LIFE OF CHRIST
In our last lesson we jumped from the middle of Luke
13 back to John 10. Well, as we keep things in chronological order, we will now
jump back to:
Luke 13:22 And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.
It would be a couple of months before Jesus would
actually make it to Jerusalem. So, when it says He was journeying toward
Jerusalem, this was by no means making a straight journey there because, as our
text says, He was making His way through as many cities and villages as He
could before it was time for Him to actually be in Jerusalem.
We already know that Jesus knew what awaited Him,
and like any human, He was not looking forward to the torture, but He knew what
He had to do was necessary for all mankind. We can all relate to a degree on
how this would have weighed on Jesus’s mind because most of us have had to go
to a doctor for a surgery, tests, or dental work that we did not really want to
do, but we knew that it was necessary. Of course, that feeling of dread that we
felt as the time got closer to go the doctor, would be far greater for Jesus because
He would have to endure something far worse than some medical procedure because
His ordeal would end in a painful death.
Luke 13:23 Then one said to Him, "Lord, are there few
who are saved?" And He said to them, 24 "Strive to enter
through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will
not be able.
We have no idea who this one is that came up to ask
Jesus this question, but the Greek indicates that this was the man. He asked a
great question, “are
there few who are saved?” Now Jesus does not come right out with a yes or no
this time, but His answer is implied in what follows. Now, Jesus certainly
answers this question with a definite yes, in Mt. 7:13-14 because He
specifically says that only a few will find their way to that narrow gate that
lead to heaven.
Jesus tells them to strive. This word is defined as
Louw-Nida Lexicon: to engage in intense struggle, involving physical or nonphysical force against strong opposition - 'to struggle, to fight.
This definition fits perfectly with Jesus said in
Mt. 7:14 because He said the way to eternal life in heaven is difficult. No
wonder Paul told us to fight the good fight of faith. Many people today just do
not seem to get how hard it really is to live the Christian life in the way
that God wants us to live it. They like to dumb down Christianity so far that
instead of asking “are there a few who are saved” they would ask, “is anybody
really lost?” Friends, living the Christian life is a fight and struggle
because it is so easy to do the least that you can instead of doing the best
that you can.
Jesus is about to explain what He means about how
many will seek to enter into heaven, but they will not be able to enter. Jesus
25 "When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door,
and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open
for us,' and He will answer and say to you, 'I do not know you, where you are from,' 26
"then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in Your presence, and You
taught in our streets.' 27
"But He will say, 'I tell you I do not know you, where you are from.
Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.' 28 "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, and yourselves thrust out. 29 "They will come from the
east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of
God. 30 "And indeed
there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last."
The thought here is similar to
what Jesus said in Mt. 7:21ff and also with the parable of the 10 virgins in
Matthew 25. In these verses, Jesus is talking about the final judgment day, and
it shows how men like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the other prophets are going
to be on the inside. He even makes reference how all those who are allowed into
the kingdom of heaven will come from the four corners of the earth, which would
include Jews and Gentiles.
Then you have these people who
ate and drank in His presence and were there to hear Him teach in their
streets. The problem was, that these people may have gotten close to Jesus and
even listened to Him preach or as Matthew’s account says, they may have even
done some good works in His name, but they did not make the commitment to live
for Him. They did not fight the good fight of faith, they simply did a few good
works and maybe talked about how they saw Jesus once and even heard Him speak,
but that is not enough.
These are kind of like the people
you see accepting awards on TV. They get up there and might say some dirty joke
or get bleeped because they said a cuss word or two and then out of that same
mouth, you will hear them thank God. So, yes. There will be a lot people who
will want to be in heaven at the end of time, and they may try and argue that
they told people all the time that they loved Jesus, but the answer will be the
I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from
Me, all you workers of iniquity.'
I feel sorry for the people
today who have lost their respect for God and His Word because I can promise
you, they will regain that respect, but for many of them it will be too late.
