A STUDY OF THE HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS
Lesson 52, The Charge of Blasphemy Against Jesus
Lesson 53, Jesus Denounces Pharisees and Lawyers while eating with them, Luke 11:37-54
Lesson 54, Jesus Teaches on Hypocrisy, Coveteousness, Worry and Watchfulness, Luke 12
Lesson 55, Repent or Perish; The Barren Fig Tree, Luke 13:1-9
Lesson 56, Healing a Crippled Woman on the Sabbath, Luke 13:10-21
Lesson 57, Jesus at the Feast of Dedication, John 10:23-35
Lesson 58, On His Way to Jerusalem from Perea, Luke 13:22-35
Lesson 59, Another Healing on the Sabbath, Luke 14:1-24
Lesson 52, The Charge of Blasphemy Against Jesus, Luke 11:14-36
1. What does “dumb” mean? Read also Matt. 12:33.
2. Who is Beelzebub?
3. What practical point does Jesus make in reference to a house divided against itself?
4. How did Jesus exorcise demons? By what power?
5. Who does Jesus mean by the “strong” man and the “stronger man”?
6. Read Matt. 12:30 - “He that is not _________ me is ______________ me; and he that gathereth not with me ______________________.” Please explain what this means.
7. What is signified by the evil spirit “passing through waterless places, seeking rest and finding none”?
8. How is the “last state of the man worse than the first”?
9. When a certain woman called out blessings on his mother, what was our Lord’s reply? What does this say about his mother?
10. Why did Jesus say that generation was evil?
11. What sign did Jesus say would be given? How did he apply it to himself?
12. How would the queen of Sheba condemn that generation?
13. What about the men of Nineveh? What did they do that would condemn the generation at the time of Christ?
14. Tell the illustration Jesus gave about light and explain what it means.
15. What does the eye mean to the body and how is this applied to man?
Help with Lesson 52.
1. The Greek term is kwfov meaning “blunted (figuratively) or of hearing (deaf) or of speech (dumb) – deaf, dumb, speechless.” Read also Matt. 9:32 and Luke 1:22.
2. In the time of Christ this was the current name for the chief or prince of demons, and was identified with SATAN (which see) and the DEVIL (which see). The Jews committed the unpardonable sin of ascribing Christ’s work of casting out demons to Beelzebul, thus ascribing to the worst source the supreme manifestation of goodness. ISBE
3. Our Lord’s argument was thus:-”The welfare of any kingdom, city, or family, depends on its concord and unanimity; Satan, like every other potentate, must wish to rule his empire in peace and security; how then can he be in league with me, who oppose his authority, and am destroying his kingdom?” ACC
4. Read Luke 11:20 But if I by the finger of God cast out demons, then is the kingdom of God come upon you. Jesus exorcised this power in unison with the Spirit of God. Jesus here draws a conclusion from the two arguments presented. Since he does not cast out by Satan, he must cast out by the power of God, and therefore his actions demonstrated the potential arrival of the kingdom of God. The occasional accidental deliverance of exorcists might be evidence of the flow and ebb of a spiritual battle, but the steady, daily conquests of Christ over the powers of evil presented to the people the triumphant progress of an invading kingdom. It is an argument against the idea that there was a collusion between Christ and Satan. FG
5. Strong man--meaning Satan, armed--pointing to all the subtle and varied methods by which he wields his dark power over men.(He) keepeth--”guardeth.” his palace--man whether viewed more largely or in individual souls--how significant of what men are to Satan! in peace--undisturbed, secure in his possession.
A stronger than he, Christ (his glorious title) in relation to Satan! come upon him and overcome him--sublimely expressing the Redeemer’s approach, as the Seed of the woman, to bruise the Serpent’s head. (Gen. 3:15). taketh from him all his armour--”his panoply,” “his complete armor.” Vain would be the victory, were not the means of regaining his lost power wrested from him. It is this that completes the triumph and ensures the final overthrow of his kingdom.
6. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. Jesus here addresses the bystanders. In the spiritual conflict between Jesus and Satan, neutrality is impossible. There are only two kingdoms, and every soul is either in one or the other, for there is no third. Hence one who fought Satan in the name of Christ was for Christ (Luke 9:50 But Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against you is for you. FG
7. When the unclean spirit, etc. The general sentiment which our Saviour here teaches is much more easily understood than the illustration which he uses. The Jews had asked a sign from heaven that should decisively prove that he was the Messiah, and satisfy their unbelief. He replies, that though he should give them such a sign--a proof conclusive and satisfactory; and though for a time they should profess to believe, and apparently reform--yet such was the obstinacy of their unbelief and wickedness, that they would soon return to them, and become worse and worse. Infidelity and wickedness, like an evil spirit in a possessed man, were appropriately at home in them. If driven out, they would find no other place so comfortable and undisturbed as their bosoms, Everywhere they would be comparatively like an evil spirit going through deserts and lonely places, and finding no place of test. They would return, therefore, and dwell with them.
He walketh through dry places. That is, through deserts--regions of country unwatered, sandy, barren, desolate, That out Saviour here speaks according to the ancient opinions of the Jews, that evil spirits had their abodes in those desolate uninhabited regions, there can be no doubt. Nor can there be any doubt that the Bible gives countenance to the opinion. Thus - Rev. 18:2 And he cried with a mighty voice, saying, Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, and is become a habitation of demons, and a hold of every unclean spirit, and a hold of every unclean and hateful bird.
“Babylon--is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit;” that is, has become desolate --a place where evil spirits appropriately dwell. So Isa. 13:21; Jer. 50:39
“When the unclean”
Luke 11:24 The unclean spirit when he is gone out of the man, passeth through waterless places, seeking rest, and finding none, he saith, I will turn back unto my house whence I came out.
Note that the Evil One “walketh” Job 1:7; 1Pet. 5:8 Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” AB
8. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there. Seven, that is, many. The meaning is, he makes that man much worse than before. So (saith he) it shall be to these Jews. God gave them his laws, and so delivered them from such a dominion as the devil doth exercise over pagans. In force of this law, the scribes and Pharisees amended many things, so as they were like a house swept and garnished. God sent his Son to dwell amongst them, but him they rejected; so the house was empty, though swept and garnished. The devil will come again, and they will be ten times worse. MP
9. A certain woman out of the multitude lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the breasts which thou didst suck. This woman is the first on record to fulfill Mary’s prediction (Luke 1:48 For he hath looked upon the low estate of his handmaid: For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.). It is the only passage in the New Testament which even suggests the idolatry of Mariolatry, but it was far enough from it, being merely a womanly way of expressing admiration for the son by pronouncing blessings upon the mother who was so fortunate as to bear him.
Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. Jesus does not deny the fact that Mary was blessed, but corrects any false idea with regard to her by pointing to the higher honor of being a disciple which was attainable by every one. Mary’s blessing as a disciple was greater than her blessing as a mother; her moral and spiritual relation to Jesus was more precious than her maternal. Mary’s blessings came through believing God’s word (Luke 1:45 And blessed is she that believed; for there shall be a fulfilment of the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord). To know Christ after the Spirit is more blessed than to know him after the flesh (2 Cor. 5:15 and he died for all, that they that live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto him who for their sakes died and rose again. FG
10. An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign. While the Jews of that generation could well be accused literally of adultery, Jesus here evidently uses it in its symbolic sense as used by the prophets. They represented Israel as being married to God and as being untrue to him. (Exo. 34;15; Jer. 3:14).
