A STUDY OF THE HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS
Lesson 29, Jairus’ Daughter Revived – A Diseased Woman Healed, Matt. 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56
Lesson 30, Equipping the Disciples, Matt. 9:35-38; 10:1-42; 11:1; Mark 6:8-12; Luke 9:1-6
Lesson 31, John in Prison and Praise of Jesus
Matt. 11:1-24; Luke 7:18-35
Lesson 32, Jesus is Accused of Blaspheming,
Matt. 12:1-45; Mark 3:20-30
Lesson 33, Feeding the Five Thousand, Matt. 14:13-36; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-27
Lesson 34, Jesus and the Pharisees, Luke 11:37-54
Lesson 35, Jesus and Hypocrisy, Demands Watchfulness, Luke 12:1-59
Lesson 36, Jesus Requires Repentance, another Parable, Luke 13:1-9
Lesson 29, Jairus’ Daughter Revived – A Diseased Woman Healed, Matt. 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56
1. Who came to Jesus with a special request regarding his daughter? What kind of position did he have among the Jews?
2. The text says he worshipped Jesus. What does this say about this man?
3. Along the way to the man’s house what happened?
4. What was wrong with the woman and how long had she had it?
5. What was on her mind to do to receive healing? Read Lev. 15:25 and make application to what she did.
6. What did Jesus find at the man’s house and what was the reaction of the crowd?
7. According to Mark the daughter was at the point of death. Matthew’s account says she was dead. Luke’s account says she was dying. How do you harmonize these reports?
8. What, according to Mark 5:27, caused the afflicted woman to come to Jesus?
9. While surrounded by many followers, how did Jesus know a woman had touched him?
10. Show the contrast to efforts men make to heal the afflicted and what Jesus did.
Help With Answers to Lesson 29
1. The stated office-bearers in every synagogue were ten, forming six distinct classes. We notice first the Archisynagogos, or ruler of the synagogue, who regulated all its concerns and granted permission to address the assembly. Of these there were three in each synagogue. Dr. Lightfoot believes them to have possessed a civil power, and to have constituted the lowest civil tribunal, commonly known as “the council of three,” whose office it was to judge minor offences against religion, and also to decide the differences that arose between any members of the synagogue, as to money matters, thefts, losses, etc. To these officers there is perhaps an allusion in 1 Cor. 6:5. The second officer-bearer was “the angel of the synagogue,” or minister of the congregation, who prayed and preached. In allusion to these, the pastors of the Asiatic churches are called “angels,” Rev. 2:3. ATSD
2. That is, fell down before him, or expressed his respect for him by a token of profound regard. – AB “Worship” is sometimes used of the form of homage paid by subjects to kings, or of honor to one held entitled to it, Dan. 2:46; Luke 14:10. In the East, this is still often rendered by prostrating the body and touching the forehead to the ground, Gen. 33:3; Matt. 18:26. ATSD
3. “And behold, a woman, who had an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the border of his garment.” She came behind him, out of modesty, and perhaps shame, desiring not to be taken notice of. – Poole. While Christ is on his way to the ruler’s house, a diseased woman comes behind him, touched his garment, and is instantly healed; the virtue lay not in her finger, but in her faith; or rather in Christ, which her faith instrumentally drew forth. – WB
4. Her disease rendered her timid, so that she came behind, and stole the cure; and yet her faith was unusually strong,--many believed that Jesus could heal with a word, she alone believed that the very hem of his garment had healing power in it. – SDC
5. In the crowd that pressed upon him. This was done to avoid being noticed. It was an act of faith. She was full of confidence that Jesus was able to heal: but she trembled on account of her conscious unworthiness, thus illustrating the humility and confidence of a sinner coming to God for pardon and life. – AB
6. “While he yet spake, they come from the ruler of the synagogue’s house saying, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Teacher any further?” – Mark 5:35. It seems that the people had not yet confidence that Jesus could raise the dead. He had not yet done it; and as the child was now dead, and as they supposed that his power over her was at an end, they wished no farther to trouble him. Jesus kindly set the fears of the ruler at rest, and assured him that he had equal power over the dead as the living, and could as easily raise those who had expired as those who were expiring. – AB The delay caused by healing this woman must have sorely tried the ruler’s patience, and the sad news which followed it must have severely tested his faith; but we hear no word of murmuring or bitterness from him. FG
7. My little daughter is at the point of death. He left her dying, and so stated his fears in the very strongest way. FG - My daughter is even now dead] Or, my daughter was just now dying; arti eteleuthsen, or, is by this time dead: i.e. as Mr. Wakefield properly observes, She was so ill when I left home that she must be dead by this time. This turn of the expression reconciles the account given here with that in Mark and Luke. ACC
8. Medicine was not a science in that day. Diseases were not cured by medicine, but were exorcised by charms. The physician of Galilee in that age did not differ very widely from the medicine man of the North American Indians. One in easy circumstances could readily spend all during twelve years of doctoring with such leeches. FG She was full of confidence that Jesus was able to heal: but she trembled on account of her conscious unworthiness, thus illustrating the humility and confidence of a sinner coming to God for pardon and life. AB
9. Who touched my clothes? This he said, not to obtain information, for he had healed her, and must have known on whom the blessing was conferred; but he did it, that the woman might herself make a confession of the whole matter, by which the power of her faith and the greatness of the miracle might be manifested, to the praise of God. AB
10. See Help Number 8
Lesson 30, Equipping the Disciples, Matt. 9:35-38; 10:1-42; 11:1; Mark 6:8-12; Luke 9:1-6
1. Jesus preached the ____________ ____ _______ _____________
2. While preaching what else did he do? (Matt. 9:35)?
3. What does Matthew say moved Jesus and how are people described?
4. What powers did Jesus give his disciples, per Matt. 10:1?
5. In the names of the twelve disciples, whose name appears first? Does this signify any prominence to him?
6. There was another Simon. Look at Luke 6:15. He was called a ___________________________. What does that mean he was?
7. What was the occupation of Matthew? How did most of the Jews think of that occupation?
8. What provisions were they make for their journeys? How were they to take care of themselves?
9. Where they were turned away, what were they to do? What did this mean?
10. What admonition did he give them about the messages they were to deliver?
11. What does Matt. 10:27 mean?
12. What did Jesus say about the soul in Matt. 10:28? What does that mean about man?
13. In the context, what does “confess me before men,” mean?
14. Explain how Jesus did not come to send peace on earth, per Matt. 10:34.
15. What does the Lord mean by saying one who finds life shall lose it?
16. Explain verses 40-42.
Help with Answers to Lesson 30
1. And Jesus went about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom.
2. Small places were not despised by our Lord: he went about the villages as well as the cities. Village piety is of the utmost importance, and has a close relation to city life. Jesus turned old institutions to good account: the “synagogues” became his Seminaries. Three-fold was his ministry: expounding the old, proclaiming the new, healing the diseased. Observe the repetition of the word “every” as showing the breadth of his healing power. All this stood in relation to his royalty; for it was “the gospel of the kingdom” which he proclaimed. Our Lord was “the Great Itinerant”: Jesus went about preaching, and healing. His was a Medical Mission as well as an evangelistic tour. SC
3. Because they were distressed and scattered, as sheep not having a shepherd, etc. These verses contain the reasons why Jesus separated his apostles from himself, and scattered them among the people. The masses of the people of Galilee had been deeply stirred by the teaching and miracles of Jesus, but they knew not as yet what direction was to be given to this popular movement. They were in a bewildered state, like shepherdless sheep, scattered over the hills and faint from running. The twelve were to assist him as undershepherds in gathering these sheep. FG
