed by it.  But later, it could be that Peter would find comfort in the fact that Jesus knew what he was going to do; and yet, He still told him that he would return and even told him to help the rest of the disciples through their uncertainties, as well.  It is so encouraging that Jesus doesn’t look for faultless people, but for faithful people.

Luke 22:35-38-Jesus tells the disciples that because of what is about to happen to Him, their lives are going to be radically changed.  He speaks of a previous time when He sent them out to fulfill His ministry (cf. Luke 9:1-5).  At that time, the people readily received them and provided for their needs.  But things will be different after the crucifixion.  They need to be aware of the change in the attitudes of people and to make preparations.  They will not be as readily received as when He was with them and the people were responding to His miracles.  Now, He would be portrayed by the religious leaders as a sinner and in rebellion against their faith.  There would even be those who would violently oppose them…threatening their lives.  They would need to be prepared to defend themselves…even to extent that they were to buy a sword for protection (:36).

 

Luke 22:39-46               Thursday: Prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane

Luke 22:39-53-Typically, Jesus and the disciples spent the night on the Mt. of Olives (see Luke 21:37).  After the Passover celebration they headed there.  Jesus leaves the disciples, instructing them to, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”  By this, He is not saying that they will not be tempted…we are all tempted, it is a fact of life.  However, the prayer is that we will not “enter into temptation,” meaning that when we are tempted we will refuse to be involved with it, to “enter into” it.  Jesus knows what is about to happen and He wants them to be prepared.  It is the strength that comes from faith in Him that will give them this ability.  Jesus withdraws a short distance from them and begins to pray.  He prays one of the most instructional prayers recorded in the Bible.  “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”  The reason that this prayer is so significant is because it teaches us to come to the Father with absolute transparency…no pretensions, not praying what we think He wants to hear.  We are to pray from the honesty of our hearts.  Initially, Jesus actually prays something that is not in keeping with the Father’s will.  Knowing fully the extent that He is about to suffer, Jesus prays that He will not go through it, “remove this cup from Me…”  If He had stopped there…He would have been seeking that which was outside of the will of the Father…and that would qualify as sin.  This was His honest, heartfelt prayer.  However, He did not stop there, but continued, “yet not My will, but Yours be done.”  The lesson that we learn is that we should honestly express our desires and feelings when we pray.  Tell God exactly what is on our heart and what we are thinking.  Then, we must always place this prayer into the hands of the Father and allow Him to then modify it to be in keeping with His perfect will.   Jesus was “in agony” (meaning: a struggle for victory, of severe mental struggle and emotions) as He prayed.

 

Agony:

Eng., “agony,” was used among the Greeks as an alternative to agon, “a place of assembly;” then for the contests or games which took place there, and then to denote intense emotion. It was more frequently used eventually in this last respect, to denote severe emotional strain and anguish. So in Luk 22:44, of the Lord’s “agony” in Gethsemane.

(http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G74&t=NASB, Vines Expository Dictionary of the New Testament)

 

His agony was of such a degree that He began to sweat drops of blood.

 

For an explanation of this condition from a medical perspective see:

http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1086

 

Jesus returned to His disciples and found them “sleeping from sorrow” (meaning: sorrow, pain, grief, annoyance, affliction).  The stress and worry they were going through had literally taken all of their energy.  They were worn out…and now, they could not stay awake.  Jesus admonishes them to wake up and pray.

 

Luke 22:47-53               Thursday: Arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane

Luke 22:47-53-While He is speaking, Judas arrives with a mob and they arrest Jesus.  A fight ensues and in the chaos the ear of Malchus, the slave of the high priest, is cut off by Peter (cf. John 18:10).  Jesus stops the fight.  These fishermen would be no match for soldiers.  He then touches the ear of Malchus and heals him.  Jesus addresses the chief priests, temple officers, and elders who were in the mob.  He asks them why they didn’t arrest Him when He was at the temple.  It is a rhetorical question…He knows full well that they didn’t do so because they were afraid that the crowds would rise up against them…so, they did so now, under the cover of dark.

