The unfolding of your words gives light.

To Seek and to Save
An Exposition of the Gospel of Luke
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished a 2 among us , just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were b 3 c eyewitnesses and servants of the word , it seemed fitting for me as well , having investigated d everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order , most
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1:1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us. While few extra-biblical accounts of the earthly ministry of Christ have survived to this day, the author says there were a large number of written records available when this gospel was written. He says many have, literally ―taken upon hand‖ to record these things, a word used only by Luke in the Bible, but by Hippocrates and Galen in medical works (A.T. Robertson). The authorship of this gospel is overwhelmingly attributed to Luke, whom Paul called ―the beloved physician‖ (Colossians 4:14). I will make that assumption, as did the early church attested as far back as the second century. Without seeking to offer ―proof‖ of Luke‘s authorship, here is some New Testament evidence:  Paul had a traveling companion, Luke, who was a physician (Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 1:24).  The writer of Acts traveled with Paul—ultimately to Paul‘s Roman imprisonment—as shown by several first person pronouns (we, us, our) in Acts (16:10-13, 16; 20:6-8, 13-15; 21:1-18; 27; 28).  Acts was addressed to a man named Theophilus (Acts 1:1).  The author of Acts had earlier written a book ―about all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day when He was taken up to heaven‖ (Acts 1:1-2)  The gospel of Luke was also addressed to a man named Theophilus (1:3). I see no reason to reject the common practice of dating of this letter at around A.D. 60, possibly during the imprisonment of Paul at Caesarea. b 1:2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. This shows that the human author of this account was not personally an eyewitness to the earthly ministry of Messiah. His source of information was from among the apostles and other firsthand accounts. This does not make his record errant, but does demonstrate the human element of biblical authorship. Notice the title for those other historians: he calls them ―servants of the word.‖ This tells us two things:  God made use of human records and human memories in compiling the Scriptures  Luke considered his account part of the ―word‖ Luke understood that he was doing more than simply recording interesting events. c 1:3 it seemed fitting for me as well. Luke‘s appetite for truth had been fine-tuned, so this seemed to him the right thing to do. Having devoured all the information he could about the Master, he decided to take up the pen himself. Luke actually wrote more of the New Testament in two books than Paul did in 13. He wrote this account in the first person (1:1, ―accomplished among us‖), as he did the book of Acts (Acts 1:1; 16:10-13, 16; 20:6-8, 13-15; 21:1-18; 27; 28). dd 1:3 having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order. This statement does not necessarily mean that this gospel is a chronology. As the NIV suggests, Luke may be saying that he was presenting ―an orderly account‖ of this holy material. It is one more example of Luke‘s careful attention to detail (Acts). Luke may have written this while Paul was in jail in Caesarea. He would have found living sources not far from that place whom he could interview. Luke was a historian of the first order. He had a very good academic work ethic (see the language behind ―investigated carefully,‖ cf. Matthew 2:8). He shows his eye for detail in the book of Acts and in this gospel. Several events recorded only by Luke help us see clear images of our
The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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excellent Theophilus ; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been b a taught . Lord‘s work. D.A. Carson and Douglas Moo‘s An Introduction to the New Testament (Zondervan, 2005) list those accounts only covered in Luke‘s gospel:  the miraculous catch of fish and of its effect on Peter (5:1-11)  the anointing of Jesus by a sinful woman (7:36-50)  the women who helped Jesus (8:1-3)  Jesus‘ rejection by some Samaritans (9:51-56)  the mission of the seventy (10:1-12, 17-20)  Jesus‘ visit with Martha and Mary (10:38-42)  teaching on repentance (13:1-5)  healing the crippled woman (13:10-17)  Jesus‘ teaching about Herod (13:31-33)  the man with dropsy (14:1-6)  the invitation to a banquet (14:7-14)  the account of the rich man and Lazarus (16:19-31)  Jesus‘ teaching about unprofitable servants (17:7-10)  the healing of ten lepers (17:11-19)  Zaccheus (19:1-10)  the lament over Jerusalem (19:41-44)  the words about two swords (22:35-38)  Jesus before Herod (23:6-12)  the words to the daughters of Jerusalem (23:27-31)  three of the ―words‖ from the cross (23:34, 43, 46)  the whole section on the resurrection after the women at the tomb (24:12-53)  the parable of the Good Samaritan (10:25-37)  the parable of the friend at midnight (11:5-8),  the parable of the barren fig tree (13:6-9)  the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son (15:1-32)  the parable of the unjust manager (16:1-9)  the parable of the unjust judge (18:1-8)  the parable of the Pharisee and the publican (18:9-14)
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1:3 most excellent Theophilus. This name could be a generic address to any ―lover of God‖ or ―friend of God‖ (literal meaning), but the title ―most excellent‖ hints at an individual. ―Most excellent‖ is the same way Paul addressed Governor Festus (Acts 26:25) and the way Claudius Lysias addressed Governor Felix (Acts 23:26). Theophilus is also listed as the recipient of the book of Acts. b 1:4 so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught. The word ―the exact truth‖ could also be translated ―with assurance.‖ Luke used this word in Acts 5:23 of prison doors being securely locked. Theophilus had evidently been instructed in the Christian faith and Luke wanted him to have a trustworthy written record of the work of the Lord during His earthly ministry and after His ascension. Luke wants us to know that, even though he was not an eyewitness to the earthly ministry of Christ, he considered his record accurate. These were not fables passed on around the campfire. Christian discipleship is more than simple formulas and professions of faith. The Christian faith is more than philosophy. It finds its roots in historical events. Ours is to sift through the treasures of revelation left on deposit with us and to examine them with precision so we can respond Godward with ever-increasing delight. Luke has much in common with those of us who read his account:  He had never seen Jesus.  He was a student of authoritative records about Jesus‘ person and work.  The more he learned, the more he wanted to learn.
The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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In the days of Herod, king of Judea , there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of c d 6 Abijah ; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth . They  The more he learned, the more he wanted to share. 1:1-4 The study of history is the study of God‘s providence. There is purpose to the events of our world. God does not waste characters. Luke contends here (and in Acts) that the central event of history around which we find purpose is the cross of Christ. This history is worth studying. Consider some good reasons for you to take pains right now to study the third gospel: 1. Because here is a history intentionally written to bring you to know the Lord Jesus. That was Luke‘s intent for Theophilus and the rest of us get to go along for the ride. You will know the Lord Jesus better if you carefully study this book. 2. Because here you will learn things about Jesus you can find nowhere else. Luke wrote with an eye for detail like no other human author of Scripture. 3. Because here you will develop an appetite to learn more about Jesus as well as tell more about Jesus. Rather than thinking the subject had been exhausted by other writers, Luke decided to investigate more deeply and further communicate the good news. 4. Because here you will be challenged to consider how God uses ordinary people to declare His glory to the world. Luke shows, as much as any biblical account, the human side of Scripture.
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1:5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea. This creates context for these events Luke records. All who investigate just what went on ―in the days of Herod‖ may understand. This would be like someone writing a history of our times and saying, ―In the decade that followed the World Trade Center attack…‖ Sources of information about our time will be abundant. So it is with ―the days of Herod.‖  Herod became governor of Galilee (appointed by his father Antipater the Idumean) when he was only 25.  He gave the impression that he was a tough, law and order ruler.  He curried the favor of the Jews by marrying into a prominent Jewish family.  A political opportunist, he found a way to get into power in Jerusalem and obtained the title ―King of the Jews.‖  He was known for his vicious treatment of those he perceived as rivals.  He was the patriarch of an infamous family whose depraved lives cluttered the landscape of the first century Roman empire. c 1:5 there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. Zacharias means ―the Lord has remembered.‖ He was from the tribe of Levi, specifically, one of the sons of Aaron permitted to serve as a priest. The division of Abijah to which Zacharias belonged was selected by lot in the days of King Solomon to serve as ―group eight‖ out of twenty-four groups serving in the temple two weeks each year:
Now the first lot came out for Jehoiarib, the second for Jedaiah, the third for Harim, the fourth for Seorim, the fifth for Malchijah, the sixth for Mijamin, the seventh for Hakkoz, the eighth for Abijah, the ninth for Jeshua, the tenth for Shecaniah, the eleventh for Eliashib, the twelfth for Jakim, the thirteenth for Huppah, the fourteenth for Jeshebeab, the fifteenth for Bilgah, the sixteenth for Immer, the seventeenth for Hezir, the eighteenth for Happizzez, the nineteenth for Pethahiah, the twentieth for Jehezkel, the twenty-first for Jachin, the twentysecond for Gamul, the twenty-third for Delaiah, the twenty-fourth for Maaziah. 1 Chronicles 24:7-18

Since this was the eighth priestly division, we can place the date of his service (eighth week of the Hebrew calendar) in either April-May or October-November. It is not possible from this evidence to calculate the date of the birth of Jesus. d 1:5 he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Luke gives prominent place to women in his history. Jesus taught them and made use of them in His ministry. Elizabeth the mother of John, Mary the mother of Jesus, Anna the prophetess, the widow of Nain, the sinful woman who anointed Jesus‘ feet, a number of women who contributed to the support of His ministry (8:1-3: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna), Mary the sister of Lazarus, Martha the sister of Lazarus, the poor generous widow.
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were both righteous in the sight of God , walking blamelessly in all the commandments and b 7 requirements of the Lord . But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were c both advanced in years . 8 Now it happened that while he was performing his priestly service before God in the 9 appointed order of his division, according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by d 10 lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense . And the whole multitude of the people e 11 were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering . And an angel of the Lord appeared f 12 him, standing to the right of the altar of incense . Zacharias was troubled when he saw the g h 13 angel, and fear gripped him . But the angel said to him, ―Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your
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1:6 They were both righteous in the sight of God. The words ―in the sight of God‖ are packed with theological importance. There is an infinite difference between this view and the human view. God‘s accounting is invisible to us. b 1:6 walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. This second statement about the character of Zacharias and Elizabeth coincides with the teaching of James about faith and works. The kind of righteousness we need is the kind we can only get from God. It is credited to our account on the basis of Christ‘s righteousness. It comes to us by faith. The blamelessness spoken of here is the way the righteous walk among men to demonstrate their faith in God. c 1:7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years. This shows that hard times are not necessarily related to some kind of divine payback for sins of the past. God sends difficulty to His most faithful people with great design. d 1:9 he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. It would have been a rare occurrence for a priest to have this responsibility—perhaps only once in his life. The cleansed priest brought the burning coals from beneath blood sacrifices and burned fragrant incense before the Lord. The altar of incense stood in front of the veil before the Most Holy Place. This was one of the priestly tasks that the men of Korah, Dathan and Abiram (Numbers 16) and King Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26) craved before God judged them. It was reserved for the sons of Aaron. This was the place where men approached God on an earthly level. It is a picture of prayer (as Psalm 141:2 shows). The fragrant smoke ascended to symbolize both the prayers (Revelation 8:3-5) and the protection (Leviticus 16:13) of those who approach God. It would have been fitting for Zacharias to pour out the desires of His heart in this place more than any other on earth. e 1:10 the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering. It was not only the priest who sensed this as the proper place to pray. This is the right picture of the corporate prayer meeting. With the priest in place, approaching God, the people considered this as the time of access. f 1:11 And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. See Luke‘s detail. If you know what the temple looks like you can picture just what Zacharias saw. g 1:12 Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him. This is the proper human response to angelic visions. When people see other-worldly beings they are struck with awe and fear (see Moses, Daniel, shepherds, the women at the tomb, John…). h 1:5-12 Zacharias and Elizabeth must have been what we would call prayer warriors, but that does not mean they were used to seeing God give them what they asked when they prayed. They spent years faithfully serving Him and carrying a not-so-private hurt. Prayer is not a discipline you develop so you can get what you want from God. Instead… 1. It is a testimony that you think God is good even when He does not give you what you ask. Zacharias and Elizabeth were faithful. 2. It is a rehearsal of the attributes of God for those who pray. Once the character of God is foremost in your mind, does it really matter if you get what you want? 3. It is God‘s means of molding His servants into useful instruments. Do you think Zacharias and Elizabeth were ready to rear the forerunner of Messiah? What got them to that point? 4. It is God‘s way of making you grow to the point where you want what He wants.
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petition has been heard , and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the b 14 c 15 name John . You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth . For he will be d e great in the sight of the Lord ; and he will drink no wine or liquor , and he will be filled with the f 16 Holy Spirit while yet in his mother's womb . And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to g 17 the Lord their God . It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of h i Elijah , TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN , and the a disobedient to the attitude of the righteous , so as to make ready a people prepared for the

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5. It is a constant reminder that our High Priest lives and continually pleads for us before the Father‘s throne.
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1:13 Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard. Zacharias may have been nervous as he approached the altar of incense, memories of Nadab and Abihu, the rebellion of Korah and a proud King Uzziah suffering judgment. Then an angel appeared. Had he messed up this once-in-a-lifetime task? To shake Zacharias out of his terror, the angel communicated the purpose of his visit. b 1:13 Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. The angel did not come to take something away from Zacharias but to announce a gift. John (Yochanan) means ―the Lord is gracious.‖ c 1:14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. Notice the pleasure the birth of John would bring (―joy,‖ ―gladness,‖ ―rejoice‖). Blessings are sweeter when you have been made to wait for them. He was to bring the same kind of joy that Isaac brought to Abraham and Sarah. d 1:15 he will be great in the sight of the Lord. Compare John the Baptist to Herod. One was given the title ―Great‖ by men and the other by God. Jesus got the same title (1:32). John‘s greatness was to be greatness in God‘s sight, like that of his parents (1:6). As the Master later testified:
Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. Matthew 11:11
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1:15 he will drink no wine or liquor. This is not a biblical indication that great people are Teetotalers but that John himself would be subject to a vow of abstinence from intoxicating beverages. He may have been a Nazirite like Samson and Samuel. f 1:15 he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother's womb. The filling ministry of the Holy Spirit is mentioned all through the Scriptures (Exodus 31:3; 35:31; Luke 1:67; Acts 2:4, 14-41; Acts 4:8-13, 31; Ephesians 5:18-19). The thought of an unborn baby experiencing this work takes us out of the normal use of the term. The Bible commands believers to be filled with the Spirit. We assume infants cannot make conscious choices before a certain age. Because this is a major exception to the norm, ours is not to try and force some hidden meaning on the text. Ours is to simply believe it. Ours is to bless the Lord for His ability to do a mighty work even while a child is still in his mother‘s womb (see the life-affirming event in Luke 1:44). g 1:16 he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. John‘s message did not give people hope that they might stay the same and get happy. Negatively he called them to flee the coming wrath, but the positive message pointed to the only refuge from wrath. h 1:17 It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah. Forerunner before Whom? The Lord their God. This is a testimony to the deity of Christ. It is also a testimony that, while John was not Elijah (he denied that in John 1:21), his ministry would resemble that of Elijah. Like Elijah confronted Ahab and Jezebel, John would confront Herod Antipas and Herodias. Elijah called the people to repentance and so did John. i 1:17 TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN. This is a quotation from the prophet Malachi that prophesied the coming of Elijah before ―the great and terrible day of the Lord.‖ This is not a reference to fathers gaining a new affection for their kids. It is a reference to fathers taking ownership in teaching and leading their kids as the word of God commands (Deuteronomy 6).
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Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel. Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse. Malachi 4:4-6

This is not about reincarnation. John himself did not think he was Elijah (John 1:21). The Lord Jesus later spoke of John the Baptist when He told Peter, James and John (who had just seen the historic Elijah and Moses):
For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear. Matthew 11:13-15 Elijah is coming and will restore all things; but I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands. Matthew 17:11-12
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1:17 the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous. What is the ―attitude of the righteous‖? Some translations use the word ―wisdom‖ here, but that does not properly convey the meaning of the word. The angel was talking about someone who would make people think biblically. Mark (8:33) records the verb form of this word coming from Jesus‘ mouth when He rebuked Peter for not ―setting his mind‖ on God‘s interests. b 1:17 so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. To ―make ready‖ is like preparing a meal, but the second word ―prepared‖ is a construction term. It is used of Noah building the ark. It is elsewhere used of John preparing the way of the Lord. So then the preparation required was not first an outward behavior but a complete restructuring of the inward attitude. Those who are disobedient are more than outward rascals. They have a resident monster and are ―unprepared.‖ c 1:13-17 We are wired for glory. You see that right away in human history when, in the garden of Eden, Adam caught his first glimpse of the sweet product of his surgery. He became a poet. But glory-chasing goes in both directions. You also see it when Adam and his bride chased after the promise of a greater joy outside God‘s boundaries. The desire for pleasure was not the problem. C. S. Lewis said in a sermon entitled ―The Weight of Glory‖:
Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are halfhearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

John Piper put it this way:
The great hindrance to worship is not that we are pleasure seeking people, not at all, but that we are willing to settle for such pitiful pleasures. We have settled for a home, a family, a few friends, a job, a television, a microwave oven, an occasional night out, a yearly vacation, a new laptop computer. We have accustomed ourselves to such meager, short lived pleasures that our capacity for joy has shriveled and therefore our capacity for true worship has shriveled.

This superior joy is something Zacharias and Elizabeth were just stepping into as this text unfolds. Their joy was not about getting new stuff or having their senses tickled in the short-term. What is driving people? Joy. Because we are wired for delight, it is important that we find our delight in proper places. I believe, then, that it is possible to get as much joy—indeed more joy— out of gathering with the family of God for a time of worship as it sitting down to a great feast or basking in the joy of your team winning a championship. Consider why John was going to bring joy and what that has to do with you: 1. John was an answer to prayer. There is real joy in hearing from God. 2. John was a new life. There is real joy in bearing children. 3. John was going to live a life that pleased God. There is real joy in having a clean conscience. 4. John was going to call fathers back to their biblical roles. There is real joy in ordering a home after God‘s word.
The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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Zacharias said to the angel, ―How will I know this for certain ? For I am an old man and my b 19 wife is advanced in years .‖ The angel answered and said to him, ―I am Gabriel, who stands in c d the presence of God , and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news . 20 And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, e f because you did not believe my words , which will be fulfilled in their proper time .‖ 21 g The people were waiting for Zacharias, and were wondering at his delay in the temple . 22 a But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them ; and they realized that he had seen a

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5. John was going to call the people to repentance. There is real joy in being given the chance to rebuild what is broken.
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1:18 How will I know this for certain. Is it wrong to question God? Certainly not, but there is more than simple questioning going on here. This is doubt. This is unbelief. How often do you ask God for something and have an angel show up in the room with the answer? b 1:18 I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years. Does this angelic announcement to an elderly couple sound familiar? Should we wonder at the discipline meted out when Zacharias was talking to an angel just like father Abraham did? Zacharias had the advantage of biblical hindsight that father Abraham did not have. The problem was that Zacharias thought his identity was based on human standards. When you find your identity in human labels (old, divorced, clinically depressed…) you have an excuse to doubt God. c 1:19 I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God. The angel Gabriel appears in Scripture at strategic times and places. He was sent to Daniel to explain his end times vision (Daniel 8:16) and to encourage him (Daniel 9:21). He was sent with birth announcements to Zacharias in this text and later to Mary (1:26). Notice that Gabriel identified himself right after Zacharias identified himself. Gabriel stands in the presence of God. Is this a better position than that of the priest in the temple?
Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; so it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer. Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, ―SEE,‖ He says, ―THAT YOU MAKE all things ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN WHICH WAS SHOWN YOU ON THE MOUNTAIN.‖ But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. Hebrews 8:1-6
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1:19 I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. What a contrast. The angel says, ―Good news: God says you‘re gonna be a Daddy.‖ Zacharias says, ―Bad news: We‘re too old for that.‖ You have to believe angels unless they are contradicting the word of God (Galatians 1:8). e 1:20 you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words. Zacharias was not struck dead as he might have feared, for he was doing what God had commanded priests to do. The reason for the stern discipline he received from the Lord is that he questioned a direct message from God. Abraham and Sarah doubted to be sure, but Zacharias was working with a couple thousand more years of revelation from God than Abraham had. f 1:20 which will be fulfilled in their proper time. The word translated ―time‖ refers to specific time period. In other words, God did not leave this prophecy open-ended. And this would not be just any time, but the ―proper time.‖ g 1:21 The people were waiting for Zacharias, and were wondering at his delay in the temple. Note the picturesque language (imperfect tense) of people who were waiting and were wondering. There was a nervousness about the temple because the fellow at the heart of the action had not returned. Because of the history of disasters during priestly service, even the daily ministry in the Holy Place must not have been considered mundane. This trip was taking longer
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vision in the temple; and he kept making signs to them, and remained mute . When the days of c his priestly service were ended, he went back home . 24 After these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant, and she kept herself in seclusion for d 25 five months , saying, ―This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked e f g with favor upon me , to take away my disgrace among men .‖ than normal and, based on Luke‘s use of a word often translated ―marveled,‖ the people were more than simply curious. a 1:22 when he came out, he was unable to speak to them. This may have been the point at which the people were accustomed to hearing the priestly benediction:
The LORD bless you, and keep you; The LORD make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace. Number 6:24-26

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But the priest could not pronounce it this time. It is possible, based on the signs people used to communicate with him after John‘s birth (1:62), that Zacharias also had his hearing temporarily taken from him. b 1:22 they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he kept making signs to them, and remained mute. The Moses-like glow on Zacharias‘ face must have communicated as much as his novice sign language. c 1:23 When the days of his priestly service were ended, he went back home. We do learn something about the character of this man here. He became disabled because of the hazards of his job, but he stayed until his duty was done. d 1:24 After these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant, and she kept herself in seclusion for five months. God keeps His word whether we believe it or not.In our day we tend to interpret this as her reasonable desire for privacy. Our culture might even put shame on her. This was very different. While we are not told why she secluded herself, it must have made quite a splash when she went back into the marketplace the first time. e 1:25 This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me. The words ―with favor‖ are inserted by the translators, but the implication of this ―look‖ is certainly a good one. Even though Zacharias was prevented from giving the blessing, ―The Lord make His face shine on you,‖ that blessing had come to Elizabeth. f 1:25 take away my disgrace among men. Compare the favor of God and disgrace before men in verse 25. The reason the fear of man is such a snare for us is that we focus on the way people think and ignore what God thinks. The pregnancy of the old lady was the end of her shame, not the start of it. g 1:18-25 This is an uneasy lesson because most of us, like Zacharias, are also a little skeptical about God coming through for us. Sure, He did it for the big names, but that was in another century. Doubt is a particular evil because it calls into question the very character of God. That is why James called the doubter a ―doubled-minded‖ and ―unstable in all his ways‖ (James 1:8). But God does answer prayer and He does act on behalf of His people. Here are some reasons you should believe God instead of doubting Him: 1. You know His character. Was this priest catechized in the character and power of God? If you do not know God‘s character it is not because you are untaught. Even the youngest Christian knows Genesis 1:1. What does it mean to call out in prayer to the almighty maker of heaven and earth? 2. Your identity is not defined by your limits but by who you are in Christ. Zacharias put forward all the human reasons God could do what He always does. He specializes in working through the weak because that makes Him look good. What is your excuse? 3. His delay in answering your prayers reveals more about you than it does about Him. After so long do you really think patient endurance is in order? Are you getting to the point where you would be surprised if He acted? This is similar to the incident Luke recorded in Acts 12 when the church was praying for Peter, who was in jail, and did not believe when he came to the door. 4. You have been given promises by someone who has never lied. God spoke through an angel here. That is out of the ordinary. But you have the completed Scriptures. And you
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Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called b 27 c Nazareth , to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph , of the descendants of d 28 David; and the virgin's name was Mary . And coming in, he said to her, "Greetings, favored one! e 29 The Lord is with you ." But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what f 30 kind of salutation this was . The angel said to her, ―Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found g 31 favor with God . And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall h 32 i j name Him Jesus . He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High ; and the Lord

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probably read them—at least in church. Doubting God when He has just given you a promise is worse than doubting low pressure centers during a hurricane. Pay attention to what you study in God‘s word. Pay attention in church and Bible study. So often God brings us a message and then checks to see if we were listening. 5. You are in a position to show others who your God is. Harsh judgment? What if Zacharias had taken his excuses outside the temple?
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1:26 in the sixth month. It is good to ask whether this is the sixth month of the Hebrew calendar or the sixth month of Elizabeth‘s pregnancy. Likely the latter. Since the conception of John coincided with the priestly service of Zacharias (see my note on Luke 1:5), the sixth Jewish month Elul could not have been the date referred to here. Verse 36 also supports this. b 1:26 the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth. Gabriel was sent. Angels are messengers from God. They not only travel from eternity into time, they are personal spirits who appear to take on bodies and arrive at specific geographic locations to do God‘s bidding. Nazareth is located on a ridge that looks south across the historic Jezreel Valley, where many of the world‘s armies had marched by the time this was written. c 1:27 a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph. The betrothal period in Mary‘s day was in some ways similar to what we call ―engagement.‖ It was a period of preparation for the marriage. The biggest difference is that a couple was legally married before the relationship was physically consummated. This is what made Mary look to Joseph like an adulteress instead of simply an immoral woman who could not save herself for her husband. d 1:27 the virgin's name was Mary. Mary was, like so many Jewish women of her day, named after the sister of Moses. Just as Miriam was a servant to care for Israel‘s deliverer in his infancy in Egypt , this ―Miriam‖ would be the servant to the ultimate Deliverer. e 1:28 coming in, he said to her, ―Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.‖ Why was Mary a ―favored one‖? We might well ask the same of Elizabeth, upon who God cast a favorable glance (1:25) and Noah, who ―found favor in the eyes of the LORD‖ (Genesis 6:8). The song of the angels at Jesus‘ birth was one of ―peace among men with whom He is pleased‖ (Luke 2:14). Those God favors are not so because they have performed up to expectations. As Ephesians 2:1-10 explains, God brings the dead to life and makes them do what is good. The statement that Lord was with Mary reveals the truth that made all the difference in the life of David (1 Samuel 16:13, 18; 17:37; 18:14, 28; 20:13). f 1:29 she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The word used to describe Mary‘s attitude here is a stronger form of a word used to describe how Zacharias felt when he saw the angel (1:12) and to describe what legalism was doing to young believers (Acts 15:24; Galatians 1:7; 5:10). It even described turbulent waters (John 5:4, 7). Here, in the stronger form Mary is described as ―very perplexed.‖ g 1:30 Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. The grace of God is the remedy for fear. h 1:31 you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. Jesus (likely pronounced Yeshua in Hebrew) means ―savior‖ or ―salvation.‖ Joseph was also given this name by the angel who appeared in his dream: ―She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins‖ (Matthew 1:21). i 1:31 He will be great. This gives us His character. Remember that these words were spoken during in days of Herod the ―Great‖ (see note on 1:15). j 1:32 will be called the Son of the Most High. This gives us His identity.
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God will give Him the throne of His father David ; and He will reign over the house of Jacob b 34 forever, and His kingdom will have no end .‖ Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I c 35 am a virgin ?" The angel answered and said to her, ―The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and d the power of the Most High will overshadow you ; and for that reason the holy Child shall be e 36 called the Son of God . And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in f g 37 her old age ; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month . For nothing will be h 38 impossible with God .‖ And Mary said, ―Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me i j according to your word .‖ And the angel departed from her.
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1:32 the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. This gives us His destiny. This statement of the angel is part of Luke‘s argument that Jesus had a legal right to rule over the people of Israel. The biological link of Jesus to the royal line of David is not stated directly by Luke until the genealogy of chapter 3 (Luke 3:23-31). b 1:33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end. child would be the ruler David could not be. He is the fulfillment of God‘s promise to David in 2 Samuel 7:16. c 1:34 How can this be, since I am a virgin. Scholars, believing and unbelieving, have debated various texts testifying to the virgin conception of Messiah. Here you can take it from Mary‘s own mouth. You can see the difference between Mary‘s question and the one Zacharias asked (1:18). Mary started with belief. Zacharias started with unbelief. Mary was not skeptical about God to do such a thing. She was merely puzzled by the biology of the event and asked the logical question. d 1:35 The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. No question is left about human fatherhood here. In a completely holy act of power, God was going to send His Son into a human body. The only times this word translated ―overshadow‖ is used in the New Testament it describes the glory of God at Jesus‘ transfiguration and perception that the shadow of Peter might bring healing to people (Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:34; Acts 5:15). e 1:35 for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. This statement clearly connects the virgin birth (conception) with the deity of Christ. If He had a human father He would have been capable of sinning. f 1:36 your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age. Since Zacharias and Elizabeth were both from the tribe of Levi (Aaron) and Joseph and Mary were both of the tribe of Judah (see Matthew and Luke‘s genealogies), we may presume that either Mary‘s mother was of Aaronic descent or that Elizabeth‘s mother was of the tribe of Judah. g 1:36 she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. This identity change for Elizabeth was the same as what it should be for anyone else. Outside of the grace of God we are given earthly labels (barren, unloved, drunk, thief…). Inside His grace we are identified by what only He can do (six months pregnant, loved by God, delivered from bondage…). h 1:37 nothing will be impossible with God. This is the theology behind all the impossible happening in this chapter. The Almighty Maker of heaven and earth can make old couples conceive and create life in a virgin womb. i 1:38 Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word. Mary was ready to serve. This statement is a good one to commit to memory and to have ready for the next time you are called to respond to God‘s call on your life. This was a great privilege for Mary, but don‘t think this was going to be a great promotion for her on an earthly level. It was the beginning of a joyful ride that would also include negative public scrutiny, much discomfort and the eventual piercing of Mary‘s soul (2:35). j 1:26-38 The message of the angel to Mary made two important points. First, it clearly identified Messiah. Second, it clearly identified Mary. In God‘s eyes Mary‘s identity was wrapped up in His favor and presence, not her performance. You see the same thing in David‘s life (see 1 Samuel 16). She was humble enough to ask, ―Why me?‖ This is very different from the way the proud ask that question (again see David in 2 Samuel 7:18). This story is all about the power of God. Here are some good reasons to worship God for being powerful:
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Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah , and b 41 entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth . When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, c 42 the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit . And she cried out with a loud voice and said, ―Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your d 43 e 44 womb ! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me ? For

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1. Because God is powerful you see ordinary things become spectacular. You do not need to pretend that you are important. This assaults God. He looks greater when your greatness is out of the way. The God who brings down giants with little rocks also sent His Son into the world in an obscure village while a simple couple made wedding plans. 2. Because God is powerful you see why people can be fearless. You can trust Him with the hard stuff. Do not take anything away from Mary. She must have been quite a woman. But the hero of this story is the God of grace who favored Mary. That is why Mary did not need to fear. 3. Because God is powerful you see impossible things happen. Just read the gospels. Here you start with angelic visions, a pregnant old woman and a pregnant virgin. Should this come as a surprise when the whole Bible starts with the same God making heaven and earth? To Whom do you pray? 4. Because God is powerful you see good cause to be a servant. You can be used by Him. God uses means to show His power. We create heroes out of people who stretch the human mind and body as far as they can go. God is shown great when He takes His people farther than they can go. Nothing is impossible with Him.
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1:39 Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah. The word for ―arose‖ is used frequently by Luke in the New Testament. It described Jesus standing to read in the Nazareth synagogue (Luke 4:39), the healed paralytic getting up from the ground (Luke 5:25) and the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:24). Why the hurry? The text does not say, but we do know that the angel directed Mary‘s attention to Elizabeth. This certainly would have been the place to find a sympathetic ear. This city was probably Hebron, since that is the one Judah set aside for the sons of Aaron (Joshua 21:9-11), Zacharias being of that number. This is a historic place, having been the home of Abraham, the location of the tomb of the patriarchs (Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, Leah), the site of David‘s coronation over all Israel and the location of his palace before he reigned in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:5). If this was Hebron, Mary took a longer journey (about 80 miles as the crow flies) than she and Joseph made when Jesus was born. b 1:40 entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. The text allows for the possibility that the conception of Jesus took place in Judah while Mary was visiting Elizabeth. c 1:41 When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Do you see what Dr. Luke points out twice about the resident of Elizabeth‘s womb (here and verse 44)? That was not part of Elizabeth‘s body. That was a baby. Luke records the same word for baby from Elizabeth‘s mouth that he used when Jesus was born (Luke 2:16). The baby responded to sound—perhaps to the presence of the Creator. The filling ministry of the Holy Spirit (see the note on Luke 1:15) often results in bold utterances. Elizabeth had been given a reminder of the mighty deeds of God and responded accordingly (see Acts 2:4, 11). d 1:42 she cried out with a loud voice and said, ―Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Elizabeth echoed the words of Gabriel (1:28). Maybe he paid her a visit as well. Note the overflow of emotion here. This woman was hooting and hollering. e 1:43 how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me. Elizabeth was humble like Mary and did not consider herself worthy of such a visit. Somehow Elizabeth knew that Mary was carrying her Lord. Notice Elizabeth‘s understanding of the deity of Messiah. He was her Lord.
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behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy . 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to b c her by the Lord .‖ 46 d And Mary said : e ―My soul exalts the Lord , 47 a And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior .

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1:44 when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. Gabriel had told Zacharias that John would be filled with the Holy Spirit while still in his mother‘s womb (1:15). b 1:45 blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord. On an earthly level we are sometimes relieved when someone else is as fleshly as we are. Then the bar is not set too high for our performance. Elizabeth had the right idea. She found joy in Mary‘s belief. As 1 Corinthians 13:6 says that love ―…rejoices with the truth.‖ c 1:39-45 Mary and Elizabeth were related, even though the Scripture does not tell us how. But the two women were very different. Mary was young. Elizabeth was old. Mary lived in Galilee. Elizabeth lived in Judea. Mary was a virgin. Elizabeth had been married for many years. Mary was betrothed to a common laborer. Elizabeth was married to a priest who approached God on behalf of a nation. Different as they were, you can see in this text the obvious connection the two had. Why? They went to the same well for their joy. If you have trouble relating to other Christians, maybe it is because you are using earthly standards to choose your friends. You have so much more in common with someone who is very different from you (consider this pair) when it is the Lord Jesus who connects you. All you have to do to understand this principle is to look at the twelve disciples Jesus chose. Aside from some family relationships, about the only thing that connected most of them was Jesus. God-honoring friendships spring from having your relational appetite changed. When Paul said, ―from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh‖ (2 Corinthians 5:16), he was talking about seeing people as eternal souls rather than tools to help me get where you want to go in this world. Here are some of the delights of Mary and Elizabeth to mirror if you want to have friendships that please God: 1. You find joy in God‘s work instead of your friends‘ resumes. You say, ―Look at what the Lord has done for us.‖ 2. You find joy in serving with others rather than staying aloof. You say, ―This relationship can bring glory to God.‖ 3. You find joy in humility rather than in maintaining an image. You say, ―I do not deserve a friend like this.‖ 4. You find joy in God Himself rather than thinking you need people to meet your needs. You say, ―I will walk closely with my friends if I walk closely with our Lord.‖ Worship with them. 5. You find joy in encouraging others rather than thinking you have no responsibility for their souls. You say, ―My job is to increase my friend‘s faith.‖
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1:46 Mary said. Compare this text with the judgment earlier on Zechariah. He disbelieved Gabriel and became mute. Mary believed Gabriel and her tongue was loosed. Commentator John Lange writes, ―Faith is already singing for joy, while unbelief is compelled to be silent.‖ Mary responded to Elizabeth‘s blessing with a hymn of worship. e 1:46 My soul exalts the Lord. Mary started by saying that her soul magnified the Lord. She certainly had Psalm 34:1-3 in mind, which says,
I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the LORD; The humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together. The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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48

"For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave ; c For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed . 49 "For the Mighty One has done great things for me; d And holy is His name . 50 "AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION e TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM . 51 f "He has done mighty deeds with His arm ; g He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart . Why not just say, ―My mouth exalts the Lord‖? Because your soul is the real you. When your soul magnifies the Lord, the rest of you has to come along for the ride. Hannah, whose prayer in 1 Samuel 2 is remarkably similar to Mary‘s, must have been on Mary‘s mind as she worshipped here. The soul of Mary was not to accomplish its magnificent mission, however, by sailing smooth seas. The word translated ―exalts‖ is used eight times in the New Testament (Matthew 23:5; Luke 1:46, 58; Acts 5:13; 10:46; 19:17; 2 Corinthians 10:15; Philippians 1:20). The last one (Philippians 1:20) reveals Paul‘s desire that Christ would be magnified in his body whether he lived or died. That is what would happen with Mary. Her soul—even her grieving soul—would make her God big in the eyes of men. a 1:47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. The girl you see here would have bristled at the adoration so many give her in our day. Mary‘s spirit rejoiced in her Savior. Only sinners need one of those, so do not make Mary more than she was. Having a Savior means you are rescued from eternal punishment and stand in a forgiven state before God. Mary fits very well with Luke‘s theme of weak and sinful people who need to be rescued. She evidently knew that ―saved‖ can be a present condition and not simply a future wish. b 1:48 For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave. Mary‘s comment about God looking on His servant‘s humble estate does not simply mean He watched her from a distance. His countenance shone on her. She considered herself His slave, just as her son James did (James 1:1). c 1:48 For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. Mary knew that people would forever consider her ―blessed.‖ Everyone would know what a privilege Mary had to carry and mother the Son of God. This is not the word we pronounce blest, which means ―to be given favor.‖ This is the word we pronounce bless-ed, and means ―to be in a happy condition.‖ d 1:49 For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name. This song is not a recitation on Mary‘s part. In fact it is difficult to nail down precise Old Testament references in this prayer. But that is not the point. Mary was so full of Scripture at her tender age that the character of God and His words spilled freely from her lips. This first half of the statement sounds like Psalm 126:3: ―The LORD has done great things for us; We are glad.‖ The second half sounds like Psalm 103:1: ―Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name.‖ e 1:50 AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM. Psalm 103:17 says, ―But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children's children.‖ f 1:51 He has done mighty deeds with His arm. The arm of the Lord is a picture of His strength, often a picture of the power that rescued Israel from slavery in Egypt (Deuteronomy 5:15; 26:8; Psalm 98:1; Isaiah 51:9; 52:10; 53:1). It is fitting that Mary would equate the incarnation with Israel‘s redemption. Remember that this was not a girl rejoicing in her own exaltation. She called herself a slave. Even without knowing the full story, Mary knew that she was bearing the Deliverer of Israel. g 1:51 He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. This could be a reference to God‘s judgment on the rebels at Babel, ―So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city‖ (Genesis 11:8). It echoes Hannah‘s thankful prayer about God vindicating her:
Those who contend with the LORD will be shattered; Against them He will thunder in the heavens, The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; And He will give strength to His king, And will exalt the horn of His anointed. 1 Samuel 2:10 The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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52

"He has brought down rulers from their thrones, a And has exalted those who were humble . 53 "HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS; b And sent away the rich empty-handed . 54 "He has given help to Israel His servant, c In remembrance of His mercy , 55 As He spoke to our fathers, d To Abraham and his descendants forever .‖ 56 e f And Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her home . Somehow Mary knew that along with the rescue of sinners comes the judgment of sinners. 1:52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble. Mary‘s warrior God had raised up and dethroned many earthly rulers, but would conquer ultimately through the holy embryo in Mary‘s womb. b 1:53 HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS; and sent away the rich emptyhanded. Hannah said, ―Those who were full hire themselves out for bread, But those who were hungry cease to hunger‖ (1 Samuel 2:5). Mary understood that God is most glorified when He helps those who cannot help themselves. c 1:54 He has given help to Israel His servant, in remembrance of His mercy. This statement recalls Psalm 98:3: ―He has remembered His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel.‖ It also sounds like the prayer of Habakkuk (3:2), ―In wrath remember mercy.‖ God‘s best servants remember His character and call on Him to act accordingly (Genesis 18:24-25; Exodus 32:11-14). d 1:55 As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever. Mary connected the events surrounding the conception of Jesus with the fulfillment of God‘s promises to Abraham recorded in Genesis 12 and 15. e 1:56 Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her home. So Mary stayed out the first trimester of her pregnancy with Elizabeth and Zacharias, leaving just before the birth of John. There Mary went through the morning sickness and the physical adjustments to carrying a child in the presence of someone who was thrilled to share the experience with her. f 1:46-56 The first three chapters of this gospel do not introduce the heroes of the letter that Luke wrote to Theophilus. They introduce the forerunners to the only hero of this letter to Theophilus. Zacharias, Elizabeth, John, Mary, Joseph, the angels, the shepherds, Simeon and Anna all had one purpose: focus everyone‘s attention on the Savior. Mary was a theologian. Don‘t conjure up mental images of this girl locking herself away with dusty volumes, never to enrich the lives of others. Theologians hunger to know the One Who rescued them from wrath. They keep a list of all that can be known about Him. They cannot help but overflow when they realize how much they have been given. The worship that sprung from Mary‘s magnifying soul testifies to the identity of the One Who saved her from her sins. You should be that kind of theologian, too. Your purpose in life is not to achieve something great to justify your existence. It is not your chief end to find a way to pay for the amount of space you take up. You exist to do just what Mary was doing here. She was more like a mirror than a source of light. Collect all the light you are given and reflect it. You should work hard, do good and love much because that is what your Redeemer has done. Let all of your life to be a reflection of the Savior who rescued you. Simply put, you purpose in this world is to make God big in the eyes of others. The best way to accomplish this is twofold: 1. Make it your goal to learn all you can about Him. This is called theology. It is not a pointless exercise, because you cannot know God without knowing about God. Since we usually hear more from the opening chapters of Luke at Christmas, call it Christmas theology. Before you call the study of God irrelevant to the Christian experience, ask:  What about all the messianic prophecies? Do the specifics of fulfilled prophecy matter? What is the big deal if Isaiah was off a little on the circumstances of conception or if Micah was a few miles off on the place of Messiah‘s birth? You can delight in someone who keeps his word, but you should be afraid to trust someone
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Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she gave birth to a son . Her b neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had displayed His great mercy toward her ; and a they were rejoicing with her .

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who does not. Messiah was prophesied to come from a woman alone (Genesis 3:15), from a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), from the seed of Abraham (Genesis 12:3), descended from Judah (Genesis 49:10), descended from David (Psalm 132:11-12), born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), betrayed by a friend (Psalm 41:9), rejected, silent before his accusers, killed with criminals, buried with the rich (Isaiah 53), pierced in death (Psalm 22), bearing sins in death (Isaiah 53:6),—just to name a few.  Does the virgin birth matter? Yes, because the Bible links the virgin birth to the deity of Christ (Matthew 1:23). If Jesus is less than God, he is just another sinner. As just another sinner he is less than a suitable sacrifice and you are yet in your sins.  Does the kenosis and the incarnation of Christ matter? This means he emptied himself and had a human body. What is so dangerous about believing, as did the first century Gnostics, that Jesus was truly God, but did not have a human body? It certainly helps to explain a scientifically unverifiable resurrection. If he never had a real body, they could not really kill him. He is the conqueror of death because he could not die. But the Bible says he died and rose in a body. The Bible says you must believe this theology or you are not of God. Theologians say that in the incarnation Jesus laid aside the independent exercise of some of his attributes some of the time. 2. Put your theology where your life is.  To embrace the messianic prophecies is to believe that you can hear God‘s fully accurate message from Scripture. You can stake your eternal destiny on what God says to you there. What a different, holy life is lived by people who know and trust God‘s book. What a difference has been and is being made in this world by people who know God‘s word is true.  To embrace the doctrine of the virgin birth is to delight in the forgiveness that comes from a sinless sacrifice. Knowing biblical forgiveness changes the way you worship God, treat others and view yourself.  To embrace the self-emptying incarnation of Messiah is to become a good spouse, parent, child, church member, employee, employer, friend and neighbor. The Scriptures use the kenosis of Christ as the pattern for Christian living in Philippians. Because Jesus set aside his splendor, we should follow Paul‘s counsel:
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:3-4
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1:57 the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she gave birth to a son. Children, representing a vulnerable class, play a prominent role in Luke. Aside from giving an account of the births of John and Jesus, Luke records:  The childhood of Jesus (2:41-52).  The raising of the daughter of Jairus (8:40-56).  The deliverance of a demon-possessed boy (9:37-43).  Jesus‘ comparison of prayer to caring for children (11:11-13). b 1:58 Her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had displayed His great mercy toward her. How could they help but hear? The town of Hebron was certainly abuzz with news of the old woman having a baby, but that was not the whole story. Everyone knew who got credit for the blessing. Notice also that this birth is called a mercy. I would have used the word grace, which would have been accurate. But what the locals heard from Zacharias and Elizabeth was that God was merciful. Sinners who are aware that they deserve the full vent of God‘s wrath count all of life‘s little blessings as merciful.
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And it happened that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child , and they were c 60 going to call him Zacharias, after his father . But his mother answered and said, ―No indeed; but d 61 he shall be called John .‖ And they said to her, ―There is no one among your relatives who is e 62 f called by that name .‖ And they made signs to his father, as to what he wanted him called . 63 g And he asked for a tablet and wrote as follows, ―His name is John .‖ And they were all h 64 astonished . And at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak i 65 in praise of God . Fear came on all those living around them; and all these matters were being j 66 talked about in all the hill country of Judea . All who heard them kept them in mind, saying, a b c ―What then will this child turn out to be ?‖ For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him .

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1:58 they were rejoicing with her. This is Romans 12:15 (―Rejoice with those who rejoice‖) and 1 Corinthians 13:6 (―[Love]…rejoices with the truth‖) in living color. When you have the right kind of relationship with people their victories are yours. Nineteenth century Bible teacher J.C. Ryle called this ―sympathy‖ a rare but powerful grace. He said, ―it is one of those pins of the tabernacle which we must not leave in the wilderness.‖ He also added, ―Our Lord was ready both to go to a marriage feast, and to weep at a grave. (John 2, John 11) Let us be ever ready to go and do likewise.‖ b 1:59 on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. God commanded Abraham to circumcise all his male physical descendants (Genesis 17:12; 21:4). This was to be a sign of the covenant between Abraham and the Lord. Zacharias and Elizabeth were faithful to the commands of Scripture, as Matthew Henry points out, in the very city where Abraham circumcised Isaac. c 1:59 they were going to call him Zacharias, after his father. Male children were named at their circumcision, like Isaac had been (Genesis 21:3-4). ―They‖ refers to the priests. They must have thought they had authority to name the child even though his mother was right there. Zacharias, Jr. was logical since he was an old man with little chance of having another son. d 1:60 his mother answered and said, ―No indeed; but he shall be called John.‖ John means ―gracious.‖ Gabriel had told Zacharias, who had certainly written this down for Elizabeth. e 1:61 There is no one among your relatives who is called by that name. The priests questioned the name choice, blinded by their biases. f 1:62 they made signs to his father, as to what he wanted him called. This may mean that Zacharias was deaf as well as mute. g 1:63 he asked for a tablet and wrote as follows, ―His name is John.‖ Since paper and pencils were not in use in the first century, Zacharias may have been writing with a stylus on a piece of wood covered with beeswax. h 1:63 they were all astonished. Why do you think they were astonished? Probably because this was no ordinary baby. Here was one more unusual event surrounding the birth of this child. The couple was old. An angel predicted the conception and birth in the temple‘s holy place. A ninemonth judgment on the unbelieving father had ensued. Now the mother takes on the other priests about naming the child ―Gracious‖ and the father agrees. i 1:64 at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak in praise of God. Zacharias had had nine months to think about the unbelief displayed in his last words. He did not make the same mistake now. Paul put sins of the flesh in the same category with sins of the tongue when he said:
But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. Ephesians 5:3-4

Remember what your mother taught you about not being able to say anything good? The best ―good‖ you can say is to utter words that exalt your God. This statement takes us back to Eldad and Medad prophesying in the camp of Israel and forward to the mighty deeds of God proclaimed on Pentecost. j 1:65 Fear came on all those living around them; and all these matters were being talked about in all the hill country of Judea. When God shows Himself in judgment or in working
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And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied , saying: 68 e ―Blessed be the Lord God of Israel , wonders it changes the way people look at themselves. For instance, Ananias and Sapphira dropped dead by God‘s hand and Luke records:
And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things. Acts 5:11
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1:66 All who heard them kept them in mind, saying, ―What then will this child turn out to be?‖ Sometimes the implications of events in our lives are so dramatic that our little minds need time to process the full implications. b 1:66 For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him. The people here could see that an old couple had been given a child and that all the circumstances from conception to his name indicated that his mission would be important. This blessing was similar to the way God used David after his anointing by Samuel. The slaying of Goliath and the many other victories in David‘s life can be explained by the repeated phrase ―the Lord was with him.‖ Likewise the fiery preacher John. c 1:57-66 Evidence of the hand of the Lord is not when things turn out according to your dreams. Here is what you see: 1. God‘s people are unified around the right things. There were times in the history of redemption when people were unified in their grumbling or in their disobedience. This is one of the pleasant times when the people were united in seeing God at work and praising Him for it. 2. God‘s judgment is clear. God did not cease to work when He disciplined Zacharias. That was part of His work. We are blessed when we bear the marks of God‘s discipline because it confirms that we are His. A congregation full of people who still sting from the memory of sin‘s past consequences find the daily mercies of God that much sweeter. 3. God‘s commands are obeyed. Zacharias and Elizabeth were believers. They were worshippers. They did not do what God commanded to get something from Him. They obeyed as the only legitimate response to His mercy. 4. God‘s servants are humble. The big story in Hebron was God‘s mercy on the house of Zacharias and Elizabeth. The headlines in the Hebron Gazette that day would not have read ―Local Couple Finally Gets What They Deserve.‖ This is evidence that the couple saw things the way God wants us all to see things: His mercy always leaves us with far more good than we deserve.
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1:67 Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied. The household of Zacharias is the only entire family recorded in Scripture to have prophesied because they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Like Mary‘s song, the worship of Zacharias was not quoting long texts of Scripture but rather Scriptural thoughts overflowing from his heart. God had certainly gotten His way with Zacharias though His judgment. As Psalm 119:71 says, ―It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.‖ e 1:68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel. To praise or bless the Lord is the standard start of a Hebrew statement of worship. Just observe some of the words in New Testament letters:  Romans 1:8: ―I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all…‖  1 Corinthians 1:4: ―I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus‖  2 Corinthians 1:3: ―Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort‖  Ephesians 1:3: ―Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ‖  Philippians 1:3: ―I thank my God in all my remembrance of you‖  Colossians 1:3: ―We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you‖  1 Thessalonians 1:2: ―We give thanks to God always for all of you…‖
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For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people , 69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us b In the house of David His servant -70 c As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old -71 Salvation FROM OUR ENEMIES, d And FROM THE HAND OF ALL WHO HATE US ; 72 To show mercy toward our fathers, e And to remember His holy covenant ,      2 Thessalonians 1:3: ―We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren…‖ 1 Timothy 1:12: ―We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers‖ 2 Timothy 1:3: ―I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day‖ Philemon 1:4: ―I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers‖ 1 Peter 1:3: ―Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead‖

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The lesson is that you ought to have something to say following the words, ―Bless the Lord for…‖ If I say, ―Bless the Lord right now for all you know about Him‖ you would have to draw on all you have been thinking about Him. How would you do? a 1:68 For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people. Our normal use of the word ―visited‖ brings a picture to mind of the Lord just ―dropping by.‖ That is actually not far from the common New Testament usage. Jesus used this word to describe those who will visit those who are sick and in prison (Matthew 25:36, 43). It usually means more than a friend stopping over for coffee. It is more like a friend stopping over to save your life. That is what Paul had in mind when he decided to visit the churches in Asia he had started (Acts 15:36) and what James meant when he taught that pure religion motivates us to visit widows and orphans in their distress (James 1:27). Certainly Zacharias‘ reference to redemption was spoken without a full understanding of the cross, but the Old Testament Scriptures show the Lord as the sin bearer and the Redeemer even before both could be understood as acts made possible only by the cross. How could God accomplish redemption before the cross? Remember He dwells outside of time. We might just as well ask how a person can be glorified before he is even called by God (see the end of Romans 8). It is also worth noting that Zacharias was not looking for the Lord to redeem everyone. The mission would fulfill the type played out in Egypt when the Lord went down to rescue His people (not the Egyptians). b 1:69 has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of David His servant. Zacharias saw the events surrounding the coming of Messiah as at least a partial fulfillment of the Davidic covenant from 1 Samuel 7. He was not only rejoicing in the birth of his own son to the house of Aaron. He was rejoicing in the coming birth of the son of Mary to the house of David. c 1:70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old. The biblical doctrine of special revelation is not a twentieth century invention. Zacharias understood that God speaks through His prophets in the Scriptures. d 1:71 Salvation FROM OUR ENEMIES, And FROM THE HAND OF ALL WHO HATE US. This sounds like Psalm 106:10: ―He rescued them from the power of the one who hated them. He rescued them from the enemy.‖ e 1:72 To show mercy toward our fathers, And to remember His holy covenant. Why was the coming of Messiah a mercy to the patriarchs? Because they are not dead and can now see the unfolding of the bigger picture they died before seeing.
All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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The oath which He swore to Abraham our father , 74 b To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies , Might serve Him without fear, 75 c In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days . 76 "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; d For you will go on BEFORE THE LORD TO PREPARE HIS WAYS ; 77 To give to His people the knowledge of salvation e By the forgiveness of their sins , 78 Because of the tender mercy of our God, f With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us , 79 TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, g To guide our feet into the way of peace .‖

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things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them…And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect. Hebrews 11:13-16, 39-40
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1:73 The oath which He swore to Abraham our father. One commitment the Lord made to Abraham was this one: This was fulfilled in Messiah after Abraham died.
And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed. Genesis 12:2-3

This was fulfilled in Messiah after Abraham died. 1:74 To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies. Are the enemies to which Zacharias refers political or spiritual? He is going to answer that shortly, but consider what has been accomplished by the death evildoers in history. These are only little glimpses of the ultimate victory over what made those guys enemies in the first place. c 1:74-75 Might serve Him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days. The deliverance of Israel from her enemies has always been a picture (particularly the deliverance from Egypt) of salvation from sins. d 1:76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on BEFORE THE LORD TO PREPARE HIS WAYS. Zacharias addressed the infant with an eye toward God‘s call on his life. e 1:77 To give to His people the knowledge of salvation By the forgiveness of their sins. This confirms that Zacharias understood salvation in more than political terms. f 1:78 Because of the tender mercy of our God, With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us. This picture comes from Malachi:
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The Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings for you people who fear my name. Malachi 4:2

Sunrise is a metaphor for hope. It signals the end of hidden things, the end of night terrors. 1:79 TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, To guide our feet into the way of peace. This is part of Isaiah‘s ―Christmas prophecy.‖
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But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them. Isaiah 9:1-2 The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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And the child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts a b until the day of his public appearance to Israel . 2:1 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all c 2 d 3 the inhabited earth . This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria . And
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1:80 the child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel. This is the last we will hear about Zacharias and Elizabeth. While we do not know how long they lived, there is evidence that John became part of the Essence Hebrew sect, which rejected the unbiblical Jerusalem traditions. b 1:67-80 Have you ever been in a heated discussion with someone where they were so wrong that you were about to burst with words that would bury them? That urge is common to the children of Adam. It works the same way when you think we have the answer to a question no one seems to get or when you want to look good to the people who are listening. The words that bubble up at those times reflect the way you think. This text reveals the way Zacharias had been thinking. He had had nine months to keep his mouth shut. His last words had been unbelieving, but because he could not talk he had time to think. What you see in this song is what had built up over nine months. Like his wife and young relative, Zacharias thought God‘s thoughts after Him. Here are some reasons why you also need to get control of your thought life: 1. Because what you say is a direct reflection of the way you think. Jesus said that the mouth speaks out of what fills the heart (Matthew 12:34). 2. Because your thoughts and words are played out before the face of God (Psalm 19:14). If you follow the Lord Jesus your goal should be to please Him—thoughts and words included. 3. Because if you think biblically you will act biblically. God talks to us through His word. Acting biblically is more than an outward behavior. It is the fruit of knowing what God thinks about what you think. 4. Because if you think biblically you will communicate helpful things to those who are watching. Proverbs says the lips of the righteous feed many. You should not content yourself with simply avoiding gossip and slander.
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

2:1 a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This good news was set against a backdrop that made it good news. Consider the ironies: earthly rulers were making power plays and the Sovereign of the universe was born to a poor woman in a cave and placed in a feed box. The urgent time crunch for Mary and Joseph and the limited space in Bethlehem should be set next to the Creator of time and space born there. The transition from the worship of angels to a feedbox and strips of cloth. Caesar Augustus was the powerful Roman emperor who succeeded his adopted father Julius Caesar after Caesar‘s infamous assassination. He was so revered after his death that the Roman senate ordered that he be worshipped. We still have a month named after him. Have you ever heard a preacher say, ―All means all and that‘s all all means‖? Luke 2:1 (and other texts) demonstrate that word meanings hinge on context. Did Caesar Augustus tax China and the Americas? Why force meaning on a word that does not fit the context? We make the same mistake all the time. The word translated ―inhabited earth‖ is another illustration of how important context is to word meaning. Even more than the word kosmos, this word speaks of the inhabited earth. But, as powerful as Rome was, it did not have taxing authority for the planet. Of course Luke is speaking of the Roman world. d 2:2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. Critics say that Luke is mistaken about Quirinius since many historians place his rise to the office of governor in Syria several years after the birth of Christ. Records indicate that a large tax levy was placed on that region in A.D. 6. During the events recorded here a man named Saturninus was governor of Syria. Lest you become troubled by this news, you should note these things:
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everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city . Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, b 5 because he was of the house and family of David , in order to register along with Mary, who was c 6 engaged to him, and was with child . While they were there, the days were completed for her to d 7 give birth . And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him e f in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn . Difficulties in understanding an apparent inaccuracy in the Bible do not mean there is an inaccuracy in the Bible.  Luke uses a participle that says Quirinius ―was governing‖ in Syria, not necessarily holding the title yet.  There are large gaps in the historical records of the timeline of the extensive political career of Quirinius.  The early church fathers (such as Tertullian) accepted the historicity of Luke‘s account.  Early skeptics (such as Julian the Heretic) did not argue against the historicity of Luke‘s account.  A census is not the same thing as a tax levy, although the census was usually associated with taxation.  Quirinius may have been a co-ruler during the time Joseph and Mary went to register. a 2:3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. The tribes of Israel were still assigned to specific geographic locations as laid out in the law of Moses (Joshua 13-19). b 2:4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David. ―Up‖ was a description of elevation. Joseph and Mary went into the hill country of Judea. This is a pertinent detail that Luke emphasizes. Nazareth did not connect Joseph and Mary to the family of David, but the family records at Bethlehem did. c 2:5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. Luke emphasizes the pregnancy. This would have been a more difficult trip than the similar one Mary took during the first trimester of the pregnancy. d 2:6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. This was certainly God‘s right time to send the Deliverer. Paul wrote:
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, Galatians 4:4

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Luke was a doctor. He was pointing out that God‘s timing coincided with the natural physical process of gestation. e 2:7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. It was likely a cave where the birth took place. Don‘t be too hard on the innkeeper. The town was crowded with others obeying the decree of Caesar. The cloths may be an indication that Joseph and Mary were poor. f 2:1-7 Immediately after Adam and Eve fell into sin the Scripture records the first gospel promise of the Scriptures. God addressed the serpent:
And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel. Genesis 3:15

This record of Luke is the unveiling of the One who would crush the serpent‘s head. It was not to happen in a way any of us would have chosen. My script would have included a globally televised stadium event featuring a giant other-worldly foot descending from heaven to squash the serpent. But in the wisdom of God He chose instead to use earthly events and natural circumstances to bring the Deliverer to the place that would fulfill many prophecies. He does things like that.  He used a crop tax in Egypt to deliver the house of Jacob from starvation.  He used a mandate for infanticide to preserve Moses the deliverer in the weeds by the Nile.
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In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch b 9 over their flock by night . And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of c d 10 the Lord shone around them ; and they were terribly frightened . But the angel said to them, ―Do e f 11 not be afraid ; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people ; for g 12 today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord . This will

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He used a decree from a pagan government to get Messiah to the town of David to be born.  He used the betrayal of a friend, a corrupt group of religious leaders and a brutal penal system to atone for sin of the world. The big application in all this is that God brings about His unseen eternal plan through ordinary means and ordinary people. Here is how you live inside that framework: 1. You live obediently with what you can see. You can see the commands and promises of God. You can see His moral will. Do it. 2. You stay alert to what you cannot see. You cannot see how He is going to enforce His commands and keep his promises. He turns turbulence and tragedies into triumphs.
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2:8 In the same region there were some shepherds. Why did the announcement come first to shepherds? Only God knows His reasons, but we do know that first century shepherds, by nature of their profession, were often aloof from the religious life of Israel. On the other hand we also know that someone had to raise the sacrificial lambs for the temple. b 2:8 staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. The reason the shepherds were out in the field could have been seasonal. During times of little rain shepherds needed to lead their flocks wherever grass was available. Jacob‘s older sons, for example, took Jacob‘s sheep about 60 miles from home from Hebron to Dothan when Joseph went to find them (Genesis 37:12-17). If this was the dry season we might rule out December 25 as Jesus‘ real birthday. c 2:9 an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them. Luke is contrasting the darkness of the fields with the bright light of the angelic display. The glory was so close they could touch it. Angels had a prominent role in the earthly ministry of Christ:  They predicted His birth (Luke 1:26-33).  They announced His birth (Luke 2:13).  They protected Him (Matthew 2:13).  They strengthened Him (Matthew 4:11; Luke 22:43).  They announced His resurrection (Matthew 28:2, 6). d 2:9 they were terribly frightened. This is the way people always react to angelic visions. It is not that angels are scary creatures but that they are other-worldly. They dwell in another realm of which mortals are largely ignorant. e 2:10 But the angel said to them, ―Do not be afraid.‖ This is what angels are supposed to say.  It is what Gabriel said to Zacharias and again to Mary (Luke 1:13, 30).  It was a repeated comfort during Daniel‘s vision in Daniel 10.  An angel said this to Paul the apostle in Acts 27:24.  An angel said this to the women standing next to the empty tomb in Matthew 28:5. f 2:10 I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people. That does not mean all the people would have great joy, but it does mean that the joyous gospel was to be given to all the people. g 2:11 today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Verse ten said the good news was for all the people, but the shepherds were told that this child was born for them. Compare this with Romans 8:31: ―If God is for us, who is against us?‖ It would be hard to look at even the sturdiest baby boy and think about him staging any kind of a rescue. But, in an even greater way than Zacharias saw baby John through God‘s prophetic lens, the angel saw his own Creator in a feed box in Bethlehem.
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be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger .‖ And suddenly b there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 c ―Glory to God in the highest , d e And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased .‖ 15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to a one another , ―Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which

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2:12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Angelic announcements about babies happened several times in Scripture. Angels visited the parents of Ishmael, Isaac, Samson and John. This is the only time an angel brought outsiders in on the news and this is the only a baby who was introduced as a Savior. The word translated ―sign‖ here is often used in the New Testament of the miraculous (Matthew 12:38), but its common meaning is simply an identification. The kiss of Judas identified Jesus as the one to arrest (Matthew 26:48). Circumcision identified men as descendants of Abraham (Romans 4:11). Please picture what is happening. An angel wrapped in light is standing on earth talking to some shepherds, but the sign is not the angel. It is a human baby wrapped in strips of cloth. In this case the angel pointed the men to something that would catch their attention so they would know they had arrived at the right place. It wasn‘t every day—even in first century Palestine—that you found a baby in a feed box. b 2:13 suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God. This is not the only vision of a large group of angels. Jacob also saw angels ascending and descending on a ladder (Genesis 28:10-17). Elisha‘s servant was comforted by a glimpse of the heavenly army when the enemies of Israel appeared to have the upper hand (2 Kings 6:15-17). John, banished to Patmos by powerful human forces, saw the throne from which the true King rules. He was called up to heaven where he saw this:
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ―Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.‖ And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, ―To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.‖ Revelation 5:11-13
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2:14 saying, ―Glory to God in the highest. While we cannot know the tune of this heavenly song, we do know the driving force behind it. Angels, who cannot experience redemption, stood here as witnesses to the unfolding work of the Redeemer (see 1 Peter 1:10-12). They had waited 4000 years to see just how the Father would bring the Sin-bearer into a sin-cursed world. The chief end of angels mirrors that of men: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. d 2:14 And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased. A single letter (s) in Greek distinguishes this translation from the reading of the majority manuscript, which can be translated ―good will toward men.‖ The reading reflected in the NASB specifies that peace with God comes by grace alone. God‘s favor does not come to those who deserve it. The angels sang of what brings God glory: reconciling Himself by grace to His people. e 2:8-14 If you were asked to honestly rank the most exciting news stories you have ever heard, you might not rank this one near the top unless the question was being asked in Sunday School. The reason for that may be because you have not really thought about all that was happening when the angel gave this announcement. Does this historic event touch you in any way? Why was this good news? 1. Because it was the clearest revelation of God‘s character He could give. This is why Jesus was called ―the word.‖ This does not take away from the fact that the Bible is God‘s precise revelation of Himself. It underscores the way God reveals Himself throughout the Bible: ―I am a saving God.‖ 2. Because it was intended for those who needed it most. For whom did Christ die? Sinners. 3. Because it brought simple people in touch with the glory of God. We have all fallen short of it, which means any contact with it must be an act of God. That‘s good news.
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the Lord has made known to us .‖ So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and c 17 Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger . When they had seen this, they made known the d 18 statement which had been told them about this Child . And all who heard it wondered at the e 19 things which were told them by the shepherds . But Mary treasured all these things, pondering f 20 them in her heart . The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had g h i heard and seen , just as had been told them .
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2:15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another. Angels do not normally stick around when they visit. The men were evidently speechless while the angels were present, but such visits always demand a response. b 2:15 Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us. When an angel spoke, Zacharias doubted and Mary asked ―How?‖ but they still responded to the visits. Here the shepherds went to investigate. Note the responses to other angelic visits in Scripture:  Abraham and Sarah made a baby.  Lot got out of Sodom before it was destroyed.  Daniel prophesied.  Isaiah prophesied.  The women at the empty tomb spread the message of the resurrection. c 2:16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. Luke notes that the men wasted no time. Five out of six New Testament uses the verb meaning ―to hurry‖ are from the pen of Luke. He used it of Jesus calling Zaccheus down from a tree (Luke 19:5-6) and of Paul‘s rush to get to Jerusalem by Pentecost (Acts 20:16). There is no mention of shock at the surroundings. Things were just as the angel said they would be. God chose the right fellows to witness this humble birth. Some of them may have been born in similar circumstances. d 2:17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. Whom did they tell? Probably anyone they could find. Matthew Henry compared these men to the lepers of 2 Kings 7:9 who found that the Atamans had abandoned their siege outside the walls of Samaria and fled. They said, ―This is a day of good news, but we are keeping silent…let us go and tell the king‘s household.‖ e 2:18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. The people ―marveled.‖ This is the identical usage of the word that described the reaction of the priests to the naming of John the Baptist by his father. What other response would fit such a story? Like the resurrection, the story was verified by more than the two or three witnesses required by the Scriptures. f 2:19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The word ―treasured‖ is used in the New Testament of preserving new wine (Matthew 9:17). The word translated ―pondering‖ is used only by Luke in the New Testament, usually of a conference for war (Luke 14:31) or another action (Acts 4:15; 20:14). Mary collected all these events in her mind so she could later sort them and put together a mental scrapbook. g 2:20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen. They went back. To what? Same old job. They did not become career missionaries but they did enter full time Christian service. The same old work was done with a new driving force. Their hearts overflowed with a fresh perspective on the living God. The work of shepherding became meaningful when they became aware that God was present with His people. The biblical doctrine of vocation teaches that there is not a line between ―secular work‖ and ―full time Christian service.‖ Every task must be done Soli Deo Gloria, whether we are paid to do it or not. h 2:20 just as had been told them. In other words, the angel had spoken of God getting glory and men getting peace. The shepherds confirmed that they had found the God-glorifying sight they had expected. i 2:15-20 When God shows Himself to you, the right response includes obedience, investigation, awe and sanctified thinking. Mundane tasks are very different when our hearts are full of Godward thoughts. The workplace of the shepherds did not change, but the workers did. Mary‘s
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And when eight days had passed, before His circumcision, His name was then called a b Jesus , the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb . 22 And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they c 23 brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "EVERY firstborn MALE THAT OPENS THE WOMB SHALL BE CALLED HOLY TO THE d 24 LORD "), and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, ―A PAIR OF a TURTLEDOVES OR TWO YOUNG PIGEONS .‖ circumstances did not change. She would still have to carry out the everyday tasks that mothers of infants must carry out. The difference was that she was full of the images of God‘s faithfulness to His promises. You need to approach your everyday tasks with the same kind of driving force that changed these people. How? 1. Develop a healthy curiosity to find out all you can about what God is doing. What is it that is keeping you anxious right now? Talk to God about it. Find out how He worked when characters of Scripture were in similar circumstances.  When Joseph‘s brothers mistreated him, God was preparing a way to save His people from starvation.  When Moses herded sheep for forty years, God was preparing to deliver Israel from bondage and preparing Moses to shepherd that flock for forty more years.  When Saul drove David into exile, God was using David to fortify Judah‘s interests in Philistine territory. 2. Answer the question: ―Where is the Lord Jesus in this picture?‖  Is He there when your pile of work seems as deep as the depravity of your coworkers? Yes.  Is He there when you are making bricks and having to gather your own straw? Yes.  Is He there when you are washing endless loads of laundry? Yes, the Son of man came not to be served but to serve. 3. Show people where the glory is. If the whole earth is full of it, maybe folks need someone to point it out. 4. Protect the memory of what God has done. Preserve it like you would anything you treasure. Some people take greater pains rehearsing their grievances than they do the faithfulness of God.
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2:21 when eight days had passed, before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus. Jesus means ―salvation‖ (see Matthew 1:21 and my note on Luke 1:31). This event gives us a glimpse into the way first century Jews applied Torah‘s command to circumcise. Like John, Jesus was publicly named just before He was circumcised. The name was a personal identity and the circumcision was a national identity. Why was Jesus circumcised? Because the law of Moses commanded it. Specifically, circumcision was a sign of the covenant between God and Abraham. Joseph and Mary lived in obedience to the law. They were not rebels nor was the Son of God. Similar to the reason Paul wanted Timothy (Acts 16:3) to identify with Israel in this way, the circumcision of Jesus prepared Him for ministry to Hebrews. b 2:21 the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. Both John and Jesus were named by the angel Gabriel before they were conceived (Matthew 1:21; Luke 1:13, 31). c 2:22 when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord. The law of Moses required that a woman who gave birth to a male child remain ceremonially unclean (not morally unclean) for a total of forty days (Leviticus 12). After that time she was required to bring a sacrifice to the temple. d 2:23 EVERY firstborn MALE THAT OPENS THE WOMB SHALL BE CALLED HOLY TO THE LORD. The firstborn sons were holy to the Lord, which means they were set apart. Consequently
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And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous b 26 and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; 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 c 27 Lord‘s Christ . And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the d 28 child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law , then he took Him into his arms, and e blessed God , and said, 29 ―Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, f According to Your word ;

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they had to be ―bought back‖ from the Lord (Exodus 13:2; Numbers 18:15). That claim on the firstborn explains why it was not unusual for Hannah to let young Samuel serve at the tabernacle instead of redeeming him. a 2:24 A PAIR OF TURTLEDOVES OR TWO YOUNG PIGEONS. Luke repeatedly demonstrates the way the Lord Jesus was attracted to poor people. He certainly started out in a poor family. The sacrifice mentioned here is one of two that could be offered. The standard sacrifice for this ceremonial cleansing was a lamb and a turtledove or pigeon. Those who were too poor to afford a lamb were permitted to just offer a pair of the birds (Leviticus 12:8). b 2:25 Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. Simeon has been identified by some as the son of the great Rabbi Hillel and father to Paul‘s mentor Gamaliel. While we cannot prove that, we do know that Simeon had a sterling reputation and was one of the people convinced that the time of Christ was near. Acknowledging the imminent coming of Messiah changes the way you live. ―The Consolation of Israel‖ could be considered one of the names of Jesus, but it is more a description of what Isaiah prophesied about Messiah and His forerunner:
―Comfort, O comfort My people,‖ says your God. ―Speak kindly to Jerusalem; and call out to her, that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity has been removed, that she has received of the LORD‘S hand double for all her sins.‖ A voice is calling, ―Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; and let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley; then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.‖ Isaiah 40:1-5

The statement that the Holy Spirit was upon Simeon is a reminder that Jesus called the Holy Spirit the ―Helper,‖ using a similar word to ―consolation‖ (John 14:26). God‘s Consolation would come as a permanent resident through the work of this Child. c 2:26 it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord‘s Christ. It is a rare thing to get such a specific message from God, but God communicated to Simeon something that would happen before his death. In the same way, God communicated with Paul through an angel that no passengers on his ship would die before it ran aground (Acts 27:23-26). d 2:27 he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law. Simeon was ―in the Spirit‖ here in the same way as John was in the Spirit when he received the vision on Patmos. This was no unconscious trance, but it was a definite moving of God. This may be the fulfillment, or at least a partial fulfillment of Malachi‘s prediction that Messiah would come suddenly into the temple:
"Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming," says the LORD of hosts.‖ Malachi 3:1
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2:28 then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God. We are not told that Simeon was one of the attending priests, so it may have seemed unusual to Joseph and Mary that this old fellow would take their baby. On the other hand, there had been nothing ―usual‖ surrounding the child so far. f 2:29 Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word. Until this time Simeon had known there was a purpose he had to fulfill before he
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For my eyes have seen Your salvation , 31 b Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples , 32 A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, c And the glory of Your people Israel .‖ 33 d And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him . 34 e And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, ―Behold, this Child is appointed for the f 35 fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed — and a sword will pierce even your a own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed .‖

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ended his life. Matthew Henry pointed out that prophecy makes a man ―enabled to speak things above himself.‖ a 2:30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation. Remember what ―Jesus‖ means. Simeon realized that he was looking at the Glory of Israel, the Savior of the world. Jacob said something similar when he saw Joseph after so many years (Genesis 46:30). b 2:31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples. This was not done in a corner. The entire public ministry of Christ was just that: public. Paul pointed this out to Herod Agrippa (Acts 26:26). c 2:32 A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, And the glory of Your people Israel. This quotation is from Isaiah 49:6. Simeon knew what Messiah was more than the Redeemer of Israel. The entire Old Testament pointed to the nations gladly serving under the reign of Jesus Christ. Light is always a picture of life and hope. It stands in contrast to darkness, which is a picture of death and despair. That is why another traditional Christmas text begins with these words:
But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them. Isaiah 9:1-2

As Simeon and Isaiah prophesied, the light would extend beyond the house of Israel. Paul saw this fulfilled in part at Antioch in Pisidia when a crowd from the community packed the synagogue and he had to explain why he was preaching about Messiah to Gentiles:
For so the Lord has commanded us, ―I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES, THAT YOU MAY BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE EARTH.‖ Acts 13:47

Then Luke went on to add:
When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. Acts 13:48
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2:33 His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. Notice that Luke calls Joseph His father. There is a significant difference in the texts that stand behind different translations. One family of texts says ―Joseph‖ and another says ―His father.‖ This debate is worth having, but please note that later in this chapter—in any translation—Joseph and Mary are called Jesus‘ parents (2:41) and Mary calls Joseph Jesus‘ father (2:48). Consider all the witnesses to the identity of this Little One. The angel spoke to Zacharias. The angel spoke to Mary. The angel spoke to Joseph. The angel spoke to the shepherds. The angelic choir sang to the shepherds. The shepherds saw the baby and confirmed the message. The shepherds told everyone around the news. Now Simeon. e 2:34 Simeon blessed them. Compare this to Simeon‘s blessing of God in verse 28. It is the identical word. When you bless, you speak well of what you bless. If we claim to follow the two great commandments then the words of our mouths will reflect that. Praise works like love. People who find it difficult to praise men from the heart probably find it difficult to praise God from the heart. f 2:34 Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed. The Lord Jesus brought men out for what they were. There could be no middle ground when He came near. His identity and call to discipleship divided families and
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And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher . She was 37 advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then as c a widow to the age of eighty-four . She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings d 38 and prayers . At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued e f to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem .

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communities. He was either the Savior or the Judge, the fragrance of life or the stench of death, the cornerstone or the stumbling block. a 2:35 a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed. This sounds like Hebrews 4:12:
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
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2:36 there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. What is a prophetess? Does God approve of female preachers? Yes! Preaching is an activity, not an office. Prophesying is simply carrying a message from God. The fact that Anna did this did not put her into a position of leadership in the assembly. Asher is one of the ―ten lost tribes‖ after the Assyrian captivity, but there must have been records still in existence when Jesus was born. c 2:36-37 She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. This means she had been a widow longer than she had been single. She could have served the Lord as a widow for sixty or more years. d 2:37 She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. Luke‘s statement that Anna never left the temple could tell us that she actually had living quarters there. Anna was a woman of self denial and holy discipline. Participation in the liturgical parts of Israel‘s worship was a good thing, but Anna spent herself in personal prayer as well as corporate prayer. Compare Anna to the ―widows indeed‖ Paul said should receive congregational care (1 Timothy 5). e 2:38 At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. There is no mention of her speaking words to Joseph and Mary. She talked to God and to anyone who would listen. f 2:21-38 People get depressed when they start analyzing what their real purpose is. People reach a certain age or experience one of life‘s many upheavals and start wondering why they are even here. Simeon and Anna had this problem buttoned up because they knew how to answer these questions: 1. What are you looking for? Compare this with what everyone else is looking for. 2. What kind of God do you serve? He is a covenant-keeping God. Compare this with the things others promise us. 3. What is God‘s opinion? Compare this with the way we fear man and men‘s opinions. 4. What are God‘s future plans? This stands in contrast to our often-idolatrous dreams and goals. 5. What has God‘s done in the past? This is important because we often define ourselves based on our past failures or successes. Wherever you happen to be in your life, you have a stewardship. You have something to manage. A second application of this text points us to Esther, another biblical character who was placed by God in a position of influence. Esther became a queen, which looks very different from Simeon and Anna‘s life circumstances. All three, however, were given positions that made a difference in the lives of others.
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When they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned to a 40 Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth . The Child continued to grow and become strong, b 41 increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him . Now His parents went to c 42 Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover . And when He became twelve, they went up d 43 there according to the custom of the Feast ; and as they were returning, after spending the full e number of days, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. But His parents were unaware of it , 44 but supposed Him to be in the caravan, and went a day‘s journey; and they began looking for

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When God places you into a position of privilege He does not do so in order that you may have self-centered pleasure. Mordecai challenged Esther that her rise to stardom was more than an example of personal advancement (Esther 4:14). Whether you have arrived at the golden years or are just starting the green ones, this text carries a powerful example for you. Regardless of the quantity of water under the bridge, you can finish well for the glory of God. If you are among the redeemed, observe and imitate the way Simeon and Anna ended their lives: 1. Assume that God is going to do great things. That is the kind of God He is. His ―great things‖ may not result in your comfort, but ―great‖ is bigger than your comfort. What do you anticipate from God? 2. Train your tongue to bless. How do you use your tongue? Pray. Teach. Bless God. Speak what God has spoken. Bless people. Proverbs says the lips of the righteous feed many. 3. Develop routines that benefit others. What kind of routines have you developed? Selffocused routines never satisfy. I have been known to send depressed people to visit nursing home residents as homework. 4. Find a purpose bigger than your career. Where do you fit into God‘s work? Your life work has to be more than what you get paid to do or your purpose will end when your job ends.
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2:39 When they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth. Luke leaves out the account of the escape to Egypt before Herod‘s massacre of infant and toddler boys (Matthew 2:13-18), but adds information no other writer does. Evidently Joseph and Mary returned to Bethlehem before they went to Egypt. b 2:40 The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. Can a sinless person learn anything? This becomes part of the information that helps us understand the incarnation. Jesus was fully God from the point of conception in Mary‘s womb. But He was also fully man. He did not possess superhuman knowledge and strength His whole life. On an earthly level He was dependent on His parents for His daily needs. This being the case, our Lord and Savior experienced growth physically, intellectually and spiritually during the period from infancy to age twelve. c 2:41 Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. This was part of obeying the Law of the Lord. The pilgrimage was a familiar one for young Jesus. d 2:42 And when He became twelve, they went up there according to the custom of the Feast. Jesus was approaching bar mitzvah, the time when He would become a ―son of the commandment.‖ He would be required to travel to the temple thrice yearly with the other men. Going to Jerusalem at Passover meant that the family would participate in the choosing of a lamb, keeping it four days and take it to the temple for sacrifice. e 2:43 as they were returning, after spending the full number of days, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. But His parents were unaware of it. Keep in mind that by this time Joseph and Mary likely had several other children. Matthew 13:55-56 and Mark 6:3 give the names of four brothers of Jesus (James, Joses, Judas and Simon) and also says there were at least two sisters. This means that our heavenly Father sent His Son to be part of a family with seven or more children. Joseph and Mary had enough children prone to misbehavior to worry about. They were certainly not concerned about the One Who never sinned.
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Him among their relatives and acquaintances . When they did not find Him, they returned to b 46 Jerusalem looking for Him . Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the c 47 midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions . And all who heard Him d 48 Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers . When they saw Him, they were e astonished ; and His mother said to Him, ―Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your f 49 father and I have been anxiously looking for You .‖ And He said to them, ―Why is it that you g 50 were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father‘s house ?‖ But they did not h 51 understand the statement which He had made to them . And He went down with them and i came to Nazareth, and He continued in subjection to them ; and His mother treasured all these a things in her heart .
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2:44 supposed Him to be in the caravan, and went a day‘s journey; and they began looking for Him among their relatives and acquaintances. A day‘s journey may have been a ten or fifteen mile walk. In a large group it would have been easy to assume Jesus was there. b 2:45 When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem looking for Him. Jerusalem would have still been crowded with people leaving or preparing to leave after Passover. c 2:46 after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. Some people have no appetite for Scripture. The Lord lived on more than bread. We might wonder what kind of questions Jesus asked the teachers having just witnessed the Passover rites. Question and answer is one God‘s teaching methods. Observe the way God intended for the story of redemption to be passed on:
And when your children say to you, ―What does this rite mean to you?‖ you shall say, ―It is a passover sacrifice to the LORD who passed over the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.‖ Exodus 12:26-27
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2:47 all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. The amazement of the teachers can be compared to the reaction of the parents of another twelveyear-old, this time a girl whom Jesus raised from the dead (Luke 8:56). The word meant to be ―beside yourself‖ and has even been translated ―bewitched.‖ The same word is part of a quotation in Luke 24:22 as the Emmaus disciples described their feelings upon hearing that Jesus‘ tomb was empty. e 2:48 When they saw Him, they were astonished. That word is used elsewhere of a ―wow‖ reaction. Here it appears at least Mary was a little put out with her Son. f 2:48 His mother said to Him, ―Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father father and I have been anxiously looking for You.‖ Luke succeeds here in pointing out to us how normal the upbringing of Jesus was, showing the way He identified Himself with the human experience. Boys do things that scare their mothers. Jesus was no different. Mary‘s word for her anxiety is used elsewhere by Luke of both grief at a perceived loss (Acts 20:38) and actual torment (Luke 16:24-25). Mary was not pleased to have such a scare and scolded the sinless Child. Note that Mary considered Joseph the acting ―father‖ of Jesus even though she knew the biological truth. g 2:49 He said to them, ―Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I to be in My Father‘s house?‖ This was not a slam on parental authority. It was a history lesson for Mary. It was a reminder of the words of Gabriel:
The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.‖ Luke 1:35

Later Jesus spoke of another house of His Father as a place with plenty of room for those who know the Way (John 14:1-6). h 2:50 they did not understand the statement which He had made to them. The lesson had been taught but the students were not yet ready to learn it. i 2:51 He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and He continued in subjection to them. Note that Joseph and Mary did not seek a way to get Jesus up to Jerusalem so His talent could be recognized and He could have the best opportunities for advancement. The brought Him
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And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men .

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Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of d 2 Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene , in the high priesthood of Annas up in their own home in relative obscurity because that is what parents do. It was not yet time to send Him into battle. a 2:51 His mother treasured all these things in her heart. This a different ―treasure‖ word than the one used of Mary‘s thoughts in Luke 2:19. Mary guarded this memory. It was one more piece of the puzzle resolved after her Son had risen from the dead. b 2:52 Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. Jesus was growing up. That is where Luke physician stands alone among the gospel writers pointing out normal human development before Jesus started His public ministry. c 2:39-52 This text does not tell us that Joseph and Mary were perfect parents nor does it imply that the Father wanted Jesus in the most stable environment available. If that were true He would not have sent Him into a sin-cursed world. But the fact that Jesus was born under the law of Moses and was in fact the living fulfillment of the law necessitated that He be nurtured in a home where God‘s law was taught and lived. This makes the home of Joseph and Mary a pattern for those of us who want to point our children to the cross. Here are some practical applications when we consider the way we minister to children: 1. For parents:  On one hand, that child belongs to you, not the state or the church. Parents and grandparents, no youth pastor or Christian worker should take your place as the primary instructors of your children.  On the other hand, that is child is not yours, but God‘s. You should not send little people into the world to fight your battles, but you should not seek to hang on and protect forever. You will eventually have to send your arrows out into combat. Prepare them. Set aside your work for public gatherings with the people of God like Joseph and Mary did (Hebrews 10:25). 2. For workers in children‘s ministry:  Be diligent in your study. Your role is more than babysitting or showing up Sunday morning and reading a lesson. You are a steward of a child who is not yours.  Find ways to serve those who have children. You will sometimes be in a position to impart truths to young people that fathers and mothers do not. Families in Israel expected their children who could understand to participate in worship and instruction (Nehemiah 4:2). So should we. d 3:1 in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene. This list of characters is important in giving context to the beginning of Christ‘s earthly ministry. Here is why:  Tiberius Caesar: Tiberius was an effective military general who took power after the death of Augustus (see note on Luke 2:1) and ruled Rome from A.D 14 until his death in A.D. 37. Luke‘s timeline places the beginning of John‘s ministry around A.D. 29.  Pontius Pilate: Pilate was appointed governor in Judea and served in that capacity from around A.D. 26-A.D. 37. While there is little documentation of his life before he came to power, he is best known for ordering the crucifixion of Jesus.  Herod the Tetrarch of Galilee: This is Herod Antipas, the son a Herod the Great who was manipulated into beheading John the Baptist. Luke recorded the historical account of Herod‘s death in Acts 12:20-23.  Philip the Tetrarch of Ituraea: Philip was another son of Herod the Great and the half brother of Herod Antipas. He married his great-niece Salome, the daughter of his niece Herodias and a half-brother also named Philip.  Lysanias the Tetrarch of Abilene: Skeptics have argued that this character was killed by Mark Antony many years earlier. It is possible, given Luke‘s eye for detail, that Lysanias
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and Caiaphas , the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness . And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the c 4 forgiveness of sins ; as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, ―THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‗MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, d MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT . 5 ‗EVERY RAVINE WILL BE FILLED, AND EVERY MOUNTAIN AND HILL WILL BE BROUGHT LOW; THE CROOKED WILL BECOME STRAIGHT, was a dynastic title or that another man of that name had assumed the position before the ministry of John began. a 3:2 in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas. Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas (John 18:13). The high priesthood was more for sale than for the sons of Aaron in the days of John and Jesus. b 3:2 the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness. We do not know for sure why John‘s ministry started in the wilderness of Jordan instead of Jerusalem or in Hebron where John was born. Some noteworthy comparisons have been made between John and the Essenes:  The Essenes claimed they were descendants of the legitimate priesthood. John‘s parents were both of priestly descent.  The Essenes were known for their ascetic lifestyle. So was John.  The Essenes were known to adopt children. The Bible records that John was born to older parents who may have died while he was young or become too frail to care for him.  The Essenes kept themselves mostly aloof from worship in Jerusalem as a protest against the rebellion of the religious leaders, settling near the Dead Sea. John‘s wilderness ministry was not far away from there.  The Essenes promoted an apocalyptic message. John called people to prepare themselves for the Kingdom.  The Essenes called their detractors vipers. So did John.  The Essenes were known for repeated ceremonial washings. John called his disciples to one ceremonial washing. Luke is introducing John by showing us the dark backdrop of corrupt secular and religious leaders of his day. When vile men ruled, God called a prophet to speak the truth to the people. This is the way prophets are called to serve. ―The word of the Lord‖ comes to them. Here are some noteworthy examples:  Abraham (Genesis 15:1)  Samuel (1 Samuel 15:10)  Nathan (2 Samuel 7:4)  Gad (2 Samuel 24:11)  The man of God from Judah who prophesied against Jeroboam (1 Kings 13:1)  Jehu (1 Kings 16:1)  Elijah (1 Kings 17:2, 8; 18:1; 19:9) c 3:3 he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The primary command of the apostles was ―Repent!‖ It was not baptism that resulted in forgiveness. It was repentance that resulted in forgiveness. This is demonstrated by the next section of this text where he refused baptism to those who did not show the fruit of repentance. d 3:4 as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, ―THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‗MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT.‘ John was mistaken for Messiah, but John the apostle (John 1:19-23) records John‘s denial. He basically said, ―I‘m not Messiah. I‘m a voice.‖ John was the voice prophesied by Isaiah that called the people to turn from their sins and to their Rescuer.
The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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AND THE ROUGH ROADS SMOOTH ; 6 b c AND ALL FLESH WILL SEE THE SALVATION OF GOD .‘‖ 7 d So he began saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him , ―You brood of a b 8 vipers , who warned you to flee from the wrath to come ? ―Therefore bear fruits in keeping with
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3:5 EVERY RAVINE WILL BE FILLED, AND EVERY MOUNTAIN AND HILL WILL BE BROUGHT LOW; THE CROOKED WILL BECOME STRAIGHT, AND THE ROUGH ROADS SMOOTH. This is certainly figurative speech, but it points to the mountain-moving change Messiah would bring to the earth. b 3:6 AND ALL FLESH WILL SEE THE SALVATION OF GOD. God‘s saving character was about to be shown again. Jesus is the salvation of God. The message of Jesus brings the salvation of God. c 3:1-6 Luke‘s portrayal of the foremost political figures in the Middle East when John lived in the wilderness does more than give us the time he began to preach. It sets Rome‘s power plays and treachery as the backdrop for the effective ministry of a humble man whose primary weapon was preaching. That God would bring powerful change through the preaching of His word has been shown by the way powerful rulers have persecuted preachers through the centuries. This same John lost his head because he dared to proclaim the truth about the sins of a nation in general and Herod‘s immorality in particular. We complain about the corruption and weakness of our political and religious leaders, but God often shows Himself strong during the darkest days. Rather than assuming our best weapon in this fight is getting one of our own in high office, we need to embrace what Paul taught in the Corinthian church:
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Earlier Paul told the same church,
For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was wellpleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 1 Corinthians 1:21

God‘s weapon is the simple, straightforward proclamation of His truth. We call it preaching. Here are several reasons why you ought to value and give heed to the preaching of God‘s word: 1. Preaching is the way, in God‘s providence, a small portion of His timeless revelation intersects with current events. 2. Preaching is a primary way God shows you your sins. When John the Baptist told Herod Antipas that the ruler should not have taken his brother‘s wife, he was not judging. He was relaying a judgment God had already made. 3. Preaching is God‘s tool for cultural change. Who could have guessed what Truth would do when Moses took it to Egypt, Daniel took it to Babylon or when Paul took it to Rome? 4. Preaching is God‘s chosen way to communicate the gospel. We ought to value the preaching of God‘s word because that is His way of advancing His kingdom.
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3:7 he began saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him. Baptism, like our church architecture, liturgies, teaching styles and communion, has its roots in the practices of the people of God before Christ. There is a good deal of biblical and historic support that the baptism of John and the baptism Jesus commanded were the same as the ceremonial washings the ancients practiced in obedience to biblical commands. In others words, baptism predates John and Jesus. The mikveh, or gathering of waters, is the place for ritual bathing. Several mikva’ot dating back to the first century and earlier have been found peppering the landscape around Temple Mount. This demonstrates among other things that finding water to baptize 3000 people in Jerusalem was not an impossible undertaking. Baptism was the way Jews prepared for service or identified with a teacher. The Essenes, who lived in the area of the Jordan where John baptized, were known for their insistence on regular washings.
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repentance , and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‗We have Abraham for our father,‘ for I say to a 9 you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham . ―Indeed the axe is So John washed repentant disciples in a mikveh in the Jordan. The message of John was one that resonated with the people, so they flocked into the wilderness to become his disciples. a 3:7 You brood of vipers. This is not the kind of greeting you would normally expect a speaker to give to people who traveled many miles just to hear him talk. But John‘s mission was not to get people to like him. This is the first of a number of John‘s recorded metaphors (brood of vipers, axe at the root of the tree, clearing the threshing floor). A ―brood‖ is offspring or fruit. Jesus twice used the same phrase of the religious leaders (Matthew 12:34; 23:33). These people were not sons of Abraham but sons of snakes. b 3:7 who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? How could anyone answer that question and why did John ask it? Remember when God asked Adam, ―Who told you that you were naked?‖? The lesson is this: if you know wrath exists you should run from it. The theme of God‘s wrath is seen throughout the Scriptures. Paul announced it when he preached on Mars Hill:
Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead. Acts 17:30-31

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The word translated ―wrath‖ here is used in the New Testament primarily of God‘s anger toward sin and occasionally of man‘s unrighteous anger.
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‗You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?‘ (Matt. 3:7) After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, ‗Stretch out your hand.‘ And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. (Mark 3:5) So he began saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him, ‗You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?‘ (Luke 3:7) Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people (Luke 21:23) He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. (John 3:36) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, (Romans 1:18) But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, (Romans 2:5) but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. (Romans 2:8) But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.) (Romans 3:5) for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation. (Romans 4:15) Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. (Romans 5:9) What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? (Romans 9:22) Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‗VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,‘ says the Lord. (Romans 12:19) The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. (Romans 13:4) Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake. (Romans 13:5) Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. (Ephesians 2:3) Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (Ephesians 4:31) Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. (Ephesians 5:6) For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, (Colossians 3:6) But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. (Colossians 3:8) and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:10) hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost. (1 Thessalonians 2:16) For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Thessalonians 5:9) Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension. (1 Timothy 2:8) AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, ‗THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.‘ (Hebrews 3:11) For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, ‗AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST,‘ although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. (Hebrews 4:3) This you know, my beloved brethren But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; (James 1:19) for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. (James 1:20) and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, ‗Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb‘ (Revelation 6:16) for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand? (Revelation 6:17) And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth. (Revelation 11:18) he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. (Revelation 14:10) The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath. (Revelation 16:19) The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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already laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and b thrown into the fire .‖ 10 c 11 And the crowds were questioning him, saying, ―Then what shall we do ?‖ And he would d answer and say to them , ―The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and e 12 he who has food is to do likewise .‖ And some tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they f 13 said to him, ―Teacher, what shall we do ?‖ And he said to them, ―Collect no more than what you g 14 h have been ordered to .‖ Some soldiers were questioning him , saying, ―And what about us, what

From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. (Revelation 19:15)
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3:8 Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance. John is contrasting the fruits of vipers with the fruits of repentance. The visible church has always and will always contain those who are outwardly religious but still unsaved. Jesus taught this in the parable of the wheat and tares. It is as difficult to distinguish genuine believers from counterfeit believers as it is to distinguish real wheat from counterfeit wheat. We are not always sharp enough to discern the difference until we see the fruit. A verbal expression of repentance means nothing without the works that demonstrate it. This is really no different than the teaching of James on faith and works. Genuine faith and repentance do not originate with sinners but with God. That is why they produce a different lifestyle. Salvation is not only about future salvation. A question we should answer is this: Did Jesus’ death actually do anything? If it did more than ―put the ball in our court,‖ real change will happen when we turn to Him for salvation. a 3:8 do not begin to say to yourselves, ‗We have Abraham for our father,‘ for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. Of course Jesus was speaking with hyperbole to prove a point. He was arguing against the racial pride that made some Hebrews think they were right with God because they were physical descendants of Abraham. Jesus told a similar crowd to do the works of Abraham (John 8:39). The family resemblance is what tells the story. b 3:9 the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. John is warning of imminent judgment. There is an urgency for the sinner who claims one thing and lives another. This is a disturbing statement if your tree is not producing the fruit of repentance. c 3:10 the crowds were questioning him, saying, ―Then what shall we do?‖ This is similar to the question the crowds later asked Peter at the Feast of Pentecost (Acts 2:37). Some of the people honestly wanted to know what kind of changes would happen if they responded to John‘s message. d 3:11 And he would answer and say to them. This awkward translation is important. This was not a one-time discussion with John. It happened all the time because sinners are the same wherever you go. e 3:11 The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise. This is not an indictment on those who have two tunics but on those who hoard wealth. Repentant people share. f 3:12 some tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, ―Teacher, what shall we do?‖ There is enough written about Rome‘s tax collectors to understand their reputation for theft. g 3:13 Collect no more than what you have been ordered to. He did not tell them to stop collecting taxes. He told them to stop being dishonest in their collection. h 3:14 Some soldiers were questioning him. John‘s message was God‘s message which means that it cut across every racial, political, social and economic boundaries. Even Roman soldiers needed to hear the call for all men everywhere to repent. Jesus died to redeem people from every tribe, tongue and nation.
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shall we do?‖ And he said to them, ―Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone a b falsely, and be content with your wages .‖ 15 Now while the people were in a state of expectation and all were wondering in their hearts c d 16 about John , as to whether he was the Christ , John answered and said to them all, ―As for me, e baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I , and I am not fit to untie the
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3:14 Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages. This was the command for soldiers, who evidently had a reputation for extortion, inaccurate judgment and discontent. John did not tell them to quit their jobs. He called them to leave the lifestyle so many soldiers lived. b 3:7-14 You will disappoint and offend others—perhaps even hurt them. Most of us have been taught to properly apologize. John is calling for more than words of regret. Repentance is a lifestyle and it can be demonstrated. Some sinners argue that God sees the heart and then proceed to tell us how good their heart is. But your wife cannot see your heart. Your employer cannot see your heart. Your friends cannot see your heart. The church cannot see your heart. John is talking about demonstrating repentance on a human level. How do you prove you are ―sorry enough to change‖? 1. You fear the wrath which you deserve. It is not popular to give lost people a vision of eternal hell. There could be a number of reasons for that. Maybe one is that we have not given it much thought ourselves. 2. You confess that there is nothing good in you to avert that wrath. Having a good heritage or outwardly participating in church activity (even a sinner‘s prayer) does not impress God. 3. You humble yourself before the one against whom you have sinned. This means that the person you sinned against—God or your friend—has the right to tell you what the fruit of repentance will be. 4. You change. You look at the sins to which you are prone and you turn the other way. If you are easily angered, you run toward self-restraint and contentment. If you tend to covet what others have, you run toward thankfulness for what God has given you. What this all comes down to is our inability to change apart from resting in grace. That is why repentance is a lifestyle for Christians.
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3:15 while the people were in a state of expectation and all were wondering in their hearts about John. Luke is telling this past story in the present tense like we might say, ―So I‘m standing there and this guy walks up to me and says…‖ Here the people ―are waiting‖ and ―are reasoning.‖ This phrase ―state of expectation‖ is always used in the New Testament of people waiting for something or someone (Luke 1:21; 7:19; 8:40; 12:46; Acts 3:5; 10:24; 27:33; 28:6). The people may have done the math from Daniel‘s prophetic calendar and seen that something big was about to happen. d 3:15 as to whether he was the Christ. Could this be Messiah? they wondered. The apostle John‘s gospel says that the religious leaders, presumably the Sanhedrin, sent messengers to John the Baptist to officially ask him if he was Messiah or another prophet God said would come. John the apostle records a little bit more of this exchange:
This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ―Who are you?‖ And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, ―I am not the Christ. ―They asked him, ―What then? Are you Elijah?‖ And he said, ―I am not.‖ ―Are you the Prophet?‖ And he answered, ―No.‖ Then they said to him, ―Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?‖ He said, ―I am A VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, 'MAKE STRAIGHT THE WAY OF THE LORD,' as Isaiah the prophet said.‖ Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, and said to him, ―Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?‖ John answered them saying, ―I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know. It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.‖ John 1:19-27
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3:16 As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I. John had water at his disposal, but Jesus had more. This story is one of contrasts. Luke contrasts Herod and John, but John contrasts himself and Jesus.
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thong of His sandals ; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire . His winnowing fork is in c His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn ; but He d will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire .‖ 18 e 19 So with many other exhortations he preached the gospel to the people . But when Herod f the tetrarch was reprimanded by him because of Herodias, his brother‘s wife , and because of all

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3:16 I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals. The leather strap of a sandal would have been untied by a servant washing feet. Humble John saw himself as less than worthy of such a task. John the apostle recorded these words of John the Baptist:
John answered and said, ―A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, '‘ am not the Christ,‘ but, ‗I have been sent ahead of Him.‘ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:27-30
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3:16 He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. John and Jesus spoke complementary words about this baptism of the Holy Spirit. John distinguished both his baptism and his authority from that of Jesus. Jesus explained that the Holy Spirit would engulf those who identified with Messiah:
Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, ―Which,‖ He said, ―you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." Acts 1:4-5

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is spoken of in Acts 1:5, 11:15-16; and 1 Corinthians 12:13. This baptism unites us to the Body of Christ, but it is invisible and many profess to follow Christ who do not have the Spirit. That is why the baptism of fire is necessary. The baptism of fire could be a reference to the fire that appeared over the disciples on Pentecost (Acts 2:3) or to the trials that would come on those who followed Jesus. More likely, John is talking about the fire of judgment that will burn away the ―chaff‖ in the visible church. c 3:17 His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn. A winnowing fork (or fan) is used to throw grain into the air to separate it from the chaff. John‘s metaphor illustrates the radical difference between the saved and the lost. d 3:17 but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. The adjective translated ―unquenchable‖ is asbestos. Whatever we make of that word, there is something more than annihilation pictured here. John is calling to the people‘s minds the prophecy of Malachi about the distinction between the saved and the lost:
So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him. For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze," says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. Malachi 3:18-4:1
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3:18 So with many other exhortations he preached the gospel to the people. The gospel is good news. Some might wonder how it can be good news to warn people that they might suffer eternal punishment, but know one can believe the gospel without the knowledge of deserved sin and judgment. f 3:19 when Herod the tetrarch was reprimanded by him because of Herodias, his brother‘s wife. Herod Antipas had taken his young niece Herodias from his half-brother Philip, by whom Herodias had a daughter named Salome. While there may have been an attraction between the two, marrying a descendant of the Hasmonean kings would have been politically expedient for Antipas.
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the wicked things which Herod had done , Herod also added this to them all: he locked John up b c in prison . 21 d Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized , and while He was e 22 praying, heaven was opened , and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a a b c dove , and a voice came out of heaven, ―You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased .‖

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3:19 and because of all the wicked things which Herod had done. John‘s mission to point people to Messiah was not about politics or he would have primarily gone after Herod‘s policies. Messiah came to rule men‘s hearts so John alerted them to their sin. b 3:20 Herod also added this to them all: he locked John up in prison. In addition to adultery, incest and a resume of other sins, Herod eventually ordered the death of an innocent man. c 3:15-20 What characterized John‘s ministry? John humbly pointed others to Jesus, confronted their sin and endured the fallout from telling the truth. Because the people of God are called to serve, we would do well to imitate the ministry of the man of whom Jesus said, ―among those born of women there is no one greater than John‖ (Luke 7:28). Here is the way you serve like John did: 1. You continually rehearse the source of anything good in your life. It is not false humility to tell people that you are doing much better than you deserve to be doing. You deserve the full vent of God‘s wrath. Until you come to terms with that, the death of Jesus will mean little. Paul asked, ―What do you have that you did not receive?‖ James said that everything good comes down from the Father of Lights. 2. You stay in your place. God hates self-promotion. It is good to step out and trust God to work great things through us but it is not good to think you deserve applause for it. 3. You speak God‘s truth boldly. John would have been labeled ―judgmental‖ in our culture, but he did not speak on his own authority. God‘s word pronounced a judgment on the immoral and John was only the messenger. 4. You expect trouble. This does not mean you have to be negative and you should certainly not feel sorry for yourself when people oppose God‘s word. It means that you should not go into shock when people mock you or worse for standing for your convictions.
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3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized. You can see Jesus waiting in line as you read this. Matthew records John‘s surprise at seeing Jesus among the sinners (see Matthew 3). Here was no viper. Here was the One Who would crush the serpent‘s head. Some argue that this baptism is the same as the baptism later commanded for all Christian disciples. Others take strong exception claiming this baptism was unique to John. Certainly Jesus was not demonstrating repentance like John required of the other candidates. No matter how you identify John‘s baptism it had to take on a different meaning when it was applied to Jesus. Another way to look at this is to remember that priests in Israel entered service at age of thirty (Numbers 4:3) and that their ordination included a ceremonial washing (Exodus 29:4). Jesus was around thirty when these events took place (see Luke 3:23). He perfectly kept the law but was a priest of a different—and a better—kind (Hebrews 7). However you view this baptism, the lesson is that the Lord Jesus was identifying with His people. Why would His people refuse to identify with Him in this rite? e 3:21 while He was praying, heaven was opened. Only Luke mentions this prayer which was evidently after the baptism. The ceaseless prayer of the Lord Jesus was certainly not an acknowledgment of personal sin but it certainly was an acknowledgement of His need to trust the Father to sustain Him while He carried on His earthly ministry. Commentator William Burkitt (William Burkitt’s Expository Notes) detailed the prayer life of our Lord:
Christ, when he was baptized, he prayed. When he was tempted, he prayed. When he brake bread, he prayed. When he wrought miracles, he prayed. In his agony in the garden, he prayed. When he suffered on the cross, he prayed. The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age , being, as was e 24 supposed, the son of Joseph , the son of Eli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Are we of a stronger spirit than the Son of God that we would dare go through any day thinking we do not depend on our heavenly Father for our very breath? The word ―opened‖ is used frequently in the New Testament of the opening of doors, eyes, mouths and the sky. Here the opening of the sky drew attention to the blessed Holy Spirit. a 3:22 the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove. This was different type of incarnation that illustrated the work of the Holy Spirit. Doves picture purity, gentleness and restoration (Genesis 8:8-12). Consider this the partial fulfillment of Isaiah 42:1:
Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.

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The Lord Jesus was undergoing a Divine ordination which far surpassed that of any earthly priest. See also Isaiah 61:1 quoted in Luke 4:18-19. b 3:22 a voice came out of heaven, ―You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.‖ Matthew (3:17) phrased this heavenly utterance differently, directing it toward those listening: ―This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.‖ Certainly the words were for the Lord as well as those listening. Luke recorded another affirmation from the Father when Jesus was transfigured and the Father said, ―This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!‖ (Luke 9:35). Compare this to Matthew‘s account of the Father‘s affirmation at the Transfiguration. On the mountain, Peter, James and John also heard, ―This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!‖ (Matthew 17:5). c 3:21-22 Some groups have a hard time expounding this text because their founders have tampered with the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. Some of them deny the personality of the Holy Spirit and others the deity of Christ. Still others—modalists—deny that God exists as three persons and claim that God merely manifests Himself at various times as three persons. Is that what you see here? This may be the reason Jesus called the Church to baptize disciples in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. When the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit opens your eyes and you are set free from sin, you too begin a ministry. Having seen the pattern John set for service, we now see the one Jesus set. 1. If Jesus identified with His people through baptism, so should you. Whether you call this a ―sign of the covenant‖ like circumcision or not, this covenant is one we enter by faith like father Abraham. It is a conscious identification for believers. 2. If Jesus needed to pray, so do you. Prayer is the language of the Church both publically and privately. 3. If Jesus relied on the power of the Holy Spirit for ministry, so should you. How much of what we claim to do for God is done in the flesh?
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3:23 When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age. Luke does not give us the precise age of Jesus because that information is not important to the message. The word translated ―about‖ is common to compare things. It was used in Luke 9:14 to approximate the number of men in the multitude Jesus fed and in Luke 22:41 to describe the distance Jesus walked away from the disciples before He prayed (―about a stone's throw‖). Here it is possible that Luke is comparing Jesus‘ earthly ministry to that of an Aaronic priest, who could begin serving at the temple altar at age 30 (Numbers 4:3). See my note on Luke 3:21. e 3:23 being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph. Compare this to Matthew‘s genealogy, where Jesus‘ lineage is traced to Abraham. Another difference is the line between David and Jesus. Matthew says Jesus came from David‘s son Solomon but Luke says He came from David‘s son Nathan. Here is where most of the discussion on this text centers. It does not take even a close observation to see that Matthew and Luke give an entirely different list of names between David and Joseph. Here are some explanations that have been attempted to explain the difficulty:
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Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of 26 Nahum, the son of Hesli, the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of 27 Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of 28 Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of 29 Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of 30 Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of 31 Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of 32 Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of a 33 Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon , the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the 34 son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of 35 Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug, the son of 36 Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Heber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of 37 Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of MethuSelah, the 38 son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enosh, the b c son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God .

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Because many Hebrews were known by two names, Luke gives the alternate names. This is a pretty weak argument.  Mary‘s father Heli, having no sons, adopted Joseph as his son, as in other cases where a man had no biological son (Numbers 32:41; Ezra 2:61; Nehemiah 7:63).  Joseph‘s mother‘s first husband died before bearing children, so another relative married her and fathered Joseph in his ―brother‘s‖ name. So one of the genealogies traces Joseph‘s physical descendants back to David and the other his legal descendants. This is called levirate marriage and is detailed in Deuteronomy 25:5-10.  Matthew gives Joseph's genealogy while Luke gives Mary's. a 3:32 the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon. Salmon was a tribal leader of Judah in the days of the fall of Jericho. Matthew alerts us to the fact that Salmon had in fact married Rahab the harlot. b 3:38 the son of Adam, the son of God. Luke found a creative way to stop the list at the One Who had no beginning. Here you see the Son of Man and the Son of God. The humanity of Christ is vital because spirits do not die. Jesus died for men because He is a man. c 3:23-38 Luke and other New Testament writers anticipated questions about Jesus by answering them before they were raised. What right does He have to His claims? What is His family line? Is He a sinner like us? How could He be called a priest when He is not from the line of Aaron? Unlike Matthew‘s list that goes back to Abraham, Luke's genealogy goes back to creation. It illustrates for us that Jesus came for people from every tribe, language, people and nation (although Matthew inserts the names of some women of other-than-Hebrew descent). God does not waste characters and every word of His is important. This means that we should pay attention even to obscure texts that include genealogies. Here are some good reasons to pay attention to this list of names: 1. It makes you do blue-collar Bible study. Luke called the people of Berea ―noble-minded‖ because they searched the Scriptures for answers to their questions. This is not an easy text, but it forces you to mine for treasure. 2. It shows you that God uses individuals. Most of the characters on Luke‘s list are mentioned nowhere else in the Bible or any other credible history. What does that tell you? People matter to God because He uses them to bring Himself glory. 3. It demonstrates that the Son of God is also the Son of Man. Luke sets Jesus apart from mythical figures. He is a real man. He experienced hunger, thirst, pain, relational rejection and was tempted in all the areas you are tempted. But He never sinned. He is not some alien, but one of us.
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4:1

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the a 2 b wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil . And He ate nothing during those days, c 3 and when they had ended, He became hungry . And the devil said to Him, ―If You are the Son of d 4 God, tell this stone to become bread .‖ And Jesus answered him, ―It is written, ‗MAN SHALL e NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE .‘‖ 5 f 6 And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time . And the devil said to Him, ―I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to g 7 h me, and I give it to whomever I wish . ―Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours .‖ 8 Jesus answered him, ―It is written, ‗YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND i SERVE HIM ONLY .‘‖

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4:1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness. This leading by the Spirit was not simply a relocation. Luke‘s use of the imperfect passive tells us that Jesus ―was being led‖ the whole time—temptation time included. b 4:2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. This likely means the temptation was more than momentary. Matthew shows us that the Satanic attack (at least the three recorded for us) came at the end of Jesus‘ fast (4:2), but that does not mean the temptations were brief. c 4:2 He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry. The Lord Jesus entered a fast similar to that of Moses. Fasting is a good way to prepare for a time of service (see also Acts 13:2-3). Luke points out that it made Jesus hungry. More than that, starvation can produce a clouded sense of reality, making Jesus‘ weakness even greater. d 4:3 the devil said to Him, ―If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.‖ The devil‘s tactics include hitting us where we are weak. Here was a temptation related to Jesus‘ physical desire. Eating would not have been sinful, but breaking a fast in submission to the devil‘s wishes would have been. The contrast is stark. Imagine the One who fed the multitudes dining at the devil‘s table. Then imagine yourself, having been seated at the Lord‘s table, feasting on the devil‘s dainties. e 4:4 Jesus answered him, ―It is written, ‗MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE.‘‖ Jesus hit back with Scripture (Deuteronomy 8:3). One way to apply what Jesus told the devil here is to use the weakness of fasting as a time to meditate on and memorize Scripture. What do you think Jesus was doing during those forty days? f 4:5 he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. Names like Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander the Great, Stalin and Hitler bring to mind the kind of terror that comes from men who desire absolute power. This is like God‘s presentation of the land of Israel to Moses before Moses died, except that earthly things were all Satan had to offer. When our eyes see things that look good, desires well up. Covetousness and greed come from the desire for ease and power. But even if we gain the whole world we will still die. Then what? g 4:6 the devil said to Him, ―I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. It would be erroneous to believe that the devil was telling the truth here. He is called the ―Prince of the Power of the Air‖ and the ―god of this world,‖ but that does not grant him sovereignty. People who sell their souls to the devil are not truly given power. They are given an illusion of power that delivers the same destruction as the other lies the devil tells. h 4:7 ―Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.‖ If a satanic catechism existed, the devil would have written the first question similar that of the Westminster divines:
What is the chief end of man? The chief end of man is to glorify Satan and to enjoy him forever. ‖

Satan has always sought, from his first interaction with man, to replace God. He wants to be our source of truth, to have our obedience and to make us think that real satisfaction is found in him. i 4:8 ―It is written, ‗YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.‘‖ Again Jesus hit back with Scripture (Deuteronomy 6:13). The devil tries to makes black look white (or at least gray) and the only way to combat him is with the absolutes of God‘s word.
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And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple , and said to b 10 c Him, ―If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here ; for it is written , ‗HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU TO GUARD YOU,‘ 11 and, ‗ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.‘‖ 12 And Jesus answered and said to him, ―It is said, ‗YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR d GOD TO THE TEST .‘‖ 13 e f When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time .
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4:9 he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple. This was the top of a steeple. It was possibly the southeastern corner of the temple complex where the height of the temple wall was exaggerated by the depth of the Kidron Valley below. b 4:9 said to Him, ―If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. The sin would have been to show off and claim a verse of Scripture as protection. This would have been presumptuous as well as an attempt to avoid the agonies of the cross. c 4:10 it is written. The devil pulled out one of the tricks he used in the Garden of Eden. He did not misquote what God said. He misapplied it. We fall prey to that trick when we seek to use Scripture to our ends instead of obeying it to God‘s ends. d 4:12 ―It is said, ‗YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.‘‖ For the third time Jesus hit the devil back with Scripture (Deuteronomy 6:6). Using Scripture to justify your desires taunts the holy God. e 4:13 When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time. He would be back. Just before His arrest, Jesus told His disciples that the ―ruler of this world‖ was coming (John 14:30). Satan had already entered Judas (John 13:27). f 4:1-13 Is sin really that big of a deal? For instance, all Adam and Eve did in the garden of Eden was to eat a piece of fruit. What really was the harm in that? That kind of rationalization is what demonstrates that we are experienced at believing the devil‘s lies about sin. It is a big deal when you realize that sin is rebellion against the living God and His created order—when you remember that substitute pleasures are idols. It is a big deal when you understand that we are in a war and—even though our King is the victor—the enemy seeks to disable as many of our King‘s soldiers as he can. The battle is fierce, but victory is in sight and it is sweet.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:10-12

Scripture does not teach that Jesus endured every specific temptation we have to endure. He was never tempted to steal a car. But we do know that He suffered the same kind of battles you face and won:
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

We are energized by dramatic victories because they are the stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Do you know the thrill of engagement and conquering? Here is the way to fight what Jesus died to defeat: 1. In the face of intense physical desires (flesh) you need to remember that there is something more satisfying that produces life instead of death. Whatever short-term gratification you are offered in exchange for sin, the price is too high. 2. If your fantasies include finding a way to bypass hardness on your way to ease (pride) you need to remember that you are not the main character in your life story. Certainly Jesus was the main character in this story, but the devil‘s game would lure Him to bypass the cross. 3. When you see an opportunity to get the things this world treasures (eyes) you need to remember that you will be controlled by what you value most.
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And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit , and news about Him spread b 15 through all the surrounding district . And He began teaching in their synagogues and was c praised by all . 16 d And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up ; and as was His custom, He e 17 entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read . And the book of the prophet f Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,
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―THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, 19 g TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD .‖
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And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the h 21 synagogue were fixed on Him . And He began to say to them, ―Today this Scripture has been

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4:14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit. Galilee—specifically Nazareth— was Jesus‘ home. Just as the Spirit had taken Jesus to Judea and the wilderness for His ―ceremonial initiation,‖ He brought Jesus back home for most of His ―hands-on‖ ministry. The Holy Spirit took the Lord Jesus to people in need (poor, captives, blind, oppressed) and anointed Him to meet their need with preaching. It is worthy to note that these events took place after the Assyrian captivity in what used to be the northern kingdom. The north had been re-populated by Gentiles and Samaritans and was not at this time full of Torah-observant Jews who went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem three times a year. b 4:14 news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. He had likely already performed miracles (John 2) as well as taught, as is implied in verse 23. c 4:15 He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all. People liked to hear Jesus teach. That sentiment would not last long for some of the listeners. Even vile men enjoy an effective communicator. Herod Antipas liked to listen to John the Baptist, but he was too weak to prevent John‘s beheading (Mark 16:20). d 4:16 He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. This was the hometown crowd. Here were people with whom Jesus played as a child as well as their parents. e 4:16 as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. The Lord Jesus was recognized as a teacher in the synagogue. He was in the habit of not only attending synagogue services but also leading them. f 4:17 the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place. The word translated ―book‖ is the source of our word ―Bible,‖ and refers to a scroll. Jesus had no chapter divisions in His Bible, but the passage He found was Isaiah 61:1-2. g 4:18-19 The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. There are several first person personal pronouns here. The word ―Me‖ originally referred to Isaiah but here it is also talking about Jesus. Isaiah wrote during the strength of the Assyrian empire. The Assyrians had already taken away the northern tribes of Israel and were threatening Judah in the South. So much of prophetic Scripture was written with more than one fulfillment. For example, In Isaiah 7:14 the virgin who would conceive was not only Isaiah‘s wife but the mother of Messiah. Here in chapter 61 Isaiah offered hope for those who were oppressed by Assyria, but Jesus used the same words to point to an even deadlier enemy. h 4:20 He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. Do not picture Jesus taking a seat among the people because that is what we do. When He sat down He sat down in the teacher‘s chair. This is what Jesus also did when He taught in the temple (Matthew 26:55).
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fulfilled in your hearing .‖ And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious a b 23 words which were falling from His lips ; and they were saying, ―Is this not Joseph‘s son ?‖ And
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4:21 He began to say to them, ―Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.‖ It is important to interpret the Bible historically and grammatically, but look how Jesus handled this text. It is not a violation of literal biblical interpretation to see a text with a historic foundation find its fulfillment in Jesus Himself. Jesus said He would be the fulfillment of the law (Matthew 5:17). Isaiah pointed to the hope of return from Babylon, but Jesus says the text also pointed to His earthly ministry. I do not think Isaiah could have understood that his words would find their fulfillment in an obscure village in northern Israel. The people may have been expecting something very different. They were no doubt well taught in the synagogue about the power of God in repeatedly delivering Israel from her enemies. What many of them missed is that the real enemy is sin. The trouble is not Egypt, Assyria, Rome, Russia or Al Qaeda. It is us. It must have been a moment that left some congregants puzzled, some angry and still others shaken. The work of God was visibly intersecting the human experience. This still happens. b 4:14-21 Imagine a sick friend calling you and asking for help with some household jobs she is unable to do. Then imagine yourself telling her you will not help but you will preach the sermon on compassion you heard in church on Sunday. Of course the problem with that scenario is that you would be using preaching a sermon on compassion as an excuse to avoid showing compassion. The primary activity of the Lord was to preach; to issue a proclamation. ―Preaching‖ has fallen on hard times because people think preaching is synonymous with long tirades of harshness and judgment. That is not what Jesus did when He preached. Jesus carries on His work today through the Church. The purpose of the Church to bring glory of God, but what does that look like? Compassion ministries are important in living out the gospel and giving us a platform from which to preach it. The mission itself, though, is to preach the gospel. Here are some reasons why the Church needs to prioritize the preaching of the gospel: 1. Preaching the truth was the primary work of Jesus. That‘s what Jesus did in the synagogues. He came to die for sinners, but people had to hear preaching in order to understand why He had to die. Preaching took up the bulk of what our Savior did during His earthly ministry.
He said to them, ―Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.‖ Mark 1:38

When Jesus performed a miracle He did it to communicate a point (compare the feeding of the multitudes in John 6:1-14 with the sermon that followed in John 6:26-40). Paul had the same philosophy (1 Corinthians 1:17). 2. Preaching the truth is the only way people experience real change. How do poor people stop being poor? They have to realize what poverty really is. They have to hear about something better than the earthly things they have put their hope in. Too much of what we do looks like we are trying to convince people to buy something. Let‘s invite people to church, but let‘s make sure they know we are offering something more than a better marriage or superficial friendships. We are offering life changed they have never had the power to achieve. 3. Preaching the truth is the only way find deliverance from bondage. This release of captives had an immediate fulfillment in Isaiah‘s prophecy, but it pointed to Christ. You know people who are slaves to fleshly passions, who live for the next thing they can afford to buy, who are so wrapped up in making themselves look good that they are blind to anything outside their selfish world. It is not an extra-biblical ceremony that sets captives free. It is the careful ministry of the word of God. 4. Preaching the truth is the only way unbelievers can see the truth. Jesus quoted Isaiah‘s prophecy of blind people seeing. He certainly healed the blind, but this day there were no recorded miracles. The preaching of the gospel brings the regeneration that opens eyes (see John 3:3 and John 9:25). The very best techniques of persuasion are no match for
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He said to them, ―No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me, ‗Physician, heal yourself! Whatever c 24 we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well .‘‖ And He said, ―Truly I d 25 e say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown . ―But I say to you in truth , there were many f widows in Israel in the days of Elijah , when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, 26 when a great famine came over all the land; and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to g 27 Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow . ―And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the h 28 i Syrian .‖ And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things ; 29 and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their

the message of the cross. That is why Jesus commissioned Paul to carry a message that would open eyes (Acts 26:18).
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4:22 all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips. Luke had already used this verb for ―marveling‖ (wondering) four times in this gospel. The people were surprised at the amount of time Zacharias took in the Holy Place (1:21), others were surprised to hear Zacharias confirm that the baby should be named John (1:63), the residents of Bethlehem were amazed at the story of the shepherds (2:18) and Joseph and Mary marveled at the prophetic words of old Simeon (2:33). Mark‘s account (6:6) says that Jesus was marveling too—at the unbelief of the people. Luke describes Jesus‘ words as gracious and ―coming out of His mouth.‖ Jesus used the same word to tell Satan that man lives on the words that come from the mouth of the Lord (Matthew 4:4). The word of the Lord is always purposeful and edifying. b 4:22 they were saying, ―Is this not Joseph‘s son?‖ Mark‘s account (6:3) has the people asking, ―Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary…‖ Jesus was best known in Nazareth for his family and the family business. People did not expect authoritative preaching from Him (much less miracles). c 4:23 Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well. Jesus alone can put words in peoples‘ mouths because He knows what is in their hearts. They were wondering why their water still tasted like water and why their sick people were still sick. This is like asking why the auto mechanic drives such a junker and why the pastor‘s kids are so rowdy. Jesus explained. d 4:24 Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown. Luke does not quote the ―truly‖ or ―amen‖ statements of Jesus as freely as John (Luke records seven to John‘s 25). When you see it anywhere—particularly in Luke, you should note what follows. e 4:25 But I say to you in truth. Luke is sparing in the times he puts the word ―truly‖ in Jesus‘ mouth. This is more than a person who thinks he has to say, ―I‘m telling the truth this time.‖ f 4:25 there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah. The Lord referred to two stories from the Hebrew Scriptures to communicate that: (1) Not everyone gets to see or receive miracles when a prophet is around and (2) The recipients of God‘s miracles do not have to be Hebrews. g 4:26 Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. This account is recorded in 1 Kings 17:8-16. It not only says that God sent Elijah to this woman in Gentile territory, it says that she was on speaking terms with the God of Israel. h 4:27 there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian. Second Kings 5:1-14 records the healing of a leprous military officer from the army of the Arameans, who were brutal persecutors of Israel. i 4:28 all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things. Set this statement beside verse 15. Our Lord had a way of polarizing people—particularly people who claimed to be believers. The same thing happened three years later when the crowds cried out ―Hosanna!‖ on Sunday and ―Crucify!‖ on Friday.
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city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff . But passing through their midst, He b c went His way . 31 d And He came down to Capernaum , a city of Galilee, and He was teaching them on the e 32 f 33 Sabbath ; and they were amazed at His teaching, for His message was with authority . In the g synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon , and he cried out with
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4:29 led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. Jesus was led away to another hill three years later (Luke 23:26-32), but He knew this was not the right one. The first question that comes to my mind is: ―Why such an extreme reaction?‖ Certainly the geography of Nazareth plays into the answer to the question. Maybe that was the common place of execution. But was this statement worthy of death? Jesus had raised the question about the purposes of God including some Gentiles and excluding some Hebrews. They might have said, ―That‘s not fair. That means some widows and lepers in Israel never had a chance.‖ That would be true if you want to put things in those terms, but then you have to ask who among any of us deserves the grace we receive. b 4:30 passing through their midst, He went His way. This is not the only instance where the Lord appears to have overruled nature to get where He needed to be. John 6:21 records the instance when Jesus walked on the Galilee and joined the disciples in a boat, which immediately arrived its destination. c 4:22-30 Unbelievers want a show. They want God to perform for them but they do not want to held accountable to Him. Our mistake is that we often think it is our responsibility to give them a show. The Lord Jesus exemplifies here the pattern for ministry for the group known as the Body of Christ. Our task is not to please the crowd but to speak the truth (2 Timothy 4:1-5). Here is what happens when you preach God‘s word clearly: 1. Some people will be delighted. 2. Others will express skepticism. 3. Still others will start out delighted and turn on the messenger. 4. A few will become violent.
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4:31 He came down to Capernaum. Nazareth sits about 1200 feet above sea level and Capernaum over 600 feet below sea level. This trip to Capernaum may have happened right after the murderous rage of the people in the Nazareth synagogue or it may chronicle previous works of Jesus in Capernaum about which the people in Nazareth had heard. e 4:31 He was teaching them on the Sabbath. This again shows what the Lord normally did on Saturdays. The NASB properly shows that Jesus ―was teaching‖ (imperfect tense ―be‖ verb). This was not just a one time thing. In fact the King James Version and a few other translations accurately read ―Sabbaths‖ here. Jesus was a regular speaker in the Hebrew assembly at Capernaum. f 4:32 they were amazed at His teaching, for His message was with authority. This word for amazement was used to describe the reaction of the people when Jesus taught (Matthew 7:28; 13:54; 22:33; Mark 1:22; 6:2; 11:18) or performed a miracle (Mark 7:37; Luke 9:43). ―Authority‖ gives the right to give orders. The same word is used in verse 36 of Jesus giving orders to a demon. Evidently the people were not used to teachers who spoke ―with authority.‖ This kind of teaching gave listeners the impression that Jesus was a ruler. It is one thing to relay a message of someone else, it is quite another to issue your own orders. g 4:33 In the synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon. Here was a demon possessed individual right in the synagogue service. We do not know if this man was part of that assembly, but somehow the presence of Jesus moved the demon to manifest himself. The word ―unclean‖ is normally used to describe a fallen angel or demon, but Luke quotes Peter in the book of Acts using the same word to describe what is ceremonially unclean (like food, Acts 10:14, 28; 11:8). It is possible that demons took on this label among the Jews because
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a loud voice , ―Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth ? c d 35 Have You come to destroy us ? I know who You are—the Holy One of God !‖ But Jesus e rebuked him, saying, ―Be quiet and come out of him !‖ And when the demon had thrown him f 36 down in the midst of the people, he came out of him without doing him any harm . And g amazement came upon them all , and they began talking with one another saying, ―What is this h message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits and they come out .‖ 37 a b And the report about Him was spreading into every locality in the surrounding district .

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they moved their victims to do things that would render them ceremonially unclean (such as hanging out in graveyards). a 4:33 he cried out with a loud voice. Luke uses this word that describes a deep cry (translated ―cried out‖) of the shrieks of demons (Luke 8:28 and here) and of the scream of the crowd for the crucifixion of Jesus (Luke 23:18). Mark uses this word when describing the demoniac in the synagogue and the fearful cry of the disciples when Jesus came to them on the water (Mark 6:49). This was not the kind of shouting called for in the book of Psalms. b 4:34 Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth. Notice that the demon is trying to command Jesus like Satan did. Fallen angels are masters of illusion and deception. Here the demon wanted to cast out the Son of God. Another irony is that the people of Nazareth attempted to do the same thing. Notice also that he is speaking in first person plural. Jesus was addressed a legion of demons inhabiting a man (Luke 8:30), but that is likely not what is happening here. Here the demon is associating the presence of Jesus with the judgment of his entire class of being. The ―business‖ Jesus had with them was their destruction, although the time had not arrived. John tells us that the Lord Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). Later Jesus told His disciples that hell was prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). c 4:34 Have You come to destroy us. This is a legitimate question to ask, since this ―spokesspirit‖ was an original creation of Jesus. The spirit classed himself with the other demonic forces, knowing that the ultimate judgment on demons will come with a word from Messiah Jesus. The demon expressed a fear of the very presence of Jesus. He had a respect for Jesus‘ authority and for biblical prophecy that is a lesson for the sons of Adam. d 4:34 I know who You are—the Holy One of God. These intelligent beings recognize their Creator. You see a similar statement from a demon in Acts 19:15 when some self-seeking Jewish lads saw a chance to look good by imitating an apostolic exorcism. They commanded a demon to come out ―by Jesus whom Paul preaches.‖ Before abusing and traumatizing these opportunists, the demon said, ―I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?‖ e 4:35 Jesus rebuked him, saying, ―Be quiet and come out of him!‖ There are two commands here. Jesus ordered the silence of the demon like He ordered the sea to ―be muzzled‖ in Mark 4:39. Demons have no business speaking in a place devoted to the teaching of God‘s word. The second command to the demon was to come out of the man. This language gives us insight into what demon possession is. More than just impersonal influence (―demon liquor‖) or external manipulation, demon possession happens when an ―unclean spirit‖ becomes embodied in another creature. f 4:35 when the demon had thrown him down in the midst of the people, he came out of him without doing him any harm. The demon had enough influence to control the man‘s movements and voice, but was no match for the authority of Jesus. Remember that Satan himself has to have our Father‘s permission to touch us (Job 1:11-12; 2:4-6). The demon wanted to harm the man but was prevented. Here you see one more piece of the devil‘s work undone. g 4:36 amazement came upon them all. Each time this word for ―amazement‖ is used in the New Testament, it records the response of people to a work of God. Luke alone uses this word three times. In Luke 5:9 the word expresses the astonishment of Peter and the other disciples at Jesus‘ ability to tell them where to find fish. In Acts 3:10 Luke uses the word to describe the awe of the people at seeing a local paralytic jumping around praising God. h 4:36 What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits and they come out. The people actually said, ―What a word is this!‖ Keep in mind that the
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Then He got up and left the synagogue, and entered Simon‘s home . Now Simon‘s motherd 39 in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Him to help her . And standing over her, e a He rebuked the fever, and it left her ; and she immediately got up and waited on them . Lord went toe-to-toe with Satan himself not long before this event. The demons Jesus expelled are merely a lower rank of the same class of beings to which Satan belongs. a 4:37 the report about Him was spreading into every locality in the surrounding district. The word ―report‖ can be translated ―noise‖ or ―sound.‖ It is actually the source of our word ―echo.‖ The experience of Jesus here was similar to that of the apostle Paul. People, from good or bad motives, were repeating His words and His deeds. b 4:31-37 If you know someone who loves controlling people and circumstances you know someone who is constantly frustrated and who is making others the same. This form of idolatry was the trouble everywhere Jesus went during His earthly ministry. Religious leaders wanted control. Community leaders wanted control. Demons wanted control. There is even one instance (Mark 3:20-21) when Jesus‘ own family sought to take Him into custody. People repeatedly saw the authority of Jesus and were amazed, angry or both. You are bound to find trouble if you are threatened by the sovereignty of God. Just before He ascended after conquering death He announced, ―All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.‖ How should you respond to a person with this much power? 1. Invest more time studying what this Authority says than studying what man says. Jesus repeatedly taught the Scriptures and pointed to their authority. We live in an age when beauty, eloquence and academic credentials mean more than truth. Consequently we are prone to discount the authority of God‘s word for short-term solutions that miss the heart of the matter. 2. Invest more awe in the mighty works of this Authority rather than in the power of demons. Keep in mind that behind every one of our idols is a demon, so you may be surprised at where you find them. People in our day actually become enamored with scary things like demons and experiment with occultic games and literature. Maybe they hope to see a show. The people who were constantly amazed at what Jesus did were the people who did not leave Him when He refused to give them a show or when they were confused. 3. Invest more words in praise of this Authority than in complaint about your life. Go ahead and talk money or sports or weather, but open your eyes and see that you were created for a bigger purpose. Like Peter said (1 Peter 2:9):
But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light
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4:38 He got up and left the synagogue, and entered Simon‘s home. Peter‘s house (also where his brother Andrew lived, Mark 1:29) is a likely location for several events in Capernaum during Jesus‘ earthly ministry, although it is usually not named. Mark mentions Jesus was ―at home‖ when four men brought a paralytic to Jesus through a hole in the roof (2:1). He was ―in the house‖ when He used a child (Peter‘s?) to illustrate greatness in His kingdom (9:33). d 4:38 Simon‘s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Him to help her. Dr. Luke points out that this was a high fever. Deadly infections are still a fearsome prospect in our day, how much more in first century Israel. They asked Jesus to help. Where else do you run when Jesus is near? e 4:39 standing over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her. The Lord Jesus had a ministry of rebuke.  He rebuked the wind (Matthew 8:26; Mark 4:39; Luke 8:24).  He rebuked Satan (Matthew 17:18).  He rebuked demons (Mark 1:25; 3:12; 9:25; Luke 4:35; 4:41; 9:42).  He rebuked Peter (Mark 8:33).  He rebuked a fever (here).  He rebuked James and John (Luke 9:55).
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While the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases b c brought them to Him ; and laying His hands on each one of them, He was healing them . 41 d Demons also were coming out of many, shouting, ―You are the Son of God !‖ But rebuking e them, He would not allow them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Christ . 42 f When day came, Jesus left and went to a secluded place ; and the crowds were searching g 43 for Him, and came to Him and tried to keep Him from going away from them . But He said to h them, ―I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose .‖ It should not be considered odd to rebuke something inanimate. Jesus spoke woe upon cities when the people of those cities could not hear (Matthew 23:37; Luke 10:13-15). Paul speaks to ―death‖ (1 Corinthians 15:55). a 4:39 she immediately got up and waited on them. Luke wants us to know how fully recovered she was. We also learn that serving is the right response to the work of God. If the strength you have is a gift from Him can you refuse to use it for His glory? b 4:40 While the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to Him. The Sabbath was over and the people began their first-day-ofthe-week business. The rabbis only allowed people to walk a limited distance on the Sabbath. c 4:40 laying His hands on each one of them, He was healing them. Jesus varied His methods of healing as well as the timing. Peter‘s mother-in-law was healed with a word while Jesus was present. A centurion‘s servant was healed with a word while Jesus was not present (Luke 7:1-10). The people in Capernaum were healed by Jesus‘ hands. One woman merely touched His garment (Luke 8:48). Mark tells the story of a healing that took place gradually after Jesus applied spittle and mud to a man‘s eyes (Mark 8:22-25). d 4:41 Demons also were coming out of many, shouting, ―You are the Son of God!‖ The demon in the Capernaum synagogue (4:34) also recognized his Creator. e 4:41 rebuking them, He would not allow them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Christ. One might wonder why Jesus would wish to keep this information quiet. Even with the most truthful words coming from their mouths, Jesus would not allow a demon to teach the people. f 4:42 When day came, Jesus left and went to a secluded place. Mark says Jesus did this early in the morning so He could pray (Mark 1:35). This term ―secluded place‖ could be translated ―desert place.‖ The times when Jesus went to such a place He was seeking rest, refuge or prayer.
Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. Matthew 14:13 In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. Mark 1:35 But he went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the news around, to such an extent that Jesus could no longer publicly enter a city, but stayed out in unpopulated areas; and they were coming to Him from everywhere. Mark 1:45 And He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while." (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.) They went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves. Mark 6:31-32 Now the day was ending, and the twelve came and said to Him, ―Send the crowd away, that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside and find lodging and get something to eat; for here we are in a desolate place.‖ Luke 9:12
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4:42 the crowds were searching for Him, and came to Him and tried to keep Him from going away from them. The people were less interested in the rule of Jesus over the earth than they were interested in local prosperity. The same thing happened after Jesus fed the multitudes (John 6:15). h 4:43 ―I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.‖ Signs and wonders were not the main attraction of Jesus‘ ministry. He used them to
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So He kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea .

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Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of c 2 God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret ; and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the set the stage for His message. Jesus was sent to make more than temporal improvements. John‘s gospel illustrates this as clearly as any. For instance:  In John 4 He told a woman He had never met about her past and then proceeded to call her to worship the God who transcends geography.  In John 5 He healed a man on the Sabbath and then taught the religious leaders that His work was the Father‘s work—even on the Sabbath.  In John 6 He fed the multitudes and the next day preached His ―I am the bread of life‖ sermon.  In John 9 He healed a man born blind and then told the religious leaders that they were blind.  In John 11 He raised Lazarus from the dead and taught, ―I am the resurrection and the life.‖ a 4:44 He kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea. This appears to take Jesus out of the primary area of His ministry in Galilee. There is a textual difference here. Some manuscripts say Jesus preached more ―in the synagogues of Galilee,‖ which seems to better fit His miracle on the lake in the next verses. While ―Judea‖ is likely the correct reading, it may refer to something more than the area around Jerusalem. A marginal note in the NASB reads ―i.e. the country of the Jews (including Galilee).‖ b 4:38-44 Everything you have is a gift from God. Your physical strength, your financial resources, your time, your spouse, your parents, your children, your talents and even your church family have been gifted to you by a sovereign God. If God really rules as King and gives what he wants to whomever He wants, the question you should ask is: ―How should I respond to this rule?‖ The rebellion in God‘s kingdom that started in the Garden of Eden affected the world in many ways. People became prone to physical weakness and death, Satan‘s angels cavorted among his trophies. The bondage of sin crept into every corner of the human experience. Certainly the rescue from that rebellion came because of the cross, but the ministry of Jesus is the model for the people He rescued. Here are some priorities Jesus displayed that tell us how to respond to His gifts and His rule: 1. Jesus prioritized public goodness. He may not have give you the gift of healing that Jesus and the apostles had, but He has placed you where you can show compassion. The authority to heal and cast out demons pointed to Jesus‘ identity, but it also pointed to His compassion. Peter characterized Jesus‘ ministry, saying, ―He went about doing good‖ (Acts 10:38). Some fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are afraid that compassion ministries are somehow a replacement for the gospel. Jesus showed that they are the way we live out the gospel. 2. Jesus prioritized public preaching. The King has commissioned you to carry a message to the people who are living in His world and breathing His air. It is not your message but His. This is not necessarily the public preaching that happens in a church service (although we should also make that a priority). This is about communicating the gospel outside the church. Jesus did not always present a three-point outline, but He did use everyday life to point men to their need to realign their loyalties. 3. Jesus prioritized private praying. Stressful times are a gift to remind you that you are not self-sufficient. Pride and self-sufficiency make us presume we can enter each day and each endeavor in our own strength and wisdom. If Jesus saw the necessity to entrust Himself to the Father should we do less? This is not to diminish the importance of public praying. It is to say that our relationship with God is personal as well as corporate.
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5:1 while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret. The word ―pressing‖ shows that Jesus had to do
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lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets . And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He b 4 sat down and began teaching the people from the boat . When He had finished speaking, He c 5 said to Simon, ―Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch .‖ Simon answered and said, ―Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You d 6 say and let down the nets .‖ When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and e 7 their nets began to break ; so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come 8 and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus' feet, saying, ―Go away from me Lord, for I am a f 9 sinful man !‖ For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of g 10 fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were

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something. While He was likely not concerned about drowning, the movement of the crowd prompted Him to do what He did next. The same ―press‖ word is used of the cry of the crowds for Jesus‘ crucifixion (Luke 23:23), and the persistent storm that fell on Paul and his shipmates on the way to Rome (Acts 27:20). Notice again that Jesus prioritized preaching. Those who have carefully studied this text in its cultural context point out that this was likely early in the morning, at the end of Peter‘s ―shift,‖ when Jesus gathered such a crowd. Lake Gennesaret (also known as Galilee or Tiberias), is the Greek form of the Hebrew ―Chinneroth,‖ which means ―harps‖ (note the shape of the lake). The area of the lake is 64 square miles, roughly the size of Madison, Wisconsin. a 5:2 He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. We have some idea about what these boats might have looked like. The ―Jesus boat,‖ found near Capernaum in the late 1980‘s is estimated to date back to the first century. It is over 25 feet long, although others suggest that the kind of boat Peter used would have been fifteen to twenty feet long. The washing and drying of the linen fishing nets was important after each night of fishing to keep them from rotting. b 5:3 He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat. Here it was not at all convenient to listen to Jesus. It rarely is. Jesus even seemed inconsiderate. Didn‘t he know these guys had been working all night? c 5:4 When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, ―Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.‖ At its deepest, Galilee‘s depth is 150 feet. d 5:5 ―Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.‖ As if it were not enough that the Lord asked for a boat ride, He, a landlubber, presumed to know the fishing business. It was not Peter alone who would be inconvenienced. He could not pilot the boat alone and the text shows that others had to become involved in the casting and drawing of nets. If these were trammel nets (which they most likely were), they were designed to be used at night when the fish could not see them. Trammel nets were used in deeper water by at least two boats. Peter dared not voice the words, ―You don‘t understand. It just doesn‘t work this way.‖ e 5:6 they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break. This was likely a small fish called musht. Trammel nets surrounded the fish, which became ensnared in the mesh and could be drawn into the assisting boats. f 5:8 when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus' feet, saying, ―Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!‖ You might wonder what the catch of fish had to do with Peter‘s sinfulness. Peter‘s reasoning probably went like this: If He can see the dark depths of Galilee He can also see the dark depths of my soul. g 5:9 amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish. The word ―seized‖ adds to the dramatic word ―amazement.‖ Peter and his companions were engulfed in amazement.
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partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, ―Do not fear, from now on you will be catching a 11 b c men .‖ When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him . 12 d While He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man covered with leprosy ; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, ―Lord, if You are willing, You can
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5:10 Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men. Jesus‘ diagnosis of fear in these men helps us see more of the picture here. It is hard to escape the comparison between the crowds that pressed Jesus to teach from a boat and the ―crowd‖ of fish that pushed the limits of the fishing nets. b 5:11 they left everything and followed Him. There is no other option when Jesus calls. c 5:1-11 How often do you wonder how much more disappointment you can take? You know, for instance, how much money you need on a monthly basis to pay your bills and maintain your current lifestyle. You know how you want the people around you to behave and you know how you want to feel physically. We fear losing the things we think we need, having to do the things we do not want to do and looking bad in the eyes of men. That is why people worry so much about the economy, the health of their family and the opinions of others. The Lord Jesus teaches us by pushing us to the limits of our endurance and demonstrating how trustworthy He is at those times. He found a way to stay and engage the crowd that pressed Him to the edge of Galilee. The nets of the fishermen began to break and their boats began to sink, but they survived and even prospered. Should you be amazed that God knows how to get the money you need in order to live? He gives you more than you need, on His timetable and always with a bigger lesson to teach. Even when we are burdened with the immense task of reaching people with the gospel, He sees hearts and draws sinners into His net. Here is what you learn about Jesus in this story that turns you from living a self-preserving life: 1. He is always teaching lessons. Get used to it. In any difficulty you should ask, ―What is He teaching me?‖ 2. He does not waste commands. Nothing He calls you to do is optional or of little consequence. 3. You can trust Him with the very best things you have. When He appears inconsiderate of your needs He has matters well in control. 4. He knows you better than you know yourself. He knows how much you can take. He sees an innumerable quantity of options you cannot see.
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5:12 While He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man covered with leprosy. This could have been any number of skin conditions, though a condition we now call ―Hansen‘s Disease‖ may be the one commonly described in Scripture. This man was ―covered‖ with lesions and may have lost sensation in his extremities or even suffered partial blindness as a result of his disease. Two entire chapters of Leviticus (13-14) regulate infectious skin diseases in the congregation of Israel. This disease was a ―walking death‖ and demonstrated clearly to all observers the effects of the sin of Adam. There are some noteworthy parallels between leprosy and sin that remind us that Jesus came for more than physical healing:  It starts small and seems insignificant.  As it grows you become insensitive to it (hence the talk of burns turning into leprosy).  It is contagious.  It separates you from God and the people of God (the joy of being on the inside, church discipline, etc.).  It brings a ―hideous outcome.‖  It is a living death, a reminder of what sin brought to our race.  It will find you out.  Its discovery brings dread, fear and disgust.  You need a priest.
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make me clean .‖ And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, ―I am willing; be b c 14 cleansed .‖ And immediately the leprosy left him . And He ordered him to tell no one, ―But go and show yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses d e 15 f commanded , as a testimony to them .‖ But the news about Him was spreading even farther , g 16 and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses . But Jesus h i Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray . 17 j One day He was teaching ; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting k there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem ; and the l 18 power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing . And some men were carrying on a
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5:12 when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, ―Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.‖ Notice that this man‘s request was undergirded with the threefold confession that Jesus was worthy of bowing the knee, that Jesus was powerful and that Jesus had the sovereign right to decide the outcome of this request. b 5:13 He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, ―I am willing; be cleansed.‖ adds that Jesus was, at this point, filled with compassion. What is worthy of note here is that Jesus touched the man. This would have rendered Him ceremonially unclean (not sinful). c 5:13 immediately the leprosy left him. Not every healing is instantaneous, but this one was. This shows again the power of Jesus to overrule nature. d 5:14 He ordered him to tell no one, ―But go and show yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses commanded. The priests in Jerusalem were the ones to make the call as to whether this man could rejoin the community of Israel. Jesus encouraged the man to obey the law, but there was likely another reason. e 5:14 as a testimony to them. This healing was a mercy to the leper in Galilee and a message to the priests in Jerusalem. This was like the message David sent to the Jebusites in Jerusalem when he deposited the head of Goliath at the gates of the city (1 Samuel 17:54). It was as if he said, ―I defeated this enemy and I am coming to rule where you are.‖ Was not Jesus doing the same thing? f 5:15 But the news about Him was spreading even farther. The miraculous is hard to hide. g 5:15 large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. Note the twofold ministry: preaching and healing. h 5:16 But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. Jesus was in the habit of ―slipping away.‖ Luke uses this phrase in another place (9:10) of Jesus‘ finding refuge in Bethsaida after hearing the news of the death of John the Baptist. This retirement was for prayer. Prayer was His most important private ministry. i 5:12-16 It is hard to imagine people praying a lot while still remaining ungodly, but that is the kind of people Jesus encountered in Israel (Matthew 6:5; Luke 20:47). Why it goes against our nature to pray: 1. We like to find human solutions. Leprosy is an out-of-control condition like cancer. 2. We prefer that God submit to our will. Prayer makes us subject to the will of another. 3. We like to get some of the credit. Christians like to be called ―prayer warriors.‖ When we pray with the right hearts the glory goes to God alone.
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5:17 One day He was teaching. This was not on the Sabbath. This was a ―small group‖ gathering in a home—likely Peter‘s house—during the week. Jesus was in the midst of some sort of exposition. k 5:17 there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. This picture would intimidate most of us. Jesus was being evaluated by the men who were considered authoritative in Israel. This would be like looking up from your work and seeing a group of those considered the top of your field present for the sole purpose of critiquing your work. Remember that Jesus welcomed this. He had sent the cleansed leper to the priests in Jerusalem to send a message. Maybe this gathering was a response to that message. l 5:17 the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing. This was a time for Jesus to show His power. This statement implies that there were times when that power was not
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bed a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and to set him down in front a 19 of Him . But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof b and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of 20 c 21 Jesus. Seeing their faith, He said, ―Friend, your sins are forgiven you .‖ The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, ―Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive d 22 sins, but God alone ?‖ But Jesus, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, ―Why e 23 are you reasoning in your hearts ? ―Which is easier, to say, ‗Your sins have been forgiven you,‘ f 24 or to say, ‗Get up and walk ‘? ―But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on present. Mark 6:5 makes a statement about the time Jesus was in Nazareth and ―He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.‖ Being subject to the decrees of His Father, Jesus even limited the use of His omnipotence. a 5:18 some men were carrying on a bed a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and to set him down in front of Him. The imperfect tense illustrates what was happening here. The men did not want their friend simply in the house. They wanted Him to be seen by the Good Doctor. They did not yet have a detailed plan to get their friend to Jesus and ―were trying‖ a number of options. Jesus noticed their perseverance. b 5:19 not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles. This was likely not tiling as we picture tiling. More than simply lifting a 2 x 4 piece of insulated ceiling tile away, these men actually strategized and dug (as Mark 2:4 implies) through the packed roof clay just above Jesus. There surely would have been roofing material falling on the heads of Jesus and the religious dignitaries crowded around Him as the four dug and then began to lower their friend into the room. c 5:20 Seeing their faith, He said, ―Friend, your sins are forgiven you.‖ Notice that Jesus did not see the faith of the paralyzed man. He saw the faith of the friends. He certainly had the capacity to see hearts, but this faith was not seen by Jesus alone. This is what James meant when he said, ―show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works‖ (James 2:18).The faith of these men worked. They spent themselves for their friend. But Jesus did not forgive or heal them. Consider James 5:14-16 where prayer for physical illness and confession and forgiveness of sins are connected:
Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
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5:21―Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?‖ Criticize the leaders if you want, but they were making a correct observation. You can only forgive someone who has sinned against you. Jesus had just met this fellow. The only way this man could have sinned against Jesus is if Jesus were God. e 5:22 Jesus, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, ―Why are you reasoning in your hearts?‖ This should have been disturbing for the religious leaders. He saw what they were thinking. Remember after the great catch of fish that Peter became aware that the hidden depths of his heart were visible to Jesus (see also Psalm 139:4; 1 Corinthians 14:24-25). The probing word of God often disturbs us before it sets us free.
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. Hebrews 4:12-13
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5:23 Which is easier, to say, ‗Your sins have been forgiven you,‘ or to say, ‗Get up and walk‘? Jesus was not simply speaking of pronouncing these words. He was speaking of having the authority to speak these words. How would you have answered the question? What if you could only choose one or the other for yourself or for someone you love? From a human viewpoint physical healing seems more
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earth to forgive sins,‖–He said to the paralytic—―I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher a 25 and go home .‖ Immediately he got up before them, and picked up what he had been lying on, b 26 and went home glorifying God . They were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying c d e God ; and they were filled with fear, saying, ―We have seen remarkable things today .‖ 27 f After that He went out and noticed a tax collector named Levi sitting in the tax booth , and g 28 He said to him, ―Follow Me .‖ And he left everything behind, and got up and began to follow

dramatic than forgiveness. It brings immediate relief. You can‘t see forgiveness even though it does bring relief and carries eternal benefits. From God‘s perspective physical illness resulted from original sin—the ultimate reason we need forgiveness and suffer the pains of the curse. a 5:24 so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,‖– He said to the paralytic—―I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.‖ The power of Jesus to forgive sins is no more visible than wind, faith or the Holy Spirit. You cannot see them but you can see what they do. So Jesus showed His power to forgive by demonstrating His power to heal. b 5:25 Immediately he got up before them, and picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God. The healing was as instant as the forgiveness and there was no question where he got either one. God was glorified. c 5:26 They were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God. It was not only the paralytic who praised God for His work. There is no reason to believe that the religious leaders did not also participate in the praise. d 5:26 they were filled with fear, saying, ―We have seen remarkable things today.‖ The word translated ―remarkable‖ is used only here in the New Testament. It is where we get our word ―paradox.‖ The prejudices of the religious leaders were being contradicted by the presence and power of Jesus to pronounce forgiveness and effect miracles. e 5:17-26 This text reveals God‘s perspective and man‘s. The presence of Jesus, like the preaching of the Bible, brings you to see things more clearly and make accurate judgments. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you form your conclusions: 1. Make sure you properly judge the needs of the people around you. We tend to be shortsighted about needs and the solutions we offer. Men saw a paralyzed man. Jesus saw a sinner needing forgiveness. 2. Make sure you properly judge the motives of the people around you. Most of our angry judgments are rendered without the whole story. We rush to judgments that God Himself has not made. Men saw four fellows vandalizing Peter‘s roof and an interruption of the Rabbi‘s sermon. Jesus saw faith. 3. Make sure you properly judge yourself. Seeing yourself next to Jesus and a world of sinners gives you good perspective on Who the Judge is and who deserves judgment. Men saw their own prejudiced theological views. Jesus saw their hearts.
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5:27 He went out and noticed a tax collector named Levi sitting in the tax booth. There were two types of tax-collector. The general tax-collector, called Gabbai, collected the ground, income and poll taxes. The Mokhes, or custom house official, was known as one who sat along trade routes (like this one in Capernaum). He was known to be especially brutal to poor people. He exacted taxes on imports and exports, sales taxes, bridge money, road money, harbor dues and town dues. Alfred Edersheim (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah) says that a tax collector could come up with a name for about anything he wanted to tax, such as axles, wheels, pack-animals, pedestrians, roads, highways, admission to markets, crossing rivers, dams, license fees and luxuries. He had authority to stop travelers and rifle through all their personal belongings looking for taxable items. What made this tax collector particularly loathsome was that he was a Jew—indeed a Jew bearing the name of the priestly tribe in Israel. g 5:27 He said to him, ―Follow Me.‖ Was this a call to salvation or a call to be a disciple? What is the difference? You cannot make dispensational distinctions regarding the call to salvation. Jesus has always called people to follow Him and empowered them to do so.
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Him . And Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a great crowd of tax b 30 collectors and other people who were reclining at the table with them . The Pharisees and their c scribes began grumbling at His disciples , saying, ―Why do you eat and drink with the tax d 31 collectors and sinners ?‖ And Jesus answered and said to them, ―It is not those who are well e 32 who need a physician, but those who are sick . I have not come to call the righteous but sinners f a to repentance .‖

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5:28 he left everything behind, and got up and began to follow Him. You do not have to earn salvation, but there is a great price to be paid while following Him. You cannot pick up some objects without letting go of others. Matthew knew that following Jesus meant and end to his swindling. b 5:29 Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a great crowd of tax collectors and other people who were reclining at the table with them. Even though Luke uses two different words that are translated ―great‖ here, the picture he paints is of a big feast and a big crowd. Do not picture people standing around drinking and eating hors d‘ouvres. Picture a formal meal with guests reclining and being served. When you love Jesus and you love others, it is only natural to want to introduce them. As J. C. Ryle said, ―A converted man will not wish to go to heaven alone.‖ c 5:30 The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples. This kind of grumbling in Scripture is almost always directed at leaders by those who think they have a better idea. Murmurers and grumblers in Scripture considered themselves the standard by which others should be judged but always found themselves on the wrong side of God‘s judgment.  Israel grumbled at Moses and Aaron for leading them out of Egypt when they saw the powerful inhabitants of Caanan. Moses had to intercede to prevent the Lord from destroying them (Numbers 14:11-20).  They grumbled after Moses moderated God‘s judgment of Korah and his followers and Aaron had to intercede to stop a plague from consuming the whole assembly (Numbers 16:46-49). d 5:30 Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners? There are a number of characteristics common to judgmental Pharisees:  They are frequently angry.  They engage in name-calling. Some names are emotionally-charged. It is a lot easier for me to believe you are an idiot than to explain why I believe you are an idiot.  They presume guilt by association.  They make judgment calls based more on bias than facts.  They have a very high opinion of themselves. The Pharisees and scribes practiced an extreme form of the biblical doctrine of separation (2 Corinthians 6:15-18). There is no question that separation is taught in the Scripture, but like so many good doctrines, its practice can cross a line where to obey it is to disobey God. Separation is less a matter of the company you keep than it is a matter of how you stand out in the company you keep. Certainly some of us should stay away from certain people, but Jesus was not in danger of falling into the lifestyle of the people at this party. They were in ―danger‖ of meeting the One Who would bring them out of darkness into His marvelous light. e 5:31 Jesus answered and said to them, ―It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick.‖ This may be a simple way to answer the whole From whom should we separate? question. When we find ourselves in the company of people of questionable reputation we should ask whether we are there for our own benefit or for the benefit of others. Jesus went where He was needed. He did not need to go where sinners were, but the sinners needed Him to come where they were. f 5:32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. Jesus did not say that there are actually people who have a right standing before God based on their works. He said that only sinners need to repent. Some people never wake up to the need for repentance because they never see themselves next to a holy God.
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And they said to Him, ―The disciples of John often fast and offer prayers, the disciples of the b 34 Pharisees also do the same, but Yours eat and drink .‖ And Jesus said to them, ―You cannot c 35 make the attendants of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you ? But the days will come; and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those d 36 e days .‖ And He was also telling them a parable : ―No one tears a piece of cloth from a new
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5:27-32 Do you know shame? Have you ever had a dark secret come out that embarrassed you or your family? You are in a more blessed condition than those whose secrets have not yet come out or those who are convinced that their secrets are not worthy of shame. Here is not motivation to sin, but worthy motivation to acknowledge your sin and repent: Awareness of being rescued from a horrible end naturally results in warning others as well as pointing them to deliverance. 1. Bless the Lord for the shame because without it you would look to the same places as the world for satisfaction. 2. Bless the Lord for the shame because without it you would not run to Him for forgiveness. 3. Bless the Lord for the shame because it connects you with others in a fellowship of the rescued. 4. Bless the Lord for the shame because without it believers would be no different from unbelievers. 5. Bless the Lord for the shame because with its memory comes humility.
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5:33 The disciples of John often fast and offer prayers, the disciples of the Pharisees also do the same, but Yours eat and drink. Remember the party Jesus attended at Levi‘s house. This continued the conversation at Capernaum between the religious leaders and Jesus. Matthew‘s gospel says it was in fact some of John‘s disciples asking this question. There is no contradiction in facts. Mark clears this up, pointing out (Mark 2:18) that it was in fact both groups who asked the question. A running criticism about Jesus relates to His perceived lack of austere living. For instance Luke also records (Luke 7:33-34) a similar circumstance where Jesus was both called a glutton and a drunkard. Two other accounts (Matthew 26:6-13; John 12:1-8) show Jesus being criticized for allowing Himself to be anointed with costly perfume. His defense against the accusation of waste was the same as His point in this parable. Extravagance is in order when the King is in the room. Jesus said: ―…you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.‖ c 5:34 You cannot make the attendants of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? Remember that John the Baptist himself used this metaphor when he said:
He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice So this joy of mine has been made full. John 3:29

Through all of history the covenant people of God are pictured as His bride (Isaiah 54:4-5; Hosea 2:14-20; Ephesians 5:22-33; Revelation 21:9-12). The picture here is the joy of the bridegroom and His friends. Self-denial is part of following the living God but, depending on the circumstance, so is feasting. Using the wisdom of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3:4, this was not a time for weeping and mourning but a time for laughing and dancing. d 5:35 when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days. Weddings are among the most joyful occasions we can experience. Scripture bears this out (often with reference to the good times taken away by judgment):
Then I will make to cease from the cities of Judah and from the streets of Jerusalem the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride; for the land will become a ruin. Jeremiah 7:34

Jesus wanted the inquisitors to know that His disciples would soon have their turn to mourn and fast. e 5:36 He was also telling them a parable. This is the first parable recorded by Luke. A parable is simply a verbal object lesson. The Creator of matter knew how to use His creation to teach immaterial lessons. Other examples of parables you find in Luke are:
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garment and puts it on an old garment; otherwise he will both tear the new, and the piece from a 37 the new will not match the old . And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the b 38 new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined . But new 39 wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for c a he says, ‗The old is good enough .‘‖  The parable of the two debtors (Luke 7:36-50)  The parable of the sower (Luke 8:4-15)  The parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)  The parable of the persistent friend (Luke 11:1-13)  The parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21)  The parable of the wedding feast (Luke 12:35-48)  The parable of the barren fig tree (Luke 13:1-9)  The parables of the little things (Luke 13:18-21)  The parable of the great banquet (Luke 14:1-24)  The parables of the lost things (Luke 15:1-32)  The parable of the shrewd manager (Luke 16:1-13)  The parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:14-31) a 5:36 No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and puts it on an old garment; otherwise he will both tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. It is easier to understand a statement of Jesus if He is referring to a text or story from the Hebrew Scriptures. That is not the case here. It is also easier to interpret a text based on the immediate context, but Jesus had not been speaking directly of anything ―new‖ or ―old.‖ So we have to look at the setting and assume the parable relates to the question at hand: Was Jesus promoting waste and gluttony? Two points might help us see why Jesus used these two illustrations. We can connect weddings and parties with clothing and wine. Jesus‘ first miracle was the making of wine with apparent age at a wedding (John 2). Later parables connected proper clothing and a wedding (Matthew 22:1-14; Luke 12:35). b 5:37 no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. The wine-making process includes harvesting grapes, pressing them, adding yeast, fermentation, storage, bottling and maturation. The expansion of the aging wine would burst the bottle. c 5:39 no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‗The old is good enough.‘ People tend to think that Jesus is saying that new wine is better than old wine. This verse says just the opposite. This simply reads, ―The old is good.‖ Remember that Jesus turned water into wine and everyone thought it was the good aged product. What is the wine in this parable? Is He saying that some things are not compatible? Certainly new patches don‘t work with old garments and new wine doesn‘t work with old skins. But what is His point? Some of the interpretations that have been offered about this two-part parable:  The most common interpretation offered for this text is that the new wine and the new patches represent new covenant life that is incompatible with the old ways of Judaism. This view pictures Jesus pointing out the inconsistencies of people who are so used to the ―old‖ that they do not want to try the ―new.‖ There are a number of problems with this view, not the least of which is that Luke records Jesus saying that old wine is in fact better than new wine.  John Calvin said that the disciples of Jesus were still too weak to handle the difficulties of discipleship. This view says that they were not yet ready for the self-denial required to follow Jesus, but their day was coming. We could ask, then, how the Pharisees and John‘s disciples were better prepared to handle the cost of discipleship.  A better interpretation as I see this text is the one based on what we have already seen. This was not about the law of Moses or about the weakness of Jesus‘ disciples but about what is ―fitting.‖ These people still did not grasp the identity of the One standing before
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6:1

Now it happened that He was passing through some grainfields on a Sabbath ; and His c 2 disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating the grain . But d 3 some of the Pharisees said, ―Why do you do what is not lawful on the Sabbath ?‖ And Jesus them. This was the King. Fasting could wait. When Jesus is present you party. The presence of Jesus is worthy of the best wine and the nicest clothes. a 5:33-39 Here are some reminders to you that, as a follower of Jesus, yours should be a life of joy: 1. The contrast between following Jesus and lesser masters. Look around and see how lasting is the joy given by the things that control your non-Christian friends. 2. The promise of Jesus‘ presence. There is a time for fasting over your own decisions and hurts and sins, but the great commission carried with it a promise (Matthew 28:18-20). 3. The gathering of the people of God. When we gather to hear the preaching of the gospel, pray and remember Lord‘s death, His special presence is not sobering but satisfying. 4. The prospect of His return. The sorrow we suffer here is brief and the good we enjoy here is a faint sample of what is prepared for the followers of Jesus.
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6:1 He was passing through some grainfields on a Sabbath. The kind of grain grown in Galilee would have been barley or wheat. c 6:1 His disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating the grain. This statement helps us pinpoint the time of year this event took place. Wheat and barley would have been ready to eat in April or May. This means there were less than two years left of Jesus‘ three-year public ministry. The law of Moses permitted picking grain for personal consumption. What you could not do was carry a sickle into your neighbor‘s field (Deuteronomy 23:24-25). d 6:2 some of the Pharisees said, ―Why do you do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?‖ In the eyes of these men the idea of what was unlawful had more to do with the authority of those who sat in the seat of Moses than with the actual law of Moses. Alfred Edersheim, in his Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, explains some rabbinic Sabbath prohibitions:
Next, certain regulations are laid down to guide the Jew when dressing on the Sabbath morning, so as to prevent his breaking its rest. Hence he must be careful not to put on any dress which might become burdensome, nor to wear any ornament which be might put off and carry in his hand, for this would be a 'burden.' A woman must not wear such headgear as would require unloosing before taking a bath, nor go out with such ornaments as could be taken off in the street, such as a frontlet, unless it is attached to the cap, nor with a gold crown, nor with a necklace or nose-ring, nor with rings, nor have a pin in her dress. The reason for this prohibition of ornaments was, that in their vanity women might take them off to show them to their companions, and then, forgetful to the day, carry them, which would be a 'burden.' Women are also forbidden to look in the glass on the Sabbath, because they might discover a white hair and attempt to pull it out, which would be a grievous sin; but men ought not to use looking-glasses even on weekdays, because this was undignified. A woman may walk about her own court, but not in the streets, with false hair. Similarly, a man was forbidden to wear on the Sabbath wooden shoes studded with nails, or only one shoe, as this would involve labour; nor was he to wear phylacteries nor amulets, unless, indeed, they had been made by competent persons (since they might lift them off in order to show the novelty). Similarly, it was forbidden to wear any part of a suit of armour. It was not lawful to scrape shoes, except perhaps with the back of a knife, but they might be touched with oil or water. Nor should sandals be softened with oil, because that would improve them. It was a very serious question, which led to much discussion, what should be done if the tie of a sandal had broken on the Sabbath. A plaster might be worn, provided its object was to prevent the wound from getting worse, not to heal it, for that would have been a work. Ornaments which could not easily be taken off might be worn in one's courtyard. Similarly, a person might go about with wadding in his ear, but not with false teeth nor with a gold plug in the tooth. If the wadding fell out of the ear, it could not be replaced. Some indeed, thought that its healing virtues lay in the oil in which it had been soaked, and which had dried up, but others ascribed them to the warmth of the wadding itself. In either case there was danger of healing - of doing anything for the purpose of a cure - and hence wadding might not be put into the ear on the Sabbath, although if worn before it might be continued. Again, as regarded false teeth: they might fall out, and the wearer might then lift and carry them, which would be sinful on the Sabbath. But anything which formed part of the ordinary dress of a person might be worn also on the Sabbath, and children whose ears were being bored might have a plug put into the hole. It was also allowed to go about on crutches, or with a wooden leg, and children might have bells on their dresses; but it was prohibited to walk on stilts, or to carry any heathen amulet. (Life and Times… Appendix 17) The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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answering them said, ―Have you not even read what David did when he was hungry , he and 4 those who were with him, how he entered the house of God, and took and ate the consecrated b bread which is not lawful for any to eat except the priests alone , and gave it to his 5 c companions?‖ And He was saying to them, ―The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath .‖ 6 On another Sabbath He entered the synagogue and was teaching; and there was a man d 7 there whose right hand was withered . The scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him closely

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In the eyes of the Pharisees these men had sown, threshed, winnowed and possible borne excessive burdens on the Sabbath. a 6:3 Have you not even read what David did when he was hungry. This was a common accusation of Jesus toward Israel‘s religious leaders who should have known both the content and proper application of the law of Moses (emphasis added):
Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions, Matthew 12:3 Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent? Matthew 12:5 Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, Matthew 19:4 But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: Matthew 22:31 Have you not even read this Scripture: ―THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone; THIS CAME ABOUT FROM THE LORD, AND IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES‖? Mark 12:10-11

This was a serious rebuke. Of course they had read it—more than anyone. His point must have been: ―Then why don‘t you get it?‖ Matthew‘s parallel account to this one records (12:1-7) that Jesus also used the priests who ―work‖ on the Sabbath as an illustration of what is lawful on the Sabbath. b 6:4 took and ate the consecrated bread which is not lawful for any to eat except the priests alone. On the surface it appears that Jesus was rationalizing that ends justify means. Some would say that Jesus was saying, ―Sometimes you gotta break the rules.‖ But there this is much more than that here. The story about David to which Jesus refers is found in 1 Samuel 21-1-6. David was running from Saul and he and his men were hungry. The ―consecrated bread‖ that sat, in David‘s day, in the tabernacle‘s Holy Place was intended only for the priests:
Then you shall take fine flour and bake twelve cakes with it; two-tenths of an ephah shall be in each cake. You shall set them in two rows, six to a row, on the pure gold table before the LORD. You shall put pure frankincense on each row that it may be a memorial portion for the bread, even an offering by fire to the LORD. Every sabbath day he shall set it in order before the LORD continually; it is an everlasting covenant for the sons of Israel. It shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place; for it is most holy to him from the LORD'S offerings by fire, his portion forever. Leviticus 24:5-9

Jesus‘ point is not: ―David did it, so it must be okay.‖ His point is that, while the law of God is our final authority, we must not use it as an excuse to withhold good or to do harm. Ahimelech was a faithful priest, but only questioned whether the hungry men who approached were ceremonially pure. c 6:5 He was saying to them, ―The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.‖ Here is the most common way Jesus referred to Himself. Both His deity and His humanity come across in this statement. Mark‘s parallel account adds these words (Mark 2:27): ―The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.‖ d 6:6 He entered the synagogue and was teaching; and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The word ―withered‖ means ―dry‖ or ―shriveled.‖ Luke later records Jesus using this word ―dry‖ to contrast the verdant pastures of His presence with the lifeless revelatory
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to see if He healed on the Sabbath, so that they might find reason to accuse Him . But He knew b what they were thinking , and He said to the man with the withered hand, ―Get up and come c 9 forward !‖ And he got up and came forward. And Jesus said to them, ―I ask you, is it lawful to do d 10 good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to destroy it ?‖ After looking around at them e f 11 all, He said to him, ―Stretch out your hand !‖ And he did so; and his hand was restored . But they g h themselves were filled with rage, and discussed together what they might do to Jesus .

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silence of His absence. He prophesied imminent hard times to the daughters of Jerusalem as He ascended Calvary‘s hill, saying:
For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry? Luke 23:31
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6:7 The scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him closely to see if He healed on the Sabbath, so that they might find reason to accuse Him. This reveals the character of these Pharisees. They were more interested in bringing Jesus down than in obeying the commands of God. b 6:8 He knew what they were thinking. The Lord Jesus at times limited His omniscience (Matthew 24:36), but not here. c 6:8 Get up and come forward! Mark 3:5 says that Jesus was ―grieved at their hardness of heart‖ at this point. d 6:9 is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to destroy it? This question brought out the real issue before the people. The Sabbath law was not designed to ignore compassion or bring harm. Matthew adds that Jesus looked around and asked,
What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? Matthew 12:11
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6:10 After looking around at them all, He said to him, ―Stretch out your hand!‖ It may seem odd that our Lord would call a man to do what he had no power to do. The hand was withered. This is grace. f 6:10 he did so; and his hand was restored. The word ―restored‖ carries the idea of being brought back to normal. It is used of the restoration of the earth under the rule of God (Matthew 17:11; Mark 9:12; Acts 1:6). g 6:11 they themselves were filled with rage, and discussed together what they might do to Jesus. The leaders were angry about what? Their standards—not God‘s—were violated. The Lord Jesus not only did the compassionate thing, He did a work that pointed once again (remember the paralytic) to His authority to interpret Scripture and His power over the physical world. h 6:1-11 When you value your tradition and stubborn opinions over the authority of God‘s word, you become desensitized to your own sins and to the needs around you. The first temptation of the devil in Genesis 3 was an attempt to get Eve to question God‘s direct statements. Spiritual blindness or prejudice makes you miss the truth of Scripture, miss opportunities to show compassion and ultimately Jesus. Here are some reasons why you need to overcome your prejudices: 1. They turn you into a private investigator instead of a fellow-struggler. The religious leaders were so determined to find fault with anyone outside their circle that they failed to show compassion. The Son of Man was touched with the feelings of our infirmities. He made us, but He is one of us. He knows that we are dust so He remains patient. 2. They cause you to major on minors instead of dealing with real problems. The Pharisees were so caught up in keeping the first table of the law (love God) that they neglected the second (love neighbor). Our Great High Priest serves His people because He loves the Father. 3. They make you a poor listener instead of a humble learner. The system of belief of the Pharisees was so detailed that they overlooked the plain interpretation of the Scripture. The Designer of the human ear knew that God‘s laws are both for His glory and our good.
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It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray , and He spent the whole night in b 13 prayer to God . And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, c 14 d whom He also named as apostles : Simon, whom He also named Peter , and Andrew his e f a b c 15 d e brother ; and James and John ; and Philip and Bartholomew ; and Matthew and Thomas ;

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4. They leave you caring more for your rules than for people. The system of belief of the Pharisees was so detailed that they overlooked the plain application of the Scripture. The Lawgiver never intended that we should have to add to the Scripture. 5. They blind you with rage rather than increase your patience. The religious leaders were much more impatient with violation of their standards than they were with actual sin. Our gentle and sinless Savior served sinners in the midst of a crooked world.
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6:12 He went off to the mountain to pray. This is a good pattern for prayer because the Lord made prayer a priority. It is not showing us that we need to actually take a trip in order to pray. You do not have to be away from home to pray any more than you need to be on a mountain. b 6:12 He spent the whole night in prayer to God. The odd literal translation of this reads: ―in the prayer of God.‖ This kind of praying is likely more than Jesus talking and the Father listening. Silence in the presence of God is not any less praying than rambling through a list a requests. We miss something when we think the greatest command of God is to pray more. Loving God and others makes you pray more. In other words you can pray a lot as a habit without really loving God and others, but you cannot really love God and others without praying a lot. c 6:13 when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles. Notice that the twelve were chosen from those who were already disciples. Levi, Peter and the others were already part of the same group. The office of apostle carried a responsibility that was greater than that of the rest of Jesus‘ disciples. This where Jesus is making a clear break with national Israel. The apostles hold an eternal place in the kingdom of God, just as John‘s vision of New Jerusalem shows (Revelation 21:1014). The city not only has twelve gates bearing the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, it also has twelve foundations bearing the names of the twelve apostles (including the replacement for Judas). The idea that a rabbi would call and teach disciples would have been an uncontroversial act. But to create a group of authoritative leaders called apostles was a bold move which set those men up as rivals of the Jerusalem elders. Note that this immediately follows a very public rejection by the existing Jerusalem elite. All night prayer prepared Jesus for His hands-on role with the Twelve. He took seriously His task of equipping the Twelve. d 6:14 Simon, whom He also named Peter. Simon, or Shimon, means ―he has heard.‖ Notice that Peter, ―Little Rock,‖ was a name bestowed by Jesus. Jesus normally called him Peter (Matthew 16), but after Peter‘s denials He called him by his given name. e 6:14 and Andrew his brother. Andrew appears to be a Greek name meaning ―man‖ or ―manly.‖ He can be described as ―approachable,‖ based on a few statements about him in the gospels. He is the one who found the little boy with the loaves and fish (John 6:8-9). He is the one approached by Philip when some Greeks wanted to see Jesus (John 12:20-22). Andrew was the younger brother and fishing partner of Peter who was, as legend has it, eventually crucified on an Xshaped cross. There is a textual difference between the basis for our NASB and that of the King James Version. The KJV leaves out several ―ands,‖ apparently organizing the Twelve in groups of two, starting with Peter and his brother Andrew. Even if you accept the reading of the NASB, the pairing is also shown in Matthew 10. You can see that the first two pairs of apostles are brothers. f 6:14 and James. James was the son of the Mary who had a house in Jerusalem where the early church met for prayer. He was possibly a fiery preacher, having received the nickname along with his brother John, ―Sons of Thunder‖ (Mark 3:17). One of the ―inner three‖ along with Peter and John, he was considered the leader of the Jerusalem church and suffered martyrdom at the hands of Herod Agrippa I.
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James the son of Alphaeus , and Simon who was called the Zealot ; Judas the son of James , i and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor . 17 Jesus came down with them and stood on a level place; and there was a large crowd of His disciples, and a great throng of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region j 18 k of Tyre and Sidon , who had come to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases ; and those 19 who were troubled with unclean spirits were being cured. And all the people were trying to touch l m Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all .
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6:14 and John. John, the human author of the gospel that bears his name was the brother of James and one of the ―inner three‖ apostles privileged to see things the others did not. He also wrote three inspired epistles and the book of Revelation. He keeps his gospel account anonymous, referring to himself only as ―the disciple whom Jesus loved‖ (John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20). He is quite possibly the only apostle who died of natural causes. b 6:14 and Philip. Philip is known as a ―bean counter‖ because of his statement before the feeding of the 5000 that two hundred denarii would not be enough to buy food for the crowd (John 6:7). But he is also the man who went and found his friend Nathanael to tell him about Jesus (John 1:45). c 6:14 and Bartholomew. This is the fellow referred to by John as Nathanael. He was skeptical about Philip‘s invitation to see Jesus because Jesus was from Nazareth. He was evidently a man of the Scriptures and had some biases that could only be corrected by meeting Jesus. Jesus removed his doubts (John 1:45-51). d 6:15 and Matthew. We already met Matthew the tax collector when Jesus called him to follow. Now he has been privileged to be part of the foundation of the church. e 6:15 and Thomas. Thomas tended to focus on the negative, assuming at one point that he and the other apostles would be going to their death in Judea (John 11:16). This was the doubter, but Jesus removed his doubts (John 20:28) f 6:15 James the son of Alphaeus. We really know nothing of the man from Scripture other than his name, but he is called James ―the less‖ at one point, possibly a reference to his stature (Mark 15:40). g 6:15 and Simon who was called the Zealot. We do not know for sure if Simon had a career among the Hebrew loyalists who assassinated Romans or if ―Zealot‖ was another nickname given because of his fiery personality. h 6:16 Judas the son of James. This Judas is also known as Simon. Here, then, is the third fellow with the name Simon. They could be called ―Peter, Thaddeus and Judas,‖ but then you needed to distinguish which Judas. John 14:22 has ―Judas (not Iscariot)‖ asking Jesus a question about the coming work of the Holy Spirit. i 6:16 and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. ―Iscariot‖ probably means that Judas was actually part of the ―dagger men.‖ The zealots were assassins trained in stealthily killing prominent Romans from behind with daggers. As part of the Sicarii, Judas may have had political reasons for following Jesus that were dashed when Jesus began talking about the cross. j 6:17 a large crowd of His disciples, and a great throng of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon. People came from quite a distance. Notice that the throng included people from both Jewish and Gentile territory. k 6:18 had come to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases. The people were not just coming for selfish reasons. They wanted to hear what Jesus had to say. But you would have done the same thing if you had been afflicted like these people. Jesus is the refuge for those who sting from the effects of living in a fallen world. l 6:19 all the people were trying to touch Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all. This happened on more than one occasion. It does not mean that there was some sort of supernatural energy drain. Remember that this is the man who made the universe in six days. It does mean that He was the source of healing for those who touched Him. m 6:12-19 It is worth noting the times God‘s servants ―came down from the mountain‖ to be met with the day-to-day heartaches of a sinful world.  Moses came down from Sinai to find Israel in an idolatrous frenzy (Exodus 32).
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And turning His gaze toward His disciples , He began to say, ―Blessed are you who are b 21 poor, for yours is the kingdom of God . Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be c d 22 satisfied . Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh . Blessed are you when men e hate you , and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son f 23 a of Man . Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven . For in

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Elijah came down from a victory on Mt. Carmel to face a death threat from Jezebel (1 Kings 19:2).  The Lord came down from a mountain to find panicked disciples in a boat in a storm.  Peter and James and John came down from the mount of transfiguration to be confronted by a demon-possessed child (Mark 9:14-18). We have here a glimpse into eternity past because we are seeing the playing out of the divine decree. Here is what you learn about the character of our Lord: 1. God is not detached. There is consultation within the Godhead. This shows not only the unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit but also their interdependence. This comforts us because it shows us there is a plan. Everything happens right on time. 2. God brings Himself glory by turning the ordinary into the glorious. The choices made by God were unconditional. None of us would have thought to organize a mission with fishermen, a couple of assassins and a tax collector. God changes His people. This is encouraging because we know He does His work patiently. 3. The divine decree ended up showing mercy to people. We sinners naturally do not want to surrender control. We think a God who is sovereign will not be fair. We like talk of free will and we like human success stories. God hates them because they rob Him of glory. God‘s successes are the ones that leave no doubt as to the source of the blessing.
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6:20 turning His gaze toward His disciples. The language Luke used to describe Jesus‘ eyes includes the word that means ―to lift up.‖ Almost exclusively in its 19 New Testament uses it speaks of lifting up body parts like eyes, hands, heads, voices and a heel. This was intentional eye contact. Theirs was to listen. b 6:20 Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. The kingdom theme in Luke‘s gospel (basileia is used 44 times in Luke) describes the rule of God over men, specifically the rule of God over men‘s hearts. It is both a present reality and a future hope. It is an invisible kingdom on the move and it carries a message. Notice the present tense here. This is a kingdom in existence right now and the poor fit in because attachment to wealth is a barrier for those who wish to enter. c 6:21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. When Israel was in the wilderness, they knew that the only way they would eat would be for God to supply their daily manna. Those who have an appetite for more than the bread available here (Matthew says ―hunger and thirst after righteousness‖) will find a feast. Jesus fasted and told the devil that man also lives by the word of God. d 6:21 Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. This is a world of death, decay and loss, but the rule of Jesus transcends it. The people of God cling to things that last. Solomon said this:
It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, because that is the end of every man, and the living takes it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, For when a face is sad a heart may be happy. The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning, while the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure. Ecclesiastes 7:2-4
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6:22 Blessed are you when men hate you. Jesus said later that this hatred would be directed at Him. Just as the mockers cried out for Jesus to be crucified, we very naturally hate Jesus. Do you doubt that? What do you do naturally when you have your serious character flaws pointed out? Only by grace do you accept the assault humbly and with repentance. f 6:22 ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Few people have experienced this kind of rejection. Jesus did.
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the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets . But woe to you who are rich, for you are c 25 d receiving your comfort in full . Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry . Woe e 26 to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep . Woe to you when all men speak well of f g you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way . 27 h 28 ―But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you , bless i 29 those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you . Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him j 30 either . Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not
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6:23 Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. Imagine leaping for joy on that kind of day. b 6:23 in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets. Stephen spoke the same way when he asked, ―Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute?‖ (Acts 7:52). c 6:24 woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. How do you suppose Jesus spoke these words? James, the half brother of Jesus, must have been present when this sermon was given. He speaks similar words to the unsaved capitalist (James 5:1-6). d 6:25 Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Remember Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16). e 6:25 Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. When your joy is defined by temporal pleasures, your joy will not last. f 6:26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way. This statement calls to mind the now-humorous account of Israel‘s King Ahab and his hatred of the prophet Micaiah (1 Kings 22:1-40). It is futile to live for the favor of men. g 6:20-26 This text through the end of the chapter is likely a portion of the same sermon Matthew recorded (Matthew 5-7), though some call it a distinct address. Compare the beatitudes in each text. One of the mistakes the interpreter can make while studying the beatitudes is to turn them into commands. These are not commands, but statements of fact. They are the fruit of those who have tasted the kingdom that is not of this world. The blessedness of the kingdom of this world is found in money, good food, entertainment and friends. Think how much of our lives are invested in storing up material possessions, eating, finding pleasant distractions and courting the favor of people. So some would take this to mean that in order to get favor from God you need to take a vow of poverty, fast often, get rid of your television and live like a hermit. The point is not that you perform your way into God‘s kingdom but that you learn to pity those for whom money, good food, entertainment and friends define their lives. When Paul prophesied that in the last days men would be lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, his words certainly included the day in which we live. When you lack what the world worships, remember these essentials for the kingdom of God: 1. When you lack material things, take comfort that you are in the best position to find wealth that lasts. 2. When you are hungry, take comfort that there are actually things more satisfying than food. 3. When you are mourning, take comfort that this life is very short. 4. When you are unpopular, take comfort that God knows what the best rewards are.
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6:27 love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. It is unnatural for a sinner to serve those who hate him. Jesus‘ ministry was directed toward His enemies. i 6:28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. It is unnatural for a sinner to speak well of someone who mistreats him. Jesus prayed for those who put Him on the cross: ―Father, forgive them.‖ j 6:29 Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. It is unnatural for a sinner to take any kind of shot from another person without retaliating in some way. Jesus was not teaching national
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demand it back . Treat others the same way you want them to treat you . If you love those c 33 who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them . If you do d 34 good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same . If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend e 35 to sinners in order to receive back the same amount . But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most f a 36 High ; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men . Be merciful, just as your Father is b c merciful .

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pacifism. The idea here is that we naturally think it is a greater evil to let someone take advantage of us than it is to demand our rights. Paul told the litigious church at Corinth the same thing:
Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren. 1 Corinthians 6:7-8
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6:30 Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. It is unnatural for a sinner to stay calm when others borrow things and do not return them. But God is the ultimate Lender. There is nothing we have that is not either a gift from Him or borrowed from Him. And we treat these things as if they are ours. Like Paul wrote: ―What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?‖ (1 Corinthians 4:7). b 6:31 Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. This is known as the ―Golden Rule.‖ Some have said that all major religions have the same Golden Rule. Let‘s examine some of those statements:  Buddhism: ―Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.‖  Confucianism: ―Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you.‖  Hinduism: ―This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you.‖  British Humanist Society: ―Don't do things you wouldn't want to have done to you.‖ Notice that these statements are phrased in the negative: ―Don‘t do to others what you don‘t like.‖ Jesus came to serve and taught His people to serve. So His emphasis was a positive one: ―Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.‖ The foundation for the Golden Rule is Leviticus 19:18: ―You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.‖ c 6:32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. Even those who hate God can love their friends and family. The emphasis is on being different. Holy people stand out because they have different hearts. d 6:33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. It is easy to be good to people who have something to offer you. e 6:34 If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. There is nothing heroic about letting people borrow from you when there is no risk of loss. f 6:35 love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. Notice He gets to the bottom line here. This is about looking like our Father. All the of the neighbor-loving commands in the Old Testament (particularly in Exodus 20 and Leviticus 19) had as their foundation ―I am the Lord your God.‖ Notice also that He is calling us to expect our heavenly Father to even all scores. Our mistake when we become self-focused and self-preserving is to discount God‘s involvement in the matter. Does He see that person defrauding or otherwise hurting you? Do you think He will do anything about it? Are you really in the hands of those who abuse you? Does your Father take care of His children?
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―Do not judge, and you will not be judged ; and do not condemn, and you will not be e a 38 condemned ; pardon, and you will be pardoned . Give, and it will be given to you. They will
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6:35 He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Perhaps our fear is not that God does not see the injustice but that He will not punish our enemies in a way that will satisfy us. Sometimes we want a higher price than God does. b 6:36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. He is our pattern. c 6:27-36 Look at all the values in this text that are upside-down from our usual way of looking at things. We just looked at a text that calls us to see ourselves as ―lucky‖ when life falls apart. Now the message is about loving and serving enemies. This is really no different than God‘s call to Israel to show mercy to strangers and to the vulnerable. In both cases this unnatural behavior communicates the character of God to all who see it. You become very vulnerable to others when you follow Christ the way He calls you to follow Him. Think of all the positive, neighbor-loving actions connected with the attitude of those who follow the One who gave His life a ransom for many. Here is the lifestyle you can display to advertise how different is the God you serve: 1. You refuse to even scores. 2. You repay evil with good. 3. You serve others even when you do not get recognized. 4. You give generously even when you do not get repaid. 5. You submit to authority even when you would have led a different direction. 6. You are gentle toward others even though you have the ability to be harsh. But all of these are responses to redemption rather than behaviors that bring redemption. In fact, your very inability to pull off this kind of behavior is God‘s reminder that your best efforts to change your heart are insufficient. As the Lord journeyed toward the cross He took disciples with Him.
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6:37 Do not judge, and you will not be judged. This text is commonly used to speak of a future judgment by God on those who violate its commands. There is certainly a time set when God will judge the living and the dead, but in this text Jesus spoke mainly of sowing and reaping in this world. God‘s short term judgments often come in the form of natural consequences built into His world, including getting back from others what we dish out. People have used this statement of Jesus to imply that God will judge people who point out sin in others. This idea is incorrect on two counts. First, Jesus is not against any kind of judging, for he elsewhere assumed and commanded it (Luke 7:43; John 7:24). Unrighteous judging is more than pointing out behavior that God has already pronounced sinful. Critical people— judges—create their own standards of judgment. Second, Jesus is not talking first about God judging the critical people. He is saying that people with a critical spirit (like the religious leaders with whom He often dealt) will reap the consequences of their lifestyle. The judgment that comes in return is criticism from other people, not God. This is about sowing and reaping. When you live this way your preferences and convictions become the standard by which others should be judged. Paul scolded the church at Corinth for engaging in this type of judging:
But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God. Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other. 1 Corinthians 4:3-6
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6:37 do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. The word translated ―condemn‖ comes from a similar category as the word for ―judge,‖ but condemning takes the judgment a step further. The word used here is related to another word often translated ―take vengeance,‖ but with a prefix (katadikazo). The woman caught in adultery in John 8 may have been guilty of the
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pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over . For by c d your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return .‖ 39 And He also spoke a parable to them: ―A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will a 40 they not both fall into a pit ? A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been charges leveled against her, but those who sought to condemn her were blinded to some vital information because of their prejudices. So Jesus is saying that it is not only wrong to set yourself up as the standard for judgment, it is also wrong to pronounce your own sentences on those you judge. a 6:37 pardon, and you will be pardoned. The word translated ―pardon‖ means to release or to send away. It is used over sixty times in the New Testament, a few times of a man divorcing his wife. Here Jesus speaks of letting people go—of giving up the right to get even or harbor grudges. Do you suppose Jesus‘ half brother James was listening to this sermon? James later wrote, ―For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.‖ (James 2:13). b 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure— pressed down, shaken together, and running over. The reference to weights and measures is likely an economic one. The ―lap‖ or ―bosom‖ likely refers to the pocket created by an apron when it is held out. This is a means of carrying goods. A vendor in Jesus‘ day (and still today) who wished to be generous would make sure a product was packed down into a container and more than filled the vessel. This is the way Boaz treated Ruth:
So she lay at his feet until morning and rose before one could recognize another; and he said, ―Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.‖ Again he said, ―Give me the cloak that is on you and hold it.‖ So she held it, and he measured six measures of barley and laid it on her. Then she went into the city. Ruth 3:14-15
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6:38 by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return. This is the law of the harvest. You reap what you sow. d 6:37-38 The great trouble that comes when we put ourselves in the place of God is that we are not like Him. For example:  We make up rules based on our own selfish kingdom.  We issue unjust consequences when others really are wrong.  We seek our own revenge.  We are not merciful.  We hold tightly to earthly riches. Critical spirits and stinginess are contagious. They come from hearts that treasure too much the kingdom ruled by self—the kingdom we create when we want to be God. Jesus spoke to a Hebrew crowd that had been ruled by institutionalized legalism—the dark kingdom where men replace God and His judgments. Having spoken in the beatitudes of the hearts of those who have lost their attraction to this kind of power-grab, Jesus now addresses the earthly consequences of clinging too tightly to the kind of treasure men crave in their own kingdoms. Only those who have been wronged are in a position to offer a pardon. Only those who know others in need are in a position to give. Why does our flesh recoil at the thought of reaching out to the vulnerable? Because we are not like our heavenly Father. Here are the ways you can sow mercy instead of judgment. 1. Make sure you are not stricter than God is. What does His word say? 2. Fight the urge to take pleasure in seeing people pay for their sins. This is particularly important if the sin was against you. 3. Create around yourself a culture of giving. How much selfish living do you encourage by your actions? Go back to the cross and see what Christ-followers esteem instead of self (Philippians 2:1-11).
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fully trained, will be like his teacher . Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, c 42 but do not notice the log that is in your own eye ? Or how can you say to your brother, ‗Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,‘ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to d 43 take out the speck that is in your brother's eye . For there is no good tree which produces bad e 44 fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit . For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar f 45 bush . The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his g a heart .
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6:39 He also spoke a parable to them: ―A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit?‖ We understand that Jesus was speaking of the religious leaders of his day. He elsewhere directly rebuked these ―blind guides.‖
You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: ―THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.‖ After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, ―Hear and understand. It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.‖ Then the disciples came and said to Him, "Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?" But He answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit." Matthew 15:7-14 You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! Mathew 23:20-25
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6:40 A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher. The word translated ―fully trained‖ is also used of the mending of fishing nets. The idea behind the word as it is used here is probably ―to make ready for service.‖ Just as work is put into a fishing net to prepare it to catch fish, work is put into a disciple to equip him to do what his teacher does. A lot of work goes into making one person like another, even though the change is usually gradual. Keep in mind that Jesus is not only attacking the existing rabbis. He is pointing out the difference that happens when people are His disciples. c 6:41 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Notice that there is here another reference to the eyes, this time to eyes that see. Jesus is using hyperbole to make a point. Hypocrites are much better at pointing out what is wrong in others d 6:42 first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye. This does not mean you ever become qualified to extract specks. It does mean that self-judgment is a good thing
But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world. 1 Corinthians 11:28-32
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6:43 there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. There is not need to read into this. A bad tree is one that produces bad fruit and vice versa. f 6:44 each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. There is a difference here between fruit inspection and judgmentalism. g 6:45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. Simply put, what s inside you will come out
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Why do you call Me, ―Lord, Lord,‖ and do not do what I say ? Everyone who comes to Me c d 48 and hears My words and acts on them , I will show you whom he is like : he is like a man e building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock ; and when a flood occurred, f 49 the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built . But
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6:39-45 The maxim ―You become like those with whom you associate‖ could also read: ―You become like those you admire.‖ If you most admire professional athletes or entertainers or other famous people you might not think becoming like them is a bad prospect. But Jesus is warning both the followers and the leaders that These statements all appear to be an indictment on the blind leadership of Israel. The Lord is contrasting His leadership and that of the establishment. We have been warned about the unjust and inaccurate judgment to which we are prone. You cannot see hearts but you can see when hearts spill. Your words are the overflow of your heart. What is going on in there? How you can decide what people are worthy role models: 1. Ask yourself: ―Where is this person headed?‖ That is often difficult to see, but good role models will tell you. 2. Ask yourself: ―What are the things in my life that do not please God?‖ Start there. 3. Ask yourself: ―What will happen if I become like this person?‖ 4. Ask yourself: ―What in this person‘s life is a revelation of his driving force?‖
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6:46 Why do you call Me, ―Lord, Lord,‖ and do not do what I say? This reveals the critical difference between church goers and Christ followers. Matthew‘s version of this sermon expands on this statement:
Not everyone who says to Me, ―Lord, Lord,‖ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ―Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?‖ And then I will declare to them, ―I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.‖ Matthew 7:21-23
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6:47 Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them. When you examine the epistle of James, the half brother of Jesus, you quickly get the impression that this sermon—or at least its content—had a profound influence on James. James put it this way:
Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. James 1:21-25
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6:47 I will show you whom he is like. The word translated ―I will show‖ is the same word John the Baptist used of the warning to flee the coming wrath. So here is another parable of Jesus recorded in Luke‘s gospel. He is just getting started with these object lessons. This one is a warning. e 6:48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock. Even a child who has built with blocks understands this principle. It is hard work to dig deep, but doing so is easier than the consequences of not doing so. f 6:48 when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. We need not spend a lot of time trying to identify what the flood represents here. Anything from overwhelming life trials to storms of unbelief test the quality of your foundation. The point of the parable is to compare those who make a claim to faith and those who follow their Lord. The storm does not come to destroy legitimate faith but to demonstrate that legitimate faith cannot be shaken. Look at Hebrews 12:26-27:
And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, ―YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.‖ This expression, "Yet once more," denotes the The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the a ground without any foundation ; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and b c the ruin of that house was great .
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When He had completed all His discourse in the hearing of the people, He went to d Capernaum . 2 e 3 And a centurion's slave, who was highly regarded by him, was sick and about to die . When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders asking Him to come and save the life of his f 4 slave . When they came to Jesus, they earnestly implored Him, saying, ―He is worthy for You to g 5 h 6 grant this to him ; for he loves our nation and it was he who built us our synagogue .‖ Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent
removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
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6:49 the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation. Matthew says that Jesus added the detail that the bare ground was sandy.
Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall. Matthew 7:24-27
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6:49 the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great. It does not take much of a demonstration to destroy a weak foundation. The ―house‖ was left in great ruin. c 6:46-49 Jesus calls us to do what He says. The great commission includes the command to teach disciples ―to obey.‖ Your world will be rocked and the rocking will not demonstrate how great your life is but how great is what you build your life upon. In other words it is not the quality of your faith but the object of your faith that the storms reveal. Here is how that foundation shows up ―above ground‖: 1. You plan your work based on what pleases your Master rather than on what feels comfortable. It is almost always harder to take the easy way out. You reap what you sow. 2. Your core beliefs do not change based on circumstances. You do not ask for trials of your faith, but those trails end up bringing glory to the One who gave you that faith.
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7:1 When He had completed all His discourse in the hearing of the people, He went to Capernaum. Capernaum was now Jesus‘ base of operations. These geographical markers help us put the earthly ministry of Jesus on the map. The Sermon on the Mount may have been delivered only a mile or so from Capernaum, where this next encounter took place. e 7:2 a centurion's slave, who was highly regarded by him, was sick and about to die. This centurion loved his slave and knew where to go for help. Luke the physician wants us to understand how grave the situation was so we are sure not to miss the miraculous. f 7:3 When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders asking Him to come and save the life of his slave. The man had surely heard in the Capernaum synagogue of the great prophets in Israel‘s history. Jesus fit the character and the ability, so he asked in faith that Jesus was all he had heard. g 7:4 When they came to Jesus, they earnestly implored Him, saying, ―He is worthy for You to grant this to him.‖ Some have criticized the Jews for suggesting that this man deserved God‘s favor. There is a great lesson in humility here, but it is not in this verse. These men simply expressed to Jesus the reason they loved this Gentile centurion. h 7:5 he loves our nation and it was he who built us our synagogue. The centurion may have been some sort of Jewish proselyte to have provided for the Hebrews in Capernaum a building set aside for the specific purpose of studying the Scripture. They even used the strongest word for love (agapao) to describe the man‘s commitment to Israel.
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friends , saying to Him, ―Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come b 7 under my roof ; for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say c 8 the word, and my servant will be healed . For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‗Go!‘ and he goes, and to another, ‗Come!‘ and he d 9 comes, and to my slave, ‗Do this!‘ and he does it .‖ Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, ―I say to you, not even in Israel e 10 have I found such great faith .‖ When those who had been sent returned to the house, they f g found the slave in good health .
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7:6 Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends. Jesus consented, but there was more than a physical healing in this story for our instruction. Somehow the centurion knew Jesus was coming to his house. He did not want that. b 7:6 Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof. In this verse and he next the centurion contradicts the people who came to Jesus. The message was, ―Save my servant,‖ not ―I am worthy of a visit from You.‖ Here the man uses words that mean ―I am not enough for you to come under my roof.‖ c 7:7 I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. Here he uses the same word the Jews used, but in the negative. He says he does not deserve to approach Jesus. d 7:8 I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‗Go!‘ and he goes, and to another, ‗Come!‘ and he comes, and to my slave, ‗Do this!‘ and he does it.‖ The centurion was a people-mover and he understands that Jesus is a universemover. There is evidence of his ability to command others here. He sent this servant with a message. He even had some of the Jewish elders (verse 3) approach Jesus to ask for his slave‘s healing in the first place. Now he effectively says, ―I give commands to people and things happen. You order molecules and things happen.‖ e 7:9 He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, ―I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.‖ The Gentile got it when many Jews missed it. This is an illustration of Jesus‘ teaching that attachment to the visible church does not necessarily reveal the heart. The gospel of Christ is for the world. It is a false view of the deity and humanity of Christ to assume that He was never pleasantly surprised while on earth. Here is an example. The word ―marveled‖ is the same word Luke used to describe the wonder of the people in Bethlehem when they heard the account of angels announcing the coming of Messiah. It was used of Mary and Joseph‘s attitude when Simeon and Anna publicly blessed baby Jesus in the temple. f 7:10 When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health. What self-proclaimed miracle worker ever did a healing when physically absent from the sick person? g 7:1-10 Notice that the centurion loved his slave and that no mention is made of the slave having faith. Take heart as you pray for other people. Notice the marks of ―great faith‖: 1. You have an honest assessment of your own unworthiness before God. The centurion did not live in despair and give up. Quite the opposite. He simply knew that his help would not come on the basis of his own merit. So then the opposing unbelief would produce a delusion that somehow you can earn God‘s favor. 2. You have a revelation-based assessment of God‘s character. Somehow the centurion, doubtless having hung around the synagogue he funded, The opposite would be imagining God as you think He should be or as information outside the Scripture tells you He should be. This kind of unbelief ends in defection when God does not perform up to your expectations. 3. You apply both assessments to your present situation. Unbelief may profess correct theology, but its lack of substance shows up when you think your sin and the perfect character of God have nothing to do with your present trial.
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Soon afterwards He went to a city called Nain ; and His disciples were going along with b 12 Him, accompanied by a large crowd . Now as He approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd c 13 from the city was with her . When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, d 14 e ―Do not weep .‖ And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt . And
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7:11 Soon afterwards He went to a city called Nain. Nain was located less than twenty miles from Capernaum. It was (and still is) on the northern slope of Mt. Moreh, the hill where Saul and Jonathan died. Only two miles over the hill to the south is Shunem where Elisha restored a different child to his mother. b 7:11 His disciples were going along with Him, accompanied by a large crowd. It is understandable that crowd sizes were on the increase. This is the height of Jesus‘ miraculous ministry, as he told later John in prison (7:18-30). c 7:12 as He approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her. Widows and orphans are the classes of people considered the most vulnerable in Scripture. A woman without the provision of a husband in first century culture would have been dependent on her family. This son—Luke points out he was her only son—would have been her sole means of financial support. The grief of her loss was compounded by the prospect of extreme poverty. We can assume the large procession was headed for a burial ground outside the city and may have included hired mourners d 7:13 When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, ―Do not weep.‖ This description of Jesus shows His tenderness toward those who hurt. Luke uses the word for ―felt compassion‖ that is used 24 times in 12 verses of the New Testament. It is used of the feeling Jesus got when He saw hungry, sick and shepherdless people (Mark 8:2; Matthew 14:14; 9:36). Jesus uses it of both the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) and the father of the prodigal son (Luke 16). The language of this verse argues clearly for the true humanity of the Son of God. The word translated ―felt compassion‖ vividly pictures Jesus‘ insides moving. You have likely experienced this when you see great pain in someone else. Your body responds to the thoughts in your heart. That‘s why you shudder at the thought of scary things, cry at sad things, become nauseous at disgusting things and get ulcers in your stomach from worrying too much. Note that He felt compassion for the mother. No mention is made that He felt compassion for the son. e 7:14 He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. To this day it is socially unacceptable to stop a funeral procession. Jesus did it, but when He did it ceased being a funeral procession. The word translated ―touched‖ indicates more than a brush against the coffin. It is the word often used of Jesus‘ healing touch. This may have brought ceremonial defilement on Jesus according to the interpretation of the rabbis. Ceremonial defilement was not the same as moral defilement, but it did keep Jews from participating in worship until ritual cleansing and a prescribed time passed. Scripture shows that in Israel it was not only the dead body that brought ceremonial defilement, but the things connected with death:
The one who touches the corpse of any person shall be unclean for seven days. That one shall purify himself from uncleanness with the water on the third day and on the seventh day, and then he will be clean; but if he does not purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean. Anyone who touches a corpse, the body of a man who has died, and does not purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from Israel. Because the water for impurity was not sprinkled on him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is still on him. This is the law when a man dies in a tent: everyone who comes into the tent and everyone who is in the tent shall be unclean for seven days. Every open vessel, which has no covering tied down on it, shall be unclean. Also, anyone who in the open field touches one who has been slain with a sword or who has died naturally, or a human bone or a grave, shall be unclean for seven days. Then for the unclean person they shall take some of the ashes of the burnt purification from sin and flowing water shall be added to them in a vessel. A clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it on the tent and on all the furnishings and on the persons who were there, and on the one who touched the bone or the one slain or the one dying naturally or the grave. Then the clean person shall sprinkle on the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day; and on the seventh day he shall purify him from The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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He said, ―Young man, I say to you, arise !‖ The dead man sat up and began to speak. And b 16 c Jesus gave him back to his mother . Fear gripped them all, and they began glorifying God , 17 saying, ―A great prophet has arisen among us!‖ and, ―God has visited His people!‖ This report d e concerning Him went out all over Judea and in all the surrounding district . 18 f 19 The disciples of John reported to him about all these things . Summoning two of his disciples, John sent them to the Lord, saying, ―Are You the Expected One, or do we look for

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uncleanness, and he shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and shall be clean by evening. But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself from uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, because he has defiled the sanctuary of the LORD; the water for impurity has not been sprinkled on him, he is unclean. Numbers 19:11-20
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7:14 ―Young man, I say to you, arise!‖ Look at John 11:43 for a similar command to Lazarus. The voice of Jesus is the only thing that can call the world into existence, call the dead to life and call a sinner from his spiritual grave (Ephesians 2:1-10). b 7:15 The dead man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother. See 2 Kings 4:36-37 for this picture of restoration. Again, the focus of Jesus‘ ministry was the mother, not the son. c 7:16 Fear gripped them all, and they began glorifying God. The word translated ―gripped‖ is a simple word that shows us the fear ―took‖ them. This is the same kind of fear that the disciples experienced when they saw Jesus walking on the water during a storm (Matthew 14:22-27). Like watching a powerful storm (see Psalm 29), the display of God‘s power prompts fear and awe at the same time. d 7:17 This report concerning Him went out all over Judea and in all the surrounding district. John, locked away in prison, was missing the true greatest show on earth. But everyone else knew they could not deny the demonstrations of the power of God happening before their eyes and confirming Jesus‘ claims to divinity. e 7:11-17 The Lord knew loss and He knew want during His earthly ministry. The writer of Hebrews says,
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

This is one of many gospel texts that reveal the heart of Jesus. Be thankful God has left us with these records or you might conclude otherwise when times are hard. Here are facts from this text that you need to tuck away so you never forget that Jesus is approachable for those in need: 1. You can trust His timing. If you had been a fan of Jesus watching these events on television you might have seen the funeral procession leaving the town and Jesus approaching the town, and worried that He might not make it before they put the coffin in the ground. Will He make it in time? That is no different than the hard things that are disturbing you right now. His timing is always perfect. 2. You can know He will behave tenderly toward the weak. That does not mean He will always give you what you want when you are weak, but it does mean that He identifies Himself with sufferers. He knows how rejection feels and He knows what it is like to suffer for sin—your sin, not His. 3. You can run to Him when His works most disturb you. He could have prevented the lad‘s death just as He could have prevented the death of Lazarus, but that‘s not His style. The Lord Jesus always acts in keeping with His character, but He often creates confusion among His people on the way. His works that we perceive as most threatening end up promoting awe rather than terror.
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7:18 The disciples of John reported to him about all these things. John the Baptist was likely in Herod‘s prison at Machaerus east of the Dead Sea. He heard about Jesus but he wanted to hear from Him. He wanted an authoritative source. So he sent two of his disciples directly to Jesus.
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someone else ?‖ When the men came to Him, they said, ―John the Baptist has sent us to You, 21 to ask, ‗Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?‘‖ At that very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He gave sight to many who b 22 were blind . And He answered and said to them, ―Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf c 23 hear, the dead are raised up, the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM . Blessed a is he who does not take offense at Me .‖
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7:19 John sent them to the Lord, saying, ―Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?‖ The centurion in the beginning of this chapter felt unworthy to approach Jesus, so he sent messengers. John sent messengers because he was unable to approach Jesus. I rarely disagree with John Calvin‘s commentary, but in it he says that John was not doubting at all. He suggests that John merely wanted his disciples to find out for themselves, so he sent them to ask the question. Of John‘s question Calvin says:
The opinion entertained by some, that he sent them partly on his own account, is exceedingly foolish; as if he had not been fully convinced, or obtained distinct information, that Jesus is the Christ.

With no disrespect for the venerable Reformer I have to be classed with the ―exceedingly foolish‖ view. I agree that John boldly proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah because he was fully convinced of Jesus‘ identity from the start. But he was in a weak position here. He was asking for authoritative confirmation. In other words he wanted to believe but he needed to hear from Jesus. That is why Jesus did not scold him but comforted him. When you are troubled about the things you have long believed you don‘t run to the skeptics or other doubters for answers. All that does is promote more confusion. Faith does not rely on logic but neither is it illogical. Taking God at his word does not bypass reason but it puts its confidence in One whose ways and thoughts are higher than ours. Those who need the gospel, for instance, are not in a position to judge how satisfying God‘s salvation will be. They are like the person at the top of a burning building who looks down and sees men with a tarp shouting ―jump!‖ When you express faith you are not in a position to judge how accurate are the claims you hear. You just jump. So John does not ask Herod, ―Is Jesus the Coming One or should we look for another?‖ He asks the One who saves. John was the bold ambassador of Jesus who told all his disciples, ―That‘s the One! Follow Him!‖ But maybe the trouble now is that his vision of what this King would do was in conflict with what was really happening. He called people to repent and to show the fruit of repentance in preparation for the true Ruler. Now a couple years later he was in prison under the power of a different ruler. Life did not make sense. Here is the irony of John‘s question: His expression of honest doubt was really a demonstration of faith because of where he directed the question. John took his doubt to the place it belonged, willing to accept whatever answer he received. Notice that John did not say, ―Is there a coming one?‖ b 7:21 At that very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He gave sight to many who were blind. Jesus had never stopped demonstrating that He was who He claimed to be. Doubt never changes reality. c 7:22 Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM. Jesus encouraged John with a message of His own. He was saying effectively, ―John, the plan has not changed. I‘m taking over. Listen to what I‘ve been doing.‖ But the method of the takeover was probably not what John or anyone else expected. These works were not simply the confirmation that Jesus was Messiah. They were evidence of the kingdom work itself. Romans 8:22 says, ―For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.‖ Jesus was easing some of the groaning, but His great work of redemption was stil to come. It is interesting what Jesus considered the meeting of the need of the poor. The solution for the blind, lame, lepers, deaf and dead are obvious, but Jesus said the poor got good news. That
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When the messengers of John had left, He began to speak to the crowds about John, b 25 ―What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind ? But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who are splendidly clothed and live in c 26 luxury are found in royal palaces ! But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, d 27 and one who is more than a prophet . This is the one about whom it is written, ‗BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER AHEAD OF YOU, e 28 WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY BEFORE YOU .‘ I say to you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater f 29 than he .‖ When all the people and the tax collectors heard this, they acknowledged God's g 30 justice, having been baptized with the baptism of John . But the Pharisees and the lawyers h a rejected God's purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John . is not to say Jesus did not act compassionately toward needy people but it does identify the kind of people who were ready to receive a message that there is more to life than what people possess on earth. a 7:23 Blessed is he who does not take offense at Me. The word ―blessed‖ is the same word Jesus used in the beatitudes. The word translated ―take offense‖ can mean ―stumble.‖ It is used of causing others to fall or of getting tripped up. I think Jesus was saying, ―I am the key figure in this picture. Don‘t be ashamed of Me‖ (See Romans 1:16). b 7:24 What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? John served away from Jerusalem where most preachers served. People usually did not have to go away from Jerusalem to see prophets. Jesus asks the people why this man‘s ministry was so attractive. It was because John spoke the truth. But was John no longer bold for the truth? If he had been a ―shaken reed‖ he would have bent with the winds of persecution and stopped preaching. If he had been shaken he would not have been in prison. John was doing the same thing Paul did when a question arose about the message he preached. Paul went humbly before the elders in Jerusalem and said, ―Am I getting this right?‖ That is not bending with the wind and rebelling against the truth. It is doubting your understanding of the truth. c 7:25 A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who are splendidly clothed and live in luxury are found in royal palaces! Jesus contrasted John with the finely-dressed, powerful people in the world. John‘s wardrobe consisted of leather and camel hair (Matthew 3:4). The poor had the gospel preached to them not because God favors poor people but to illustrate that displays of fleshly power like wealth and wardrobe do not attract the eyes of God. d 7:26 more than a prophet. Calvin points out that John alone got to point men to Jesus personally. John was not just a prophet, he was a specific fulfillment of a prophecy of Scripture. Like Peter said:
But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. 2 Peter 1:20-21

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In other words, John did not prophecy on his own initiative nor did those who spoke of him hundreds of years ahead of time speak on their own initiative. e 7:27 This is the one about whom it is written, ‗BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER AHEAD OF YOU, WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY BEFORE YOU.‘ This is the text from Malachi 3:1 that prophesied the coming of John 400 years before he was born. f 7:28 among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. Jesus knew true greatness when He saw it. g 7:29 When all the people and the tax collectors heard this, they acknowledged God's justice, having been baptized with the baptism of John. The phrase ―they acknowledged God‘s justice‖ probably means that the people mentioned said an audible or inaudible ―amen‖ to Jesus‘ words. It would be like saying in your heart, ―Whatever my God ordains is right.‖ h 7:30 But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God's purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John. Just as ―justifying God‖ was an issue of the heart, so was
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―To what then shall I compare the men of this generation, and what are they like ? They are like children who sit in the market place and call to one another, and they say, ‗We played the c 33 flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep .‘ For John the d 34 Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, 'He has a demon !' The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‗Behold, a gluttonous man and a e 35 a b drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners !‘ Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children .‖ rejecting Him. Look at the contrast Luke made here between the Pharisees and lawyers and the people and tax collectors. There is a reason why the prominent leaders in Israel were not baptized by John. John refused them:
So he began saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him, ―You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? ―Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‗We have Abraham for our father,‘ for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. Luke 3:7-8
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7:18-30 Have you ever questioned things you have long believed? If your answer is no, either you are lying or you do not do much thinking. Doubts are not good things, but they are part of being human. Luke is going back and forth between the attributes of Jesus and the qualities of those who have Him as their foundation. Jesus showed Himself powerful in the healing of the centurion‘s slave. The centurion showed complete confidence in the character of Jesus. Jesus showed Himself compassionate in raising the widow‘s son. John the Baptist‘s humble admission of weakness demonstrated that he was among the truly great. You should always be honest even when it makes you look weak. Here is how to demonstrate honest humility: 1. Do not fear what you will look like if you ask questions. This applies in a lot of settings, but particularly to questions about truth. 2. Take your doubts to Jesus. It seems like circular reasoning to go to the One you doubt to ask if you should be doubting Him. Do not do that with a politician. Do that with the creator of matter. One warning: be prepared to accept an authoritative answer even if it makes no sense in your judgment. As Puritan Thomas Watson said in his Body of Divinity:
In the deliverance of the church, it is limiting God, either to set him a time, or prescribe him a method for deliverance. God will deliver Sion, but he will be left to his own liberty; he will not be tied to a place, to a time, or to an instrument, which were to limit him, and then he should not be infinite. God will go his own way, he will pose and nonplus reason, he will save in such a way as we think would destroy. Now he acts like himself, like an infinite wonder-working God. (p. 55)

3. Refuse to measure your significance by worldly standards.
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7:31 To what then shall I compare the men of this generation, and what are they like? You cannot isolate this statement from the previous, where Luke said the leaders, ―rejected God's purpose for themselves.‖ The Lord was apparently responding to those who were disappointed by His performance and John‘s. Nothing could please them. c 7:32 They are like children who sit in the market place and call to one another, and they say, ‗We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.‘ This simile pokes fun at those who are like selfish children who insist on having games played their way or they will quit. Jesus and John were no fun for the religious leaders because the refused to play their game of religious externalism or accept the authority of their traditions. d 7:33 John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, 'He has a demon!' The specific trouble these ―children‖ had was that John and Jesus were not the kind of men they thought they should be. So they resorted to name-calling. Jesus was also charged with being a Samaritan and having a demon (John 8:48). e 7:34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‗Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!‘ Jesus was ―eating and drinking‖—that is—He did not openly fast twice in the week like those who took pride in
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Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the c 37 Pharisee's house and reclined at the table . And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee's house, she d 38 brought an alabaster vial of perfume , and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet e 39 and anointing them with the perfume . Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, f he said to himself , ―If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this g 40 woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner .‖ And Jesus answered him, ―Simon, I have

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appearance. Calvin says this means Jesus simply lived like most people lived. He was considered worldly by the fundamentalists among the Jews. a 7:35 Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children. This phrase has been translated a number of ways, but this one is good. Wisdom, the kind that brings people to salvation (2 Timothy 3:1415), produces something in her offspring that shows her for what she is. We have already been talking about children. Jesus is contrasting the children of ―this generation‖ with wisdom‘s children. The ―children‖ of that day made themselves and their prejudices the standard by which prophets should be judged. The children of wisdom embraced both Jesus and John because they spoke the truth, though through different personalities and methods. b 7:31-35 We learn here that methods do not change wicked hearts. John and Jesus were both confrontational with truth, but John lived more of an austere, isolated life and Jesus lived more among the crowds. Neither had an effective ministry by worldly standards because at the end of about three years each had only a handful of followers. Here is how you avoid being worthy of this kind of rebuke: 1. Seek pleasure in knowing that God‘s way of revealing Himself is always fresh. Most people did not feel good about the way John and Jesus carried on their ministries. This means that the work of God transcends personalities of church leaders, church music styles, methods of outreach and 2. Give up your preconceived ideas about the way you think God should behave toward you. God may violate your preferences when He does His work. Refuse the temptation to judge Him. 3. Fight the urge to try to please everyone as you serve. Some people will never be pleased whether your message is confrontational or relational because their hearts are not right with God.
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7:36 one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. Here Luke inserts an example of Jesus feasting instead of fasting. Jesus had many negative dealings with religious leaders like the Pharisees, but He did not shun them. He associated with them like He did other sinners. d 7:37 there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume. Matthew, Mark and Luke each record this event. Some have identified the woman as Mary Magdalene, who is mentioned at the start of chapter eight. There is no biblical evidence of this. The alabaster vial of perfume would have been the kind of treasure a prostitute might carry, although the text does not say specifically that this was her profession. e 7:38 standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. She was behind Jesus because He was reclining and likely leaning on His left arm facing the low table. This would have been the most likely place for a servant to enter and wash the feet of a reclining guest. f 7:39 he said to himself. You only get information like this accurately in the Bible. g 7:39 If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner. The judgmental person forms conclusions based on limited information and therefore misses a lot of important details. Simon assumed Jesus did not know the background of the sinful woman and he also assumed that Jesus would refuse to
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something to say to you.‖ And he replied, ―Say it, Teacher.‖ ―A moneylender had two debtors: a 42 one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty . When they were unable to repay, he b 43 graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more ?‖ Simon answered and said, ―I suppose the one whom he forgave more.‖ And He said to him, ―You have judged c 44 correctly .‖ Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, ―Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped d 45 them with her hair . You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to e 46 f 47 kiss My feet . You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume . For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but g 48 he who is forgiven little, loves little .‖ Then He said to her, ―Your sins have been 49 forgiven.‖ Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, ―Who is 50 this man who even forgives sins?‖ And He said to the woman, ―Your faith has saved you; go in h i peace .‖ associate with people like that. His main premises were not truthful so his conclusions were incorrect. Matthew and Mark also add that Simon criticized her actions as wasteful. a 7:41 A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Jesus used this illustration based on what He knew about what Simon was thinking. A denarius was the daily wage of a farm worker. For the sake of illustration we might say $50,000 and $5,000. b 7:42 When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more? This is not talking about some sterile unemotional love. Love is definitely a commitment but it produces a variety of emotions. The level of love is directly proportionate to the depth of the rescue. c 7:43 You have judged correctly. This is the way of conversation between a teacher and a student. The teacher says, ―Listen to this.‖ The student says, ―I‘m listening.‖ The teacher delivers the message and asks a question. The student responds. d 7:44 Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. Now the woman becomes the lesson. Was she embarrassed? Which student would you rather be at this point? Standing in the presence of Jesus it is better to be exposed and forgiven than exposed and proud. e 7:45 You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. This was socially unacceptable and only one of the two was willing to pay that price. f 7:46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. The Lord Jesus is so precious to those who realize the greatness of their rescue that they willingly give Him their best. Matthew and Mark both record Jesus saying that the woman was looking forward to Jesus‘ death. This fits the context of forgiveness. g 7:47 her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little. At a glance it appears that Jesus is developing a new salvation theology based on how much one loves. But this is about the greatest commandment. Genuine worship does not come from those who think they had a part in their salvation. This is why it is so important to point sinners to the greatness of God and then call to repentance all who fail to measure up. The second half of this phrase shows that the her love was a response to the forgiveness. Simon did not have that love. h 7:50 Your faith has saved you; go in peace. We are not told what kind of sinner she was but she knew she was the kind who needed salvation. Simon did not get this word. i 7:36-50 This text fleshes out the statement in verse 35 that Jesus is a friend of sinners. Jesus made the comparison, so we will as well. The hard question to ask here is: ―Which character in this story do you most resemble?‖ Simon 1. He gave when there was personal benefit. 2. He thought highly of himself. 3. He thought accusingly of Jesus. The Sinful Woman 1. She gave as a response to mercy. 2. She thought lowly of herself. 3. She thought lovingly of Jesus.
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8:1

Soon afterwards, He began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and a 2 preaching the kingdom of God . The twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been b healed of evil spirits and sicknesses : Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven c 3 d demons had gone out , and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward , and Susanna, and e f many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means . 4. He kept Jesus at a safe distance. 5. He gave sparingly to Jesus. 6. He was unforgiven.
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4. She drew awkwardly near to Jesus. 5. She gave freely to Jesus. 6. She was forgiven.