4. And he called unto him his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of disease and all manner of sickness.
5. Peter, by reason of his early prominence, is named first in the four lists. His natural gifts gave him a personal but not an ecclesiastical pre-eminence over his fellows. As a reward for his being first to confess Christ, he was honored by being permitted to first use the keys of the kingdom of heaven; that is, to preach the first gospel sermon both to the Jews and Gentiles. But after these two sermons the right of preaching to the Jews and Gentiles became common to all alike. That Peter had supremacy or authority over his brethren is nowhere stated by Christ, or claimed by Peter, or owned by the rest of the twelve. On the contrary, the statement of Jesus places the apostles upon a level (Matt. 23:8-11). See also Matt. 18:18; 19:27; 20:25-27; John 20:21; Acts 1:8. And Peter himself claims no more than an equal position with other officers in the church (1 Pet. 5:1,4), and the apostles in the subsequent history of the church acted with perfect independence. Paul withstood Peter to his face and (if we may judge by the order of naming which is made so much of in the apostolic lists), he ranks Peter as second in importance to James, the Lord’s brother (Gal. 2:11-14,9). See also Acts 12:17; 21:18. Again, James, in summing up the decree which was to be sent to the church at Antioch, gave no precedence to Peter, who was then present, but said, “Brethren, hearken unto me . . . my judgment is” (Acts 15:13,19)--words which would be invaluable to those who advocate the supremacy of Peter, if only it had been Peter who spoke them. So much for the supremacy of Peter, which, even if it could be established, would still leave the papacy without a good title to its honors, for it would still have to prove that it was heir to the rights and honors of Peter, which is something it has never yet done. The papal claim rests not upon facts, but upon a threefold assumption: 1. That Peter had supreme authority. 2. That he was the first bishop of Rome. 3. That the peculiar powers and privileges of Peter (if he had any) passed at the time of his death from his own person, to which they belonged, to the chair or office which he vacated. FG
6. “Matthew and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot.” Simon the Cananaean. “Cananaean” means the same as zealot. It comes from the Hebrew word kana, which means “zealous.” The Zealots were a sect or order of men much like our modern “Regulators,” or “Black Caps.” They were zealous for the Jewish law, and citing Phinehas (Num. 25:7,8), and Elijah (1 Kings 18:40) as their examples, they took justice in their own hands and punished offenders much after the manner lynchers. It is thought that they derived their name from the dying charge of the Asmonaean Mattathias when he said, “Be ye zealous for the law, and give your lives for the covenant of your fathers” (1 Mac. 2:50). Whatever they were at first, it is certain that their later course was marked by frightful excesses, and they are charged with having been the human instrument which brought about the destruction of Jerusalem. See Josephus, The Wars of the Jews, 4.3.9, 5.1-4, 6.3; 7.8.1. Simon is the least known of all the apostles, being nowhere individually mentioned outside the catalogues. FG
7. Matthew was a Publican. An officer of the revenue, employed in collecting taxes. Among the Romans there were two sorts of tax-gatherers; some were general receivers, who in each province had deputies; they collected the revenues of the empire, and accounted to the emperor. These were men of great consideration in the government; and Cicero says that among these were the flower of the Roman knights, the ornaments of the city, and the strength of the commonwealth. But the deputies, the under-collectors, the publicans of the lower order, were looked upon as so many thieves and pickpockets. Theocritus being asked which was the cruelest of all beasts, answered, “Among the beasts of the wilderness, the bear and the lion; among the beasts of the city, the publican and the parasite.” Among the Jews, the name and profession of a publican were especially odious. They could not, without the utmost reluctance, see publicans exacting tributes and impositions laid on them by foreigners, the Romans. The Galileans, or Herodians, especially, submitted to this with the greatest impatience, and thought it even unlawful, Deut. 17:15. Those of their own nation who undertook this office they looked upon as heathen, Matt. 18:17. It is even said that they would not allow them to enter the temple or the synagogues, to engage in the public prayers or offices of judicature, or to give testimony in a court of justice.
There were many publicans in Judea in the time of our Savior; Zaccheus, probably, was one of the principal receivers, since he is called “chief among the publicans,” Luke 19:2; but Matthew was only an inferior publican, Luke 5:27. The Jews reproached Jesus with being a “friend of publicans and sinners, and eating with them,” Luke 7:34; but he, knowing the self-righteousness, unbelief and hypocrisy of his accusers, replied, “The publicans and harlots go into the kingdom of God before you,” Mt 21:31. Compare also the beautiful demeanor of the penitent publican in the temple, and the self-justifying spirit of the Pharisee, Luke 18:10-14. ATSD
8. And he charged them that they should take nothing for their journey, etc. The prohibition is against securing these things before starting, and at their own expense. It is not that they would have no need for the articles mentioned, but that “the laborer is worthy of his food” (Matt. 10:10), and they were to depend on the people for whose benefit they labored, to furnish what they might need. This passage is alluded to by Paul (1 Cor. 9:14). To rightly understand this prohibition we must remember that the apostles were to make but a brief tour of a few weeks, and that it was among their own countrymen, among a people habitually given to hospitality; moreover, that the apostles were imbued with powers which would win for them the respect of the religious and the gratitude of the well-to-do. The special and temporary commission was, therefore, never intended as a rule under which we are to act in preaching the gospel in other ages and in other lands. FG
9. “Shake off the dust that is under your feet for a testimony unto them.” The dust of heathen lands as compared with the land of Israel was regarded as polluted and unholy (Amos 2:7; Ezek. 27:30). The Jew, therefore, considered himself defiled by such dust. For the apostles, therefore, to shake off the dust of any city of Israel from their clothes or feet was to place that city on a level with the cities of the heathen, and to renounce all further intercourse with it.
It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of| \judgment|. This clause is not found in the Revised Version. Compare Matt. 10:15. FG
10. Take no thought. That is, be not anxious, or unduly solicitous. God would inspire them. This was a full promise that they should be inspired, and was a most seasonable consolation. Poor, and ignorant, and obscure fishermen would naturally be solicitous what they should say before the great men of the earth. Eastern people regarded kings as raised far above common mortals: as approaching to divinity. How consoling, then, the assurance that God would aid them, and speak within them! AB
11. “What I tell you in the darkness, speak ye in the light; and what ye hear in the ear, proclaim upon the house-tops.” A man ought to preach that only which he has learned from God’s Spirit, and his testimonies; but let him not pretend to bring forth any thing new, or mysterious. There is nothing that concerns our salvation that is newer than the new covenant; and in that there are, properly speaking, no mysteries: what was secret before is now made manifest in the Gospel of the ever-blessed God. See Eph 3:1-12.
What ye hear in the ear] The doctor who explained the law in Hebrew had an interpreter always by him, in whose ears he softly whispered what he said; this interpreter spoke aloud what had been thus whispered to him. Lightfoot has clearly proved this in his Horae Talmudicae, and to this custom our Lord here evidently alludes. The spirit of our Lord’s direction appears to be this: whatever I speak to you is for the benefit of mankind,-keep nothing from them, declare explicitly the whole counsel of God; preach ye, (khruxate proclaim,) on the house-tops. The houses in Judea were flat-roofed, with a ballustrade round about, which were used for the purpose of taking the air, prayer, meditation, and it seems, from this place, for announcing things in the most public manner. As there are no bells among the Turks, a crier proclaims all times of public worship from the house-tops. Whoever will give himself the trouble to consult the following scriptures will find a variety of uses to which these housetops were assigned. Deut. 22:8; Joshua 2:6; Judges 9:51; Neh. 8:16; 2 Sam. 11:2; 2 Kings 23:12; Isa. 15:3; Jer. 32:29, and Acts 10:9. ACC
12. Those who slay with acts of cruelty, alluding probably to the cruelties which persecutors should exercise on his followers in their martyrdom. But are not able to kill the soul. Hence we find that the body and the soul are distinct principles, for the body may be slain and the soul escape; and, secondly, that the soul is immaterial, for the murderers of the body are not able, mh dunamenwn, have it not in their power, to injure it. ACC -- Temporal death is a slight thing, compared with eternal death, he directs them, therefore, not to be alarmed at the prospect of temporal death; but to fear God, who can destroy both soul and body for ever. This passage proves that the bodies of the wicked will be raised up to be punished for ever. – AB – Only God can destroy the soul. The doctrine of the mortality of the soul puts in man’s hands the power only God has.
13. Because divine providence rules over all, the destiny of believers is secure beyond fear of harm, and they must not shrink from the boldest avowal of their faith because of anxiety to preserve their lives. Our business is to confess Christ before men. In him the truth we acknowledge begins, centers, and ends. Our Confession of Faith is a confession of Christ: he is our theology, or Word of God. What a joy to confess him now! What a reward to be confessed by him hereafter in the glory-world! It will be a high offense against the great God, whom Jesus twice calls “my Father which is in heaven”, if we fail to confess his Son on earth. It is clear that in this passage to “deny” Jesus means,—not to confess him. What a grave warning is this for the cowardly believer! Can a nonconfessing faith save? To live and die without confessing Christ before men is to run an awful risk. Actually to recant and give up Christ must be a dreadful crime, and the penalty is fearful to contemplate. Disowned by Jesus before his Father who is in heaven! What hell can be worse? Lord, let me never blush to own thee in all companies! Work in me a bold spirit by thy Holy Spirit. Let me confess thy truth whatever the spirit of the age may be, uphold thy church when she is most despised, obey thy precepts when they cost most dear, and glory in thy name when it is most reproached. SC
14. Think not that I am come, etc. This is taken from Micah 7:6. Christ did not here mean to say that the object of his coming was to produce discord and contention, for he was the Prince of peace, Isa. 9:6; 11:6; Luke 2:14; but he means to say that such would be one of the effects of his coming. One part of a family that was opposed to him, would set themselves against those who believed in him. The wickedness of men, and not the religion of the gospel, is the cause of this hostility. It is unnecessary to say that no prophecy has been more strikingly fulfilled; and it will continue to be fulfilled, till all unite in obeying his commandments. Then his religion will produce universal peace.