11. What was the sign Jesus said would be given? “The sign of the prophet Jonas,” means the sign or evidence which was given to the people of Nineveh that he was from God--to wit, that he had been miraculously preserved, and was therefore divinely commissioned. The word Jonas is the Greek way of writing the Hebrew word Jonah, as Elias is for Elijah.
There shall no sign be given it but the sign of Jonah the prophet. They did not accept miracles of healing as a sign, and only one other kind of sign was given; namely, that of Jonah. Jonah was shown to be a true prophet of God, and Nineveh received him as such because he was rescued from the fish’s belly, and Jesus was declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead. FG
12. The queen of Sheba is supposed to have been queen of Sabaea, or Arabia Felix, which lies in the southern part of the peninsula between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. But Josephus says she was from Ethiopia in Africa. Her testimony will also be based on the compared privileges, which stand thus: notwithstanding the dangers and inconveniences, she came a great distance to be taught of Solomon, but the Jews rejected the teaching of the Son of God, though he brought it to them. The teaching of Solomon related largely to this world, but Christ taught as to the world to come. FG
13. They repented at the preaching of Jonah-But it was only for a season. Afterward they relapsed into wickedness, till (after about forty years) they were destroyed. It is remarkable, that in this also the comparison held. God reprieved the Jews for about forty years; but they still advanced in wickedness, till having filled up their measure, they were destroyed with an utter destruction. JWN
14. No man, when he hath lighted a lamp, putteth it in a cellar, etc. This passage given in a slightly varying form is found in the Sermon on the Mount. See TFG for Matt. 5:15. It is here addressed to the Pharisees and reproves them for not using the light (his miracles) which was given to them. If they had had an eye single to goodness, Christ’s light would have enlightened their souls. But their eye was double; they desired wonders and spectacular signs. FG
15. The sense is this, What the eye is to the body, that the soul, the mind and affections, are to the whole man. Now look, as the eye is the organ by which light is received to guide a man’s steps, so that if that be perfect, without any mixture of ill humours, &c., the body from it takes a full and right direction how to move and act; but if that be vitiated by ill humours, the man knows not how to direct his bodily steps: so if a man’s soul, (which answereth the bodily eye), more especially a man’s understanding or judgment, be darkened, perverted, prejudiced, or his affections be debauched or depraved, he will not know how to move one step right in his duty; but if his understanding have a right notion of truths, and he judgeth aright concerning the things and ways of God, and his affections be not depraved, then the whole man will be in a capacity to receive the light and revelations of truth, as they shall be communicated to him, even as he who hath a perfect eye receiveth and is able to make use of the bright shining of a candle. MP
Lesson 53, Jesus Denounces Pharisees and Lawyers while eating with them, Luke 11:37-54
1. What caused a Pharisee to marvel at Jesus?
2. How did Jesus respond? Explain the answer.
3. How were the Pharisees foolish?
4. What does “woe” mean?
5. List seven of the woes Jesus pronounced on them.
6. What were the deeds done by their fathers that witnessed against them?
7. What is meant in verse 49 by “the wisdom of God”? What did that wisdom say and how does wisdom speak?
8. What did Jesus say they would do to those sent to them? Why do you think they would do this?
9. Who was Zacharias of verse 51
10. What woe was spoken against lawyers? What were they accused of having done?
11. What did the Scribes and Pharisees do when Jesus finished talking to them?
12. Why do you believe they did this?
Help With Lesson 53
1. Now as he spake, a Pharisee asketh him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat. The repast to which Jesus was invited was a morning meal, usually eaten between ten and eleven o’clock. The principal meal of the day was eaten in the evening. Jesus dined with all classes, with publicans and Pharisees, with friends and enemies.
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. FG
2. The Lord said to him. Our Lord’s speech is unsparingly denunciatory. To some it seems strange that Jesus spoke thus in a house where he was an invited guest. But our Lord never suspended the solemn work of reproof out of mere compliment. He was governed by higher laws than those of conventional politeness. FG
And the Lord said; this discourse at the Pharisee’s table has much in common with that recorded in Matt. 23:1-39; but it was delivered on a different occasion. Make clean; cleanse by washing. FBN
3. Verse 40. Did not he that made that which is without] Did not the maker of the dish form it so, both outwardly and inwardly, as to answer the purpose for which it was made? And can it answer this purpose without being clean in the inside as well as on the outside? God has made you such, both as to your bodies and souls, as he intended should show forth his praise; but can you think that the purpose of God can be accomplished by you while you only attend to external legal purifications, your hearts being full of rapine and wickedness? How unthinking are you to imagine that God can be pleased with this outward purification, when all within is unholy! ACC
4. Woe - Is sometimes used in our Bibles where a softer expression would be at least equally proper: “Woe to such a one!” is in our language a threat or imprecation of some calamity, natural or judicial, to befall a person; but this is not always the meaning of the word in Scripture. We find the expression, “Woe is me!” that is, Alas for my sufferings! And, “Woe to the women with child, and those who give suck!” that is, Alas for their redoubled sufferings in times of distress! If in the denunciatory language of Christ, we should read, “Alas for thee, Chorazin! Alas for thee, Bethsaida!” we should do not injustice to the general sentiments of the passage.
Yet in many cases the word woe is used in a fuller and more awful sense, expressing an inspired denunciation and foreshadowing of God’s wrath upon sinners; as when we read, “Woe to those who build houses by unrighteousness, and cities by blood;” woe to those who are “rebellious against God,” etc., in numerous passages, especially of the Old Testament, Hab. 2:6,9,12,15,19; Zeph. 3:1. ATSD
5. Luke 10:13 “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, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.”
Luke 11:42 “But woe unto you Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and every herb, and pass over justice and the love of God: but these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
Luke 11:43 “Woe unto you Pharisees! for ye love the chief seats in the synagogues, and the salutations in the marketplaces.”
Luke 11:44 “Woe unto you! for ye are as the tombs which appear not, and the men that walk over them know it not.”
Luke 11:46 “And he said, Woe unto you lawyers also! for ye load men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.”
Luke 11:47 “Woe unto you! for ye build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.”
Luke 11:52 “Woe unto you lawyers! for ye took away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.”
6. So ye are witnesses and consent unto the works of your fathers: for they killed them, and ye build their tombs. 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. - FG
7. 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 Matt. 11:25,26. FG
(Read also 1 Cor. 1:30).
8. Matt. 23:34 “Therefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: some of them shall ye kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city.”
9. Required of this generation--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. In the first French Revolution the same awful principle was exemplified, and Christendom has not done with it yet. JFB
10. A person mentioned in Matt. 23:35; Luke 11:51, and most probably designating the son of the high-priest Jehoida, or Barachias, who was stoned to death by order of king Joash for publicly rebuking the king, his court and the people for their growing corruption, 2Ch 24:20-22. Some suppose the prophet Zechariah to be intended; but history gives no account of his death. Others refer it to a Zacharias the son of Baruch, who was put to death just before the destruction of Jerusalem; but it seems unnatural and unnecessary to suppose that Christ here spoke prophetically. ATSD
11. For ye load men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. 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 (Matt. 23:2,3). FG
12. Began to urge him vehemently] deinwv enecein, They began to be furious. They found themselves completely unmasked in the presence of a vast concourse of people. See Lu 12:1, (for we can not suppose that all this conversation passed while Christ was at meat in the Pharisee’s house, as Matthew, Matt. 23:25, shows that these words were spoken on another occasion.) They therefore questioned him on a variety of points, and hoped, by the multitude and impertinence of their questions, to puzzle or irritate him, so as to induce him to speak rashly, (for this is the import of the word apostomatizein,) that they might find some subject of accusation against him. – ACC
Lesson 54, Jesus Teaches on Hypocrisy, Coveteousness, Worry and Watchfulness, Luke 12
1. What did Jesus warn his disciples about?
2. But there is nothing ___________ up, that will not be __________, nor _________, that will not be _____________.What does thie mean?
