A STUDY OF THE HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS

Book 9

Lesson 61, Criticism Over Receiving “Sinners”, Luke 15:1-32

Lesson 62, Parables on Stewardship, Luke 16:1-17:10

Lesson 63, The Raising of Lazarus from the Dead, John 11:1-54

Lesson 64, A Leper is Cured, Luke 17:11-37

Lesson 65, Publicans and Pharisees, Matt. 19:1,2; Mark 10:1; Luke 18:1-14

Lesson 66, Jesus’ Teaching on Divorce and Remarriage, Matt. 19:3-12; Mark 10:1-12; Luke 16:18

Lesson 67, A Rich Young Ruler, Matt. 19:16-29; Mark 10:17-30; Luke 18:18-30

Lesson 68, The Death and Resurrection Prophesied, Matt. 20:17-19; Mark 10:32-34; Luke 18:31-34

Lesson 69, A Wealthy Publican (Zacchaeus) and a Parable, Luke 19:1-28


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Lesson 61, Criticism Over Receiving “Sinners”, Luke 15:1-32

1.   What caused the Pharisees and Scribes to murmur against Jesus?

2.   How does the parable of the lost sheep answer their complaint?

3.   What other parables did Jesus give in response to the Pharisees and Scribes?

4.   In the third parable which son asked for his portion of the family inheritance?

5.   What did this son do and where did he go?

6.   What did the son do with his portion of the family estate?

7.   What caused the son to return to his father?

8.   What is in this parable that indicates the father was constantly on the lookout for the return of his son? What lessons are there in that for us?

9.   What was the confession made by the son to his father?

10.                       What was the reaction of the Father?

11.                       The father said his son had been ______________ and was __________ but was what now? What truth does this teach us?

12.                       At the time of the return what was the other son doing?

13.                       What was his reaction when he saw the joy over his brother’s return?

14.                       How did the father handle this?

15.                       What is the prominent lesson in all this?


Help with Lesson 61

1.   Murmured. They affected to suppose that if Jesus treated sinners kindly he must be fond of their society, and be a man of similar character. They considered it disgraceful to be with them or to eat with them, and they therefore brought a charge against him for it.  They would not suppose that he admitted them to his society for the purpose of doing them good; nor did they remember that the very object of his coming was to call the wicked from their ways and to save them from death.
   Receiveth sinners. Receives them in a tender manner; treats them with kindness; does not drive them from his presence.
  And eateth with them. Contrary to the received maxims of the scribes.  By eating with them he showed that he did not despise or overlook them. AB

2.   What man of you] Our Lord spoke this and the following parable to justify his conduct in receiving and conversing with sinners or heathens.
   A hundred sheep] Parables similar to this are frequent among the Jewish writers. The whole flock of mankind, both Jews and Gentiles, belongs unto this Divine Shepherd; and it is but reasonable to expect, that the gracious proprietor will look after those who have gone astray, and bring them back to the flock. The lost sheep is an emblem of a heedless, thoughtless sinner: one who follows the corrupt dictates of his own heart, without ever reflecting upon his conduct, or considering what will be the issue of his unholy course of life. No creature strays more easily than a sheep; none is more heedless; and none so incapable of finding its way back to the flock, when once gone astray: it will bleat for the flock, and still run on in an opposite direction to the place where the flock is: this I have often noticed. No creature is more defenseless than a sheep, and more exposed to be devoured by dogs and wild beasts. Even the fowls of the air seek their destruction. I have known ravens often attempt to destroy lambs by picking out their eyes, in which, when they have succeeded, as the creature does not see whither it is going, it soon falls an easy prey to its destroyer. Satan is ever going about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour; in order to succeed, he blinds the understanding of sinners, and then finds it an easy matter to tumble them into the pit of perdition. Who but a Pharisee or a devil would find fault with the shepherd who endeavours to rescue his sheep from so much danger and ruin! ACC

3.   A woman searching for one lost coin, vss 8-10 and a rebellious son who went off into a far country, eventually to return – vss. 11-32

4.   And the younger of them. The more childish and easily deceived.
   Said to his father, Father, give me the portion of thy substance that falleth to me. Since the elder brother received a double portion, the younger brother's part would be only one-third of the property (Deut 21:17). FG

5.   Verse 13: “And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together and took his journey into a far country”

6.   Verse 13: “. . . ; and there he wasted his substance with riotous living.”

7.   He came to himself. This is a very expressive phrase. It is commonly applied to one who has been deranged, and when he recovers we say he has come to himself. In this place it denotes that the folly of the young man was a kind of derangement--that he was insane. So it is of every sinner. Madness is in their hearts (Eccl 9:3); they are estranged from God, and led, by the influence of evil passions, contrary to their better judgment and the decisions of a sound mind. AB

8.   A great way off. This is a beautiful description--the image of his father's happening to see him clad in rags, poor, and emaciated, and yet he recognized his son, and all the feelings of a father prompted him to go and embrace him.
 Ran and fell on his neck; this represents the readiness with which God receives returning sinners. To be saved, men must not only resolve, but they must return to God; taking all the blame and shame of their departure to themselves, and ascribing righteousness to him, they must surrender all their interests for time and eternity to his care, guidance, and disposal. FBN
   A waiting father; Evidently daily the father made it his priority to look down the long road his son took when he went away. Not a day passed without the father’s hope and anticipation of the return of his son. DS