But a sword. The sword is an instrument of death, and to send a sword is the same as to produce hostility and war. – AB
15. He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. Jesus declares that all self-seeking is self-losing. He that makes his own life the chief object of his endeavor really fails the more he seems to succeed. He who saves and husbands his powers to expend them on those lower carnal joys which a sinner calls "life" shall lose those higher spiritual joys which God calls "life," and vice versa. FG
Lesson 31, John in Prison and Praise of Jesus
Matt. 11:1-24; Luke 7:18-35
1. Where was John the Baptist at the time of this lesson? Why was he where he was?
2. Why did he send two of his disciples to Jesus? How did Jesus respond to their request?
3. How did Jesus describe his cousin John?
4. How is one in the kingdom greater than John? (vs. 11).
5. Explain how the kingdom began to suffer violence and how the “violent” attempted to take it by force. (vs. 12)
6. Tell how Jesus said people compared himself to John.
7. He began to upbraid some cities. What cities did he mention and what did he say about them?
8. How does Luke’s account say the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves?
9. What could have given people the basis for saying Jesus was gluttonous and a winebibber?
10. What does “Wisdom is justified of her children” mean?
1. John was cast into prison by order of Herod Antipas, Matt. 14:3, a little after our Lord began his public ministry, Matt. 4:12; and after the first Passover, John 3:24. – ACC
The account contained in this chapter of Matthew to the 19th verse, is found, with no material variation, in Luke 7:18-35. John was in prison. Herod had thrown him into confinement, on account of John's faithfulness in reproving him for marrying his brother Philip's wife. See Matt. 14:3,4. For Herodias' sake] This infamous woman was the daughter of Aristobulus and Bernice, and grand-daughter of Herod the Great. Her first marriage was with Herod Philip, her uncle, by whom she had Salome: some time after, she left her husband, and lived publicly with Herod Antipas, her brother-in-law, who had been before married to the daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia Petraea. As soon as Aretas understood that Herod had determined to put away his daughter, he prepared to make war on him: the two armies met, and that of Herod was cut to pieces by the Arabians; and this, Josephus says, was supposed to be a judgment of God on him for the murder of John the Baptist. See the account in Josephus, Antiq. lib. xviii. c. 7. –AB
2. Art thou he that cometh, or look we for another? The prophets spoke of the Messiah as the coming one, and John himself had done likewise (Mt 3:11).
What went ye out into the wilderness to behold? a reed shaken with the wind? After the departure of John's messengers Jesus immediately clears the character of John of unjust suspicion. John, who had testified with such confidence as to the office and character of Jesus, now comes with a question betraying a doubtful mind and wavering faith. Was John then a vacillating man? Was he guilty of that lack of steadfastness which the world looks upon as intolerable in all who it esteems great? Was he blown about by every wind of public opinion like the tall reed (the Arunda donax) which skirts the Jordan, and which stands, bearing its beautiful blossoming top twelve feet high one moment, only to bow it to earth the next, the slender stem yielding submissively to the passing breeze? Was he a voluptuary about to condescend to flatter Herod and retract his reproof, that he might exchange his prison for a palace? Those who had gone to the wilderness to see John had found no such man, and John was still the John of old. One act does not make a character, one doubt does not unmake it. John was no reed, but was rather, as Lange says, "a cedar half uprooted by the storm." FG
3. Among them that are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist: yet he that is but little in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. We find from this passage that all true greatness arises from association, relation and contact with Jesus Christ. To be Christ's forerunner is to be above teacher and prophet, Levite and priest, lawgiver and king, and all else that the world estimates as great. If all greatness be thus measured by contact of Christ, how great must Christ be!
4. But the least in the kingdom is greater then John. "This shows: 1. That John was not in the kingdom of God. 2. That, as none greater than John has been born of women, no one had yet entered the kingdom. 3. That, therefore, it had not yet been set up; but as John himself, Jesus, and the Twelve under the first commission, preached, was "at hand." 4. All in the kingdom, even the humble, have a station superior to John's" (Johnson). Farrar reminds us of the old legal maxim which says, "The least of the greatest is greater than the greatest of the least," which is as much as to say that the smallest diamond is of more precious substance than the largest flint. The least born of the Holy Spirit (John 1:12,13 and John 3:5) is greater than the greatest born of women. They are greater in station, privilege and knowledge. The dispensations rise like lofty steps, and the lowest that stand upon the New Testament dispensation are lifted above the tallest who rest upon the dispensation of Moses. This is perhaps prophetically suggested by Zechariah (Zech. 12:8). FG
5. The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and men of violence take it by force. Jesus here pictures the kingdom of heaven as a besieged city. The city is shut up, but the enemies which surround it storm its walls and try to force an entrance--an apt illustration which many fail to comprehend. The gates of Christ's kingdom were not opened until the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:22-36), but men hearing it was about to be opened sought to enter prematurely, not by the gates which God would open when Simon Peter used the keys (Matt. 16:19), but by such breaches as they themselves sought to make in the walls. Examples of this violence will be seen in the following instances: John 6:15; Matt. 20:21; Luke 19:11,36-38; 22:24-30; Acts 1:1-6:15. The people were full of preconceived ideas with regard to the kingdom, and each one sought to hasten and enjoy its pleasures as one who impatiently seizes upon a bud and seeks with his fingers to force it to bloom. The context shows that John the Baptist was even then seeking to force the kingdom.
6. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a demon. Jesus and John each besought the people to prepare for the kingdom of God, but the people sneered at one as too strict and at the other as too lenient, and would be won by neither. To justify them in rejecting God's counsel, they asserted that John's conduct was demoniacal and that of Jesus was criminal, thus slandering each. But the lives or works of Jesus and John were both directed by the wisdom of God, and all those who were truly wise towards God--children of wisdom -- justified or approved of God's course in sending such messengers.
7. Then began he to upbraid the cities] The more God has done to draw men unto himself, the less excusable are they if they continue in iniquity. If our blessed Lord had not done every thing that was necessary for the salvation of these people, he could not have reproached them for their impenitence.
Woe. Rather, "Alas for thee!" an exclamation of pity more than anger.
Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works, had been done in Tyre and Sidon which were done in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Jerome says that Chorazin was two, and Eusebius (probably through the error of his transcriber) says it was twelve miles from Capernaum. Its site is identified by the Exploration Fund with the modern Kerazeh, at the northwest end of the lake, two miles from Tell Hum (Capernaum). Its site is marked by extensive ruins, including the foundations of a synagogue, columns, and walls of buildings. Bethsaida was probably a suburb of Capernaum. We have no record of a miracle wrought at Chorazin, nor of one wrought at Bethsaida either, unless the miracles wrought at Simon's house (see on Matt. 8:14-17) were in Bethsaida. Tyre and Sidon were neighboring Phoenician cities on the Mediterranean coast and were noted for their luxury and impiety. This comparison between the pagan cities on the seacoast and the Galilean cities by the lake no doubt sounded strange to Jesus' disciples, but in the years which followed Tyre and Sidon received the gospel (Acts 21:3; 27:3), and Tyre became a Christian city, while Tiberias, just south of Capernaum, became the seat of Jewish Talmudism. Sackcloth was a coarse fabric woven of goat's or camel's hair, and was worn by those who mourned. It was called sackcloth because, being strong and durable, it was used for making the large sacks in which rough articles were carried on the backs of camels. Such sacks are still so used. Ashes were put upon the head and face as additional symbols of grief. Jesus here uses these symbolic words to indicate that these cities would have repented thoroughly. FG
8. But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected for themselves the counsel of God, being not baptized of him. The counsel of God was that the nation should be brought to repentance by John, that it might be saved by Jesus; but the Pharisees frustrated this plan so far as they were concerned, by their proud refusal to repent. All who followed their example shared their unhappy success. It is noteworthy that Jesus emphasizes baptism as the test as to whether men justify or reject God's counsel. FG
9. John came neither eating nor drinking, that is, not as other men ordinarily do; he was a man that lived most in the wilderness, and fed upon very ordinary diet, not eating with publicans and sinners, not coming at any feasts, &c.; and they said of him, He hath a devil; he is a melancholic, hypochondriac fellow, a kind of a madman.