While it is sad that only few will fight the good fight of faith and lay hold
of eternal life in heaven, you can make sure that you are among the few by
living for God and giving Him your best.
Luke 13:31 On that very day some
Pharisees came, saying to Him, "Get out and depart from here, for Herod
wants to kill You." 32
And He said to them, "Go, tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out demons and
perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be
"Nevertheless I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following;
for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.
That very day or that very hour, as some translate
it, a Pharisee comes to him and warns Jesus to leave the area because Herod
wants to kill him. Some think that this man was lying, but if he was, Jesus did
not point this out. Instead, He gave the man a response to give to Herod. When
Jesus calls him a fox, this is not a compliment because this figuratively means
a crafty sly person.
Jesus wants Herod and this Pharisee to know that He
is not going to be intimidated and He is going to continue His work of casting
out demons and healing people today, tomorrow, and then on the 3rd
day He will be perfected. This is one of those vague verses that can have more
than one meaning.
For example, some think Jesus is referring to 3
literal days, and that He saying that He will be out of Herod’s territory and
done with His work in that area in 3 days. It might help you see this view
better if you see how the ESV and others translate
the verse. It says:
ESV Luke 13:32 And he said to them,
"Go and tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today
and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course.
NET says … complete my work.
NIV says … reach my goal.
view of 3 literal days is certainly a possibility. However, others argue that
Jesus is not referring to 3 literal days, but is metaphorically referring to
the short time He has left until He finishes His work on the earth and is
crucified. Either view does no harm to the text, so I personally do not have a
problem with either view.
Jesus knew He would not die where He was because, like the prophets, He
would be killed in
34 " O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills
the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather
your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings,
but you were not willing! 35
"See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you
shall not see Me until the time comes when you
say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' "
Jesus will say this again later on when we get to
Mt. 23, but we can see how much love Jesus has for His people. He knows Jerusalem
will be destroyed by the Roman army in A.D. 70. He would love for His people to
wake up and stop rejecting Him because if they would turn to Him, He could
protect them and care for them like a hen protects its young. If you have ever
spent any time around a hen and her young, you would know that she is very
protective of them. If danger comes, she will call them to her and put herself
in harms way. In fact, I like what I Adam Clarke
wrote regarding a hen.
The following beautiful Greek epigram, taken from the Anthologia, affords a very fine illustration of this text.
Beneath her fostering wing the Hen defends
Her darling offspring, while the snow descends;
Throughout the winter's day unmoved defies
The chilling fleeces and inclement skies;
Till, vanquish'd by the cold and piercing blast,
True to her charge, she perishes at last!
O Fame! to hell this fowl's affection bear;
Tell it to Progne and Medea there: -
To mothers such as those the tale unfold,
And let them blush to hear the story told! -
Just think about how many Jew’s could have had their
lives spared in A.D. 70 if they had not rejected Jesus and His message. Though
the city would fall, they could have listened to Jesus’ warnings of when to
flee the city, but over 1 million Jews died during that time. What a shame
because not only did they lose their physical lives, they died outside of
Christ as well.
We should really think about this idea of how Jesus was willing to be like a hen with her young because this means He is the same with us. Those who will listen to Him will be under His protection and He will always be there for us. He has already proven that He was willing to die for us, so we should have great confidence in our Lord. Look at verse 35 again:
35 "See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to
you, you shall not see Me until the time comes
when you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' "
The temple used to be God’s house, but it was no
longer God’s house because the Jews had made it into their house and now it is
left to them desolate or we could say empty. They basically had pushed God out
of their lives and so there was no reason for Him to be present where He was
There are many churches in our nation that this happening to as well. While they assemble together and call themselves Christians, they do their own thing. They invent their own way of worship and the create new traditions to follow after, so God has not reason to be in their assemblies. In fact, I would say that their lamp stand was removed a long time ago as talked about in the Book of Revelation.
I believe the last part of our verse refers to when
Jesus will come again at the final judgment. Now, let’s move on to chapter 14.