8:1 Soon afterwards, He began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. What does it mean that Jesus was ―preaching the kingdom of God?‖ Some make a distinction between this message and the gospel itself. There is no need. In Luke 4:43 Jesus said He was sent here to preach the kingdom. This does not diminish the message of the cross because that is His means of taking over. b 8:1-2 The twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses. The most devoted followers of Jesus were a fellowship of the weak. The powerful people like Paul who followed Jesus had to be broken before they could become useful. c 8:2 Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out. We have already seen Jesus‘ power over demons in Luke‘s gospel. Harmonizing the gospels, we see Mary Magdalene appearing at key moments in Jesus‘ ministry: here at her introduction, standing with others at the cross, watching to see where the Lord‘s body was placed, as the first witness to the resurrected Christ and reporting the news to the disciples. d 8:3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward. We know nothing more of her husband Chuza other than his place of employment, but Joanna is also mentioned as one of the women who went to the tomb of Jesus. Joanna may have been one of the healed, according to verse 2. e 8:3 Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means. Susanna and ―many others‖ paid the freight for the support of Jesus and the Twelve while they devoted themselves to the ministry of the word. The word ―contributing‖ comes from the source of our word ―ministering‖ or ―deaconing.‖ They had a similar ministry to what the woman of Shunem had with Elisha (2 Kings 4:8-10). f 8:1-3 Once again Luke narrates an event that demonstrates the way the Lord Jesus attracted those who had nothing to give and everything to gain from the relationship. The previous text moved us to pity the grateful Mary Magdalene. It showed us in that text that the powerful man was unforgiven and the vulnerable woman was forgiven. This text introduces other women who wanted to give and serve because of what the Lord had done for them. What does this tell us about the Lord? His kingdom is not bound by geography, ethnicity or gender. He attracts the weak and overlooked because they find their strength and identity entirely in Him. All you have to do is look up women like Miriam, Priscilla, Lydia or Phoebe in your concordance to read of strong women God used. But they did not have to act like men to be valuable in God‘s kingdom. The vital place of women in the church is necessary to point out because some think that the distinct roles of men and women somehow give women a back seat in ministry. That is like thinking you can run an army without enlisted soldiers. John Piper offers two working biblical definitions of masculinity and femininity in the book he co-authored with Wayne Grudem. He argues that the Bible teaches very distinct, complementary roles for men and women in the home and in the church:
AT THE HEART OF MATURE MASCULINITY IS A SENSE OF BENEVOLENT RESPONSIBILITY TO LEAD, PROVIDE FOR AND PROTECT WOMEN IN WAYS APPROPRIATE TO A MAN‘S DIFFERING RELATIONSHIPS. AT THE HEART OF MATURE FEMININITY IS A FREEING DISPOSITION TO AFFIRM, RECEIVE AND NURTURE STRENGTH AND LEADERSHIP FROM WORTHY MEN IN WAYS APPROPRIATE TO A WOMAN‘S DIFFERING RELATIONSHIPS. Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, p. 29 The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying a 5 to Him, He spoke by way of a parable : ―The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, b 6 some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up . Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no c 7 moisture . Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it d 8 out . Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as e f great .‖ As He said these things, He would call out, ―He who has ears to hear, let him hear .‖ 9 g 10 His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant . And He said, ―To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, h so that SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND . It is no glory to Christ to take something that already had an inherent beauty or purity and make it a little better. What makes Him appear so glorious is to see the way He purchased His bride while she was in her uncleanness and transformed her. Here is the way you respond—male or female—as one who finds your strength and identity in the Lord Jesus: 1. You see God‘s kingdom as a cause that is much more valuable than your comfort. 2. You see the immense contradiction of power plays in the church. 3. You show generosity and hospitality as a response to your rescue.
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8:4 When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable. The people had heard about the miracles of Jesus and doubtless came to either see one or receive one. He certainly was compassionate to those in need but getting the kingdom message required teaching more than it required miracles. He spoke a parable as a teaching tool, evidently allowing the story itself to soak in without any explanation. b 8:5 The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. This is a reference to broadcasting seeds rather than drilling them. Some seeds very naturally land where they will be eaten or destroyed. c 8:6 Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. Rocks and poor soil where no water is absorbed cannot sustain germinated seeds. d 8:7 Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. Some seeds grow but cannot survive the competition for food and water. e 8:8 Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great. A wheat plant that produced one hundred seeds would have been an abundant harvest. f 8:8 As He said these things, He would call out, ―He who has ears to hear, let him hear.‖ The verb translated ―He would call out‖ is in the imperfect tense. This past continuing action means that Jesus said this more than once. He was like the farmer scattering seeds and periodically calling out, ―Do you understand what I am saying? Do you understand what I am saying?‖ g 8:9 His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant. Evidently only a few wanted to pursue the meaning of the parable. This is usually the way it is when the gospel is preached. Only a few in each crowd has hungry ears. h 8:10 To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND. Notice the contrast between the two audiences: ―you‖ and ―the rest.‖ Jesus was quoting Isaiah:
Render the hearts of this people insensitive, their ears dull, and their eyes dim, otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and return and be healed. Isaiah 6:10

The mysteries of the kingdom are not ―mysterious‖ by our definition of the word. In Scripture mysteries are things revealed by God that we otherwise could not know. Lest anyone be tempted to question God‘s fairness at these words, John Calvin illustrates man‘s guilt this way:
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"Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God . Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will b 13 not believe and be saved . Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall c 14 away . The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no d 15 fruit to maturity . But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in e f an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance .

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When persons of a weak sight come out into sunshine, their eyes become dimmer than before, and that defect is in no way attributed to the sun, but to their eyes. In like manner, when the word of God blinds and hardens the reprobate, as this takes place through their own depravity, it belongs truly and naturally to themselves, but is accidental, as respects the word. (Calvin’s Commentary)
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8:11 the seed is the word of God. So God‘s word will be broadcast to places where it will not be accepted. b 8:12 Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. This says that the word went into their hearts—that is, the message was more than white noise to them. The problem was not that the hearers did not comprehend the word. The problem was that they did not consider it relevant. There are times when there is a deafening Satanic influence on the affections of people who hear God‘s word. c 8:13 Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. Do not make the parable say more than it was intended to say. Some people readily profess faith in the gospel but it does not last long. d 8:14 The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. Some people male a good show of it and then demonstrate that worldly concerns mean more than God‘s concerns. The harvest is the goal of the planting. e 8:15 But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance. The biblical doctrine of Perseverance does not teach that regenerated people are sinless, but it does teach that they do continue in the faith and produce fruit. An ―honest and good heart‖ is not something an unbeliever has, but it is something that God grants (see Lydia in Acts 16:14). f 8:4-15 Not everyone was granted ears to understand the message Jesus gave. There are far fewer among the ―whosever wills‖ than there are among the ―whosever won‘ts.‖ Our task is not to figure out which is which. Our task is to plant seeds. It is interesting to observe that the greatest enemies of our souls—the world, the flesh and the devil—are shown in this text to be what gets in the way of hearing from God. The devil steals seeds, fleshly desires keep the seeds from getting proper nourishment and worldly concerns crowd out the plants. There is no command to ―be good soil‖ here, only a statement of fact about human hearts. But upon closer examination you can see that this text really does come with serious warnings about listening. Here are some reasons to take God‘s word very seriously: 1. You have been given an opportunity to hear from God. Refuse to allow yourself to ignore His voice. Satan will do all he can to drown it out, but you can never honestly say you had no chance. Psalm 19 says that God has revealed Himself in every corner of creation. Romans 1:20 says that leaves you without excuse. 2. God‘s word is relevant whether or not you think it is. Fleshly desires take away your appetite for truth, but bad appetites say more about you than the message. You do not have to make the Bible relevant. Take the message seriously. 3. The kind of ―soil‖ that is your heart will eventually reveal itself. ―Worries and riches and pleasures of the life‖ really do keep people from heaven. The best pleasures that earth gives compete with the Bible. Respond now.
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―Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but a 17 he puts it on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light . For nothing is hidden b 18 that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light . So take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not c have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him .‖ 19 And His mother and brothers came to Him, and they were unable to get to Him because of d 20 the crowd . And it was reported to Him, ―Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside,

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8:16 no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but he puts it on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light. Light is a metaphor all through the Scriptures. It has stood for all that is true from the time God created it (Genesis 1:3-4) to the incarnation of Messiah (John 1:4-5). It pictures the opportunity to experience transformation (John 12:35-36) as well as the fellowship of those who have been transformed (1 John 1:5-7) This illustration is similar to the one Jesus gave in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1416), but with a different emphasis. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said:
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

Here in Luke Jesus is talking about the message itself rather than the people who have been changed by the message. A. T. Robertson quips (Word Pictures in the New Testament) that this parable ―throws light on the parable of the sower.‖ b 8:17 nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light. The word translated is ―hidden‖ is the source of our word ―crypt‖ or ―encryption.‖ I don‘t think the Lord had coffins or electronic security in mind, but the modern uses illustrate that there are some things we want to keep others from seeing. There is a double negative here. Rather than simply saying, ―Everything will become evident,‖ the language here reinforces the reality that there is no way any secret will escape the light of God‘s kingdom rule. The word of God reveals what is inside us (Hebrews 4:12). Paul described the effects on an unbeliever entering an assembly where a clear message from God is preached:
the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you. 1 Corinthians 14:25

When you connect this with the parable of the sower it becomes clear that Jesus is saying what you are will eventually become known. God‘s word has a way of shining light into our darkest corners of sinful thinking and behavior. c 8:18 So take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him. J.C. Ryle points out that for most of history people relied on oral teaching. You have to listen carefully if you cannot read. While we are very proud of our literacy, we should take this warning very seriously. He uses visual and audio words here, literally saying ―See how you hear.‖ Notice that Jesus says that the something some people ―think‖ they have will be taken away. It‘s like someone saying, ―All hope of getting my candidiate into office is gone now that I have learned of his death last year.‖ The person only had a subjective hope for his candidate, but the election was never a possibility. Comparing this to the parable of the seed, some willingly stay in the darkness and have snatched away what little light they had. d 8:19 His mother and brothers came to Him, and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd. Another time when something similar happened, Jesus‘ family apparently thought His hectic schedule had become dangerous and tried to take Him into custody (Mark 3:21). Jesus‘ family may have been very doubtful at this point, although their support came and went (John 2:12; 7:5).
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wishing to see You .‖ But He answered and said to them, ―My mother and My brothers are b c these who hear the word of God and do it .‖ 22 Now on one of those days Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, ―Let d 23 us go over to the other side of the lake.‖ So they launched out . But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake, and they began to be swamped e 24 and to be in danger . They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, ―Master, Master, we are f perishing !‖ And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it
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8:20 it was reported to Him, ―Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You.‖ Because of the crowd, Mary and her other sons (or possibly extended family) had to communicate their desire to see Him through someone else. It was as if Mary said, ―If you see my Son, tell Him I want to speak with Him.‖ b 8:21 He answered and said to them, ―My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.‖ This was not an attack on His family. It was a reinforcement of His call to listen to the word. Jesus said in John 15:14: ―You are My friends if you do what I command you.‖ c 8:16-21 What would you think of a parent with two children, each having a piece of candy, who took the candy from one child and gave it to the other? That sounds like cruel parenting, right? But you think that based on the information you have. What if you knew that each time the ―wronged‖ child received candy he threw it on the ground and refused to thank the one who gave it to him? Does that help you understand the actions of the parent? Jesus appears to exhibit a harshness in a couple of places in this text that makes the reader read more closely. Rather than an attack on His family or a slam on people those who have no chance to believe, this text exposes our rebellious refusal to listen that makes us all worthy of judgment. There are two primary applications of this text that show us how to respond to God‘s word: 1. It is powerful, so you need to pay attention to it. J.C. Ryle urges faith, reverence and prayer be our three companions every Sunday morning, as opposed to rushing into God‘s presence ―careless, reckless and unprepared.‖ 2. It connects you with others who live by it, so you need to fellowship with the company of other learners. We are family. We share a family resemblance in our name as well as our appetites as well as our activity.
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8:22 Now on one of those days Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, ―Let us go over to the other side of the lake.‖ So they launched out. Mark (4:34) places this event the evening of the day Jesus gave the parable of the sower and tells us that there were other boats in the fleet (4:36). Luke uses the verb here translated ―launched out‖ eighteen times in Acts, usually referring to a boat putting out to sea (cp. Acts 13:13; 16:11). e 8:23 But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger. Matthew (8:24), Mark (on a pillow, 4:38) and Luke all record the detail that Jesus was sleeping. Certainly a sleeping Savior makes the spiritual lesson of this story more profound, but what else does it communicate? Simple lesson: Jesus was tired. Does that surprise you? This is not some superhuman Roman deity come down from Mt. Olympus to strut His stuff. This is the Creator humbled to the point of fatigue so extreme that He can sleep through a storm in the bottom of a 20-foot skiff. The reason the wind descended on the lake (more detail from Doctor/sailor Luke) is that cold, dense ―katabatic‖ winds from surrounding mountains (like 9000 foot Hermon forty miles to the northeast) regularly plunge into Galilee (over 600 feet below sea level) on summer nights, sometimes with violent force. Luke tells is the boat was ―swamped‖ and Matthew and Mark agree. f 8:24 They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, ―Master, Master, we are perishing!‖ The storm did not awaken Him, but the disciples did. Matthew adds that the disciples said ―Save us‖ and Mark records that the disciples questioned if Jesus cared that they were perishing.
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became calm . And He said to them, ―Where is your faith ?‖ They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, ―Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and c d they obey Him ?‖
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8:24 He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. There are radical opposites in this boat between One so fully human that He would sleep during a storm at sea and One so fully divine that He could calm the storm with a word. The contrast is that much more dramatic knowing that these extremes dwell in the same person. b 8:25 He said to them, ―Where is your faith?‖ The issue of fairness might easily come up here. Jesus is the one Who gave the orders to get into the boat. He ―got them into this.‖ Is it not perfectly understandable to be afraid when you are aboard a sinking ship? This is like the text in Exodus 32 where Moses argues with God over which of them led Israel into the wilderness. But the real issue here is the matter of faith. What did they do wrong? There are two matters at hand that demonstrated their lack of faith: forgetting what Jesus said and forgetting His presence. J.C. Ryle describes how getting caught up in our senses makes us forget what really matters:
They forgot everything but the sight and sense of present danger, and, under the impression of it, could not even wait until Christ awoke. It is only too true that sight, and sense, and feeling, make men very poor theologians.

What did Jesus say when they got into the boat? Just like God told Israel He had brought them out of Egypt to bring them into the promised land (Deuteronomy 6:23), Jesus said, ―Let us go over to the other side of the lake.‖ c 8:25 They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, ―Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?‖ The men were ―fearful and amazed.‖ This is a right response to God‘s power. ―Who then is this?‖ is the most important question to ask about Jesus. If He is a mere man who has learned to fool mother nature, His calming of the water is meaningful only for discussion of human potential. If He is the Maker of water and, hence, its master, this miracle calls all who observe to their knees. d 8:22-25 Does God change when your circumstances change? The Sunday School answer is ―no,‖ but how does your heart answer in the middle of hard times? Circumstances often do change our theology. It‘s almost as if we think God is good when the sun is shining and uncaring when there is a storm. So in this narrative Jesus was a great preacher and revealer of truth during the day but not so caring when a storm threatened to sink the boat (a boat He happened to be riding in). Was it the design of the Master to send His faithful servants into such fearful circumstances? Was this random or was it purposeful? Consider other times Jesus put the disciples into fearful situations:  John tells of a storm the disciples experienced when Jesus was not in the boat and came walking on the water to rescue them.  He took them places where the mobs became violent.  He brought them—and sent them—to people controlled by demons. Jesus scolded the disciples for their unbelief because the storm made them forget Who ordered them into the boat and actually got into the boat with them. What faith produces in those who have it: 1. When you believe God has a better plan than you, you will obey. If you believe the world revolves around you then every difficulty becomes the enemy. If your purpose is to glorify the Sovereign One then any difficulty becomes His means to make you useful in the big picture. Faith brings obedience. 2. When you believe God has a very delightful end in mind, you will see beyond immediate crises. This does not mean you will experience no fear. It means your attitude toward God in fearful times will be one of trust instead of accusation.
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Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee . And when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with b demons ; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but c 28 in the tombs . Seeing Jesus, he cried out and fell before Him, and said in a loud voice, ―What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not d 29 e torment me .‖ For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man . For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and

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When you believe God does everything good, you will stand in awe of things worthy of awe. In other words, your delighted response to His works brings Him glory. That‘s why in Scripture people celebrated even after His violent judgments. When you believe the Scripture, you will see Jesus as He is instead of as He appears. Things are not always what they seem to be. It looked like Jesus was doing nothing. In reality He was very active getting His disciples to the best vantage point to see Him as He is. Rather than despairing and feeling sorry for yourself you can paraphrase Romans 8:29 and say, ―God actively bringing Himself glory today by making me like His Son.‖

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8:26 Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. The waters of Galilee had become the road that took Jesus on His ministry circuit. This time the field of service was on the east side of the lake. This area was also known as Gadara and Gergasa. The commonly accepted location of this event is the modern city of Kursi, a prominent fishing village in ancient times. Matthew 8:28 (NASB) says ―Gadarenes‖ instead of ―Gerasenes.‖ There is no error here. Gerasa and Gadara are both historic locations in the same region, known by different names through the years. You might similarly call a Norwegian, a Swede or a Dane ―Scandinavian‖ without contradiction. b 8:27 when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons. Matthew (8:28) says there were actually two demon-possessed men. Mark and Luke mention only one, but this is like reading three different news accounts of an event involving a number of people. Some of the stories look at a bigger picture while others focus on the most prominent person or segment of the story. Remember that Matthew and Luke focused on Jesus‘ boat in the previous passage while Mark backed up the camera and showed us there were other boats as well. The welcoming committee of Gerasa was not a group of smiling young people with fruit and flowers but two screaming, naked maniacs. The disciples may have been saying to themselves He had to choose this spot to land. We picture demon possession as the simple habitation of a fallen angel within a person‘s body. It is more than that. c 8:27 who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs. You learn about the behavior of some people who are demon-possessed from this one statement:  They care little for natural modesty.  They are anti-social.  They have a preoccupation with death. d 8:28 Seeing Jesus, he cried out and fell before Him, and said in a loud voice, ―What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me.‖ Demons are personal beings, not impersonal vices like liquor or lust. They reason and feel and make choices. They recognize Jesus because He created them. They also know the Scripture well enough to understand that their destiny is destruction. e 8:29 For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. The presence of Jesus meant that the demons had to encounter someone of great authority who could command them to leave.
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yet he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert . And Jesus asked b 31 him, ―What is your name?‖ And he said, ―Legion‖; for many demons had entered him . They c were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss . 32 Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain; and the demons d 33 implored Him to permit them to enter the swine. And He gave them permission . And the demons came out of the man and entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank e into the lake and was drowned . 34 When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they ran away and reported it in the city and 35 out in the country. The people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, f 36 clothed and in his right mind; and they became frightened . Those who had seen it reported to g 37 them how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well . And all the people of the country of the Gerasenes and the surrounding district asked Him to leave them, for they were h 38 gripped with great fear; and He got into a boat and returned . But the man from whom the demons had gone out was begging Him that he might accompany Him; but He sent him away, 39 saying, ―Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you.‖ So he i j went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him .
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8:29 it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and yet he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert. Another mark of demon possession can be extraordinary strength. Notice once again that the demon isolated the man from other people when given opportunity. b 8:30 Jesus asked him, ―What is your name?‖ And he said, ―Legion‖; for many demons had entered him. A Roman legion was a contingent of soldiers numbering anywhere from hundreds to thousands. c 8:31 They were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss. The word ―abyss‖ is used in the New Testament to refer to the abode of the dead (Romans 10:7) as well as a place of detention for evil spirits (Revelation 9:1-2, 11:17; 17:8; 20:1, 3). The fallen angels knew their Creator had authority to expel them from the physical earth. d 8:32 the demons implored Him to permit them to enter the swine. And He gave them permission. At least some demons must crave embodiment. e 8:33 the demons came out of the man and entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. This shows that even demon-possessed humans maintain some personhood and ability to resist the destruction and death that demons seek. Animals have no such restraint. f 8:35 The people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they became frightened. The presence of true power is frightful. g 8:36 Those who had seen it reported to them how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well. Some thought the story was the pigs destroyed but others saw that a man had been rescued. h 8:37 all the people of the country of the Gerasenes and the surrounding district asked Him to leave them, for they were gripped with great fear; and He got into a boat and returned. Why would anyone ask Jesus to leave them? While Jesus may have been perceived as bad for the local pork producers, Luke tells us He made the people afraid. Remember that Peter felt unworthy of Jesus‘ presence and asked the Lord to leave (Luke 5:8). i 8:39 ―Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you.‖ So he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him. Jesus told the man that his place of ministry was to be at home. The best witness to the power of God is a changed life. j 8:26-39 Believers with ―a past‖ should remain humble about their past sinfulness. Staying away from the extremes of glorying in the disgusting details or pretending there were none, God is glorified when He receives credit for the changes He brings. This man would now have no shame saying, ―I am the man you remember as the demoniac of Gerasa.‖ He could say that because he was that no longer. Paul reminded the Corinthians that
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And as Jesus returned, the people welcomed Him, for they had all been waiting for a 41 Him . And there came a man named Jairus, and he was an official of the synagogue; and he fell b 42 at Jesus' feet, and began to implore Him to come to his house ; for he had an only daughter, c about twelve years old, and she was dying . But as He went, the crowds were pressing against Him. 43 And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by 44 anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her d 45 hemorrhage stopped. And Jesus said, ―Who is the one who touched Me?‖ And while they were

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they were formerly something else (1 Corinthians 6:11). Is your life a testimony of the power of God? Here are the ways you advertise that your Redeemer is mighty: 1. Learn to elevate Christ in everything you do. This means that you learn to recognize that there is no relationship or moment or object outside the scope of His rule (Colossians 1:18). It means you actually talk about His greatness outside of church like Jesus told the man to do. 2. Refuse to be ashamed of the gospel. A transformed (as opposed to rearranged) life is a clear witness to the resurrection of Christ (Romans 1:16). Jesus commanded the man to ―describe‖ the change. 3. Seek to be a servant where you are. Where can you see that power? Your most effective place of service is most likely where you are right now. Content yourself that the sovereign God did more than allow you to be where you are. He sent you there.
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8:40 as Jesus returned, the people welcomed Him, for they had all been waiting for Him. Jesus returned to Capernaum after the incident with the legion of demons on the other side of the lake. Matthew says that Jesus had just told the people that you cannot put new wine in old wineskins. The people missed Him. It is possible that this was the morning after the storm and the encounter with the demoniacs. He had only been gone a few hours and crowds in Capernaum were getting nervous. They were used to His presence and His resolutions of their ills. They had not only heard of the works of Jesus, they had seen the works of Jesus. Here it was that Peter‘s mother-in-law was healed, where a miraculous catch of fish was witnessed, where a man with a withered hand was healed, where a paralytic let into Peter‘s house through the roof was both forgiven and healed, where a demon was driven out of a man in the synagogue and where the centurion‘s servant was healed. Now new people were coming to town. Jesus repeatedly demonstrated His kingdom rule over the natural and supernatural world in Capernaum. Now things were looking like a sin-cursed world again. Like Mary and Martha, some of the people must have been thinking, If Jesus had only been here… b 8:41 there came a man named Jairus, and he was an official of the synagogue; and he fell at Jesus' feet, and began to implore Him to come to his house. Jairus would have been on very familiar terms with Jesus because Jesus had taught so often in the synagogue where Jairus served as an elder. Here is a dignified man behaving in an undignified manner because he had no hope other than Jesus. c 8:42 he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. Compare this to Luke 7:12 where the dead boy Jesus raised was ―the only son of his mother.‖ The grief at losing a child is multiplied when you have only one. Luke says the girl was dying. Mark records that the father said, ―My little daughter is at the point of death.‖ Matthew (9:18) records: ―My daughter has just died; but come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live.‖ There is little difference between ―at the point of death‖ and ―dead,‖ particularly in the absence of medical instruments. d 8:43-44 a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. Mark (5:26) tells us that this woman had ―endured much‖ from physicians and had spent all her money in hope of a cure. Cultural historian Alfred Edersheim says that some of the treatments for a malady such as this woman had would have been ―the ashes of an
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all denying it, Peter said, ―Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You .‖ But Jesus b 47 said, ―Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me .‖ When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she c 48 had been immediately healed . And He said to her, ―Daughter, your faith has made you well; go d in peace .‖ Ostrich-Egg, carried in summer in a linen, in winter in a cotton rag; or a barley-corn found in the dung of a white she-ass.‖ This is a brief glimpse at the kind of clothing Jesus wore. The ―fringe of His cloak‖ is likely a reference to the tassels strict Jewish men in obedience to Numbers 15:38-41 (also Deuteronomy 22:12):
Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot, so that you may remember to do all My commandments and be holy to your God. I am the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt to be your God; I am the LORD your God.

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Understand that aside from the physical weakness of such a condition, Leviticus 15:25-30 says that the woman would have been ceremonially unclean and unable to participate in worship at the temple in Jerusalem until the condition cleared up. Not wanting to physically contact Jesus, she reasoned in faith that touching the tassel on the corner of His garment would bring her into contact with His power. Warren Wiersbe points out the great contrast between Jairus and the woman. He was a leader among the Jews; she, anonymous. He was a synagogue official; she, ceremonially unclean. He was pleading for his daughter; she, for herself. His daughter had been healthy for 12 years; she, sick for 12. He had a public need; she, a private one. But both knew where their help came from. a 8:45 Jesus said, ―Who is the one who touched Me?‖ And while they were all denying it, Peter said, ―Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You.‖ The people may have thought Jesus was annoyed at being touched. Peter, never one to worry too much about his words, pointed out that nearly everyone was touching Him. b 8:46 I was aware that power had gone out of Me. Jesus clarified His question. This touch was the touch of one reaching out in despair to Him as her only hope of healing. This was a touch of faith and ―it worked.‖ He worked. c 8:47 When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed. The explanation she was forced to give shone the light on the power of Messiah. d 8:48 Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace. Remember that the real story here is not the woman‘s faith but where she placed it. The same amount of faith reaching out to Peter would have left her in her illness. How can one person sit at a conference or a Bible study or a church service and be abundantly energized and blessed while another can‘t wait to get home and eat? A whole bunch of folks touched Jesus that day, but only this one was healed. Jesus did not say, ―Daughter, your touch has healed you,‖ but ―your faith has healed you.‖ According to Hebrews 11:6, ―without faith it impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.‖ Faith can be trusting God to reward your obedience because you know He always keeps His word. Faith can also be trusting God to do a merciful act because you know He always acts according to His character. This latter type of faith is what the woman exhibited. It is a matter of faith that some say with the Emmaus disciples, ―Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?‖ while others say, ―What‘s for lunch?‖ God rewards those who earnestly seek Him. That is why this humble woman was blessed in a way no one else was.
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While He was still speaking, someone came from the house of the synagogue official, a 50 saying, ―Your daughter has died; do not trouble the Teacher anymore .‖ But when Jesus heard this, He answered him, ―Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made b 51 well .‖ When He came to the house, He did not allow anyone to enter with Him, except Peter c 52 and John and James, and the girl's father and mother . Now they were all weeping d 53 and lamenting for her; but He said, ―Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep .‖ And 54 they began laughing at Him, knowing that she had died. He, however, took her by the hand and e 55 called, saying, ―Child, arise !‖ And her spirit returned, and she got up immediately; and He gave f 56 orders for something to be given her to eat . Her parents were amazed; but He instructed them g h to tell no one what had happened .
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8:49 While He was still speaking, someone came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, ―Your daughter has died; do not trouble the Teacher anymore.‖ Think about the urgency of this situation and how you would take an interruption like that of Jesus talking to the sick woman. We say, ―What a horrible time for a traffic jam‖ when the timing could not have been better orchestrated by our sovereign God. b 8:50 Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well. Jesus did not give Jairus time to fret. He comforted him with words so applicable to any turmoil of life. Jairus was being asked to believe what Jesus said against very grim prospects. The woman believed not in His word but His character. Despite all the differences in Jairus and the woman, they found common ground by faith in Christ. c 8:51 He did not allow anyone to enter with Him, except Peter and John and James, and the girl's father and mother. The so-called ―inner-three‖ disciples witnessed more things than the other nine. Jesus was unveiling His character to those He wanted to see it. He was not interested in becoming a circus sideshow. d 8:52 they were all weeping and lamenting for her; but He said, ―Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep.‖ Remember this is the description Jesus gave of Lazarus to describe his death (John 11:11). e 8:53-54 they began laughing at Him, knowing that she had died. He, however, took her by the hand and called, saying, ―Child, arise!‖ People laugh at odd times. Maybe this was nervous laughter or even angry laughter. Either way the people scoffed at what they considered an obvious error on Jesus‘ part. You do that too. Dr. G. Campbell Morgan, a capable Bible teacher in England early in the twentieth century, commented in his later years on this text of Scripture:
I can hardly speak of this matter without becoming personal and reminiscent, remembering a time forty years ago when my own first lassie lay at the point of death, dying. I called for Him then, and he came, and surely said to our troubled hearts, ―Fear not, believe only.‖ He did not say, ―She shall be made whole.‖ She was not made whole, on the earthly plane; she passed away into the life beyond. But He did say to her, ―Talitha cumi,‖ i.e., ―Little lamb, arise.‖ But in her case that did not mean, ―Stay on the earth level‖; it meant that He needed her, and He took her to be with Himself. She has been with Him all these years, as we measure time here, and I have missed her every day. But His word, ―Believe only,‖ has been the strength of all the passing years.
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8:55 her spirit returned, and she got up immediately; and He gave orders for something to be given her to eat. Eating would be proof positive that she was not only alive but well. g 8:56 Her parents were amazed; but He instructed them to tell no one what had happened. Again, Jesus was interested in showing Himself to these specific people at this time, not everyone. h 8:40-56 Take note that in this passage Jesus was met by two desperate people, two people had no other options. Neither thought it beneath their dignity to fall at Jesus‘ feet (one when he begged and the other when she worshipped). In this brief section of Luke you see that Jesus‘ timetable is very different than the people around Him. He returned to Capernaum after ministering on and beyond the lake. The people would have had Him stay. The father would have never wished for his daughter to become sick after twelve years of health. The woman would never have asked to be ill for twelve years. But the ruler of the universe had this all mapped out. Here is why God‘s timing is far superior to yours:
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And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and a 2 to heal diseases . And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform b 3 healing . And He said to them, ―Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor c 4 bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece . Whatever house you enter, stay 5 there until you leave that city. And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that

1. When you are looking for ways to be made comfortable, He is finding ways to make you useful. Consider all the uncomfortable situations Jesus put the disciples in: stormy seas, demon-possessed madmen and crowds of people begging for help (and more to come by Luke‘s record). For instance, you assume that after a hard day, unruly children and a crabby spouse are in your way. In truth they are an opportunity from God to serve, change and grow. 2. When you most crave relief He most desires His own glory. There was nothing wrong with the father wanting Jesus to heal his little girl and nothing wrong with the woman wanting a release from her sickness. But we should remember that the end Jesus had in mind was much bigger than the healing He brought. He wished to show Himself to the people and sometimes He does that in ways other than giving you relief. 3. When you think all hope is lost He actively does His most awesome work. Death is a barrier very few people ever pass and come back to tell the story. Medicine is a wonderful gift from God, but frequently medical options reach an end. Then what? God is glorified in weakness because it is then He shows Himself most glorious (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
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9:1 He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. This power and authority were not given as a formula or incantation that we should expect to use (―in Jesus name…‖) nor were they apparently permanent. There is no commission to the church as whole to perform such signs and wonders. These apostolic gifts were only available from Jesus. b 9:2 He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing. This commission was a preparation for what would one day come after Jesus ascended. This was not a different kingdom than the one we proclaim. Certainly the content of the message has changed since Jesus died and rose from the dead, but the human struggle has always been one of lordship. The word ―proclaim‖ is the common New Testament word for preaching. It meant ―to herald,‖ as the messenger of a king would cry out important messages on behalf of his master. This was a two-part charge: proclaiming the message and performing miracles. Healing was a confirmation that Jesus had sent them, but the primary task of these men was heralding the message of the kingdom. c 9:3 Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece. This would have been hard to think about. We very naturally run to the what-if’s of such a charge. What happens if my staff breaks? (see Mark 6:8 to see that Jesus was talking about hunting up a spare staff). How will I carry all the things I need? What about lunch? The challenge to the apostles was to head into their journey quickly without backup supplies, trusting that if the Master who sent them could work miracles He could also provide daily necessities. This is not a commission to us, but it is a lesson to us.
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city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them .‖ Departing, they began going b throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere . 7 c Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was happening; and he was greatly perplexed , 8 because it was said by some that John had risen from the dead, and by some that Elijah had d 9 appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of old had risen again . Herod said, ―I myself had John beheaded; but who is this man about whom I hear such things?‖ And he kept trying to e see Him . 10 f When the apostles returned, they gave an account to Him of all that they had done . Taking g 11 them with Him, He withdrew by Himself to a city called Bethsaida . But the crowds were aware of this and followed Him; and welcoming them, He began speaking to them about the kingdom of h a God and curing those who had need of healing .
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9:4-5 Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that city. And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them. There were few inns available in first century Palestine, with the possible exception of brothels. The law of Moses called the people of Israel to show hospitality to strangers (Genesis 18:1-8; Leviticus 19:33-34; Deuteronomy 10:18-19). In the kind of world where travelers had few safe options at night, hospitality became that much more important. In The shaking off of dust would testify that God holds unbelievers accountable for refusing the gospel. The people who refuse to respond to the gospel cannot say they never heard. b 9:6 Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. Note the precision obedience of the men. They did exactly what they were told to do. c 9:7 Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was happening; and he was greatly perplexed. This is Herod Antipas, grandson of Herod the Great (birth of Christ). This Herod had been manipulated by his niece/wife into executing John the Baptist (see Matthew 14:1-12). Luke is the only biblical writer who uses the word translated ―perplexed‖ here. It is used in Acts 2:12 of the way people responded to the tongues spoken on Pentecost, in Acts 5:24 of the reaction of the religious leaders to news that the apostles had vanished from prison and in Acts 10:17 of Peter‘s puzzlement at seeing the vision of a sheet full of unclean animals let down from the sky. All four uses follow supernatural events. d 9:7-8 it was said by some that John had risen from the dead, and by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of old had risen again. This might have been quite a spectacle had the rumors been true, but there was something greater going on that most people missed. e 9:9 Herod said, ―I myself had John beheaded; but who is this man about whom I hear such things?‖ And he kept trying to see Him. Do you notice all the places in this section of Luke this question of Herod is being asked? There could be no more important question to answer correctly. Even demons knew the answer to the question that many of the elite in our day cannot answer. Examples: John the Baptist sent messengers to ask it (Luke 7:20). The other guests of Simon the Pharisee asked it when Jesus pronounced forgiveness to the sinful woman, (Luke 7:49). The disciples asked it when He calmed the storm (Luke 8:25). Here Herod‘s curiosity was apparently more for a show than for the hope of eternal life. When Herod finally met Jesus (Luke 23:1-12) he mocked the Lord by having Him clothed in a royal robe before sending Him back to Pilate. f 9:10 When the apostles returned, they gave an account to Him of all that they had done. Just as the author of Hebrews (13:17) says that elders will render an account of their shepherding, Jesus required an earthly accounting of His short-term ministers. g 9:10 Taking them with Him, He withdrew by Himself to a city called Bethsaida. Bethsaida was located on the northeast shore of Galilee. It is the hometown of Philip, Peter and Andrew (evidently before they moved to Capernaum, John 1:44; 12:21). h 9:11 the crowds were aware of this and followed Him; and welcoming them, He began speaking to them about the kingdom of God and curing those who had need of healing. Notice that Jesus did precisely what he told the disciples to do and He did it cheerfully.
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Now the day was ending, and the twelve came and said to Him, ―Send the crowd away, that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside and find lodging and get something to b 13 eat; for here we are in a desolate place .‖ But He said to them, ―You give them something to eat!‖ And they said, ―We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless perhaps we go and c 14 a buy food for all these people .‖ (For there were about five thousand men .) And He said to His
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9:1-11 Many people live very dissatisfied lives because things are not turning out for them as they had hoped. There career is not what they envisioned. Marriage either eludes them or smothers them. Money is short. Relationships are stormy. Some people become very discontent with the way God is performing because they think they have the right to these blessings. But wherever the kingdom of God has gone it has done two things: relieved human suffering and brought people into submission to the One who decides when to send human suffering and when to take away. So the real question is not about how your god is performing for you but about whether or not you trust the true God. What does it look like to trust God? This kind of trust shows up… 1. When His people do what He says. You do this even when His commands do not make sense. 2. When His people refuse to be ashamed at His message. See Romans 1:16. 3. When His people trust Him to provide necessities for living. If you tell someone that Jesus can save them and turn them into a different person do you think He can be trusted to get you over that financial hurdle or to resolve that struggle in your home? 4. When His people show concern for other people. God sent you those people who seem in the way of your own kingdom purposes.
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9:12 the day was ending, and the twelve came and said to Him, ―Send the crowd away, that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside and find lodging and get something to eat; for here we are in a desolate place.‖ This statement was not selfish by itself because it would only be natural to expect people to provide for themselves while they are traveling. Since Luke said (verse 10) that we are near Bethsaida and John said that this event took place on the ―other side‖ of Galilee (John 6:1), the location of this event was probably on the slope east of Jordan on the northeast corner of the lake. John also gives us a time, saying that Passover was near (John 6:4). It is very possible that these were Passover pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem from points north who would have traveled by the main road around the north end of Galilee. The word translated ―desolate‖ is commonly renderd ―wilderness.‖ It refers to a place where there is nothing. Jesus had a massive crowd of tired, hungry people in a place that had nothing to offer.The twelve must have thought that the only way the crowd would disperse is if Jesus told them to leave. c 9:13 ―You give them something to eat!‖ And they said, ―We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless perhaps we go and buy food for all these people.‖ John records Philip pointing out that 200 denarii (200 days wages for a common laborer) would not be enough for everyone to have even a snack (John 6:7). Perhaps this was the amount Judas the treasurer had in his bag. They did their calculations and inventoried their supplies. Remember that Jesus had only recently sent them out and commanded them to take no extra food or money (9:3). John (6:9) tells us that this was actually the lunch of a small boy. He also records in the same verse that the loaves were made from barley, food of poor people. The fish, based on the specific word John uses (opsaria) was possibly like a smelt or a sardine. This almost looks like Pharaoh‘s command that the Israelites gather their own straw to make bricks. Just remember that these disciples had just returned from witnessing the great power of Jesus flowing through their hands and mouths. If that could happen without His physical presence, what might occur when He is near? This request was not unreasonable because His timing is always perfect.The Lord made an impossible demand and He knew it was an impossible demand. The only way mere mortals could have kept such a command was to appeal to the Master. He had them where He wanted them like He had Israel next to the Red Sea, the priests preparing to cross the Jordan and the three Hebrew children threatened with a fiery furnace.
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disciples, ―Have them sit down to eat in groups of about fifty each .‖ They did so, and had them 16 all sit down. Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them, and broke them, and kept giving them to the disciples to set before the c 17 people . And they all ate and were satisfied; and the broken pieces which they had left over d e were picked up, twelve baskets full . 18 And it happened that while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him, and He f 19 questioned them, saying, ―Who do the people say that I am ?‖ They answered and said, ―John
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9:14 there were about five thousand men. Added to the unlikelihood of finding food in a desolate place was the size of the crowd. Luke wants us to see how impossible were the odds. The twelve somehow got an accurate count, possibly based on the seating arrangement by heads of families (the word ―men‖ can only read ―men‖). The nation had gotten used to an orderly arrangement by tribe as Israel wandered in the wilderness (Numbers 2). Numbers are not unimportant when God gets the glory for them. This was not just an account of the disciples and gospel writers. Jesus kept track of the head count and used the actual numbers from His two multitude-feedings (4000 and 5000) to teach His disciples a lesson (Matthew 16:9-10). b 9:14 Have them sit down to eat in groups of about fifty each. It would have been easy to number the crowd because it appears the Master made them sit in 100 groups of fifty families each. You see the order of the Creator. It is like during the week of creation when He set the stars in place and the way He has the hairs on your head numbered. c 9:16 looking up to heaven, He blessed them, and broke them, and kept giving them to the disciples to set before the people. Smart people have argued that we know scientifically that there really is no ―up‖ and that God is really not ―up.‖ So why did the Lord look up to heaven? To teach us the transcendence of God. d 9:17 they all ate and were satisfied; and the broken pieces which they had left over were picked up, twelve baskets full. The word ―satisfied‖ could be paraphrased ―buffet full.‖ Notice that the massive amount of leftovers would have removed any doubt that Jesus was capable of satisfying the hunger of those who serve before having their own needs met. e 9:12-17 The feeding of the 5000 is the only miracle of Jesus recorded by all four gospel writers. Even the most committed liberal theologians who cannot bring themselves to believe in genuine miracles cannot deny that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John each believed the account he recorded. This is a story of contrasts: isolation and intrusion, selfishness and sharing, famine and feast. This event communicates how following Jesus is full of impossible demands and impossible provision. God‘s best resources become available when your resources come to an end. What are some of the heart attitudes that bring God‘s children to go without their perceived needs in order to serve? 1. Knowledge that He wants you in that vulnerable position. Consider how many other people in history God has schooled by supplying all their needs through lean times. 2. Knowledge that there is a very precise plan already in the works. That plan is always better than yours. Serve Him by serving others because you know His character, not because you have figured out how He will resolve your questions. 3. Knowledge that giving for Jesus‘ sake never leaves you without provision. Your last worry should be about yourself. Lots of people Jesus healed would be ungrateful or otherwise use their new strength for sinful purposes, but He still showed compassion.
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9:18 while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him, and He questioned them, saying, ―Who do the people say that I am?‖ Matthew tells us that this event happened at Caesarea Philippi (Paneas). This location of the headwaters of the Jordan River was the site where a there was a shrine to Pan (the goat-footed Greek god of flocks). Herod the Great built a temple here to honor Caesar Augustus. Herod‘s son Philip the tetrarch enlarged the city and named it Caesarea Philippi. At this southern foot of Mt. Hermon was a sizeable cavern from which flowed a large spring. Here where men honored men, where men honored pagan gods and where men honored themselves Jesus chose to ask how men identified Him.
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the Baptist, and others say Elijah; but others, that one of the prophets of old has risen a 20 again .‖ And He said to them, ―But who do you say that I am?‖ And Peter answered and said, b 21 ―The Christ of God .‖ But He warned them and instructed them not to tell this to c 22 anyone , saying, ―The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and d chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day .‖ 23 And He was saying to them all, ―If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, e 24 and take up his cross daily and follow Me . For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but f 25 whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it . For what is a man profited if g 26 he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself ? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the h 27 Father and of the holy angels . But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here i a who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God .‖
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9:19 They answered and said, ―John the Baptist, and others say Elijah; but others, that one of the prophets of old has risen again.‖ Herod‘s fears that John had come back must have caught on (9:7-8). Others knew Malachi‘s prophecy about Elijah‘s return (Malachi 4:5) and had not heard Jesus tell the people that John was the fulfillment of that prophecy (Matthew 17:1013). Jesus may have looked like John because they were closely related. His miracles would have made people think of Elijah. Certainly His preaching demonstrated that He was no ordinary man, but a great prophet. b 9:20 He said to them, ―But who do you say that I am?‖ And Peter answered and said, ―The Christ of God.‖ This question brought Peter and the others to consider more than what the majority believed. To answer this question differently than the general public would demonstrate that the disciples had absorbed what Jesus taught them about Himself. Peter was not the only one who believed this. He, as he so often did, spoke for the group. c 9:21 He warned them and instructed them not to tell this to anyone. This was not a permanent command. Soon they would be commissioned to shout this from the mountaintops. But the cross had to come before the crown. The cross was not the backup plan. It was the only plan, as the following words confirm. d 9:22 ―The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day.‖ This is Jesus‘ first plain statement about His death. He had to die and increasingly communicated this message as the day drew nearer. At this point Matthew records Peter rebuking Jesus for raising such a prospect, likely because he failed to see that Jesus‘ kingdom could not advance without conquering sin and death. e 9:23 If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. He had not yet revealed the precise manner of His own death, but the mention of a cross would have been meaningful to anyone living in that region. Those who were seen bearing a cross were not seen again. He was calling men to follow Him to the death if necessary. f 9:24 whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. This a paradox that should serve as a comfort to those who are persecuted for righteousness‘ sake as well as a warning to those who follow Jesus for convenience and at a distance. The word ―life‖ used twice here is the word meaning ―soul.‖ g 9:25 what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? Jesus was dashing any hopes the disciples had a getting in on the bottom floor of a new and powerful earthly kingdom. This was an apparent shift in emphasis and must have come as a real shock to the disciples (especially Judas). There would be no ―world gaining‖ for these men. h 9:26 whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Perhaps this pushed Judas over the edge (Romans 1:16). i 9:27 I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death death until they see the kingdom of God. This statement has been understood in different ways. Certainly the second coming of Christ is not pictured here because none of the disciples lived that long. Some say it refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. John Calvin and others say it refers to the nearer resurrection of Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit.
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Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went b 29 up on the mountain to pray . And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became c 30 different, and His clothing became white and gleaming . And behold, two men were talking with 31 Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure d 32 which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem . Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men e 33 standing with Him . And as these were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, ―Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for

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It is important to note that each instance in the gospels where Jesus says these words is immediately followed by a glimpse of Jesus on the mountain with Moses and Elijah (Matthew 16:28-17:3; Mark 9:1-4; Luke 9:27-39). Peter, James and John were about to get a sample of the message of the kingdom (the cross) and the glory of the King. R.C. Sproul leaves room for this point of view in his comments in the Reformation Study Bible (Matthew 16:28):
Although this statement has been interpreted as referring to the Transfiguration (17:1,2), the language implies a period longer than a week. Another possibility is the destruction of Jerusalem (10:23 note), but the context here is not specifically related to the judgment of Israel. The "coming" of the Son of Man more likely here relates to the entire process by which Jesus receives dominion, especially His resurrection, ascension, and sending of the Spirit. All these things happened during the lifetime of the disciples. The Transfiguration could also be the initial event in this process witnessed by the disciples.
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9:18-27 The cost of following Jesus… The makeup of a true disciple: 1. A disciple knows the Master. You know what others say about Jesus. Who is He to you? 2. A disciple is an expert on the message. Jesus gave His people a message to carry. Even false prophets do this to successfully perpetuate their beliefs. The plan was always about the cross and now He begins to uncover that prospect. 3. A disciple is an expert at saying ―no‖ to self and ―yes‖ to Jesus. Jesus said His yoke was an easy one but it is still a yoke. Cross-bearing is the legitimate response to having a crucified Savior.

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9:28 Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. The ―some eight days‖ in Luke‘s reckoning are consistent with the six days mentioned by Matthew and Mark. Matthew and Mark speak of six full days and Luke includes the partial days on either end. The mountain was likely Mt. Hermon, just north of Caesarea Philippi, where the previous week‘s events took place. c 9:29 while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. This appearance is similar to what Moses, Isaiah, John and others saw. Matthew and Mark say Jesus was transformed in appearance. Luke just uses the word ―different.‖ The simple clothing of the humbled Christ became the holy clothing of the exalted Christ. d 31 9:30-31 behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Moses and Elijah were representatives of the Law and the Prophets, both of which testified to the identity and the mission of Jesus. They were also both ―mountain men,‖ men who had met with God on Mt. Sinai. Somehow in the course of the discussion it became evident to Peter, James and John that Jesus was speaking with Moses and Elijah, who appeared in some sort of recognizable bodies. The conversation must have been something to listen to (only Luke records the subject matter), focusing on the plan of the ages culminating at the cross. This was at least a sample of the predicted vision of the kingdom whose Ruler would die to redeem His subjects (9:26-27). e 9:32 Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him. This also happened in Gethsemane when Jesus was agonizing in prayer before the cross (Luke 22:45).
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Elijah‖—not realizing what he was saying . While he was saying this, a cloud formed and began b 35 to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud . Then a voice came out of c 36 the cloud, saying, ―This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him !‖ And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent, and reported to no one in those days any of d e the things which they had seen . 37 f 38 On the next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met Him . And a a man from the crowd shouted, saying, ―Teacher, I beg You to look at my son, for he is my only g 39 boy , and a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly screams, and it throws him into a convulsion with
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9:33 as these were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, ―Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah‖— not realizing what he was saying. Remember that only a week earlier Jesus had taken the disciples to Caesarea Philippi, where pagan gods and pagan men were honored. Peter could say Jesus was better than those guys hands down, but what about the Hebrew heroes? Peter wanted to preserve this moment. Not being one to restrain his tongue, and seeing Moses and Elijah leaving, he came up with an idea. Mark and Luke both comment that Peter did not know what he was saying, Mark (9:6) adding that this was because they were so afraid. He identified Jesus and Moses and Elijah as great ones worthy of human honor. b 9:34 While he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. This is the same cloud of God‘s glory that overshadowed the tabernacle in Exodus 40:34-38 and the temple in 1 Kings 8:10-11. c 9:35 Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ―This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!‖ The doctrine of preeminence of Christ is passed over because many people have been pushed into the preeminence of systems and issues. But Jesus has to have first place in everything (Colossians 1:18). We ought to listen to Him, sing about Him, adore Him and work for His glory. Without Him as the focal point of church ministry you get the preeminence of good behavior or the preeminence of music or the preeminence of programs. Peter made this clear when he wrote:
For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, "This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased"—and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. 2 Peter 1:17-19
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9:36 when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent, and reported to no one in those days any of the things which they had seen. This is what a genuine vision of Jesus does for people. Rather than becoming a reason to boast, the image is stunning and humbling. That is why Isaiah reacted to a vision of the Lord the way he did (Isaiah 6:1-7). Matthew and Mark include another command from Jesus to keep silent about this event. e 9:28-36 This text shows us why Jesus has to be the preeminent one. 1. It keeps you from becoming proud of your religious insights. Doctrinal error comes easily when we develop ―biblical‖ convictions that do not point us to Christ and the cross. 2. It keeps you from putting your faith in men. Many Christians find greater joy in earthly heroes (entertainers, scholars, athletes or even religious heroes) to the exclusion of the Creator. 3. It models for you God‘s priorities in life and worship. What did Jesus say? Listen to Him. All of life should revolve around revelation from God.
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9:37 On the next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met Him. Matthew‘s account skips over the crowd to the distressed father. Mark and Luke paint the bigger picture, Mark (9:14) saying that part of the crowd was a group of scribes arguing with the disciples. The transfiguration must have energized the three, but the energy of that vision was for purpose of equipping them to serve. Peter, James and John learned that you eventually have to come down from the mountain and love your neighbors. g 9:38 a man from the crowd shouted, saying, ―Teacher, I beg You to look at my son, for he is my only boy.‖ This man was just another face in the crowd, but his need and his loud plea to
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foaming at the mouth; and only with difficulty does it leave him, mauling him as it leaves . I b 41 begged Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not .‖ And Jesus answered and said, ―You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you and put up with you? Bring c 42 your son here .‖ While he was still approaching, the demon slammed him to the ground and d threw him into a convulsion . But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the boy and gave e 43 f him back to his father . And they were all amazed at the greatness of God . 44 But while everyone was marveling at all that He was doing, He said to His disciples, ―Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of g 45 men .‖ But they did not understand this statement, and it was concealed from them so that they h i would not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this statement .

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Jesus made him stand out. Matthew (17:14) tells us the man kneeled before Jesus. All four gospel writers use this same ―shout‖ word to describe the voice of John crying out in the wilderness. Here again is a grieving parent fearful of losing an only child. We saw this with the woman whose only son died in chapter seven and the 12-year-old only daughter who died in chapter eight. The giving up of the only son theme is seen when you look back to Abraham and Isaac and when you look ahead to the only begotten Son of God. a 9:39 a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly screams, and it throws him into a convulsion with foaming at the mouth; and only with difficulty does it leave him, mauling him as it leaves. Matthew and Mark both add that the demon had frequently thrown the child into fire or water to kill him. Matthew‘s language (17:15) implies that the boy was subject to something similar to epileptic seizures because of the demon. b 9:40 I begged Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not. Remember that Jesus had already enabled the disciples to do this very thing. c 9:41 Jesus answered and said, ―You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.‖ To whom was Jesus speaking? The boy? The father? The nine apostles who did not go up the mountain? Jesus was impatient with unbelief—particularly the persistent unbelief of the religious leaders (see Mark‘s mention of the dispute of the scribes, 9:14). It is understandably human to wonder how impossible circumstances could ever be resolved, but it is an assault on our Lord to question His ability to do what He has said He would do. Mark‘s account includes that Jesus said: ―All things are possible to him who believes‖ (Mark 9:23). Then the father said ―I do believe; help my unbelief‖ (Mark 9:24). d 9:42 While he was still approaching, the demon slammed him to the ground and threw him into a convulsion. Mark (9:26) says the demon nearly killed the boy as it left, as witnesses saw it. e 9:42 Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the boy and gave him back to his father. Notice that Jesus did not merely expel the demon. He also fixed the damage the demon had done. While He does not always choose to work this way, it‘s just like Him to often get people out of trouble and rescue them from consequences of the trouble as well. f 9:43 they were all amazed at the greatness of God. Peter uses this same ―greatness‖ word to describe what he and the others saw on the mount of transfiguration (2 Peter 1:16). g 9:44 ―Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.‖ Jesus is saying in effect, ―Look carefully at this, men. I am about to become the target of all of the unbelief, perversion and suffering that identify the people of this world.‖ h 9:45 they did not understand this statement, and it was concealed from them so that they would not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this statement. Jesus willed that the disciples not fully understand the cross until after the event. This was an entirely new paradigm and only time and witnessing actual events would bring the shift in thinking. i 9:37-45 Moses came down from Sinai to find the people in a frenzy despite God‘s clear revelation before Moses went up the mountain. Jesus came down from this mountain (having met with Moses) to find the scribes causing trouble and His disciples unable to do what He had already empowered them to do.
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An argument started among them as to which of them might be the greatest . But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His c 48 d side , and said to them, ―Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me , and whoever e receives Me receives Him who sent Me ; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one a b who is great .‖ The experiences of Jesus and the disciples in this part of Luke‘s gospel is life in a miniature form. The disciples keep seeking relief and finding trouble. Jesus appeared to want them in trouble so He could demonstrate that relief from trouble comes only from listening to Him. Some of the things He said that they missed: Before the disciples met a storm Jesus had said, ―Let us go to the other side.‖ To Jairus whose daughter lay dead or dying He said, ―Do not fear. Only believe.‖ Now to His disciples a recurring theme is starting: ―I am going to be killed.‖ When you do not respond well to hard things in your life it is not because you are ignorant of what God has said. It is because you do not trust Him. Here are some reasons why God-ordained comfort violations (and there is no other kind) are good: 1. They are an opportunity to watch God resolve what you cannot control. With Jesus absent for a few days, trouble increased. Do you remember what He has said repeatedly about His sovereign purposes? Do you believe Him? 2. They are an opportunity to demonstrate that you trust God even though you do not understand what He is doing. If He really is the Lord, then He gets to call the shots and you are not in a place to question them. If He really is good, then the outcome will be morally superior to anything you could come up with. If He really deserves glory, then He is putting you in a position to show that to others. 3. They are another reminder that you live in a world in need of redemption. Jesus again alerted the men that He was headed for betrayal. It is always a good thing to have your attention sent back to the cross. This is more important than getting your way.
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9:46 An argument started among them. The word translated ―argument‖ means reasoning and normally refers to an inward struggle. It is translated ―thoughts,‖ ―reasonings,‖ ―doubts,‖ and ―speculations‖ elsewhere in the NASB. This is an important point because, while Matthew and Mark both record a verbal dispute, Luke ‗s language tells us where the whole argument began. There are never outward power struggles where there is not first a high inward opinion of self. One good example of this kind of proud thinking is Esther 6:6 where Haman reasoned in his heart, ―Whom would the king desire to honor more than me?‖ b 9:46 as to which of them might be the greatest. Consider all the feats the disciples could have used to favorably compare themselves to each other to measure who was ―greatest.‖ They could compare healings, exorcisms, preaching ability or even converts. In the words of Tolkien‘s Galdriel (The Fellowship of the Ring), "And nine, nine Rings were gifted to the race of Men, who above all things desire power." c 9:47 Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side. Jesus used a human object lesson like He did with the sinful woman in chapter seven. The twelve did not need to tell Him what they were thinking. Mark says this happened at Capernaum where Peter‘s house was located. Peter‘s house is the place where many highlights of Jesus‘ ministry happened (see my note on Luke 4:38), so the child may have been one of Peter‘s. d 9:48 Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me. To receive a person is to welcome him. Luke uses the word here translated ―receives‖ of old Simeon taking Jesus in his arms and offering a blessing (Luke 2:28). Jesus used the same word when He told the apostles to shake the dust off their feet of a town did not ―receive‖ them (Luke 9:5). Matthew (18:4) adds that the greatest in the kingdom is the one who humbles himself like a little child. But the test of greatness is also in the care of little ones. They had cast out demons in Jesus‘ name, but could they welcome children in His name? e 9:48 whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. You find out a lot about how person or a church views Jesus based on their love for and patience with the weakest among them. Jesus said something very similar on another occasion:
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John answered and said, ―Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and c 50 we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us .‖ But Jesus said to him, ―Do d not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you .‖ 51 When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to e 52 Jerusalem ; and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of f 53 the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him . But they did not receive Him, because He was g 54 traveling toward Jerusalem . When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, ―Lord, do
Then the righteous will answer Him, ―Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?‖ The King will answer and say to them, ―Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.‖ Matthew 25:37-40
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9:48 the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great. This message fits the beatitudes. As one pastor summarized them: ―Lucky are the losers.‖ b 9:46-48 How to become the bottom of the heap: 1. Search out and crush prideful thoughts. Listen to the proud things you say in your heart about yourself. ―I don‘t deserve to be treated this way.‖ ―I ought to be running this place.‖ ―I am nicer looking…smarter…stronger than him.‖ Some people actually think this is a good exercise. The disciples were thinking this way before any outward quarrel started. 2. Compare yourself to Jesus instead of your peers. You can always find someone more sinful than yourself, but the standard for heaven is Jesus. How do you compare to Him? 3. Remember that your motives are completely exposed before God. Always ask, ―Why are you doing that?‖ Beyond the flattering things we say about ourselves in our hearts there lurk the wordless motives that drive us to push our way through the crowd to the front. 4. Treat the ―child‖ among you with special care.
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9:49 John answered and said, ―Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us.‖ The word ―follow‖ here is the same word repeatedly used in the gospels of Jesus‘ call to men to follow Him. In this context, however, the man casting out demons in Jesus‘ name was likely a follower of Jesus, just not one who traveled with the Twelve. Here is an example of denominational pride among the disciples. The man who cast out demons was not guilty of doctrinal error. His supposed error was that he went to the wrong school. Remember the commission to preach, heal and cast out demons in Jesus‘ name and the squabble about who would be greatest. More exorcists just meant more competition for the good seats at Jesus‘ table. d 9:50 Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you. Do not take Jesus‘ words further than He intended. This does not mean that in our day a passive atheist, Hindu or Muslim who does not persecute Christians is really saved. Jesus is speaking of those who genuinely believe but who carry the gospel message different than the way you learned to you carry it. e 9:51 When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem. It is interesting that Luke would use the word ascension here. This word is used only here in the New Testament, but a closely-related word is the one used to describe Jesus‘ return to heaven after His resurrection. From Luke‘s simple perspective we can see that Jesus came down to do His work on earth, He finished that work and ascended to heaven. f 9:52 He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him. Samaria was between Galilee and Jerusalem. The ―arrangements‖ may have been practical lodging arrangements. This is the word John the Baptist used to call people to prepare themselves for Messiah. It pictures the ―front men‖ coming before a king to make sure everything is in order for His arrival. The Samaritans did not have to make Jesus their King. He is King over Jews and Gentiles whether they accept the fact or not. g 9:53 they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem. Hebrews on pilgrimage either passed through Samaria or they crossed Jordan to the east to avoid Samaria. Historically, Jereboam created two rival worship centers in the north to discourage those who
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You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them ?‖ But He turned b 56 and rebuked them , [and said, ―You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.‖] And they went on to another c d village . 57 e As they were going along the road , someone said to Him, ―I will follow You wherever You f 58 go .‖ And Jesus said to him, ―The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the g 59 h Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head .‖ And He said to another, ―Follow Me .‖ But he said,

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wished to offer sacrifice from going south to Jerusalem. Here, many years after the devastation of the Assyrian captivity, the remaining syncretists saw Jerusalem worship as a threat to their system of worship (see John 4). a 9:54 When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, ―Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?‖ James and John were indignant. They knew how fire came from heaven and destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24-25). Fire also came from heaven in the days of Elijah and consumed over one hundred messengers of Israel‘s evil, ailing king Ahaziah (2 Kings 1:10-12). They knew the power that had been at their disposal for healing. Why not use it for judgment? This kind of temperament must be why Jesus gave these brothers the nickname ―Sons of Thunder‖ (Mark 3:17). b 9:55 He turned and rebuked them. Jesus did not simply say, ―No thanks.‖ He sternly scolded them. Luke uses the same word to describe Jesus rebuking a fever (4:39), demons (4:35, 41; 9:42) and a storm at sea (8:24). c 9:56 And they went on to another village. You may notice that your Bible has more or less words than other Bibles in verses 55 and 56. The reading that appears to be based on the more reliable manuscripts does not include the specific rebuke of Jesus. This difference in no way changes any fundamental doctrine of the Bible. d 9:49-56 Look at all the false judgments going on here. The disciples judged those who were not on their team (see David‘s view of his ―enemies‖). The disciples judged those who opposed their team. Jesus was focused on the cross. The Samaritans and the disciples were focused on making rivals pay. This scolding is for you if you follow Jesus and think that you get to decide how He deals with His enemies. It is also for you if you are on the outside. Don‘t forget that Jesus left that town. No fire came from heaven but neither did life-giving truth. Why you should use great restraint when making judgments: 1. You may not have enough information (two or three witnesses). Are you sure different is bad? 2. Your judgment may get in God‘s way (of His work or His own judgment).
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9:57 As they were going along the road. Jesus had finished His work in Galilee. In less than a year He would go to the cross. The rest of Luke records Jesus‘ work outside Galilee, much of it around Jerusalem. f 9:57 I will follow You wherever You go. This man is the only one of the three mentioned in this text who volunteered his services. But it is much easier to say you will follow Jesus than it is to actually do it. We are not told how the man responded, but Jesus laid out before him the accurate picture of discipleship. g 9:58 The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head. Jesus pointed out that the cost of following may have been higher than the man assumed. Later in Luke is recorded a similar challenge from Jesus:
Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, ―If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?‖ Luke 14:25-28
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9:59 He said to another, ―Follow Me.‖ Notice that Jesus approached the second and third candidates.
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―Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father .‖ But He said to him, ―Allow the dead to bury b 61 their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God .‖ Another also c 62 said, ―I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home .‖ But Jesus said to him, ―No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of d e God .‖
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Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to f 2 every city and place where He Himself was going to come . And He was saying to them, ―The
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9:59 Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father. The key word here is ―first.‖ This is the same word Jesus used when He told His disciples to seek first the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 6:33). Some suggest the father had died some time earlier and the son had the responsibility to deposit the bones in their permanent resting place in an ossuary (burial box). It better fits the context to see that this fellow thought he should put off following Jesus until he obtained his inheritance. The first man had not counted the cost, but this man evidently had. He had perhaps found a way to finance his faith venture. b 9:60 Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God. It is hard to take this any other way than, ―Let the spiritually dead bury the physically dead.‖ The idea of spiritual death did not start with Paul‘s letter to the church at Ephesus but with Moses‘ account of the fall of Adam. The man had said he wanted to ―go‖ and bury his father. Jesus said he wanted him to ―go‖ and proclaim the kingdom. c 9:61 I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home. This time again the key word is ―first.‖ The man who volunteered had not counted the cost. The second man had counted the cost and thought he knew a way to finance it. This man said nothing of the finances, but did not want to let go of his social network. Elsewhere Jesus taught that, comparatively, earthly families should not stand in the way of following Him:
Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTERIN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN'S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 10:34-39
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9:62 No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. This is a mini parable. These people understood that plowing a field is a mission that requires intent and focus. Most of us have no plowing experience, but compare it to mowing a lawn. How well do you mow when you are looking behind you? e 9:57-62 The kind of discipleship Jesus demands will take you farther than you are capable of going as you are by nature. John Macarthur points out that denying yourself means ―…you have to come to the point where you refuse to associate any longer with the person that you are.‖ Before you ―sign up‖ there are some things you need to know: 1. Following Jesus may not be what you picture. 2. Following Jesus may drain your finances. This is not the only text where Jesus revealed hearts that clung to earthly riches more than Him. 3. Following Jesus may cost you some relationships.
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10:1 the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come. There is a textual difference here that is inconsequential, but the text should probably read ―seventy-two.‖ Just as the selection of twelve apostles mirrored the twelve tribes of Israel, so the selection of seventy (or seventy-two) representatives mirrored the group of elders Moses assembled (Exodus 18:22; 24:1; Numbers 11:16) and the Jewish Sanhedrin. In the previous chapter (9:52) Luke says that the group was working its way up to Jerusalem and had already arrived in some Samaritan villages.
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harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out a 3 b 4 laborers into His harvest . ―Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves . Carry c 5 no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way . Whatever house you enter, first 6 say, ‗Peace be to this house.‘ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it d 7 will return to you . Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is e 8 worthy of his wages . Do not keep moving from house to house. Whatever city you enter and f 9 they receive you, eat what is set before you ; and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, 10 ‗The kingdom of God has come near to you.‘ But whatever city you enter and they do not 11 receive you, go out into its streets and say, ‗Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come g 12 13 near .‘ I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city. Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon h 14 which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes . But
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10:2 The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. This metaphor means much more to those who understand the amount of work necessary to bring in a harvest. This is a team endeavor instead of a solo mission. It is fitting to ask God to raise up co-laborers in the church since He is the one who sends out workers. We normally hear this applied to global missionary service, but it is no different when you need leadership inside the local church. b 10:3 Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. There was to be no mistaking the fact that Jesus considered this a dangerous work. Yet He still asked the men to do it. Paul warned another group of elders that sometimes the wolves come from the midst of the sheep (Acts 20:29-30). c 10:4 Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way. Speed was the key. This is similar to the way Jesus had commanded the Twelve to go unencumbered on their first kingdom-proclaiming mission (Luke 9:3). There was no time for chit-chat. Jesus was not against the social graces, but intent on the mission. This is similar to the command Elijah gave his servant Gehazi when the Shunamite woman‘s son died (2 Kings 4:29). d 10:6 If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. This should read ―son of peace,‖ but that correction does not help us much in clarifying just what that means. It evidently speaks of the first person to welcome the disciples into his home. This would have been refreshing for a vulnerable traveler to find such hospitality. e 10:7 Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. The disciples were to content themselves where they stayed, not worrying about being looked upon as freeloaders. f 10:8 Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Considering some of the cities were not Jewish cities (9:52) some would argue that this command included eating non-kosher food. I am more inclined to say that the message is simple: Let the people provide for your needs. Jesus was communicating that these men would not be freeloaders but workers receiving wages. g 10:11 Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near. Notice that the kingdom came near those who received the seventy as well as those who did not (same phrase in verse nine). In other words, the message was not If you receive the King He will come to you. It was The King rules and will deal with you whether you like it or not. h 10:13 Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. See how the Lord is harder on Israel than He is on the Gentiles? Why? Because those with greater light are responsible before God to a greater degree. Amos 3:1-8 emphasizes the magnitude of accountability of those who have been given the advantage of special revelation:
You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. Amos 3:2 The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, a 16 will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades ! The one who to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the b c 17 One who sent Me .‖ The seventy returned with joy, saying, ―Lord, even the demons are subject d 18 to us in Your name .‖ And He said to them, ―I was watching Satan fall from heaven like e 19 lightning . Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all
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10:15 you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades. No city had greater exposure to the Lord Jesus than Capernaum. He lived there and conducted great miracles there. He opened the Scriptures in her synagogue week after week. b 10:16 The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me. They went with Jesus‘ authority, which meant they acted as ambassadors, His word speaking through them. This is similar to the message of Romans 10:14, where we learn that (as the NASB correctly translates the text) men cannot believe in one whom they have not heard. Jesus speaks through His ambassadors. Paul put it this way:
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20
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10:1-16 There are questions you should ask when studying a text like this. One is Why was Jesus doing this? Another is What—if any—difference does this make in the way I ought to be living now? You and I have not been given this same commission. This was a specific assignment Jesus gave to a specific group of seventy disciples. But the applications of this event go beyond what was actually happening in those cities between Galilee and Judea. Jesus‘ call to discipleship is a call to an entire life of service, but that life has its beginnings when God calls. The Lord is expressing the urgency of service and the urgency of repentance here. The time to turn is now while you hear His voice. Note the factors that show urgency: The harvest is ready. There is danger lurking. Urgency requires action. How you respond to the nearness of the King: 1. You work. Following Jesus does require much of you. 2. You refuse the temptation to work alone. You cannot serve the King in isolation. You were meant to serve with others. Jesus sent the seventy out in groups and told them to pray for more workers in the harvest field 3. You see the importance of calling people to respond to the King. Judgment is coming, but so is His salvation. 4. You take seriously the great accountability that comes with great revelation. The fact that you are hearing these words in the context of a Christian sermon is evidence that you have heard more from God than most people in all of human history. 5. You refuse to take it personally when people do not want to follow Jesus. The power of the message you carry is not measured by human responses to it. You are just a messenger.
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10:17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, ―Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.‖ Do not discount the importance of the experiences of these men. There are few things more satisfying for a Christian in this world than seeing God use you to liberate people from bondage. Jesus gave these men authority to cast out demons. These beings capable of bringing great destruction and heartache on earth scattered at the mention of Jesus‘ name. This must have been quite an experience for men who were already prone to mistake the kingdom they wanted Jesus to bring with the one He actually brought. Winning battles is a ―man thing‖ and these men had seen the powers of darkness melt away in their presence. But Jesus was about to point their attention to a greater joy. e 10:18 I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Notice that the NASB correctly renders this ―I was watching Satan fall.‖ We could go a number of directions with this picture. It could refer to the original fall of Satan described in symbols in Isaiah 14:12-14 and Ezekiel 28:12The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you . Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the b 21 spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven .‖ At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, ―I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and c earth , that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to d a 22 infants . Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight . All things have been handed 18. There was evidently a moment in time when the devil became the devil. But ―heaven‖ is not always a reference to the dwelling place of God. If we talk about lightning falling from heaven we are normally not talking about God‘s throne. The picture Jesus was seeing is more likely a description of what was happening as the rule of Christ unfolded. First John 3:8 speaks of Jesus coming and destroying the works of the devil. This was and still is an incremental destruction of Satan‘s rule even though the ultimate victory was won at the cross. Colossians 1:13 describes the transfer of people from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of God‘s Son. That advancing kingdom—even in the face of martyrdom—is shown in Revelation 12:
And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Revelation 12:7-9

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Notice the joy that follows:
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time. Revelation 12:10-12

The appearance of Christ certainly started the downfall of the kingdom of darkness as one soul at a time is being transferred into the kingdom of God‘s Son. a 10:19 I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. Those who have made a show to snake handling in our day have missed the message given here as much as the seventy did. There is more to this statement than snake-trampling. Is there a promise here that nothing will harm those who carry the gospel? If that is the case then the martyrs in the history of the Church have made Jesus a liar. Look at the big picture here as Jesus gives it. In the short term He absolutely did provide miraculous protection at times, but He also withheld it. Jesus is teaching more about winning the war than a few battles, as the next phrase reveals. b 10:20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven. Identity is of greater value than power over others. Rejoicing that God chose you to salvation and provided a way for you to approach Him through His Son is cause for joy. It is error to take the view that because you made a good choice, as the old song says, ―There‘s a new name written down in glory.‖ The words of encouragement of Jesus here should not make you picture some angelic secretary or God Himself busily writing down the names of sinners who repent. His works do not change based on our actions (which does not discount the importance of prayer). Revelation 17:8 says that our names were written (or not written) in the book of life from the foundation of the earth. c 10:21 At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, ―I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth.‖ Do you ever wonder what gets Jesus excited and happy or just how He shows it? We are so used to fleshy displays of happiness that we may not consider that joy is a holy thing, created by God Himself. Jesus found joy in different things than did His disciples. d 10:21 You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. The focus of Jesus‘ joy here is not so much how sinful are the objects of God‘s grace
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over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the b 23 Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him .‖ Turning to the c 24 disciples, He said privately, ―Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see , for I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished to see the things which you see, and did not see them, d e 25 and to hear the things which you hear, and did not hear them .‖ And a lawyer stood up and put f g 26 Him to the test , saying, ―Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life ?‖ And He said to him, h 27 ―What is written in the Law? How does it read to you ?‖ And he answered, ―YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH but how weak and vulnerable they are. This is one of Luke‘s themes (see note on 1:57). Children and those like them are the greatest in God‘s kingdom. Children have their identity wrapped up in their parents and need rejoice only in the care they receive because of that. That is the joy of salvation by grace. Your intelligence or performance has nothing to do with your identity. a 10:21 Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. The word translated ―wellpleasing‖ is used elsewhere of God‘s choosing people to be His own (Ephesians 1:5, 9). Here Jesus says it was well-pleasing in God‘s sight to choose and reveal Himself to ―infants.‖ b 10:22 All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. The message is this: Our identity is nothing apart from the Son. c 10:23 Turning to the disciples, He said privately, ―Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see.‖ Here is a new beatitude that matches statements like ―blessed are the poor.‖ The happy or the lucky ones are those who see God‘s works rather than their own. Luke inserts the word ―privately‖ here, which shows that He was actually talking to the ―infants.‖ d 10:24 I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished to see the things which you see, and did not see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and did not hear them. What had they seen that the prophets did not? The fulfillment of every messianic prophecy since Genesis 3:15. e 10:17-24 Christians like victory. We like to see souls turn to Christ. We like to see people who once lived in bondage to certain sins start living lives of freedom. We like moral victories when our political candidate wins or like when a bad guy gets what is coming to him. And the seventy were excited to see demons flee at the name of Jesus. Jesus did not scold them for their giddy testimonies but He did point out that there is a greater joy available. Why is it so fitting that believers rejoice in the sovereign grace of God? 1. It relieves you of any responsibility to be good enough for God. 2. It encourages you that God does His best work through simple folks. 3. It gives you hope that you have an inheritance reserved in heaven.
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10:25 And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test. The lawyers were experts in the law of Moses who were frequently at odds with the Lord. Many refused John‘s baptism (Luke 7:30) and were the object of the sternest rebukes of the Lord (Luke 11:45-46). ―Testing‖ the Lord was not necessarily a bad thing. Anyone who claims to be a prophet ought to be examined (Deuteronomy 13:1-11; Isaiah 8:20). g 10:25 Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? This is a question that could be understood to mean that the man wanted to do one great act that would insure life beyond the grave, but it is more likely a Bible quiz to see if Jesus would give the ―correct‖ answer. h 10:26 What is written in the Law? How does it read to you? Jesus frequently answered questions with a questions. Another man asked Jesus a nearly identical question, calling Him ―good teacher.‖ Jesus asked that men why he called Him good (Mark 10:17-18). To a question about paying taxes, Jesus called for a coin and asked whose inscription was on the coin (Matthew 27:17-20). Regarding a question about the lawfulness of healing on the Sabbath, the Lord asked what His inquisitors would do if they had a sheep in a pit on Sabbath (Matthew 12:912). When asked about divorce, Jesus asked what the Scripture said (Mark 10:2-4). In each instance answering Jesus‘ question would point people toward the answer to the original question. He frequently pointed people back to the Scripture for their answers. That is what He did here.
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ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS a 28 YOURSELF .‖ And He said to him, ―You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL b 29 c 30 LIVE .‖ But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, ―And who is my neighbor ?‖ Jesus replied and said, ‗A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and d 31 they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead . And by chance a priest e 32 was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side . Likewise f 33 a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side . But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt g 34 compassion , and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; h 35 and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him . On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‗Take care of him; and i 36 whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you .‘ Which of these three do you think