The Son of man came eating and drinking, he was of a more affable, pleasant temper, of a more free and less reserved converse, eating and drinking as other men (though keeping to the law of temperance) such things as the country afforded, not refusing to be present at feasts, though publicans and sinners were there. They said of him, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners: he displeased them with the two great freedom of his conversation; from whence, by the way, they may be better instructed, who place some perfection, or merit, in living like monks and hermits; by that rule John the Baptist was to be preferred before Christ. But Christ could please the Pharisees and lawyers, and their followers, no more than John did. They could not say he was melancholic or morose; but they blasphemed him to a higher degree, calling him a glutton and drunkard, and a friend of publicans and sinners. A godly man, let his temper and converse be what it will, pleaseth none who hateth the truth of the gospel, and the power of godliness. If he be reserved, then he is a morose, melancholic man; if he be of a more free and open converse, then he is a drunkard, or a glutton; something or other they must have to say against a man that will not run with them to the same excess of riot, though they lay to their charge things that they know not. The business is, they hate the power of godliness in them. This instance of these men's thus treating John the Baptist and Christ, is of mighty use to strengthen those who meet with the very same things. – Poole
10. Wisdom is justified, etc.] Probably the children of wisdom is a mere Hebraism here for the products or fruits of wisdom; hence the Vatican MS., one other, and some versions, have ergwn, works, instead of teknwn, sons, in the parallel place, Matt. 11:19. True wisdom shows itself by its works; folly is never found in the wise man's way, any more than wisdom is in the path of a fool. Theophylact's note on this place should not be overlooked. edikaiwyh, tout' estin etimhyh, Wisdom IS JUSTIFIED, that is, IS HONOURED, by all her children. ACC
Lesson 32, Jesus is Accused of Blaspheming, Matt. 12:1-45; Mark 3:20-30
1. Where was Jesus and who was with him at the time of this lesson?
2. What question was he asked by the Pharisees and how did he answer?
3. What example did he use to justify what he and the disciples were doing?
4. What is meant by “I will have mercy and not sacrifice” mean?
5. Who were his “friends” and why did they think he was beside himself?
6. What did the scribes that came from Jerusalem say about him?
7. Explain Jesus’ answer.
8. What “blasphemy” will be forgiven, and what “blasphemy” will not be forgiven?
9. Jesus’ mother and brothers came to seem him. What response did he give to this?
10. What does Mark 3:35 mean?
1. And it came to pass, that he was going on the sabbath day through the grainfields; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears. This lesson fits in chronological order with the last, if the Bethesda events took place at Passover. The paschal lamb was eaten on the fourteenth Nisan, or about the first of April. Clark fixes the exact date as the twenty-ninth of March, in A.D. 28, which is the beginning of the harvest season. Barley ripens in the Jordan valley about the first of April, but on the uplands it is reaped as late as May. Wheat ripens from one to three weeks later than barley, and upland wheat (and Palestine has many mountain plateaus) is often harvested in June. If Scaliger is right, as most critics think he is, in fixing this sabbath as the first after the Passover, it is probable that it was barley which the disciples ate. Barley bread was and is a common food, and it is common to chew the grains of both it and wheat. FG
2. And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? The Pharisees did not object to the act of taking the grain. Such plucking of the grain was allowed by the law (De 23:25) and is still practiced by hungry travelers in Palestine, which is, and has always been, an unfenced land, the roads, or rather narrow paths, of which lead through the grainfields, so that the grain is in easy reach of the passer-by. The Pharisees objected to the plucking of grain because they considered it a kind of reaping, and therefore working on the sabbath day. The scene shows the sinlessness of Jesus in strong light. Every slightest act of his was submitted to a microscopic scrutiny. FG
3. What David did. The Pharisees could not resist the force of this illustration. One of the greatest heroes and saints in Israel had been turned against them. David's hunger, like that of the disciples, was a sufficient excuse. See 1 Sam 21:6. – Teacher
And he said unto them, Did ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was hungry, he, and they that were with him? There is a touch of irony here. The Pharisees prided themselves upon their knowledge of Scriptures, but they had not read (so as to understand them) even its most common incidents. FG
The law commanded that twelve loaves of bread should be laid on the table in the holy place in the tabernacle, to remain a week, and then to be eaten by the priests only. Their place was supplied then by fresh bread. This was called the shew-bread, Lev. 24:5-9. David, fleeing before Saul, weary and hungry, had come to Ahimelech the priest; had found only this bread; had asked it of him, and had eaten it, contrary to the letter of the law, 1 Sam. 21:1-7. David, among the Jews, had high authority. This act had passed uncondemned. It proved that in cases of necessity the laws did not bind a man: a principle which all laws admit. So the necessity of the disciples justified them in doing on the sabbath what would have been otherwise unlawful. – AB
4. This passage is quoted from Hosea 6:6, and is reiterated at Mt 9:13. It is an assertion of the superiority of inward life over outward form, for the form is nothing if the heart is wrong. The saying is first suggested by David himself (Psa. 51:16,17), after which it is stated by Hosea and amplified by Paul (1 Cor. 13:3). The quotation has a double reference both to David and the disciples as above indicated. Having given the incident in the life of David, Jesus passes on from it without comment, that he may lay down by another example the principle which justified it. This principle we have just treated, and we may state it thus: A higher law, where it conflicts with a lower one, suspends or limits the lower one at the point of conflict. Thus the higher laws of worship in the temple suspended the lower law of sabbath observance, and thus also the higher law of mercy suspended the lower law as to the showbread when David took it and mercifully gave it to his hungry followers, and when God in mercy permitted this to be done. And thus, had they done what was otherwise unlawful, the disciples would have been justified in eating by the higher law of Christ's service. And thus also would Christ have been justified in permitting them to eat by the law of mercy, which was superior to that which rendered the seventh day to God as a sacrifice. FG
5. And when his friends heard it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself. These friends were his brothers and his mother, as appears from Mark 3:31,32. They probably came from Nazareth. To understand their feelings, we must bear in mind their want of faith. See John 7:3-9. They regarded Jesus as carried away by his religious enthusiasm (Acts 26:24; 2 Cor. 5:13), and thought that he acted with reckless regard for his personal safety. They foresaw the conflict with the military authorities and the religious leaders into which the present course of Jesus was leading, and were satisfied that the case called for their interference. Despite her knowledge as to Jesus, Mary sympathized with her sons in this movement, and feared for the safety of Jesus. FG
6. Here is the impudent impious brand which the scribes fastened upon Christ's casting out devils, that they might evade and invalidate the conviction of it, and have a poor excuse for not yielding to it. These scribes came down from Jerusalem, Mark 3:22. It should seem they came this long journey on purpose to hinder the progress of the doctrine of Christ; such pains did they take to do mischief; and, coming from Jerusalem, where were the most polite and learned scribes, and where they had opportunity of consulting together against the Lord and his Anointed, they were in the greater capacity to do mischief; the reputation of scribes from Jerusalem would have an influence not only upon the country people, but upon the country scribes; they had never thought of this base suggestion concerning Christ's miracles till the scribes from Jerusalem put it into their heads. They could not deny but that he cast out devils, which plainly bespoke him sent of God; but they insinuated that he had Beelzebub on his side, was in league with him, and by the prince of the devils cast out devils. There is a trick in the case; Satan is not cast out, he only goes out by consent. There was nothing in the manner of Christ's casting out devils, that gave any cause to suspect this; he did it as one having authority; but so they will have it, who resolve not to believe him. MH
7. In parables (en parabolai$). In crisp pungent thrusts that exposed the inconsistencies of the scribes and Pharisees. See on Matt. 13:1ff. for discussion of the word parable (parabole, placing beside for comparison). These short parabolic quips concern Satan's casting out (ekballei, the very word used of casting out demons) Satan (rhetorical question), a kingdom divided (meristhei, for a mere portion) against itself, a house divided (meristhei) against itself, two conditions of the third class undetermined, but with prospect of determination. RWP
8. But whosoever shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath never forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin. Blasphemy against the Son may be a temporary sin, for the one who commits it may be subsequently convinced of his error by the testimony of the Holy Spirit and become a believer (1 Tim. 1:13). But blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is in its nature an eternal sin, for if one rejects the evidence given by the Holy Spirit and ascribes it to Satan, he rejects the only evidence upon which faith can be based; and without faith there is no forgiveness. The difference in the two sins is therefore in no way due to any difference in the Son and Spirit as to their degrees of sanctity or holiness. The punishment is naturally eternal because the sin is perpetual. The mention of the two worlds is "just an extended way of saying 'never'" (Morison). Some assert that the Jews would not know what Jesus meant by the Holy Spirit, but the point is not so well taken. See Exo. 31:3; Num. 11:26; 1 Sam. 10:10; 19:20; Psa. 139:7; 143:10; Isa. 48:16; Eze 11:24k. FG
9. Then come his brethren and his mother -- Having at length made their way through the crowd, so as to come to the door. His brethren are here named first, as being first and most earnest in the design of taking him: for neither did these of his brethren believe on him. They sent to him, calling him-They sent one into the house, who called him aloud, by name. Matt. 12:46; Luke 8:19.