3. What is the context in which Jesus promises those who “confess [him] before men” will be confessed before “the angels of God?”
4. What could they depend on the Holy Spirit to do when they were in trouble?
5. What parable did Jesus give to teach us to beware of covetousness? What is the primary lesson in the parable?
6. To those who are mainly concerned about food, clothing and shelter, what does Jesus say for them to seek? What does he say will happen?
7. What beatitude does he pronounce on those who are alert and waiting for his coming?
8. Therefore be _________________ also, for the Son of Man is coming in an ________ that you don’t _____________ him. How should this affect us?
9. What blessing is promised to those who are ready for the return of the Lord? (verse 43).
10. What do you understand to be the meaning of “beaten with many stripes” and “beaten with few stripes?”
11. What baptism did Jesus say he had to be baptized with?
12. For what were his disciples told to give diligence? (verse 58).
Help With Lesson 54
1. 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. FG
2. “Tis no use concealing anything, for all will one day come out. Give free and fearless utterance then to all the truth.”
1 Cor. 4:5 “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each man will get his praise from God.”
3. confess ... deny--The point lies in doing it “before men,” because one has to do it “despising the shame.” But when done, the Lord holds Himself bound to repay it in kind by confessing such “before the angels of God.”
Read Luke 9:26 - The sense of shame is one of the strongest in our nature, one of the social affections founded on our love of reputation, which causes instinctive aversion to what is fitted to lower it, and was given us as a preservative from all that is properly shameful. When one is, in this sense of it, lost to shame, he is nearly past hope (Zech. 3:5; Jer. 6:15; 3:3). But when Christ and “His words”--Christianity, especially in its more spiritual and uncompromising features--are unpopular, the same instinctive desire to stand well with others begets the temptation to be ashamed of Him, which only the ‘expulsive power’ of a higher affection can effectually counteract. JFB
4. But when they deliver you up, be not anxious how or what ye shall speak.-The apostles would be delivered through treachery and betrayal by their own countrymen to the heathen powers ; this would be done suddenly and through treachery; hence they would not have time to prepare their defense, and they need not make any preparation for defense, as it should be given to them “in that hour what ye shall speak.” They would use all their natural powers, but were not to depend upon them only as aided and overruled by the Holy Spirit. They were to place themselves in the care of God and depend on divine aid as they were faithfully serving God. Jesus wanted his apostles to know in the outset the worst that would befall them. The Holy Spirit would guide them and aid them to win a way into the hearts of their hearers or defend them against temptations and persecutions which they could not bear. The Holy Spirit would give to them such language as would please God in their defense; they were to rely wholly upon God for his protection; they were to trust him for all things necessary to fill their mission. HLB
5. Take heed, and keep yourselves from all covetousness. Jesus made the incident the text for an admonition. Covetousness made one brother say, “Divide,” and the other one say, “No, I will not”; so Jesus warned against covetousness. FG
6. Ver. 31. Matthew saith, seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added, &c. The particle plhn prefixed here to zhteite, (which we translate rather seek), doth expound Matthew’s prwton, seek first, and likewise expounds our Saviour’s meaning, when he said. Take no thought, what ye should eat, &c.; that is, let not those be your only or principal thoughts, quin etiam, tantum maxime, but also, and mostly, or chiefly, seek ye the kingdom of God, that kingdom mentioned in the next verse, and all these things shall be added to you; either an affluence of them; or a sufficiency of them, with a contented, satisfied mind. MP
7. He shall gird himself, and make them sit down to meat, and shall come and serve them. The apostles had a foretaste of this honor on the evening of the last Passover (John 13:4,5). FG
Shall gird himself. Shall take the place of the servant himself. Servants who waited on the table were girded in the manner described above.
Shall make them sit, &c. Shall place them at his table and feast them. This evidently means that if we are faithful to Christ, and are ready to meet him when he returns, he will receive us into heaven -- will admit us to all its blessings, and make us happy there--as if he should serve us and minister to our wants. It will be as if a master, instead of sitting down at the table himself, should place his faithful servants there, and be himself the servant. This shows the exceeding kindness and condescension of our Lord. For us, poor and guilty sinners, he denied himself, took the form of a servant (Phil. 2:7), and ministered to our wants. In our nature he has wrought out salvation, and he has done it in one of the humblest conditions of the children of men. How should our bosoms burn with gratitude to him, and how should we be willing to serve one another. AB
8. We are therefore kept at uncertainty concerning the precise time of his coming, that we may be always ready; for it is no thanks to a man, to be ready for an attack, if he know beforehand just the time when it will be made; The good man of the house, if he had known what hour the thief would have come, though he were ever so careless a man, would yet have watched, and have frightened away the thieves, v. 39. But we do not know at what hour the alarm will be given us, and therefore are concerned to watch at all times, and never be off our guard. Or this may intimate the miserable case of those who are careless and unbelieving in this great matter.” MH
9. Happy is that servant-God himself pronounces him wise, faithful, happy! Yet we see, he might fall from all, and perish for ever. JWN
10. Verse 47. Which knew his lord’s will. Who knew what his master wished him to do. He that knows what God commands and requires.
Many stripes. Shall be severely and justly punished. They who have many privileges, who are often warned, who have the gospel, and do not repent and believe, shall be far more severely punished than others. They who are early taught in Sunday-schools, or by pious parents, or in other ways, and who grow up in sin and impenitence, will have much more to answer for than those who have no such privileges.
Few stripes. The Jews never inflicted more than forty stripes for one offence, Deut. 25:3. For smaller offences they inflicted only four, five, six, &c., according to the nature of the crime. In allusion to this, our Lord says that he that knew not -- that is, he who had comparatively little knowledge--would suffer a punishment proportionally light. He refers, doubtless, to those who have fewer opportunities, smaller gifts, or fewer teachers. AB
11. But I have a baptism to be baptized with. A flood of suffering; that is, the agony of the cross. FG
12. For as thou art going with thine adversary before the magistrate, etc. For notes on this passage see TFG for Matt. 5:25, see TFG for Matt. 5:26. The passage here is an appeal to the people to avert the coming disasters. The Jewish rulers looked upon Jesus as their adversary. Accepting their valuation of him, Jesus counseled them to come to terms with him before it is too late. FG
Lesson 55, Repent or Perish; The Barren Fig Tree, Luke 13:1-9
1. What recent news was brought to Jesus about some Galileans?
2. How did he respond to this news?
3. What was said about a tragedy at the tower of Siloam and what comparison was made? How did Jesus respond?
4. Define the word repent and show how it is manifested.
5. Relate, in a few words, the parable Jesus gave beginning in verse 6.
6. What did the owner of the vineyard look for?
7. Who does the owner represent?
8. Who does the vinedresser represent?
9. When he found no fruit, what did he order to be done with it
10. Who does the fig tree represent?
11. Read and compare John 15:2 with this.
Help with Lesson 55
1. Who told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. While Jesus spoke, certain ones came to him bearing the news of a barbaric act of sacrilegious cruelty committed by Pilate. It may have been told to Jesus by enemies who hoped to ensnare him by drawing from him a criticism of Pilate. But it seems more likely that it was told to him as a sample of the corruption and iniquity of the times.