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10:27 YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. This quotation comes from two places: Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. It appears that the lawyer took liberty with the Deuteronomy text by adding the word ―mind.‖ The Greek translation of the Old Testament (LXX) commonly used in the first century actually used the word ―mind‖ and left out the word ―strength.‖ The man includes both so there could be no squabble over translations and more squabble over interpreting and applying the text. b 10:28 You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE. It may bother some people that Jesus appears to be saying that keeping commandments brings life. But how can you obey these commands without the heart change that brings them? c 10:29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, ―And who is my neighbor?‖ This statement shows that the lawyer was motivated by the desire to make himself look good rather than defend the faith. If your neighbor is someone of the same ethnicity or geographic location, neighbor-loving is much easier. d 10:30 A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. The road from Jerusalem to Jericho was treacherous and known for bandits. e 10:31 by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. A priest was descended from the sons of Aaron. Ceremonial cleanliness would have been a bigger issue for him than for most people because he served in the presence of God. So the logical question in his mind would have been Is this man dead? (remembering that this is just a made-up story to provoke the Jewish audience). f 10:32 Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. A Levite would have also been interested in ceremonial cleanness, but he was not among those who offered sacrifices. Jesus was just making the illustration count by choosing two characters from the most holy tribe in Israel. g 10:33 But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion. The mere mention of the Samaritan would have stirred the insides of many Torah-observant Jews. Samaritans were half-breed syncretists who would not worship in Jerusalem. Some have compared this statement to talking about a ―good Palestinian‖ in modern Israel. h 10:34 came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. The Samaritan performed immediate care like a paramedic and transported the man to the closest ―hospital.‖ i 10:35 On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‗Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.‘ Notice the financial responsibility he took for a complete stranger. Remembering that this is a parable, Jesus creates a scenario to which most of us can relate.
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proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers‘ hands ?‖ And he said, ―The one b c d 38 who showed mercy toward him .‖ Then Jesus said to him, ―Go and do the same .‖ Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her e 39 f home . She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet , listening to His g 40 h word . But Martha was distracted with all her preparations ; and she came up to Him and said,

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10:36 Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers‘ hands? Jesus started His teaching by asking a question that pointed the man to the Scriptures. Now He uses a key word from the text (neighbor) to tie His parable to the text. b 10:37 The one who showed mercy toward him. There could be no other answer, so Jesus has successfully uncovered the real issue with the lawyer: his unloving heart. c 10:37 Go and do the same. Discussing the Scriptures was common mong the lawyers. It was quite another thing to study the Scriptures, repent and change their behavior. d 10:25-37 You will never run out of opportunities to show mercy, but it will cost you. Both the priest and the Levite in Jesus‘ parable were asking ―What is the cost?‖ The Samaritan looked at the situation very differently. Here is the way Jesus taught you to love your neighbors: 1. Recognize encounters as opportunities. Being a neighbor is more a matter of encounter than geography. 2. Face your fears. It is common for people to stay away from others out of fear because it is uncomfortable to interact with someone very different culturally, because the potential for very difficult work and because the possibility exists to catch an infectious disease. 3. See yourself as the solution. 4. Do more than you must.
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10:38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. We know from other texts that the village is Bethany, about 1.5 miles southeast of the temple in Jerusalem. The home is called Martha‘s, but it is probable that their brother Lazarus (whom Jesus raised from the dead) was the head of the household. John 12 sheds further light on the makeup of this family, particularly the personalities of the sisters:
Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. John 12:1-3
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10:39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet. This would have been the fitting place for a student to sit. Figuratively, Paul described himself as having been educated at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). It is a meaningful study to list those places in Scripture where people were found at Jesus‘ feet:  The sinful woman and her perfume at the home of Simon (Luke 7:38)  The delivered demoniac (Luke 8:35)  Jairus, whose daughter was dying (Luke 8:41)  The Samaritan leper whom Jesus healed (Luke 17:15-16)  This same Mary and her expensive perfume (John 12:3) g 10:39 listening to His word. Jesus, Mary and the others were not just chatting. He was teaching and they were actively listening. Those who are troubled at Paul‘s exhortation that women should learn in silence and submission miss the pleasure that Mary was experiencing here doing just that. h 10:40 Martha was distracted with all her preparations. The word translated ―distracted‖ is used only here. Martha was completely caught up in her work. The word ―preparations‖ is the word for service used of those who occupy the office of deacon. Cultural historian Alfred Edersheim says this was likely during the Feast of Tabernacles and Bethany‘s proximity to Jerusalem would have made this home a busy place during each of the three annual pilgrimages.
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―Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone ? Then tell her to help b 41 me .‖ But the Lord answered and said to her, ―Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered c 42 d e about so many things ; but only one thing is necessary , for Mary has chosen the good part , f g which shall not be taken away from her .‖
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10:40 Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Consider what Martha is implying by this statement. It is similar to the one made in another stressful situation on Galilee during a storm (Mark 4:38). It is also similar to a statement made by Elijah when he felt sorry for himself (1 Kings 19:10). We learn here what Martha treasured by her display of anger. b 10:40 tell her to help me. At least Martha saw that Jesus was in authority to command Mary, but she is telling the King of the universe how to lead. All her service was about her own agenda. It lacked communion with Jesus so it brought her no joy. Of what use is it to give to Jesus or others when your giving brings you to complain? c 10:41 Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things. Note the emphasis with the repetition of her name. Abraham, Samuel, and Peter (Simon) were addressed this way by the Lord. The word ―worried‖ is the same anxiety word Jesus used in the Sermon on the Mount about those who worry about what they will eat or wear:
Do not worry then, saying, ―What will we eat?‖ or ―What will we drink?‖ or ―What will we wear for clothing?‖ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:31-33
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10:42 one thing is necessary. What is that one thing? Listening to Him. 10:42 Mary has chosen the good part. Martha was certainly doing all that work to prepare the house for Jesus, but Mary was no conservative when it came to giving to Jesus. Remember that Judas was later bothered by Mary‘s priorities. Those who are critical of time and resources devoted to Jesus have chosen to value good at the expense of best. Judas did the same thing to Mary (John 12:4-6). This is not an endorsement of monasticism. You cannot live a life that pleases God in isolation. This was a social learning environment that changed the way you interacted with others. f 10:42 which shall not be taken away from her. People who have lived under intense persecution testify that God‘s word is one thing that can never be taken from you. g 10:38-42 Choose the ―good part.‖ How? Here are ways to set your daily priorities before the face of God: 1. Give in such a way that you find the blessedness of giving. Rather than considering the ways you could have used what you gave for more satisfying ends, thank God that He gave you something to give. People who give and complain about it are not giving in a way that pleases God. 2. Sacrifice what makes you look good in order to receive God‘s good. This means you can even give anonymously and find joy when you never get credit for your gift. Work hard at what is most important in life. No one could accuse Martha of laziness in the way she kept house, but her devotion to Jesus was lagging. 3. Separate God‘s voice from all the others calling out to you. This is what students do. This means that personal quiet time with God and public gatherings where God‘s word is preached ought to take precedence over your work, entertainment, sporting events and school activities. Do not allow the voice of your task list to shout down the voice of God. It is more important to spend time with God than to meet your goals. 4. Invest yourself in what cannot be taken from you. Work hard at what lasts. Your house and your car will likely not exist in one hundred years. The achievements you push your children to accomplish will not bring them closer to God. So what is worth the most work? I will not judge you for skipping gatherings of God‘s people. We answer to God for our decisions about what is most important to us. But Jesus did teach Martha an important lesson about making the most of opportunities to hear from God.
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11:1

It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His a disciples said to Him, ―Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples .‖ 2 And He said to them, ―When you pray, say: b ‗Father, hallowed be Your name .
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11:1 It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, ―Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.‖ This was Jesus‘ common practice. Those who sat at His feet would certainly benefit from this vital part of life that John took the time to teach his disciples. The pattern for prayer is very similar to the one given in Matthew six during the Sermon on the Mount. There is no good reason to think that this is Luke‘s record of that same event. This is the same pattern repeated in a different setting at the end of Jesus‘ ministry. b 11:2 He said to them, ―When you pray, say: ‗Father, hallowed be Your name.‖ Jesus did disappoint them. This was a request He could answer. While this is a condensed version of The pattern taught in Matthew, the substance is very close. This makes even group praying personal. We call God our Father. You can certainly start your prayers with the words ―Almighty God‖ and still be personal, but he has invited us to call him Father. You can certainly use the word ―Father‖ in reciting prayers without being touched at how intimate you can be with him. But our attention deficits do not discount the powerful reality that the creator of the universe invites his people to call him ―Father.‖ We do not call on the monster-like creatures worshipped by the pagans. He is our Father and as such we have access to him. The prayers of pagans are impersonal like these:
We worship the three-eyed One (Lord Siva) Who is fragrant and Who nourishes well all beings; may He liberate us from death for the sake of immortality even as the cucumber is severed from its bondage (to the creeper). (Hindu) I prostrate myself before the five-faced Lord of Parvati, who is adorned with various ornaments, who shines like the crystal jewel, who is seated peacefully in the lotus pose, with moon-crested crown, with three eyes, wearing trident, thunderbolt, sword and axe on the right side, who holds the serpent, noose, bell, damaru and spear on the left side, and who gives protection from all fear to His devotees. (Hindu)

We do not call a distant deity who is like the angry ruler needing to be appeased.
Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest. There is none worthy of worship save Allah. I have turned my full attention towards him who has created the heavens and the earth being ever inclined towards him and I am not among those who associate partners with Allah. (Muslim)

We go straight to the top, to the Father of life itself. Our prayers are not horizontal wishes on our fellow creatures:
By the power and the truth of this practice, may all beings have happiness, and the causes of happiness. May all be free from sorrow, and the causes of sorrow. May all never be separated from the sacred happiness which is sorrowless. And may all live in equanimity, without too much attachment and too much aversion, And live believing in the equality of all that lives. (Buddhist)

We do not pray to multiple deities or to saints and angels. The Lord is one Lord. He is our Father. The Heidelberg catechism teaches it this way:
Question 120. Why has Christ commanded us to address God thus: "Our Father"? Answer: That immediately, in the very beginning of our prayer, he might excite in us a childlike reverence for, and confidence in God, which are the foundation of our prayer: namely, that God is become our Father in Christ, and will much less deny us what we ask of him in true faith, than our parents will refuse us earthly things. (a) The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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(a) Matt.7:9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Matt.7:10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? Matt.7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Luke 11:11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Luke 11:12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

The fatherhood of God is not first taught in this text. Look at some of the foundational Old Testament texts for what Jesus taught about the fatherhood of God:
Do you thus repay the LORD, O foolish and unwise people? Is not He your Father who has bought you? He has made you and established you. Deuteronomy 32:6 For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us and Israel does not recognize us You, O LORD, are our Father, Our Redeemer from of old is Your name. Isaiah 63:16 Then I said, ―How I would set you among My sons and give you a pleasant land, the most beautiful inheritance of the nations!‖ And I said, ―You shall call Me, ‗My Father,‘ and not turn away from following Me.‖ Jeremiah 3:19

Embracing the fatherhood of God becomes packed with biblical meaning when we put it in the context of prayer. If God is our father:  He is responsible to care for us. That is what Jesus pointed out about the character of the Father in Matthew 7:11. He said, "if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!"  He loves us.  He counsels us.  He disciplines us.  He acts in our best interests.  He demonstrates his power for us.  He gives us what is his.  He gives us our identity. Jesus told us to ―hallow‖ or ―sanctify‖ the Father‘s name in prayer. That means we tell him his name is holy or ―set apart.‖ He is holy because there is no one like him in character or in deeds.
Who is like You among the gods, O LORD? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders? Exodus 15:11 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. Psalm 103:1-5

His name is hallowed because he gets his way. Jesus asked the Father to glorify his name.
Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ―Father, save Me from this hour‖? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name. Then a voice came out of heaven: "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." John 12:27-28

The troubled pagans on the boat with Jonah cried out to their lifeless gods, but the persecuted Church in Jerusalem hallowed the name of the living God. They cried out for help.
And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, "O Lord, it is You who MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA, AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM…And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:24, 31

The name of God is hallowed when his people suffer shame for it. Peter and John were satisfied that their beating was because of the character of their Savior.
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Your kingdom come . 3 b Give us each day our daily bread . 4 And forgive us our sins, c For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us . d e And lead us not into temptation .‘‖ 5 Then He said to them, ―Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and f 6 says to him, ‗Friend, lend me three loaves ; for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, g 7 and I have nothing to set before him ‘; and from inside he answers and says, ‗Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you h 8 anything .‘ "I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his i friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs .

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So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. Acts 5:41
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11:2 Your kingdom come. This petition expressed a willingness to do God‘s moral will and a submissiveness to watch with satisfaction as He carries out His decrees in creation and providence. b 11:3 Give us each day our daily bread. This points us back to the manna God provided in the wilderness. That place had nothing to offer God‘s people but they had everything they needed from Him. c 11:4 forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. The fellowship we have with God is dependent to the fellowship we have with each other. d 11:4 And lead us not into temptation. This is a simple plea for protection. e 11:1-4 Notice that Luke includes this instruction on prayer right after Martha was corrected for not prioritizing time spent at the feet of Jesus. Here are five reasons why you should learn to pray like Jesus taught His disciples: 1. It makes you view God properly. He is the Father. He is holy. 2. It keeps you from treating God like a vending machine. This is not a way to get what you want from Him but a way to bring yourself in line with Him. 3. It makes you always dependent. That is not a good thing unless your constant dependence is on your Master. 4. It reminds you that horizontal relationships affect your vertical relationship. 5. It shows you that you can ask for anything. It does not bother Him if you ask for safe passage through life in a world that rarely offers it. As long as you are asking for deliverance in the context of saying, ―Your will be done,‖ you honor Him.
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11:5 Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‗Friend, lend me three loaves.‘ Midnight does not seem that late to many of us. Putting this into a first century context, however, regular people were sound asleep at midnight. That sound sleep sets the scene of this parable. g 11:6 a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him. The man at the door of his sleeping friend is not asking for something out of selfishness. He wanted to show hospitality to someone in need. That was not only a cultural norm. It was a command of God. h 11:7 Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything. The man in the house has a number of good reasons to stay right where he is. The picture Jesus paints is a small house where the entire family is sleeping in one area. To disrupt that order to get a light and start looking for food would have disturbed the entire household. i 11:8 he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. Remember that Jesus is not saying His Father is just like that reluctant neighbor. The main point is not that the neighbor is kind. It is not that the guy who needs bread is manipulative. The point is that your Father wants
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"So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be a 10 opened to you . For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who b 11 knocks, it will be opened . Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will c 12 not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he ? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him d 13 a scorpion, will he ? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how e f much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him ?‖

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you to ask and He is much more generous than even the kindest neighbor would be. Read on to see that. The word ―persistence‖ contains the word translated ―modesty‖ in 1 Timothy 2:9, but it has a negative prefix. You could say the fellow in the parable was ―shameless‖ in his request. This is not vain repetition. It is begging. The last written words of the reformer Martin Luther summarized the nature of God and the condition of man: ―We are beggars. This is true.‖ The apparent softness of God toward those who continue to pursue Him after being seemingly pushed away encourages us not to run from Him when we do not understand Him. Some biblical examples of this kind of persistence:  Abraham reasoning with ―the angel‖ about Sodom  Jacob wrestling with ―the angel‖ (Genesis ___  Moses interceding for Israel when God told him He was aboutto destroy the nation ____  The Gentile woman reasoning that even dogs get scraps (Mark 7:24-29)  Luke 18:1-8 a 11:9 ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. You could translate this, ―Keep asking…keep seeking…keep knocking.‖ This does not mean that God never says ―no‖ or ―wait.‖ You cannot interpret the end of this text without remembering the first part. b 11:10 everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. God gives to those who humble themselves and ask for what they need. c 11:11 suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Lest any misunderstand, this is not a parable about a God who does not really want to give. Do you think of God as a miserly old rich guy who needs to be manipulated out of His good gifts? God is not the grumpy friend at midnight but the Father Who gives good gifts to His children. d 11:12 Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? Notice that in both these instances the child asked for something good. e 11:13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him? This is the contrast. Even a sleepy friend will help you if you if you keep knocking. Even a sinful father gives his children food. How much more the One who is the giver of all good gifts? Is Jesus being too harsh on the disciples? No. This is a window to the truthful way Jesus views men. This statement connects the work of the Holy Spirit with prayer. In fact you can clearly see all three persons of the Trinity involved with prayer in this text. Some have tried to make this prove that the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit has to be prayed down. But there is a command in Ephesians 5:18 to be filled with the Holy Spirit. That command was given to those who already possess the Holy Spirit. The issues is that needy people have as their greatest need the work of God the Spirit. Have you considered that you can experience more of Him? Have you considered that He is your power when you pray? f 11:5-13 There are things God wants His children to have. He really is eager to give. Do you believe that? Here are some of the things you must learn as Jesus teaches you to pray like John taught his disciples: 1. Learn that praying is about a relationship. Do you have a relationship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit?
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And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute; when the demon had gone out, the a 15 mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed . But some of them said, ―He casts out b 16 demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons .‖ Others, to test Him, were demanding of Him a c 17 d sign from heaven . But He knew their thoughts and said to them, ―Any kingdom divided against 18 itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls. If Satan also is divided against e 19 himself, how will his kingdom stand ? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. And if I f by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out ? So they will be your g 20 judges . But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon h 21 you . When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are 2. Learn what kind of things God wants to give you. Here you go back to the pattern for prayer Jesus gave here. It started with worship and a willingness to submit to His kingdom. Then Jesus taught His disciples to ask for bread, forgiveness and a quiet life. 3. Learn to see God as eager to give you what you ask. This text is more about the character of your Father than a promise that He will give you what you want if you whine enough. If you are to have what you ask it is because He is who He is not because you pray the way you pray. 4. Learn to see yourself as a beggar. Persistence is not a violation of the command to say, ―Your will be done.‖
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11:14 He was casting out a demon, and it was mute; when the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed. This particular demon had created a physical impairment that would have been a real burden. Matthew tells us the man was also blind. The language of the verse tells us that the demon itself was ―mute.‖ You could joke about the benefits of not being able to speak, but consider the torment on this man. It is just like the devil to inflict this kind of torture. The man could not sing or verbally praise God so that others could hear. He could not tell His wife or children, ―I love you.‖ He could not even cry out for help when he was in trouble or warn others of trouble. b 11:15 He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons. Mark 3:20-22 records another instance (I place that one early in Jesus‘ earthly ministry) of men accusing Jesus of casting out demons with demonic power. Matthew 12:22-32 chronicles the same event as Luke. Here is a frontal assault on the Lord that brought about Jesus‘ sternest rebuke of His ministry. Matthew‘s account shows us that we have not left the discussion of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 12:31-32 says that attributing the work of Jesus to Satan is an unpardonable sin. This ―god of dung‖ or ―lord of the flies‖ was evidently considered a powerful being by the Canaanite pagans. The Jews, viewing idols as mere images backed by demons (a biblical notion, 1 Corinthians 10:19-20), gave the name Beelzebul to the commander of the demons. c 11:16 Others, to test Him, were demanding of Him a sign from heaven. Here is a second attack that is somewhat more subtle than the first. These people were skeptical (as the next verse reveals) and told Him that the burden of proof was on His ability to do something miraculous. This seems to me an odd request, since Jesus had already performed many miracles—including the exorcism just performed. d 11:17 He knew their thoughts. Jesus did lay aside the use of some of His divine attributes some of the time, but here He made use of His omniscience. e 11:17-18 Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? This is a simple statement of fact. How could a ruler increase his strength by destroying his strength? f 11:19 For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. And if I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? Jewish exorcists who, like would-be counselors, sought any methods at their disposal to cast out demons (including pronouncing the name of Jesus, Acts 19:13-17). So Jesus asks by what authority their own heroes did this work. g 11:19 So they will be your judges. Jesus reasoned that the Jewish exorcists should not be praised if the power to cast out demons is itself demonic. h 11:20 But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. The Jews asked for a sign. What better sign of His kingdom authority could Jesus
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undisturbed . But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes b 23 away from him all his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder . He who is not c with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters . 24 When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, d 25 and not finding any, it says, ‗I will return to my house from which I came .‘ And when it comes, it e 26 finds it swept and put in order . Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than f itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first .‖

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have given? He overpowered and threw out the most powerful soldiers of the current regime. When God steps into history you know it. The picture of God‘s fingers (called an anthropomorphism) is used elsewhere of times when God made Himself known. The ten commandments were written by ―the finger of God‖ (Exodus 31:18; Deuteronomy 9:10). When Pharaoh‘s magicians could not match God‘s plague of gnats they told Pharaoh, ―This is the finger of God‖ (Exodus 8:19). David called creation the work of God‘s fingers (Psalm 8:3). You cannot see God because He is spirit, but events like this have His fingerprints all over them. Matthew‘s account (12:28) has it, ―…cast out demons by the Spirit of God…‖ This fits what Jesus teaches elsewhere about the work of the Holy Spirit. You cannot see Him but you can see what He does (see John 3:8). a 11:21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed. Some translations says ―palace‖ instead of house. The word refers to the enclosed open area around a house and is used, according to Strong’s Lexicon, of both rural sheepfolds and the courts of the Jerusalem temple. This context points to a man watching over his property. It is a natural thing for a man to serve not only as the provider for his household but also their protector. b 11:22 when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder. The word ―relied‖ could be translated ―trusted.‖ Enemies are in the business of plotting ways to overpower or outflank you. Eventually the best defense you have will fail. Your only hope is to have the ultimate power as your protector. c 11:23 He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters. The word ―gather‖ comes from a word that is used in the New Testament for harvesting grain, netting fish and drawing crowds. The sanctified collecting of souls is here contrasted with those who oppose the work of Christ. There is only one ruler in this harvest. Any other is like a person who tips over the grain carts. This is the complement to what Jesus said back in chapter nine when the disciples wanted to forbid ―outsiders‖ from casting out demons in His name. He told them, ―he who is not against you is for you‖ (Luke 9:50). Those who cast out demons in Jesus‘ name were doing the work of the kingdom. Those who opposed His work of overpowering the kingdom of darkness (like the religious leaders here) set themselves on the wrong side of the King. There can be no neutrality. d 11:24 When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‗I will return to my house from which I came.‘ Demons do appear to seek isolation (―waterless‖ or ―deserted‖), but at least some demons also crave embodiment. Compare this to Luke 8:26-39. e 11:25 And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. Order is a good thing, but emptiness is not. What is missing from this house? What did Jesus just say about prayer (Luke 11:13)? You need the Holy Spirit living at your house or any order you create is useless. f 11:26 Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. Jewish exorcists may have been successful at cleaning out demons, but nature and the spirit world both abhor a vacuum. Expelling the rule of the devil from a ―house‖ is only temporary if the true Ruler does not take up residence.
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While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and a 28 said to Him, ―Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed .‖ But He b c said, ―On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it .‖ 29 As the crowds were increasing, He began to say, ―This generation is a wicked generation; d 30 it seeks for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah . For just as Jonah
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11:27 one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, ―Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.‖ What a joy it would have been for Mary to have a child who was perfectly obedient. The woman thought the blessing of Jesus‘ mother (though she probably did not know Mary) must have been great. b 11:28 On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it. John Calvin pointed out that this woman was expressing joy over something she could never share. Jesus corrected her. She could have a greater blessedness than even being chosen as the mother of Messiah. This is something Jesus says again and again. You are very vulnerable to attack when you are ignorant of what God has said. You are even more vulnerable when you have a great knowledge of Scripture but fail to do what it says (James 1:22-27). c 11:14-28 Three kinds of ―house‖ are presented in this text. The first is a kingdom. The second is a man‘s own home. The third is the body. What they have in common is that they will be ruled. Three questions that tell you who rules at your house: 1. Are you submissive to the way the true King is at work? In other words, do you spend a lot of time grumbling at your life circumstances and criticizing others who fail to measure up to your plan? The religious leaders also failed to see the big picture. Jesus was present and He was taking over. They were concerned about losing hold of their way of doing things. 2. Is Christ the head of your home? You cannot get around this application. Men think that bringing home money and having a gun under their pillow will protect their home. There will always be a stronger influence than you until Jesus becomes the Master there. 3. Does your lifestyle evidence the rule of Jesus? A cleaned up life is not evidence by itself that Jesus lives and rules there. Do not content yourself in knowing a lot about the Bible. Do what it says.
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11:29 As the crowds were increasing, He began to say, ―This generation is a wicked generation; it seeks for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah.‖ Why would people want a sign? Because in their minds seeing would be believing. Believing need not depend on seeing. In reality the reason there were to be no signs is that they rejected all the ones they had been given. This is a very sobering commentary on national Israel. People did not understand Jesus. They were willingly blind. He spoke in parables not to teach them but to judge them. Like that of Jesus, Isaiah‘s commission was to proclaim a message most people would reject:
Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I. Send me!" He said, "Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.' Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed." Isaiah 6:8-10

The earlier sign Jesus offered was the presence of the kingdom of God driving out the kingdom of Satan. They did not see it. There was another sign that was yet to be seen. As Jonah himself served as a witness to the power of God, the crucified and living Christ would be the ultimate sign.
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became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation . The Queen of the South will rise up with the men of this generation at the judgment and condemn them, because b she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon ; and behold, something c 32 greater than Solomon is here . The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, d something greater than Jonah is here . 33 No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on the e 34 lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light . The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of f 35 g 36 darkness . Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness . If therefore your whole body is Everyone in this crowd knew the Jonah story. Great change came to a wicked city when God miraculously rescued Jonah and set him to preaching on the streets of the city. a 11:30 For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. The point Jesus makes is that the nation of Israel had (and would have) greater light than those Ninevites who saw and heard the message of a man delivered from the digestive tract of a great sea creature. Notice that Jesus speaks in future tense here. In Matthew‘s account (Matthew 12:39-40), Jesus uses this sign as a prophecy of His own resurrection. b 11:31 The Queen of the South will rise up with the men of this generation at the judgment and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon. The Queen of the South or ―Sheba‖ came from the region near the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, likely around modern day Yemen or even eastern Ethipoia. First Kings 10 records that this ruler or member of a ruling family was very impressed with Solomon and more with his wisdom. Note her profession of faith in the God of Israel:
Blessed be the LORD your God who delighted in you to set you on the throne of Israel; because the LORD loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness. 1 Kings 10:9

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The queen gave the God of Israel credit for putting Solomon in power. She believed and demonstrated her faith by traveling 1400 miles to see what she already believed. c 11:31 behold, something greater than Solomon is here. The people who heard Jesus heard something much more powerful than anything the Queen of Sheba heard. Jesus was greater than Solomon. d 11:32 The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. In the same way the Queen of Sheba responded to the way God revealed Himself through Solomon, the pagans in Nineveh turned from their sins in the presence of Jonah. Jesus was greater than Jonah. It is much harder to reach those who are moral and think they are fine than those who are openly immoral and in great despair over their immorality. Note that the picture here is a Hebrew court where at least two witnesses are required to establish facts (Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15). God is the judge. ―This generation‖ is the accused and the queen and the people of Nineveh are the witnesses. e 11:33 No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on the lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. We locate lights in places where they will illumine the maximum quantity of space. They are useless if we hide them. There are no special tricks to interpreting the light/darkness metaphor here. It is universally understandable if you say, ―I‘m still in the dark here.‖ We all know that you are talking about your understanding. So it is with the message of our Lord here. So Jesus is saying that the eye of understanding is something you definitely do not want to get along without. f 11:34 The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness. The location and brightness of a lamp determines how much of a room will be seen. Your ability to ―see‖ the truth determines how much truth you will absorb. g 11:35 Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness. This is a warning like the one Jesus gave in Luke 8:18. He tells the listeners what he told others: Pay attention!
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full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with a b its rays .‖ 37 Now when He had spoken, a Pharisee asked Him to have lunch with him; and He went in, c 38 and reclined at the table . When the Pharisee saw it, he was surprised that He had not d 39 first ceremonially washed before the meal . But the Lord said to him, ―Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but inside of you, you are full of robbery and e 40 f wickedness . You foolish ones, did not He who made the outside make the inside also ? 41 g But give that which is within as charity, and then all things are clean for you .

John 9 is another great example of the way Jesus used physical sight as a metaphor for spiritual sight. a 11:36 If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays. When you listen, you will ―see.‖ You are putting the lamp in its right place and the pieces will fit together. It should be a comfort when you see the danger you are in because of your sin. Only then can you see the way out. b 11:29-36 What are some of the difficult sayings of Jesus? Why do some continue to follow Him even when they still do not understand all He says? We could ask likewise why we can still lose things in broad daylight. You do have a responsibility having heard this. 1. Be repentant. That distinguishes the ―wicked generation‖ from pagans like those in Nineveh and the Queen of Sheba. 2. Be warned that you are witness to something more condemning than signs and wonders. 3. Be attentive. 4. Be sure you are walking in the light. There is a reason we are told to make our calling and election sure. Jesus did this in this text. 5. Be comforted when you see your sinfulness.
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11:37 Now when He had spoken, a Pharisee asked Him to have lunch with him; and He went in, and reclined at the table. Jesus was very critical of the attitudes of the Pharisees (as you will soon see), but He did not shun them. The way He stood out in social settings gave Him an opportunity to teach. The language allows that the meal mentioned here could have been breakfast (same word used of the breakfast Jesus prepared in John 21:12, 15), although no modern translations reflect that word meaning. Since hospitality was considered a cardinal virtue and hosting honored teachers of particular value, it was only fitting that this man would invite Jesus to share a meal, perhaps after morning prayers. d 11:38 When the Pharisee saw it, he was surprised that He had not first ceremonially washed before the meal. The issue to the host was not one of personal hygiene, but washing according to the rules of the Pharisees. The word translated ―ceremonially washed‖ is literally baptized here. Washings were a part of biblical commands to Israel (Genesis 18:4; Exodus 29:4; Leviticus 15:5; Deuteronomy 21:6), but by Jesus‘ day the rabbis had hyper-defined what one had to do in order to wash properly. e 11:39 But the Lord said to him, ―Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but inside of you, you are full of robbery and wickedness.‖ This is a very good word picture, particularly at a meal. Jesus chose robbery and wickedness to describe the kind of filth that was inside the Pharisees. f 11:40 You foolish ones, did not He who made the outside make the inside also? The argument of Jesus is impeccable. He points back to creation itself. God made souls as well as bodies. If you believe there is more to people than what you see, the invisible part is just as real as the visible. g 11:41 But give that which is within as charity, and then all things are clean for you. The word ―charity‖ means mercy or pity. When the inside of you comes out as mercy you cannot help but have very attractive outsides.
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But woe to you Pharisees ! For you pay tithe of mint and rue and every kind of garden herb, b and yet disregard justice and the love of God ; but these are the things you should have done c 43 without neglecting the others . Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the chief seats in the d 44 synagogues and the respectful greetings in the market places . Woe to you! For you are like e f concealed tombs, and the people who walk over them are unaware of it .‖ 45 One of the lawyers said to Him in reply, ―Teacher, when You say this, You insult us g 46 too .‖ But He said, ―Woe to you lawyers as well! For you weigh men down with burdens hard to
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11:42 But woe to you Pharisees! Jesus used this kind of language when He wished to point out the desperate condition of the people He was talking to. To pronounce a ―woe‖ on the Pharisees pointed out how near they were to judgment (see Matthew 23:13-36). Job (10:15) said this of himself at a time of great grief, as did Isaiah (6:5). b 11:42 For you pay tithe of mint and rue and every kind of garden herb, and yet disregard justice and the love of God. Faithful Hebrews gave ten percent of their income back to the work of God, but income looks different when you live in an agrarian society. Garden herbs like those mentioned are not a significant part of a farmer‘s harvest, but the Pharisees were quite meticulous about tithing on everything. Edersheim connects this statement to the meal because the Pharisees counted it a terrible thing to eat anything that had not been tithed. The whole point of giving our resources (outward giving) or our mercy (inward giving) is that it illustrates that God owns every part of us. You can only give away what God already gave you. c 11:42 these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. Jesus did not say they should stop tithing. He said they should do it for the right reason. d 11:43 you love the chief seats in the synagogues and the respectful greetings in the market places. Those who cultivate the external to the exclusion of the internal find great satisfaction when they are praised for their efforts. e 11:44 Woe to you! For you are like concealed tombs, and the people who walk over them are unaware of it. Concealed tombs might bring ceremonial defilement (contact with death) and were avoided by those who valued temple worship. This is the metaphor Jesus used to describe the Pharisees. The Pharisees were as deceptive as whitewashed graves and were to be avoided. f 11:37-44 You may have grown up in a setting where 1 Thessalonians 5:22 was quoted and you were told that you should not do things if it makes you look evil. Legalists are more afraid of appearing evil than being evil. So in that setting there are a lot of behavioral practices and taboos that are not in the Bible. This is the kind of people Jesus addresses here. If you find yourself taking comfort that at least these people are outwardly moral, you are missing the point Jesus makes here. He is not encouraging outward sin. He is saying that it is dangerous to have a faith that is primarily external. In this He pronounces a woe on cults and much of modern Christian fundamentalism. Jesus reserved His harshest words for religious people. Why legalism is a danger to you: 1. Because these people are socially acceptable. Jesus was having breakfast with one. They are the kind of people who do not do embarrassing things in front of your children, but Jesus condemned them in the strongest possible language. 2. Because externalism is soul-condemning. It makes you neglect more important matters, like sin, the cross and the new life. 3. Because it makes you a danger to others. When you spend your energy and emotions on making people around you comply with rules that are not in the Bible you miss the whole reason Jesus came. You would rather look good than be good.
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11:45 One of the lawyers said to Him in reply, ―Teacher, when You say this, You insult us too.‖ We are still at the meal served in the home of the Pharisee. Jesus has just criticized the Pharisees as a group. Now a lawyer (probably an elite subclass of Bible scholars within the Pharisees) says he was made to feel guilty by Jesus‘ words. The word ―insult‖ means to mistreat. The law certainly defined ―love your neighbor as yourself,‖ but always in the context of honoring God. Leave it to a selfish man who had mastered the law of Moses to use the law to his own ends and behave like a personal injury attorney.
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bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers . Woe to b 48 you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and it was your fathers who killed them . So you are witnesses and approve the deeds of your fathers; because it was they who killed them, and c 49 you build their tombs . For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‗I will send to them d 50 and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute , so that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this e 51 generation , from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar f 52 and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation .‘ Woe to

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11:46 Woe to you lawyers as well! For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers. Jesus did not say, ―Oh, I‘m sorry if I‘ve offended you.‖ He pronounced a woe on the lawyers (see note on 11:42) and continued describing more symptoms of their guilt. Jesus uses hyperbole, contrasting a servant carrying a large parcel and a master unwilling to touch it. This would be like insisting your children maintain a sugar-free diet while you gorge yourself on desserts. The lawyers did not practice what they preached. J.C. Ryle said, ―In a word, they had one set of measures and weights for their hearers, and another set for their own souls.‖ This is one of the marks of modern day cults and some television ministers. Their performance-based systems put rigid requirements on their disciples that they themselves cannot keep. b 11:47 For you build the tombs of the prophets, and it was your fathers who killed them. Honoring the dead has always been a practice of civilized cultures. Jesus did not criticize the practice. He pointed out its hypocrisy among those who would have been part of the plots had they been there. It is not only Jews who share this guilt. Claims to racial superiority are not legitimate when you look at your own ancestry honestly. We all come from the same stock. c 11:48 So you are witnesses and approve the deeds of your fathers; because it was they who killed them, and you build their tombs. This may be a reference to the way they viewed John and the way they treated Jesus. John and Jesus preached the same message the prophets preached, calling Israel to repent. In our day this would be like identifying with historic figures John Wesley, John Calvin or Martin Luther yet abandoning the God-centered message and lifestyle they preached. d 11:49 For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ―I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute.‖ This is not a direct a quotation from Scripture, but it is a regular message in the Bible. See a similar charge in Jesus‘ parable of the landowner (Matthew 21:33-46). e 11:50 so that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may charged against this generation. So the guilt of the prophets could be charged to that generation because they behaved the same way in response to the same message. Stephen said the same thing just before they killed him:
You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it. Acts 7:51-53
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11:51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation. This sermon could be titled ―Martyrdom from A to Z‖ if Jesus had been speaking English. The murder of Abel, the faithful man killed by his own brother, is recorded in Genesis 4. He is a representative of God‘s kind of righteousness. Zechariah was martyred near the end of the period in which the Hebrew Scriptures were written. Jesus did not speak here of the murder of Zechariah son of Jehoiada (2 Chronicles 24:20-21). Matthew‘s account of this message calls him the son of Berechiah (23:35). The murder in not recorded in Scripture, this is the prophet who wrote the second-to-the-last book in your
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you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and a you hindered those who were entering .‖ 53 When He left there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to be very hostile and to question b 54 c d Him closely on many subjects , plotting against Him to catch Him in something He might say .

Hebrew Bible. These martyrs are the bookends of all the unjust executions of faithful men in the Hebrew Scriptures. a 11:52 Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering. The word ―key‖ is used six times in the New Testament:  The keys of the kingdom (Matthew 16:19)  The key of knowledge (here)  The keys of death and Hades (Revelation 1:18)  The key of David (Revelation 3:7)  The key of the bottomless pit (Revelation 9:1)  The key of the abyss (Revelation 20:1) The word ―key‖ is used as a metaphor in each New Testament occurrence. Notice that the knowledge here is something to be ―entered.‖ Luke records this word for ―knowledge‖ coming from the mouth of Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, when he prophesied the knowledge of salvation and forgiveness John would deliver. So Jesus is saying that the lawyers, with all their knowledge, were keeping souls from the kingdom. b 11:53 When He left there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to be very hostile and to question Him closely on many subjects. If you ever have to confront someone about his anger, there is one quick way to find out if there is any basis for your rebuke. He gets angry. Luke uses more than one word to describe the hostility or grudge the religious leaders held against Jesus. The adjective translated ―very‖ means terribly. The ―questioning‖ was a type of interrogation—an angry version of the type of rote catechizing a teacher would have given a pupil. c 11:54 plotting against Him to catch Him in something He might say. When you are determined to find something wrong with someone you will find it—even if you have to create the problem. d 11:45-54 Some people have the ability to make you feel guilty even when you did not do anything wrong. Just the opposite is happening here. The only way the people Jesus addressed at this meal would understand the cross was to help them understand their own guilt. Jesus used the martyrdom of the men who first preached the cross as an illustration. He showed that these religious leaders, because they went about to establish their own righteousness, were as guilty of the murder of God‘s representatives as those who held the weapons. What is even more difficult for you may be to understand that you stand under the same condemnation. Questions to ask yourself that uncover your guilt in the murder of the prophets: 1. What behaviors do you expect in others that you yourself do not do? This shows that you reject the standard God has set for you in the Scriptures. That is why God‘s representatives have been martyred. 2. What sins do you publicly hate and secretly love? The real issue with the murderers of the prophets was usually not that they refused to honor God with their lips. They became angry because the message of the prophets revealed that their hearts were far from Him. 3. Are you standing in the way of people who need to hear the truth? The worst thing that can happen to someone who is very stagnant and self-satisfied in their faith is to see new believers who have genuine love for God and His word. These ―little ones‖ (as Jesus calls them) serve as a reminder that there is something wrong with the old timers. 4. Does the truth about you make you angry? Clue number one that the truth is landing where it needs to land is that the target of the truth gets angry.
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12:1

Under these circumstances, after so many thousands of people had gathered together that a they were stepping on one another , He began saying to His disciples first of all, ―Beware of the b 2 leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy . But there is nothing covered up that will not be c 3 revealed, and hidden that will not be known . Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed d upon the housetops . 4 ―I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no e 5 more that they can do . But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, f 6 has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him ! Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? g 7 Yet not one of them is forgotten before God . Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all h numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows .
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12:1 Under these circumstances, after so many thousands of people had gathered together that they were stepping on one another. Do not miss this picture. Jesus went from confronting a few Pharisees in a home to a setting where He warned thousands to avoid the sins of those Pharisees. You do not find crowds stepping on one another unless there is an attraction they share. In a large city this might be a bus or train. In sports or entertainment this could be entrance to an arena. Here the attraction was Jesus. Certainly the tension between Jesus and the religious leaders was growing thick. People must have wonder what was going on in the home Jesus entered. b 12:1 He began saying to His disciples first of all, ―Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.‖ Matthew (16:6, 11) records Jesus giving a similar warning. Leaven or yeast usually pictures sin in Scripture. That is why the Jews were to clean the leaven from their homes in preparation for Passover (Exodus 12:15). In the right environment yeast spreads quickly through a lump of dough. Jesus is saying that hypocrisy spreads quickly. c 12:2 there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. There appears to be an abrupt transition from the warning about hypocrisy to a discussion of our personal secrets coming out. It would be very hard to understand what Jesus is talking about if these words were not followed by references to the judgment of God. We are a very security conscious culture. We do not want others to access our email messages, our financial information or even our phone numbers. Jesus says ultimately that will not be possible. d 12:3 whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops. This is full disclosure. Every secret of your life will be on display at God‘s judgment. So powerful people here do not seem so powerful when you realize what God knows. e 12:4 My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. Jesus is not saying that death is okay. It is unnatural for creatures made in God‘s image and therefore we should never grow accustomed to it. Jesus is saying that humans who kill you can do no more after you are dead. There is something worse… f 12:5 I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! There is a fate worse than death. Jesus says there is something worse than persecution and martyrdom. Worse than dying is spending eternity in hell. The word ―hell‖ (gehenna) is a reference to the Valley of Hinnom south of Jerusalem that was used in Old Testament days for the worship of the god Molech which involved child sacrifice. King Josiah turned it into a garbage dump (2 Kings 23:10). Jesus used this place of continual burning as a metaphor for eternal punishment that awaits the enemies of God. g 12:6 Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Sparrows were food for poor people. They were plentiful and cheap, but Jesus says that their inventory is in God‘s books. Matthew‘s account of this same message says, ―Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father‖ (Matthew 10:29). h 12:7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. God knows everything, including every one of your 100,000
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―And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him 9 also before the angels of God; but he who denies Me before men will be denied before the a 10 angels of God . And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven b 11 him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him . When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what c 12 you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say ; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in d e that very hour what you ought to say .‖ 13 Someone in the crowd said to Him, ―Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance f 14 a 15 with me .‖ But He said to him, ―Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you ?‖ Then hairs. He has never had to learn anything. He knows when you think bad thoughts and He knows when you are doing what is right and suffering for it. The point of this statement is not to give Bible teachers an opportunity to make a joke about baldness. It was given in the immediate context to comfort those who would fall into disfavor with religious hypocrites. a 12:8-9 I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God; but he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God. The ultimate test for a disciple is to face death for refusing to turn from the faith. Jesus calls His followers prepare for just such an event. b 12:10 everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him. Jesus had warned the religious leaders (Matthew 12:31-32) that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is an unpardonable sin. In that context the religious leaders were attributing the works of the Holy Spirit to the devil. c 12:11 When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say. This pictures both religious and secular persecution. Earthly judgments for God‘s friends are no sweat compared to the final judgment for God‘s enemies. d 12:12 the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say. This does not mean that pastors need not study for sermons. Remember the warning about denying Jesus before men in verses eight and nine. This is hope for those in that extremity. Some have coined a phrase called ―dying grace.‖ Many cults that use the Bible claim that a Trinitarian understanding of God is foreign to the Bible. Texts like this casually point out the work of all three persons of the Trinity. The Father will not treat as a light thing those who deny the Son or blaspheme the Spirit. We must confess the Son. We will be instructed by the Holy Spirit. We will stand before the Father. e 12:1-12 This conversation turns into a comfort but it does not start that way. The only way you see God as your greatest refuge is to see Him as your greatest terror. You will face a horrible fate without God‘s favor. Trouble is that the sin of hypocrisy results from putting men and their opinions on a pedestal. Proverbs 29:25 says that the fear of man is a ―snare.‖ Why? Because it makes you stand in awe of people more than you stand in awe of God.  You are afraid that people will find out how dumb you are.  You are afraid that people will find out how fat you are.  You are afraid that people will find out how poor you are.  You are afraid that people will find out how wealthy you are.  You are afraid that people will find out about that dark secret from your past. Here are some ways you can fight against the fear of man: 1. Stop pretending you have something that impresses God. 2. Rehearse the awesomeness of God. 3. Respond to the love of God. 4. Publicly confess your faith in God.
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12:13 Someone in the crowd said to Him, ―Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.‖ This could have bee a squabble over any number of issues, but likely it had something to do with the birthright (Genesis 25, 27). In Israel an older brother would have
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He said to them, ―Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed ; for not even when c 16 a one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions .‖ And He told them a parable ,

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received a double inheritance and took on the extra responsibilities of being the head of the family. Whether this man was asking for his biblical ―fair‖ share or for an unbiblical ―equal‖ share is not the issue here, as Jesus explains. a 12:14 Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you? Jesus is not saying that it is okay for brothers to cheat one another. Israel had courts to deal with such matters. There is a more urgent matter Jesus needed to address. This is similar to Paul‘s instruction in 1 Corinthians 6. Church members were taking each other to court. The bigger issue was the root cause of the conflict. Paul said they had already lost even before the courts made any decision (1 Corinthians 6:7). b 12:15 Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed. Remember that Jesus said ―beware‖ regarding hypocrisy earlier in this message (12:1). Now He warns against another heinous sin. It would be accurate to say that no level of sin is overlooked by God. As James 2:10 explains, if you break one commandment you have broken them all. This has led some people to think that we should respond to all sin equally—often a call to ignore rather than discipline those who commit certain offenses. Are there degrees of sin? Consider this. Every sin shows us to be fallen short of God‘s glory but some are a greater assault on His glory. A husband who never helps with dishes and a husband who carouses with other women both show themselves short of the mark of husbandly perfection, but one of them has engaged in a horrible assault on his wife and his marriage. How much more those who communicate with their material gluttony that the Lord is not their shepherd? Consider how certain sins assault a holy God more than others:  Jesus placed the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit in the most extreme category of sin (Luke 12:10).  Jesus said that those who devoured widows‘ houses would find greater damnation (Matthew 23:14)  Jesus said that those who cause little ones to sin will be judged with particular harshness (Luke 17:1-2).  Jesus pronounced woes on those cities that heard the truth from His lips and saw (Luke 10:13).  Jesus equated anger with murder and lust with adultery, but the consequences of external sins are certainly greater on an earthly level (1 Corinthians 6:18).  John said that there is sin that leads to death (1 John 5:16).  Paul told the Corinthians that the church should separate from professing believers who commit certain sins:
I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler--not even to eat with such a one. 1 Corinthians 5:9-11

So greed is in a special class of sins. Paul put it this way:
Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. Colossians 3:5 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:10
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12:15 not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions. The word ―life‖ used here is zoe, often used of eternal life found in Christ (John 3:16). There is a kind of life (bios) that does consist of possessions. Jesus is just saying that there is zoe to be had even while you are surrounded with bios.
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saying, ―The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself , 18 saying, ‗What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?‘ Then he said, ‗This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my c 19 goods . And I will say to my soul, ―Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; d 20 take your ease, eat, drink and be merry .‖‘ But God said to him, ‗You fool! This very night your e 21 soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared ?‘ So is the man f g 22 who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God .‖ And He said to His disciples,
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12:16 He told them a parable. This is a lesson rather than a true story, but it is a story that has been lived out many times. b 12:17 he began reasoning to himself. The word here is the source of our word dialogue. The man was talking to himself. Jesus did not picture a crazy man, but someone like us. We talk to ourselves all the time, though not necessarily out loud. This parable is a window to the soul of an imaginary man who is very much like real men. c 12:18 I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. Why would a successful farmer want to bigger storage facilities? One possible reason would be to control grain prices by holding back a bumper crop from the market. He presumed that he could sell at a future date and get the price he wanted. Notice also that he wanted a place to store his ―goods.‖ d 12:19 Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry. This is the self-talk of extreme pride. It presumes that there is plenty of time and that things will continue as they are now. It is the self-talk of the hedonist—the man who lives for himself and for pleasure. His thoughts are for the here-and-now rather than the hereafter. But we have no guarantees of prosperity in a sin-cursed world. e 12:20 God said to him, ‗You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?‘ God gives very stern warnings against you and me about calling people fools or idiots. Such angry attacks are proud and murderous. But God is the only just an accurate judge. Only fools makes plans as if God‘s plans are irrelevant. James (who surely heard his brother say all this) reinforced the truth of the brevity of life and the need to live our days before the face of God when he said:
Come now, you who say, ―Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.‖ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.‖ James 4:13-15
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12:21 So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. The person who is ―rich toward God‖ is the opposite of the person who is rich toward earth. Jesus put it this way in another text:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

Bishop J.C. Ryle, commenting on this text, said:
Let us pray for rich men. Their souls are in great danger. "Heaven," said a great man on his death-bed, "is a place to which few kings and rich men come." Even when converted, the rich carry a great weight, and run the race to heaven under great disadvantages. The possession of money has a most hardening effect upon the conscience. We never know what we may do when we become rich. "The love of money is the root of all evil. While some have coveted after it, they have erred from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (1 Tim. 6:10.) Poverty has many disadvantages. But riches destroy far more souls than poverty!
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12:13-21 The ―American dream‖ is usually founded on the idea that the best things we can enjoy are in this life. The catechism has been re-written from ―Man‘s primary purpose is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever‖ to ―Man‘s primary purpose is to satisfy his desires and to enjoy life forever.‖ Jesus‘ parable shows how messed up your thinking becomes when you are overcome with greed. Here are some of the thoughts of a greedy man that show up in his life choices:
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―For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your a 23 body, as to what you will put on . For life is more than food, and the body more than b 24 clothing . Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, c 25 and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds . And which of you by d 26 worrying can add a single hour to his life's span ? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, e 27 why do you worry about other matters ? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor

1. I am not among the rich. When you think this way your standard for wealth is what someone else has. You are satisfied until you see what others have that you do not. 2. The biggest matters of life are related to finances. You can tell you this kind of thinking when you listen to conversations about money and measure the emotional energy spent on meeting financial obligations and acquiring wealth. 3. I do not struggle with greed. When you think this way you might assume that only wealthy people sin this way. But greed comes out in the way you hoard food, friends and your personal relaxation time as well as money. 4. Life is better when you have stuff. People who think this way are controlled by their possessions. They store up much treasure on earth to the exclusion of heavenly riches. 5. I have a long life ahead of me. When you think this way you do not have what some have called a ―wartime‖ mentality toward riches. You think there will be plenty of time to enjoy retirement and all the fruit of your investments. 6. I cannot afford to share. When you think this way you look more for ways to create personal security rather than looking for ways to increase the impact of your resources for kingdom purposes.
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12:22 do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. The word translated ―life‖ here is the word commonly translated soul. It stands in contrast to the ―life‖ of verse 15 that is not made up of possessions. Food and clothing are not what Jesus attacks here. It is anxiety over the kind of life that is only momentary. b 12:23 life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. One error of the greedy person is to reduce life to things that can be seen. Consider the Deuteronomy text Jesus quoted when He was very hungry and being tempted by the devil:
You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD. Deuteronomy 8:2-3

The Lord Jesus prioritized God‘s word over fleshly satisfaction when He was tested. God told the nation of Israel in the Deuteronomy text that the hard times in the wilderness displayed the contents their hearts: ―that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.‖ Worry and worship cannot coexist. c 12:24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds. When you see ravens you usually see them eating. Worrying (as we are about to see) does not get them their food. In this illustration Jesus compares people to animals who go through life with apparently no worries. The farmer in Jesus‘ parable thought his biggest need was more storage space. d 12:25 which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life's span? Worrying will never secure your heart‘s desire or prevent what you dread. You might argue that worrying actually shortens the lifespan. e 12:26 If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? You cannot prolong your life an hour by worrying about it, so you know you will not put food on the table by worrying. The stars in the heavens, the hairs on your head and the days of your life are numbered by God. He also knows how to count your calories.
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spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these . But if so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how b 29 much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith ! And do not seek what you will eat and c 30 what you will drink, and do not keep worrying . For all these things the nations of the world d e 31 eagerly seek ; but your Father knows that you need these things . But seek His kingdom, 32 and these things will be added to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen f 33 gladly to give you the kingdom . Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves
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12:27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. The ―lilies‖ referred to here were probably the poppies that grow abundantly in Israel. Such flowers surpass in beauty the best garments worn by a celebrity. The flowers demonstrate God‘s grace. What they are has nothing to do with their own performance. b 12:28 if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! A shortage of faith is demonstrated by those who think God is incapable of acting personally for His people. It is shown in those who fail to see His work all around—even in plants. c 12:29 do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. The word translated ―do not keep worrying‖ is used only here in the New Testament, but its simple meaning is ―to lift up.‖ It was used as a metaphor for people becoming what we call ―worked up.‖ It is difficult for most westerners to relate to worrying about starvation. That does not mean there is no application here. The same principle applies when you worry about your health, about decisions or about what people think of you. It is very natural to get worked up about the things of this life, but followers of our supernatural God have a higher kind of life. d 12:30 all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek. This is not a racist attack on Gentiles. It is a call to God‘s people to have better appetites than pagans. It is no trouble to remain calm in a crisis that has potential to come under your control. But throw in a tragic event that threatens worldly riches and the only people who thrive are those who were born for a higher purpose. C.S. Lewis said:
If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world. -Mere Christianity
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12:30 but your Father knows that you need these things. The mercy and omniscience of God are not just theological concepts. God‘s enemies have often pointed out the tragedies in this world and said that if there is a God, He is either incapable of stopping pain or He doesn‘t care. People who worry call into question God‘s concern and ability to care for His people. Omniscience means something to those who see how much God does to meet needs no one else can understand. f 32 12:31-32 But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. Fear is one of the sins listed here, but notice the way Jesus handled it. He criticized faithlessness, but to the fearful sinner, these are words of comfort. Romans 8:32 says, ―He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?‖ If God did not spare His Son we need not question His grace for everyday needs. God gives us all ―these things‖ and more. He even offers His kingdom—the kingdom where the ruler knows exactly what we need and gives us more than we need. It pleases Him give it to us. ―Gladly‖ is the same word that describes how pleased God is with His Son (Matthew 3:17).That is a different God than a lot of people know. Just think about what God has given His ―little flock.‖ Psalm 23 is one of the best examples:
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.
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money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near 34 a nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 35 b 36 ―Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit . Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to
For His name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
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Worry is a particular evil because it shouts that God is not a sufficient shepherd. When Jesus told us to store up treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21), He communicated that earthly treasure cannot compare. a 12:22-34 We have already observed in this chapter the faulty thinking that accompanies greed. This text adds to that list. Here are some more examples of untrue thinking that uncover hearts that need repentance: 1. I will not have enough if I don‘t hoard things. Ravens do not need barns. You will not have a better life if you acquire more things that promise to make life easier. 2. I know best what I need the very most. God made a pretty good wardrobe choice for the flowers. Psalm 127 communicates that it is vanity to think you can ―build your own house‖:
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Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain. 2 It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep. Psalm 127:1-2

3. I do not think God really wants to give me what I need. The Lord Jesus exposed the character of God here in ways that greedy people most need to see Him. He cares about you. He knows what you need. He is tickled to give you His kingdom when you seek it.        How does this change the way you view the work you do? Is your treasure in the recognition you get at work? Is your treasure in the things that working allows you to buy? Are you pushing your spouse to work more hours so you can have the things you have always wanted? Are you determined to make educational and career plans that will allow you to live the life you have always wanted to live? When you dream about the future, whose dream most concerns you: yours or God‘s? What material possession do you crave the very most? When you get it will you find joy?

This takes you to the gospel because your biggest need is the fellowship with God that comes when you are forgiven. The cross of Christ paves the way for people to have their greatest treasures stored up in heaven.
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12:35 Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. The picture of someone dressed in readiness helps you see the need of it. The words ―be dressed in readiness‖ picture ―girding‖ oneself. No one wants to face an important task improperly attired or ill-equipped to spring into action. You may have the ability to get dressed quickly and in your home you may have light switches that eliminate the need to prepare and light an oil lantern. But even without the limits of
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him when he comes and knocks . Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at b 38 the table, and will come up and wait on them . Whether he comes in the second watch, or even c in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves . 39 ―But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was d 40 coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into . You too, be ready; for the Son e of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect .‖ 41 Peter said, ―Lord, are You addressing this parable to us, or to everyone else as f 42 well ?‖ And the Lord said, ―Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will

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a primitive culture you can still relate to how important it is to be ready for an important guest when you do not know the precise time of his arrival. Compare this ―readiness‖ to the words Jesus had just spoken about becoming rich toward God (12:21). You prepare for the return of the Master by laboring to get rich by heavenly standards. a 12:36 Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. The servants in this picture are not cowering in fear of their master, but are focused on doing what pleases him. The details of a first century wedding may not be as important here as the picture of servants who cannot know the precise time of their master‘s return. We use the word imminent to describe events that are sure to happen and for which we must be prepared. James uses similar language:
You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. James 5:8-9
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12:37 Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them. The call here is to alertness and preparation. Those who are prepared are among the blessed (see the beatitudes in Matthew 5). The irony of these words is that the master girds himself—same word as verse 35—and serves the servants who were waited up to serve him. This parable was a foreshadow of Jesus‘ return as well as the Last Supper when the Lord girded Himself with a towel and washed the disciples‘ feet (John 13). c 12:38 Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves. The second watch lasted until midnight and third until three a.m. This shows that perseverance is in order. The master might return at a late hour when it would be most difficult to stay alert. d 12:39 be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into. Now Jesus changes the metaphor. Just as the servants need to be prepared at any moment to wait on their master, homeowners cannot know when a thief plans to break in. It is not the character of a thief but the unknown time of his arrival that makes this a fitting illustration. Jesus gave John the same picture:
Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame. Revelation 16:15
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12:40 You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect. Whatever brand of eschatology you have bought, it is very difficult to get around the imminence of Christ‘s return. Jesus refers to Himself most frequently by this title that emphasizes His humanity. f 12:41 Peter said, ―Lord, are You addressing this parable to us, or to everyone else as well?‖ Remember that Jesus was speaking to a large crowd. Peter acted as the spokesman, asking what the others may have been thinking. He may have been wondering if the need for readiness was just for the twelve or the whole crowd. The eleven asked a similar question just before the Lord ascended:
So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, ―Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?‖ He said to them, ―It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time ? Blessed is that slave b 44 whom his master finds so doing when he comes . Truly I say to you that he will put him in c 45 charge of all his possessions . But if that slave says in his heart, ‗My master will be a long time in coming,‘ and begins to beat the slaves, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get d 46 drunk ; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour e 47 he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers . And that slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, f 48 will receive many lashes , but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a g flogging, will receive but few . From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; h i and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more .

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witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.‖ Acts 1:6-8
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12:42 Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time? The way Jesus answered Peter‘s question was indirect. It applied to anyone with the responsibility to manage what belongs to the Lord. A steward is one who manages what does not belong to him. The reward for faithfulness in service is more service. b 12:43 Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. It will be a sweet event if you are eager and prepared. This is the work of those who have been given a position rather than the work of those who are trying to earn a position. The Christian life is a response to God‘s grace. J.C. Ryle said of this text:
The lesson before us is not about justification, but about sanctification--not about faith, but about holiness. The point is not what a man should do to be saved--but what ought a saved man to do!
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12:44 Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. It is more difficult to understand the assignment of rewards or scolding of believers when Jesus returns than it is the measuring out of punishment for unbelievers. But this is not the only text that implies levels of reward among the redeemed in the eternal kingdom. d 12:45 if that slave says in his heart, ‗My master will be a long time in coming,‘ and begins to beat the slaves, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. You cannot read men‘s minds but you can see what is in their hearts by their attitude toward the return of Christ. Ill treatment of others is one way to know that a person does not think Jesus is coming to judge any time soon. e 12:46 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers. This is the first of three punishments: the cutting up. Remember that this is a parable comparing what a returning master would do with what the Judge of all the earth will do. The word literally means to cut in two. You might think this refers to dismemberment, but the apparent survival of the punishment points more to a conscious scourging than an execution. Even unbelievers are considered servants of God and are accountable to Him. The word ―unbelievers‖ could also be translated unfaithful or untrustworthy. f 12:47 that slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes. The severe beating falls short of banishment. It is for those who knew very well what they should do but chose instead to do what they wanted. g 12:48 the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. The third consequence is a mild beating for those who were ignorant of what the master wanted. h 12:48 From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more. This makes our lives now between Jesus‘ first and second comings a matter of stewardship. i 12:35-48 Many people have made and continue to make prophecies about Jesus‘ return. What you can know for sure:
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―I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled ! But I b 51 have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished ! Do you suppose

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1. The return of Christ is imminent. That word does not indicate a specific time, only that you should be prepared at any moment. You are living in the last times, which began on Pentecost after Jesus ascended. Two thousand years is a very brief time in God‘s eyes. 2. These warnings are for you. These warnings are for anyone with responsibility in God‘s kingdom. 3. Readiness requires anticipation as well as work. Your responsibility is to do the King‘s business rather than try to predict what only He knows. 4. You will be judged according to the light you have received. This means that you who st hear these words in 21 century America will be judged more strictly than any people in the history of the world. 5. You have a stewardship in this life. You are managing much that does not belong to you. God gave you time, ability to serve, financial resources, possibly a family and so much more. You will give an account to Him for your management.
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12:49 I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled! This language may seem puzzling, but the judgment spoken of here was part of Jesus‘ mission. After healing a blind man, Jesus communicated the judgment He came to deliver:
And Jesus said, ―For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.‖ John 9:39

Fire is often a picture of judgment—not just the final judgment, but also a drawing of distinctions between those who belong to Christ and those who do not. In biblical literature here are some instances of fire being cast on the earth:
Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven. Genesis 19:24 Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt. Exodus 9:23 The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain snares; Fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup. Psalm 11:5-6 And the Lord will cause His voice of authority to be heard, And the descending of His arm to be seen in fierce anger, And in the flame of a consuming fire In cloudburst, downpour and hailstones. Isaiah 30:30 With pestilence and with blood I will enter into judgment with him; and I will rain on him and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, a torrential rain, with hailstones, fire and brimstone. Ezekiel 38:22 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:7-13
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12:50 I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished! A baptism is not simply an immersion in water. It is a means of identity. Fabric ―baptized‖ in dye changed its identity. People who became followers of a certain prophet (like John or Jesus) were baptized as a symbol of that identity change. Israel identified with Moses in the cloud and in the sea (1 Corinthians 10:1-2). Fire and water are pictures of judgment in Scripture and Jesus talked here about a coming judgment here. John had earlier talked about both:
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that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division ; for from now on five 53 members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against b mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law .‖ 54 c And He was also saying to the crowds , ―When you see a cloud rising in the west, d 55 immediately you say, ―A shower is coming,‘ and so it turns out . And when you see a south wind 56 blowing, you say, ‗It will be a hot day,‘ and it turns out that way. You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present e time ? 57 f 58 And why do you not even on your own initiative judge what is right ? For while you are going with your opponent to appear before the magistrate, on your way there make an effort to settle with him, so that he may not drag you before the judge, and the judge turn you over to the g 59 officer, and the officer throw you into prison . I say to you, you will not get out of there until you h a have paid the very last cent .‖

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As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Matthew 3:11-12

The word translated ―distressed‖ pictures pressure, literally pressed together. The word translated ―accomplished‖ means to bring to completion. Jesus used another tense of this verb as He died and cried, ―It is finished‖ (John 19:30). This shows that our Lord did not go to the cross because He felt a peace about it. a 12:51 Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division. This does not mean that our Lord likes war. It means that following Him is controversial. As an extreme example, consider what happened to John the Baptist, the apostle James and deacon Stephen. Herod Antipas, Herod Agrippa and Saul of Tarsus were at war with the Church. b 12:53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law. The word ―divided‖ is the verb form of the word used in verse 51 about what Jesus came to bring. The things that bind disciples to the Savior is stronger than that which holds earthly families together. c 12:54 He was also saying to the crowds. This lets you know that Jesus was still speaking to a very large group (see 12:1). d 12:54 When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ―A shower is coming,‘ and so it turns out. In this first of two illustrations, Jesus points out that you do not need a degree in meteorology to tell that a storm is brewing. e 12:56 You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time? This is hypocritical because the religious people of Jesus‘ day could predict the weather but pretended there were no signs predicting the judgment of God. That is why we tend to skip over portions of the Bible like the minor prophets. They contain repeated warnings of judgment for sins we think we did not commit. So why read them? f 12:57 why do you not even on your own initiative judge what is right? This verse should be understood in light of the one that precedes it. Man is never the final arbiter of what is right and wrong, but Jesus says they can judge this one for themselves. g 12:58 while you are going with your opponent to appear before the magistrate, on your way there make an effort to settle with him, so that he may not drag you before the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. On a human level, Jesus illustrates that it is far better to settle out of court if you are the guilty party in a civil suit. Debtors in first century culture could be thrown into prison or servitude until their debts were paid. h 12:59 I say to you, you will not get out of there until you have paid the very last cent. This verse has been used by Roman Catholics to support their doctrine of purgatory. But Jesus is
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13:1

Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans b 2 whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices . And Jesus said to them, ―Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this c 3 d 4 fate ? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish . Or do you suppose that illustrating something much more severe than a place of limbo for the dead from which the prayers and gifts of living loved ones can spring them. a 12:49-59 Look at all the fire and water pictures in Scripture. The message of this text that Israel was ripe for judgment. Are you any less deserving? When you look at evidence that you live in an imperfect, disturbing world, the message is not to seek refuge among those who are as hopeless as you. The natural thing for a sinner to do is to run from the one inflicting the wrath when this is the safest place to go. Repentance is in order. There will be more of this in Luke 13. What does it look like to develop a lifestyle of repentance? 1. You prefer a glimpse of God‘s judgment to the silent uneasiness of His absence. Like an undisciplined child ignorant of loving boundaries, those who fail to see God‘s judgment fail to see God as He is. 2. You value faithfulness to God over peace. Peace should be valued, but that at the expense of following Christ. Relationships often get stormy when people do what God says. 3. You see greater urgency about the condition of your soul than about any other popular topics of discussion. Becoming an expert at God‘s character is of greater value than predicting the weather. 4. You run to your Judge instead of away from Him. The greatest friend of a guilty person is a merciful judge. Fleeing to the judge for mercy is safest refuge.