Behold, my mother and my brethren! Jesus was then in the full course of his ministry as Messiah, and as such he recognized only spiritual relationships. FG
10. For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother. By doing the will of God we become his spiritual children, and thus we become related to Christ. Jesus admits three human relationships--"brother, sister, mother"--but omits the paternal relationship, since he had no Father, save God. It is remarkable that in the only two instances in which Mary figures in the ministry of Jesus prior to his crucifixion, she stands forth reproved by him (Matt. 12:50; Luke 8:21; John 2:4). This fact not only rebukes those who worship her, but especially corrects the doctrine of her immaculate conception.
Lesson 33, Feeding the Five Thousand, Matt. 14:13-36; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-27
1. What is meant by “a desert place?”
2. What did Jesus tell his disciples to do? (Mark 6:31)
3. According to John, what did Jesus tell the people to work for?
4. Matthew tells of Jesus and the disciples crossing the sea. What did the multitude bring with them?
5. Estimate the size of the crowd that followed Jesus. (Matt. 14:21)
6. What did Jesus feel toward these people?
7. From Luke’s account what to what city did the desert place belong?
8. In John’s account what reason did the multitude follow Jesus across the sea?
9. How did Jesus put Philip to the test, according to John’s account?
10. How many loaves and fishes did they have and from where did they obtain them?
11. After all the people were full, how much leftovers did they have?
12. What was the confession the disciples made when Jesus stilled the storm at sea?
13. What appeal did the people make to Jesus for healing? (Matt. 14:36)?
Help with Lesson 33,
1. By a ship into a desert place. That is, he crossed the sea of Galilee. He went to the country east of the sea, into a place little inhabited. Luke says Lu 9:10 he went to a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. See Barnes for Mt 11:21. A desert place means a place little cultivated, where there were few or no inhabitants. On the east of the sea of Galilee there was a large tract of country of this description--rough, uncultivated, and chiefly used to pasture flocks. (AB)
2. Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place. An uninhabited place. And rest a while. For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. Need of rest was one reason for retiring to the thinly settled shores east of the lake. Matthew proceeds to give us another reason for his retiring. “Now when Jesus heard it, he withdrew from thence in a boat, to a desert place apart: and when the multitudes heard thereof, they followed him on foot from the cities” (Matt. 14:13). (FG)
3. “Work not for the food which perisheth, but for the food which abideth unto eternal life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him the Father, even God, hath sealed” (John 1:27). - But for that meat, &c.] He who labours not, in the work of his salvation, is never likely to enter into the kingdom of God. Though our labour cannot purchase it, either in whole or in part, yet it is the way in which God chooses to give salvation; and he that will have heaven must strive for it. Every thing that can be possessed, except the salvation of God, is a perishing thing: this is its essential character: it can last to us no longer than the body lasts. But, when the earth and its produce are burnt up, this bread of Christ, his grace and salvation, will be found remaining unto eternal life. This is the portion after which an immortal spirit should seek. (ACC)
4. They brought unto him all that were diseased] And Jesus received and healed every man and woman of them. And is not the soul, in the sight of God, of more value than the body? and will he withhold his healing power from the former, and grant it so freely to the latter? This cannot be. Let a man come himself to Jesus, and he shall be saved and afterwards let him recommend this Christ to the whole circle of his acquaintance, and they, if they come, shall also find mercy. (ACC)
5. And they that ate the loaves were five thousand men. Considering the distance from any town, the women and children would not likely be numerous. They form no part of the count, for Eastern usage did not permit the women to sit with the men. They, with the little ones, would stand apart. (HG)
Men (andres). Men as different from women as in Mt 14:21. This remarkable miracle is recorded by all Four Gospels, a nature miracle that only God can work. No talk about accelerating natural processes will explain this miracle. And three eyewitnesses report it: the Logia of Matthew, the eyes of Peter in Mark, the witness of John the Beloved Disciple (Gould). The evidence is overwhelming. (RWP)
6. They were as sheep not having a shepherd (êsan hôs probata mê echonta poimena). Matthew has these words in another context (Mt 9:26), but Mark alone has them here. Mê is the usual negative for the participle in the Koiné. These excited and exciting people (Bruce) greatly needed teaching. Mt 14:14 mentions healing as does Lu 9:11 (both preaching and healing). But a vigorous crowd of runners would not have many sick. The people had plenty of official leaders but these rabbis were for spiritual matters blind leaders of the blind. Jesus had come over for rest, but his heart was touched by the pathos of this situation. So "he began to teach them many things" (RWP)
When Christ came out of the ship, on the other side of the water, he found that the people had outwent the ship; they were come about with a desire to hear the word. He considered what miserable priests and teachers they had, so that they were indeed as sheep without a shepherd, having none but such as were as bad or worse than none. Though he was weary, and came hither for some rest and repose, yet he will deny himself as to his bodily cravings, to do good to their souls: he first preacheth to them, and teacheth them many things; then he confirmeth his doctrine by a miracle, the relation of which followeth. (MP)
7. And they went away in the boat to a desert place apart. They sailed to the northeastern shore of the lake to a plain lying near the city of Bethsaida Julius. (HG) -- Withdrew apart to a city called Bethsaida. A desert place near the city of Bethsaida Julias. (TC)
8. Ye seek me, not because ye saw signs. Jesus includes the healing of the sick as well as the feeding of the multitude. But because ye ate of the loaves, and were filled. They did not seek Jesus because they saw in him a divine Friend who could satisfy the deep needs of the soul, but as a wonder-worker who could fill their bodies with food when occasion required. (HG)
9. Whence are we to buy bread, that these may eat? Jesus tested Philip to see which way he would turn in his weakness. Jesus asked where the bread might be bought, knowing that power to feed the multitude resided in himself (Isa 55:1), but Philip wondered where the money was to be had to buy it. (HG)
10. How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. When sent to see what was in their larder, it appears that they had nothing at all. Andrew reports the finding of the boy's lunch while it was as yet the boy's property (John 6:8,9). Some of the others, having secured it from the boy, report it now at the disposal of Jesus, but comment on its insufficiency. Eastern loaves were thin and small, like good-sized crackers, and around the Sea of Galilee, the salting and preserving of small fish was an especial industry. These fish, therefore, were about the size of sardines. The whole supply, therefore, was no more than enough for one hungry boy. But each loaf had to be divided between a thousand, and each fish between twenty-five hundred men.
11. Gather up the broken pieces which remain over, that nothing be lost. Christ is the economist of the universe. This command was in keeping with his laws which permit nothing to suffer annihilation. Ruin and destruction have no other effect than merely to change the form of things. Every atom of the material world which was here at the beginning of creation is here today, though it may have changed its form a million times in the progress of events. (HG)
In spite of the miraculous power that effectively produced the ample supply, Jesus permitted no waste. Twelve large baskets full of remnants were salvaged--possibly one for each of the disciples--and carried back to Capernaum. The detail of collecting the remaining fragments of bread and fish may have been introduced to emphasize the ample sufficiency that Jesus provided, or it may indicate that he combined generosity with economy. (ZRB)
12. No wonder that Peter "worshipped him", nor that his comrades did the same. The whole of the disciples, who had been thus rescued by their Lord's coming to them on the stormy sea, were overwhelmingly convinced of his Godhead. Now they were doubly sure of it by unquestionable evidence, and in lowly reverence they expressed to him their adoring faith, saying, "Of a truth thou art the Son of God." (SDC)
13. That they might only touch the hem of his garment] What mighty influence must the grace and Spirit of Christ have in the soul, when even the border or hem of his garment produced such wonders in the bodies of those who touched it! Here is a man who has turned from sin to God through Christ, and the healing hand of Jesus is laid upon him. Then, no wonder that he knows and feels his sins forgiven, his soul purified, and his heart filled with the fulness of his Maker. Lord, increase our faith! and we shall see greater manifestations of thy power and glory! Amen. (ACC)
Lesson 34, Jesus and the Pharisees, Luke 11:37-54
1. With whom was Jesus invited to dine?
2. What had Jesus not done that caused others to marvel? What was behind this?
3. What did Jesus mean by the outside of the cup and platter?
4. He told them to give alms from things within. What does this mean? What are alms?
5. What are “mint, and rue, and herbs” mentioned in verse 42? How did Jesus rebuke the Pharisees – what had they done wrong?