9.   Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight: I am no more worthy to be called thy son. The son shows a manly spirit in adhering to his purpose to make a confession, notwithstanding the warmth of his father's welcome; in grieving for what he had done, and not for what he had lost; and in blaming no one but himself. FG

10.                       Bring forth the best robe] Bring out that chief garment, thn stolhn thn prwthn, the garment which was laid by, to be used only on birthdays or festival times. Such as that which Rebecca had laid by for Esau, and which she put on Jacob when she made him personate his brother.
   Put a ring on his hand] Giving a ring was in ancient times a mark of honour and dignity. See Gen. 41:42; 1 Kings 21:8; Esther 8:2; Dan. 6:17; Jas. 2:2.
   Shoes on his feet] Formerly those who were captivated had their shoes taken off, Isa 20:1; and when they were restored to liberty their shoes were restored. See 2Ch 28:15. In Bengal, shoes of a superior quality make one of the distinguishing parts of a person's dress. Some of them cost as much as a hundred rupees a pair; œ10 or œ12. Reference is perhaps made here to some such costly shoes. It is the same among the Chinese: some very costly shoes and boots of that people are now before me. ACC

11.                       DeadAlive / Lost Found - For this my son was dead. The condition of the impenitent sinner is frequently expressed in the Bible under the metaphor of death (Rom. 6:13; Eph. 2:1; 5:14; Rev. 3:1). FG
   He was dead to excellence and to happiness and dead as to being the means of either to his father's house. He was lost to goodness, to duty, and to heaven. Alive--found; he has returned with right feelings to his father and friends, and is a source of rich enjoyment to himself and them. Who, not lost to goodness, would not be partaker of their joy? FBN

12.                       Now. Having thus finished his account of the openly irreligious, Jesus now turns to portray that of the professedly religious; that is, he turns from the publican to the Pharisee. He paints both parties as alike children of God, as both faulty and sinful in his sight, and each as being loved despite his faultiness. But while the story of the elder son had a present and local application to the Pharisees, it is to be taken comprehensively as describing all the self-righteous who murmur at and refuse to take part in the conversion of sinners.
   His elder son was in the field. At work.
   And as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. He heard evidences of joy, a joy answering to that mentioned at Luke 15:7,10; the joy of angels in seeing the publicans and sinners repenting and being received by Jesus--the joy at which the Pharisees had murmured.

13.                       And he was angry, &c. This is a striking image and an exact representation of the perverse behaviour of the Jews, when the mystery of the calling of the Gentiles began to be revealed, and the Gospel to be preached to them. The unbelieving Jews were incensed at it beyond measure, and became on this very account the more hardened and averse from Christianity; and they hated St. Paul implacably, because he was more particularly the patron of the Gentiles, and, as they supposed, the adversary of the law. Dr. Jortin.
   Our Lord here finely reproves the unjust anger of the Jews against the Gentiles, on account of their admission to the same privileges with themselves under the Christian covenant. BFB

14.                       In every point of view, the anger of the older son was improper and unreasonable. He had already received his part of the inheritance, see Luke 15:12, and his profligate brother had received no more than what was his just dividend. Besides, what the father had acquired since that division he had a right to dispose of as he pleased, even to give it all to one son; nor did the ancient customs of the Asiatic countries permit the other children to claim any share in such property thus disposed of. The following is an institute of the GENTOO law on this subject: (CODE, chap. ii. sect. 9, p. 79:) “If a father gives, by his own choice, land, houses, orchards, and the earning of his own industry, to one of his sons, the other sons shall not receive any share of it." Besides, whatever property the father had acquired after the above division, the son or sons, as the prodigal in the text, could have no claim at all on, according to another institute in the above Asiatic laws, see chap. ii. sect. ii. p. 85, but the father might divide it among those who remained with him: therefore is it said in the text, "Son, thou art ALWAYS with me, and ALL that I have is THINE.” ACC

15.                       A comparison of the three preceding parables brings out many suggestive points, thus: The first parable (Luke 15:3-7) illustrates Christ's compassion. A sentient, suffering creature is lost, and it was bad for it that it should be so. Hence it must be sought, though its value is only one out of a hundred. Man's lost condition makes him wretched. The second parable (Luke 15:8-10) shows us how God values a soul. A lifeless piece of metal is lost, and while it could not be pitied, it could be valued, and since its value was one out ten, it was bad for the owner that it should be lost. God looks upon man's loss as his impoverishment. The first two parables depict the efforts of Christ in the salvation of man, or that side of conversion more apparent, so to speak, to God; while the third (Luke 15:11-32) sets forth the responsive efforts put forth by man to avail himself of God's salvation-- the side of conversion more apparent to us. Moreover, as the parabolic figures become more nearly literal, as we pass from sheep and coin to son, the values also rise, and instead of one from a hundred, or one from ten, we have one out of two! FG


Lesson 62, Parables on Stewardship, Luke 16:1-17:10

1.   What is a steward?

2.   Why was the steward in this lesson dismissed from his position?

3.   Tell what this steward did to protect himself from poverty?

4.   What word describes this steward in verse 8? Why is he commended by his employer?

5.   What is meant by making friends by means of unrighteous mammon? What does “mammon” mean?

6.   Complete: “If therefore ye have not been ______________ in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the __________ riches? And if ye have not been _____________ in that which is _______________, who will give you that which is your own?

