Be Courageous (Luke 14-24) by Warren W. Wiersbe - Read Online
Be Courageous (Luke 14-24)
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Encounter the ultimate profile in courage It takes courage to walk out our faith. Courage to stand for what we believe. To set our standards on Biblical truth, not cultural trends. To pursue a life defined by integrity and character. And we find no greater profile in courage than in the life of Christ. This study follows our Savior as he faced opposition, challenged critics, and courageously chose to make the ultimate sacrifice.   

Part of Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s best-selling “BE” commentary series, BE Courageous has now been updated with study questions and a new introduction by Ken Baugh. A respected pastor and Bible teacher, Dr. Wiersbe explores the courageous life of Christ. You’ll be encouraged to trust God, and inspired to embrace fearless living.


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Published by David C. Cook

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Colorado Springs, CO 80918 U.S.A.

David C. Cook Distribution Canada

55 Woodslee Avenue, Paris, Ontario, Canada N3L 3E5

David C. Cook U.K., Kingsway Communications

Eastbourne, East Sussex BN23 6NT, England

David C. Cook and the graphic circle C logo

are registered trademarks of Cook Communications Ministries.

All rights reserved. Except for brief excerpts for review purposes,

no part of this book may be reproduced or used in any form

without written permission from the publisher.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible. (Public Domain.) Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved; NASB are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © Copyright 1960, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; NKJV are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved; ASV are taken from The American Standard Version. (Public Domain); and WUEST are taken from The New Testament: An Expanded Translation by Kenneth S. Wuest © 1961 by the Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Used by permission.

LCCN 2010923221

ISBN 978-1-4347-6499-7

eISBN 978-0-7814-0443-3

© 1989 Warren W. Wiersbe

First edition of Be Courageous published by Victor Books® in 1989 © Warren W. Wiersbe, ISBN 978-0-89693-665-2

The Team: Karen Lee-Thorp, Amy Kiechlin, Sarah Schultz, Jack Campbell, and Karen Athen

Series Cover Design: John Hamilton Design

Cover Photo: iStockphoto

Second Edition 2010

To Earnest and Annie Lott, faithful servants of God whose example and encouragement have meant much to me and my wife and to the ministry of Back to the Bible around the world


The Big Idea: An Introduction to Be Courageous by Ken Baugh

A Word from the Author

1. The Man Who Came to Dinner (Luke 14)

2. The Joys of Salvation (Luke 15)

3. The Right and Wrong of Riches (Luke 16)

4. Things That Really Matter (Luke 17)

5. People to Meet, Lessons to Learn (Luke 18)

6. Jerusalem at Last! (Luke 19)

7. Issues and Answers (Luke 20)

8. Questions about Tomorrow (Luke 21)

9. In the Upper Room (Luke 22:1–38)

10. The Night They Arrested God (Luke 22:39–71)

11. Condemned and Crucified (Luke 23)

12. The Son of Man Triumphs! (Luke 24)

The Big Idea

An Introduction to Be Courageous

by Ken Baugh

I’m a Sylvester Stallone fan. I’ve seen all the Rocky and Rambo movies, and I even loved his voice-over role in Antz. But out of all of the Stallone movies, one of my favorites is Cliffhanger (1993), where Stallone plays the role of an expert mountain climber who rescues other climbers from perilous situations. In the opening scene of Cliffhanger, Stallone makes a heroic attempt to rescue his friend’s girlfriend who is traversing from a mountain peak to the safety of the rescue helicopter. As the girl makes her way across the cable, her harness begins to break away from the line, and Stallone is faced with a difficult decision. Does he go out on the cable that is designed to hold the weight of only one person and try to rescue her before she falls?

Of course Stallone goes out on the cable (hey, what do you expect, it’s an action movie), and just as her harness breaks, he reaches out and grabs her hand. He assures her that he will not let her fall, but she continues to thrash around, screaming at the top of her lungs: I don’t want to die! I don’t want to die! Eventually, she can’t hang on any longer, and as she falls to her death you see the terror in her face and hear her screams while Stallone looks on in horror. It is truly one of the most intense moments in film I have ever seen.

This scene from Cliffhanger reminds me of the time when Jesus cried out to the Father in horror in the garden of Gethsemane as He anticipated the agonizing death on the cross: Jesus, like this young woman, didn’t want to die. And as you read Jesus’ words, you can almost hear the anguish in His voice:

Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (Luke 22:42–44 NIV)

Jesus was in such anguish of heart that He actually sweated drops of blood. This is a well-documented condition called hematidrosis that can occur when a person is under such heavy emotional distress and profound fear that it causes the tiny blood capillaries under the skin of the forehead to burst and emerge through the sweat glands. Jesus was in anguish as He anticipated not only the excruciating pain that would come with the scourging and crucifixion but also the separation from the Trinity that He would experience for the first time. The Father would turn away from the Son as the Son took upon Himself the sin of the world (Matt. 27:46; 2 Cor. 5:21).

Jesus didn’t want to die, yet He lived His entire life on earth in the shadow of the cross. Why? What caused Jesus to be willing to endure the agony, humiliation, and abandonment by the Father at the crucifixion? One word: love. Jesus’ courage to face the cross was motivated by His amazing love for the lost. In fact, you could sum up the Big Idea in the second half of Luke as love.

Jesus came to earth to seek and save the lost and give His life as a ransom for many (Luke 19:10). His life mission was to save lost people from their sins, and the only way He could do this was to pay the price that the Father exacted for their salvation: death (Rom. 6:23). Jesus took my place and your place on the cross. He took the punishment that we deserved because of love. Jesus’ courage to face the cross was motivated by love, the deep desire to put the needs of others above His own. And Jesus calls us as His disciples to live a life of love toward others as we follow in His footsteps.