6. Discuss the “woes” of verses 43 and 44. What does this tell us about the Pharisees?
7. Who were “lawyers” and what did they do? What die one of them ask Jesus?
8. How did Jesus rebuke them in verses 46 and 47?
9. How had these men become witnesses and how did they consent to the works of their fathers?
10. What is meant by “the wisdom of God” and how does it speak? (verse 49).
11. What does Jesus say the Lord will require of that generation? (verse 50).
12. How had the lawyers taken away the “key of knowledge?”
13. In verses 53 and 54 what is said about the Scribes and Pharisees and their encounter with Jesus?
14. Look up Psalm 37:32 and make an application to your answer to question 13.
Help With Lesson 34
1. A certain Pharisee. The Pharisees had been particularly referred to in the discourse of the Saviour recorded in the previous verses. This one, perhaps, having felt particularly the force of the remarks of Jesus, and being desirous of being alone with him, invited him to go home with him. There is little doubt that this was for the purpose of drawing him away from the people; that he did it with a malignant intention, perhaps with a design to confute Jesus in private, or to reprove him for thus condemning the whole nation as he did. He might have seen that those who attacked Jesus publicly were commonly unsuccessful, and he desired, probably, to encounter him more privately. To dine with him. The Jews, as well as the Greeks and Romans, had but two principal meals. The first was a slight repast, and was taken about ten or eleven o'clock of our time, and consisted chiefly of fruit, milk, cheese, &c. The second meal was partaken of about three o'clock P.M., and was their principal meal. The first is the one here intended. (AB)
2. And when the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that he had not first bathed himself before dinner. The Pharisee marveled at this because the tradition of the elders required them to wash their hands before eating, and, if they had been in a crowd where their bodies might have been touched by some unclean person, they washed their whole bodies. It was a custom which ministered to pride and self-righteousness. (HG)
3. See Mt 23:25. Ravening. Robbery, plunder. Here the sense is that the cup and platter were filled with what had been unjustly taken from others. That is, they lived by their wickedness; their food was procured by dishonesty and extortion. This was a most terrible charge; and as it was applied, among others, to the man who had invited the Saviour to dine with him, it shows that nothing would prevent his dealing faithfully with the souls of men. Even in the Pharisee's own house, and when expressly invited to partake of his hospitality, he loved his soul so much that he faithfully warned him of his crimes. (AB)
4. But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, all things are clean unto you. That is, give your inner life, your love, mercy, compassion, etc., to the blessing of mankind, and then your inner purity will make you proof against outward defilement. (HG)
Alms are: The English word "alms" is an abridged form of the Greek word, eleemosune (compare "eleemosynary"), appearing in gradually reduced forms in German Almosen, Wyclif's Almesse, Scotch Aw'mons, and our alms. Alms is money or good given as charity to the poor.
5. Rue. This is a small garden plant, and is used as a medicine. It has a rosy flower, a bitter, penetrating taste, and a strong smell. A garden herb, sufficiently known. The Pharisees, desiring to distinguish themselves by a most scrupulous and literal observation of the law, gave tithes of mint, anise, and cummin, Mt 23:23. Herbs: "green plants" or "herbs." In 2 Ki 4:39 the Talmud interprets it to mean "colewort," but it may mean any edible herbs which had survived the drought. In Isa 26:19 the expression "dew of herbs" is in the margin translated "dew of light" which is more probable (see DEW), and the translation "heat upon herbs" (Isa 18:4 the King James Version) is in the Revised Version (British and American) translated "clear heat in sunshine." (ISBE).
The Pharisees in paying the tenth part, or tithe, to God, were so exact that they offered the tenth part of the seed even of the spearmint, rue and other small garden herbs, and many contended that the very stalks of these plants should also be tithed. Jesus commends this care about little things, but nevertheless rebukes the Pharisees because they were as careless about big things, such as justice, and the love of God, as they were careful about herb seed. Rue was a small shrub about two feet high, and is said to have been used to flavor wine, and for medicinal purposes. (HG)
6. Only a hypocrite will exalt trifles above important duties, and he only does so to be thought exceedingly strict. The tithe of small herbs could not amount to much, and was only paid in order to make men say, "How scrupulous the Pharisees are!" (SDC)
There is no commandment of God so little as we may neglect, or despise, or disobey it; but yet there is a difference in duties, and we ought to have more regard to the greater than to the lesser. (MP)
Lawyers: One learned in the law. "Scribe" was the official and legal designation. He who is called a lawyer in Matt 22:35 is called a "scribe" in Mark 12:28, what we should call a "divine." A "doctor of the law" is the highest title (Acts 5:34). (FBD)
7. We have seen in the traditions with regard to the Sabbath how these Jewish lawyers multiplied the burdens which Moses had placed upon the people. They were careful to lay these burdens upon others, but equally careful not to bear them themselves--no, not even to keep the law of Moses itself. (HG)
8. Ye build the sepulchres of the prophets. The martyrs of one generation become the heroes of the next. It was easier for the children to build monuments to the prophets than for their fathers to obey them. 50. Of this generation. The rejection of God's messengers culminated in the crime of Jesus' generation, because they refused him. 51. From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias. Abel was the first martyr of OT history (Gen 4:8). Zacharias was the last (2 Chron 24:20-22), according to the order of books in the Hebrew Bible, which, unlike the English Bible, ends with Chronicles. (WB)
9. The lawyers were not in fellowship with the prophets, but with those who murdered the prophets: hence the Saviour pictures the whole transaction from the killing of the prophets to the building of their sepulchres as one act in which all concurred, and all of which were guilty. Abbott gives the words a figurative meaning, thus: your fathers slew the prophets by violence, and you bury them by false teaching. (HG)
10. Therefore also said the wisdom of God. The phrase "wisdom of God" has been very puzzling, for the words spoken by Jesus are not found in any Old Testament book. Among the explanations the best is that which represents Jesus as quoting the trend or tenor of several prophecies such as 2Ch 24:19-22; 36:14-16; Pr 1:20-33. It may, however, be possible that Jesus is here publishing a new decree or conclusion of God, for the words specifically concerned the present generation. If so, Jesus assents to the decree of the Father by calling it "the wisdom of God," and the language is kindred to that at Mt 11:25,26. (HG)
11. That you may be called to give an account for it, yea, and be punished for the shedding of that blood of the prophets. (GBN)
As it was only in the last generation of them that "the iniquity of the Amorites was full" (Ge 15:16), and then the abominations of ages were at once completely and awfully avenged, so the iniquity of Israel was allowed to accumulate from age to age till in that generation it came to the full, and the whole collected vengeance of Heaven broke at once over its devoted head. (JFB)
12. The Key of Knowledge: A true knowledge of the Scriptures was a key which opened the door to the glories of Christ and his kingdom. This the lawyer had given away by teaching not the contents of the book, but the rubbish and trifles of tradition. They did not open the door for themselves, and by their pretentious interference they confused others in their efforts to open it. (HG)
13. And to provoke him to speak of many things. They plied him with many questions, hoping that they could irritate him into making a hot or hasty answer. (HG).
Laying wait for him. Or, rather, laying snares for him. It means that they endeavoured to entangle him in his talk; that they did as men do who catch birds--who lay snares, and deceive them, and take them unawares. (AB)
We see the exceeding malignity which men have against the Lord Jesus. Well was it said that he was set for the fall of many in Israel, that thereby the thoughts of many hearts might be revealed! Lu 2:34,35. Men, now, are not by nature less opposed to Jesus than they were then. (AB)
14. Psalm 37:32 - “The wicked watcheth the righteous, And seeketh to slay him.” If it were not for the laws of the land, we should soon see a massacre of the righteous. Jesus was watched by his enemies, who were thirsting for his blood: his disciples must not look for favour where their Master found hatred and death. (TOD)
Lesson 35, Jesus and Hypocrisy, Demands Watchfulness, Luke 12:1-59
1. What is meant by the “leaven of the Pharisees?”
2. What is meant by “nothing covered” that shall not be revealed, and hid that it shall not be known?
3. What should the followers of Jesus fear and what should they not fear? Explain why.
4. What two examples did Jesus use to instill courage in his disciples (vss. 6-7)
5. What would “confession” in verse 8 and 9 mean? Explain what happened to those who do and those who don’t make the confession.