2. Because they have suffered these things. Jesus condemned the belief held by the Jews that great suffering or calamity is to be considered a proof of great sin. They were in danger of a more serious penalty, the spiritual death, unless they repented. TC
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.
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. AB
3. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and killed them, think ye that they were offenders above all the men that dwell in Jerusalem? Of this instance, also, there is no other historic mention. It, too was a small incident among the accidents of the day. The pool of Siloam lies near the southeast corner of Jerusalem, at the entrance of the Tyropean village which runs up between Matt.. Zion and Moriah. The modern village of Siloam probably did not exist at that time. What tower this was is not known. As the city wall ran through the district of that fountain, it may possibly have been one of the turrets of that wall. This instance presents a striking contrast to the slaughter of which they had told him, for it was, 1. Inflicted upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and 2. It came upon them as n act of God. FG
4. A change of mind, accompanied with regret and sorrow for something done, and an earnest wish that it was undone. ATSD
The word metanoeo, expresses the true New Testament idea of the spiritual change implied in a sinner’s return to God. The term signifies “to have another mind,” to change the opinion or purpose with regard to sin. It is equivalent to the Old Testament word “turn.” Thus, it is employed by John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles (Matt. 3:2; Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38). The idea expressed by the word is intimately associated with different aspects of spiritual transformation and of Christian life, with the process in which the agency of man is prominent, as faith (Ac 20:21), and as conversion (Acts 3:19); also with those experiences and blessings of which God alone is the author, as remission and forgiveness of sin (Luke 24:47; Acts 5:31). It is sometimes conjoined with baptism, which as an overt public act proclaims a changed relation to sin and God (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; Acts 13:24; 19:4). As a vital experience, repentance is to manifest its reality by producing good fruits appropriate to the new spiritual life (Matt. 3:8). ISBE
5. A person, tiv, God Almighty. 2. Had a fig tree, the Jewish Church. 3. Planted in his vineyard-established in the land of Judea. 4. He came seeking fruit-he required that the Jewish people should walk in righteousness, in proportion to the spiritual culture he bestowed on them. 5. The vine-dresser-the Lord Jesus, for God hath committed all judgment to the Son, John 5:22. 6. Cut it down-let the Roman sword be unsheathed against it. 7. Let it alone-Christ is represented as intercessor for sinners, for whose sake the day of their probation is often lengthened; during which time he is constantly employed in doing every thing that has a tendency to promote their salvation. 8. Thou shalt cut it down-a time will come, that those who have not turned at God’s invitations and reproofs shall be cut off, and numbered with the transgressors. ACC
6. Verse 6 – “And he spake this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit thereon, and found none.”
-- and found none. Thus God chose the nation of the Jews to be his peculiar people, expecting that they should serve and obey Him with fidelity; but they revolted from Him, and degenerated into a wicked and impenitent people: thus likewise individuals, when God expects from them the fruits of virtue and righteousness, bring forth, on the contrary, sin and folly. BFB
7. 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. MHCC
8. Our blessed Saviour, that he might excite the Jews to the practice of the last mentioned duty of repentance, sets forth his long-suffering with them, and forbearance towards them, by the parable of the fig tree, which the Master of the vineyard had long expected fruit there from, but found none. WB
9. That God keeps an exact account or reckoning, what means and advantages every place and people have enjoyed; These three years have I come seeking fruit, alluding to the three years of his own ministry among them. God keeps a memorial how many years the gospel has been amongst a people, how many ministers they have had, and how long with them, what pathetical exhortations, what pressing admonitions, what cutting reproofs; all are upon the file, and must be accounted for.
That God expects suitable and proportionable fruit from a people, according to the time of their standing in his vineyard, and answering to the cost and culture which his ministers have expended upon them, and the pains they have taken with them.
That although God does and justly may expect fruit from such as are planted, in his vineyard, to with, the Christian church, yet he expects it with much patience and forbearnace, waiting from year to year, to see if time will work amendment. WB
10. fig tree--Israel, as the visible witness of God in the world, but generally all within the pale of the visible Church of God; a familiar figure (compare Isa. 5:1-7; John 15:1-8, etc.). Read also John 15:1-8
11. I am the true vine. The use of the word “true” shows that Jesus refers to a typical vine. The Jewish people had been such a vine (Isa. 5:1; Psa. 80:8-16; Jer. 2:21). Yet it was but “a figure of the true” (Heb. 9:24).
And my Father is the husbandman. God had now in Christ planted the true vine, and would dissever and cast off all that did not derive life from him, and would prune all that did. This vital connection with Christ is set forth by Paul under the figure of a body and its head (Eph 5:23; Col 2:19). The fact that Jesus had just given them the fruit of the vine to drink as the symbol of his blood made the transition to this figure easy and natural, for the branches derive their juices from the vine. FG
Lesson 56, Healing a Crippled Woman on the Sabbath, Luke 13:10-21
1. What was wrong with the woman Jesus healed? How long had she been afflicted and how did it hinder her?
2. What does the text say the woman immediately did?
3. On what day did this happen?
4. What did the ruler of the Synagogue do?
5. What regulations for Sabbath observance were in effect at that time?
6. What example did Jesus give to show the hypocrisy of the Jews?
7. The woman is called a daughter of what and bound by whom?
8. What effect did this have on his adversaries?
9. The multitude did what and for what reason?
10. To what did Jesus liken the kingdom of God?
11. Describe a mustard seed – See Mark 4:31
12. What was the second comparison Jesus made to the Kingdom of God?
Help With Lesson 56
1. And behold, a woman that had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years; and she was bowed together, and could in no wise lift herself up. The use of the word “spirit” in this verse indicates that the curvature of the spine which afflicted this woman was attributed to demoniacal agency. FG
Eighteen years. This affliction had continued a long time. This shows that the miracle was real; that the disease was not feigned. Though thus afflicted, yet it seems she was regular in attending the worship of God in the synagogue. There in the sanctuary, is the place where the afflicted find consolation; and there it was that the Saviour met her and restored her to health. It is in the sanctuary and on the Sabbath, also, that he commonly meets his people, and gives them the joys of his salvation. AB
Read Psalm 6:2 - “Have mercy upon me, O Jehovah; for I am withered away: O Jehovah, heal me; for my bones are troubled.”
2. It was on the Sabbath, the day Jews were to keep holy and abstain from work. Their interpretations of what work meant was based on rabbinical traditions. See Matt. 12:1-4.
3. Glorified God. Praised God. Gave thanks to him for healing her. They who are restored to health from sickness owe it to God; and they should devote their lives to his service, as expressive of their sense of gratitude to him who has spared them.AB
4. 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 (Mark 2:27). TC
5. “The seventh day is a Sabbath unto Jehovah thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates” (Exo. 20:10). - Upon the sabbath day. The Pharisees, doubtless desirous of finding fault with Christ, said that, in plucking the grain on the Sabbath day, they had violated the commandment. Moses had commanded the Hebrews to abstain from all servile work on the Sabbath, Exo. 20:10; 35:2,3; Num. 15:32-36. On any other day this would have been clearly lawful, for it was permitted, Deut. 23:25. AB
6. Ye hypocrites, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? The word “hypocrite” was among the strongest ever used by our Lord. He here applies it to the whole class to whom the ruler belonged and for whom he was the spokesman--the class who are mentioned as “adversaries” in Lu 13:17. Their hypocrisy appears in two ways: 1. They were disguising their hatred toward Christ under a pretended zeal for the Sabbath. 2. Their zeal for the Sabbath was at no time sincere, for they favored indulgence where their own interests were involved, but applied their Sabbath rules sharply where others were concerned. It was their tradition and not the Sabbath which Jesus had broken, and he here attempts no other justification of himself than to show that he is guiltless under a fair application of their own precedents. FG
7. A daughter of Abraham. A descendant of Abraham. See Barnes for Matt. 1:1. She was therefore a Jewess; and the ruler of the synagogue, professing a peculiar regard for the Jewish people, considering them as peculiarly favoured of God, should have rejoiced that she was loosed from this infirmity.