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13:1 Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. The first words of this verse connect these thoughts with Jesus‘ words about imminent judgment from the end of chapter 12. We do not have details of this event from history, but you can picture the drama. Galileans had to travel some distance to obey God‘s law three times per year and go up to Jerusalem on pilgrimage. Jesus grew up doing this three times per year. It was a joyful event, as Psalm 84 says. The people came to confess personal sin and to offer sacrifices to God through the priests. Since Galilee was known for zealots, it is possible that these pilgrims were suspected of plotting against Pilate. Their joy turned to terror when the Roman governor ordered their execution, desecrating the temple. c 13:2 Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? Armchair theologians look on and, like Job‘s friends, offer an explanation for the tragedy. Those who approach suffering like this assume that people who prosper deserve the blessing and those who suffer are reaping the consequences of their actions. Tragic events do not negate the biblical principle of sowing and reaping. Some people really do ask for trouble and get it. But Jesus says this is not always the case. d 13:3 I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. This is a sign more reliable than a cloud bank in the western sky. These things happen to alert you to the danger being one of Adam‘s race. Refrain from pointing fingers. If you want to know who is to blame for a tragedy, do not check in with your favorite television evangelist to see which sin God is judging this time. Look in the mirror. You sinned when Adam sinned, which means you are as responsible as anyone for the calamities that fall on a sin-cursed planet.
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those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the a 5 b men who live in Jerusalem ? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish ." 6 And He began telling this parable: ―A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his c 7 vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any . And he said to the vineyardkeeper, ‗Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding d 8 any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground ?‘ And he answered and said to him, ‗Let 9 it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, e f fine; but if not, cut it down .‘‖

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13:4 Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? Jesus threw in the details of a tragedy of His own. This tower may have been set up to guard an important source of water called the Spring of Gihon that was connected to the pool of Siloam (where Jesus sent a blind man to wash and see, John 9:5-7). We do not know why the tower fell, but there may have been people proposing theories about who to blame. b 13:5 I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. He repeats the main point of His message. We tend toward satisfaction that everyone else will burn in hell as long as we have escaped it. We prefer that the message of repentance be directed at others, but Jesus says otherwise. c 13:6 A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. Figs are a staple fruit and a source of export income in Israel to this day. Any fruit grower knows that a fig tree that produces no figs does no one any good. d 13:7 he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‗Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?‘ This is a parable, so we should use care so we do not force meaning on it that Jesus never intended. For instance, we cannot say with authority that the two characters here represent Jesus and the Father. We can say that the landowner himself gave the tree three years to fulfil its purpose. This could be a reference to the patient endurance of three years of rejection by the religious leaders in Israel. Fig trees should produce figs or they are useless. You may identify a tree by its size, shape, bark and leaves, but it is useless until it produces fruit. Christians should produce fruit or they are useless. No matter how faithful you are to church or what bumper stickers you put on your car, a Christian is identified by fruit. e 13:8-9 Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down. The vineyard keeper urged the owner to hold off just a little longer. Peter, who was present as these words were spoken later spoke of God‘s immense patience when he wrote:
For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:5-9
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13:1-9 When you see bad things happen to people it is very important that you ask the right questions, or at least ask all your questions in the right light. For instance people who are proud and unrepentant take comfort that ―bad people‖ get judged. They say things like, ―I deserve better than this.‖ Even if they claim to know that all people are sinful they do not apply the doctrine personally. Repentant people, on the other hand, say things like, ―I do not deserve such mercy.‖ Even after following Jesus for a long time they understand that they are still sinners in thought and deed needing a Savior. This repentance shows up in their vertical relationship with God as well as the horizontal relationships with people. This text calls you to see things to which you are naturally blind:
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And He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath . And there was a woman who for eighteen years had had a sickness caused by a spirit; and she was bent double, and b 12 could not straighten up at all . When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, c 13 ―Woman, you are freed from your sickness .‖ And He laid His hands on her; and immediately d 14 she was made erect again and began glorifying God . But the synagogue official, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, began saying to the crowd in response, ―There are six days in which work should be done; so come during them and get healed, and not on the e 15 Sabbath day .‖ But the Lord answered him and said, ―You hypocrites, does not each of you on f 16 the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the stall and lead him away to water him ? And this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years,

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1. Tragic events are signs that you stand in great danger. Beware lest you judge hurting people. Do you deserve grown children who love God, a cancer-free existence and plenty of money? 2. Activity is no substitute for fruitfulness. The tree was alive, but producing nothing of value. 3. Your survival is a sure sign that God is merciful. You have not yet received your just recompense.
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13:10 He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. Jesus was doing he had been doing every Saturday of His earthly life: attending the synagogue service. This would have been one of the synagogues around Jerusalem. The day set aside for instruction in God‘s word had become for Him the day set aside for teaching others. b 13:11 there was a woman who for eighteen years had had a sickness caused by a spirit; and she was bent double, and could not straighten up at all. The demonic origin of the infirmity did not eliminate the need for physical healing once the demon was gone. Imagine the physical damage caused by 18 years of stooped posture. It is worthy to note that this woman made synagogue attendance a priority even though she must have lived with intense pain. c 13:12 When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, ―Woman, you are freed from your sickness.‖ The word translated ―freed‖ means loosed. Jesus described her condition in terms of bondage in verse 16. Notice that Jesus called her over. In the synagogue the women would have been seated in the back of the room. Unlike the man healed in the Capernaum synagogue (Luke 6:10), it would have been a difficult and potentially embarrassing action for this woman to make her way to the front of the room. d 13:13 He laid His hands on her; and immediately she was made erect again and began glorifying God. Keep in mind that this is the one Who created everything out of nothing in six days and all very good. Here His creative hands regenerated damaged tissue and made order of chaos. The woman was left with no doubt about the source of power for her healing. e 13:14 the synagogue official, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, began saying to the crowd in response, ―There are six days in which work should be done; so come during them and get healed, and not on the Sabbath day.‖ Why was this man angry? What desire had Jesus denied him or what treasure had Jesus taken from him? The lust that burned in this man was the lust for power and for the keeping of a system on which his hope rested. He valued the traditions that made him look good to men and which promised to hold him in a good position before God. Contrary to what some have suggested, Jesus never violated the Sabbath law of God. He violated the conscience of the synagogue ruler, which had become a higher authority than God‘s word in the ruler‘s mind. f 13:15 You hypocrites, does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the stall and lead him away to water him? Most people consider it cruelty to allow an animal to suffer unnecessarily from thirst. What is hypocritical is that the acceptable treatment for an animal on the Sabbath was more merciful than their treatment of a woman made in the image of God.
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should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day ?‖ As He said this, all His opponents were being humiliated; and the entire crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious b c things being done by Him . 18 a 19 So He was saying, ―What is the kingdom of God like, and to what shall I compare it ? It is b like a mustard seed, which a man took and threw into his own garden ; and it grew and became a c tree, and THE BIRDS OF THE AIR NESTED IN ITS BRANCHES .‖

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13:16 this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day? The ―binding‖ is the similarity between the woman and the animal (see the ―freedom‖ in verse 12). Each was kept in bondage from basic comforts. Jesus was not in favor of animal abuse. He simply drew the immense moral distinction between showing mercy to animals and showing it to men. Jesus used the same argument for mercy when He welcomed Matthew the tax collector as His follower. When criticized for eating a meal at Matthew‘s house, Jesus argued for mercy:
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, ―Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?‖ But when Jesus heard this, He said, ―It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‗I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,‘ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.‖ Matthew 9:11-13
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13:17 As He said this, all His opponents were being humiliated; and the entire crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things being done by Him. Note the contrast between the ―opponents‖ (or enemies) and the ―entire crowd.‖ As usual, Jesus polarized the people. The word ―humiliated‖ can mean put to shame or disappointed. Jesus threw water on the burning passion of the religious leaders. c 13:10-17 If you were asked to give a Bible word for the sin of the religious leaders in this text, what would it be? The word I choose is lust. In the Bible, lust can be defined as a burning desire that:  Exalts self-satisfaction over the interests of others  Blinds you to what pleases God  Becomes in your mind something you cannot live without  Makes you angry when you are denied the promised pleasure You might not put passion for religious purity in the same class as sexual sin, but both satisfy the lust of the flesh James later described:
What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:1-4

Beyond sexual and religious lust, add to the list lust for attention, lust for praise, lust for power and lust for relaxation. The point of making this comparison is that each one makes you a friend of the world and each one sets you at enmity with God. It is a dangerous thing to oppose God. Here are some ways to know you are setting yourself up as God‘s opponent: 1. You get angrier when your rules are violated than when God‘s rules are violated. It is much easier to follow a system than to follow Christ. Whether your system is progressive or conservative it will end in frustration if its glory is not Jesus. 2. You are blind to the work of God. People with a lust for church like attendance records and buildings more than they like to see messed up people repenting of their sins. 3. You value your convictions more than you value mercy. For example, you may be very correct in your conviction that taxes are too high, but being right does not give you freedom to label those who oppose your view ―idiots.‖
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And again He said, ‗To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? d e woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened .‖

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13:18 What is the kingdom of God like, and to what shall I compare it? This is a ‖kingdom parable.‖ Jesus used the similes in kingdom parables to communicate the way His rule over creation would be realized. Matthew records six of these, Mark and Luke two apiece. While other parables like the one about the sower (Matthew 13:3-23; Mark 4:2-20; Luke 8:4-15) may teach truth about the kingdom, there are seven that Jesus specifically introduced as ―kingdom parables‖:  The hidden treasure (Matthew 13:44)  The pearl (Matthew 13:45-46)  The leaven (Matthew 13:33-35; Luke 13:18-19)  The mustard seed (Matthew 13:31-32; Mark 4:30-34; Luke 13:20-21)  The household treasures (Matthew 13:52)  The sprouting seed (Mark 4:26-29)  The dragnet (Matthew 13:47-50)
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13:19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and threw into his own garden. In Matthew‘s account, Jesus says that the mustard seed is ―smaller than all other seeds.‖ He was not making a scientific comparison, but pointing out what a great thing comes from a tiny seed. c 13:19 it grew and became a tree, and THE BIRDS OF THE AIR NESTED IN ITS BRANCHES. We do not need to assign meaning to the birds here. The illustration is one of contrast. How does something so small get big enough the house birds in its branches? d 13:21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened. Likewise leaven—or yeast—starts very small and creates something very large. A peck is about a four-quart dry measurement, so three pecks of flour would have been a big batch of bread. Notice that Jesus says the woman ―hid‖ the yeast in the dough. The leavening agent disappears when you knead it in, but its effects are soon evident. e 3:18-21 Small things can have great impacts. The neutron that splits a Uranium atom is very small, but the amount of energy released from this reaction is millions of times greater than the energy available from gasoline. God delivered Israel with Gideon‘s little band of warriors (Judges 7), a rock in a sling (1 Samuel 17) and a psalm-singing choir (2 Chronicles 20). In Matthew 16:18, Jesus described how the gates of hell would not prevail against His church. Rather than picturing a small huddle of saints hiding from the authorities (as some see these words), Jesus pictures the Church on the move, capturing souls from the kingdom of darkness. This text from Luke does the same thing. Here we have two simple stories involving a man and a woman going about their work. Both of them did what was necessary to accomplish their objectives but neither of them had the ability to bring about the results they desired. The man did not make the seed produce the tree and the woman did not make the yeast permeate the dough. There are hopeful applications of these parables for the children of the King. Because the power of the kingdom of heaven is in the message of the King… 1. God uses people in His kingdom that you would never use. You should never favorably compare your role in God‘s kingdom to that of another. God hates pride because it robs Him of His glory. 2. God will use you when you do what He says—regardless of your gifts. Without wanting to insult farmers or homemakers, making bread rise or seeds grow does not require great talent. It requires the right product. 3. You need not despair over those who refuse to believe the message of the King. It is hard to see groups of believers oppressed by unbelievers, but do not underestimate the power of the gospel or its effect on the world. While it may seem irrelevant to those who reject it, it is not your job to make it relevant.
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And He was passing through from one city and village to another, teaching, and proceeding a 23 on His way to Jerusalem . And someone said to Him, ―Lord, are there just a few who are being b 24 saved ?‖ And He said to them, ―Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will c 25 seek to enter and will not be able . Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‗Lord, open up to us!‘ then He will d 26 answer and say to you, ‗I do not know where you are from .‘ Then you will begin to say, ‗We ate e 27 and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets ‘; and He will say, ‗I tell you, I do not

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13:22 He was passing through from one city and village to another, teaching, and proceeding on His way to Jerusalem. The Lord Jesus wasted no time. His rescue mission was nearly complete and He warned sinners everywhere He went not to delay their repentance too long. John‘s gospel contains one of these warnings to take advantage of the open door of God‘s mercy:
So Jesus said to them, ―For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes.‖ John 12:25
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13:23 someone said to Him, ―Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?‖ Some translations picture only a future salvation event. The NASB properly translates ―saved‖ in the present tense. People are saved in the present but we will not see the final number until the future. Maybe this statement shows us that Jesus‘ message that repentance is for all sinners instead of just ―those‖ sinners was sinking in. While we do not know who asked this question or his motivation, it is not difficult to imagine that there are people who might take comfort in hearing that only a few will be saved as long as they have their admission secured. Jesus offered no such security to those who turn from Him. c 13:24 Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. Matthew 7:13-14 records the same picture of a narrow gate. This stands in contrast to great, open entrance to eternal life. The word translated ―strive‖ was used frequently of athletic competition. It is the same one Paul used when he urged Timothy to fight the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12) and at the end of his life when he testified that he has fought the good fight (2 Timothy 4:7) This does not say that there are people who are sincerely turning to Christ who will be banned entrance to the kingdom. It says, if you read on, that many who think they have an inside track to heaven are mistaken. Think about the people in Israel who rebelled against God‘s command to take the land. They rejected the word of God and realized their error too late. Then they attempted to go up in their own strength and failed miserably (Numbers 14:39-45). This is an illustration of those who like self-exalting God-talk but stumble over Jesus. d 13:25 Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‗Lord, open up to us!‘ then He will answer and say to you, ‗I do not know where you are from.‘ Jesus is speaking in the language of a parable, but what an ominous sound it will be for those who hear that ―door‖ shut. This account is very similar to another warning Jesus gave about shallow professions of faith:
Not everyone who says to Me, ―Lord, Lord,‖ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ―Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?‖ And then I will declare to them, ―I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.‖ Matthew 7:21-23
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13:26 We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets. This is like ―We are insiders and knew all about You.‖ The trouble with those rebels who will be refused entry is not ignorance. The torments of hell will be increased because of what its prisoners do know rather than what they do not know. J.C. Ryle‘s commentary on these verses says:
Myriads shall wake up in another world, and be convinced of truths which on earth they refused to believe. Earth is the only place in God's creation where there is any infidelity. Hell itself is nothing but truth known too late. The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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know where you are from; DEPART FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS .‘ In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the b 29 prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out . And they will come from east c 30 and west and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God . And d e behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last .‖

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13:27 I tell you, I do not know where you are from; DEPART FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS. This shows clearly that God does not turn away the repentant but the proud. No one will enter eternal torment undeserving. b 13:28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out. Luke 16 will offer a story that gives more detail on what eternal torment will be like, but here Jesus does point out that those who miss heaven will be aware of the fellowship and the bliss they are missing. The weeping and gnashing of teeth is a recurring theme in the gospels to describe the agonies of hell:
but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 8:12 The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:41-42 So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:49-50 and he said to him, ―Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?‖ And the man was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ―Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.‖ Matthew 22:12-13 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 24:50-51 For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 25:29-30
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13:29 they will come from east and west and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God. The ―reclining‖ here refers to a meal. Meals in Scripture are often times of instruction, celebration and bonding. This shows that there will be great feasting in heaven that includes the redeemed from ―outside‖ people groups. A racist would hate heaven. John describes the kinds of people for whom Jesus died:
And they sang a new song, saying, ―Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.‖ Revelation 5:9
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13:30 And behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last. This communicates that there will be surprises in heaven. The ―first‖ are those with all the advantages of heritage, wealth and education who wanted a different kind of Savior than Jesus. e 13:22-30 When you read this text, the dwelling place of God (heaven) almost seems inhospitable. Some might conclude that God‘s house is an exclusive club and you never know who is going to be allowed entrance. That impression should vanish when you realize that none who are there really deserve to be there and that granting entrance to someone who does not love Jesus—whose sins have not been atoned for—would ruin it.
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Just at that time some Pharisees approached, saying to Him, ―Go away, leave here, a 32 for Herod wants to kill You .‖ And He said to them, ―Go and tell that fox, ‗Behold, I cast out b demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal .‘

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Understanding this passage is closely tied to understanding the surrounding events and overall timetable of Jesus‘ ministry. This is not only in the last months before the cross, it is also at the height of the opposition from the religious leaders. These leaders, who boasted of their connection to the patriarchs, were the ―first.‖ Those who had all the advantages of divine revelation and national heritage were running out of time. The friends of Jesus were the outcasts and the door was ready to close on the proud religious leaders. It is difficult in our pride to imagine that we might be the kind of people Jesus warns here. But those who think they deserve entrance need to heed this warning. Why you need to regularly think about eternity: 1. Because there is a definite number of saved and lost. That is a fixed number and you are either on one side or the other. 2. Because you are in a battle to overcome sin. Your enemies are yourself, the devil and the world and you are not equipped to win. 3. Because your advantages do not reveal the condition of your soul. They do show that God is gracious. Great exposure to truth serves to condemn those who reject the gospel. 4. Because hell is real and it is horrible. The torment of hell will include its torments as well as the awareness of what you are missing. 5. Because many who think they are going to heaven are not. Pride assaults God‘s glory and blinds sinners to their destiny. 13:31 Just at that time some Pharisees approached, saying to Him, ―Go away, leave here, for Herod wants to kill You.‖ ―Herod‖ is Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great and murderer of John the Baptist. As Tetrarch of Galilee, Antipas ruled over Galilee and Perea. This report must mean that Jesus was either in Galilee or Perea when these words were spoken. Luke himself records that Jesus eventually appeared before Antipas on Good Friday and received a ―gift.‖
Now Herod was very glad when he saw Jesus; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him. And he questioned Him at some length; but He answered him nothing. And the chief priests and the scribes were standing there, accusing Him vehemently. And Herod with his soldiers, after treating Him with contempt and mocking Him, dressed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him back to Pilate. Now Herod and Pilate became friends with one another that very day; for before they had been enemies with each other. Luke 23:8-12
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Fleeing Herod‘s territory could have put Jesus on the road to Jerusalem, which we already know (v. 22) was His destination. But why did they give this warning? These were not friends concerned about Jesus‘ health. These were enemies spreading a report that must have been true, but was motivated by their desire for Jesus to leave ―their sheep‖ alone. Twice already (John 8:59; 10:31) the religious leaders had picked up stones to stone Jesus. The Pharisees may have thought Jesus would fear the man who killed John the Baptist and head to Jerusalem where their plots on His life could be completed. The book of Nehemiah records a similar tactic. Men named Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem sought with rumors to throw off the momentum of Nehemiah‘s work on the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 6:3). Luke mentions the timing of this threat. We are headed for the cross and the enemies of the cross do not like it. Here a potential distraction threatens to short-circuit Jesus‘ mission on earth. Satan is not omniscient, but he is very intelligent. He knows events that direct human attention to the glory of God—especially the central event of all history—shout aloud his demise. b 13:32 Go and tell that fox, ‗Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal.‘ A fox has a reputation for being cunning or sneaky. Jesus had too much work to do to be sidetracked by the trickery of Antipas. He told the Pharisees to give Herod His itinerary. The significance of the third day here may not refer to the
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33

Nevertheless I must journey on today and tomorrow and the next day; for it cannot be that a 34 a prophet would perish outside of Jerusalem . O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just b 35 as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it ! Behold, your house is c left to you desolate ; and I say to you, you will not see Me until the time comes when you say, d e ‗BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD !‘ ‖ resurrection but to His firm resolve to work the plan. He had a divine itinerary. The word ―goal‖ is the same one translated ―accomplish‖ in this verse:
Jesus said to them, ―My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.‖ John 4:34
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13:33 Nevertheless I must journey on today and tomorrow and the next day; for it cannot be that a prophet would perish outside of Jerusalem. Notice the word ―must.‖ The little word in the original always points to necessity, often translated with words like ―should,‖ ―ought‖ and ―have to.‖ Here you see the plan revealed again. Not only did He dismiss Herod‘s reported intent to kill Him, He revealed where the real execution would take place. It is as if Jesus said, ―Sorry, Antipas, Jerusalem gets to kill the prophet this time.‖ J.C. Ryle demonstrated the attitude toward death necessary in those who follow in Jesus‘ steps:
To cultivate this frame of mind would add immensely to our peace. How many of our cares and fears are about things which never come to pass! Happy is that man who can walk in our Lord's steps, and say, ―I shall have what is good for me. I shall live on earth until my work is done, and not a moment longer. I shall be taken when I am ripe for heaven, and not a minute before. All the powers of the world cannot take away my life, until God permits. All the physicians of earth cannot preserve it, when God calls me away.‖
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13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it! It is hard to find biblical records of many prophets killed in Jerusalem, although there were records outside the Bible of these martyrs, Isaiah among them. In the text parallel to this (Matthew 23:35) Jesus did refer to the Jerusalem murder of a man named Zechariah. We should consider the possibility that He was also speaking prophetically about Christian martyrs like Stephen and others, since He was also speaking prophetically of His own death and the destruction of Jerusalem. J.C. Ryle pointed out that men are still responsible before the face of the sovereign God. Jesus does not say that sinners will be judged because He willed it but because the sinners willed it: ―you would not.‖ c 13:35 Behold, your house is left to you desolate. What house did Jerusalem have? The temple was rightly admired but idolatrously revered by many. Jesus had already warned that not one stone would be left upon another (Matthew 24:2; Mark 13:2). Although the word ―desolate‖ is added by our translators, it fits. The word ―left‖ is used of what is sent away or abandoned. The ―house‖ that was Jerusalem was abandoned. This is illustrated in 1 Samuel 4 when Eli‘s daughter-in-law named her son ―Ichabod‖ because her husband was dead and the glory had departed from Israel. Now the ultimate earthly abandonment came after Jerusalem crucified Messiah and received her worst judgment in A.D. 70 when the city was destroyed. d 13:35 I say to you, you will not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‗BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!‘ ―Jerusalem‖ would say this when He came into town on what we call Palm Sunday (Luke 19:37-40). e 13:31-35 What do you do when your responsibility to do what is pure and right comes with great discomfort? That is leadership. That is marriage. That is parenting. That is ministry. That is the way the Lord Jesus did the will of His Father, ―who for the joy set before Him endured the cross.‖ The ―vertical focus‖ is what enables you to endure the ―horizontal hassles.‖ Here you see the character of the King of Kings and the ways those who follow Him bear a resemblance: 1. He is fearless in His relationships. The Lord was not moved by public opinion. Those who follow Him care less for popularity than for usefulness. 2. He is firm in His resolve. Messiah came in fulfillment of hundreds of prophecies. These prophecies revealed God‘s fixed purpose to atone for sins. There would be no fighting it.
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14:1

It happened that when He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the a 2 Sabbath to eat bread, they were watching Him closely . And there in front of Him was a man b 3 suffering from dropsy . And Jesus answered and spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, ―Is c 4 it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not ?‖ But they kept silent. And He took hold of him and d 5 healed him, and sent him away . And He said to them, ―Which one of you will have a son or an e 6 ox fall into a well, and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day ?‖ And they could f g make no reply to this . 7 And He began speaking a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been h 8 picking out the places of honor at the table , saying to them, ―When you are invited by someone

Those who follow Him have more interest in doing God‘s will than in finding it—even at the cost of comfort. 3. He is merciful in His warnings. God has never brought judgment with patiently waiting for a response to His warnings (e.g., Sodom, Egypt, Israel). Those who follow Him are quicker to forgive than they are to judge because they remember how long God gave them to repent. 4. He is just in His wrath. Some people create a pacifist Jesus who avoids confrontation at all costs. But this is the warrior God who shows mercy to His people by pouring out wrath on those who oppose Him and His people. Those who follow Him know to be angry at what angers Him.
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14:1 He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, they were watching Him closely. This was probably close to Jerusalem based on the surrounding texts and the fact that most religious leaders lived near Jerusalem. When you live a blameless life your enemies can still construct plans to accuse you of some evil. They use the creative image of God for evil. The Pharisees did not invite the teacher so they could learn from Him. b 14:2 there in front of Him was a man suffering from dropsy. Jesus had just given His itinerary to the Pharisees (13:32). There was still good to do. ―Dropsy‖ is what we call edema, a buildup of excess fluid in body tissues. c 14:3 Jesus answered and spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, ―Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?‖ This looks similar to another event that happened in the synagogue in Capernaum:
On another Sabbath He entered the synagogue and was teaching; and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him closely to see if He healed on the Sabbath, so that they might find reason to accuse Him. But He knew what they were thinking, and He said to the man with the withered hand, ―Get up and come forward!‖ And he got up and came forward. And Jesus said to them, ―I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to destroy it?‖ Luke 6:6-9
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14:4 But they kept silent. And He took hold of him and healed him, and sent him away. Imagine if the most rebellious thing you ever did was to show mercy to a poor soul in front of people who do not care for souls. e 14:5 He said to them, ―Which one of you will have a son or an ox fall into a well, and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?‖ Here the Lord argues like he did in the Judean synagogue that the religious leaders valued animals more than men (Luke 13:15-16). f 14:6 they could make no reply to this. What could they say? If they said, ―I suppose You are right, Rabbi,‖ the locals might start following Jesus. If they said, ‖You are wrong, Rabbi,‖ they had no support for the claim. g 14:1-6 This text is identical in application to Luke 13:10-17.
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14:7 He began speaking a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been picking out the places of honor at the table. After healing the man and disturbing the scruples of the religious leaders, the crowd had nothing to say (verse 6). In the silence that
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to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may a 9 have been invited by him , and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‗Give your b 10 place to this man,‘ and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place . But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, ‗Friend, move up higher‘; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at c 11 the table with you . For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles d himself will be exalted .‖ 12 e And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him , ―When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise f 13 they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment . But when you give a

followed Jesus proceeded to teach the ―invited guests,‖ (literally the ones called) still more about the nature of man and the impossibility of change without outside help. Jesus paid attention to what was going on around Him. John later describes Him as one with eyes as a ―flame of fire‖ (Revelation 1:14; 2:18; 19:12). The words ―places of honor‖ is a reference to the best seats at a table. Part of our sinfulness is the craving to be first. We want to be first in line, first to the finish and first in the affections of others. We want to be in control. Diotrephes, described by John as a man who loved ―to be first‖ (3 John 1:9), was like that. Lucifer was like that. Luke later records that the Twelve even squabbled at the last Passover over who was the greatest (Luke 22:24-27). We also do this in church when we crave visible ministry and avoid service that no one sees. As an illustration of this weakness Jesus drew attention to the jockeying for position He observed in that very room. a 14:8 When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him. We might say, ―When you are looking for a place to sit (or a parking spot) at church, don‘t disregard others in your choice.‖ Or you could say: ―When you are headed for the checkout at the store, don‘t rush to beat everyone to the register.‖ At a proper wedding in that culture the guests did not have the authority to choose where they sat. b 14:9 he who invited you both will come and say to you, ―Give your place to this man,‖ and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place. Remember that this is a parable about more avoiding embarrassment at a party. Jesus was alluding to the the same principle taught in the book of Proverbs:
Do not claim honor in the presence of the king, and do not stand in the place of great men; For it is better that it be said to you, ―Come up here,‖ Than for you to be placed lower in the presence of the prince, Whom your eyes have seen. Proverbs 25:6-7
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14:10 go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, ―Friend, move up higher‖; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you. The point is not that we should make it our goal use reversepsychology so we can be exalted. Jesus is teaching us to fight against our natural urge to promote ourselves. We have no authority to make that judgment. d 14:11 everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. This was more than a lesson about outward humility and grocery store etiquette. It underscored the truth about the nature of man that keeps him from turning to God. In addition to Matthew‘s record of these words (Matthew 23:12), the sentiments of this phrase are repeated by Jesus‘ half-brother James when he writes: ―Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you‖ (James 4:10). Similar words are also found in Luke 18:14 and 1 Peter 5:6. e 14:12 He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him. Jesus was not afraid of His host. He was directive in His teaching. f 14:12 When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. Jesus revealed that the motivation of our hearts is often selfish and proud even when we are displaying outward acts of kindness. We often give to others so we can get
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reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they a b do not have the means to repay you ; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous .‖ 15 When one of those who were reclining at the table with Him heard this, he said to Him, c d 16 ―Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God !‖ But He said to him, ―A man e 17 was giving a big dinner, and he invited many ; and at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to f 18 those who had been invited, ‗Come; for everything is ready now .‘ But they all alike began to g make excuses . The first one said to him, ‗I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and h 19 look at it; please consider me excused .‘ Another one said, ‗I have bought five yoke of oxen, i 20 and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused .‘ Another one said, ‗I have married something in return. We even teach our children that we should be giving so that others will give to us. Jesus urged the host and all who were listening to think beyond earthly rewards. a 14:13-14 But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you. This was all spoken in the context of people who were blinded by visions of their own importance. The Lord enlarged the vision. b 14:14 for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous. This does not teach a works-based righteousness that will make you worthy of heaven. It does teach that there are rewards laid up for those who store up treasure in heaven and are ―rich toward God.‖ c 14:15 When one of those who were reclining at the table with Him heard this, he said to Him, ―Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!‖ This unnamed person got the message. Heaven‘s table will not be set for those who think they deserve to be there. d 14:7-15 This may seem an odd placement for a parable about pride as the time of the cross looms ever nearer. But it served as a warning not only to the self-satisfied religious leaders who sat at this Sabbath meal (see verses 1-6), but also to those among us who boast in our position and fail to see our own core corruption. Religious pride makes the cross meaningless. While this had applications to pride in general, its purpose here shows God as the only one who exalts the humble and judges the proud. What the proud must see: 1. Proud people find it natural to promote themselves above others. 2. Proud people eventually find shame when they see the only one with authority to exalt and humiliate. 3. Proud people refuse to associate with the lowly, but God does. 4. No one who will ―eat bread in the kingdom of God‖ will deserve to be there.
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14:16 A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many. Matthew (22:1-14) records a similar kingdom parable about a wedding feast where the invitees not only refused to come, but abused the slaves who invited them. This is probably a different story but with the same theme: Israel has had every opportunity to embrace her Messiah and the invitation is about to be withdrawn. f 14:17 at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‗Come; for everything is ready now.‘ Historian Alfred Edersheim points out that this pictures a city event where the invited guests are all close to the banquet hall. An initial invitation would have been followed the announcement the day of the event when the dinner was ready. g 14:18 they all alike began to make excuses. This is parable illustrates the mercy of God. Sinners must not complain that God has failed to invite them to His table. The trouble is not with the sincerity of His invitation but with the hardness of their hearts. h 14:18 I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused. Buying land in Israel would have involved family inheritance and considerations of how many years of production it would have until the year of Jubilee. This was not an investment in the land itself but in its potential to produce a crop. This would have been a very lame excuse. You don‘t buy land without first looking at it. We might compare this to people who put their comfort and possessions before their relationship with God. i 14:19 I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused. This would be ten oxen paired in teams of two. Buying a team of oxen like this would
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a wife, and for that reason I cannot come .‘ And the slave came back and reported this to his b master. Then the head of the household became angry and said to his slave, ‗Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and c 22 lame .‘ And the slave said, ‗Master, what you commanded has been done, and still there is d 23 room .‘ And the master said to the slave, ‗Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and e 24 compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled . For I tell you, none of those men who f g were invited shall taste of my dinner .‘ ‖ be like buying a very expensive piece of farm equipment. We might compare this to people who put their work before their relationship with God. a 14:20 I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come. We might compare this to people who put their family before their relationship with God. Even something as good as a marriage or family can become an idol. b 14:21 the head of the household became angry. The bottom line of all these excuses is that the feast was not an attraction to those invited compared to their other interests. Lavish generosity spurned is worthy of anger. That is the way this host responded. c 14:21 Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame. These are the same categories of people Jesus told His host to invite to a feast in 14:13. Remember that what makes these people fitting at such a meal is that they have nothing to offer the host in exchange for their meal. As in the previous story about a meal, this is more a lesson about the way God deals with us than it is a guideline for hospitality. d 14:22 Master, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room. Imagine preparing such a meal and not finding enough people who want to come. Those who are disturbed by the doctrine of election fail to see that the real picture is not people wanting to get in to heaven and being refused. It is about people being invited and refusing. e 14:23 Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled. The city people would not come, so the ―outsiders‖ were rounded up. The word ―compel‖ could be translated force. f 14:24 I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner. This ends on an ominous note. The invitation is withdrawn. The Jews must have had a shared view of eschatology that placed a great feast at the start of the eternal state. This feast by comparison will make any royal party on earth look pale.
The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain; A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow, And refined, aged wine. And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples, Even the veil which is stretched over all nations. He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken. Isaiah 25:6-8

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The trouble was that the Jews thought they were the only ones on the guest list. Jesus referred to this feast earlier in Luke‘s record, but indicated that there would be surprises:
And they will come from east and west and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last. Luke 13:29-30
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14:16-24 Imagine the ultimate feast in heaven that this parable foreshadows. Who belongs there? The warmup to this feast is the creation that, even in a fallen world, shouts the glory of God (Psalm 19). Romans 1 contains a description of all the ways God has shown Himself and how the ―invitees‖ showed ingratitude and a lack of appetite for what was to be served:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. Romans 1:18-25 The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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Now large crowds were going along with Him ; and He turned and said to them, ―If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers b 27 and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple . Whoever does not carry his c 28 own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple . For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete d 29 it ? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin e 30 31 to ridicule him , saying, ‗This man began to build and was not able to finish.‘ Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is This parable is about the kingdom of heaven. Those who belong there are those whom God chose to come. Others were invited but they chose not to come. Here are the kind of people who will be at the ultimate banquet: 1. They will have an appetite for what God has to offer there. Jesus Himself is no prize to those who fail to see their own sinfulness. Acquiring land, buying farm equipment and establishing a family are good and healthy things, but they are idols when they are put before following Jesus. 2. They will have a hatred for bigotry. The kind of people God compels to come to His feast are not the kind of people you would expect. The Hebrew fundamentalists are the ones excluded in this story and the commoners the ones brought in. 3. They will express thankfulness for the mercies of God. God‘s great mercy is much broader than our imagination or our patience. No one at the ultimate meal will belong there.
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14:25 Now large crowds were going along with Him. The Lord was used to this kind of attention. As He did so often (Luke 12:1; John 6:26-27) He turned the attention of the people to Truth. b 14:26 If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. You could also translate the word ―hate‖ with the word detest. We could try to explain away the shocking nature of this statement, but it needs to be understood in context. The Lord is communicating the high cost of discipleship. Following Him must make all other relationships— not just the bad ones—take a back seat. c 14:27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. Your cross is not some physical or relational struggle. This was a call to journey with Jesus down a road from which no one ever returned alive. People who become followers of Jesus must first realize that He is not calling His people to buy a useful household product or a self-help manual. This call to have the heart of a martyr is similar to His earlier words:
And He was saying to them all, ―If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?‖ Luke 9:23-25
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14:28 For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it. Towers in Israel were useful for protecting anything from cities to livestock to gardens. They were important structures, but could be quite expensive. As any family or organization knows, you cannot enter a building project without a clear budget. So good ―math‖ is necessary when contemplating what Jesus calls His people to do. The only other place the word translated ―count‖ is used is in Revelation 13:18, where John calls his readers to calculate the number of the beast.‖ e 14:29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him. Unfinished structures and Christian apostates are alike in that neither builder planned for the austere contingencies of what they started. Jesus is not telling us to worry about people laughing at us. He is pointing out that it is shameful not to finish what you start—at least if what you start is a life lived for Him.
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strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty a 32 thousand ? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of b 33 peace . So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own c possessions . 34 Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be d 35 e seasoned ? It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out . He who has f g ears to hear, let him hear .‖

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14:31 what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand. Beyond simple numbers, a military strategist factors in weapons, position, timing and other intangibles before engaging an enemy. The numbers Jesus uses here demonstrate that those who turn to follow Him begin that life with a perceived disadvantage. b 14:32 Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. You don‘t want your enemies to know that they outnumber you, so you negotiate peace early. Disputes between nations can be resolved with shrewd leadership. This is another example of thinking through what it will mean to be a disciple of Christ. c 14:33 none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. This is another hyperbole like the family-hating reference. Your possessions were never your own to begin with. Laying down your life for Jesus will involve laying down some cash.
We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 1 John 3:16-17
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14:34 Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? Verses 34 and 35 seem to start a new thought, but the word ―therefore‖ tells us that they are connected. Jesus said this same thing in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:13). It is hard to understand what Jesus means here because salt is a mineral that can never spoil. It looks like He is saying, ―The only purpose for salt is to be salty, so if the salt is useless we‘re sunk.‖ e 14:35 It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. Salt that isn‘t salty is like a Christian who isn‘t like Christ. It makes no sense, but such a person is useless. f 14:35 He who has ears to hear, let him hear. This is a common statement in the Apostolic Scriptures that urges the reader to pay close attention (Matthew 11:15; 13:9, 43; Mark 4:9,23; 7:16; Luke 8:8; Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22; 13:9). g 14:25-35 Consider the texts that show Jesus making statements about the cost of discipleship that discouraged people from making knee-jerk professions of faith:
For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:20 Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN'S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 10:34-39 The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. Matthew 13:44-46 But be on your guard; for they will deliver you to the courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them. Mark 13:9 The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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15:1

Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him . Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, ―This man receives sinners and eats with b them .‖ 3 4 So He told them this parable, saying, ―What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one c 5 a 6 which is lost until he finds it ? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing . And

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And He was saying to them all, ―If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?‖ Luke 9:23-25 Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. Luke 13:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. John 12:24-26

This text is no different. While it does not contain the message of the gospel, it does show the attitude that exists in those the gospel has affected. Jesus gave a ―Here‘s what will change if you follow Me‖ disclaimer when He called disciples. Many charge that this creates salvation by works rather than faith. In truth it calls people to a faith that works. What to consider before you turn to Christ: 1. Your family may not come along. Are you willing to keep following at the cost of close relationships? 2. The demands of following Christ do not fit any culture. That is what hating your own life and carrying your cross is all about. You cannot ever fully blend in to any culture because the lifestyle of a Christian is too different. The way you spend your money, train your children, spend your free time and end your life fall under the lordship of Christ rather than the norms of your culture. 3. Your possessions cease to be yours. This is not socialism but stewardship. 4. You will have to continue to engage the world. Those who do not follow Christ can choose to isolate themselves from what they consider unpleasant. It would be easier if Jesus called His people to withdraw from the culture and live a communal life. This is not an option for those called to be salt and light. 5. You can‘t just quit. Soldiers who enlist when they see the tuition benefits cannot just go home when the bullets start flying. Likewise soldiers of Christ.
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15:1 all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Of course the word ―all‖ must not mean that every person alive who was a tax collector and sinner was in attendance. Luke simply points out that there were a lot of people from these categories of lost people represented in the crowd. b 15:2 Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, ―This man receives sinners and eats with them.‖ The word translated ―grumble‖ is onomatopoetic. Luke made the sound the religious leaders were making (dieggoguzon). This scene sets the foundation for the content of the entire chapter. What business does God have with sinners? The religious leaders certainly had no message for them short of ―dieggoguzon.‖ Do you? c 15:4 What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? The Lord appeals to common business sense. We might say, ―What manager would not give more attention to an at-risk account than he does to satisfied customers?‖ or, better, ―What pastor would not spend more time seeking to restore an erring church member than he does with the ones who need no such attention?‖
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when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‗Rejoice b 7 with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost !‘ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who c need no repentance . 8 Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and d 9 sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it ? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‗Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had e 10 lost !‘ In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one f g sinner who repents .‖
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15:5 When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. This picture of a shepherd carrying a sheep has been—like the symbol of the cross—a symbol of Christianity because of this text. Full grown sheep can weigh 100-200 pounds. It is work for a shepherd to carry such a load, but this shows how he values his possession. b 15:6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‗Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!‘ The shepherd in this story was not content to rejoice inwardly. He had to tell someone the news. Do not discount the value the shepherd placed on the sheep, but also do not make the sheep the center of the story. The glory belongs to the one who found what he was looking for. The sheep did not cleverly put itself in a position to be rescued nor did all the friends and neighbors congratulate the animal for being found. The shepherd was not about to make the sheep a full partner on the farm. He was pleased to make use of the sheep for his own purposes. c 15:7 I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Now Jesus explains what the parable means. He did not say that there are people to be found who have a standing before God based on their own righteousness. Jesus never taught that any son of Adam needed no repentance. He is saying that some are in more immediate and recognizable trouble than others. d 15:8 Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? Losing something of value brings anxiety. The Greek ―drachma‖ coins referred to were equivalent to the Roman denarii, each representing a day‘s wage. This may have been a reference to a woman‘s dowry. It takes some time for most of us to save up even day‘s wages because most of us have committed ourselves to spend most of our income. Say, for instance, that you have managed to save up $1,000 in cash. Would you search your house if a hundred dollar bill was missing? Of course you would even though you know you have nine more. If you ran a car dealership with a hundred-car inventory would you call the police of one of your employees reported that ten cars were missing? Yes. e 15:9 When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‗Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!‘ Like the shepherd, the woman does not keep her joy to herself. Like the sheep, the coin could take no credit for being found. f 15:10 In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. It is worth noting that this does not say that the angels are rejoicing. This does not mean they do not rejoice (see Job 38:4-7), but the text says the rejoicing is ―in the presence of the angels.‖ The presence of angels is not a private angel hangout but the throne room of God.
And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God; but he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God. Luke 12:8-9 Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, ―If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.‖ Revelation 14:9-10

The obvious person pictured in these parables by the shepherd and the woman is God. He is the one rejoicing and the angels get to join the party.
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And He said, ―A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‗Father, give a b 13 me the share of the estate that falls to me .‘ So he divided his wealth between them . And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a c d 14 distant country , and there he squandered his estate with loose living . Now when he had spent
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15:1-10 Luke 15 could carry the heading ―The Parables of the Lost.‖ It is really the same basic story told three different ways. John Macarthur offers this outline as the repetition of the chapter: lost, sought, found, restored, celebrated. I will use that basic structure to apply the text of the first two parables. Whether you are among the ―lost‖ or the ―found‖ illustrated here, you are obliged to respond to the character of God revealed in these parables. Here are truths about our seeking Master that ought to bring you to bow the knee: 1. God places value on the lost. You and I set value in selfish ways. You value personal property or business property because it benefits you. Sinful rebels are no prize to us, so we tend to naturally despise them. But God is shown to be glorious and mighty when He turns sinners into saints. 2. God is active in pursuing the lost. Here we have to draw on the ―whosever will‖ analogy. God‘s salvation in Christ is like a giant, luscious cake of which all are invited to partake. That illustration is only valid when we acknowledge that we all hate chocolate cake. To draw on another of Jesus‘ parables, He prepared the meal and He will gather the crowd to enjoy it. 3. God gets what He sets out to find. We stand in the service of the sovereign King, whose words do not fall to the ground, whose people will be saved. 4. God puts His possession where it belongs. Sheep belong with the other sheep. Currency is useless when it is inaccessible. Sons belong in their father‘s house. 5. God finds great joy when sinners repent. This includes saved sinners and unsaved sinners.
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15:11-12 A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‗Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.‘ According to Hebrew inheritance custom, the oldest brother in a family received a double portion of the father‘s estate upon his death. He also assumed all the responsibilities of being the head of the household. With only two sons in this parable, the older brother would have inherited two thirds and the younger brother would have received one third upon the death of the father. It does not take a lot of imagination to see that this younger brother is saying, ―Father, I wish you were dead.‖ b 15:12 So he divided his wealth between them. The legal backdrop for this event is important here. In the following text the Torah commands the giving of the rights of the firstborn in the case of polygamy, as well as the only way to take away the inheritance of a wicked son:
But he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; to him belongs the right of the firstborn. If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown. They shall say to the elders of his city, ―This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.‖ Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel will hear of it and fear. If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance. Deuteronomy 21:17-23
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15:13 not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country. The design of the young man Jesus described was to get as far away from accountability as he could. A young man doing this would have entered Gentile territory. He could have turned his inheritance into cash, possibly through selling his portion of the property to a speculator at a reduced price. d 15:13 there he squandered his estate with loose living. Here is a figure of speech that makes sense in any language. The word translated ―loose‖ (KJV, ―riotous‖) is only used here in
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everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished . So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to b 16 feed swine . And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were c 17 eating, and no one was giving anything to him . But when he came to his senses, he said, ‗How many of my father's hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with d 18 hunger ! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, ―Father, I have sinned against 19 heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your e 20 hired men .‖ ‘ So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his f 21 father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him . And the son said to him, ‗Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer g 22 worthy to be called your son .‘ But the father said to his slaves, ‗Quickly bring out the best robe the New Testament, but elsewhere it carries the idea of complete carelessness. This is what we would call ―reckless abandon.‖ People who live loosely want no boundaries. a 15:14 when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. We might not understand what ―severe famine‖ means, but this audience understood that this might be compared to times in Israel‘s history when people ate whatever disgusting material they could find to fill the empty void in their stomachs. b 15:15 he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. The words ―hired himself out‖ points to more than a casual relationship. The word used here literally says that he glued himself to his employer. The word is used of marriage (Matthew 19:5) and of dust sticking to feet (Luke 10:11). Jesus likely used this word to communicate that this man was willing to commit himself to any kind of labor so he could survive. c 15:16 he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. Jesus‘ audience must have shuddered at this part of the story. The rabbis told people not to keep pigs. Aside from being forbidden under Jewish dietary laws, pigs are not particular about what fills their stomachs. The diet of a severe famine is just everyday life to a pig. The ―pods‖ could have been carob pods that grow in abundance in the Middle East, but are unpalatable when left unrefined. Jesus showed that the prodigal seemed graceless. No one cared for his soul.
Many will seek the favor of a generous man, and every man is a friend to him who gives gifts. All the brothers of a poor man hate him; How much more do his friends abandon him! He pursues them with words, but they are gone. Proverbs 19:6-7
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15:17 when he came to his senses, he said, ‗How many of my father's hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!‘ The young man was not entirely without grace. He was still breathing and he could still reason. Coming to one‘s senses is a gift of God‘s common grace. J.C. Ryle points this out in his Luke commentary:
And we must be thankful when we see such thoughts arise. Thinking is not change of heart, but it may be the beginning of it. Conviction is not conversion, but it is one step, at any rate, in a right direction. The ruin of many people's souls is simply this, that they never think at all.
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15:19 I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, ―Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.‖ Repentance is a change of mind that leads to a change of direction. It certainly took a great change of mind for the son to go from saying, ―Father, I wish you were dead‖ to ―I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.‖ f 15:20 So he got up and came to his 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. Notice that Jesus pictures the father waiting and watching. Notice that he ran, no small task for an older man wearing the robes of wealth. He was not the image of anger with his hands on his hips and his toe tapping. This was a ―Welcome back‖ rather than a ―Where have you been?‖ g 15:21 And the son said to him, ‗Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.‘ The boy had lots of time to rehearse his speech, but the son‘s return demonstrated more to the father than his words.
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and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet ; and bring the fattened b 24 calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate ; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life c d again; he was lost and has been found.‘ And they began to celebrate . 25 Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard e 26 music and dancing . And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these f 27 things could be . And he said to him, ‗Your brother has come, and your father has killed the
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15:22 the father said to his slaves, ‗Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.‘ The father only allowed the boy to get out half of the story. Rather than admit the boy to serve on his staff he orders his staff to serve the boy. He reinstates him with all the privileges of a son. The robe identified him as fully restored. The ring may have been a signet ring given those with authority to sign official family documents. Sandals were probably not worn by servants but they were worn by sons. The father was not angrily saying, ―You can stay here but you are going to pay for all you have done.‖ Quite the opposite. He said, ―I am going to pay for all that you have done.‖ Do you see the shadow of the cross over this scene? b 15:23 bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. It was time to party. It was no time for frugality. The father is specific to the slaves in the literal language of this verse: ―Bring the calf, the fat one.‖ c 15:24 this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.‘ And they began to celebrate. Many cultures around the world hold a funeral for children who leave their faith or way of life. This may not be what Jesus meant when he says that the father said his son was dead, but it does picture a dramatic turn of events. Anyone who has read Proverbs understands that the end of a sinful is premature death. It would have been ―normal‖ to never again see a son like this alive. Everyone present became caught up the father‘s joy and joined the celebration. d 15:11-24 Even though the word ―prodigal‖ is not used in the text, the word in English originally meant to spend lavishly or frivolously. What defined the son‘s character was the way he drained dry every relational, moral and material resource he had. That is what sinners do. There is nothing wrong with our natural focus on the younger son in this parable. We all naturally relate to his rebellion. But some have properly called this ―The Parable of the Gracious Father.‖ Blessed is the rebellious son who has a father like this one. Even though these parables primarily communicate the gracious character of God in seeking sinners, they also show the fruit of repentance in those the Father seeks. Here is how you know you are repentant: 1. You realize how desperate is your condition. You see that going down this road will eventually destroy you. 2. You acknowledge the lies you have believed. This son thought that he would find joy in being free from all restraints. His ―freedom‖ made him a slave. 3. You admit that the consequences you are experiencing are your responsibility. Like the lost son you see that you have sinned vertically and horizontally. 4. You realize that God‘s pleasures are superior to the world‘s. What comes to mind when you are repentant is all the good you have given up. 5. You humble yourself. There is no one else to blame. Like the prodigal, you carry through with your plan to throw yourself on the Father‘s mercy.
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15:25 Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. It is understandable that the music could be heard, but even the dancing was loud enough to be recognized for what it was. While we do not have to assign spiritual value to every part of a parable, it is interesting that Jesus pictures the older brother working while everyone else was celebrating. This picture bothers the self-righteous because they believe they are the ones who should decide when to work and when to stop working. You cannot question the virtue of work but, coupled with pride, work becomes the rival of grace. f 15:26 he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. This kind of celebrating was unusual to him. Some people think joy and levity are expendable.
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fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound .‘ But he became angry and b 29 was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him . But he answered and said to his father, ‗Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never c neglected a command of yours ; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might d 30 celebrate with my friends ; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth e 31 prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him .‘ And he said to him, ‗Son, you have always f 32 with me, and all that is mine is yours . But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of g h yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found .‘ ‖
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15:27 And he said to him, ‗Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.‘ The servant who gave the report knew the precise reason for the party: the master of the house got what he wanted. When that happens the whole household benefits—sons and servants. b 15:28 But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. The father‘s character is shown by the way he continued to pursue the older son. The father knew that his son‘s real anger was not directed at his younger brother, but at the father‘s choice to restore the prodigal. It did not seem fair. c 15:29 But he answered and said to his father, ‗Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours.‘ Here it is hard not to see the attitude of the Pharisees in Jesus‘ fictitious character. Like the older son, the religious leaders were very satisfied that they had a lock on ―most-favored son‖ status. They were proud of their achievements. d 15:29 and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends. The secrets of his heart came out. These were not new thoughts, only long-held thoughts revealed. He did not like serving the father any more than his little brother did. People who are most offended when others are not working betray a craving to do the same if only they could get away with it. e 15:30 when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him. Grace makes legalists angry. When they think such generous treatment of rebels is not fair they forget that they are also rebels. Do not demand of the Father what you deserve. Once again the secrets of his heart came out. Of course the older brother did not know how the younger brother spent his inheritance. He only imagined what he would have done if only he could do such a thing and get away with it. Sometimes those who are compliant have a great desire to do what the wild people do, but they are afraid. Their hearts are the same. f 15:31 Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. The father continued to reason with the older son even though he had been exposed as the one needing to return the father. As we learned when Jesus spoke of those who ―need no repentance‖ (verse seven), this refers to those whose righteousness is merely external rather than those who earned God‘s favor by their outward compliance. g 15:32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found. The father repeated the same words to the older brother that he had said to his slaves (15:24). h 15:25-32 The end of this last parable about lost things and the joy of the finder paints a fitting conclusion to the chapter. The chapter started with the religious leaders offended at the company Jesus kept and ends with a ―good guy‖ revealed as a ―bad guy.‖ Self-righteousness is soulcondemning because it makes the cross of Christ meaningless. The older brother was angry because he thought he knew his younger brother. He knew the way he wanted the boy treated. The real issue was that he did not know his father. Ways to know if you are self-righteous: 1. You want people to get what they deserve. 2. You are able to quickly make a list of your strengths. 3. You are jealous when others get what you secretly want. 4. You crave notoriety.
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16:1

Now He was also saying to the disciples, ―There was a rich man who had a manager, and this a 2 manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions . And he called him and said to him, ‗What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no b 3 longer be manager .‘ The manager said to himself, ‗What shall I do, since my master is taking 4 management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig; I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the management people will welcome me into their c 5 homes .‘ And he summoned each one of his master's debtors, and he began saying to the first, 6 ‗How much do you owe my master?‘ And he said, ‗A hundred measures of oil.‘ And he said to d 7 him, ‗Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty .‘ Then he said to another, ‗And how much do you owe?‘ And he said, ‗A hundred measures of wheat.‘ He said to him, ‗Take your bill, e 8 and write eighty .‘ And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of f 9 light . And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, a so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings .
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16:1 There was a rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions. The word ―manager‖ could also be translated ―steward‖ or ―treasurer.‖ The original contains the common word for house and refers to a manager over a household. This kind of manager would have been in charge of the business affairs of a wealthy family or community (Luke 12:42; Romans 16:23). The manager was evidently using his master‘s wealth for personal benefit. The word translated ―squandering‖ is the same one used of the prodigal son‘s money management in Luke 15:13. It most commonly refers to scattering (seed, sheep, the proud, the persecuted) in the New Testament. b 16:2 he called him and said to him, ‗What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.‘ The owner rightly fired him. In our terms, the manager was asked to turn in his ―office keys and his laptop‖ to prevent further theft. c 16:3-4 The manager said to himself, ‗What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig; I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the management people will welcome me into their homes.‘ Jesus again reveals the human heart. This is the way a selfish person thinks when his selfishness has gotten him fired. We are nearly always more concerned with selfpreservation than we are the propriety of the means of our preservation. The man was in need, but he was also lazy. His solution would bring him into favor with his employer‘s debtors. d 16:5-6 And he summoned each one of his master's debtors, and he began saying to the first, ‗How much do you owe my master?‘ And he said, ‗A hundred measures of oil.‘ And he said to him, ‗Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.‘ Before word got around that he was fired, the manager had one last spree of selfish squandering. He went through the accounts receivable scroll and made friends. Who wouldn‘t agree to settle their debts at a greatly reduced rate? e 16:7 Then he said to another, ‗And how much do you owe?‘ And he said, ‗A hundred measures of wheat.‘ He said to him, ‗Take your bill, and write eighty.‘ The debtors paid in agricultural products, a legitimate currency in that day, particularly if the debtor was renting farmland. f 16:8 his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light. How is that for a reaction to being swindled? Only a crooked businessman can appreciate the art of being outplayed by a crooked employee. Now Jesus explains the lesson He intends to teach. Note that the Lord openly calls this man ―unrighteous‖ (observe the uses of this word in verses 8-11). Jesus did not seek to endorse the morality of the manager or his boss. That was not the point of the parable. He contrasts the ―sons of this age‖ with the ―sons of light.‖ He calls Christian stewards to behave in a manner morally opposite, but parallel to this among their own brothers.
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He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a b 11 very little thing is unrighteous also in much . Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of c 12 unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you ? And if you have not been faithful in d 13 the use of that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own ? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to e f one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth .‖ The word translated ―kind‖ is normally the word generation, but the NASB rightly labels that generation of unrighteous men ―their own kind.‖ a 16:9 I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings. Jesus used the word mammon, the Syrian god of riches, for ―wealth.‖ This does not mean that He considered money evil, but He did communicate that the day would come when wealth would fail. Then what? This parable addresses the way you use your money in this world and it addresses the proper motivation for using it that way. Just like the manager knew his wealth was about to run out, so will yours. Just like he made use of every resource he had available, so should you. Just as he took seriously the need to have shelter in this world, you need shelter when you leave this world. Take care that you do not hear Jesus saying that you can buy your way into heaven. Read on to get the picture. b 16:10 He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Good financial stewardship does not earn heaven but it does uncover what your heart really wants. As Jesus taught in Matthew 6:19-21, you will spend your money on what you value most. As a follower of Christ in this world you have been given possessions to manage that are really not your own. Your job is not to earn yourself a place in heaven or even to compete with other managers. Your job is to be faithful with what you have. Paul spoke of ministry stewardship when he said:
Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy. 1 Corinthians 4:1-2
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16:11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? The way you manage the material resources God has given you illustrates the need to properly care for ―true‖ riches. True riches include the ministry Paul spoke of in 1 Corinthians 4. d 16:12 if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? This is the biggest point for those who are managers. If you cannot care for what is really not yours you are not ready to manage something of your own. e 16:13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. This exhortation fits the parable because those who are devoted to the material kingdom cannot be devoted to the heavenly one. Jesus said the same thing in Matthew 6:24. f 16:1-13 This parable can be more disturbing than the one about the lost son. Expositors struggle when trying to understand why Jesus used such a crooked character to use as a good example of stewardship. But this unscrupulous man resembles the king who was outmatched by his enemy (14:31) and the prodigal son (15:17). He finds himself in a seemingly hopeless situation with no option but to take urgent measures to get out of the trouble. You may have a stable financial plan for this world, but you do not have enough of what you need to survive in the kingdom and presence of God. As long as your greatest joy is storing up and holding on to what you have here you will not understand what Jesus told the church at Laodicea:
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ―I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,‖ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were a 15 scoffing at Him . And He said to them, ―You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, b but God knows your hearts ; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the c sight of God . 16 The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the d 17 kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it . But it is easier for e heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail .

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revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. Revelation 3:15-19

What Jesus teaches here about your money: 1. You do need to think about it. It is not unimportant. 2. It is not yours. 3. The way you manage it shows the world who you serve. 4. The way you manage it is a reflection of the way you manage other matters of the heart. 5. It will fail. You do have an urgent need to make provision for when money means nothing.
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16:14 the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him. Jesus had just said that you cannot serve God and money. This tells you that the message got through. The word translated ―scoffing‖ means to turn up the nose. It is only used in the Scriptures in Luke 23:35 of those who mocked Jesus as He hung on the cross. The Greek translation of Psalm 2:4 also uses the word to show how the Lord ―scoffs‖ at His enemies. b 16:15 You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts. The word ―justify,‖ in the theological sense, describes the transaction by which God declares sinners righteous based on the bloody sacrifice of Jesus. But the word itself can carry the horizontal meaning of vindicated (Matthew 11:19; Luke 10:29). James speaks of justification before men (James 2:14-26) while Paul speaks of justification before God (Romans 4). c 16:15 for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God. The word rendered ―detestable‖ here is elsewhere translated ―abomination‖ and often refers to idols or practices that are horrible in the sight of God (Matthew 24:15; Revelation 17:4). Notice that there are always two ways to look at any issue and only one is the right way. d 16:16 The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. John came calling people to repentance and that seemed an alien message to those who thought they had mastered law-keeping. There are different ways you can look at this statement.  Those who hear the gospel need to see the urgency of the situation and make sure they enter the kingdom at any cost.  Those who reject the gospel think they can bring in the rule of God like it is a kingdom that is of this world. Matthew‘s records Jesus making a statement that is nearly identical that helps us see that the latter view makes more sense:
Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force. For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear. Matthew 11:11-15

The violence of which He speaks is not positive and it will not bring in the kingdom. The kingdom belongs to the meek and repentant. e 16:17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail. Here and in Matthew 5:18 and Matthew 24:35 Jesus defends what theologians have called ―verbal inspiration.‖ Even the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet and the pen stroke that distinguished one letter from another are put in place by God.
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Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a b one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery .
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16:18 Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery. The law of Moses contained a provision that was revolutionary: divorce. Men of that era commonly treated wives like property and sent them away at will. The certificate of divorce—far from being a command to divorce— actually protected the institution of marriage and women in particular. No longer could a man in Israel just send away his wife because he wanted another. Here is what God spoke through Moses:
When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house, and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man‘s wife, and if the latter husband turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife, then herformer husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the LORD, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance. Deuteronomy 24:1-4

This seems an abrupt transition in the Luke text, but perhaps He is saying that even though the religious leaders rationalized their own sinful behavior (like unbiblical divorce), the authority of the Scripture still stood. It is helpful to look at the cultural and religious context in which Jesus taught. A man who was discontent with his wife might appeal to the rabbis who were liberal in their interpretation of the word ―some indecency.‖ Here are some examples of ―indecency‖ in a wife that would justify divorce in the eyes of some rabbis (from Alfred Edersheim‘s Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah):  Spoiling dinner  Being less attractive than another woman  Going into public with an uncovered head  Spinning in the street  Speaking with another man  Speaking ill of her husband‘s parents  Being quarrelsome  Barrenness for more than ten years Matthew‘s account of this confrontation gives more detail:
Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, ―Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?‖ And He answered and said, ―Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, ‗FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH‘? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.‖ They *said to Him, ―Why then did Moses command to GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY?‖ He said to them, ―Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.‖ Matthew 19:3-9

The Pharisees wanted Jesus to choose one of two rabbinic views on divorce, but He chose a third view: one with God‘s authority. He appealed to the Scriptures and properly defined both marriage and the ―exception clause‖ of divorce. Coupled with what Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 7, the biblical instances where divorce is permitted include adultery, abandonment and abuse (which amounts to the same thing as abandonment). b 16:14-18 There are always two ways to look at a person or an issue: God‘s view and man‘s view. While some say that the two are irreconcilable, God‘s authority says otherwise. For example: ―Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the hearts‖ (Proverbs 21:2). Jesus repeatedly pointed crowds to the authority of Scripture as God‘s view. When you reject the authority of Scripture great error will follow in other areas of your life. This text shows why you need to consider God‘s word your final authority in your life:
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Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living a 20 in splendor every day . And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with b 21 sores , and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man's table; c 22 besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores . Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was d 23 buried . In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and e 24 Lazarus in his bosom . And he cried out and said, ‗Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in f 25 agony in this flame .‘ But Abraham said, ‗Child, remember that during your life you received your 1. Rejecting the Bible‘s authority will lower your view of Jesus. This happens because when you turn from biblical authority, you become the standard by which His words are judged. Notice how the religious leaders scoffed at the words of Jesus that did not fit their lifestyle. 2. Rejecting the Bible‘s authority will raise your view of men. You can always find others who are intelligent and articulate and who bristle at biblical authority. That is why the Pharisees had formed a club where they could compare themselves with each other and reinterpret the Bible to satisfy their lusts. 3. Rejecting the Bible‘s authority will ultimately distort the gospel. The religious leaders were self-satisfied and could not conceive of a kingdom that could only be entered by the repentant. 4. Rejecting the Bible‘s authority will harm your home. Just as the religious leaders did, your views will leave you without absolute standards for interacting with your own mate and promoting Christian marriage as God intended it.
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16:19 Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. Purple clothing was in that culture a sign of fashion and a sometimes wealth. Wearing purple or even being wealthy was not a problem. Even the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 clothed herself in purple (Proverbs 31:22) and Lydia, the first convert to Christ in Europe was a seller of purple (Acts 16:14). The problem is revealed in his neglect of the man who lived in reverse circumstances. b 16:20 And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores. Here is why this is likely a historic account rather than a parable. Jesus named names here (Lazarus, Abraham), something He did in no other parable. c 16:21 and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man's table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. This does not say that Lazarus actually ate those crumbs, but it does demonstrate the great desire he had even for a little satisfaction of his hunger. The word translated ―longing‖ pictures intense desire. In other contexts it has been translated with words like lust, covet and crave. It is used to describe the prodigal son‘s desire to eat what the pigs ate (Luke 15:16). d 16:22 Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. Jesus drew on the rabbis who described the intermediate state for believers as ―Abraham‘s bosom.‖ The picture is a pleasant family meal in Abraham‘s home. Lazarus may even have died of starvation. e 16:23 In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. Jesus used the common word from the Greek myths about the abode of the dead, but added the element of conscious torment of the wicked given by the rabbis. The rich man was able to see what he was missing. f 16:24 he cried out and said, ‗Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.‘ Remember the intense desire Lazarus had for even a little crumb. The word translated ―agony‖ (used only by Luke in the New Testament) was used of Mary and Joseph‘s emotions when they realized that twelve-year-old Jesus had been left behind in Jerusalem (Luke 2:48). Luke also used the word to describe the grief of the Ephesian elders when they thought that they would never again see Paul (Acts 20:38).
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good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in a 26 agony . And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there b 27 28 to us. ‘ And he said, 'Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father's house— for I have five brothers--in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of c 29 d 30 torment .' But Abraham said, ‗They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them .‘ But e 31 he said, ‗No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent !‘ But he said to him, ‗If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if f g someone rises from the dead .‘ ‖ This text and others support the idea that unbelievers will suffer in a place of intense heat:
But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‗You good-for-nothing,‘ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‗You fool,‘ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. Matthew 5:22 And if anyone‘s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15 But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. Revelation 21:8
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16:25 Abraham said, ‗Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.‘ If you go to hell your memory will go with you. Abraham gently pointed out the obvious irony. Earthly trials for Jesus‘ sake are brief compared to eternity. One day justice will be served. b 16:26 besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us. Abraham gave a lesson in eschatology: your eternal destiny is inescapable. c 28 16:27-28 he said, 'Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father's house— for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.' Even unbelievers are capable of love for family, but regeneration brings us to love the neighbors God brings across our path—even at our gate. Imagine the eternal regret of those whose consciences are never bothered by the needs of others—even those who cry for help. d 16:29 But Abraham said, ‗They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.‘ Abraham pointed out the fact that the Scriptures are enough to keep people from hell. He was gentle, but firm about the power of God to salvation. e 16:30 But he said, ‗No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!‘ Maybe this attitude was the human reason the rich man did not repent. This is the mistake many modern Christians make. They assume that God‘s voice is more persuasive when accompanied by signs and wonders. f 16:31 If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead. Other Bible students have pointed out that those hardened in their unbelief were unimpressed when another Lazarus really did rise from the dead (John 12:1011). Remember that Jesus had just referred to the Old Testament Scriptures in verse 16, pointing out that John‘s message of repentance was consistent with Moses and the prophets. The biblical doctrine of Sola Scriptura teaches that the message of salvation is found nowhere else but the Scriptures. g 16:19-31 This text continues the thought from verse 13 about the impossibility of serving both God and money. This apparently historic account is a vivid example of the end of a man whose greatest treasure is wealth. There are changeless facts that come out of this story: 1. You will die. 2. There is a connection between the way you live now and the place you will live eternally. 3. You have been given enough revelation from God to make you accountable for the way you live now.
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17:1

He said to His disciples, ―It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through a 2 whom they come ! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he b 3 were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble . Be on c 4 your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him . And if he sins d against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‗I repent,‘ forgive him .‖ 5 e 6 The apostles said to the Lord, ―Increase our faith !‖ And the Lord said, ―If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‗Be uprooted and be planted in the sea‘; and it f would obey you . 7 Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in g 8 from the field, ‗Come immediately and sit down to eat‘ ? But will he not say to him, ‗Prepare

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17:1 He said to His disciples, ―It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come!‖ ―Stumbling blocks‖ comes from a word (skandalon) that is used of snares or other traps. The attractive bait in a trap is the skandalon. Traps are all over the place, Jesus said, but the one who seeks to ensnare others stands guilty of great evil in the eyes of God. One example of stumbling blocks are those things that turn unbelievers away from the faith. For instance, Nathan told David that his behavior toward Bathsheba had given God‘s enemies cause to blaspheme (2 Samuel 12:14). Another example is that which hinders or weakens a younger believer. When you exercise what you think is your Christian liberty you might embolden a weaker brother to violate his conscience—a dangerous habit to start. Balaam was a stumbling block to Israel when he introduced pagan immorality to the nation. b 17:2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble. The word ―millstone‖ here comes from a word referring to simple stone, but Matthew 18:6 and Mark 9:42 are parallel accounts that detail a specific kind of stone turned by a donkey in grinding grain. To what ―little ones‖ is Jesus referring? Matthew‘s account (18:1-10) says that Jesus was using a child as an object lesson. It is better to die a horrific earthly death than to face eternity having drawn others into sin. c 17:3 Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. These are words of warning. Forgiveness as well as confrontation are commanded here and we should not have one without the other. Why the warning? The danger is twofold. A brother who sins and is not warned may come to harm. A brother who seeks forgiveness and does not get it may come to harm. Either way Jesus is teaching His disciples to be other-focused. d 17:4 And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‗I repent,‘ forgive him. This kind of command makes skeptics think Christians are naïve. Jesus did not say that you know this person is genuine. He is teaching that in the absence of clear evidence to the contrary, love ―believes all things‖ (1 Corinthians 13:7). That is not to say that love is gullible, but that love grants the benefit of the doubt that the offending party has sincerely repented. Ephesians 4:31-32 shows the real motivation behind this kind of forgiveness. e 17:5 The apostles said to the Lord, ―Increase our faith!‖ The reaction of the apostles (note the title that distinguished them from the other disciples) could read ―Add faith to us.‖ They knew that Jesus was the source even of belief and its fruit. Perhaps they saw that they lacked the necessary faith to grant forgiveness to those who least deserved it. f 17:6 And the Lord said, ―If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‗Be uprooted and be planted in the sea‘; and it would obey you.‖ Jesus did not belittle the need for great faith, but He did underscore a greater issue: where your faith is placed. Even a tiny bit of faith is effective when placed in something or someone trustworthy. Heroic faith in a weak bridge is deadly. Mustard seed faith in a great bridge is lifesaving. g 17:7 Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‗Come immediately and sit down to eat‘? Here is another transition
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something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and a 9 afterward you may eat and drink ‘? He does not thank the slave because he did the things which b 10 were commanded, does he ? So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded c d you, say, ‗We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done .‘ ‖ 11 While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and e 12 13 Galilee . As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they f 14 raised their voices, saying, ―Jesus, Master, have mercy on us !‖ When He saw them, He said to that appears at a glance to leave the subject at hand. But look again. Properly placed faith brings us to forgive others and to serve them. Both make us vulnerable to being used. a 17:8 But will he not say to him, ‗Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink‘? The servant is just doing his job when he leaves one task and proceeds to the next. b 17:9 He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? It is not improper to thank someone who does their job to serve you, but their attitude toward their work should be the same whether they are thanked or not. c 17:10 So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‗We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.‘ Serving Jesus does not bring guarantees of earthly praise, but it does bring joy to those who find joy in pleasing God rather than men. d 17:1-10 The statements of Jesus in this text came at a time when He was in conflict with those who misused others and delighted in wealth. It is no wonder, then, that here His words warned His audience to focus on what is good for others and taught them to put their trust in that which lasts. It takes no faith to do what the natural man does. The religious leaders in Jesus‘ day were ―natural men.‖ The natural man does not concern himself with the way his life affects others. When relationships break down he seeks new relationships rather than reconciliation. He trusts and adores nothing outside himself and what brings him personal benefits. He loves being served but sees no need to serve others. The characteristics of those with genuine faith are the absolute antithesis of the attitudes of the religious leaders. The fruit of properly placed faith: 1. You concern yourself with the way you influence others. The religious leaders concerned themselves more with their own glory than the good of others. Your influence on the others in your life is rarely neutral. 2. You desire unbroken fellowship. The religious leaders were concerned with peace as long as it made them look good. Reconciliation is better than writing people off and finding new friends. 3. You recognize the greatness of the object of your faith. The religious leaders had great faith in their own understanding of God and His word. Jesus and His word did not fit their understanding so they dismissed Him. Genuine faith always lifts up Jesus. 4. You develop a humble view toward service. The religious leaders were like Job‘s friends, who assumed that blessings from God are merited. Faith in God does not keep from becoming weary in your good works, but it does help you see the prize at the end.
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17:11 While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. This marker puts us near the end of Jesus‘ three-year earthly ministry. The words ―between Samaria and Galilee‖ hint that Jesus was on the route to Jerusalem that passed BethShan. Crossing the Jordan river into Perea, He could have met up with Passover pilgrims already headed for Jerusalem. f 17:12-13 As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised their voices, saying, ―Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!‖ The reason they were at a distance related to the biblical commands for people with infectious skin diseases:
As for the leper who has the infection, his clothes shall be torn, and the hair of his head shall be uncovered, and he shall cover his mustache and cry, ―Unclean! Unclean!‖ He shall remain unclean all the days during which he has the infection; he is unclean. He shall live alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp. Leviticus 13:45-46 The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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The maladies that required isolation and more in Leviticus 13-14 likely included a wide range of infectious skin diseases, not the least of which was the most well-known infectious skin disease: leprosy. Leprosy, or ―Hansen‘s disease‖ is still a common ailment in our world. While myths of people gradually losing body parts are exaggerated, it is a terrible condition that carries many social and physical consequences. Here is the process a leprer in Israel would have followed:  Appearance of a swelling, a scab or a bright spot on the skin  Go to the priest for an inspection  Pronouncement of ―unclean‖ if the hair has turned white or the infection is more than skin deep  Isolation from the camp and the tabernacle with a positive diagnosis until the disease was pronounced gone and ritual cleansing took place  Clothes must be torn  Must identify self with the words, ―Unclean, unclean!‖ Resoration to family, community fellowship and temple worship and would have looked like this:  Inspection by the priest  Complete coverage of the body  Infection has turned white  Gather two live, clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet string, hyssop  Priest kills first bird over running water  Priest dips live bird, wood, string and hyssop in the blood of the first bird  Priest sprinkles the one to be cleansed seven times and turns the bird loose  Cleansed person washes clothes, bathes, shaves head  Re-enters camp, but stays outside his tent seven days  After a week shaves hair again completely, washes clothes, bathes  On the eighth day he approaches the tabernacle with prescribed offerings  One male lamb is slaughtered as a guilt offering with some oil waved before the Lord  A second male lamb is slaughtered in the place where sin offerings are slaughtered and its blood is put on the lobe of the right ear of the person being cleansed, as well as on his right thumb and right big toe  The priest takes more of the oil and sprinkles it seven times before the Lord and this time oil is put atop the blood on the lobe of the right ear, the right thumb and right big toe  The rest of the oil in the priest‘s left hand is put on the shaved head of the person being cleansed  The ewe lamb is slaughtered and offered up with grain on the altar  People with limited means had to purchase only one lamb and two doves or pigeons Consider the parallels between sin and leprosy. 1. It starts small and seems insignificant. 2. As it grows you become insensitive to it (hence the talk of burns turning into leprosy). 3. It is contagious. 4. It separates you from God and the people of God (the joy of being on the inside, church discipline, etc.). 5. It brings a ―hideous outcome.‖ 6. It is a living death, a reminder of what sin brought to our race. 7. It will find you out. 8. Its discovery brings dread, fear and disgust. 9. You need a priest.
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them, ―Go and show yourselves to the priests.‖ And as they were going, they were a 15 cleansed . Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God 16 with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was b 17 a Samaritan . Then Jesus answered and said, ―Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine-c 18 where are they ? Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this d 19 e f foreigner ?‖ And He said to him, ―Stand up and go; your faith has made you well .‖
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17:14 When He saw them, He said to them, ―Go and show yourselves to the priests.‖ And as they were going, they were cleansed. There were cities of priests dotting the landscape in Israel. An outlying priest may have been allowed to diagnose an infectious skin disease, but the law eventually required a leper to go to Jerusalem. That would have been the case here. All ten must have been healed by Jesus‘ powerful word as they obediently headed for Jerusalem. There are several prominent lepers mentioned in Scripture. Naaman the Gentile Syrian was commanded to wash in the Jordan (2 Kings 5), but Moses‘ sister Miriam (Numbers 12), Elisha‘s servant Gehazi (2 Kings 5) and King Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26) would have been subject to the law of Moses. Note that Jesus called the Samaritan a ―stranger‖ (only here in the New Testament, see Genesis 17:27, LXX). He evidently turned around before going to Jerusalem (where Jesus was also headed). What he shared with the other nine was a horrid disease that made them all outcasts. His fellowship with the Jewish lepers was over. He would not have been able to commune in the system at Jerusalem. b 17:15-16 one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. Notice where the man fell. He fell the same place as the sinful woman and her perfume at the home of Simon (Luke 7:38), the delivered demoniac (Luke 8:35), Jairus, whose daughter was dying (Luke 8:41) and Mary the sister of Lazarus (Luke 10:39; John 12:3). J.C. Ryle pointed out the connection between proper self-image and thankfulness:
Above all, let us pray for a deeper sense of our own sinfulness, guilt, and undeserving. This, after all, is the true secret of a thankful spirit. It is the man who daily feels his debt to grace, and daily remembers that in reality he deserves nothing but hell—this is the man who will be daily blessing and praising God. Thankfulness is a flower which will never bloom well excepting upon a root of deep humility!
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17:17 Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? Prayer is more fervent when you see yourself in great need, but anyone can pray when there is trouble. We wrongly present our requests more than we present our praises. d 17:18 Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner? This is one more message of hope for outsiders who believe and a warning of doom to insiders who do not (Romans 11). The attitude of ungratefulness in the nine lepers is no different than others who willingly take God‘s great gifts and even rejoice in them but fail to give Him praise. e 17:19 And He said to him, ―Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.‖ The Samaritan was made well because he believed. The word translated ―well‖ means more than simple physical healing, as it did when Jesus used it with the sinful woman who anointed Him. This should have been translated like it was in Luke 7:50, ―Your faith has saved you.‖ Jesus did not tell the Samaritan to head for Jerusalem. What does that say about the other nine? They were ceremonially squeaky clean, but unsaved. The Samaritan was entirely whole. f 17:11-19 Genuine thankfulness has at its heart a right view of self and a right view of Jesus. All of the characters in this account benefited from God‘s temporal gifts, but only one from saving grace. Here is how you can look like the thankful leper: 1. Remember how you look next to Jesus. You will never be thankful as long as you seek to put on a show. 2. Remember how merciful Jesus is. He always responds to your requests with utmost mercy even when He denies your request. 3. Remember how strong Jesus is. He heals and He saves. It takes great power to heal a body for part of this life. It takes ultimate power to deliver a person forever.
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Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, ―The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be a 21 observed ; nor will they say, ‗Look, here it is!‘ or, ‗There it is!‘ For behold, the kingdom of God is b in your midst .‖ 22 And He said to the disciples, ―The days will come when you will long to see one of the days c 23 of the Son of Man, and you will not see it . They will say to you, ‗Look there! Look here!‘ Do not

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17:20 having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, ―The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed.‖ They asked Jesus a timing question as well as a visual question. The people may have pictured something dramatic and even violent. But Jesus had already compared the kingdom not to an explosive revolution but to a mustard seed planted in a garden and a little leaven in some bread dough. Jesus pointed out that there is something more than timing involved in the rule of God over men and that they need not look—at least not at that time— for something dramatic. Later Luke records these words of the Lord:
There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. Luke 21:25-28