7.   What caused the Pharisees to scoff at Jesus? What does the text say about them in verse 14?

8.   What did Jesus say they did before men and what God knew about them? What application(s) can be made of this for all of us?

9.   What does Jesus say were until the days of John the Baptist?

10.                       What was sequel to that and what does he mean by men violently entering into the kingdom of God?

11.                       What is a “tittle of the law”? What did Jesus say about this (verse 17)?

12.                       In verse 19, Jesus begins another lesson. Is this, another parable, and if so, what does it seem to teach about the after life?

13.                       What kind of life did the rich man lead and how did it compare to the life of Lazarus?

14.                       When Lazarus died, what does the text say happened to him and where he went?

15.                       What happened to the rich man who died? He lifted up his eyes in ___________ . What does this mean?

16.                       List the things that tell us the conditions of Hades where the rich man was.

17.                       When he appealed to Abraham, what request did he make for his brothers who were still alive?

18.                       What reply did Abraham give?

19.                       Abraham said, “If they hear not _______________ and the _________________, neither will they be persuaded, if one rise from the dead.”

20.                       (Luke 17:1-10) – How did Jesus describe the serious penalty of causing someone to stumble? What does “stumble” mean in this passage?

21.                       How many times does Jesus tell us to forgive those who sin against us and repent?

22.                       Right after Jesus told them how many times to forgive, he mentioned something about faith able to do what? Does this have an application to what he had just said about forgiving others?

23.                       In verses 7 through 10 he speaks of a Master and his servant and concludes, “When ye shall have done all the things that are commanded you, say, ‘We are _____________________ servants; we have done that which it was our ________________ to do’.”


Help with Lesson 62,

1.   This steward was a freeman, had full charge of his master's affairs and could use them to his own advantage if he chose, was fully accountable to his master and had to render an account when called upon. If unfaithful he was usually discharged at once (Luke 16:1-13). The parables of the Minae or Pounds (Luke 19:12-27), the Talents (Matt 25:14-30), and the Wicked Husbandmen (Matt 21:33-46) teach similar truths. In His warning to His disciples Jesus seems to imply that they were to act as stewards in His absence (Luke 12:42). According to this passage a steward's task was to manage all the affairs of his master, attend to receipts and expenditures, and portion out to each one of the household what should come to him. The disciples were left thus in charge of His gospel and were to use this gift to the best advantage in behalf of others until His return. In John 2:8 the term "ruler" is given in the margin as "steward." The one referred to here was really director of the feast rather than steward, though in a sense charged with the responsibility of conducting it. Many stewards were no doubt slaves, as is implied in Matt 24:45, while others were freedmen (Luke 16:1-21). ISBE

2.    Here is the dishonesty of this steward. He wasted his lord's goods, embezzled them, misapplied them, or through carelessness suffered them to be lost and damaged; and for this he was accused to his lord, Luke 16:1. We are all liable to the same charge. We have not made a due improvement of what God has entrusted us with in this world, but have perverted his purpose; and, that we may not be for this judged of our Lord, it concerns us to judge ourselves. MH

3.    I cannot dig] He could not submit to become a common day-labourer, which was both a severe and base employment: To beg I am ashamed. And as these were the only honest ways left him to procure a morsel of bread, and he would not submit to either, he found he must continue the system of knavery, in order to provide for his idleness and luxury, or else starve. Wo to the man who gets his bread in this way! The curse of the Lord must be on his head, and on his heart; in his basket, and is his store. ACC
    They may receive me, &c.  Those who are now under me, and whom I am resolved now to favour. He had been dishonest to his master, and, having commenced a course of dishonesty, he did not shrink from pursuing it.  Having injured his master, and being now detected, he was willing still farther to injure him, to take revenge on him for removing him from his place, and to secure his own interest still at his expense. He was resolved to lay these persons under such obligations, and to show them so much kindness, that they could not well refuse to return the kindness to him and give him a support. AB

4.   The unrighteous steward (ton oikonomon tês adikias). Literally, the steward of unrighteousness. The genitive is the case of genus, species, the steward distinguished by unrighteousness as his characteristic. See "the mammon of unrighteousness" in verse Luke 16:9. See "the forgetful hearer" in Jas 1:25. It is a vernacular idiom common to Hebrew, Aramaic, and the Koiné. RWP

5.      --  Make to yourselves friends &c. Imitate this steward's wisdom in so managing the perishing possessions of this world, that they may secure to you a future subsistence when your present trust shall end. The steward was aware that his life was not to end with his stewardship, and that therefore, when that source of livelihood failed, some other means must be devised. Our case in this respect is the same as his. Death deprives us of all further use of our worldly advantages; but death itself does not close our existence. There is a future and eternal state for which we are reserved; to which it is our greatest prudence to direct our aims at present, to the end that all which we now have, and all which we now do, may then tend to our blessing. How this is to be done, the Scriptures abundantly inform us. Our wealth is not to be wasted in pomp and vanity, in luxury and excess, but to be expended in works of piety, charity, and publick good. Our talents and learning are to be employed in promoting virtue, religion, and truth; in practices, examples, and persuasions, proportioned to the measure of these advantages. They who use the blessings of this life faithfully for the service of their Lord, will hereafter, according as He has promised, enter into his joys. BFB
   Mammon was a common Chaldee word used in the East to express material riches. It is here personified as a kind of god of this world. Jesus here assumes that we are framed to serve (Gen. 2:15); and hence that we must choose our master, for it is impossible to serve two masters whose interests are different and conflicting. They conflict here, for it is mammon's interest to be hoarded and loved, but it is God's interest that mammon be distributed to the needy and be lightly esteemed. God claims our supreme love and our undivided service.