Whom Satan hath bound. Satan is the name given to the prince or leader of evil spirits, called also the devil, Beelzebub, and the old serpent., Matt. 12:24; Rev. 12:9; 20:2. By his binding her is meant that he had inflicted this disease upon her. It was not properly a possession of the devil, for that commonly produced derangement; but God had suffered him to afflict her in this manner, similar to the way in which he was permitted to try Job. See Barnes for Job 1:12. It is no more improbable that God would suffer Satan to inflict pain, than that he would suffer a wicked man to do it; yet nothing is more common than for one man to be the occasion of bringing on a disease in another which may terminate only with the life. He that seduces a virtuous man and leads him to intemperance, or he that wounds him or strikes him, may disable him as much as Satan did this woman. If God permits it in one case, he may, for the same reason, in another. AB
8. 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. MP
9. The people rejoiced and gave thanks to God for all the glorious things that were done by our Saviour. MP
The common people heard him gladly. Many of them believed in him. The condition of the poor, and of those in humble life, is by far the most favourable for religion, and most of the disciples of Jesus have been found there. AB
10. Luke 13:19 - “It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown upon the earth, though it be less than all the seeds that are upon the earth”
11. The minuteness of the seed is referred to in all these passages, while in the first three the large size of the herb growing from it is mentioned. In Matt. 13:32 it is described as “greater than the herbs, and becometh a tree” (compare Lu 13:19); in Mr 4:32 it “becometh greater than all the herbs, and putteth out great branches.” Several varieties of mustard (Arabic, khardal) have notably small seed, and under favorable conditions grow in a few months into very tall herbs--10 to 12 ft. The rapid growth of an annual herb to such a height must always be a striking fact. Sinapis nigra, the black mustard, which is cultivated, Sinapis alba, or white mustard, and Sinapis arvensis, or the charlock (all of Natural Order Cruciferae), would, any one of them, suit the requirements of the parable; birds readily alight upon their branches to eat the seed (Matt. 13:32, etc.), not, be it noted, to build their nests, which is nowhere implied.
Among the rabbis a “grain of mustard” was a common expression for anything very minute, which explains our Lord’s phrase, “faith as a grain of mustard seed” (Matt. 17:20; Lu 17:6).
The suggestion that the New Testament references may allude to a tall shrub Salvadora persica, which grows on the southern shores of the Dead Sea, rests solely upon the fact that this plant is sometimes called khardal by the Arabs, but it has no serious claim to be the sinapi of the Bible. ISBE
Lesson 57, Jesus at the Feast of Dedication, John 10:23-35
1. Where was Jesus and what waa he doing as this lesson begins? (verse 23).
2. The Jews asked Jesus why he would not tell them he was the Christ, and he answered them – what did he tell them?
3. What evidence did he give them?
4. What did Jesus tell them was the cause of their unbelief?
5. What did he mean by his sheep that would listen to his voice? Who are the sheep of Jesus?
6. What did he mean by saying he would give his sheep eternal life and no man could “snatch them out of the Father’s hand”?
7. When Jesus said he and the father were one, in what sense did he mean they were one?
8. What was the instant reaction of the Jews?
9. In verses 34 and 35, Jesus quotes a Psalm which says, “I said, Ye are gods, And all of you sons of the Most High,” how did that answer the Jews?
10. In verses 37 and 38, how did Jesus go about to prove who he is?
11. As the Jews attempted to take him, what happened?
12. How could this have happened?
Help With Lesson 57
1. And Jesus was walking in the temple in Solomon’s porch. This was a colonnade on the east side of the temple court, the name probably being derived from the wall against which it was built, which Josephus tells us was the work of Solomon (Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, 20.9.7). FG
Solomon’s porch.] By what we find in Josephus, Ant. b. xx. c. 8, s. 7, a portico built by Solomon, on the east side of the outer court of the temple, was left standing by Herod, when he rebuilt the temple. This portico was four hundred cubits long, and was left standing, probably, because of its grandeur and beauty. But when Agrippa came to Jerusalem, a few years before the destruction of the city by the Romans, and about eighty years after Herod had begun his building, (till which time what Herod had begun was not completed,) the Jews solicited Agrippa to repair this portico at his own expense, using for argument, not only that the building was growing ruinous, but that otherwise eighteen thousand workmen, who had all of them, until then, been employed in carrying on the works of the temple, would be all at once deprived of a livelihood. ACC
2. Verse 25. I told you. It is not recorded that Jesus had told them in so many words that he was the Christ, but he had used expressions designed to convey the same truth, and which many of them understood as claiming to be the Messiah. See John 5:19; 8:36; 10:1. The expression “the Son of God” they understood to be equivalent to the Messiah. This he had often used of himself in a sense not to be mistaken. AB
I have in effect told it you more than once; I have told you that I am sent of the Father, &c., I have said enough for you to conclude it; but you will not understand, you will not receive it, you will not believe what I say. What need you any further witness of it, than those works which I do by Divine power; by virtue of my oneness with my Father, and of that power and authority which he hath committed to me, that by them I might confirm the doctrine which I have taught you? MP
3. I told you, and ye believe not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, these bear witness of me. Jesus was the Christ of the Old Testament, but not the Christ of Pharisaic hopes. Had he assumed to himself in their presence the title of Christ, it would have led them to false expectations. By his declarations and works Jesus had repeatedly published and proved to all his claims to be the true Messiah. He had, at the feast of tabernacles, set himself forth as the Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14), and on other occasions as the Son of God, etc. (John 5:19; 8:36,56). Had they understood or received the Old Testament ideal of the Messiah, they could not have failed to understand his claims. FG
4. Verse 26. Are not of my sheep. Are not my people, my followers. You do not possess the spirit of meek and humble disciples. Were it not for pride, and prejudice, and vainglory--for your false notions of the Messiah, and from a determination not to believe, you would have learned from my declarations and works that I am the Christ. AB
5. Verse 27. My sheep. My church, my people, those who have the true spirit of my followers. The name is given to his people because it was an illustration which would be well understood in a country abounding in flocks. There is also a striking resemblance, which he proceeds to state, between them.
Hear my voice. See John 10:3,4. Applied to Christians, it means that they hear and obey his commandments.