This point that Jesus made here in chapter 17 does not contradict what He said in chapter 21. Here He did not say there would never be signs. He was showing them that one aspect of the kingdom was already in place. b 17:21 nor will they say, ‗Look, here it is!‘ or, ‗There it is!‘ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst. A number of interpretations have been offered for this phrase, ―the kingdom of God is in your midst.‖ Some interpreters want all or nothing. Since this has been translated ―the kingdom of God is within you,‖ you might come away with the impression that the only way Jesus will ever rule is in the hearts of His people. On the other hand there are some who focus so much on the physical reign of Christ on earth that they overlook His present ministry. Looking at the possible translations of the Greek word entos (within or among) really does not provide us with a correct interpretation of this verse. By itself either translation raises lots of questions:  Did Jesus already come back?  Will there ever be a visible kingdom?  Do all humans have a God-nature inside them? The real issue at hand here is more evident when you read on in Luke. The kingdom of God has ―already‖ and ―not yet‖ components. Jesus did not want these disciples to focus so much on eschatology (doctrine of last things) that they messed up their soteriology (doctrine of salvation). The real message in this verse is that the kingdom was present in their midst because the King Himself was present in their midst! This is why Paul was so passionate with the Colossians regarding the present rule of Christ:
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14
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17:22 He said to the disciples, ―The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.‖ There would soon come a day when the King would no longer be physically present. The call is to not pour so much attention into studying the end times that you miss the central figure in all of time. John records Jesus saying something very similar while He spoke of His soon death:
So Jesus said to them, ―For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes.‖ John 12:35 The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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go away, and do not run after them . For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of b 25 the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day . But first He c 26 must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation . And just as it happened in the days d 27 of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man : they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, e 28 and the flood came and destroyed them all . It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, f 29 they were building ; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone g 30 from heaven and destroyed them all . It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is h 31 revealed . On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn 32 i 33 back. Remember Lot's wife . Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his j 34 life will preserve it . I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the 35 the other will be left. There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and
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17:23 They will say to you, ‗Look there! Look here!‘ Do not go away, and do not run after them. This says that you will not need to go searching for His kingdom. b 17:24 just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day. This could show that the event will be visible to everyone, but it may also show the universal effects. Lightning quickly covers a large area. c 17:25 But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. Jesus answered the ―when‖ by revealing what comes ―first.‖ The kingdom Jesus describes has no basis without the cross. The redemption of creation cannot come without the redemption of men. d 17:26 And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man. Here the teaching turns from talk of the present, invisible kingdom to a coming judgment. Noah was called a ―preacher of righteousness‖ (2 Peter 2:5) and judgment followed his prophetic ministry. e 17:27 they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. The mention of these activities does not mean that people should busy themselves otherwise to prepare for the return of Christ. It clues us in that the return of Christ is not predictable enough to cease daily activities or relationships. f 17:28 It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building. Genesis 19:15-26 describes the day of judgment for Sodom and Gomorrah. Once again, daily activity was not the problem. Wickedness was the problem. g 17:29 but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Jesus is teaching how quickly all that you know can be taken away. Then what? h 17:30 It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. While the word ―day‖ is used in different ways in Scripture, you can compare this use to the ―day‖ Noah entered the ark and the ―day‖ Lot went out from Sodom. i 17:31-32 On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back. Remember Lot's wife. This is a warning to those who assume the kingdom is something you gain because of your heritage or your skill at making advantageous connections. We live and work with people now whose hearts do not love Christ, but the end of time will be the great sifter of hearts. Lot was far from blameless in his life, but he knew the evil he fled. His wife clung to it and perished. The call to all of us who live in this already-not-yet kingdom is to leave our old lives behind, going forward joyfully rather than mourning what the kingdom has cost us. j 17:33 Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. The first ―life‖ here comes from the word for the soul (psuche). You can gain the whole world and lose it. This kingdom is not about how you ornament your ―life‖ but rather how you spend it.
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the other will be left . [Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left.]‖ 37 And answering they said to Him, ―Where, Lord?‖ And He said to them, ―Where the body is, there b c also the vultures will be gathered .‖
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17:34-35 I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left. This verse has been used to support a secret rapture that is taught nowhere in Scripture. If that is what is described here, you will want to be among those ―left behind.‖ Those taken will be judged. See again the sifting. Like His teaching about the sheep and goat judgments recorded in Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus‘ parable of the tares also fits well here:
Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, ―The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‗Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?‘ And he said to them, ‗An enemy has done this!‘ The slaves said to him, ‗Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?‘ But he *said, ‗No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, ―First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.‖‘‖ Matthew 13:24-30
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17:37 And answering they said to Him, ―Where, Lord?‖ And He said to them, ―Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered.‖ Now the question has turned from ―when?‖ to ―where?‖ I assume they wanted to know where those taken would be found. The reference to vultures probably means, ―It will be so obvious that you really won‘t need to ask.‖ c 17:20-37 Talk of the kingdom must have brought to diverse images to the minds of Jesus‘ listeners. Here are some good and bad examples of earthly monarchies inside the scope of imagination of those who questioned Jesus here:  Saul  David  Solomon  Nebuchadnezzar  Caesar But the text has shown that this kingdom was much bigger than the ―of this world‖ kind. Remember that earlier in Jesus‘ ministry the crowds intended to make Him the king (John 6:15). He refused. What does that tell you about the kind of kingdom He came to bring? Luke gives other examples of people around the time of Jesus who were looking for the kingdom of God, but in a different way. Simeon served in the temple when Jesus was born and had learned that ―he would not see death before he had seen the Lord‘s Christ‖ (Luke 2:26). Anna at the same time was also among those ―looking for the redemption of Jerusalem‖ (Luke 2:38). After the crucifixion Joseph of Arimathea is described this way:
And a man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man (he had not consented to their plan and action), a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was waiting for the kingdom of God; this man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Luke 23:50-52

The rule of God over men starts inside those men. Simeon, Anna and Joseph evidently understood this, for their words and actions were far from power plays. As a first application of this text, you should see why your first focus needs to be the invisible kingdom of God: 1. Because the redemption of this sin-cursed world starts with the redemption of sin-cursed men. 2. Because it keeps you from the folly of interpreting the Bible based on the newspaper. 3. Because it makes you satisfied to say, ―Let your kingdom come.‖ Jesus did speak of making an end of outward evil. The invisible kingdom that already exists brings down men in their pride and puts them under the king who conquered sin and death. But the entire order of things in this world will also come to an end. This text parallels the Olivet discourse in Matthew 24-25. There will be more of that in Luke 21. Some Bible teachers limit these words to events that have not yet happened. Others have said that these events were
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18:1

Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose a 2 heart , saying, ―In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect b 3 man . There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‗Give me legal c 4 d protection from my opponent .‘ For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself , complete in A.D. 70. As in so many other prophetic texts, I see here both the short-term fulfillment as well as an ultimate righting of wrong. The description Jesus gave fits the flood of Noah‘s day, the judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah, the destruction of Jerusalem and the final return of Jesus. Notice the things these events hold in common:  They were all prophesied.  They were all sudden.  They all revealed hidden loyalties.  They all severed relationships.  They were all brutal. The latter portion of this text focuses on the bringing down of the things that the men of this world worship. It happened to Noah‘s world, to Sodom and Gomorrah, to Jerusalem and eventually it will happen to our own tower of Babel. Peter called his first century readers and us to consider the real reason God prophesies such destruction:
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and theelements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking fornew heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:10-13

So, seeing what an end will come of all the things you hold dear, what should you do with your life? 1. Surrender it. The King who reigns now has more than remodeling in store for you. 2. Live it. Your mundane responsibilities have an eternal purpose. 3. Lose it. The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed to us.
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18:1 He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart. Praying and losing heart are opposites. In other words you do not pray like Jesus instructs here when you have lost heart and you do not lose heart as long as you continue praying. Paul used the same word when he called the Galatians to keep an eye on the eventual harvest of doing good deeds:
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. Galatians 6:9
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18:2 In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. This would make this man an unworthy candidate for a judge‘s seat anywhere in the world, but he is the character Jesus used to illustrate the heavenly Father. Why? Because the unjust judge in this parable was the woman‘s only hope to get what she needed. On a human level she was completely at His mercy. c 18:3 There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‗Give me legal protection from my opponent.‘ Because this is a parable there is no ―behind the scenes story.‖ Jesus drew on a widow because, without the protection of a husband, a widow would have been very vulnerable to merciless lenders or other predators. This does not teach us to pray for frivolous things to meet selfish appetites. The woman‘s only plea was for justice. d 18:4 For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself. This judge changed his mind. Of course Scripture teaches that God does not waffle in His decisions (Numbers 23:19), but He has been known to respond to intercession. These instances do not reveal weakness in God or an inability to carry out His purposes. They reveal that He tests His people to see if they love
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‗Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give a 6 her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out .‘ ‖ And the Lord said, 7 ―Hear what the unrighteous judge said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry b 8 to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them ? I tell you that He will bring about justice c d for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth ?‖ Him enough to persevere in the faith when things are tough. This is how God tested Moses when He threatened to destroy Israel and make a new nation out of him. Moses passed the test by reciting the promises that would make such an act inconsistent with God‘s character (Exodus 32:9-14). Abraham, the friend of God, prayed the same way for God‘s mercy on His people in Sodom (Genesis 18:16-33). a 18:4-5 Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out. Even a loveless man might show mercy if you bug him enough. What kind of God do you approach with your requests? b 18:7 now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? If a man will show mercy who has no regard for what is right in God‘s eyes or for what benefits people, how much more the God who did not spare His own Son for us? The elect of God are those who are saved as a result of God‘s sovereign choice or those who will be saved. In this context Jesus is pointing to those who have already experienced redemption. How long is too long for the elect to trust God? John comforted the persecuted first century church with a vision of martyrs crying out to God for justice:
When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, ―How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?‖ And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also. Revelation 6:9-11

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It is worth noting that the ultimate just Judge had determined that justice was best served by even more than asking the saints to wait. He had decided that it was best served by letting them suffer death. Sometimes God‘s greatest mercy is to take His people out of this world. c 18:8 I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth? Here Jesus is speaking again of preparing for His second coming. He implies that the longer you wait for justice, the harder it becomes to believe. God is very willing to do what honors His character. The faith needed for this kind of praying recognizes that the sovereign ruler of the universe has the right to decide what justice looks like. That kind of faith keeps us from running away from the one you trust even when He seems not to be listening. d 18:1-8 Why a lesson on prayer at this point of Jesus‘ ministry? Because a lesson on prayer is a lesson on the character of God. A lesson on the character of God is a lesson on the character of man. A lesson on the character of man is a lesson on the necessity of the cross. Jesus is coming back. Will He find you trusting Him or giving up? When you pray, what do you know for sure? You should not despair when you pray and God seems not to respond. Persistence in prayer reveals that you have a high view of God‘s character. Consider some biblical reasons you should persist in your praying: 1. You have been commanded to persist. Luke said that in the very first verse of this parable. 2. Jesus gave you an example of what persistent prayer looks like. There are no magic words. You just keep asking. 3. God may be testing your faith. God often does what appears inconsistent with His character and His word. Do you trust Him? 4. God will give you precisely what you need. Note that what you need is not always what you want. The key is learning to want what He wants for you.
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And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were a b 10 righteous , and viewed others with contempt : Jesus told this parable: ―Two men went up into c d 11 the temple to pray , one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector . The Pharisee stood and was e f praying this to himself : ‗God, I thank you that I am not like other people : swindlers, unjust, 12 g 13 adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get .‘ But h the tax collector, standing some distance away , but was beating his breast, saying, ‗God, i 14 be merciful to me, the sinner !‘ I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the j other ; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be k a exalted .‖
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18:9 He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous. These people thought they did not need a Savior, but Jesus is about to illustrate that only those who see no hope in themselves can be saved. This theme is prominent in the book of Romans. The whole point of Christian teaching from Genesis 3 to Revelation is that man needs a righteousness not his own. Martin Luther called this ―alien righteousness,‖ the kind of righteousness Paul knew he needed:
More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith. Philippians 3:8-9
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18:9 viewed others with contempt. The word used here indicates that these people considered others as ―nothing.‖ c 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray. The temple was the place for a Jew to meet God. This vivid image placed in the minds of Jesus‘ hearers sets the stage for a story about access to God. The temple is now destroyed, but Hebrews tells us that we have a better priest who, ―always lives to make intercession‖ (Hebrews 7:2 5). d 18:10 one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. Jesus could have drawn no greater contrast in his day than that between a powerful, scrupulous Pharisee and a despised, compromising tax collector. Tax collectors were hired by the Romans and had a very bad reputation as thieves and extortioners. e 18:11 The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself. A. T. Robertson (Word Pictures the New Testament) points out that the Pharisee was having a ―soliloquy with his own soul‖ rather than communion with God. Works-based righteousness looks like this: I perform. God rewards. f 18:11 God, I thank you that I am not like other people. It was acceptable for a prominent Jewish man in Jesus‘ time to thank God every day that he was not born in the low status of a Gentile, a common Jew or a woman. In this case the Pharisee had a living example of what he despised right there in church. g 18:12 I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get. Fasting was only required once a year on the Day of Atonement. The Pharisee added to Scripture to make himself look good. h 18:13 the tax collector, standing some distance away. This may not have been a distance from the Holy Place but a distance from the Pharisee. Perhaps the tax collector knew better than to come near a Pharisee so conscious of being defiled. i 18:13 God, be merciful to me, the sinner! Young‘s Literal Translation shows the tax collector saying here, ―God be propitious to me—the sinner!‖ The word translated ―merciful‖ or ―propitious‖ is related to the word ―atonement‖ or ―appeasement.‖ The (note the definite article) sinner longed for God‘s wrath to be satisfied on his behalf. The tax collector‘s attitude illustrates how those for whom Christ died look when they cast their entire hope on the atoning sacrifice of the cross. Selfrighteous people cannot pray like this. A plea for mercy presupposes that there is trouble. There is no need for mercy if you are not under judgment. j 18:14 I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other. Justification gives man a right legal standing before God. That status has always been received by faith rather than works. Compare this with Romans 4:2. k 18:14 for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted. This statement reinforces what you see throughout the Scriptures. God hates pride.
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And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them , but when c 16 d the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them . But Jesus called for them , saying, ―Permit the e children to come to Me, and do not hinder them , for the kingdom of God belongs to such as f 17 these . Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not g h enter it at all .‖
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18:9-14 This is the second parable in a row about prayer. By this parable Jesus called people to humble themselves before God. It skillfully illustrates the things that keep men from salvation.  Self-confidence keeps you from salvation. The Pharisees wanted a righteousness of their own rather than the righteousness of God.  Human comparisons keep you from salvation. You can always find someone worse than you are. Looking at men as your standard keeps you from seeing the sinless Jesus.  Self-imposed religious standards keep you from salvation. Sinners have always been good at creating achievable lifestyles they presume will impress God. Another important application for you is the way you welcome sinners when they come into your life or your church. Can you learn a lesson from the wrong way the self-righteous Pharisee welcomed sinners? Here is God‘s way to welcome sinners who come into our midst: 1. Welcome them for Jesus‘ sake. This has nothing to do with social or economic standing. It is not about personality. It is about belonging to the only race of people created in the image of God: Adam‘s race. 2. Recognize that you are one of them. Even the worst criminal shares your propensity to serve self instead of God. 3. Join them at the cross. This is the basis for Christian unity. Lots of people share standards for things like clothing and music that the Bible says nothing about. That is not where we have fellowship. That is one reason why we call the Lord‘s Table ―communion.‖
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18:15 they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them. The word ―babies‖ comes from a word that is elsewhere used in the New Testament only of unborn babies and small infants. The ―touch‖ they wanted was more than a pat of the hand. The word (hapto) is often used in the New Testament of an intentional touch of healing from Jesus (touching lepers) or toward Jesus (touching the hem of His garment). The parents wanted a special blessing from the Lord. c 18:15 but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. Possibly the disciples thought Jesus should not be troubled with babies when there were ―bigger fish to fry.‖ d 18:16 But Jesus called for them. Just like Jesus approached women, outcasts, tax collectors, lepers, Galileans and those who were otherwise weak, these little ones fit His mission. e 18:16 Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them. The disciples were, without realizing it, hindering the work of the Lord. f 18:16 for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Why does it belong to them? Because, as the beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-11) teach, it is not the achievers and the pushers who enter God‘s kingdom. Jesus goes on to explain. g 18:17 whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all. These children were entirely dependent on their parents. They really contributed nothing to their own care. This is the point Jesus made. When it comes to the matter of kingdom allegiance, Jesus is not looking for disciples who have something to offer. He is calling those whose very presence in the kingdom exalts His great plan of redemption. h 18:15-17 Once again the disciple did not understand the mission of Jesus. They had the wrong view of children and the kingdom and once again the Lord corrected their faulty thinking and behavior. The applications of this are many, but we will focus on what people learn about you by the way you relate to children. 1. View children as the worthy of your attention. 2. Make it a priority to bring the children in your life to Jesus. 3. Imitate the innocent dependence of children.
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A ruler questioned Him , saying, ―Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal b 19 life ?‖ And Jesus said to him, ―Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God c 20 alone . You know the commandments, ‗DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT MURDER, d DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER .‘ 21 e 22 And he said, ―All these things I have kept from my youth .‖ When Jesus heard this, He said to him, ―One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall f 23 have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me .‖ But when he had heard these things, he g 24 h became very sad, for he was extremely rich . And Jesus looked at him and said, ―How hard it is 25 for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through i 26 the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God .‖ They who heard it said,
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18:18 A ruler questioned Him. Mark (10:17) includes the detail that Jesus was ―setting out on journey‖ when this happened. Mark also says that the man ran to Jesus and knelt before Him. Matthew (19:20) says that this man was young. b 18:18 Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? This is not a bad question because it deals with ultimate issues. Since death passed to all men in the garden of Eden, thinking people have longed for the immortality we lost there. c 18:19 Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. Some cults and skeptics have used this to argue that Jesus wanted to communicate that He was less than God. A better way to see it is that He wanted the ruler to understand that He was indeed God. In other words, identifying Jesus as God is every bit as important in matters of immortality as our response to Him. d 18:20 You know the commandments, ‗DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.‘ It is interesting that Jesus only quoted from the ―second table‖ of the law, the section summed up by ―love your neighbor as yourself.‖ Jesus did not choose these randomly but wished to demonstrate that the barrier to eternal life for the ruler lay in the middle of these commands. e 18:21 All these things I have kept from my youth. The man was pretty sure he had those commands locked up. He had been outwardly faithful to his wife, had never killed a man, had never stolen and always spoke the truth under oath. John Calvin says that the man was ―intoxicated with foolish confidence.‖ He was evidently good at displaying good deeds but was not much of a giver. f 18:22 One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me. What was the one thing he lacked? There was not an additional command to keep. Giving away his possessions would demonstrate that he was ready to do the neighbor-loving summarized in the commandments mentioned. He lacked treasure in heaven because his heart was bound up in the things that made him comfortable on earth. Jesus called him to do the things that honored God by bringing comfort to others. People who have no love for others should not claim to love God. Jesus made a general call too all disciples here, but not as you might think. He did not call all His disciples to give away their possessions. He called them to let go of any earthly treasure that they loved more than Him. It would not have been enough for this man to let go of his possessions. He riches would be found in following Jesus. g 18:23 when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. Note the adjectives here. The word translated ―very sad‖ is used in Matthew 26:38 and Mark 14:34 of Jesus‘ stress at facing the cross. The word translated ―extremely‖ is used elsewhere in the New Testament to describe the outer boundaries of emotions and numbers and severity and size. h 18:24 Jesus looked at him. Mark‘s account of this (10:21) says that Jesus ―felt a love for him‖ when He looked at him. The man was in a pitiful condition, as illustrated by the next words of Jesus. i 18:24-25 How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. There is no need to turn this picture into some mysterious symbol or invent a
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―Then who can be saved?‖ But He said, ―The things that are impossible with people are a possible with God .‖ 28 29 Peter said, ―Behold, we have left our own homes and followed You.‖ And He said to them, ―Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, 30 for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and b c in the age to come, eternal life .‖ 31 d Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, ―Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, e and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished . new gate to Jerusalem as others have done. Camels don‘t fit through needle eyes. Period. Rich men haven‘t the ability to get to heaven. Period. Here are some reasons why those who trust in riches cannot go to heaven:  Wealth creates enough temporary protection to lull you into thinking the safety it provides is enough.  Wealth brings enough pleasure to make you think there is no better pleasure.  Wealth creates a system that requires worship in order to keep it.  Wealth promotes the kind of pride that makes you think you deserve what you have.  Wealth becomes a king that will tolerate no rival rulers.  Wealth promises happiness that intoxicates those who search for it, but it never delivers. a 18:26-27 who can be saved…things that are impossible with people are possible with God. You must not stop when you see the camel next to the needle. This hopeless conclusion is the only place to find hope. God can save rich men when He turns their hearts to seek a better treasure. b 18:28-30 Behold, we have left our own homes and followed You… there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life. Peter asked Jesus a similar question to that of the ruler. Jesus told him that the rewards of following Him are eternal, but that they start now. See ―at this time.‖ When you ―let goods and kindred go‖ God has better and more satisfying treasure here even before you go to heaven. c 18:18-30 Two people in this text—the rich man and Peter—approached Jesus with a question about their own souls. There could be no greater question to take to Jesus. Ultimate questions deserve ultimate answers. Here are the answers Jesus gave: 1. You are going to exist somewhere forever. 2. You are not good enough to merit eternal life. 3. God is powerful enough to equip you to have eternal life. 4. The despair of seeing your hopeless condition is the only place to find hope.
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18:31 He took the twelve aside. When Jesus took the twelve aside He often explained to them things the crowds could not understand. For example, Jesus gave the parable of the wheat and the tares to a great crowd and then explained it to a smaller group in a house (Matthew 13:3637). Many disciples turned from Jesus after His confusing and controversial words in John 6. He then revealed some disturbing coming events to the smaller group (John 6:66-71). In this text the twelve did not understand either. So Jesus began a small group discussion. e 18:31 we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. The Lord was not aimlessly roaming the Judean countryside. The word ―accomplished‖ is the future tense of the word translated ―It is finished!‖ that Jesus cried out on the cross as He died (John 19:30). Peter told the Jewish crowds at the feast of Pentecost that Jesus was crucified because of the ―predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God‖ (Acts 2:23). From Genesis 3:15, where God told the serpent that the seed of the woman would crush his head to numerous other prophesies, the cross was the accomplishment of God‘s plan to redeem His people. The entire system of worship in Israel was built around the need for a priest offering a blood atonement for sin. Psalm 22, written about 1000 years before the cross, must have been the singing meditation of Jesus on the cross. Consider a few of the clearest texts:
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For He will be handed over to the Gentiles , and will be mocked and mistreated and spit b 33 c upon , and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him ; and the third day He will rise d 34 e again .‖ But the disciples understood none of these things , and the meaning of this statement f g was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said .

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If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance. Deuteronomy 21:22-23 (compare Galatians 3:13) Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. Isaiah 53:4-6 I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. Zechariah 12:10
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18:32 He will be handed over to the Gentiles. Under Roman rule the Jews were forbidden the right to carry out executions. This necessitated cooperating with Rome regarding the worst Jewish offenders guilty of capital offenses. b 18:32 will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon. This must have been very distasteful for at least eleven of these men. They loved Jesus and could not imagine Him getting this kind of treatment. Remember that Peter even rebuked Jesus the first time He mentioned the cross (Matthew 16:22-23). Here He reveals that His captors would be Gentiles. c 18:33 after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him. This again is not the first time Jesus spoke of His death to the disciples. d 18:33 the third day He will rise again. When Paul was preaching in Athens (Acts 17:18) he was invited to Mars Hill to explain the ―strange new deities‖ he supposedly promoted. The ―strange new deities‖ were iesus and anastasi: Jesus and the resurrection. In other words, Paul kept the focus of His message on the person and work of Jesus Christ. He said these words so many times that people wanted to know what they meant. Just like he told the Corinthians: ―For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.‖ (1 Corinthians 2:2). There is no other message that we have for lost people than the story of Jesus and His death and resurrection. So here Jesus revealed what was to come even though the disciples still did not get it. e 18:34 the disciples understood none of these things. Part of what they did not understand was the nature of this kingdom Jesus would rule. Matthew‘s account (Matthew 20:20-21) says that this is when James and John‘s mother asked Jesus to give her sons special favors in His kingdom. f 18:34 and the meaning of this statement was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said. Jesus hides things when it suits His mission (Mark 6:48; Luke 24:28). g 18:31-34 There is a brand of theology that is still around which teaches that the reason Jesus went to the cross is because Israel rejected Him as king. In other words, they believe that a great kingdom age would have ensued had the people wanted it. But that is not what you see in this text. Even though the cross appears to be a failure of Jesus‘ ministry, it was not a late development in His earthly mission. This was God‘s plan, as numerous prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures show. If the cross was the goal of Jesus earthly mission, preaching it ought to be the primary activity. Here are some reasons why:
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As Jesus was approaching Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the road begging . Now a 37 hearing a crowd going by, he began to inquire what this was . They told him that Jesus of 1. The cross is plan A. Starting with God‘s interaction with Adam and Eve (and Satan) immediately after the first sin, God began revealing the only plan to redeem our fallen world. 2. The cross is ugly. What is good about that? It shouts aloud our real condition before a holy God. It communicates what is wrong with us and what an infinite price is required for offending an infinite God. 3. The cross is good news. The end of the cross was not the grave but the resurrection. This is good because God is satisfied and repentant sinners have that satisfaction as a priest before the throne. 4. The cross is not understood independently. It is called ―the power of God to salvation‖ because the faith to believe the message does not come naturally to the sons of Adam. We proclaim the good news because it is through this message that God wakes the dead. 5. The cross is the only way you can stand guiltless before God. This is certainly good news for people who are going to die, but is also good news for those who are going to live a little longer. There is no greater satisfaction in this world than having a completely cleansed conscience, knowing you have been released from your immense debt of guilt.
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18:35 As Jesus was approaching Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the road begging. Jesus was likely with a group of Passover pilgrims crossing back into Judean territory. Having crossed the Jordan, Jericho, also called the City of Palms, greeted Passover pilgrims with its beauty as well as its ugliness. The city, located about 15 miles northeast of Jerusalem down a rugged hill, was the lush vacation spot where Herod the Great built a palace and eventually died. It was also the place where tax collectors like Zaccheus took advantage of travelers who carried full bags of money. Wise beggars position themselves strategically where there are lots of people with extra money. In Israel the behavior toward people without sight was influence both by the Scriptures as well as the rabbis.  Some rabbis taught that blindness was the result of sin in the blind person or the parents of the blind person (John 9:2).  God told Moses that He makes people with disabilities (Exodus 4:11).  God commanded Israel to show mercy to the blind and even pronounced a curse on those who did not show love to blind neighbors (Leviticus 19:14; Deuteronomy 27:18).  Like their sacrifices, those who served in the priesthood had to be without physical blemishes like blindness (Leviticus 21:18).  Jesus had urged the people to show hospitality to the blind (Luke 14:13). So we understand that blind people had the protection of the law of God but the prejudice of many people. As in our day, many people gave alms out of guilt. The shame of begging (see Luke 16:3) was very real, but the Scripture also gave promises about God‘s ability to heal blindness:
The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous. Psalm 146:8 On that day the deaf will hear words of a book, And out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. Isaiah 29:18 Say to those with anxious heart, ―Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, but He will save you.‖ Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Isaiah 35:4-5

Jesus was known to have opened blind eyes. The Lord even used these healings to encourage the imprisoned John the Baptist of His messianic identity (Luke 7:21-22).
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Nazareth was passing by . And he called out, saying, ―Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on c 39 me !‖ Those who led the way were sternly telling him to be quiet; but he kept crying out all the d 40 more, ―Son of David, have mercy on me !‖ And Jesus stopped and commanded that he be e 41 brought to Him ; and when he came near, He questioned him, ―What do you want Me to do for f g 42 you ?‖ And he said, ―Lord, I want to regain my sight !‖ And Jesus said to him, ―Receive your h 43 sight; your faith has made you well .‖ Immediately he regained his sight and began following i j a Him, glorifying God ; and when all the people saw it, they gave praise to God . Mark (10:46) tells us that this man‘s name was Bartimaeus the son of Timaeus. Mark‘s specific mention may indicate that he became a well-known figure in the early Church. Matthew adds that there was a second blind man and that the healing actually happened on the way out of the city (20:29-30). Comparing the three accounts may indicate that Bartimaeus and the other beggar followed the throng through town before the healing happened. This would have been quite an undertaking for two blind men. a 18:36 hearing a crowd going by, he began to inquire what this was. All three synoptics point out that this was a big crowd. Bartimaeus relied heavily on his hearing and this crowd would have made a lot of noise. b 18:37 They told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. After about three years of earthly ministry there needed to be no further detail. Jesus represented hope to a blind man. c 18:38 he called out, saying, ―Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!‖ This was not a ―shot in the dark.‖ Had it been that, the man would have simply said ―Jesus of Nazareth, have mercy on me!‖ No. This title Son of David shows that the blind man was confessing Jesus as the Messiah and the one capable of fulfilling all the promises of the Hebrew Scriptures. Notice the similarity between the cry of this man with obvious physical needs and the plea of the sinful tax collector at the temple. Desperate people who begged Jesus for mercy include the Syrophoenician woman (Mark 7:25-30) and Jairus the synagogue ruler (Luke 8:40), both pleading on behalf of their little girls. d 18:39 Those who led the way were sternly telling him to be quiet; but he kept crying out all the more, ―Son of David, have mercy on me!‖ The same word is used for this stern scolding as Luke used to describe the rebuke of the disciples on those who wanted Jesus to bless their babies. You see the extreme misunderstanding of grace in the leaders of the pack that made them think Jesus should not be the object of a helpless man‘s pleas. Bartimaeus knew they had no authority to keep him from crying out to Jesus. e 18:40 Jesus stopped and commanded that he be brought to Him. Notice another similarity between Jesus taking time to bless this beggar and His commanding that the children be brought to Him (Luke 18:15-17). This command is one given by a person with authority. Jesus overruled the fussing of those who wrongly assumed He did not want to be bothered with disabled panhandlers. f 18:40-41 when he came near, He questioned him, ―What do you want Me to do for you?‖ How would you answer that question? Healthy and prosperous people are prone to think of prayer in selfish terms. They see God as a genie granting wishes. Jesus knew this man‘s answer, but calling him to voice it instructed everyone around. g 18:41 he said, ―Lord, I want to regain my sight!‖ Using the word ―lord‖ was a polite way to greet a superior, but this was more. Bartimaeus was not asking too much of his creator. h 18:42 Receive your sight; your faith has made you well. Jesus had sight to give the man. No one else in the world could have fulfilled this request. He is the creator. He is the healer. He is the judge. He is the Savior. How was this man‘s faith demonstrated? The faith of Bartimaeus was not some hidden quality he cranked up within himself. Simply put, this man‘s faith resulted in his healing because he had no means of getting out of his trouble and he acknowledged the powerful Son of David as the only way out. i 18:43 Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him, glorifying God. What was the first thing this man ever saw? The face of Jesus. It‘s like Adam. j 18:43 when all the people saw it, they gave praise to God. The crowd at Jericho was very different than the leaders in Jerusalem who also witnessed the healing of a blind man (John 9).
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19:1

He entered Jericho and was passing through . And there was a man called by the name of c 3 Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich . Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus d 4 was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature . So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that e 5 way . When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, ―Zaccheus, hurry and come f 6 down, for today I must stay at your house .‖ And he hurried and came down and received Him g 7 gladly . When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, ―He has gone to be the guest of a

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The common people in Jericho praised God for His obvious work. The religious leaders were blinded by their own lust to stay in power (John 9:40-41). a 18:35-43 This text is more about Jesus than it is about blind beggars. You see our Lord focused on His mission of doing good—determined to go to the cross. He demonstrates that He is not subject to majority opinion. You see Him listening and taking time to show mercy. Knowing all this, you and I need to respond in faith like Bartimaeus did. Faith itself did not heal Bartimaeus, Jesus did. But genuine faith was the means of bringing him in contact with the healing power of Jesus. Here are the marks of this genuine faith: 1. A clear understanding of how completely helpless you are. 2. Prayer. God uses means. We can agree that the eternal plan of God was to heal this man, but the plan included the man crying out for help. 3. Awareness that your real needs are only satisfied in Jesus. The man did not ask for help from the disciples. 4. Praise. People of faith know where the credit for their blessings belongs. It is inconsistent to claim to believe in salvation by faith alone and then take credit for your smart decision to follow Jesus. Even those who were not personally healed shared in the celebration.
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19:1 He entered Jericho and was passing through. This description connects the healing of the blind man (men) in the previous text with this same visit to Jericho. The interaction with Zaccheus may have actually happened before the healing of the blind (see my note on 18:35). c 19:2 there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. The name of this man means clean or pure. The irony in that statement is clear when you see that that Zaccheus was not just a run-of-the-mill tax collector. Matthew/Levi was numbered with the most notorious class of tax collectors (see Luke 5:27-32). The tax collectors were franchisees of the Roman government charged with using whatever means necessary to obtain the required levy from their Hebrew brothers. They were allowed to extort whatever money they could from people in the name of Rome so long as they met their quota. They made tax collectors both wealthy and hated in Israel. Zaccheus was apparently their boss. d 19:3 Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. We do not know how tall Zaccheus was, but his size and his curiosity about Jesus moved him to find a way to see this man he had heard so much about. e 19:4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. Here is a wealthy, dignified man running and climbing a tree. Wealthy and dignified men do not normally do that. This great effort on the part of Zaccheus does not let us know that he really is good down deep inside. It lets us know that he had learned something about Jesus that made the Master a spectacle worthy of dramatic effort. f 19:5 When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, ―Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.‖ Jesus saw Zaccheus. The wee little man was not trying to attract attention (although a well-dressed little person climbing a tree might be noticed). Jesus called to Zaccheus, not the other way around. Jesus invited Himself into the man‘s home. g 19:6 he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. The reception of Zaccheus can look like the seeds that sprang up immediately like Jesus‘ parable of the sower (Matthew 13:3-23; Mark 4:2-20; Luke 8:4-15), representing those who make false professions and are only temporarily joyful. But Jesus does not teach that there is no joy in genuine professions of faith.
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man who is a sinner .‖ Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, ―Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give b 9 back four times as much .‖ And Jesus said to him, ―Today salvation has come to this house, c 10 because he, too, is a son of Abraham . For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that d e which was lost .‖

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19:7 When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, ―He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.‖ The gladness of the man with a past stands in great contrast to the grumbling of the men with position. They knew that Jesus was going to benefit from hospitality in a home at least partially funded by the fruit of greed and corruption. This was not the kind of man they thought Jesus should pay attention to (like demon possessed men and sinful women and babies and lepers and blind beggars). What kind of people grumble at grace? Those who don‘t think they need it. b 19:8 Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, ―Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.‖ Notice the title with which Zaccheus addressed Jesus. Surely any man could make righteous claims to impress the rabbi. People tend to do that when clergy are present. But you do not make false claims when the rabbi knows your name before meeting you and sees right through you. Zaccheus promised his Lord to correct his sins of omission (failure to care for the needy) as well as his sins of commission (actively defrauding people). The restitution Zaccheus offered went far beyond the biblical requirement of adding 20% to the value of what was stolen (emphasis added):
When a person sins and acts unfaithfully against the LORD, and deceives his companion in regard to a deposit or a security entrusted to him, or through robbery, or if he has extorted from his companion, or has found what was lost and lied about it and sworn falsely, so that he sins in regard to any one of the things a man may do; then it shall be, when he sins and becomes guilty, that he shall restore what he took by robbery or what he got by extortion, or the deposit which was entrusted to him or the lost thing which he found, or anything about which he swore falsely; he shall make restitution for it in full and add to it one-fifth more. He shall give it to the one to whom it belongs on the day he presents his guilt offering. Leviticus 6:2-4

This could have been an attempt to pay God off, but Jesus did not see it that way. There is a difference between doing penance (paying for forgiveness) and showing the fruit of repentance (responding to forgiveness). c 19:9 Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. See that Jesus makes a distinction like Paul (Romans 9:7; Galatians 3:6-9) between the biological sons of Abraham and those who are sons of Abraham by faith. d 19:10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. This statement is the underlying theme of Luke‘s gospel. e 19:1-10 The last text shows that Jesus is merciful to those who suffer through no fault of their own. This one shows that Jesus is merciful to those who have willingly gotten themselves into the mess they are in. What struggles do you have in your life right now that you have earned by either your actions or your neglect? Own it. Then run for cover. What you learn here about Zaccheus is not as important as what you learn about Jesus. What have you taken that is not yours? Neglecting your bills and defrauding your employer are no different in principle than the sins of tax collectors. Jesus came to save people from things like that. Facts about Jesus that move His people to turn around: 1. He has seen you at your worst. Everybody knew what Zaccheus had done. There was no sense in hiding it. What is the lowest level to which you have sunk? No need to try to pretend it never happened. What kind of love would it take to serve a person who treats you that way? 2. He has read the ugliest thoughts of your heart. Jesus knew Zaccheus. He sees hearts just like He saw Nathanael (John 1:47-50) under a tree when He was not physically present and He saw where to find fish in Galilee. What kind of things have you thought or pictured? What can you hide from Him?
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While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear a 12 immediately . So He said, ―A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for b 13 himself, and then return . And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas and said to c 14 them, ‗Do business with this until I come back .‘ But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation d 15 after him, saying, ‗We do not want this man to reign over us .‘ When he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be called to him so e 16 that he might know what business they had done . The first appeared, saying, ‗Master, your 17 mina has made ten minas more.‘ And he said to him, ‗Well done, good slave, because you have 18 been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.‘ The second came, 3. He has gone after you in the midst of that. Zaccheus did not approach Jesus. Jesus approached Zaccheus. Many reading this can testify to the day Jesus called their name. It may not have been audible like this story, but He does call His own sheep and they follow. 19:11 While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately. Luke explains the purpose for the parable here. Jerusalem was the logical place for Messiah to begin His reign. Jesus had been increasingly speaking apocalyptically. Many in the crowd imagined optimistically that they would be kingdom insiders. But saving the lost and bringing in the kingdom required something most of them misunderstood. There would be a large-scale rejection of the King before He would rule. Jesus wished to teach them that their kingdom expectations were faulty. The Lord stayed on topic and moved directly from saving the lost to another parable about the kingdom of God. The two connect because the activity of the kingdom of God is a crosscentered, soul-rescuing mission. Paul explained that to church at the Colosse.
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14
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19:12 A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return. The connection between the parable and the audience is clear. The kingdom was not to come until the ―nobleman‖ went away and returned. c 19:13 he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas and said to them, ―Do business with this until I come back.‖ Matthew records a similar parable (25:14-30) with different currency and different initial amounts distributed to the servants. This is probably a different sermon delivered within a few days to a different crowd but with the same message. The mina was a gold Greek coin worth about 100 drachmas (equivalent of the Roman denarius), or about three months‘ wages. So each of the ten minas could be compared to a $10,000 micro-business loan in today‘s terms. The verb translated ―do business‖ means exactly that. Used only here in the New Testament, the word is associated elsewhere with the hard work of running a business. d 19:14 But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ―We do not want this man to reign over us.‖ This was no passive hatred. The people of the parable launched a formal protest. This was Jesus‘ way of saying that His kind of rule would prove unacceptable to the people. The primary barriers to faith of people who reject Christianity are not intellectual. Even if all their questions are answered they still will not believe. Why? Because they find the thought of this kind of rule repulsive. Simply put, by nature we do not like Jesus—at least not the Jesus you meet in the Bible. e 19:15 When he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be called to him so that he might know what business they had done. This was the accounting—the judgment. The return of the nobleman was imminent, but the timing remained unknown. The question of the master would be: What have you done with what I gave you?
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saying, ‗Your mina, master, has made five minas.‘ And he said to him also, ‗And you are to be a 20 over five cities .‘ Another came, saying, ‗Master, here is your mina, which I kept put away in a 21 handkerchief; for I was afraid of you, because you are an exacting man; you take up what you b 22 did not lay down and reap what you did not sow .‘ He said to him, ‗By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not c 23 lay down and reaping what I did not sow ? Then why did you not put my money in the bank, and d 24 having come, I would have collected it with interest ?‘ Then he said to the bystanders, ‗Take the 25 mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas.‘ And they said to him, e 26 ‗Master, he has ten minas already .‘ I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, 27 from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my f g presence .‖
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19:16-19 ten minas more…Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities…five minas…And you are to be over five cities. The reward in each instance corresponded to the quality of management. Those who valued the minas because they valued the master got more minas. b 19:20-21 here is your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief; for I was afraid of you, because you are an exacting man; you take up what you did not lay down and reap what you did not sow. The trouble with the servant who hid his mina was not so much in failure to make a profit as in his low view of his master. He saw the master as a cruel. c 19:22 By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? The slave who supposed that the nobleman was cruel experienced his harshness. Those who submitted to his plan saw and experienced him as generous and gentle. d 19:23 Then why did you not put my money in the bank, and having come, I would have collected it with interest? Investing—even with risk—was good stewardship. The savings and loan business was thriving in the Roman empire during first century and the Jews were no exception. Cultural historian Alfred Edersheim (Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah) records that during this time period King Herod Agrippa borrowed a large sum of money from a Jewish banker living abroad and paid it back at 8½ percent interest. e 19:24-25 ―Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas.‖ And they said to him, ―Master, he has ten minas already.‖ The issue of fairness always arises with rebels, who naturally do not want less than others. The Lord did not shy away from this charge. In fact He invited it. f 19:26-27 I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence. The real question is not one of fairness or equal opportunity but one of sovereignty. Does the king have the right to be the king or must he cater to the wishes of those under his care? There is no trouble moving from the parable to the application in the Kingdom of God. g 19:11-27 It is not necessary to assign spiritual value to every element of a parable. But there are some key elements to observe if you are to understand what Jesus meant. If we assume that the master in the parable is Jesus and servants are the people who heard His message, the mina in this parable must represent the message of the gospel. I do not think this is about missionary work—carrying the gospel around the world. I think the primary message of this parable, based on the other interactions Jesus had with the people, is about taking the message you hear and applying it to your own life. Some people respond and others do not. Those who respond have increasing understanding. Those who believe the message find it powerful, but those who reject the Lordship of Christ consider the message foolish (1 Corinthians 1:18). Why is the lordship of Jesus a fearful prospect? It is because we don‘t want redemption. We want self-improvement. Like the people of Jesus‘ day we want the kingdom without the cross. That is why Christian books about making life better here often sell better than the ones that call us to follow hard after Christ.
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After He had said these things, He was going on ahead, going up to Jerusalem . 29 When He approached Bethphage and Bethany, near the mount that is called Olivet, He b 30 sent two of the disciples , saying, ―Go into the village ahead of you; there, as you enter, you will c 31 find a colt tied on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here . If anyone asks you, d 32 ‗Why are you untying it?‘ you shall say, ‗The Lord has need of it .‘ ‖ So those who were sent e 33 went away and found it just as He had told them . As they were untying the colt, its owners said f 34 g 35 to them, ―Why are you untying the colt ?‖ They said, ―The Lord has need of it .‖ They brought it h 36 to Jesus, and they threw their coats on the colt and put Jesus on it . As He was going, they

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You have heard the truth. The Master has deposited the minas of the gospel message into your account. He has left. Now what? Here are some proper responses to hearing the message of the gospel: 1. Put complete trust in the tender love of the Master. Meditate on the character He advertises in the Bible and you will not experience something different in your life. 2. Remember that He is Lord whether you acknowledge it or not. You cannot ―make‖ Jesus Master of your life any more than you can make your governor your governor. 3. Fear the risk of not following Him more than the risk of following Him. Perceived risk is good when it is required by someone Who is both loving and sovereign. 4. Busy yourself managing the message. Rehearse it. Live the life of continual repentance, savoring the rescue it brings. Engage in the enterprise of sharing the wealth with others.
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19:28 After He had said these things, He was going on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. The language is similar to that which described Zaccheus running ahead of the group so he could climb the tree. Jesus was leading the procession up the steep road toward Jerusalem. b 19:29 When He approached Bethphage and Bethany, near the mount that is called Olivet, He sent two of the disciples. Bethphage and Bethany were located on the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day‘s journey (.6 miles) from the temple. This large hill east of Jerusalem carries both historic and prophetic significance. This is where Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha, lived. On a sadder day David followed this route as he fled Jerusalem to escape the treachery of his son Absalom.
And David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went, and his head was covered and he walked barefoot. Then all the people who were with him each covered his head and went up weeping as they went. 2 Samuel 15:30

The meekness of Jesus does not mean He is not directive. He chose two unnamed disciples from the crowd and gave them a job. c 19:30 Go into the village ahead of you; there, as you enter, you will find a colt tied on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here. Jesus always sees what is down the road. This is all confidence you will ever need to get on that unknown road. d 19:31 If anyone asks you, ‗Why are you untying it?‘ you shall say, ‗The Lord has need of it.‘ Just as the Lord told Moses what to do if Pharaoh would not listen (Exodus 4), Jesus prepared the two disciples for ―what if‘s.‖ e 19:32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as He had told them. Could it turn out any other way? When Jesus speaks, His people should obey and stand in awe. This is the Lord Who sees fish on the bottom of lakes and knows what is inside men. f 19:33 As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, ―Why are you untying the colt?‖ Think about how awkward this could have been. The animal was personal property. If you have ever caught someone taking something that belongs to you, you can feel the tension of this moment. But one statement took away any shame the disciples felt. g 19:34 They said, ―The Lord has need of it.‖ That should be enough motivation for any of us to give up anything. If He is the Master, everything already belongs to Him. h 19:35 They brought it to Jesus, and they threw their coats on the colt and put Jesus on it. Jesus was being honored. Others served Him. He was the central attraction and He did not refuse.
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were spreading their coats on the road . As soon as He was approaching, near the descent b of the Mount of Olives , the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud c 38 voice for all the miracles which they had seen , shouting: ―BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; d 39 Peace in heaven and glory in the highest !‖ Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to e 40 Him, ―Teacher, rebuke Your disciples .‖ But Jesus answered, ―I tell you, if these become f g silent, the stones will cry out !‖

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19:36 As He was going, they were spreading their coats on the road. All the coats and palm branches (other accounts) may have kept the dust from rising around the Lord. They wanted nothing to obscure a clear sight of the Messiah. b 19:37 As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives. Now Luke has Jesus going down into the Kidron Valley between Mount Olivet and the temple. There would have been about a 300 foot drop in elevation before a 100 foot climb into the city. c 19:37 the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen. I have often contrasted the hopeful shouts on Palm Sunday with the violent shouts on Good Friday, assuming that the same crowd changed its mind before Friday. Luke may point out something else here, speaking of the ―crowd of the disciples.‖ The worshippers were His followers, probably those who had followed Him on pilgrimage and witnessed the evidence that He was indeed Messiah. Note the volume. This verse tells us that the people were loud. The next verse says they were shouting. The verse after that has Jesus predicting loud cries from the rocks if the people become silent. d 19:38 shouting: ―BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!‖ The people were singing Psalm 118 and applying it to Jesus. This is also similar to the song the angels sang loudly to announce the birth of Jesus:
And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ―Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.‖ Luke 2:13-14
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19:39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, ―Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.‖ The religious leaders did not properly identify Jesus, therefore it was natural for them to think He should not accept such adoration. They blamed Him and ordered Him to put a stop to it. f 19:40 But Jesus answered, ―I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!.‖ This event stands in great contrast to other times the Lord was in Jerusalem. For instance, He refrained from traveling to a Jerusalem feast with His brothers because His time had ―not yet fully come‖ (John 7:8). Now the time for the greatest public display in history had come. The throngs covering the streets with clothing and palm branches could not have fully known all that the coming week held. The creator of matter and of life itself had come to die for rebel creatures. Jesus said that if the conscious creation refused, the stones would not. This would have necessitated the first rock music. g 19:28-40 We consider things we are not used to weird or unnatural. The religious leaders looked at the worship of the Nazareth carpenter that way. Jesus willingly accepted the attention deserving of a king—of God Himself. In truth, the worship of Jesus is the most natural thing in the universe. From the day the angels were created it has been the action in heaven. Refusing to worship is unnatural. That is why the world is upside-down. A life of right-side-up worship looks like this: 1. You go where He sends you. 2. You trust that He will work out awkward details once you get there. 3. You give back to Him what is already His. 4. You inconvenience yourself to honor Him. 5. You care little what impression you make on non-worshippers.
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When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it , saying, ―If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden b 43 from your eyes . For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade c 44 against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side , and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, d because you did not recognize the time of your visitation .‖ 45 e 46 Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling , saying to them, ―It is written, ‗AND MY HOUSE SHALL BE A HOUSE OF PRAYER,‘ but you have made it a f ROBBERS‘ DEN .‖
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19:41 When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it. This probably happened on Monday, the day after the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. He probably spent the nioghts across the Kidron in Bethany. This is one of two instances where the gospels record Jesus weeping. The other followed the death of Jesus‘ friend Lazarus (John 11:35, different word). This word commonly describes bitter wailing that follows death. Notice the range of emotions between this text and the one that details what had just happened on Palm Sunday. b 19:42 If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. This shows the compassion of Jesus even on those who deserved the judgment they were receiving. The judgment was blindness to the truth. This is similar to what Isaiah said:
He said, ―Go, and tell this people: ‗Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.‘ Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.‖ Isaiah 6:9-10
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19:43 For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side. The siege was particularly effective when the only protection available for a rural city was its walls. All outside supplies were cut off and eventually the people had to engage their enemies or starve. Jesus spoke prophetically of the siege of Jerusalem by Titus in A.D. 70. d 19:44 they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation. Among other things, this statement confirms that Jesus knew and recorded accurately the destruction of Jerusalem forty years before the event. Titus, a future emperor, met stiff resistance, but eventually broke down the walls of the city and burned the temple. The visitation of which Jesus spoke comes from the source of our word bishop or overseer. Luke and Paul used it of an official place of service (Acts 1:20; 1 Timothy 3:1). Here it speaks of the opportunity Jerusalem was given to turn in repentance to Messiah. Peter used the word when spoke of a day when all secrets will come to light:
Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:12
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19:45 Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling. Matthew (21:12-13) and Mark‘s (11:15-17) accounts of this add that Jesus actually tipped over the tables where Roman currency was exchanged for temple currency and upset the seats of those who sold doves for sacrifice. Mark also says that Jesus put a stop to the carrying of merchandise through the temple. f 19:46 It is written, ‗AND MY HOUSE SHALL BE A HOUSE OF PRAYER,‘ but you have made it a ROBBERS‘ DEN. This may not have been the first angry encounter Jesus had with the religious marketers in the temple. John 2:13-22 records a similar event that may have happened two years earlier at Passover. The Passover pilgrims would have come to town with a lot of
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And He was teaching daily in the temple; but the chief priests and the scribes and the a 48 leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him , and they could not find anything b c that they might do, for all the people were hanging on to every word He said .
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On one of the days while He was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, d 2 the chief priests and the scribes with the elders confronted Him , and they spoke, saying to Him, ―Tell us by what authority You are doing these things, or who is the one who gave You this e 3 authority ?‖ Jesus answered and said to them, ―I will also ask you a question, and you tell money. The temple authorities took advantage of the out-of-towners by insisting that temple currency be used for purchasing sacrifices. This practice gave rise to inflated exchange rates and prices for necessities. God is not against free enterprise. The problem here was that the businesses profited from the vulnerable pilgrims who had no choice but to pay the required prices in order to worship. It would be like a church making you pay to park and charging admission. a 19:47 He was teaching daily in the temple; but the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him. After Sunday‘s grand entrance, the Lord continued His very public teaching in Jerusalem through Thursday. This picture of Jesus in the temple gives you a visual context for many of the texts that follow this one in Luke. The word ―destroy‖ can be translated lose, but there is little doubt here that this was a death plot. b 19:48 they could not find anything that they might do, for all the people were hanging on to every word He said. The popularity of the Lord made it difficult for His enemies to find a chance to destroy Him. A disciple in that day had to learn from his teacher by memorizing what was spoken. The people craved to absorb Jesus‘ every word. c 19:41-48 This text tells us that there really are some things worth getty angry and crying over. Jesus saw people who had gone too far in their unbelief. They took what should bring glory to God and used it for the glory of man. They missed obvious danger. This tells you that Jesus has human emotions. It tells you that He sees the future. It demonstrates that He is capable of anger. This should make you squirm because you have done some of the things that make Him angry. You have also missed obvious truth. You have misused worship. You have failed to hang on the words of Jesus. Just as David was called a man after God‘s own heart, we who follow Him should be asking what that looks like. Steps toward thinking (and feeling) like Jesus: 1. Love mercy. He did. 2. Revere the house of God. His house is the group, not the building. 3. Hang on everything He says. The words God speaks are life to His people.
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20:1 On one of the days while He was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders confronted Him. These events probably happened on Tuesday, the busiest teaching day of passion week. This was an organized gathering of the worst opposition Jesus had. They interrupted a sermon that you and I would have loved to hear. The agenda was to entrap Jesus and find a way to get Him killed without looking bad. What is the gospel He preached? Luke uses the preaching good news word of John and Jesus five other times in this letter (3:18; 4:18; 7:22; 9:6; 16:16). The content of the message in each instance was not the same as the one carried by disciples after Jesus rose from the dead. It offered the same hope, however, because it offered change in those who heard it. e 20:2 they spoke, saying to Him, ―Tell us by what authority You are doing these things, or who is the one who gave You this authority?‖ The authority question was not in itself hostile. Someone had to check credentials, particularly when an outsider started tipping over tables and preaching in the temple. There was a well-regulated ordination process in gaining the title ―rabbi‖ and acting as a judge in disputes. There asked Him, essentially, where He had received His seminary training and ordination credentials. You know how Jesus answers questions like this…
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Me: Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men ?‖ They reasoned among themselves , 6 saying, ―If we say, ‗From heaven,‘ He will say, ‗Why did you not believe him?‘ But if we say, c ‗From men,‘ all the people will stone us to death , for they are convinced that John was 7 d 8 a prophet.‖ So they answered that they did not know where it came from . And Jesus said to e f them, ―Nor will I tell you by what authority I do these things .‖

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20:3-4 Jesus answered and said to them, ―I will also ask you a question, and you tell Me: Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men?‖ The Lord would not be trapped, so He exposed the motives of the inquisition. He let them hang themselves on their own gibbet. Why did Jesus bring John into this? John was also an outsider, not having been educated or recognized in Jerusalem. He had possibly received his training near the Dead Sea among the Essenes, noted rivals of the religious establishment. This was not about the water baptism itself but the authority to call disciples to identify as followers of the message John preached (which people did through water baptism). God ordained John. Men simply said ―amen‖ to God‘s choice. The same thing happened to Elijah‘s successor Elisha and Paul‘s protégé Timothy. God gave the gift and others recognized it:
Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho opposite him saw him, they said, ―The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.‖ And they came to meet him and bowed themselves to the ground before him. 2 Kings 2:15 Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. 1 Timothy 4:14
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20:5 They reasoned among themselves. The word translated ―reasoned‖ is the source of our word syllogism. This was an exercise in logic—what must have been an audible conversation. It makes you wonder how long and awkward was the pause in Jesus‘ sermon while the leaders deliberated major premises, minor premises and conclusions. c 20:5-6 If we say, ‗From heaven,‘ He will say, ‗Why did you not believe him?‘ But if we say, ‗From men,‘ all the people will stone us to death. It must have been common knowledge that the chief priests, the scribes and the elders did not accept John‘s message that Messiah was near and calling men to repent of their sins. Just as the leaders could not kill Jesus on their own, they also feared criticizing John. Here is a sample of their logic:  Major premise: Answering this question honestly will discredit John and unleash an angry Passover mob on us, causing our death.  Minor premise: We do not want to die.  Conclusion: We should not answer this question. d 20:7 So they answered that they did not know where it came from. To plead ignorance is one way to avoid responsibility to think and make decisions, but in this case it also left the leaders without another excuse to attack Jesus. e 20:8 And Jesus said to them, ―Nor will I tell you by what authority I do these things.‖ It is within the authority of Jesus to either give or withhold information from us. He is God. He can do whatever He wants. The truth about the source of His authority is certainly important, but He gets to choose who hears and who does not. If that seems unfair to you, take another look at what motivated the leaders to ask the question. f 20:1-8 What brought these men to the point of being cut off from revelation? When people think that the message we believe is irrelevant or even foolish, is it because they are very intelligent or is it because they are judged and blind? How you can avoid this kind of judgment: 1. Make sure you recognize how important it is to esteem the gospel message. They had an appetite for something other than the message Jesus preached. This kind of messed up priority might bring people to crave and to call for church priorities that eclipse the ministry of God‘s word. 2. Give up any fantasy about controlling your own life. You are not the master of your fate or the captain of your soul. They craved control, which made a threat out of any authority who called for change.
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And He began to tell the people this parable: ―A man planted a vineyard and rented it out to a 10 vine-growers, and went on a journey for a long time . At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, so that they would give him some of the produce of the vineyard; but the vineb 11 growers beat him and sent him away empty-handed . And he proceeded to send another slave; 12 and they beat him also and treated him shamefully and sent him away empty-handed. And he c 13 proceeded to send a third; and this one also they wounded and cast out . The owner of the d 14 vineyard said, ‗What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him .‘ But when the vine-growers saw him, they reasoned with one another, saying, ‗This is the heir; let us e 15 kill him so that the inheritance will be ours .‘ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed f 16 him. What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do to them ? He will come and destroy these g vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others .‖ When they heard it, they said, ―May it never h 17 be !‖ But Jesus looked at them and said, ―What then is this that is written: ‗THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, i THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone ‘? 3. Hold fast to the truth even when it is unpopular. Their beliefs were contingent on circumstances. Yours must not be based on majority opinion.
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20:9 He began to tell the people this parable: ―A man planted a vineyard and rented it out to vine-growers, and went on a journey for a long time.‖ Jesus continued His sermon after the rude interruption. This parable of the vineyard was similar to a reference the Lord made through the prophet Jeremiah:
Many shepherds have ruined My vineyard, they have trampled down My field; they have made My pleasant field a desolate wilderness. Jeremiah 12:10

In Jeremiah‘s prophecy the abused vineyard was Israel and the culprits were the pastors of Israel. The point Jesus made must have been clear and painful. b 20:10 At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, so that they would give him some of the produce of the vineyard; but the vine-growers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. A percentage of the harvest would have been the rent. This call to account by an owner makes this story parallel the parable of the minas in Luke 19:11-27. c 20:11-12 he proceeded to send another slave; and they beat him also and treated him shamefully and sent him away empty-handed… he proceeded to send a third; and this one also they wounded and cast out. The repetition in the parable illustrates God‘s mercy in sending multiple prophets with the same message. It also magnifies the wickedness of the vinegrowers. How patient was that owner with those who so mismanaged his vineyard! d 20:13 The owner of the vineyard said, ‗What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.‘ The meaning of the parable should be obvious to us, but this statement drove home the value a father places on his son. e 20:14 But when the vine-growers saw him, they reasoned with one another, saying, ‗This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance will be ours.‘ The identity of the heir should have brought respect and deference. He ranked higher than them. Instead the identity of the heir was seen as an opportunity to seize power. f 20:15 So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? This was the worst crime they committed not only because they killed the last messenger. It was the worst crime because of the identity of the messenger they killed. He came to his own property, was cast out and suffered ultimate shame. g 20:16 He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others. If you isolate the judgment from the context of the crime the landowner appears too harsh. But we have the whole story. h 20:16 When they heard it, they said, ―May it never be!‖ It is possible that the meaning of the parable was sinking in. This God forbid expression is same one Paul used in Romans to head off the proposition that continuing in sin makes grace more visible. i 20:17 But Jesus looked at them and said, ―What then is this that is written: ‗THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone‘? Jesus
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Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter a a him like dust .‖ looked at them. This was more than a casual glance. It could be translated, ―But having looked at them He said…‖ There was possibly an awkward pause before He spoke again as He let the parable and its implications sink in. Remember the crowds—children included—who were shouting out parts of Psalm 118 only two days before this? Jesus quoted Psalm 118:22 word perfect from the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures). Here is a bigger portion of that Psalm:
Open to me the gates of righteousness; I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD; The righteous will enter through it. I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me, And You have become my salvation. The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone. This is the LORD‘S doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. O LORD, do save, we beseech You; O LORD, we beseech You, do send prosperity! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD; We have blessed you from the house of the LORD. The LORD is God, and He has given us light; Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I give thanks to You; You are my God, I extol You. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Psalm 118:19-29

Peter, one of the witnesses to this event, later referred to this quotation from Psalm 118:22. He gave his understanding of the verse in response to the religious leaders, who asked by what power he and John had healed a sick man:
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ―Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.‖ Acts 4:8-12

The point Peter got from Jesus in our parable was this: The apparent loser in the story turns out to be the conqueror. Later Peter used the same text to comfort persecuted believers and to assure them that they were on the side of the Victor:
And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture: ―BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.‖ This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, ―THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone‖ 1 Peter 2:4-7

It appears here that the Lord changed the metaphor from a vineyard to a building site. Maybe so, but the point should be clear. The renters thought that they could escape their responsibility to the owner by killing the heir. What they missed was that the heir was their judge. The stone set aside was more than an expendable piece in the puzzle. He was the one by whom everything fit together. a 20:18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust. The leaders would not get rid of Jesus by merely killing Him. He would actively judge His enemies.
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The scribes and the chief priests tried to lay hands on Him that very hour, and they feared b 20 the people; for they understood that He spoke this parable against them . So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, in order that they might catch Him in some c 21 statement, so that they could deliver Him to the rule and the authority of the governor . They questioned Him, saying, ―Teacher, we know that You speak and teach correctly, and You are not

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20:9-18 It is human nature to turn the enjoyment of benefits into demands for rights. We take ownership of that which we did not earn or deserve in the first place. When someone dares suggest that responsibilities go along with the benefits we resist. The religious leaders saw themselves as owners rather than stewards and Jesus as the threat rather than the Master. Without pushing the meaning of a parable to far you still need to assign value to different parts of the story in order to understand its intended meaning. At times Jesus needed to explain the meaning of parables privately and at other times the story itself was very clear based on audience and context. This parable falls into the latter category.  The man: God the Father  The vineyard: The people of Israel  The vine-growers: The religious leaders  The rent: Repentance  The slaves: The prophets  The inheritance: Authority among the people of Israel  The son: God the Son  The others: Workers—including Gentiles—who were not part of the Jewish establishment How long do you have to reject God‘s revelation of Himself before He stops revealing Himself? Do you really want to test that? To identify with Jesus is to identify with the Victor. What you need to see so you do not miss the meaning of this parable: 1. God is very gracious. There is nothing you have that you did not receive. Your time and your treasure and your talents are not yours by right. They are a stewardship that has been entrusted to you. Calling you to a lifestyle of repentance is not unreasonable because your very existence is an undeserved gift. 2. God is always up to something. The Master has a working business plan. Think of the despair that comes to people who conclude that their lives are random and purposeless. Whatever is happening now in your life is part of the work. 3. God is extremely patient with you. How many messengers has the Divine Landowner sent your way? Think how many chances you have been given 4. God is completely just in everything He does. Don‘t think you haven‘t been warned.
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20:19 The scribes and the chief priests tried to lay hands on Him that very hour, and they feared the people; for they understood that He spoke this parable against them. The message Jesus gave became clearer to His enemies as Good Friday drew nearer. It is interesting that one form of sin kept these men from committing another. They craved public favor so much that they restrained their plot to kill Jesus. c 20:20 So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, in order that they might catch Him in some statement, so that they could deliver Him to the rule and the authority of the governor. The word translated ―pretended‖ is only used here in the New Testament, but is similar to the common word hypocrite. It was used elsewhere of an actor‘s onstage interpretation of a character. Matthew (22:15-22) and Mark (12:13-17) tell us that some of the ―spies‖ were Herodians, a political group loyal to Rome. These Jews would not ordinarily get along with the fierce nationalists among the religious leaders, but they found common ground in their hatred of Jesus. This marks a significant shift in the strategy of the opposition. Knowing that religious attacks would not work on one Who so perfectly kept the law of Moses, they resorted to the secular legal system. They found actors to bring Jesus down by deceit.
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partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth . Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar, or b 23 c 24 not ?‖ But He detected their trickery and said to them, ―Show Me a denarius. Whose likeness d 25 and inscription does it have?‖ They said, ―Caesar's .‖ And He said to them, ―Then render to e 26 Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's .‖ And they were unable to catch Him in a saying in the presence of the people; and being amazed at His answer, f g they became silent .

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20:21 They questioned Him, saying, ―Teacher, we know that You speak and teach correctly, and You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth.‖ Jesus had accepted the adoration that accompanied His identity as the King of the Jews. Kings needed to judge, so they sought to trick Him into a judgment that would make Him look like an insurrectionist. This flattery was insincere, but true. Jesus would judge fairly, but, like Solomon, He would not judge predictably. b 20:22 Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Many people in Israel were tax protesters. They equated payment of such taxes with loyalty to Caesar instead of God, the true King of Israel. This trick question would have been a creative solution to their problem had they not been trying to trip up the creator of creativity. If Jesus came out as pro-taxation the taxpayers in the crowd might have turned on Him. If He launched an attack on Rome‘s taxation, the leaders would have public charges to bring against Him. c 20:23 But He detected their trickery. The Lord saw with His mind that they were up to no good. The word ―trickery‖ can mean prudence or even wisdom, but its New Testament use (five times) is always negative, referring to sinful men and even Satan (2 Corinthians 11:3). d 20:24 ―Show Me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?‖ They said, ―Caesar's.‖ Notice again the teaching method of Jesus. He not only answered a question with a question, He used a leading question and an object lesson to illustrate His point. This coin would have had the image of Tiberius Caesar, who served as emperor until a few years after the cross. e 20:25 Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. These words of Jesus have rightly been used to defend the separation of church and state, but that is not the main point of this text. The answer Jesus gave demonstrated again that He has a greater authority than any earthly king. Something similar happened earlier in His ministry that shows us our obligation to the kingdoms of this world and our higher obligation to the kingdom that is not of this world.
When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter and said, ―Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?‖ He *said, ―Yes.‖ And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, ―What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or polltax, from their sons or from strangers?‖ When Peter said, ―From strangers,‖ Jesus said to him, ―Then the sons are exempt. However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me.‖ Matthew 17:24-27
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20:26 And they were unable to catch Him in a saying in the presence of the people; and being amazed at His answer, they became silent. This was the silence of those under authority (See other uses of this word in 1 Corinthians 14:28, 30, 34). The actors knew they were out of their league. g 20:19-26 We have come to an age when the enemies of Jesus in western cultures speak more boldly against Him. In some ways this is a blessing from God because it pushes those who are only cultural Christians to choose sides. Everywhere Jesus went He polarized the crowds. So which side are you on? When you stand behind the Lord Jesus, loving Him as He is, you cannot help but face the world‘s attacks boldly. Why? 1. He sees through hypocrisy and insincerity. He sees it in you as well as in others. 2. He makes sinners feel threatened. When our message is clear people will get angry.
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Now there came to Him some of the Sadducees (who say that there is no resurrection) , 28 and they questioned Him, saying, ―Teacher, Moses wrote for us that IF A MAN'S BROTHER DIES, having a wife, AND HE IS CHILDLESS, HIS BROTHER SHOULD MARRY THE WIFE b 29 AND RAISE UP CHILDREN TO HIS BROTHER . Now there were seven brothers; and the first 30 31 took a wife and died childless; and the second and the third married her; and in the same way 32 33 all seven died, leaving no children. Finally the woman died also. In the resurrection therefore, c which one's wife will she be? For all seven had married her .‖ 34 35 Jesus said to them, ―The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor d 36 are given in marriage ; for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and 3. He uses opposition to reveal His power and purposes. This happened in the Garden of Gethsemane and when Jesus stood before Pilate. It even happened as He hung on the cross.
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20:27 Now there came to Him some of the Sadducees (who say that there is no resurrection). The Sadducees were a political and religious party among the Sanhedrin. They were the religious liberals who believed only in the inspiration of the books of Moses. Their study of those books led them to disbelieve the teaching of the conservatives about a future resurrection. b 20:28 Teacher, Moses wrote for us that IF A MAN'S BROTHER DIES, having a wife, AND HE IS CHILDLESS, HIS BROTHER SHOULD MARRY THE WIFE AND RAISE UP CHILDREN TO HIS BROTHER. Moses legislated the practice of levirate marriage to preserve tribal property inheritance in Israel.
When brothers live together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a strange man. Her husband‘s brother shall go in to her and take her to himself as wife and perform the duty of a husband‘s brother to her. It shall be that the firstborn whom she bears shall assume the name of his dead brother, so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel. Deuteronomy 25:5-6

This practice is the basis of the marriage of Ruth and Boaz, the great-grandparents of King David. The consequences for refusing such a marriage were shameful:
But if the man does not desire to take his brother‘s wife, then his brother‘s wife shall go up to the gate to the elders and say, ―My husband‘s brother refuses to establish a name for his brother in Israel; he is not willing to perform the duty of a husband‘s brother to me.‖ Then the elders of his city shall summon him and speak to him. And if he persists and says, ―I do not desire to take her,‖ then his brother‘s wife shall come to him in the sight of the elders, and pull his sandal off his foot and spit in his face; and she shall declare, ―Thus it is done to the man who does not build up his brother‘s house.‖ In Israel his name shall be called, ―The house of him whose sandal is removed.‖ Deuteronomy 25:7-10
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20:29-33 Now there were seven brothers; and the first took a wife and died childless; and the second and the third married her; and in the same way all seven died, leaving no children. Finally the woman died also. In the resurrection therefore, which one's wife will she be? For all seven had married her. The Sadducees were of course insincere in their question. They wished to make the Lord look bad as well as mock the belief in a future resurrection. A sermon on this text could be titled ―One Bride for Seven Brothers.‖ By the third or fourth brother, the next fellow in line would have surely been a nervous groom. d 20:34-35 The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage. Jesus showed everyone—mocking Sadducees in particular—that there is something better than the best pleasures of this world. Among other things, this statement contradicts the Mormon teaching that ―celestial‖ marriages sealed in a Mormon temple are eternal. Marriage serves three important earthly functions:  Guilt-free sexual pleasure  Procreation
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are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection . But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the burning bush, where he calls the Lord THE GOD OF b 38 ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB . Now He is not the God of c 39 the dead but of the living; for all live to Him .‖ Some of the scribes answered and said, ―Teacher, d 40 You have spoken well .‖ For they did not have courage to question Him any longer about e f anything .