6.      

7.   The Pharisees were notoriously addicted to the sin of covetousness, accounting no man happy but them that were rich: and because the promises made to the Jews were generally, (though not only) of temporal blessings, they looked upon poverty as a curse, and esteemed the poor accursed, John 7:49|  The Pharisees hearing their covetousness reproved, and the doctrine of charity and alms preached and enforced by our Saviour, they derided him in the shamefulest manner, with the highest degree of contempt and scorn, wringing the nose, and making mouths at him, as the original word seems to import. WBN

8.   Which justify yourselves etc. Which endeavour to approve yourselves to men, and expect to be owned by them, as righteous persons: but God knoweth the falsehood of your hearts: for that fair outside, which is highly esteemed among men, who see no farther, is an abomination in the sight of God, who seeth the hypocrisy of your hearts. Dr. Whitby.

9.   “The law and the prophets were until John” – Luke 16:16

10.                       “. . . from that time the gospel of the kingdom of God is preached, and every man entereth violently into it.” 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. FG

11.                       Tittle: A very small particle; literally, a small horn; the minute tip at the extremity of some Hebrew letters, Matt 5:18. In transcribing the Hebrew Scriptures, the Jews exacted the utmost accuracy. Every page and every line must contain just so much; and the most trivial defect vitiated the whole roll, and compelled the scribe to begin his task anew. Yet the extreme care thus expressed for the perfect integrity of the letter of God's word is but a feeble illustration of the Savior’s care for the same word - every truth, every threatening, and every promise has the most perfect guarantee possible: “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail,” Luke 16:17. ATSD

12.                       (Note: J.W. McGarvey treated it as a parable. Others do not since it is not introduced as a parable.) The parable we are about to study is a direct advance upon the thoughts in the previous section. We may say generally that if the parable of the unjust steward teaches how riches are to be used, this parable sets forth the terrible consequences of a failure to so use them. Each point of the previous discourse is covered in detail, as will be shown by the references in the discussion of the parable. FG
(Note: Adam Clarke was not sure it is a parable.) This account of the rich man and Lazarus is either a parable or a real history. If it be a parable, it is what may be: if it be a history, it is that which has been. Either a man may live as is here described, and go to perdition when he dies; or, some have lived in this way, and are now suffering the torments of an eternal fire. The account is equally instructive in whichsoever of these lights it is viewed. Let us carefully observe all the circumstances offered hereto our notice, and we shall see-I. The CRIME of this man; and II. His PUNISHMENT. ACC

13.                          Faring sumptuously (euphrainomeno$ lampr$). Making merry brilliantly. The verb euphrainomai we have already had in Luke 12:19; 15:23,25,32. Lampr$ is an old adverb from lampro$, brilliant, shining, splendid, magnificent. It occurs here only in the N.T. This parable apparently was meant for the Pharisees (verse Luke 16:14) who were lovers of money. It shows the wrong use of money and opportunity. RWP
    Beggar. Poor man.  The original word does not mean beggar, but simply that he was poor.  It should have been so translated to keep up the contrast with the rich man.
   Named Lazarus. The word Lazarus is Hebrew, and means a man destitute of help, a needy, poor man. It is a name given, therefore, to denote his needy condition.
  Laid at his gate. At the door of the rich man, in order that he might obtain aid.
   Full of sores. Covered with ulcers; afflicted not only with poverty, but with loathsome and offensive ulcers, such as often are the accompaniments of poverty and want.  These circumstances are designed to show how different was his condition from that of the rich man. He was clothed in purple; the poor man was covered with sores; he fared sumptuously; the poor man was dependent even for the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table.
   The dogs came. Such was his miserable condition that even the dogs, as if moved by pity, came and licked his sores in kindness to him.  These circumstances of his misery are very touching, and his condition, contrasted with that of the rich man, is very striking. It is not affirmed that the rich man was unkind to him, or drove him away, or refused to aid him. The narrative is designed simply to show that the possession of wealth, and all the blessings of this life, could not exempt from death and misery, and that the lowest condition among mortals may be connected with, life and happiness beyond the grave. There was no provision made for the helpless poor in those days, and consequently they were often laid at the gates of the rich, and in places of public resort, for charity. See Acts 3:2. AB