Luke 14:1 Now it happened, as
He went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on
the Sabbath, that they watched Him closely.
2 And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had
dropsy. 3 And Jesus,
answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, "Is it lawful to
heal on the Sabbath?" 4
But they kept silent. And He took him and healed him, and let him
Jesus is just going about His
normal routine as he goes into the Pharisees house to eat bread. As, we have
seen many times before there is going to be a problem because it is the Sabbath
Day. Our text tells us that they watched Him closely. Our word ‘watched’ means
to watch insidiously.
I want you to think about this
for just a second. Jesus Himself taught that whatever people do to Him, they
will do it to His followers as well. Let us never forget that we have people
watching us, especially those who want to trap us in something so they can say
something like, “see, he is not any better than me or you, because he did this
sinful thing. So, who is he to be trying to teach us about God and how do to
live a Christian life.” While we are not Jesus, let us
continue to strive to be like Him and set the example for others.
There is a man there who had
dropsy, which is a condition that causes you to swell with water. We will never
know, in this lifetime, if this man just happened to be there or was planted by
the Pharisees. Since they were watching Him closely, I would say the odds are pretty
strong that he planted.
Jesus knew what he was going to
do for this sick man, and he also knew that the Pharisees were looking for an
opportunity to accuse Him of doing something wrong, but before they say a
word, Jesus ask them if was lawful to heal
on the Sabbath. Jesus was not asking them about their traditions, but about the
Law of Moses. You will notice they remained silent because, if they said, “yes,
it is wrong” then they would make the people in that house mad, and they would
look like cold hearted men. Besides this, they could not produce a Scripture
that would say it was wrong to heal on the Sabbath. If they answered, “no, there is nothing wrong with healing on the Sabbath” then
it would show they were wrong all the times they tried to rebuke Jesus for doing
such things on the Sabbath.
Jesus heals the man, and lets
him go, but Jesus is not finished with Pharisees
and lawyers. Notice what He says next:
Then He answered them, saying, "Which of you, having a donkey or an ox
that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath
day?" 6 And they could
not answer Him regarding these things.
Jesus is pointing out their dual standard. They have
one standard for Jesus doing something good on the Sabath,
but another standard for themselves because they would not hesitate to help
free a donkey or an ox from a pit. When Jesus said this, they could not answer
because they knew that Jesus had trapped them in this dual standard of theirs.
As Christians, we have to be careful that we do not
fall into this same mindset as the Pharisees and lawyers, but it is easy to do
sometimes. We have to be careful about pointing our fingers at someone else
because of what they are doing wrong and then not applying the same standard to
ourselves or to our loved ones. So, let’s do our best to not do that.
Next, we read:
Luke 14:7 So He told a parable to those who were invited,
when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them: 8 "When you are invited by
anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more
honorable than you be invited by him; 9
"and he who invited you and him come and say to you, 'Give place to this
man,' and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 "But when you are invited,
go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he
may say to you, 'Friend, go up higher.' Then you will have glory in the
presence of those who sit at the table with you. 11 "For whoever exalts
himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
This parable is all about being
humble, which many of the Pharisees were not. You can just imagine these men
trying to get the best seats of honor, which were the ones closer to the host.
As Jesus will point out later in Mt. 23, this was a common occurrence among the
Pharisees. So, Jesus is rebuking the behavior of the Pharisees as this feast.
His point is this. Don’t force your self-proclaimed value on others because if
you sit in the most honored position, you might find yourself being removed in
front of everyone, which will be an embarrassment to you and your self-inflated
However, if you take the humble
approach and sit in a less honorable place, you might be asked to move up to a
more honorable position. This should be a Christain’s
approach to life as we follow Jesus’ example. After all, He came to serve and
not be served. We are taught to do the same. I am also reminded of what Paul
Philippians 2:3 Let nothing
be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind
let each esteem others better than himself.
4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests,
but also for the interests of others. 5
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
Next, Jesus rebukes the host of
Luke 14:12 Then He also said to him who invited Him,
"When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your
brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back,
and you be repaid. 13
"But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the
lame, the blind. 14
"And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be
repaid at the resurrection of the just."