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 Advertising Christ and the Church None of these functions will be needed in heaven. There we will find pleasures greater than sex. There we will not die, so childbearing will be unnecessary. There all the ransomed Church of God will be saved to sin no more; the symbol of Christ and the Church will have found its ultimate substance. Do not be disturbed that there is some secret to becoming worthy of the resurrection. There was only one worthy of that. You need your identity in Him. a 20:36 for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. Like Jesus‘ teaching on the separation of church and state in the previous verses, an insincere question here resulted in more instruction than the questioners intended. Jesus did not say believers become angels at death. We will be like them. We will not reproduce. We will not die. We will have great delight in everything we can do to bring glory to our creator. b 20:37 But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the burning bush, where he calls the Lord THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB. This quotation comes from Exodus 3, better known to these men as the ―the bush.‖ Remember that the Sadducees only accepted the books of Moses. What do you do with people who do not believe the whole Bible? Teach them from the part they do believe. c 20:38 Now He is not the God of the dead but of the living; for all live to Him. God could not have been the God of those dead patriarchs if they were not somehow still alive. The statement ―all live to Him‖ means that our entire existence from conception to the eternal state is Godward. Everyone will ultimately bring Him glory. d 20:39 Some of the scribes answered and said, ―Teacher, You have spoken well.‖ The scribes, known for their attention to detail and belief in the Scriptures, would have realized that Jesus made a valid point based on a minute part of the inspired text. There is no record of a commendation from the Sadducees. e 20:40 For they did not have courage to question Him any longer about anything. The word ―courage‖ means to dare or to venture. Luke used it in Acts to describe the attitude of the community toward Christians after God judged Ananias and Sapphira:
But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem. Acts 5:13
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20:27-40 Every form of belief in history has held to an opinion on the afterlife. From those who believe in reincarnation to this material world to those who believe we are purely chemical and return entirely to the earth, people were created to ponder and interpret their personal eschatology. What arises from this kind of thinking is the thought of the destiny of the relationships and pleasures we enjoy here. One of life‘s greatest pleasures is a loving marriage. Is it true that married people will be ―together forever‖? More enemies of Jesus sought to trip Him up in this text and He countered with Biblical teaching showing that the pleasure of resurrection life are even greater than the best pleasures of this world. Based on what the Lord taught here, consider some reasons why you should not seek ultimate satisfaction in this world: 1. Because your most reliable authority tells you otherwise. 2. Because this life is temporary. 3. Because the world‘s best pleasures are nothing like heaven.
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Then He said to them, ―How is it that they say the Christ is David's son ? For David himself says in the book of Psalms, ‗THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, ―SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, 43 b UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET .‖ ‘ 44 c Therefore David calls Him ‗Lord,‘ and how is He his son ?‖ 45 46 And while all the people were listening, He said to the disciples, ―Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love respectful greetings in the market places, 47 and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, who devour widows' d houses, and for appearance's sake offer long prayers . These will receive greater

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20:41 Then He said to them, ―How is it that they say the Christ is David's son?‖ The Hebrew word we commonly render ―Messiah‖ (mashiach) is the equivalent to ―the Christ‖ (Greek christos). The word, meaning anointed one, can refer to a king or a priest, but here is clearly a reference to the promised Deliverer. Matthew records this interaction with a little more detail:
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question: ―What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?‖ They *said to Him, ―The son of David.‖ He *said to them, ―Then how does David in the Spirit call Him ‗Lord,‘ saying, ‗THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, ―SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I PUT YOUR ENEMIES BENEATH YOUR FEET‖‘? If David then calls Him ‗Lord,‘ how is He his son?‖ Matthew 22:41-45
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20:42-43 For David himself says in the book of Psalms, ‗THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, ―SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET.‖ ‘ David wrote these words in Psalm 110, one of the most frequently quoted Old Testament texts. Jesus extended His quotation long enough to include a prophetic warning to the enemies standing before Him. c 20:44 Therefore David calls Him ‗Lord,‘ and how is He his son? Jesus posed a riddle. He was not contending that Messiah would be David‘s Lord rather than his son. He wanted them to see that He is both. d 20:45-47 while all the people were listening, He said to the disciples, ―Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, who devour widows' houses, and for appearance's sake offer long prayers.‖ There is nothing like showing up at church and hearing the pastor tell everyone to watch out for you. Matthew 23 offers a more complete account of Jesus pronouncing woes on the religious leaders. Consider the ways Jesus pointed out the externalism of the scribes:  Clothing  Titles  Appearance of authority  Wealth  Eloquence in public prayer e 20:47 These will receive greater condemnation. The idea that there will be degrees of torment in eternal punishment has support here as well as other places. Earlier the Lord warned those who had received much of the light of revelation that they were accountable to a greater degree than those who had received less:
Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. ―Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.‖ Matthew 11:20-24 The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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21:1

And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury . And He saw a poor b 3 widow putting in two small copper coins . And He said, ―Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in 4 more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her c d poverty put in all that she had to live on .‖ 5 And while some were talking about the temple, that it was adorned with beautiful stones and 6 votive gifts, He said, ―As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in e which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down .‖
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21:1 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. Jesus was teaching in the Court of the Women, which also contained the temple treasury. One cultural historian describes the space this way:
Although the topography of the Temple, especially of this part of it, is not without its difficulties, we know that under the colonnades, which surrounded ‗the Court of the Women,‘ but still left in the middle room for more than 15,000 worshippers, provision was made for receiving religious and charitable shaped boxes; somewhere here also we must locate two chambers: that of ‗the silent,‘ for gifts to be distributed in secret to the children of the pious poor, and that where votive vessels were deposited. Perhaps there was here also a special chamber for offerings. These ‗trumpets‘ bore each inscriptions, marking the objects of contribution whether to make up for past neglect, to pay for certain sacrifices, to provide incense, wood, or for other gifts. Alfred Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah
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21:2 And He saw a poor widow putting in two small copper coins. These coins might be compared in today‘s terms to a couple of quarters. She probably put in the smallest currency minted in that day, worth only a few minutes of a day laborer‘s wages. The adjective ―poor‖ occurs twice here (verse three), emphasizing how vulnerable was the woman. There is a contrast here between the rich and the poor, but even more between the powerful and the weak. This woman connects chapter 21 to the previous verses. Remember who owned the houses that were being devoured by the Scribes. c 21:3-4 Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on. Jesus found a living illustration so He did not need a parable for teaching. This woman became a living object lesson of giving from a pure heart. Like the sinful woman in Luke 7:36-50 she became the center of attention because of unseen qualities. As a percentage of her means, this woman gave more than the wealthy people. You could even translate this, ―Out of her poverty she threw in all the life she had.‖ d 20:41-21:4 What this world values is very different from what exists in heaven. Just as the previous text pointed out the end of earthly marriage in resurrection life, so this one continues with the contrast:  Here Jesus looks like the son of David, but there He is shown to be David‘s Lord.  Here we admire nice clothing, but there all you need is the righteousness of Christ.  Here it feels good to be honored, but there all that matters is honoring Him.  Here we notice when people pray nicely, but there people commune with God.  Here people covet houses, but there we will live in the house of the Lord forever.  Here men crave power, but there only the rescued can enter. God will ultimately sort things out and reveal men‘s hearts, but His people have an obligation to walk in the light now. Here is how you live in a world where the truth is so difficult to see: 1. Spend yourself to make Jesus look good. 2. Beware of judging by appearances. 3. Express relief when people see your weaknesses. 4. Give and serve for an audience of one.
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21:5-6 And while some were talking about the temple, that it was adorned with beautiful stones and votive gifts, He said, ―As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down.‖ Each morning after spending the night east of the city Jesus and the disciples crossed the Kidron and approached the temple from the east. The Herodian temple was an impressive
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They questioned Him, saying, ―Teacher, when therefore will these things happen? And what a 8 will be the sign when these things are about to take place ?‖ And He said, ―See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying, ‗I am He,‘ and, ‗The time is near.‘ Do not go 9 after them. ―When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must b take place first, but the end does not follow immediately .‖ 10 Then He continued by saying to them, ―Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against 11 kingdom, and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and c 12 there will be terrors and great signs from heaven . But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you 13 before kings and governors for My name's sake. It will lead to an opportunity for your d 14 15 testimony . So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will e give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute . 16 But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will

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sight as the sun reflected off its bright stone and precious metal surfaces. The Roman/Jewish historian Josephus, who saw the temple and recorded his thoughts, said this:
Now the outward face of the temple in its front wanted nothing that was likely to surprise either men's minds or their eyes; for it was covered all over with plates of gold of great weight, and, at the first rising of the sun, reflected back a very fiery splendor, and made those who forced themselves to look upon it to turn their eyes away, just as they would have done at the sun's own rays. But this temple appeared to strangers, when they were coming to it at a distance, like a mountain covered with snow; for as to those parts of it that were not gilt, they were exceeding white. On its top it had spikes with sharp points, to prevent any pollution of it by birds sitting upon it. -Wars of the Jews, Book V, Chapter V, Flavius Josephus

The disciples were understandably impressed with the scene. Jesus foretold the end of all that beauty when the Roman general Titus would lead his armies into Jerusalem and destroy the beautiful house of the Lord. a 21:7 Teacher, when therefore will these things happen? And what will be the sign when these things are about to take place? Properly understanding this question helps us put most of these events into the proper century. The things in question are the details of the destruction of Jerusalem. This part of the prophecy found its fulfillment in A.D. 70. b 21:8-9 See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying, ―I am He,‖ and, ―The time is near.‖ Do not go after them. When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately. The ―end‖ of what? Certainly not the world. It is unnecessary to force a twenty-first century meaning onto these words. Jesus was talking about the end of the temple system. c 21:10-11 Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. Josephus also described these events that Jesus prophesied in the days leading up to the destruction of the temple. d 21:12-13 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name's sake. It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony. As the book of Acts records, the disciples who heard Jesus say these things would be persecuted by the Romans, by various Gentile communities and by their own synagogues. Many of them would be martyred. Jesus considered these events an opportunity to point others to Him. e 21:14-15 So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute. This is not a contradiction of 1 Peter 3:15 where we are urged to prepare to defend the faith. Jesus was saying that they would not have time to prepare for these events and that the burden to empower their words would be on Him. Stephen‘s sermon and martyrdom in Acts 7 is one example of this.
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put some of you to death, and you will be hated by all because of My name. Yet not a hair of 19 a your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives . 20 But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is b 21 near . Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst 22 of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; because these c 23 are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled . Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress 24 upon the land and wrath to this people; and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the d e times of the Gentiles are fulfilled . 25 There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in 26 perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of
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21:16-19 But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, and you will be hated by all because of My name. Yet not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives. Peaceful family relationships would end because of Jesus. Following Him would make His people odious to the general public and the public would stand behind the persecution. How then could Jesus say that some would be put to death, but not a hair of their head perish? Read John 3:16. Most of us will die. Not all of us will perish. b 21:20 But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. Many standing there would see the prophesied destruction that is now so well documented in history. c 21:21-22 Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled. Jesus recommended boldness in the face of individual persecutors, but running when facing an army. Vengeance would be taken on the city that rejected her king. d 21:23-24 Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people; and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. The events would happen so quickly that only the speedy would escape. Estimates have been given ranging from thousands to over a million deaths when Jerusalem was destroyed. We are apparently still living in the times of the Gentiles. e 21:5-24 One difficult task for the interpreter of the Bible is to keep yourself from forcing meaning onto a text based on what you have always heard. For instance, students have forced baptism onto Jesus‘ statement that men must be born of water and the Spirit (John 3:5) when the text says no such things. In relation to Bible prophecy, people have forced their system of end times belief on texts like this one. Context is so important. Whatever position you take on the time of fulfillment of these prophecies, it is very important to put the message into the week in which it was given. There is no reason to believe that these words describe events that are yet future. There are other texts of Scripture to cover that important subject. Here Jesus communicated that the most precious treasures of this world need to be stripped away in order for people to see the value of the cross and the kingdom that is not of this world. Here are the ways these words point us to the cross: 1. Outward expressions of faith can diminish our view of the cross. The temple needed to cease being an object of adoration. 2. The hunger for power can destroy our appetite for redemption. Earthly kingdoms needed to cease being objects of adoration. 3. Family ties can replace our desire to enter the family of God. Familial relationships had to be broken down to show a greater family relationship. 4. The illusion of safety can blind us to the tenuous nature of life. People had to have substitute refuges taken away to show them their need for eternal refuge.
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the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be a 27 shaken . Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD with power and great b 28 glory . But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, c because your redemption is drawing near .‖ 29 30 Then He told them a parable: ―Behold the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they put 31 forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when 32 you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I say to you,
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21:25-26 There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. God can do whatever He wants with the natural world, but we all use language figuratively. Figures like the ones in this verse appear elsewhere in Scripture. They really happened, but they were fulfilled figuratively. For instance, Isaiah spoke of similar things happening to Babylon and Edom:
Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, Cruel, with fury and burning anger, To make the land a desolation; And He will exterminate its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not flash forth their light; The sun will be dark when it rises And the moon will not shed its light. Thus I will punish the world for its evil And the wicked for their iniquity; I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud And abase the haughtiness of the ruthless. Isaiah 13:9-11 (Babylon); And all the host of heaven will wear away, And the sky will be rolled up like a scroll; All their hosts will also wither away As a leaf withers from the vine, Or as one withers from the fig tree. For My sword is satiated in heaven, Behold it shall descend for judgment upon Edom And upon the people whom I have devoted to destruction. The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, It is sated with fat, with the blood of lambs and goats, With the fat of the kidneys of rams. For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah And a great slaughter in the land of Edom. Isaiah 34:4-6

Trouble like this has happened many times on earth, but Jesus said these signs would accompany the event He predicted. b 21:27 Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD with power and great glory. Compare this to its parallel account in Matthew 24. It cannot be denied that ―Son of Man‖ pictures Jesus Himself, but teachers are divided over whether it points to His final return to earth or a ―coming‖ to judge Jerusalem in A.D. 70. I tend toward understanding this as having a shortterm fulfillment with end-times implications. Notice that this does not say that Jesus would come to earth. Jesus will come again with clouds, but He has also already come in clouds to judge. This glorious cloud picture was given when God‘s glory appeared in the wilderness. Also, Isaiah described God‘s judgment on Egypt in his day like this:
The oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud and is about to come to Egypt; The idols of Egypt will tremble at His presence, And the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them. Isaiah 19:1
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21:28 But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. These unusual events would indicate that rescue was near. The persecution instigated by Jerusalem‘s leadership would come to an end.
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this generation will not pass away until all things take place . Heaven and earth will pass away, b but My words will not pass away . 34 Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and 35 drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; for it c 36 will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth . But keep on the alert at all praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and d to stand before the Son of Man .‖ 37 Now during the day He was teaching in the temple, but at evening He would go out and 38 spend the night on the mount that is called Olivet. And all the people would get up early in the e f morning to come to Him in the temple to listen to Him .
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21:29-32 Behold the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place. This last phrase, taken at face value, points to at least an initial fulfillment of these words in the first century. The kingdom of God brings the comforting deliverance of the King to those who suffer. b 21:33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. Notice the reference to all creation in Genesis 1:1. The created order as we know it does not last, but the words of Jesus are eternal. Our attention should be more toward the faithfulness of God to His word rather than toward the details of the judgment. c 21:34-35 Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. The word ―trap‖ pictures an animal snare that uses a spring-loaded cord. It is designed to surprise its victims. People who live their lives consumed with self have little interest in the condition of their souls. Those people will not be prepared for the events foretold here. d 21:36 But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man. Another evidence that this had a first century fulfillment is that the Lord spoke to men about escaping something coming in their lifetimes. e 21:37-38 Now during the day He was teaching in the temple, but at evening He would go out and spend the night on the mount that is called Olivet. And all the people would get up early in the morning to come to Him in the temple to listen to Him. This gives visual context to these last lessons in Luke, helping us see what Jesus was doing during the final days leading up to the cross. f 21:25-38 Texts like this one and its sister in Matthew 24 are not only difficult for the interpreter, they have been a source of contention between those who take various positions. Certainly the immediate reference is to the destruction of Jerusalem. We should not build intricate systems of end times theology from these verses, but they certainly bear a resemblance to other references to the second coming no one disputes.
But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, thenHe will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Matthew 25:31-33 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, ―Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.‖ Acts 1:10-11 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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22:1

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching . The chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might put Him to death; for they were afraid b of the people . 3 And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the c 4 twelve . And he went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers how he might betray 5 6 Him to them. They were glad and agreed to give him money. So he consented, and began d seeking a good opportunity to betray Him to them apart from the crowd . 7 Then came the first day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be 8 sacrificed. And Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, ―Go and prepare the Passover for us, so that

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them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

While we should not divide from other believers based solely on our understanding of these verses, there are some indisputable truths that come from this text and others. What we know for sure: 1. The words of Jesus do not fall to the ground. Everything He said would happen did happen or is a guaranteed future event. 2. Jesus came to redeem sinners. Fleeing to Him for rescue from sin and ultimate judgment is always behind prophetic texts. 3. Jesus came and brought judgment on Jerusalem. That is one fulfilled prophecy we can see in detail. 4. Jesus is coming again to reclaim the rest of creation. There will come a day of judgment when Jesus will set everything straight.
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22:1 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching. This feast, commanded and described in Exodus 12, was one of the many old covenant shadows that found its complete fulfillment in Jesus. While this is called the Last Supper, it could just as easily be called the First Supper. Jesus put an end to one thing and started another here. b 22:2 The chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might put Him to death; for they were afraid of the people. Fear of the people moved the religious leaders to seek a way to use stealth in their attempt to kill Jesus. All the pieces of their wicked plan fell together. Judas became the needed mole inside the organization to reveal Jesus‘ movements. The nighttime arrest was the best way to avoid angry crowds. Charges of violating Roman law permitted them to let the Romans do the actual killing. c 22:3 And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve. Satanic possession is essentially no different than demonic possession. Satan is just another fallen angel but with greater authority. This was his greatest work, but shows that even the prince of demons lacks omniscience. He had no idea that his most dastardly plan would play into fulfilling the words he heard as a serpent in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15). He was about to have his head crushed by the heel of the Seed of the woman. The influence of the devil does not absolve Judas of responsibility in the matter of betrayal, but it certainly shows the worst end result of turning from Jesus. d 22:4-6 And he went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers how he might betray Him to them. They were glad and agreed to give him money. So he consented, and began seeking a good opportunity to betray Him to them apart from the crowd. Men plot evil, but we give them more credit than they deserve. Judas was not part of a great human conspiracy that lasted over generations. Certainly the plot of Satan spanned the generations, but his pawns like Judas sell all for little bit of money. Men fall prey to simple traps. Their plots are only for this life and promise to satisfy their lust for sex, money or power. The chief priests and scribes had no idea that such a tool would be available until Judas made the first move. His price, we learn elsewhere, was thirty silver shekels, the penalty for killing a slave (Exodus 21:32).
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we may eat it .‖ They said to Him, ―Where do You want us to prepare it?‖ And He said to them, ―When you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into 11 the house that he enters. And you shall say to the owner of the house, ‗The Teacher says to 12 you, ―Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?‖‘ And he will b 13 show you a large, furnished upper room; prepare it there .‖ And they left and found everything c just as He had told them; and they prepared the Passover . 14 15 When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. And He said d 16 to them, ―I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer ; for I say to you, 17 I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.‖ And when He had taken a cup 18 and given thanks, He said, ―Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not e 19 drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes .‖ And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ―This is My body 20 which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.‖ And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, ―This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My f 21 22 blood . But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table. For indeed, the
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22:7-8 Then came the first day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. And Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, ―Go and prepare the Passover for us, so that we may eat it.‖ Jesus died the day after the sacrifice and eating of the Passover lamb. Some insist that Jesus did not fulfill the type of the Passover lamb unless He died the same day as the lamb. It is unnecessary for every detail to fall into place in order for Jesus to satisfy the prophecy. This was a sacrifice of a different kind. As the writer of Hebrews notes, Jesus was also not of the priestly family of Aaron. b 22:9-12 They said to Him, ―Where do You want us to prepare it?‖ And He said to them, ―When you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house that he enters. And you shall say to the owner of the house, ‗The Teacher says to you, ―Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?‖‘ And he will show you a large, furnished upper room; prepare it there.‖ We are unable to see or appreciate how all the details of our lives play out to reveal the precise timing of the sovereign plan of God. The Lord saw all these things vividly before they happened. c 22:13 And they left and found everything just as He had told them; and they prepared the Passover. Jesus did not always make use of His omniscience during His time on earth, but the path to the cross was so near that He displayed an intense focus on the last details of the events surrounding His death. d 22:14-15 When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. And He said to them, ―I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.‖ This is very strong language. Jesus said ,―Lustfully I have lusted to eat this Passover with you.‖ Mere men crave fleshly things. Jesus craved to teach the lesson of this meal. Like His word to the church at Laodicea (Revelation 3:20), He wants to commune with His people. He will do that with them forever. e 22:16-18 ―for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.‖ And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, ―Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.‖ Notice that the Lord did not say they were drinking His blood. They were drinking the fruit of the vine–wine that pictured His blood. The eternal presence of Jesus among His people will be one long communion service. We will be forever reminded of a love that endures forever. f 22:19-20 And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ―This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.‖ And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, ―This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.‖ The Passover Seder (order) included the eating of unleavened bread and the drinking of four cups of wine. The bread Jesus broke was likely the afikomen, the middle of three pieces of matzo, taken, broken, hidden and sought out by the children at the meal. The wine symbolized the new covenant prophesied by Jeremiah:
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Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!‖ 23 And they began to discuss among themselves which one of them it might be who was going to a b do this thing . 24 And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be c 25 greatest . And He said to them, ―The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have d 26 authority over them are called ‗Benefactors .‘ But it is not this way with you, but the one who is

―Behold, days are coming,‖ declares the LORD, ―when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,‖ declares the LORD. ―But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,‖ declares the LORD, ―I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‗Know the LORD,‘ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,‖ declares the LORD, ―for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.‖ Jeremiah 31:31-34

The new covenant, unlike the old, promised to change those who entered it. Unlike the old, which assured survival on earth, it promised eternal forgiveness before the throne of God. a 22:21-23 But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table. For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!‖ And they began to discuss among themselves which one of them it might be who was going to do this thing. John gives the greatest detail of this last night Jesus had with the disciples. Judas was reclining next to the Lord and dipped his bread in an unidentified sauce at the same time as the Lord. John 13:27 says that the Lord told Judas to act quickly, at which time the betrayer left. b 22:1-23 The circumstances could not have appeared darker for Jesus and His followers. The religious leaders planned to kill Him. Satan himself indwelt the church treasurer to help the leaders carry out the plan. From the perspective of Satan and the religious leaders, they were getting just what they wanted. But this is why we need to learn to trust more what we know of the character our God than we fear bleak circumstances. In any situation you know for certain that Jesus is up to something big. Here is why this dark text should make you overflow with hope: 1. It tells you that the worst life scenarios are part of a plan that could not be more loving. 2. It tells you that imposters in our midst will be shown for what they are. That does not mean you will be unhurt, but it does mean that God, Who sees the heart, has matters of justice well under control. 3. It tells you that what Jesus did really does change those who enter into a covenant relationship with Him.
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22:24 there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. The word ―regarded‖ indicates that the position these men craved was to be highly regarded in the eyes of men. Based on their own estimations of themselves they may have been quarreling over their seating arrangement at the meal. Picture this. By what standards might they have argued for their own greatness? Who was the first disciple? Who had cast out the most demons? Who got to see the greatest number of Jesus‘ miracles? Who was praised when he confessed that Jesus was the Christ? Whose mother got to Jesus first about kingdom seating positions? Who was entrusted to care for the money? We do the same thing, but in a different cultural context. Who has the largest income? Who has the most advanced degree? Who oversees the largest number of people? Who gets chosen as a church officer? Who has the most friends? A well-worded Moravian prayer says, ―From the unhappy desire of becoming great, Gracious Lord, deliver us!‖ d 22:25 And He said to them, ―The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‗Benefactors.‘ This is more evidence how the Kingdom of Jesus is not of this world. The kingdoms of this world run based on titles and spheres of influence. Mortals crave to be exalted by mortals. Jesus used a common title for dignitaries in His
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the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant . For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who b reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves . 28 29 ―You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; and just as My Father has granted Me 30 a kingdom, I grant you that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on c thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel . 31 d 32 ―Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat ; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, e 33 strengthen your brothers .‖ But he said to Him, ―Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison

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day to illustrate: Benefactor. A parallel in our day might be a title like Senator, Mr. Speaker or Mr. President. There is nothing sinful about owning an honorable position, but Jesus uncovered in His disciples a lust for such titles. a 22:26 But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. When you are the youngest you have to learn from others and are usually subject to their correction. Likewise the servant is distinguished from the leader by job description and authority. Jesus calls His people to seek great usefulness instead of great notoriety. Rather than hungering after a title like Senator, God‘s kind of great one finds satisfaction in titles like Hey you, the one with the mop. b 22:27 For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves. Jesus is speaking from a worldly view. We naturally think great people should be served, but here the creator of feet was stooping to wash them. John 13 gives detail that shows how awkward these quarreling men must have felt as Jesus stooped and washed their feet.
Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples‘ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. John 13:1-5
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22:28-30 You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Rather than immediately rebuking these men, Jesus pointed to the plans He had for their future. He taught them that they would indeed occupy important positions, but not before hard times and martyrdom (for most). d 22:31 Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat. Jesus addressed Simon, but He used the second person plural form of ―you.‖ Southerners would translate this: ―Satan has demanded permission to sift ya’ll like wheat.‖ Satan‘s demand was to trouble all of the disciples. Compare and contrast the kingdoms in this section of Luke (Jesus, Gentiles, Satan). Things are often not what they seem. Satan could not sift the disciples, enter Judas or otherwise have darkness reign without permission. Proud earthly kingdoms are allowed to exist to show how much better is the rule of Jesus over our hearts. e 22:32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers. Each form of ―you‖ in this verse is second person singular. Satan had asked permission to winnow all the disciples, but Jesus told Peter personally, ―I have prayed for you.‖ Jesus interceded for Peter by name and asked the Father to keep him believing. How blessed you are to have a high priest who took names to the cross and who calls you by name before His Father! Then Jesus said Peter would need to change direction in order to serve his brothers (see John 21:15-19). Peter rightly took it as a prediction of failure. He had a higher opinion of his devotion to Jesus than Jesus had. He defended himself.
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and to death !‖ And He said, ―I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have b c denied three times that you know Me .‖ 35 And He said to them, ―When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you d 36 did not lack anything, did you?‖ They said, ―No, nothing .‖ And He said to them, ―But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to 37 sell his coat and buy one. For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‗AND HE e WAS NUMBERED WITH TRANSGRESSORS‘; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment .‖ 38 a They said, ―Lord, look, here are two swords.‖ And He said to them, ―It is enough .‖
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22:33 But he said to Him, ―Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!‖ We do not know what words these men used as they jockeyed for table positions, but Peter continued to make his personal case, contending that he would remain strong even if the others failed, (Matthew 26:33). b 22:34 And He said, ―I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.‖ All four gospels record of this part of the conversation, which must have occurred on the way to the Mount of Olives from the city.  ―…before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.‖ Matthew 26:34  ―…before a rooster crows twice, you yourself will deny Me three times.‖ Mark 14:30  ―…a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times.‖ John 13:38 The crowing of a rooster later that night (Mark indicates that there may have been more than one cock-a-doodle-do) would remind Peter that Jesus saw into the future and that Jesus knew Peter better than Peter knew himself. c 22:24-34 We find great comfort in the fact that there are some people worse than us. Even if I am a lazy, selfish husband and father I can find lots of guys who will make me look like an attentive, loving husband and father. Trouble comes when I put myself next to Jesus. That is the irony of the disciples fussing over who among them was the greatest. What great achiever in all of history could be anything but humiliated standing next to the Savior and King? And if you have to be humiliated, what better place than at the feet of the one Who exalts those who are humbled? The closer people come to Jesus, the lower their view of self becomes. Here are some reasons why your pride cannot stand while you walk in fellowship with Jesus: 1. That is where you realize that the King of the universe sees your hunger for control. He sees your hidden motives and accurately diagnoses the problem. 2. That is where you understand that you are not strong enough on your own to endure any trial. He knows you better than you know yourself. 3. That is where you see that you will always find yourself begging for mercy. He already has plans for your repentance and recovery.
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22:35 And He said to them, ―When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?‖ They said, ―No, nothing.‖ This sending out was recorded in Luke 10. They went out into a difficult situation commanded by the Master to take no provisions. Here the Lord asked if He had ever given them reason to fear setting out into unknown territory in His service. Remember that the Lord had also reminded Israel through Moses that they had everything they needed while they were in the wilderness, including clothing and sandals that did not wear out (Deuteronomy 8:4; 29:5). e 22:36-37 And He said to them, ―But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‗AND HE WAS NUMBERED WITH TRANSGRESSORS‘; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.‖ Notice the significant words, ―But now.‖ This journey would be different than the last. It would be much longer and preparation was not faithless. The statement has been misunderstood from the extremes of calling them to make disciples by force to denying that Jesus meant literal swords. The plain meaning of the text shows that Jesus ordered them to prepare for a journey as anyone would do so. The day might come when a
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And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the b 40 disciples also followed Him . When He arrived at the place, He said to them, ―Pray that you may c 41 not enter into temptation .‖ And He withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt 42 down and began to pray, saying, ―Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not d 43 My will, but Yours be done .‖ Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening e 44 Him . And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of f 45 blood, falling down upon the ground . When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and 46 found them sleeping from sorrow, and said to them, ―Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray g a that you may not enter into temptation .‖ weapon would be an asset for hunting or personal protection. Making provision for unknown dangers is not faithless. The Lord interpreted and applied a text from Isaiah 53 to this situation. How was He numbered with transgressors? Jesus was hung between two transgressors, died for many transgressors, and went out into a world of transgressors through the ministry of the apostles:
Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors. Isaiah 53:12
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22:38 They said, ―Lord, look, here are two swords.‖ And He said to them, ―It is enough.‖ Some suggest that Jesus was scolding them for suggesting swords, but that does not seem to fit what He said in verse 36. It was no more unusual for ordinary citizens to carry swords in that culture than for people in some parts of our country to possess concealed weapons permits. Two swords were not enough to start a revolution but they were ―enough‖ for a journey. Peter carried one of the two swords and he evidently did not get it (verse 50). b 22:39 And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. This trip between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives had become routine. No one even considered other plans when Jesus was present and setting the agenda. c 22:40 When He arrived at the place, He said to them, ―Pray that you may not enter into temptation.‖ This was a garden called Gethsemane (olive press, Matthew 25:36; Mark 14:32), a fitting place to discuss the coming pressure. We do not always need to know about what we are praying. Without specifying the kind of temptation He urged them to pray against it. They would learn the details soon enough. d 22:41-42 And He withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, ―Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.‖ A ―stone‘s throw‖ is not a precise unit of measurement but a picture for your mind. Jesus was probably close enough to see but not close enough to hear. There Jesus poured out His heart to the Father, showing all who are willing to pay attention a hint at the agony He was about to endure. His humanity was sinless, weak. There was no peace at this part of doing His Father‘s will. These words are the pattern for the attitude of a praying disciple of Christ. We ought to be ever dependent on our Master, quick to express honest wishes but willing to submit our wills to His. e 22:43 an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. The intensity of this battle was similar to His first temptation of the wilderness, where angels also came and ministered to Him (Matthew 4:11). f 22:44 And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. Some have identified this as the medical condition hematidrosis (bloody sweat), but it may be a simple description of the large drops of sweat that resulted from the stress of the evening. g 22:45-46 When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, and said to them, ―Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.‖ So this is one temptation He warned them to pray about. Their sleep must have come from the intense mental exhaustion, yet their sweating Lord did not sleep. He
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While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the b 48 twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him . But Jesus said to him, c 49 ―Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss ?‖ When those who were around Him saw d 50 what was going to happen, they said, ―Lord, shall we strike with the sword ?‖ And one of them e 51 struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear . But Jesus answered and said, ―Stop! f 52 No more of this.‖ And He touched his ear and healed him . Then Jesus said to the chief priests

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scolded them because they had been commanded to pray and told them to get back to urgent responsibility at hand. a 22:35-46 Facts about God‘s will: It is something you do. You were designed to bring glory to God and He has not left you without a picture of what that looks like. It may not be something about which you feel peace. What you need to know before you head out into the ―great unknown:‖ 1. You will encounter need, but God will never send you where He will not care for you. 2. You will live in the midst of bad people, but you have hope to offer them. 3. You will get into dangerous situations, but the worst that can happen in this world sends you to heaven. 4. You will have to battle your own sin, but your Redeemer is strong. He always provides a way of escape.
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22:47 While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him. This was not an unusual act. In our culture this would be like a handshake. There is no indication how large this crowd was, but it included Judas, some of the religious leaders and some temple guards. c 22:48 But Jesus said to him, ―Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?‖ Sly acts of violence were surely no stranger to Judas, who was apparently one of the Sicarii (see my note on Luke 6:16). If you had, like Judas, spent years in a group known for sneaking up on Roman dignitaries and assassinating them, the transition from admiration to hatred would be very quick. Judas wanted a powerful earthly kingdom that Jesus refused to lead. He may have seen Jesus as a means to accomplish his cause before all the talk of death. Now the Lord was in the way of Judas getting what He wanted. Does Jesus ever get in the way of your plans? A customary greeting of friendship became the signal of betrayal. When you pause to consider the darkness of this act you understand the extremity of its wickedness. There really are people who deceive others with feigned kindness in an attempt to take advantage of them. Our Lord, however, was not deceived. He was a willing participant. d 22:49 When those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, ―Lord, shall we strike with the sword?‖ Remember what Jesus had said about preparation and swords. They took it wrong. Whatever the numbers, we know the designer of the human fist could have won decisively in a street fight. But these over-zealous disciples, shocked at the betrayal of Judas, forgot was that His betrayal and death was part of the plan. e 22:50 And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. Luke leaves Peter‘s name out here (see John 18:10-11). Jesus had told them that they should bring a sword, but Peter misunderstood. J.C. Ryle, in his comments on this text, pointed out the contrast between Peter before the cross and the reclaimed Peter:
Peter, we may be sure, did far less good when he drew his sword and cut off a man's ear, than he did when be stood calmly before the council as a prisoner, and said, "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."
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22:51 But Jesus answered and said, ―Stop! No more of this.‖ And He touched his ear and healed him. John records that Jesus also ordered Peter to put away his sword, explaining that this was no random abduction. The violence was designed by the Father to fall on His Son rather than on His Son‘s enemies.
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and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him, ―Have you come out with a 53 swords and clubs as you would against a robber ? While I was with you daily in the temple, you b c did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours .‖ 54 Having arrested Him, they led Him away and brought Him to the house of the high priest; d 55 but Peter was following at a distance . After they had kindled a fire in the middle of the 56 courtyard and had sat down together, Peter was sitting among them. And a servant-girl, seeing e 57 him as he sat in the firelight and looking intently at him, said, ―This man was with Him too .‖ But 58 he denied it, saying, ―Woman, I do not know Him.‖ A little later, another saw him and said, ―You f 59 are one of them too!‖ But Peter said, ―Man, I am not !‖ After about an hour had passed, another

Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest‘s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave‘s name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, ―Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?‖ John 18:10-11
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22:52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him, ―Have you come out with swords and clubs as you would against a robber? This overkill was similar to what they would eventually happen when the Jews and Romans arrested and guarded Peter (Acts 12:1-5) and Paul (Acts 23:23-24). b 22:53 While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours. All week Jesus had been right where they could access and arrest him. Of course we know the reason they did not lay hands on Him. Jesus pointed out their cowardice. He made it clear that He was a willing participant—even the Master—of these events. As if giving them a gift He said, ―Here is your time.‖ We might describe this as their time to shine had Jesus had not described it as run by the powers of darkness. c 22:47-53 This meeting was perfectly orchestrated. We tend to think that when everything falls into place we are about to get our way. In this account it is evident that God was going to get His way even through an event where the powers of darkness were in their ―glory.‖ Note the ―perfect storm‖ that brought redemption: 1. Jesus had to be arrested and Gethsemane was the ―best‖ place. It was dark and It was desolate. 2. The chief priests needed an insider to track Jesus‘ movements and Judas was the perfect betrayer. There was no other way they could have obtained intelligence on Jesus‘ movements. 3. Satan needed permission to act and he was permitted to take over within the limits set by God. This could never have happened without the Father‘s full permission and He gave it.
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22:54 Having arrested Him, they led Him away and brought Him to the house of the high priest; but Peter was following at a distance. The high priest was ordained by God to be part of a long succession of the sons of Aaron. By Jesus‘ day it had become an office to be bought. The modern site thought by many to be the house of Caiaphas is beneath the Church of St. Peter at a place called Gallicantu (cock crow) southeast of the temple. This would have been an executive palace where Jewish legal proceedings took place. There is a pit at that location which some say was used as a place of interrogation for Jesus and others. e 22:55-56 After they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter was sitting among them. And a servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight and looking intently at him, said, ―This man was with Him too.‖ It was spring in Jerusalem, when daytime temperatures could reach 70 degrees but at night it might dip into the 40‘s. Hence the need for a warming fire. The subject of conversation must have been Jesus even though we do not have the content here. You see this by the pronoun used by the servant-girl. f 22:57-58 But he denied it, saying, ―Woman, I do not know Him.‖ A little later, another saw him and said, ―You are one of them too!‖ But Peter said, ―Man, I am not!‖ Peter was very bold when he was with the Lord, so it is no wonder these people recognized him. Just as the
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man began to insist, saying, ―Certainly this man also was with Him, for he is a Galilean a 60 too .‖ But Peter said, ―Man, I do not know what you are talking about.‖ Immediately, while he b 61 was still speaking, a rooster crowed . The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, ―Before a rooster crows today, you will c 62 d 63 deny Me three times .‖ And he went out and wept bitterly . Now the men who were holding 64 Jesus in custody were mocking Him and beating Him, and they blindfolded Him and were e 65 asking Him, saying, ―Prophesy, who is the one who hit You ?‖ And they were saying many other f g things against Him, blaspheming . Bible says that perfect love casts our fear, you see here that perfect fear casts out love. Note the anatomy of a fearful breakdown:  Fear makes otherwise strong people do shameful things.  Fear makes you put self-preservation ahead of those you claim to love.  Fear makes you forget the things you know to be true.  Fear makes you believe your own lies.  Fear makes otherwise common people eclipse God. a 22:59 After about an hour had passed, another man began to insist, saying, ―Certainly this man also was with Him, for he is a Galilean too.‖ Something about Peter—possibly his accent—gave away that he was a Galilean. b 22:60 But Peter said, ―Man, I do not know what you are talking about.‖ Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. Peter‘s dark, Savior-denying self-confidence had been uncovered. As if the sound were not enough to awaken his conscience, the next sight brought Peter low… c 22:61 The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, ―Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.‖ There are many instances after the resurrection that the disciples remembered His words. Put yourself in Peter‘s place here. The One he had disowned made eye contact. What did that look say? ―I told you so‖? ―Failure!‖? Jesus did tell him this would happen but He also looked beyond the sin to the reconciliation. Maybe the look said, ―Turn back, Peter. My love for you is stronger than your self-confidence.‖ d 22:62 And he went out and wept bitterly. Look at the progression of Peter‘s behavior that evening:  Bold self-confidence  Violent outburst  Fearful flight  Distant following  Cowardly denials  Bitter tears He progressed downward from a self-proclaimed warrior to a crying coward. Have you ever experienced this kind of shame? e 22:63-64 Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking Him and beating Him, and they blindfolded Him and were asking Him, saying, ―Prophesy, who is the one who hit You?‖ Notice that brutality is multiplied when a gang finds common cause. Think of the restraint shown by the sovereign Master of the universe. Had these mockers seen just a nanosecond of a flash of His full glory they would have been consumed. f 22:65 And they were saying many other things against Him, blaspheming. The word ―blaspheming‖ mean to speak evil. g 22:54-65 Contrast Peter with the other guilty people here. Set the dark deeds of Peter and Judas and the religious leaders and the Romans next to the event that is about to occur. The high priest used his home for an unjust trial. Judas sold Jesus out. Peter disowned Him. The soldiers abused Him. This has implications for you if you have done terrible things to other people. It also has implications for you if others have done terrible things to you. Consider some of the experiences of a shamed person:
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When it was day, the Council of elders of the people assembled, both chief priests and 67 a scribes, and they led Him away to their council chamber, saying, ―If You are the Christ, tell us .‖ 68 But He said to them, ―If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I ask a question, you will not b 69 answer . But from now on THE SON OF MAN WILL BE SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND of the c 70 power OF GOD .‖ And they all said, ―Are You the Son of God, then?‖ And He said to them,

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You have an overwhelming feeling that you don‘t belong. Remember the sinful woman in Luke 7. The remedy is acceptance or welcome. You feel naked. Remember Adam hiding from God. The remedy is the clothing provided by God. You feel unclean. Isaiah saw himself as unfit before God as his leprous king Uzziah had been. The remedy is God‘s kind of cleansing. You want to sin at the same time as you want to stop sinning. Hosea‘s wife Gomer lived in this shame until her purchase from the slavemarket symbolized God‘s redemption. You feel like a slave to others. The Israel of God was in bondage and the Passover set them free. You ache physically from your exposure to a sin-cursed world. Jesus heals some in this world and will ultimately give us new bodies.

People who live with a sense of shame may possess an unlikely blessing. Jesus is looking at you. You have fallen. He knows all about it. He owned what you did. If you want victory over shame there is only one way to get it? Who is your God? The solution to shame: 1. Humbly acknowledge that you can‘t be good. That‘s why you need a Rescuer. 2. Learn that perfect love that casts out fear. The right response to what Jesus did here is love toward Him and love toward those who bear His image. 3. Live the gospel-driven life. There is no purpose without the cross. 4. Saturate your thinking with Truth. What has God said about you and the situation you are now in? 5. Meditate on how great is your God. Can you name five of His attributes? If not, launch an investigation and you will find that He is everything you need for your shame.
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22:66-67 When it was day, the Council of elders of the people assembled, both chief priests and scribes, and they led Him away to their council chamber saying, ―If You are the Christ, tell us.‖ Do you see the contents of their hearts spilling out? Were they excited at the prospect that this man was indeed their Savior and King? Were they prepared to bow the knee? When the authorities arrest someone they usually do it with what they consider probable cause of a crime committed. Interrogation is designed to produce a confession. In this instance Jesus was being asked to confess to being Messiah. Of course the crime in their minds was not being Messiah but claiming to be Messiah. b 22:67-68 But He said to them, ―If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I ask a question, you will not answer.‖ God was on trial, but only in appearance. He knew the thoughts of the men who questioned Him. There would be no persuading those whose hearts were hard, so He restrained Himself from answering right away.
We have never been or done what that law requires us to be and to do. We have never had delight in that fixed purpose to do the will and promote the glory of God. We are always sinners; we are at all times and under all circumstances in opposition to God. If we have never loved Him supremely, if we have never made it our purpose to do His will, if we have never made His glory the end of our actions, then our lives have been an unbroken series of transgressions. Our sins are not to be numbered by the conscious violations of duty; they are as numerous as the moments of our existence. -Charles Hodge
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22:69 But from now on THE SON OF MAN WILL BE SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND of the power OF GOD. Jesus‘ most common way of referring to Himself was with the title ―Son of Man.‖ He clearly told them that He would soon occupy the position we know He had occupied in eternity past. He had just prayed hours before:
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―Yes, I am .‖ Then they said, ―What further need do we have of testimony? For we have heard it b ourselves from His own mouth .‖
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Then the whole body of them got up and brought Him before Pilate. And they began to accuse Him, saying, ―We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to c 3 Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King .‖ So Pilate asked Him, saying, ―Are You d 4 the King of the Jews?‖ And He answered him and said, ―It is as you say. ‖ Then Pilate said to the

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I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. John 17:45

Jesus reached back to Daniel‘s prophecy to identify Himself as the Son of Man, as the ultimate Ruler:
I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed. Daniel 7:13-14
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22:70 And they all said, ―Are You the Son of God, then?‖ And He said to them, ―Yes, I am.‖ Notice how they connected the dots. The Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Father can be no other than the Son of God. Jesus claimed here that He was God. The Lord frequently made confessions that revealed His divine identity, but some people in our day cannot see it. Note some of the ―I am‖ statements of Jesus:  John 6:51: ―I am the living bread.‖  John 8:23: ―I AM from above.‖  John 8:12: ―I AM the light of the world.‖  John 8:58 ―before Abraham was, I AM.‖  John 10:9: ―I AM the door.‖  John 10:11: ―I AM the good shepherd.‖  John 10:36: ―I am the Son of God.‖  John 11:25: ―I AM the resurrection and the life.‖  John 14:6: ―I AM the way, the truth, and the life.‖  John 15:1: ―I AM the true vine.‖
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22:71 Then they said, ―What further need do we have of testimony? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.‖ This would not do. The man they held in custody was in fact claiming the right to judge them. He spoke plainly even though He knew they would only use His words to condemn Him. The fullness of time had come, so Jesus gave them the evidence they craved. c 23:1-2 Then the whole body of them got up and brought Him before Pilate. And they began to accuse Him, saying, ―We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.‖ The accusation was treason. As the broader account of this story shows, Pilate was not interested in judging Jesus on religious terms. This was their only shot at a criminal charge that carried the death penalty. d 23:3 So Pilate asked Him, saying, ―Are You the King of the Jews?‖ And He answered him and said, ―It is as you say.‖ While Pilate was responsible to uphold justice, he apparently had
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chief priests and the crowds, ―I find no guilt in this man .‖ But they kept on insisting, saying, ―He b stirs up the people, teaching all over Judea, starting from Galilee even as far as this place .‖ 6 7 When Pilate heard it, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that He belonged to Herod‘s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who himself also was in Jerusalem at c that time . 8 Now Herod was very glad when he saw Jesus; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him. 9 d 10 And he questioned Him at some length; but He answered him nothing . And the chief priests 11 and the scribes were standing there, accusing Him vehemently. And Herod with his soldiers, after treating Him with contempt and mocking Him, dressed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him e 12 back to Pilate . Now Herod and Pilate became friends with one another that very day; for before f g they had been enemies with each other .

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no respect for the Jews or an individual Jewish teacher. He valued keeping the peace during a potentially violent feast more than he valued justice. a 23:4 Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, ―I find no guilt in this man.‖ Pilate was afraid of the crowds and of anything that would threaten him personally. John (19:8) tells us that he became especially afraid when he heard that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. b 23:5 But they kept on insisting, saying, ―He stirs up the people, teaching all over Judea, starting from Galilee even as far as this place.‖ Pilate must have wanted to be rid of the responsibility for Jesus and here was his chance. Jesus could be referred to another department because He was a Galilean. c 23:6-7 When Pilate heard it, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that He belonged to Herod‘s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who himself also was in Jerusalem at that time. This is Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great and called ―The Tetrarch.‖ He was the murderer of John the Baptist. Antipas was certainly not in Jerusalem to celebrate the God who delivered His people from bondage, but—like our Christmas—such feasts provided a godless man an excuse to party. d 23:8-9 Now Herod was very glad when he saw Jesus; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him. And he questioned Him at some length; but He answered him nothing. As in His later interview with Pilate, the Lord stood mute. Disappointed at having missed a show, Antipas turned his anger on Jesus. e 23:10-11 And the chief priests and the scribes were standing there, accusing Him vehemently. And Herod with his soldiers, after treating Him with contempt and mocking Him, dressed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him back to Pilate. The robe we often see in pictures of the trial of Jesus was a ―gift‖ from Antipas. The mockery of a royal robe must have appeared clever to Pilate. f 23:12 Now Herod and Pilate became friends with one another that very day; for before they had been enemies with each other. So Jesus went from the religious leaders to Pilate, then to Antipas and then back to Pilate. The gospel writers leave us no room to accuse any one group for these crimes. g 22:66-23:12 Contrast how clearly Jesus identified Himself with how clearly the people rejected Him. The biblical doctrine of total depravity does not teach that we are all as bad as we could be. It teaches that we are all capable at our worst of engaging in terrible crimes. The men putting Jesus on trial in this narrative displayed the sons of Adam at their worst. You are capable of similar things, which shows that you are in need of Redeemer. Here are some of the marks of a hardened heart: 1. You value getting your way more than you value mercy. When you do this you behave like Ahab, who mercilessly killed Naboth because Naboth owned a vineyard the king wanted. 2. You remain unmoved by profound revelation. When you can hear God‘s word and not be stirred, you resemble Pharaoh, who saw God‘s strong arm and still refused to bow the knee.
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Pilate summoned the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, ―You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against a 15 Him . ―No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has 16 b 17 been done by Him. ―Therefore I will punish Him and release Him .‖ [Now he was obliged to release to them at the feast one prisoner.] 18 But they cried out all together, saying, ―Away with this man, and release for us Barabbas!‖ 19 (He was one who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection made in the city, and for c 20 21 murder .) Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again, but they kept on calling out, d 22 saying, ―Crucify, crucify Him !‖ And he said to them the third time, ―Why, what evil has this man 3. You make light of what is sacred. When you disrespect God‘s word or God‘s people, you resemble King Jehoiakim, who cut up and burned the prophetic scroll God gave Jeremiah.
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22:13-14 Pilate summoned the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, ―You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him.‖ Pilate had a responsibility to find out if Jesus was in fact a danger to Rome. He called the accusers back to his hall and announced that the Lord was not a threat. Luke condenses the second interrogation by Pilate, which included a long period where Jesus kept silent. John records the exchange:
So Pilate said to Him, ―You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?‖ Jesus answered, ―You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.‖ As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, ―If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.‖ John 19:10-12

Jesus did not tell Pilate that condemning Him to crucifixion was okay. He told him that others were sinning to an even greater extent. b 23:15-16 ―No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him. Therefore I will punish Him and release Him.‖ The Roman way of governing its people is certainly worthy of criticism, but there was law and order. Pontius Pilate knew he was not doing his job if he executed someone merely because Jerusalem‘s religious leaders wanted it. Nevertheless he intended to torture the Lord with a scourge before releasing Him. Scourging was a punishment that historian Alfred Edersheim (Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah) referred to as ―the intermediate death‖ because of its brutality. c 23:18-19 But they cried out all together, saying, ―Away with this man, and release for us Barabbas!‖ (He was one who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection made in the city, and for murder.) The other three gospels tell us that it was customary as part of the Passover celebration to pardon someone held in prison. Apparently the list of criminals on death row this year included the two men who were eventually crucified with Jesus and a criminal named Barabbas. Barabbas (son of the father) may have been accused of killing a Roman official in Jerusalem. We cannot know if he was numbered among the Sicarii like Judas (see my note on Luke 6:16), but the description of Barabbas‘ crimes is similar to the practices of the Sicarii and the Zealots. Pilate gave the people a choice between Jesus and Barabbas. In a sermon preached some weeks later, Peter used this incident to illustrate the guilt of these very men:
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you. Acts 3:13-14
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23:20-21 Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again, but they kept on calling out, saying, ―Crucify, crucify Him!‖ It is clear when you read the whole story that Pilate was not
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done? I have found in Him no guilt demanding death; therefore I will punish Him and release a 23 Him .‖ But they were insistent, with loud voices asking that He be crucified. And their voices 24 b 25 began to prevail. And Pilate pronounced sentence that their demand be granted . And he released the man they were asking for who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and c d murder, but he delivered Jesus to their will . 26 When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, e and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus .

terribly interested in justice, but he did assume the people would prefer to have Jesus released among them than a thug. He thought incorrectly. The cry of the crowd was for the ultimate penalty (detailed in my note on Luke 23:33). Even stoning, the preferred method of execution for capital crimes among the Jews, was merciful next to this punishment. a 23:22 And he said to them the third time, ―Why, what evil has this man done? I have found in Him no guilt demanding death; therefore I will punish Him and release Him.‖ Here again is the offer to have Jesus brutally whipped and released. Contrast the moral monotheists crying out for the violent death of Jesus to the immoral pagan defending Him. Even Pilate saw the blindness of their sin. The gospel writers record the undisputed innocence of Jesus. Pilate, his wife, Herod, Judas and eventually one of the thieves being crucified saw the truth to which the moralists were blind. b 23:23-24 But they were insistent, with loud voices asking that He be crucified. And their voices began to prevail. And Pilate pronounced sentence that their demand be granted. Over and over the mob chant was ―Staurou, staurou!‖ Pilate gave in. He washed his hands in a symbol well-suited to a Hebrew crowd (Matthew 27:24, cp. Deuteronomy 21:6; 2 Samuel 3:28; Psalm 26:6; Acts 20:26), but he played the coward and gave them their way. His desire for ease was greater than his desire to do right. c 23:25 And he released the man they were asking for who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, but he delivered Jesus to their will. Luke left us his commentary to punctuate this account of wickedness. He repeated the detail to give us one last contrast between Jesus and Barabbas. d 23:13-25 We need our sins taken away. They blind you to who Jesus is. They make Jesus a look like a threat. They cloud your ability to reason. Just look at this text and you can see that sin makes you blind and insane. You should not miss what happened here with regard to sin. There is a pattern to this event that happened on a specific day in history that play out in your life right now. Here it is: 1. The innocent one is punished. This was not to be repeated, but the Bible tells us that the relevance of who Jesus is and what He did are a matter of eternal life or death for you. 2. The guilty one goes free. This release would be just but for the punishment poured out on another. Someone has to pay. This means that the guilty one can walk away debt free with no condemnation, never needing to fear that his crimes will catch up with him. 3. The mockers think in ignorance that they have found satisfaction. This applies to religious mockers and atheists. Both find great satisfaction in themselves and their worldview. Neither seeks refuge and forgiveness in the event portrayed here.
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23:26 When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus. It is probable that Jesus was carrying the horizontal piece of the cross to which His hands would be nailed. This procession took place some time before nine in the morning. The three men carrying the instruments of their execution were bound and were accompanied by Roman soldiers. In front of each condemned man was probably an individual carrying the titulus, a tablet on which was written the charges against him.
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And following Him was a large crowd of the people, and of women who were mourning and a 28 lamenting Him . But Jesus turning to them said, ―Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, b 29 but weep for yourselves and for your children . ―For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‗Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.‘ 30 ―Then they will begin TO SAY TO THE MOUNTAINS, ‗FALL ON US,‘ AND TO THE HILLS, c 31 ‗COVER US .‘ ―For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is d dry ?‖ 32 e Two others also, who were criminals, were being led away to be put to death with Him . 33 When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, f 34 one on the right and the other on the left . But Jesus was saying, ―Father, forgive them; for they g do not know what they are doing .‖ And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among 35 themselves. And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, h saying, ―He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One .‖ Simon was a north African man who became, according to some accounts, a faithful follower of Jesus. He is also said to have been the father of two Christian evangelists named Rufus and Alexander. The real story here is one of the full humanity of Christ. Blood loss from the scourging now factored into Jesus‘ ability to exert Himself. He became so weak that He either could no longer carry the cross or He slowed down the parade too much. a 23:27 And following Him was a large crowd of the people, and of women who were mourning and lamenting Him. It is not possible to identify how large was the crowd that followed, but this trial was not a secret to be kept from the mass of Passover pilgrims. It was now almost nine in the morning and the city was in full motion. They had listened to the Master teaching daily in the temple and His instruction continued on the ―Via Dolorosa‖ (Road of Suffering). b 23:28 But Jesus turning to them said, ―Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.‖ His pain would soon end. Theirs was just getting started. c 23:29-30 ―For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‗Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.‘ ―Then they will begin TO SAY TO THE MOUNTAINS, ‗FALL ON US,‘ AND TO THE HILLS, ‗COVER US.‘‖ Jesus reported ahead of time the kind of things people would say when judgment fell on Jerusalem. This is the kind of hyperbole that would have touched a nerve with a Jewish woman. What woman in that day would have considered childlessness a blessed condition? How bad do things have to get for you to long to be crushed to death? d 23:31 For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry? The metaphor could have referred to the green tree of special revelation. In other words, if the creator Himself was about to be executed, things were bound to get worse when He was no longer physically present. e 23:32 Two others also, who were criminals, were being led away to be put to death with Him. This report reinforces the picture that Jesus was fully identified with sinners in His death. f 23:33 When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. There were several variations of crucifixion, but Jesus and the other men were likely stretched out and had their hands nailed to horizontal part of the cross. This was then hoisted and attached to the vertical pole, knees bent and nails also in the feet, leaving the condemned man hanging not far of the ground. g 23:34 But Jesus was saying, ―Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.‖ We do not know the specific people referenced in this prayer, but it could easily have been the soldiers who in ignorance drove the nails and played games at the foot of the cross. h 23:34-35 And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, ―He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.‖ The shame of nakedness or near-nakedness was compounded by the mocking and a soldiers‘ game to get a garment He would not need in the grave.
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The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, and saying, ―If You a 38 are the King of the Jews, save Yourself !‖ Now there was also an inscription above Him, ―THIS b c IS THE KING OF THE JEWS .‖ 39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, ―Are You d 40 not the Christ? Save Yourself and us !‖ But the other answered, and rebuking him said, ―Do you e 41 not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation ? ―And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done f 42 g nothing wrong .‖ And he was saying, ―Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom !‖ 43 h And He said to him, ―Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise .‖

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23:36-37 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, and saying, ―If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!‖ The sour wine was a painkiller, which the Lord refused (Matthew 27:34). b 23:38 Now there was also an inscription above Him, ―THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.‖ This tablet was called a titulus and was attached to the cross above the condemned man. On this sign was written for all to see the name of the individual being crucified and charges against him. John probably gives us the most complete record of what was on that tablet in Greek, Latin and Aramaic (John 19:19): ―Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews.‖ Pilate had his last laugh with the Jews by placing such ridiculous-looking charges on the titulus. c 23:26-38 Accurately seeing what is happening at the cross is very important. Wrong views of this event that need correction: 1. He wants your pity. No. The correct response to all this is repentance. 2. He wants to take vengeance on sinners. No. He carried the Father‘s vengeance due sinners who turn to Him. 3. He was a victim. No. He willingly submitted to the ultimate injustice
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23:39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!‖ Matthew (27:44) says that at first both criminals were doing this, but Luke emphasizes that one was about to change his tune. e 23:40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, ―Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?‖ The realization of his doom finally crept over this hardened criminal. His eyes were opened not only to his own unworthiness but also to the identity of the one who hung next to him. f 23:41 And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong. The sense of justice is common to all of Adam‘s sons and daughters but it is rarely applied to self. People who think they deserve better from God than what they are receiving have never hung dying next to the Lamb of God. g 23:42 And he was saying, ―Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!‖ The NASB shows that this was not a simple prayer. It was a repeated request. His desperate situation moved him to the status of beggar. h 23:43 And He said to him, ―Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.‖ A distortion of the Apostles‘ Creed teaches that Jesus went to the place of torment called hell after He died. Other groups teach soul sleep—that those who die are unconscious until the resurrection. Still others teach that there is a holding place called purgatory for those who had not the righteousness to attain heaven at death. This simple statement of Jesus shows the error of these views. Jesus came from the Father and He went back to the Father. Those who die in faith have been credited with the righteousness of Christ. On the cross Christ was charged with their sins. That exchange means sinners who trust in Christ go immediately into the presence of the Lord. The possibility of deathbed conversion troubles people because it seems unfair. Those who have hurt so many ought to pay for their sins, we think. But if that troubles us we should also be troubled that God lets us into heaven. Like that thief we have also failed to pay for our sins in this life. The only hope for any sinner is a substitute.
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It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 a b 46 because the sun was obscured ; and the veil of the temple was torn in two . And Jesus, crying c out with a loud voice, said, ―Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT .‖ Having said d 47 this, He breathed His last . Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising e 48 God, saying, ―Certainly this man was innocent .‖ And all the crowds who came together for this f 49 spectacle, when they observed what had happened, began to return, beating their breasts . And

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23:44-45 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, because the sun was obscured. Since time was reckoned from sunup, this darkness lasted from 12-3 p.m. This could not have been a solar eclipse. Passover is always at the time of the full moon and total solar eclipses occur at new moon phase. This is just one of the supernatural phenomena that occurred to show that something spectacular was happening in Jerusalem. b 23:45 and the veil of the temple was torn in two. What a shock this must have been to the priests who were ministering in an already busy temple. There has been much debate over which veil was torn, since Herod‘s temple had two massive veils. Some say the symbolism of Jesus‘ death providing access to Father and the prophetic warning about the end of the earthly priesthood can only be shown by the tearing of the inner veil. Critics of the inner-veil view argue that the centurion (see verse 47) could not have seen this rending. They further contend that Mark structured his account of Jesus‘ ministry to begin with the tearing of the heavens at His baptism and to end with the tearing of the outer veil (which was decorated with a scene of the heavens). Since the outer veil could only be passed by priests and the inner veil by the high priest, the symbolism stands: Jews and Gentiles have access to God through our High Priest. The outer veil was torn to bring us to Him. The inner veil, His body, was torn to give us access to the Father through Him.
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:19-20 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. Hebrews 9:11-12 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:19-22
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23:46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, ―Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.‖ The Savior died with the words of Psalm 31:5 on His lips. John adds that He also said, ―It is finished‖ (John 19:30). He drank the entire shameful cup to its dregs. d 23:46 Having said this, He breathed His last. The salvation of sinners rests on the truth of this statement. The sacrifice has to die. Had He recovered before this point, God‘s righteous demands would not have been met. e 23:47 Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, ―Certainly this man was innocent.‖ What did the centurion see and hear? Everything from Jesus counseling those at His feet to His singing the Psalms to the conversion of the thief to the darkness and the rending of the veil. His confession of Jesus‘ innocence was more significant than Pilate‘s, for he praised God. Matthew (27:54) tells us that the centurion confessed that Jesus was the Son of God. f 23:48 And all the crowds who came together for this spectacle, when they observed what had happened, began to return, beating their breasts. The crowds, though not in the same position as the centurion, witnessed the same events and mourned. It looked like it was over for Jesus.
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all His acquaintances and the women who accompanied Him from Galilee were standing at a a b distance, seeing these things . 50 And a man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man 51 c (he had not consented to their plan and action) , a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who d 52 e was waiting for the kingdom of God ; this man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus . 53 And he took it down and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb cut into the rock, f 54 a where no one had ever lain . It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin .
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23:49 And all His acquaintances and the women who accompanied Him from Galilee were standing at a distance, seeing these things. From an even greater distance the followers of Jesus also mourned. b 23:39-49 Believers are sometimes tempted to wish certain unbelievers would come to faith because they would ―make such good Christians.‖ That desire shows how little we know about what makes a good Christian. Consider the ―quality‖ of sinner Jesus had to work with in this account. Few of us would have wanted this man sitting next to us in church, but his conversion has influenced millions in history. The theology of the thief:  He confessed that there is a radical distinction between the saved and the lost.  He confessed that he deserved judgment.  He confessed the righteousness of Christ.  He confessed that he had no merit to commend him to God.  He confessed that Jesus was his only hope.  He confessed that Jesus would not remain in the grave.  He confessed that Jesus would be King.
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23:50-51 And a man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man (he had not consented to their plan and action). This does not communicate that Joseph had a righteousness of his own. It communicates that he was, by the grace of God, of a different sort than most of the Sanhedrin. d 23:51 from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was waiting for the kingdom of God. The site of ancient Arimathea is probably in the hill country of Ephraim around 20 miles northwest of Jerusalem. This statement implies that not everyone had such anticipation. Matthew and John both tell us that Joseph was secretly a disciple of Jesus (Matthew 27:57; John 19:38). e 23:52 this man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Joseph could no longer keep his love for Jesus a secret. The bodies of crucified men were commonly left exposed to natural decay and animals, but the Jews were known, according to the historian Josephus, to provide proper burial (Wars of the Jews, Book IV, Chapter V). A member of the ruling council asking for the body of Jesus would have been one more witness to Pilate that the one who had left this body was no ordinary man. Mark 15:44 records Pilate‘s surprise that Jesus was already dead. f 23:53 And he took it down and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever lain. This borrowed tomb was likely near the place of the crucifixion. The motivation for the care of the bodies even of executed criminals came from the Hebrew Scriptures:
If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance. Deuteronomy 21:22-23

While this was the body of God incarnate, it was also fully human, a reflection of the image of God. While we have no command in Scripture on how to care for bodies of deceased people, here are some examples in Scripture:    Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 23) Isaac (Genesis 35:27-29) Jacob (Genesis 49:31)
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Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed, and saw the tomb and how His b 56 body was laid . Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. c d And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment .
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But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices e 2 3 which they had prepared . And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they f 4 entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus . While they were perplexed about this, g 5 behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing ; and as the women were  Moses (Deuteronomy 35:4-8)  Lazarus (John 11:38)  Ananias & Sapphira (Acts 5:6, 10) a 23:54 It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. This means it was nearly sundown on Friday night. This meant that the work needed to be done quickly. b 23:55 Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid. These women evidently had no connection with Joseph—at least not at that point. It may have even puzzled them why he would provide such tender care to the body of Jesus. These women were still in Jerusalem for the Passover even though they lived in Galilee. They had likely followed the procession of disciples with Jesus on that final pilgrimage. c 23:56 Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment. The women spent their lives working hard to prepare for the Sabbath rest. This day would be no exception. d 23:50-56 When you view the characters in these verses you see how the death of Christ forced them to reveal the contents of their hearts. It is healthy when God uncovers what men really are—even when the revelation exposes ugliness and unbelief. Why the polarizing message of the cross is a good thing: 1. It may bring you out of hiding. This is what happened with Joseph and Nicodemus. 2. I may confirm you in the hardness of unbelief. This is what happened to Pilate and most of the religious leaders. 3. It may move you to do your work focused on Jesus. This is what happened to women who served the body of Jesus in His death.
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24:1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. The four gospels all include the resurrection account, but from different perspectives. Matthew 28:1 says the women came ―as it began to dawn.‖ Mark 16:1-2 describes that they went toward the tomb when ―the Sabbath was over,‖ ―very early,‖ and that they arrived at the tomb ―when the sun had risen.‖ John 20:1 says that they ―came early to the tomb, while it was still dark.‖ What is clear here is not a contradiction but complementary accounts of disciples traveling toward the tomb through very hilly terrain early enough that the sun was not always visible. By the time they arrived it was daybreak. f 24:2-3 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. This is Luke‘s first mention of a stone that was set in place to prevent bandits and animals from entering tombs. It would likely have been rolled into a groove cut in front of the door and nearly impossible to remove. The women may have been musing about how they would be able to roll it away from the door, but found that the task had been managed by two angels. Tomb keepers never considered a stone keeping someone inside, but this one was not in that category anyway. This stone was removed to show that Jesus was already gone. g 24:4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing. These angels looked like men clothed in bright garments. There are other similar descriptions of angelwear in Scripture:
I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult. Daniel 10:5-6 The Gospel of Luke Steven Svendsen, Sr.

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terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ―Why do you seek the living 6 a One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen . Remember how He spoke to you while 7 He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful b 8 9 men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again .‖ And they remembered His words, and c 10 returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest . Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with d 11 them were telling these things to the apostles . But these words appeared to them as nonsense, e 12 and they would not believe them . But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had f g happened .

Then the angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. Luke 2:9 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. Acts 1:10
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24:5-6 and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ―Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen.‖ Angels commonly induce terror in humans and this day was no exception. They refrained from the customary ―fear not‖ angel greeting and got down to the message they had been sent to deliever. They began with a little angelic sarcasm: A cemetery is not the place to look for the conqueror of death. Then they gave the ultimate good news. b 24:6-7 Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. Angels carry on many ministries as God‘s messengers of judgment and other revelation. Here they served to remind the ladies that word of this resurrection was not new (Luke 18:31-34). They had been with Him as His entourage journeyed toward Jerusalem. They had heard Jesus predict this very event. We all need to be reminded over and over of the things the Lord has said—particularly reminded of this gospel message that is the foundation for everything a believer does. c 24:8-9 And they remembered His words, and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. The information was stored in their minds and the spirit beings served to jar loose the memory. The women passed on the good news. They became ―angels‖ to the eleven. d 24:10 Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles. Luke may have condensed more than one visit from the women. At least Mary Magdalene had returned to report merely that the tomb was empty before hearing the report of the angels or seeing Jesus (John 20:1). It must have been a loud, long, animated conversation in that room. e 24:11 But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them. This was not hostile unbelief, but it was still doubting the direct words of Jesus. To them it was just too good to be true. It was the kind of unbelief that got the vocal cords of Zacharias frozen when he doubted an angelic message that old Elizabeth was to have a child. Peter was one of the doubters here. He later experienced this kind of ―believing unbelief‖ when an angel sprung him from jail and the prayer warriors of the church would not believe it was him at the door (Acts 12:13-16). f 24:12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened. Peter and John did not believe the reports of the women, but their curiosity was roused enough to send them running to the tomb. They did ―believe,‖ but what they believed was that the body was missing (John 20:6-9). g 24:1-12 Imagine the emotional extremes the disciples of Jesus experienced here. Emotions are a part of the image of God in man. While they can be used for great evil they are tools that reveal what is going on in our hearts. They can be a God-focused, holy motivation for serving others. In
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And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was a 14 about seven miles from Jerusalem . And they were talking with each other about all these b 15 things which had taken place . While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself c 16 approached and began traveling with them . But their eyes were prevented from recognizing d 17 Him . And He said to them, ―What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as e 18 you are walking ?‖ And they stood still, looking sad. One of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, ―Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have f 19 g happened here in these days ?‖ And He said to them, ―What things ?‖ And they said to Him, ―The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight 20 of God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the h 21 sentence of death, and crucified Him . ―But we were hoping that it was He who was going to i 22 redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened . ―But also this text God used emotional circumstances to bring good things to His servants. Based on this text, when God‘s is actively stirring you up emotionally, here are some good responses: 1. When you are perplexed you should search for the truth. The truth is never embarrassed by investigation. 2. When you are terrified you should listen carefully. This is not about getting new revelation from God. It is about remembering or finding out what God has already said about the situation. 3. When you are astonished you should preserve the awe. Even before you fully understand all the details, a constant state of marvel is a healthy response to revelation from God.
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24:13 And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. This was on resurrection Sunday and the two disciples were walking on a road toward the west from Jerusalem. b 24:14 they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place. ―All these‖ things surely included their view of things like the triumphal entry, the teaching in the temple, the tests of the religious leaders, the arrest, the trial, the cross and now the rumors of the resurrection. c 24:15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. You could not create better drama if this were a work of fiction. Jesus always appears at the right time. d 24:16 But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. It was not unbelief that prevented them from recognizing Jesus. He is the one who later opened their eyes (24:31), so for His own purposes He kept them closed here. e 24:17 What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking? Jesus never asks questions to get information. He sought to draw these men out so their hearts would be revealed. f 24:18 Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days? This is one more indicator that the crucifixion of Jesus was a very public event. Among the thousands of Passover pilgrims it would have been strange to find one who remained unaware of these events. g 24:19 What things? The Lord played with them. The only ones who see humor in this are those know what events had just transpired and know the identity of the one asking the question. h 24:19-20 The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him. These are the things Jesus‘ people ought to talk about (1 Corinthians 2:2). In the progress of revelation you could not have expected more of these men. You are blessed with a completed story. They were about to be. Should there be any difference in our response? i 24:21 we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened. What kind of redemption did they have in mind? Certainly their view of the role of Messiah was not yet complete. Paul later clarified the kind of redemption God had in mind was an inner transformation rather than a political revolution:
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some women among us amazed us . When they were at the tomb early in the morning, and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said that He b 24 was alive . ―Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the c 25 women also had said; but Him they did not see .‖ And He said to them, ―O foolish men and slow d 26 of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken ! ―Was it not necessary for the Christ to e 27 suffer these things and to enter into His glory ?‖ Then beginning with Moses and with all the f prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures . 28 And they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He were g 29 going farther . But they urged Him, saying, ―Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and h 30 the day is now nearly over.‖ So He went in to stay with them . When He had reclined at the i table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them . 31 j Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight . 32 They said to one another, ―Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us

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In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. Ephesians 1:7
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24:22 some women among us amazed us. The word translated ―amazed‖ in this verse is used in the New Testament of extreme astonishment. b 24:23 they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said that He was alive. The women who first came to the tomb did not see Jesus. Only Mary Magdalene had seen Him after she ran to inform the disciples that the tomb was open. c 24:24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see. Peter and John were the first make visitors to the tomb who confirmed the report that something strange had indeed happened. d 24:25 O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Jesus scolded them for not seeing what the prophets had long said. You may not have grown up hearing more than a sprinkling of the Scriptures each church gathering, but these men were raised having heard the Scriptures read over and over. They may have missed the prophecy given to the serpent in the garden that the seed of the woman would receive a wound in the process of crushing the serpent‘s head (Genesis 3:15). The may have misunderstood that what David described in the Psalms about suffering and dying (Psalm 22) and rising from the dead (Psalm 16) was not about himself. It is hard to imagine, but the detail of the cross and the sacrificial bearing of sin from Isaiah 53 may have been overlooked by these men. e 24:26 Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory? God said it would happen. It had to be true. We would do well to take counsel from the way Jesus interpreted Scripture. f 24:27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. The word ―explained‖ is often translated ―interpreted.‖ This must have been quite a lesson. This was an expository message from the Old Testament by Jesus, detailing how many texts pointed to Him. We do well never to neglect the Hebrew Scriptures and never to fail using them to point to Jesus rather than a list of rules. g 24:28 And they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He were going farther. He acted. This was intentional. Were they interested in hearing more? h 24:29 But they urged Him, saying, ―Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over.‖ So He went in to stay with them. They wanted more and the Lord willingly gave it. i 24:30 When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. This was not only a familiar scene for those who spent three years with Jesus, it specifically pointed these men (who must have been present) to Jesus saying at the last supper, ―This is my body‖ and ―This is my blood.‖ j 24:31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. The Lord accomplished His purpose in that encounter and then left. He opens hearts and eyes because they cannot otherwise be opened. They needed to see Jesus and His work more than they needed His physical presence.
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on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us ?‖ And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them, 34 b 35 saying, ―The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon .‖ They began to relate their c d experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread . 36 While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, e 37 ―Peace be to you .‖ But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a f 38 spirit . And He said to them, ―Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 ―See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh g 40 and bones as you see that I have .‖ And when He had said this, He showed them His hands 41 and His feet. While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to h 42 43 them, ―Have you anything here to eat ?‖ They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; and He took a it and ate it before them .
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24:32 They said to one another, ―Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?‖ The word ―explaining‖ means opening. Jesus unfolded the truth and they were stirred emotionally. b 24:33-34 And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them, saying, ―The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon.‖ The Jerusalem crowd was already abuzz with excitement when the Emmaus disciples arrived. The two offered another confirmation of Jesus‘ victory other followers. c 24:35 They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread. They simply repeated what they had learned from Jesus. Isn‘t that what all of us should do? d 24:13-35 This text is quite clear in communicating that Jesus was the seeker with the Emmaus disciples. Survey the activity of the sovereign Savior:  He approached them.  He questioned them.  He drew them out.  He taught them.  He responded to their request.  He opened their eyes. Misunderstanding the God Who rules will make people think they have no responsibility before Him. Scripture shows that He is the absolute ruler but that He uses means to get His way. Specifically, the activity of believers is to respond to Him. Here are some examples of your responsibility from this text: 1. When He seems absent, you speak honestly. In Psalm 13:1 David asked ―How long will You hide Your face from me?‖ 2. When He speaks, you listen. 3. When He stirs you up, you tell others.
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24:36 While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, ―Peace be to you.‖ Here again the Lord came at the precise time He needed to come. His message of peace was the same as He gave just before He died (John 14:27). John (20:19) says that the eleven (minus Thomas) were meeting in secret for fear of the religious leaders. f 24:37 But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. We We should not be too critical of these men. Jesus looked different from any person they had ever seen. You and I have never witnessed a crucifixion, a resurrection or a resurrected body. They were understandably afraid. g 24:38-39 And He said to them, ―Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.‖ The Lord assured them that He indeed had a body. About a week later He invited Thomas to physically touch His wounds (John 20:26-28). h 24:40-41 And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, ―Have you
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Now He said to them, ―These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms b 45 46 must be fulfilled .‖ Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, ―Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, c 48 49 beginning from Jerusalem . ―You are witnesses of these things. ―And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with d power from on high .‖ 50 e And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them . 51 52 While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they, 53 after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple f g praising God . anything here to eat?‖ It was important to Jesus that these disciples who had largely forsook Him and fled at His arrest, see that this was a physical resurrection. He does not always refrain from serving those who doubt. John‘s first epistle described Jesus as the one the apostles had ―handled‖ (1 John 1:1). a 24:42-43 They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; and He took it and ate it before them. This should dispel any idea that Jesus was raised in a spirit body. He asked for food and ate it. b 24:44 Now He said to them, ―These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.‖ There is a break in this text. Luke has condensed events that occurred over forty days. Jesus evidently made several appearances and regularly taught during this time. Just as the Emmaus disciples learned, the death and resurrection of Christ was not new revelation. It had to happen. Here again He taught a Bible lesson. c 24:45-47 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, ―Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Here the Lord makes it clear that the message was all about turning from sin and receiving forgiveness. The plan was to strategically and systematically communicate that message. d 24:48-49 You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high. Their commission was simply to share what they had witnessed. That work would begin after the feast of Pentecost. Luke re-visited the last words of Jesus to the disciples before His ascension in Acts 1:1-8. He went back to heaven in a cloud with the promise to leave them empowered by the Holy Spirit. e 24:50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. So in the place where the Lord frequently found lodging in the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus Jesus chose to issue the Great Commission and ascend to heaven. As he prepared to take His priestly seat at the right hand of the Father, the Lord Jesus may have given the priestly benediction:
The LORD bless you, and keep you; The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26
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24:51-53 While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising God. These disciples realized that Jesus meant business when He told them that He would not leave them as orphans (John 14:16-18). g 24:36-53 If you are a forgiven follower of Jesus you resemble these characters in the privilege of regular fellowship with your Master. This transition from defeat and despair to rejoicing and effective service would not have been possible had the Lord not reminded them of His enduring presence (in the person of the Holy Spirit). Here are several ways you benefit from daily communion with your Savior:
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1. He comforts you. That is why Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Comforter. That is why the filling of the Holy Spirit empowers and emboldens us to behave as if Jesus were physically present. 2. He shows you His character. Spending time with Jesus lets you see what He is like. It does not make Him predictable, but it does show you He be trusted. 3. He helps you understand truth. The Bible does not become the word of God when we finally understand it, but we do need the abiding presence of the Lord to shine the light on what we would otherwise miss. 4. He sends you into His service. Certainly the work is His, but you are the instrument. 5. He brings you joy in worship. The longer you walk with Jesus, the more you know that your place is with Him.

©Rice Lake Baptist Church, 104 East Barker Street, Rice Lake, Wisconsin, 54868 – http://www.ricelakebaptist.org – 715.234.1966 Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and that you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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