14.                         Was carried by the angels. Here is one who in his life had not a single friend, and now, suddenly, not one, but many angels wait upon him.--Luther. His body may have had no pall-bearers, but angels carried his soul. PNTC
   --  was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: This is expressed according to the Jewish mode of thinking and speaking; and the meaning is in general, that he was received into a state of happiness, and admitted to a place of peculiar honour. The phrase of lying in Abraham's bosom bears allusion to the custom at Jewish feasts of several guests lying on one couch, the head of one being placed near the bosom of another. See Joh 13:25; and note at Luke 7:38. Bp. Pearce. The Jews had deservedly a great veneration for Abraham on account of his eminent faith and obedience, and they assigned to him the first place in the state of the blessed. BFB

15.                       Hades - Lazarus was in Hades also for both Paradise (Abraham's bosom) and Gehenna are in the unseen world beyond the grave. In torments (en basanoi$). The touchstone by which gold and other metals were tested, then the rack for torturing people. Old word, but in the N.T. only here, Luke 16:28; Matt 4:24. . . . The Jews believed that Gehenna and Paradise were close together. This detail in the parable does not demand that we believe it. The picture calls for it. From afar (apo makrothen). Pleonastic use of apo as makrothen means from afar. RWP
   Hades, which is represented as containing both Paradise and Gehenna, and is merely the Greek equi­valent of the Hebrew Sheol, `the grave,’ is the intermediate condition of the dead between death and the final judgment. The scene on earth is contrasted with the reversed conditions of the other world. The entire imagery and phraseology are Jewish, and are borrowed from those which were current among the Rabbis of Christ's day. Beyond the awful truth that death brings no necessary forgiveness, and therefore that the retribution must continue beyond the grave, we are not warranted in pressing the details of the parable which were used as part of the vivid picture. CGNT

16.                       “being in torments”
”Cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame”
   Cool my tongue. The effect of great heat on the body is to produce almost insupportable thirst. Those who travel in burning deserts thus suffer inexpressibly when they are deprived of water. So pain of any kind produces thirst, and particularly of connected with fever. The sufferings of the rich man are therefore represented as producing burning thirst, so much that even a drop of water would be refreshing to his tongue. We can scarce form an idea of more distress and misery than where this is continued from one day to another without relief. We are not to suppose that he had been guilty of any particular wickedness with his tongue as the cause of this. It is simply an idea to represent the natural effect of great suffering, and especially suffering in the midst of great heat. AB

17.                        That he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Deceived by his wealth, the rich man looked upon his earthly possessions as real and substantial, and, like rich sinners of today, had simply disregarded the affairs of the future life. Aroused by the sudden experience of the awful realities of the future state, he desires to make it as real to his brethren as it had now become to him. In endeavoring to carry out his desire he proceeds on the theory that the testimony of the dead in reference to the realities of the future state are more trustworthy and influential than the revelations of God himself, given through his inspired spokesmen. This dishonoring of God and his law was to be expected from one who had made mammon his real master, even though professing (as the context suggests) to serve God. The singleness of his service is shown in that he, though practically discharged by one master--mammon, can not even now speak respectfully of God. Some commentators make much of the so-called repentance of the rich man, manifested in this concern for his brethren; but the Lord did not count kindness shown to kindred as evidence of goodness, much less of repentance (Luke 6:32-35). Besides the natural feeling for his brothers, he knew that their presence in torment would add to his own. His concern for his brethren is not told to indicate repentance. It is mentioned to bring out the point that the revealed will of God of itself and without more makes it inexcusable for a man to lead a selfish life. FG

18.                       Abraham saith, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” - “We are saved by faithful hearing, not by apparitions," Bengel. This was most remarkably exemplified in the results which followed the raising of another Lazarus (John 12:10), and the resurrection of our Lord Himself (Matt. 28:11—13). Observe that the reply of Abraham (‘be persuaded,’ ‘arose,’ ‘from among’ [ek not apo] the dead) is much stronger than the words used by Dives. “A far mightier miracle...would be ineffectual for producing a far slighter effect.” Trench. CGNT

19.                       Moses and the Prophets – The entire Old Testament.   Let them hear them. John 1:45; 5:39-46; Luke 24:27. The Scriptures are a sufficient guide to godliness—2 Tim. 3:16,17, and a failure to live rightly when possession them is due to lack of will, and not to lack of knowledge. FG

20.                          Woe unto the world because of occasions of stumbling! The depravity of man makes sin inevitable, but nevertheless it does not remove or reduce the personal responsibility of him who tempts to or causes to sin. FG
   A mill-stone] That drowning a person with a stone tied about the neck was an ancient mode of punishment, see proved in the note on Matt 18:6,7, to which let the following be added. To have a mill-stone hanged about the neck, was a common proverb. "Samuel saith, A man may marry, and after that addict himself to the study of the law. Rab. Jochanan saith, No: shall he addict himself to the study of the law with a mill-stone about his neck?" ACC

21.                       seven times--not a lower measure of the forgiving spirit than the "seventy times seven" enjoined on Peter, which was occasioned by his asking if he was to stop at seven times. "No," is the virtual answer, "though it come to seventy times that number, if only he ask forgiveness in sincerity." JFB
   A purely general expression, which as little involves the quantitative limitation of forgiveness upon repentance as the “seventy times seven” of Matt. 18:22. Some of the Rabbis had limited the duty of forgiveness to a three-repeated offence, but “Who with repentance is not satisfied, Is not of heaven or earth.” CGNT