6. What is “blasphemy” and how does Jesus say it can be done?
7. What did Jesus mean in the promise that the Holy Spirit would teach them?
8. To whom did Jesus say, “Man who made me a judge over you?” Explain the reason for his statement.
9. What is covetousness? Why should it be avoided?
10. Explain the parable of the rich farmer and how it applies to the conversation Jesus had just had.
11. What does Jesus tells us about being ready and watching? What example did he use?
12. Who does Jesus consider a “faithful” servant, per verses 42-45?
13. What does Jesus mean by saying that one who knows his will and did not make ready would be beaten with many stripes?
14. What does he mean, “I came to cast fire on the earth” and “what do I desire, if it is already kindled?” (vs. 49).
15. What baptism did Jesus have in mind that he had? (vs. 50).
16. How can Jesus be the prince of peace and say he came not to give peace but rather division? (vs. 51).
17. How does Jesus prove some to be hypocrites by the weather?
Help with Lesson 35,
1. Beware of the leaven. The spirit of the Pharisees. There is great danger of religion becoming formal and hypocritical. (PNTC)
Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. This admonition is the key to the understanding of the principal part of the sermon which follows. The spirit of Phariseeism was one which sought the honor of men, and feared men rather than God. It was a spirit which yielded to public opinion, and, though seemingly very religious, was really devoid of all true loyalty to God. There were trials and persecutions ahead of Christ's followers in which no Pharisaic spirit could survive. The spirit of hypocrisy works in two ways: it causes the bad man to hide his badness for fear of the good man, and the good man to hide his goodness for fear of the bad man. It is this latter operation against which Jesus warns, and the folly of which he shows. (HG)
2. Our Lord here commands them, when they are teaching others, to speak not for the applause of men, to conceal none of the things in which they were instructed, whether acceptable to men or not, but with courage and constancy to proclaim his doctrine; and to preach from henceforward in the most publick places, and proclaim openly to all the world, what they had hitherto learned and discoursed only privately among themselves. Dr. S. Clarke. "In darkness;" that is, in private: "In the light;" that is, in publick. (BFB)
3. Jesus does not guarantee protection from death but affirms that (1) God alone controls our final destiny, and people should "fear" him rather than those who can merely inflict physical death; and that (2) God is intimately aware of all that befalls us. "Hell" (mentioned only here in Luke) is clearly a place of torment (Mt 5:22; 18:8-9). (ZRB)
But I say to you, Fear not-Let not the fear of man make you act the hypocrite, or conceal any thing which I have commissioned you to publish. (JWN). See: Prov. 29:25 – “The fear of man bringeth a snare; But whoso putteth his trust in Jehovah shall be safe.”
4. Sparrows and hairs are so insignificant that this kind of argument (from lesser to greater) points up the supreme worth of the disciples in God's eyes.
Are not five sparrows sold for two pence? The Roman as here rendered "penny," was worth about four-fifths of a cent. Two sparrows were sold for a penny (Mt 10:29). For two pennies, an extra one was thrown into the bargain, yet even it, so valueless, was not forgotten of God. (HG)
5. Whosoever therefore shall confess me, etc. The same word, in the original, is translated confess and profess, (1 Tim. 6:12,13; 2 John 1:7; Rom 10:10). It means, to acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ, and our dependence on him for salvation, and our attachment to him, in every proper manner. This profession may be made, in uniting with a church; at the communion; in conversation; and in conduct. The Scriptures mean, by a profession of religion, an exhibition of it in every circumstance of the life, and before all men. It is not merely in one act that we must do it, but in every act. We must be ashamed neither of the person, the character, the doctrines, nor the requirements of Christ. If we are; if we deny him in these things before men, or are unwilling to express our attachment to him in every way possible, then it is right that he should disown all connexion with us, or deny us, before God. And he will do it. (AB)
6. In classical Greek meant primarily "defamation" or "evil-speaking" in general; "a word of evil omen," hence, "impious, and irreverent speech against God." (ISBE)
In his hour of trial a disciple must remember the tender compassion of the Master against whom he is urged to speak, and the extreme danger of passing beyond the line of forgiveness in his blasphemy. For blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
Verily I say unto you, All their sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and their blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme. Jesus here explains to the Pharisees the awful meaning of their enmity. Blasphemy is any kind of injurious speech. It is the worst form of sin, as we see by this passage. This does not declare that every man shall be forgiven all his sins, but that all kinds of sin committed by various men shall be forgiven. The forgiveness is universal as to the sin, not as to the men. (HG)
7. The captive disciple planning his defense would be tempted to attempt hypocritical concealment or dissimulation. To prevent this, Jesus admonishes his hearers to rely upon the Holy Spirit for their utterance at such times. How fully such reliance was honored is shown in the apology of Stephen before the Sanhedrin (Acts 7:2-53), in Peter's defense before the tribunal (Acts 4:8-20), and in Paul's justifications of his course, both before Felix (Acts 24:10-21) and Agrippa (Acts 26:1-29). See also Matt 10:19; Mark 13:11. (HG)
8. And one out of the multitude said unto him, Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me. Jesus laid down the general laws of justice and generosity, but he did not enforce these laws by any other power than love (Joh 14:15). If love toward Jesus did not move this brother to rightly divide the inheritance, the injured party must look to the state and not to Jesus for assistance. (HG)
Who made me a judge? It is not my business to settle controversies of this kind. They are to be settled by the magistrate. Jesus came for another purpose--to preach the gospel, and so to bring men to a willingness to do right. Civil affairs are to be left to the magistrate. There is no doubt that Jesus could have told him what was right in this case, but then it would have been interfering with the proper office of the magistrates; it might have led him into controversy with the Jews; and it was, besides, evidently apart from the proper business of his life. We may remark, also, that the appropriate business of ministers of the gospel is to attend to spiritual concerns. They should have little to do with the temporal matters of the people. If they can persuade men who are at variance to be reconciled, it is right; but they have no power to take the place of a magistrate, and to settle contentions in a legal way. (AB)
9. The Hebrew hamad and the Greek epithymeo both mean "to desire" or "to take pleasure in." The usage of derivatives that mean "pleasant" or "desirable" assures us that desire is not wrong in itself. Nor is it wrong for us to appreciate the good things of life. But covetousness is desire running riot. (ZBC)
From every kind of greedy desire for more (pleon, more, hexia, from echô, to have) an old word which we have robbed of its sinful aspects and refined to mean business thrift. (RWP)
“Put to death therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Col. 3:5).
10. The evangelist lets us know, that these verses contain not a narrative of a matter of fact, but only a representation of something that is too ordinary, by a fictitious story. The scope of it is to justify what our Saviour had said in the verse immediately preceding, that a man's life lieth not in the abundance of what he possesseth; for he who hath the greatest possessions may die as soon as he who hath not where to lay down his head, and may be taken away at a time when he is enjoying the fullest satisfactions that he can promise himself, or the creature can afford him. Therefore he acts not like a wise and rational man, that takes care to lay up for himself treasure on earth, and in the mean time neglects the riches of grace. The sense of the parable is to be learned from the epi parabolh, which we have Lu 12:21, So is he that layeth up treasure for himself; so foolish and unwise is he, etc. (MP)
11. When he will return from the wedding; either his own wedding, in which he is the bridegroom, or the wedding of a friend. Weddings were attended in the night; and servants were accustomed to sit up and wait for their master's coming, that on his arrival they might immediately open the doors. So our Lord told his disciples to watch, and pointed out the blessedness of those who should do so. Mt 25:1-13. (FBN)
12. Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall set over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? The answer of Jesus shows that he especially addressed the disciples, for a steward is distinct from the household. On him the whole burden and care of the domestic establishment rested. Thus Jesus showed that he meant the disciples, yet did not exclude any who heard from profiting by his discourse. Fidelity is the first requisite in a steward, and wisdom is the second. All Christians are stewards; preachers, elders, Sunday-school teachers, etc., are stewards of place and office. Rich men, fathers, etc., are stewards of influence and possessions. (HG)
13. Shall be beaten with many stripes.] Criminals among the Jews could not be beaten with more than forty stripes; and as this was the sum of the severity to which a whipping could extend, it may be all that our Lord here means. But, in some cases, a man was adjudged to receive fourscore stripes! How could this be, when the law had decreed only forty? Answer: By doubling the crime. He received forty for each crime; if he were guilty of two offences, he might receive fourscore. (ACC)
14. Upon the earth; and what do I desire, if it is already kindled? The object of Christ's coming was to rouse men to spiritual conflict, to kindle a fire in the public mind which would purify the better part and destroy the worse. But the burning of this fire would excite men and stir up their passions and cause division and discord. The opposition of the Pharisees showed that this fire was already kindled. What therefore was left for Jesus to desire? His work as a teacher was practically accomplished. But there remained for him yet his duty as priest to offer himself as a sacrifice for the world's sin. To this work, therefore, he glances briefly forward. (HG)
15. But I have a baptism to be baptized with. A flood of suffering; that is, the agony of the cross. (HG)
Once again Jesus will call his baptism the baptism of blood and will challenge James and John to it (Mr 10:32; Mt 20:22). So here. "Having used the metaphor of fire, Christ now uses the metaphor of water. The one sets forth the result of his coming as it affects the world, the other as it affects himself. The world is lit up with flames and Christ is bathed in blood" (RWP)
16. Think ye that I am come to give peace in the earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division. Jesus here shows the hard plight of the disciple. If he were the young son he would find his father against him, and if he were the aged father he would be persecuted by the boy whom he had raised. Jesus came to conquer a peace by overcoming evil with good; a conflict in which the good must always suffer. His warfare was not, as the people supposed, a struggle against the heathen, but against the evil within them and around them. So long as evil abounded, these unhappy divisions would last. (HG)
17. Christ would have the people to be as wise in the concerns of their souls as they are in outward affairs. Let them hasten to obtain peace with God before it is too late. If any man has found that God has set himself against him concerning his sins, let him apply to him as God in Christ reconciling the world to himself. While we are alive, we are in the way, and now is our time. (MH)
The sense of our Saviour is, that God by his prophets had given them more certain signs and revelations of the coming of the Messiah, and of the nature of his kingdom, and the effects and consequences of it, than were written in nature of any natural effects; and upbraids their stupid ignorance and unbelief, that they could give credit to and discern the latter and not the former, whereas the former were much more certain. (MP)