Prayer: Lord, life can be hard.  There are times when temptation is so strong.  The temptation to doubt.  The temptation to worry.  The temptation to quit and just run away.  I toss and turn in my sleep…and, it steals my energy to the point that I cannot focus, or remain awake.  Remind me, like Peter, that You constantly make intercession for me (John 17; Hebrews 7:25) and that You will always be with me (Psalm 23).  Help me to place my faith in You…not in faith, itself; and not in my ability to be faithful.  But, in You.

 

May 1

 

Luke 22:54-71

 

The Final Condemnation of the Son of Man, cont’d.        Luke 19:28-23:56        

Luke 22:54-62               Friday: Peter’s Denial at the Home of the High Priest

 

Jesus is arrested and taken to the home of the high priest.

 

For information on the High Priest see:

http://www.bible-history.com/HighPriests/NTHIGHPRIESTSSpiritual_Leaders.htm

http://www.biblestudy.org/beginner/new-testament-groups/high-priest-priests.html

http://biblehub.com/topical/p/priest.htm

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/7689-high-priest

 

Peter follows the mob at what he thinks is a safe distance.  He makes his way into the courtyard of the high priest’s home where a crowd has gathered around a fire.  He is recognized by a servant girl who identifies him as a follower of Jesus, but when confronted, he denies that he knows Jesus.  Later, someone else says that he was with Jesus…but this time he says he is not the man.  About an hour later another man says that he was with Jesus, “for he is a Galilean, too”.  Peter says he doesn’t now what he is talking about.  Immediately, while he is still speaking a rooster crowed.  “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter…” (:61).  Peter must have seen Jesus when He looked at him because it reminded him that Jesus had told him that he would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed.  He quickly left and wept bitterly.

 

Luke 22:63-65               Friday: Jesus Beaten by the Guards

Luke 22:63-65-Those holding Jesus began to beat Him.  They mocked Him as a prophet by blindfolding Him and then telling Him to identify which one of them had hit Him.  They were saying many foul, false things about Him…it was blasphemous.

 

“to blaspheme, rail at or revile,” is used

(a) in a general way, of any contumelious speech, reviling, calumniating, railing at, etc., as of those who railed at Christ, e.g., Mat 27:39; Mar 15:29; Luk 22:65 (RV, “reviling”); Luk 23:39;

(b) of those who speak contemptuously of God or of sacred things, e.g., Mat 9:3; Mar 3:28; Rom 2:24; 1Ti 1:20; 6:1; Rev 13:6; 16:9, 11, 21; “hath spoken blasphemy,” Mat 26:65; “rail at,” 2Pe 2:10; Jud 1:8, 10; “railing,” 2Pe 2:12; “slanderously reported,” Rom 3:8; “be evil spoken of,” Rom 14:16; 1Cr 10:30; 2Pe 2:2; “speak evil of,” Tts 3:2; 1Pe 4:4; “being defamed,” 1Cr 4:13. The verb (in the present participial form) is translated “blasphemers” in Act 19:37; in Mar 2:7, “blasphemeth,” RV, for AV, “speaketh blasphemies.”

http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G987&t=NASB, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words

 

Luke 22:66-71               Friday: Jesus Tried by the Sanhedrin

Luke 22:66-71-It is Friday morning.  Jesus is brought before the Sanhedrin for questioning.

 

For information on the Sanhedrin see:

http://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hbd/view.cgi?number=T5477

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/Sanhedrin.html

 

For a timeline of the trials of Jesus, their illegality, and additional materials see:

http://www.agapebiblestudy.com/matthew_gospel/Matthew_Lesson_25_Handouts.pdf

http://christianity.about.com/od/biblestudyresources/a/jesusfinalhours.htm

http://www.jesus.org/death-and-resurrection/holy-week-and-passion/a-time-line-of-the-passion-week.html

http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/trial-jesus.html

 

They ask Him if He is the Christ…He refuses to answer because He says that they will not believe.  But, He says that from now on He will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.  They ask, “Are You the Son of God, then?”  He responds, “Yes, I am.”  They agree that they don’t need testimony from anyone else because Jesus has just incriminated Himself.