22.                          And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. The apostles asked for faith that they might be able to fulfill the great moral requirements which Jesus had just revealed. Our Lord sanctions the wisdom of their prayer by showing the greatness of faith.
   "The only real power of the universe," says Godet, "is the divine will. The human will, which has discovered the secret of blending with this force of forces, is raised, in virtue of this union, to omnipotence." But our distance from omnipotence measures how far we are from attaining that desired union of will. The sycamine tree is the well-known black mulberry tree, which belongs to the same natural order as the fig-tree, and is a tree distinguished for being deeply rooted. FG

23.                       Unprofitable – duty.   “We sleep half our lives; we give God a tenth of our time; and yet we think that with our good works we can merit Heaven. What have I been doing today? I have talked for two hours. I have been at meals three hours. I have been idle four hours. Ah! Enter not into judgment with Thy servant, O Lord!” – Luther. Yet in a lower sense—though ‘insufficient,’ though ‘unmeritorious’ – it is possible for us to be “good and faithful servants,” Matt. 25:21, 23. We must be unprofitable in the realm of bare obligation and external service, and yet we may be faithful and honored in the sphere of love. CGNT
    We are unprofitable servants. Our Master owes us no thanks when we serve him faithfully, for we have only done our duty. The heavenly reward to the faithful is of grace, not of debt (Rom. 11:6). PNTC

 

 Lesson 63, The Raising of Lazarus from the Dead, John 11:1-54

 1.   Bethany is called the village (town) of _____________ and ________.

2.   Who was Lazarus? What do we know about him and his family?

3.   When told to come because Lazarus was sick, what did Jesus say about that kind of sickness? (verse 4). What do you think this means?

4.   Recently (“The DaVinci Code”) questions about Jesus and his relations with others have indicated he may have had an amorous affair with Mary of Magdala. Verse 5 says he loved her and who else? What kind of love did he have for them? Is there anything in the text to indicate that Jesus had some sexual attraction to this Mary? Look up and try to find what the original word for “love” in this verse is.

5.   What could have been the reason Jesus did not immediately go to see Lazarus? (verse 6).

6.   Jesus told his disciples they were going to Judea again. Why did his disciples recommend that he not go there?

7.   Without having seen Lazarus at that time, how did he describe Lazarus’ condition? What does “sleep” mean in verse 11?

8.   This seemed to relieve the disciples that Lazarus was no longer sick? Why do you suppose they were somewhat relieved?

9.   Why was Jesus glad he was not present when Lazarus died?

10.                       How long had Lazarus been dead by the time Jesus came to Bethany?

11.                       What did Martha say to the Lord?

12.                       Jesus said, “I am the ________________, and the ______________: he that believeth on me, though he _______, yet shall he _________; and whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never _________. Believest thou this? (verse 25).

13.                       Before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, what did he do? (verses 41, 42).

14.                       What effect did raising Lazarus back to life have on many of the Jews who came to Mary? (verse 45).

15.                       Who was Caiaphas and what advice did he give to the Pharisees?

16.                       What had Caiaphas prophesied about Jesus?

17.                       What plans did the Jewish council make for Jesus?


Help with lesson 63

1.   Bethany, of the village of Mary and her sister Martha.  Bethany. A village on the eastern declivity of the Mount of Olives.  The town of Mary. The place where she lived. At that place also lived Simon the leper (Matt 26:6), and there our Lord spent considerable part of his time when he was in Judea. The transaction recorded in this chapter occurred nearly four months after those mentioned in the previous chapter. Those occurred in December, and these at the approach of the Passover in April. AB

2.   Lazarus - (whom God helps), another form of the Hebrew name Eleazar. He was the brother of Martha and Mary. All that we know of him is derived from the Gospel of St. John, and that records little more than the facts of his death and resurrection. implies that the sisters were the better known. Lazarus is "of Bethany, of the village of Mary and her sister Martha." From this and from the order of the three names in John 11:1. From this and from the order of the three names in John 11:5, we may reasonably infer that Lazarus was the youngest of the family. All the circumstances of John 11 and 12 point to wealth and social position above the average. SBD

3.      This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified thereby. The sickness of Lazarus was for the purpose or design of a resurrection, so that death was a mere preceding incident. By this resurrection the Son of God would be glorified by manifesting more clearly than ever before that death came under his Messianic dominion, and by gathering believers from amongst his enemies. In all this the Father would also be glorified in the Son. FG

4.       Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. In this passage we have two Greek words for "love." In Joh 11:3,36 we have philein, which expresses natural affection such as a parent feels for a child. In this verse we have agapan, an affection resulting from moral choice, loftier and less impulsive. We are told of the Lord's love that we may understand that his delay was not due to indifference. FG
   He doubtless loved them with a special, distinguishing love, as persons chosen in him to eternal life before the foundation of the world, given unto him by an eternal donation, called by him with an effectual calling, to own and receive him as their Saviour; but this text seemeth to speak of him as loving this family with a human love, which inclineth man to a complacency in an object beloved: he had a kindness for the whole family; they had showed them kindness in his state of humiliation, and he loved those that so loved him, Prov. 8:17. MP