They follow me. A flock follows its shepherd to pastures and streams, John 10:3. Christians not only obey Christ, but they imitate him; they go where his Spirit and providence lead them; they yield themselves to his guidance, and seek to be led by him. When Jesus was upon earth many of his disciples followed or attended him from place to place. Hence Christians are called his followers, and in Rev. 14:4 they are described as “they that follow the Lamb.” AB
6. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. This passage is taken by Calvinists as asserting the doctrine of the impossibility of apostasy. It is certainly a strong assurance that the Christian may expect to succeed in fighting the good fight. It may be taken in connection with Rom.8:38,39; but both passages must be interpreted in the light of (Heb. 6:4-8). We can not be taken from God against our will; but our will being free, we may choose to leave him. We can not be protected against ourselves in spite of ourselves. If that were so, no one could be lost. FG
7. Verse 30. I and my Father are one.] If Jesus Christ were not God, could he have said these words without being guilty of blasphemy? It is worthy of remark that Christ does not say, I and MY Father, which my our translation very improperly supplies, and which in this place would have conveyed a widely different meaning: for then it would imply that the human nature of Christ, of which alone, I conceive, God is ever said to be the Father in Scripture, was equal to the Most High: but he says, speaking then as God over all, I and THE Father, egw kai o pathr en esmen-the Creator of all things, the Judge of all men, the Father of the spirits of all flesh-are ONE, ONE in nature, ONE in all the attributes of Godhead, and ONE in all the operations of those attributes: and so it is evident the Jews understood him. See John 17:11,22. ACC
I and the Father are one. This assertion as to the unity of power residing in the hand brings forward the idea of the general unity which subsists between the Father and the Son. This unity Jesus asserts fully, without limitation or restriction; the unity of interest, design, and essence are all included. It is the advance from an assertion of special unity to an assertion of general unity. FG
8. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. They prepared to act on Lev. 24:14-16, and a precedent as to it found at 1Ki 21:10; though the right to stone for blasphemy was now abrogated by the Roman dominion. The repairs and enlargements then going on in the temple no doubt supplied an abundance of missiles. The word “again” refers back to John 8:59. FG
9. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. They prepared to act on Lev. 24:14-16, and a precedent as to it found at 1 Kings 21:10; though the right to stone for blasphemy was now abrogated by the Roman dominion. The repairs and enlargements then going on in the temple no doubt supplied an abundance of missiles. The word “again” refers back to John 8:59. FG
10. Verse 37. The works of my Father. The very works that my Father does. See John 5:17: “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” See Barnes for John 5:17. The works of his Father are those which God only can do. As Jesus did them, it shows that the name “Son of God,” implying equality with God, was properly applied to him. This shows conclusively that he meant to be understood as claiming to be equal with God. So the Jews naturally understood him John 10:39 and they were left with this impression on their minds.
Verse 38. Believe the works. Though you do not credit me, yet consider my works, for they prove that I came from God. No one could do them unless he was sent of God.
Father is in me, &c. Most intimately connected. See John 5:36. This expression denotes most intimate union--such as can exist in no other case. See Matt. 11:27. See Barnes for John 17:21. AB
11. Christ flees danger, not because of mistrust, nor for fear of death, nor that he would be lazy, but to gather a Church in another place. GBN
They sought again to take him: and he went forth out of their hand. The calm reasoning of Jesus cooled their violence, and so far changed their evil designs that they now sought to arrest him that they might bring him before the Sanhedrin. The word “again” refers back to John 7:30,32,44. FG
12. evidently in a miraculous way, though perhaps quite noiselessly, leading them to wonder afterwards what spell could have come over them, that they allowed Him to escape. (Similar escapes, however, in times of persecution, are not unexampled.) JFB
But he passing through the midst of them went his way. A simple statement of a marvelous fact. Miracles are not explained in the Bible. FG
Lesson 58, On His Way to Jerusalem from Perea, Luke 13:22-35
1. As Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, what question was put to him about salvation?
2. What was Jesus’ answer?
3. What meaning should be given to his illustration of the Master of the house shutting the door on those without?
4. After being told the Master of the house did not know those seeking to enter, what did they begin doing? Give a reason why.
5. What does the term “iniquity” mean?
6. Verse 28 speaks of those shut out seeing Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God. What is the kingdom of God in this sense?
7. Who does Jesus probably refer to as coming from all directions to sit down in the kingdom of God?
8. In verse 30 he spoke of those who are last being first and visa versa. To whom is this directed?
9. What warning did the Pharisees give Jesus?
10. What was his reply?
11. In what sense did Jesus mean that Herod was a “fox”?
12. What did Jesus say that showed his compassion for Jerusalem?
13. What future event did he have in mind when he prophesied their house would be left desolate?
Help with Lesson 58
1. And one said unto him, Lord, are they few that are saved? It is likely that this question was asked by a Jew, and that the two parables illustrating the smallness of the kingdom’s beginning suggested it to him. The Jews extended their exclusive spirit even to their ideals of a world to come, so that they believed none but the chosen race would behold its glories. The circumstances attending to the conversion of Cornelius, recorded in Acts, show how this exclusiveness survived even among Jewish Christians. The questioner wished Jesus to commit himself to this narrow Jewish spirit, or else to take a position which would subject him to the charge of being unpatriotic. FG
Are there few that be saved? It was the prevalent opinion among the Jews that few would enter heaven. As but two of all the hosts that came out of Egypt entered into the land of Canaan, so some of them maintained that a proportionally small number would enter into heaven (Lightfoot). On this subject the man wished the Opinion of Jesus. It was a question of idle curiosity. The answer to it would have done little good. It was far more important for the man to secure his own salvation, than to indulge in such idle inquiries and vain speculations. Our Lord therefore advised him, as he does all, to strive to enter into heaven. AB
2. To enter in by the narrow door: for many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able. Jesus answers that many shall be excluded from the kingdom, and that the questioner, and all others who hear, need to exercise themselves and give the matter their own personal attention lest they be among that many. The passage should be compared with that in Matt. 7:13. There one enters by a narrow gate upon a narrow road, indicating the strictness of the Christian life. Here one enters by a narrow door upon a season of festivity, indicating the joyous privileges of a Christian life. FG
Strive (agônizesthe). Jesus makes short shrift of the question. He includes others (present middle plural of agônizomai, common verb, our agonize). Originally it was to contend for a prize in the games. The kindred word agônia occurs of Christ’s struggle in Gethsemane (Lu 22:44). The narrow gate appears also in Matt. 7:13, only there it is an outside gate (pulês) while here it is the entrance to the house, “the narrow door” (thuras). RWP
3. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, open to us; and he shall answer and say to you, I know you not whence ye are. This verse gives the reason why one should strive to enter in. The “time” for entrance is limited, and he must get in before it expires; for when the limited time has passed, he can not enter, no matter how earnestly he may seek or strive. Our Lord pictures a householder who refuses to receive any guest that has shown contempt for his feast by coming late. The strict spirit of the Lord in giving his invitation is indicated by the phrase “narrow door,” but the phrase includes more than this, for those who would strive must not only be prompt to act, but must be painstaking so as to act intelligently, and of obedient spirit so as to act acceptably. FG
4. When once the master, &c. The figure here used is taken from the conduct of a housekeeper, who is willing to see his friends, and who at the proper time keeps his doors open. But there is a proper time for closing them, when he will not see his guests. At night it would be improper and vain to seek an entrance--the house would be shut. So there is a proper time to seek an entrance into heaven; but there will be a time when it will be too late. At death the time will have passed by, and God will be no longer gracious to the sinner’s soul. AB
5. anomia - “illegality, i.e. violation of law or (genitive case) wickedness: -- iniquity, transgression of the law, unrighteousness.” –SL
“The condition of one without law – either because of it, or because ignoring it.” –TL