Prayer: Lord, it is so easy to judge Peter for his failure…as I sit here comfortably in my home, without any threat, intimidation, or persecution.  I pray for my brothers and sisters around the world, today…who are being persecuted for their faith.  Give them strength, and faith, and hope.  Please give them love even for those who pursue them.  And Lord, please help me to be faithful in the midst of my comfort.  Sometimes my comfort deceives me into thinking that all is well and that I am being faithful…when in reality, I am accommodating myself to my surroundings and in so doing I am denying Jesus in a manner similar to what Peter did.  It’s just not as obvious.

 

May 2

 

Luke 23:1-26

 

The Final Condemnation of the Son of Man, cont’d.        Luke 19:28-23:56        

Luke 23:1-5                    Friday: Jesus Tried by Pilate, #1

 

Luke 23:1-5-Jesus is brought before Pilate and their accusations against Him are presented.  Their indictment was not of a religious nature, but political.  Pilate would not be concerned with petty theological disagreements among the Jews.  But, he would be very interested in any type of political intrigue or strategy that would threaten Rome; and even more so, would threaten his personal status with Rome.  So, they attempt to make Jesus appear to be a traitor of the Roman Empire who has conspired to establish Himself as king.

 

Matthew (26:57-58) and Mark (14:53,55) mention a preliminary hearing held at night, but the Sanhedrin (70 or 72 elders and teachers of the nation) could not legally convene at night, so this verdict was made official as soon as it was day. Since, however, the Sanhedrin had no power to carry out a capital sentence, the case had to be remanded to Pilate, senior representative of the Roman government in Judea.

(Ryrie Study Bible, Luke 22:66)

 

Pilate asks, “Are you the King of the Jews?”  Jesus responds, “It is as you say.”  Yet, Pilate says that he finds nothing guilty about Him.  Even this admission by Jesus was no valid threat to Rome.  He had said He was the king of the Jews…not the Romans.  Who cares about such a laughable claim?  It would not be worth the effort, or the potential unrest among the general Jewish populace to pursue such a pitiful assertion.  But Pilate is in something of a dilemma.  Obviously, the Jewish leaders were not going to let this go without receiving what they were demanding.  He knew that they were driven by jealousy.  But word on the street was that Jesus was very popular with the common people.  The Jewish leaders continue to press their case.  They now accuse Jesus of stirring the people up to rebellion…as far as Galilee.

 

Luke 23:6-12                 Friday: Jesus Tried by Herod

Luke 23:6-12-The moment that Pilate hears the word “Galilee,” he sees an opportunity to shift the responsibility for the decision about Jesus away from himself.  Herod Antipas was the tetrarch of Galilee (the area ruler).  While he was of Jewish descent, he was not an active adherent of the Jewish religion.  However, he did come to Jerusalem for major Jewish feasts.  It was good for public relations.  He was in Jerusalem at this time for the Passover.

 

For information on Herod see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herod_Antipas

http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/herod_bruce.pdf

http://www.gotquestions.org/Herodians.html

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/1597-antipas-herod-antipas

 

Pilate decides to send Jesus to Herod…because Galilee was in his jurisdiction.  By doing so, Pilate might also win some favor in Herod’s eyes.  You never can tell when you may need a political ally.  Initially, Herod was pleased.  He thought of Jesus as some kind of traveling magic show and wanted to see Him perform a trick.  But Jesus would do no such thing.  Herod questioned Jesus but learned nothing of consequence…even though the religious leaders were vigorously presenting their accusations to him.  Herod and his soldiers ridiculed Jesus by dressing Him in a robe (mocking Him as a bogus, laughable king).  Then he sent Him back to Pilate.  Pilate probably laughed out loud when he heard what Herod had done.  Up until that time they disliked each other.  But this occasion was cause for them to become friends.

 

Luke 23:13-25               Friday: Jesus Tried by Pilate, #2

Luke 23:13-25-Pilate tells the religious leaders that neither he, nor Herod have found any guilt in Jesus regarding the charges of political insurrection that they have made.  Verse 17 mentions that in order to incur the favor of the people it had become a common practice for Pilate to release a prisoner who was popular among them at this time of the year.  Trying to placate the anger of His accusers (the religious leaders), Pilate says that he is going to punish Jesus.  But, to satisfy the people who support Jesus, Pilate says that after he has punished Him, he will release Him.  But this did not work.  Instead, they call out for him to release a man named “Barabas”…a convicted insurrectionist.  The religious leaders were so insistent that Jesus should die that Pilate was afraid of a riot.  Finally, he caved in to their demands and pronounced the death sentence on Jesus.  He also released Barabas.  Without any hesitation, the Jewish leaders took Jesus to be crucified.  Along the way, they forced another man (Simon, from Cyrene) to carry His cross.