5.   Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.] Therefore his staying two days longer in Bethabara was not through lack of affection for this distressed family, but merely that he might have a more favourable opportunity of proving to them how much he loved them. Christ never denies a less favour, but in order to confer a greater. God's delays, in answering prayers offered to him by persons in distress, are often proofs of his purpose to confer some great kindness, and they are also proofs that his wisdom finds it necessary to permit an increase of the affliction, that his goodness may be more conspicuous in its removal. ACC
   Though he loved him and his sisters with a tender love, yet he did not presently go to them, to comfort Mary and Martha in their sorrow; nor yet to cure Lazarus, and prevent his death; but stayed still two days in the place where he was. He loved Mary, and Martha, and Lazarus, but he more loved the honour and glory of his Father, which was to be manifested in his raising of Lazarus from the dead. We must not judge of Christ's love to us by his mere external dispensations of providence; nor judge that he doth not love us because he doth not presently come in to our help, at our times, and in such ways and methods as we would think reasonable. MP

6.    There were not three months elapsed since the Jews had so sought to have stoned him, and there was no reason for him to think that their fury was in any whit abated. We read in the other evangelists of other words they used (Peter especially, Matt 16:22), to dissuade our Savior from this journey to Jerusalem. They were afraid for their Master, and they were afraid also for themselves. MP

7.   Lazarus sleepeth. Is dead. The word sleep is applied to death, 1st. Because of the resemblance between them, as sleep is the "kinsman of death." In this sense it is often used by pagan writers. But, 2nd. In the Scriptures it is used to intimate that death will not be final: that there will be an awaking out of this sleep, or a resurrection. It is a beautiful and tender expression, removing all that is dreadful in death, and filling the mind with the idea of calm repose after a life of toil, with a reference to a future resurrection in increased rigor and renovated powers.  In this sense it is applied in the Scriptures usually to the saints, 1 Cor 11:30; 15:51; 1 Thes. 4:14; 5:10; Matt 9:24. AB

8.      Lord, if he sleepeth, he shall do well. The disciples might have understood him to mean death in this case had they not misunderstood his promise given at Joh 11:4. As it was, they looked upon the mentioned sleep as marking the crisis of the disease, as it so often does in cases of fever. They were glad to urge it as an evidence of complete recovery, and thus remove one of the causes of the dreaded journey into Judaea. FG

9.      And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe. Had Jesus been present during the sickness of Lazarus, he would have felt constrained to heal him, and so would have lost the opportunity of presenting to his disciples a more striking proof of his divine power, a proof which has been the joy of each succeeding age. The disciples were soon to learn by sad experience how little belief they really had (Mark 14:50; 16:11; Luke 24:11,21,25). FG

10.                       He had lain in the grave four days already.] Our Lord probably left Bethabara the day, or the day after, Lazarus died. He came to Bethany three days after; and it appears that Lazarus had been buried about four days, and consequently that he had been put in the grave the day or day after he died. Though it was the Jewish custom to embalm their dead, yet we find, from John 11:39, that he had not been embalmed; and God wisely ordered this, that the miracle might appear the more striking. ACC

11.                       “Martha therefore said unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” (Vs. 21).  We might take it that Martha confidently expected the Lord to raise Lazarus, were it not for the subsequent conversation and especially (Joh 11:39). We must therefore look upon her hope as more vague than her words would indicate. Such vague and illusive hopes are common where a great expectation, such as she had before indulged, had but lately departed. FG
   Mary said the same words to him a little after, John 11:32, which proves that these sisters had not a complete knowledge of the omnipotence of Christ: they thought he could cure at hand, but not at a distance; or they thought that it was because he did not know of their brother's indisposition that he permitted him to die. In either of these cases it plainly appears they had not a proper notion of his divinity; and indeed the following verse proves that they considered him in no other light than that of a prophet. Query-Was it not proper that Christ should, in general, as much as might be, hide the knowledge of his divinity from those with whom he ordinarily lodged? Had they known him fully, would not the reverence and awe connected with such a knowledge have overwhelmed them? ACC

12.                       Resurrection
Life
Die
Live
Die
   Where Jesus is there is life, and there also is resurrection at his word without limitation. No mere man, if sane, could have uttered such words. They mean that Jesus is the power which raises the dead and bestows eternal life (John 6:39-54; 10:28). FG

13.                       “And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou heardest me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the multitude that standeth around I said it, that they may believe that thou didst send me.” Jesus, dwelling in constant communion with the Father, knew that the Father concurred in his wish to raise Lazarus. He therefore makes public acknowledgment, and offers a prayer of thanksgiving, for the Father's gracious answer to this and all his petitions. FG
   As it was a common opinion that great miracles might be wrought by the power and in the name of the devil, Jesus lifted up his eyes to heaven, and invoked the supreme God before these unbelieving Jews, that they might see that it was by his power, and by his only, that this miracle was done; that every hindrance to this people’s faith might be completely taken out of the way, and that their faith might stand, not in the wisdom of man, but in the power of the Most High. On this account our Lord says, he spoke because of the multitude, that they might see there was no diabolic influence here, and that God in his mercy had visited his people. ACC