First, I do not believe that
Jesus is saying that you should never have dinner for your family and friends,
but the emphasis is on having these dinners to gain favor with your family and
friends so they might pay you back or that it might cause some gain for you. We
need to understand that one of the ways people could advance politically in
their community was by entertaining and rubbing elbows with the elite. This is
also done today. The meal was not being given just for the purpose of
fellowship or to help out those who were in need, it was about the host trying
to better himself.
However, Jesus lets him know
that instead of throwing these feasts for personal gain in this world for
people who have no problem feeding themselves, do it for the poor, the maimed,
the lame, and the blind. He points out how He will receive a much greater
reward on the day judgment for doing good works for these people who cannot
repay than for these others who can. Of course, Jesus expounds on this concept
in Mt. 25 and it goes along with what He asked in:
Matthew 5:46 "For if you love those who love you, what
reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 "And if you greet your
brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax
collectors do so?
It is so easy to do good for
those whom we love and trust, but Jesus sets the standard higher for us than
that because we are to love our enemies and do good to
all. This leads us right into another parable.
Luke 14:15 Now when one of those who sat at the table with
Him heard these things, he said to Him, "Blessed is he who shall
eat bread in the kingdom of God!" 16
Then He said to him, "A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, 17
"and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited,
'Come, for all things are now ready.' 18
"But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said
to him, 'I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you
to have me excused.' 19
"And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to
test them. I ask you to have me excused.'
20 "Still another said, 'I have married a wife, and
therefore I cannot come.' 21
"So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the
master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, 'Go out quickly into the
streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed
and the lame and the blind.'
22 "And the servant said, 'Master, it is done as you
commanded, and still there is room.' 23
"Then the master said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and
hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 'For I say to you that none of
those men who were invited shall taste my supper.' "
When the man says, "Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!"
it prompts Jesus to tell another parable. When
someone in the first century would have a great banquet, they would invite long
before the event, and when people said they would come, they were expected to
come. When the feast was ready, the servant went out to get the guests to come.
However, they all begin to give lame excuses that were nothing more than lies.
The reason I say this is because who buys some land without inspecting it
first, and who would buy Oxen without testing them first. Also, nothing in the
Law of Moses would keep a newlywed from attending a feast.
All of this is referring to the
rejection of Jesus and the kingdom He would bring forth. There are many guilty
of this same thing as they continue to make lame excuses of why they are not
ready to learn about God or to go to church. We also have Christians who make
up lame excuses of why they do not attend services that often. So, we need to
be careful about doing this. While there are valid excuses we can give, let’s
not make up lies about why we do not do this or that or else we will not be any
different than these men Jesus is talking about.
As you would expect, when the
master heard all these lame excuses, it made Him angry, but He was not going to
allow His feast to go to waste. So, he has the servant invite the poor
and the maimed and the lame and the blind. These would be
the people that the Pharisees would look down on and avoid, but there was more
room. So, the Master sends his servant out into the highways and hedges, which
is referring to the Gentiles.
As you read through the NT, you
will see that it was these groups of people that were usually more responsive to the
gospel and what Jesus had to offer than most of the Jews. So, Jesus makes it
clear that those Jews who reject Him and His kingdom, will not have any part of
it and will not be able to step one foot into heaven. Of course, this applies
to anyone who rejects Jesus.
I hope that none of us every
refuses the invitation from Jesus, especially by making lame excuses because if
we do, we will not make it to heaven. We also need to be like that servant and
continue to go out into the world inviting people to know Jesus. Hopefully,
they will accept the invitation.
We will pick up right where
left off next time. I hope this lesson has taught you some valuable lessons
about the importance of really living for God and doing His will. I also hope
you have seen the need to be humble and to look beyond yourself as you think
about others especially the needy. Finally, I hope you have seen the need to
invite people to know Jesus and His way.