Prayer: Lord, not everyone is convinced or persuaded by what is true…they either just don’t understand, don’t agree, or have an agenda that they are more committed to.  Please help me to stand strong for what is true whether others are in agreement with it, or not.

 

May 3

 

Luke 23:27-38

 

The Final Condemnation of the Son of Man, cont’d.        Luke 19:28-23:56        

Luke 23:26-49               Friday: Jesus Crucified on Golgotha

 

Luke 23:27-31-Jesus sees those who are following Him and mourning and tells them to be prepared because worse days than these are yet to come.  If such an injustice as this can be done to Him, an innocent man…“green tree”…it will far worse in the days to come when Jerusalem is attacked…”dry”.

Luke 23:32-34-“There they crucified Him.”  Those words seem so straightforward, so void and empty of emotion.  The old police show “Dragnet” comes to mind when Sgt. Joe Friday would say, “The facts, all we want are the facts.”  It is interesting that Luke, the physician, leaves out all of the brutality of the beatings that Jesus received…no crown of thorns, no beating on the head, no spear through the side.  He seemed intent on helping his friend Theophilus (see 1:1-3) to understand the purpose of the crucifixion and not get distracted by the process of the crucifixion.  Perhaps we see this purpose in the fact that of the seven times that Jesus spoke while He was on the cross, Luke only records two of them (the first and the second times)…both dealing with the salvation of those that are present.  The first time that Jesus spoke while He was on the cross…He prayed for those who were crucifying Him (verse 34), “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”  The second time He is recorded as speaking while He was on the cross is found in verse 43.  He speaks to one of the thieves who was crucified along with Him.  The man asks Jesus to remember him when He receives His kingdom.  Jesus responds, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”  Amazing, even while He was on the cross, Jesus never lost focus of His purpose, His mission on earth…to save sinners, like me.

 

For information on the place where Jesus was crucified (“the place called The Skull”) see:

Calvary:

only in Luk 23:33, the Latin name Calvaria, which was used as a translation of the Greek word Kranion, by which the Hebrew word Gulgoleth was interpreted, “the place of a skull.” It probably took this name from its shape, being a hillock or low, rounded, bare elevation somewhat in the form of a human skull. It is nowhere in Scripture called a “hill.” The crucifixion of our Lord took place outside the city walls (Hbr 13:11-13) and near the public thoroughfare. “This thing was not done in a corner.” (See GOLGOTHA.)

http://www.blueletterbible.org/search/Dictionary/viewTopic.cfm?topic=ET0000697

Also see:

http://biblehub.com/commentaries/luke/23-33.htm

 

Luke 23:35-38-The religious rulers and the soldiers alike mocked Him.  Their common theme was that if He was the Messiah…then He should save Himself.  They failed to comprehend that because He is the Messiah…He came to save others…and if He saved Himself, He could not save them.  Someone had to die in order to pay for sin…and Jesus chose to be the one.

Prayer: Father, please help me to have the heart, the compassion of Jesus.  Even while they were crucifying Him, He asked for their forgiveness.  Help me to truly love You, and trust in You in such a way…that I may love others as You do…even when they seek to harm me.

ZA

May 4

 

Luke 23:39-56

 

The Final Condemnation of the Son of Man, cont’d.        Luke 19:28-23:56        

Luke 23:26-49               Friday: Jesus Crucified on Golgotha, cont’d.