6. The word kingdom basically means “rule,” or the “realm of rule.” On earth Jesus established his kingdom through the ministry of his chosen apostles. It is that into which sinners have been made suitable to be partakers of a grand inheritance “in light” (Col. 1:12). It is that into which sinners are “translated” out of darkness into light (Verse 13). It is the stage just preceding entrance into the eternal kingdom of the Lord. Peter urges Christians to “give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never stumble,” and adds, “for thus shall be richly supplied unto you the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:10-11). To see the worthies of the Old Testament enjoying bliss and happiness would be the final and eternal stage of God’s rule. MN
7. And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and the west. Jesus here predicts the conversion of the Gentiles, since that fact is suggested to him by the faith of this centurion. The east and the west represent the extreme points of the compass in the directions in which the world was most thickly inhabited. But Jesus refers rather to spiritual separation than to geographical distances (Mal. 1:11; Isa. 49:19; Jer. 16:19; Zech. 8:22). FG
8. But many that are first, &c.] The Jews, who have been the first and most distinguished people of God, will in general reject the Gospel of my grace, and be consequently rejected by me. The Gentiles, who have had no name among the living, shall be brought to the knowledge of the truth, and become the first, the chief, and most exalted people of God. That this prediction of our Lord has been literally fulfilled, the present state of the Christian and Jewish Churches sufficiently proves. To illustrate this fully, and to demonstrate that the Jews and Gentiles were now put on an equal footing by the Gospel. ACC
9. In that very hour there came certain Pharisees, saying to him, Get thee out, and go hence: for Herod would fain kill thee. This shows that Jesus was in the territory of Herod Antipas, and hence probably in Peraea. The Pharisees, no doubt, wished to scare Jesus that they might exult over his fright. We might suppose, too, that their words were untrue, were it not that Jesus sends a reply to Herod. Herod long desired to see Jesus (Lu 9:9; 23:8), but it was not likely that he desired to put him to death. He was, doubtless, glad enough to get Jesus out of his territory, lest he might foment an uprising, and to this end he employed this strategy of sending messengers to warn Jesus under the guise of friendship. FG
10. [Tell that fox] Herod was a very vicious prince, and lived in public incest with his sister-in-law, Mark 6:17: if our Lord meant him here, it is hard to say why the character of fox, which implies cunning, design, and artifice, to hide evil intentions, should be attributed to him, who never seemed studious to conceal his vices. But we may suppose that Christ, who knew his heart, saw that he covered his desire for the destruction of our Lord, under the pretence of zeal for the law and welfare of the Jewish people. A fox among the Jews appears to have been the emblem of a wicked ruler, who united cunning with cruelty, and was always plotting how he might aggrandize himself by spoiling the people. AB
Go and say to that fox. That is, say to that crafty, sly fellow. The fox is a type of craftiness and treachery. We have no other instance where Jesus used such a contemptuous expression; but Herod richly merited it. An Idumean by his father, a Samaritan by his mother, a Jew by profession, and a heathen by practice, he had need to be foxy by nature. And he was even now playing the fox by sending these messengers. FG
11. “. . . Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I am perfected.” To-day and to-morrow] I am to work miracles for two days more, and on the third day I shall be put to death. But it is probable that this phrase only means, that he had but a short time to live, without specifying its duration.
[ Perfected.] Or finished, teleioumai. I shall then have accomplished the purpose for which I came into the world, leaving nothing undone which the counsel of God designed me to complete. Hence, in reference to our Lord, the word implies his dying; as the plan of human redemption was not finished, till he bowed his head and gave up the ghost on the cross: see John 19:30, where the same word is used. ACC
12. [O Jerusalem, Jerusalem]
1. It is evident that our blessed Lord seriously and earnestly wished the salvation of the Jews.
2. That he did every thing that could be done, consistently with his own perfections, and the liberty of his creatures, to effect this.
3. That his tears over the city, Lu 19:41, sufficiently evince his sincerity.
4. That these persons nevertheless perished.
And 5. That the reason was, they would not be gathered together under his protection: therefore wrath, i.e. punishment, came upon them to the uttermost. From this it is evident that there have been persons whom Christ wished to save, and bled to save, who notwithstanding perished, because they would not come unto him, John 5:40. The metaphor which our Lord uses here is a very beautiful one. When the hen sees a beast of prey coming, she makes a noise to assemble her chickens, that she may cover them with her wings from the danger. The Roman eagle is about to fall upon the Jewish state-nothing can prevent this but their conversion to God through Christ-Jesus cries throughout the land, publishing the Gospel of reconciliation-they would not assemble, and the Roman eagle came and destroyed them. The hen’s affection to her brood is so very strong as to become proverbial. ACC
13. Is left unto you desolate. He was about to withdraw from the temple, which for centuries to come was to be visited by no heavenly messenger whatever.
And I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. It is hardly possible that these words can refer to the triumphal entry for their fulfillment (Matt. 21:9). The use of them on that occasion may have had no reference to his prediction. They undoubtedly refer to the Parousia, or second coming of the Lord in his glory, before which time the Jews must turn and believe (Rom. 11:25-27). Not until they were thus prepared would they again see him without whom they were now rejecting. FG
Lesson 59, Another Healing on the Sabbath, Luke 14:1-24
1. In this lesson Jesus enters the house of whom? What position did the person occupy?
2. What disease did a man who was also there have?
3. What did Jesus ask the Pharisees?
4. What lesson did he present to them in verses 7-11?
5. What lesson did he present to them in verses 12-14?
6. What was meant by the blessing of eating bread in the kingdom of God? What did most Jews think of when they heard of the kingdom of God?
7. In the parable of the great supper, who do the servants sent forth to bid others to come represent?
8. What do you find wrong with the excuse made by a man who had already purchased a field and had to go look at it?
9. What do you find wrong with the excuse offered by the man who said he had just bought five yoke of oxen, but had not tried them?
10. What do you find wrong with the excuse offered by a man who said, “I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.”
11. The Lord became angry. What does this represent about God?
12. What second command did the Lord give his servants?
13. Who were invited the second time?
14. What does “compel” or make them come indicate?
15. What consequences did those who refused the first invitation suffer?
Help With Lesson 59
1. And it came to pass, when he went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees on a sabbath to eat bread, that they were watching him. The Pharisees were an unorganized party, hence their rulers were such not by “office,” but by influence. Those who were members of the Sanhedrin, or who were distinguished among the rabbis, might fitly be spoken of as rulers among them. The context favors the idea that Jesus was invited for the purpose of being watched--a carrying out of the Pharisaic purpose declared at Luke 11:53,54. Bountiful feasts on the Sabbath day were common among the Jews; the food, however, was cooked the previous day in obedience to the precept at Exo. 16:23. FG
2. Dropsy - (u(drwpiko\$, “a man afflicted with hudrops or dropsy”): Both forms of this disease occur in Palestine, that in which the limbs and body are distended with water called anasarca, depending generally on cardiac or renal disease, and the form confined to the abdomen, usually the result of liver infection. The latter is the commoner, as liver disease is a frequent result of recurrent attacks of malarial fever. The man was evidently able to move about, as he had entered into the Pharisee’s house (Luke 14:2). ISBE
3. Jesus answering spake. Our Lord instantly saw the meaning of the situation and utilized it before his enemies had time to interfere. He confounded them by bringing the lawfulness of sabbatic healing to them for an opinion before they could bring it for him to decide. TC
Saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath, or not? They evidently expected Jesus to act on the impulse, and were confused by his calm, deliberate question. FG
4. And he spake a parable unto those that were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief seats. The triclinia, or Grecian table, then in use had three sections which were placed together so as to form a flat-bottomed letter U. The space enclosed by the table was not occupied. It was left vacant that the servants might enter it and attend to the wants of the guests who reclined around the outer margin of the table. The central seat of each of these three sections were deemed a place of honor. This struggle for precedence was a small ambition, but many of the ambitions of our day are equally small.