Over and over again the Bible records the love of God and how we, as His disciples, are called to live a life of courageous love too. Paul says, Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Eph. 5:1–2 NIV). It takes courage to live this life of love, but as I continue to take in God’s love for me, as I continue to abide in Jesus and let Jesus’ word abide in me, as I continue to surrender to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in my life, I will bear the fruit of love (Gal. 5:22) and become a conduit of God’s unconditional, sacrificial, and courageous love toward others.

I believe that every disciple of Jesus Christ is called to continue His mission to seek and save what was lost by extending courageous love toward others. That means that I will allow God to help me love my enemies. It means that I will take the step of faith when the opportunity presents itself to share Christ with the person I’m sitting next to on the airplane. To live a life of love means that I will reach out to the homeless person standing on the street corner and that I will generously give my time and my treasure to the ongoing work of God in my community as well as to mission work around the world. These are the acts of courageous love as we seek to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. The people you work with, live next to, and even live with need to know Jesus. They need to know of His love and His forgiveness. Be courageous and give it to them!


Dr. Wiersbe’s commentaries have been a source of guidance and strength to me over the many years that I have been a pastor. His unique style is not overly academic, but theologically sound. He explains the deep truths of Scripture in a way that everyone can understand and apply. Whether you’re a Bible scholar or a brand-new believer in Christ, you will benefit, as I have, from Warren’s insights. With your Bible in one hand and Dr. Wiersbe’s commentary in the other, you will be able to accurately unpack the deep truths of God’s Word and learn how to apply them to your life.

Drink deeply, my friend, of the truths of God’s Word, for in them you will find Jesus Christ, and there is freedom, peace, assurance, and joy.

—Ken Baugh

Pastor of Coast Hills Community Church

Aliso Viejo, California

A Word from the Author

This book is a companion volume to Be Compassionate and takes Luke’s account from chapter 14 to the end of his gospel. In these chapters, we see our Lord steadfastly going up to Jerusalem to suffer and die. Be Courageous is not only a fitting title but also a fitting challenge to us in these difficult days in which we live.

Each of us has a Jerusalem, a Gethsemane, and a Calvary appointed just for us in the will of God. Like our Savior, we must set our face like a flint (Isa. 50:7; Luke 9:53) and do what God has called us to do. It may not be easy, but it will bring joy to us and glory to God.

With this book, we continue the New Testament portion of the BE commentary series. When I wrote this series, the Lord was gracious to help me during those busy years of ministry, and He alone gets the glory for any benefit these books have brought to His people.

I must add a word of appreciation to my wife, Betty, who over the years has done so much to protect my time and help me meet my deadlines. The staff at David C. Cook has always been helpful and encouraging. Many people have told me that the BE series has been a blessing to them, and this has meant much to me. Thank you!

May the Word of Christ dwell in you richly and produce in you the fruit of righteousness that glorifies Him!

—Warren W. Wiersbe


Theme: Our Lord’s journeys as the Son of Man

Key verse: Luke 19:10

I. Preface (Luke 1:1–4)

II. The Journey from Heaven to Earth (Luke 1:5—4:13)

A. Birth announcements (Luke 1:5–56)

B. The babies are born (Luke 1:57—2:20)

C. Jesus’ childhood and youth (Luke 2:21–52)

D. Jesus’ baptism and temptation (Luke 3:1—4:13)

III. The Journey throughout Galilee (Luke 4:14—9:17)

IV. The Journey to Jerusalem (Luke 9:18—19:27)

V.  The Ministry in Jerusalem (Luke 19:28—24:53)

Chapter One

The Man Who Came to Dinner

(Luke 14)

Sabbath day hospitality was an important part of Jewish life, so it was not unusual for Jesus to be invited to a home for a meal after the weekly synagogue service. Sometimes the host invited Him sincerely because he wanted to learn more of God’s truth. But many times Jesus was asked to dine only so His enemies could watch Him and find something to criticize and condemn. That was the case on the occasion described in Luke 14 when a leader of the Pharisees invited Jesus to dinner.

Jesus was fully aware of what was in men’s hearts (John 2:24–25), so He was never caught off guard. In fact, instead of hosts or guests judging Jesus, it was Jesus who passed judgment on them when they least expected it. Indeed, in this respect, He was a dangerous person to sit with at a meal or to follow on the road! In Luke 14, we see Jesus dealing with five different kinds of people and exposing what was false in their lives and their thinking.


Instead of bringing them to repentance, Jesus’ severe denunciation of the Pharisees and scribes (Luke 11:39–52) only provoked them to retaliation, and they plotted against Him. The Pharisee who invited Jesus to his home for dinner also invited a man afflicted with dropsy. This is a painful disease in which, because of kidney trouble, a heart ailment, or liver disease, the tissues fill with water. How heartless of the Pharisees to use this man as a tool to accomplish their wicked plan, but if we do not love the Lord, neither will we love our neighbor. Their heartless treatment of the man was far worse than our Lord’s lawless behavior on the Sabbath.

This afflicted man would not have been invited to such an important dinner were it not that the Pharisees wanted to use him as bait to catch Jesus. They knew that Jesus could not be in the presence of human suffering very long without doing something about it. If He ignored the afflicted man, then He was without compassion, but if He healed him, then He was openly violating the Sabbath and they could accuse Him. They put the dropsied man right in front of the Master so He could not avoid him, and then they waited for the trap to spring.

Keep in mind that Jesus had already violated their Sabbath traditions on at least seven different occasions. On the Sabbath day, He had cast out a demon (Luke 4:31–37), healed a fever (Luke 4:38–39), allowed His disciples to pluck grain (Luke 6:1–5), healed