 

Luke 23:39-43-One of the criminals crucified next to Jesus began to demand that He save them if He was the Messiah.  How many times do people demand things of God…demand that God do what they want?  “If I am going to believe in You, this is what You have to do.”  To them, God is merely a pawn to satisfy their demands.  God doesn’t play that game.  This man’s entire focus was on this world.  The other thief recognized that he deserved what he was getting and that Jesus did not.  He asked Jesus to “remember” him when He came into His kingdom.  Jesus told him that on that very day he would be with Him in Paradise.  In a very real way, these two thieves represent the whole of humanity.  There are those who question the existence of God, or His righteousness, or His sovereignty, or His wisdom, or His love.  For them, if God exists at all…He is only a tool to be manipulated for their own desires and by their own design.  Then there are those who recognize God for Who He is…God…and themselves for who they are…sinner…and submit themselves to Him.  It is only to those in the latter group that Jesus promises Paradise.

 

During the time that Jesus was on the cross He spoke seven times…

#1-Luke 23:34-The Word of Forgiveness

“Father forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

#2-Luke 23:43-The Word of Promise

“Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

#3-            John 19:26-27-The Word of Compassion

“He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’”

There was darkness over the land from the sixth hour, 12:00 noon…until the ninth hour, 3:00 pm (Mark 15:33: Luke 23:44).  It was during these last hours that the sins of the world were poured into Jesus and He bore their punishment.  During these three hours Jesus spoke four more times.

#4-Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34-The Word of Separation

“My God, My God, why has hast Thou forsaken Me?”

#5-John 19:28-The Word of Humanity

“I am thirsty.”

#6-John 19:30-The Word of Victory

“It is finished.”

#7-Luke 23:46 (Matthew 27:50; Mark 15:37)-The Word of Faith

“Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.”

 

Luke 23:44-45-It is the 6th hour, noon…and it became dark for 3 hours.  The veil of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.  This signified that the days of the Old Covenant were over and the New Covenant, the new and living way, through Jesus had begun (Hebrews 10:20; Ephesians 2:11-22)…and that God had brought it about.

 

For an explanation of the Temple veil and the significance and timing of it being torn in two see:

http://www.gotquestions.org/temple-veil-torn.html

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2011/10/11/contradictions-temple-veil-torn-in-two

http://the-tabernacle-place.com/articles/what_is_the_tabernacle/tabernacle_holy_of_holies

http://cbumgardner.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/the-thickness-of-the-temple-veil/

 

Luke 23:46-Jesus cries out and commits Himself to the Father.  Then He died.

Luke 23:47-The centurion standing guard at the cross recognized the innocence of Jesus.

Luke 23:48-49-All of those who were there recognized that Jesus had died.  Later, some would claim that He had only “swooned”…meaning that He had passed out, but not died.  However, those who witnessed the event recognized that He actually died.

 

Luke 23:50-55               Friday: Jesus Buried in the Tomb (day #1)

Luke 23:50-55-Joseph of Arimathea gains permission from Pilate to take the body of Jesus for burial.  It is interesting that Luke states that he had not been favorable towards the decision of the Council.  Surely this dissent would later stigmatize him among its members.  He had stood up for what was right, for Christ, even at his own peril.  The Sabbath was about to begin…so he had the body of Jesus wrapped in cloth and put into an empty tomb.  Some of the women who were followers of Jesus went with him and saw where His body had been placed.

 

Luke 23:56                     Saturday: Jesus in the Tomb on the Sabbath (day #2)

Luke 23:56-They rested on the Sabbath (Saturday).

Prayer: Lord, sometimes it is difficult to determine between when I am calling on You in a correct manner and when I am trying to get You to do what I want.  Please give me discernment to know the difference.  I know that You have told me to pray and seek You in all matters of life.  But help me to truly seek Your will in my prayers…and not just try to convince You to do what I want.

 

May 5

 

Luke 24:1-35

 

The Ultimate Victory of the Son of Man                        Luke 24:1-53          

Luke 24:1-12                 Sunday: Women Find the Tomb Empty (day #3)

 

Luke 24:1-12-It is Sunday morning.  A group of women (Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary mother of James, other women, :10) come to the tomb of Jesus with the spices they had prepared on Friday afternoon for His burial.  They fully expect to find His body there.