Our Lord Jesus here sets us an example of profitable edifying discourse at our tables, when we are in company with our friends. We find that when he had none but his disciples, who were his own family, with him at his table, his discourse with them was good, and to the use of edifying; and not only so, but when he was in company with strangers, nay, with enemies that watched him, he took occasion to reprove what he saw amiss in them, and to instruct them. Though the wicked were before him, he did not keep silence from good (as David did, Ps 39:1-2), for, notwithstanding the provocation given him, he had not his heart hot within him, nor was his spirit stirred. We must not only not allow any corrupt communication at our tables, such as that of the hypocritical mockers at feasts, but we must go beyond common harmless talk, and should take occasion from God’s goodness to us at our tables to speak well of him, and learn to spiritualize common things. The lips of the righteous should then feed many. MHC
5. To him also that had bidden him. Jesus had a lesson for the host as well as for the inconsiderate guests. The former was warned, though in a friendly and gracious manner, against the narrow hospitality which entertains only from motives of self-interest. He was told to express sympathy with and to show practical kindness to all, including those who could not recompense him. TC
According to the Oriental mode of speech Jesus here emphatically commands one course of action by prohibiting a contrary course. But his prohibition is not to be construed strictly. He does not forbid the exercise of social hospitality, but discountenances that interested form of it which seeks a return. FG
Against those who spend their goods either for the glory of man or for hope of recompence, whereas Christian charity considers only the glory of God, and the profit of our neighbour. GBN
6. Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. The language of Christ implied that God himself would feast those who feasted the poor, and this implication accorded with the Jewish notion that the kingdom of God would be ushered in with a great festival. Inspired by this thought, and feeling confident that he should have been part of the festivities, this guest exclaimed upon the anticipated blessedness. FG
The kingdom of God here means the kingdom which the Messiah was to set up. See Barnes for Matt. 3:2. The Jews supposed that he would be a temporal prince, and that his reign would be one of great magnificence and splendour. They supposed that the Jews then would be delivered from all their oppressions, and that, from being a degraded people, they would become the most distinguished and happy nation of the earth. To that period they looked forward as one of great happiness. There is some reason to think that they supposed that the ancient just men would then be raised up to enjoy the blessings of the reign of the Messiah. Our Saviour having mentioned the resurrection of the just, this man understood it in the common way of the Jews, and spoke of the peculiar happiness which they expected at that time. The Jews only, he expected, would partake of those blessings. Those notions the Saviour corrects in the parable which follows. AB
7. Sent his servant. An invitation had been sent before, but this servant was sent at the time that the supper was ready. From this it would seem that it was the custom to announce to those invited just the time when the feast was prepared. The custom here referred to still prevails in Palestine. AB
Depending on what one holds the Supper to be, the servants are those who extend the invitations personally. The Great Feast is obviously a reference to fellowship with God in Christ and the servants of God are the prophets and apostles sent forth with the gospel invitation. MN
8. They all with one consent began to make excuse. These three excuses show: 1. That the guests had made their engagements, either for business or pleasure, without the least regard for the hour of the banquet; 2. That they set little value upon either the friendship or the feast of the one who had invited them. Moreover, the excuses progress in disrespect, for the first excuse is on the ground of necessity, the second simply offers a reason, and the third is almost impudent in its bluntness. Viewing the excuses spiritually, we note that each one contains an element of newness--new field, new oxen, new wife. Thus the things of the earth seem new and sweet in comparison with the gospel invitation. Again, all the excuses are trifling, for the parable is intended to teach that men forego their rights to heaven for trifles. Again, the “sacred hate” of Lu 14:25,26 would have eliminated all these excuses. Possibly Paul had this parable in mind when he wrote (1Co 7:29-33). The three excuses warn us not to be hindered by 1. The love of possessions; 2. The affairs of business; 3. Our social ties. FG
9. I go to prove them. To try them, to see if he had made a good bargain. It is worthy of remark that this excuse was very trifling. He could as easily have tried them at any other time as then, and his whole conduct shows that he was more disposed to gratify himself than to accept the invitation of his friend. He was selfish; just as all sinners are, who, to gratify their own worldliness and sins, refuse to accept the offers of the gospel. AB
Note: How absurd to buy that many oxen without even knowing if they were healthy, strong, or workable!
10. Verse 20. I have married a wife, &c. Our Saviour here doubtless intends to teach us that the love of earthly relatives and friends often takes off the affections from God, and prevents our accepting the blessings which he would bestow on us. This was the most trifling excuse of all; and we cannot but be amazed that such excuses are suffered to interfere with our salvation, and that men can be satisfied for such reasons to exclude themselves from the kingdom of God. AB
11. Being angry. Being angry at the men who had slighted his invitation; who had so insulted him by neglecting his feast, and preferring for such reasons their own gratification to his friendship and hospitality. So it is no wonder that God is angry with the wicked every day. So foolish as well as wicked is the conduct of the sinner, so trifling is his excuse for not repenting and turning to God, that it is no wonder if God cannot look upon their conduct but with abhorrence. AB
The anger of our Lord against some brought good to others. If those first bidden will not come to the feast, we Gentile sinners are enabled to fill the vacant room. SDC
12. Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor and maimed and blind and lame. We have a preliminary or general invitation followed by three special invitations. We may regard the general invitation as given by Moses, and the prophets in the ages before the feast was prepared. Then the first special one would be given by John the Baptist and Christ to the Jewish nation in the first stages of Christ’s ministry. The second special invitation was given by Christ, the twelve and the seventy, and came more especially to the poor and outcast, the publicans and sinners, because the leading men of the nation spurned the invitation. The third invitation was begun by the apostles after the Lord’s ascension and is still borne forward by those who have come after them and includes all nations. The three conditions of Jew, outcast and Gentiles are indicated by the three orders of guests: 1. The honorable citizens of the city (Luke 14:17); 2. Those who frequent the streets and lanes, but are still in and out of the city (Luke 14:21); 3. Those who live without the city and are found upon the highways and in the hedgepaths of the vineyards and gardens (Luke 14:23). FG
13. Those who were “the poor and maimed and blind and lame.” Those who were not great in society or the world in general. “For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always” (Matt. 26:11). Mark adds, “Whensoever ye will ye may do them good.” It was right that they should regard the poor. It was a plain precept of religion, (see Psa. 41:1; Prov. 14:21; 29:7; Gal. 2:10,) and our Savior would not prohibit it, but do all that was possible to excite his followers to the duty. But every duty should be done in its place, and the duty then incumbent was that which Mary had performed. They would afterwards have abundant occasion to show their regard for the poor. MN
14. Compel – Constrain them. By persuasion of course. There is no thought of compulsory salvation. “Not to use force, but to constrain them against the reluctance which such poor creatures would feel at accepting the invitation of a great lord” (Vincent). RWP (adapted).
15. The Gentiles are to take the place that the Jews might have had (Rom. 11:25). None of those men which were bidden. They were excluded by their own act. They had refused to come. The stubborn Jews missed the slightest taste; so do all like them.
None of these men. This cannot be understood as meaning that no Jews would be saved, but that none of those who had treated him in that manner--none who had so decidedly rejected the offer of the gospel--would be saved. We may here see how dangerous it is once to reject the gospel; how dangerous to grieve away the Holy Spirit. How often God forsakes for ever the sinner who has been once awakened, and who grieves the Holy Spirit. The invitation is full and free; but when it is rejected, and men turn wilfully away from it, God leaves them to their chosen way, and they are drowned in destruction and perdition. How important, then, is it to embrace the gospel at once; to accept the gracious invitation, and enter without delay the path that conducts to heaven! AB.
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