Lesson 36, Jesus Requires Repentance, another Parable; Luke 13:1-9
1. What had Pilate done to the Galilaens that was so horrible to them?
2. What question did Jesus pose about this happened to them?
3. On what current idea does it seem that Jesus asked his question?
4. What answer did he give?
5. What does repentance mean?
6. What happened to those who lived in Jerusalem?
7. What is the point made by the parable in verses 6-9?
8. What happened while he was preaching in the synagogue?
9. How did the ruler of the Synagogue react? Why would he react that way?
10. How did Jesus respond to him?
11. Give his answer and explain it.
12. How did Jesus' words affect his opponents?
1. Whose blood Pilate had mingled, &c. That is, while they were sacrificing at Jerusalem, Pilate came suddenly upon them and slew them, and their blood was mingled with the blood of the animals that they were slaying for sacrifice. It does not mean that Pilate offered their blood in sacrifice, but only that as they were sacrificing he slew them. The fact is not mentioned by Josephus, and nothing more is known of it than what is here recorded. We learn, however, from Josephus that the Galileans were very wicked, and that they were much disposed to broils and seditions. It appears, also, that Pilate and Herod had a quarrel with each other. (AB)
2. Think ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they have suffered these things? The Jews ascribed extraordinary misfortunes to extraordinary criminality. Sacrifice was intended to cleanse guilt. How hopeless, therefore, must their guilt be who were punished at the very times when they should have been cleansed! But the Jews erred in this interpreting the event. Quantity of individual sin can not safely be inferred from the measure of individual misfortune. It was true that the Galileans suffered because of sin, for all suffering is the result of sin. But it was not true that the suffering was punishment for unusual sinfulness. Our suffering is often due to the general sin of humanity--the sin of the whole associate body of which we are a part. History, of course, says nothing of Pilate's act here mentioned. Pilate's rule was marked by cruelty toward Jews, and contempt for their religious views and rites. (HG)
3. Suppose ye, &c. From this answer it would appear that they supposed that the fact that these men had been slain in this manner proved that they were very great sinners. (AB)
4. I tell you, Nay. Jesus assured them that it was not right to draw such a conclusion respecting these men. The fact that men come to a sudden and violent death is not proof that they are peculiarly wicked.
Except ye repent. Except you forsake your sins and turn to God. Jesus took occasion, contrary to their expectation, to make a practical use of that fact, and to warn them of their own danger. He never suffered a suitable occasion to pass without warning the wicked, and entreating them to forsake their evil ways. The subject of religion was always present to his mind. He introduced it easily, freely, fully. In this he showed his love for the souls of men, and in this he set us an example that we should walk in his steps.
Ye shall all likewise perish. You shall all be destroyed in a similar manner. Here he had reference, no doubt, to the calamities that were coming upon them, when thousands of the people perished. Perhaps there was never any reproof more delicate and yet more severe than this. They came to him believing that these men who had perished were peculiarly wicked. He did not tell them that they were as bad as the Galileans, but left them to infer it, for if they did not repent, they must soon likewise be destroyed. This was remarkably fulfilled. Many of the Jews were slain in the temple; many while offering sacrifice; thousands perished in a way very similar to the Galileans. Comp. See Barnes for Mt 24:1 and following. (AB)
5. metanoeo, lit., "to perceive afterwards" (meta, "after," implying "change," noeo, "to perceive"; noun, "the mind, the seat of moral reflection"), in contrast to pronoeo, "to perceive beforehand," hence signifies "to change one's mind or purpose," always, in the NT, involving a change for the better, an amendment, and always, except in Luke 17:3,4, of "repentance" from sin. The word is found in the Synoptic Gospels (in Luke, nine times), in Acts five times, in the Apocalypse twelve times, eight in the messages to the churches, 2:5 (twice), 16,21 (twice), RV, "she willeth not to repent" (2nd part); 3:3,19 (the only churches in those chapters which contain no exhortation in this respect are those at Smyrna and Philadelphia); elsewhere only in 2 Col 12:21. (WEV)
6. Another instance our Saviour gives of persons that fell by a sudden death, even eighteen that were slain by the fall of a tower in Jerusalem. He takes occasion from thence to caution the Jews, that they did not rigidly censure the sufferers, or conclude that those have wrought the most sin, who are brought to most shame. Oh, how ready are we to judge of men's eternal condition, by their present visitation; and to conclude them the greatest offenders, upon whom God inflicts the most visible punishments! Our Saviour forbids this, and advises every one to look at home, telling the whole body of the Jews, that if they did not repent, they should all (a) likewise perish, and that two ways:
(b )By as certain a.: punishment as these did.
Ye shall likewise perish, by the same kind of punishment; you shall perish by the ruin of your whole city, as they did by the downfall of that tower, if a timely and sincere repentance does not intervene.
7. 6-9 This parable of the barren fig-tree is intended to enforce the warning given just before: the barren tree, except it brings forth fruit, will be cut down. This parable in the first place refers to the nation and people of the Jews. Yet it is, without doubt, for awakening all that enjoy the means of grace, and the privileges of the visible church. When God has borne long, we may hope that he will bear with us yet a little longer, but we cannot expect that he will bear always. (MH)
8. Behold, a woman who had a spirit of infirmity. This case of healing in the synagogue on the Sabbath is only given by Luke. We do not know when or where it occurred. In Matt 12:10-13 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.
9. The ruler of the synagogue, being moved with indignation. This miracle was the occasion of a great lesson in love and mercy to the sabbatic formalists who made even the day of rest an engine of cruelty and oppression. The ruler of the synagogue was willing to see human beings suffer grievously on that day, because it was work to relieve them then, while it was in accordance with sabbatic rest to loose an ox from his stall to lead him away to watering! Our Lord here reaffirmed the truth he vindicated when his disciples plucked the ears of grain. (TC)
10. Thou hypocrite. You condemn me for an action, and yet you perform one exactly similar. You condemn me for doing to a woman what you do to a beast. To her I have done good on the Sabbath; you provide for your cattle, and yet blame me for working a miracle to relieve a sufferer on that day. (AB) Hypocrite; he condemned Jesus for relieving on the Sabbath an infirm woman, who had suffered for eighteen years, when he would himself perform more labor for the relief of an animal from thirst for a single day. (FBN)
11. It is one thing to be ashamed, another thing to be convinced, so as to confess an error; they were ashamed that they were so put to silence before the people, but we read of no confession of their error and mistake, and begging Christ's pardon. The people rejoiced and gave thanks to God for all the glorious things that were done by our Saviour. (MP)
12. And all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him. The people rejoiced not only in the miracle, but in that wisdom which silenced the narrow-minded rulers. The triumph which they rejoiced in was but a slight foretaste of the victories to come, and to point out the nature of those victories the Lord spoke the two parables which follow. (HG)
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