 

For information on the spices and the process of burial see:

http://biblehub.com/john/19-40.htm

http://www.bible-history.com/links.php?cat=39&sub=765&cat_name=Manners+%26+Customs&subcat_name=Spices

 

The large stone that had been rolled in front of the entrance to the tomb has been rolled away and when they enter they discover that the body of Jesus is gone.  Initially, their hearts must have sunk.  After all that has happened, and now, someone has taken His body. They must have thought, ”Who would do a thing like this?  It must be the Romans, or the Council…because there aren’t any soldiers here.  Why won’t they just leave Him alone?”  Suddenly, two angels appear.  The women are frightened.  The angels ask, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead?  He is not here, but He has risen…”  They remind them of His prediction of these matters (see Mark 9:30) and they remember them.  They return and tell the Apostles and the others…but it seemed to be “nonsense, and they would not believe them” (:11).  Despite this hesitancy, Peter ran to the tomb and looked in.  He found only the linen cloth that had been wrapped around the body of Jesus.

 

(Ryrie, 24:12) the linen wrappings.  The wide bandage-like strips that were wound around the body (23:53). only. Or, by themselves. Despite the absence of the body, the clothes retained the same shape and position they had when it was there. If someone had stolen the body but left the clothes, he would have had to unwrap it and the clothes would not have been in this position. See John 20:6-7.

 

Peter then went to his house “marveling” at what had happened.  The word “marvel” speaks of astonishment, wonder (same word as in v. 41).  Peter was amazed at what he saw…though he was not yet certain about what it meant.

 

Luke 24:13-35               Sunday: Jesus Appears to Disciples (Emmaus Road)

Luke 24:13-35-Two of the disciples (one named Cleopas) are on the road that leads to Emmaus…which was about 7 miles from Jerusalem.  They were talking about what had happened.  Suddenly, Jesus joined them as they were walking…but they did not recognize Him.  He asks what they are talking about and they tell Him about the women finding the empty tomb and others going to investigate.  Jesus then explained to them about Himself from the prophecies in the Old Testament.  At their invitation, He went to their home to eat with them and when He broke the bread “their eyes were opened and they recognized Him”.  They returned to Jerusalem and told the Apostles, and the others.  Verse 34 says that Jesus had appeared to Simon.  The only other mention of this is in 1 Corinthians 15:5.

Prayer: Lord, don’t ever let my heart become satisfied, or complacent…always help me to marvel, and to be amazed at You.  Don’t let me ever lose the wonder.  Please, Lord…help me to see Your glory continuously so that my heart might be forever lifted up to You in praise.

 

May 6

 

Luke 24:36-53

 

The Ultimate Victory of the Son of Man, cont’d.         Luke 24:1-53          

Luke 24:36-43               Sunday: Jesus Appears to Disciples (Jerusalem)

 

Luke 24:36-While they were talking about these things Jesus appeared in their midst.  At first, they think that they are seeing a spirit, or a ghost.  But Jesus convinces them that it really is Him by showing them His hands and feet.

 

(Ryrie, 24:30)  The evidences that Jesus’ appearance was not as a spirit are: (1) the scars in His hands and feet; (2) His tangibleness in being handled; and (3) His ability to eat (v. 43; Acts 10:41). touch. The same word used in 1 John 1:1.

 

The Sequence of Christ’s Post-Resurrection Appearances

https://answersingenesis.org/jesus-christ/resurrection/the-sequence-of-christs-post-resurrection-appearances/

Also see:

https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_814.cfm

 

Luke 24:44-49               Sunday: Jesus Teaches His Fulfillment of Prophecy

He tells them that what has happened to Him was all predicted in the Scriptures and explains it.  He instructs them to be witnesses of all that they had seen and learned…beginning in Jerusalem and going into all of the world.  Then, He tells them to stay in Jerusalem until “you are clothed with power from on high” (the Holy Spirit).

 

Luke 24:50-53               Sunday: Jesus Ascends into Heaven

Jesus then walked with them to Bethany…where He spoke His blessing over them.  As He was doing so…”He parted from them” (:51; cf. Acts 1:9).

Prayer: Father, clothe me with Your power.  I know that You are speaking of the Holy Spirit, here.  But I pray not just for the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life…but for His power through my life.  Please show me what I must do.  You tell the disciples to stay in Jerusalem until you clothed them with power.  I know that this speaks of the coming day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came.  Lord, I want Your Holy Spirit to be fully, completely active in me without any hindrance.  Please, Lord…clothe me with Your power.

 

 

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