14.                          Some were invited by it, and induced to believe. Many of the Jews, when they saw the things that Jesus did, believed on him, and well they might, for it was an incontestable proof of his divine mission. They had often heard of his miracles, and yet evaded the conviction of them, by calling in question the matter of fact; but now that they had themselves seen this done their unbelief was conquered, and they yielded at last. But blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. The more we see of Christ the more cause we shall see to love him and confide in him. These were some of those Jews that came to Mary, to comfort her. When we are doing good offices to others we put ourselves in the way of receiving favours from God, and have opportunities of getting good when we are doing good. MH
   “But some of them went away to the Pharisees, and told them the things which Jesus had done” Vs. 46. These Jews had the same means for believing the others had; they had heard the same words from Christ, they had seen the same miracle wrought by Christ. Whence is it that any of the other Jews believed? These, instead of believing, run to the Pharisees to accuse him. Can any account be given of this, unless from the freedom of Divine grace, showing mercy where God will show mercy? Though possibly the former wickedness, of these Jews was the cause of God's not giving that grace to them which he gave to others. MP

15.                       Caiaphas -- High Priest from A.D. 18 to A.D. 36. He was a Sadducee, and a bitter enemy of Christ. At his palace the priests, etc., met after the resurrection of Lazarus, to plot the death of the Savior, lest all the people should believe on him. On one of these occasions, John 11:47-54, he counseled the death of Christ for the political salvation of the nation; and his words were, unconsciously to him, an inspired prediction of the salvation of a lost world. These plots against Christ, Matt 26:1-5; Mark 14:1; Luke 22:2, led to his seizure, and he was brought first before Annas, formerly high priest, who sent him to Caiaphas his son-in-law. ATSD
   That one man should die for the people. Caiaphas saw that the teaching and miracles of Jesus would so influence the people that they would accept him as Messiah.  He knew also that our Lord did not countenance the Messianic hopes that were cherished by the scribes and Pharisees.  If Jesus succeeded, it meant the extinction of those hopes and a continuance of Roman rule.  It was strictly true, therefore, that his death was regarded by Caiaphas as politically 'expedient. TC

16.                       “From that day forth they took counsel that they might put him to death” – Vs 53. Thus, acting on the advice of Caiaphas, the Sanhedrin condemned Jesus without a hearing and sought means to carry their condemnation to execution. Quieting their consciences by professing to see such political dangers as made it necessary to kill Jesus for the public welfare, they departed utterly from justice, and took the course which brought upon them the very evils which they were professedly seeking to avoid. FG

  

Lesson 64, A Leper is Cured, Luke 17:11-37

1.   What is a “leper”? How many did Jesus meet on his way to Jerusalem?

2.   When they pled with him for mercy what did he tell them to do? Do you know why he might have told them this?

3.   How many of them, when they saw they were cleansed from leprosy, returned to thank him? What was his nationality?

4.   How did Jesus describe the coming of the Kingdom of God to the Pharisees? What does this mean?

5.   Jesus said, “The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.” What are the “days of the Son of Man?”

6.   What does Jesus say about himself calling himself the “Son of Man?”

7.   In verse 24, Jesus described how his coming would be? Describe it and tell what you think it implies.

8.   What did Jesus say had to happen before this event? (verse 25).

9.   How does he describe current conditions with the times of Noah and Lot?

10.                       What lesson can be learned by remembering Lot’s wife?

11.                       “Whosoever shall seek to _________ his life shall __________ it: but whosoever shall _____________ his life shall ___________ it.” What does this mean?

12.                       To what historical event does Jesus refer by saying, “Whither the body is, thither will the eagles also be gathered together”?

13.                       What do you think he meant by “the body” in verse 37? Since eagles (scavengers) would be attracted to a body, what would that say about the body?

 Help with Lesson 64

1.                 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, who stood afar off.
The predominant and characteristic form of leprosy in the Old Testament is a white variety, covering either the entire body or a large tract of its surface, which has obtained the name of Lepra mosaica. Such were the cases of Moses, Miriam, Naaman and Gehazi. SBD
   It was a disease rendering the victim “unclean” (Lev. 13:43-46). Lepers were required to keep away from others due to the infectious nature of the disease. The rabbis are said to have prescribed a fixed distance at which lepers must keep, but authority varies as to this distance, some giving it as a rod and others as high as a hundred paces. FG

2.                   But go, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. Though healed of his leprosy, the man was not legally clean until declared so by the priest. The priest alone could readmit him to the congregation. The local priest inspected the healed leper, and if he was found clean or cured, he was purified by the use of two birds, cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop, razor and bath. After seven days he was again inspected, and if still cured the priest repaired with him to the temple, where he offered the gift for his cleansing, which was three lambs, with flour and oil; or if the leper was poor, one lamb and two doves or pigeons, with flour and oil (Le 14:19-22). The healed leper was a testimony that Messiah, the great Physician, had come, and that he respected the law of Moses. This testimony was given both to priests and people. FG

3.                  One of them, &c. This man, sensible of the power of God and grateful for his mercies, returned to express his gratitude to God for his goodness.  Instead of obeying at once the letter of the command, he first expressed his thanks to God and to his Great Benefactor. There is no evidence, however, that he did not, after he had given thanks to God, and had poured out his joy at the feet of Jesus, go to the priest as he was directed; indeed, he could not have been restored to society without doing it; but he first poured out his thanks to God, and gave him praise for his wonderful recovery. The first duty of sinners, after they have been forgiven and have the hope of eternal life, is to prostrate themselves at the feet of their Great Benefactor, and to consecrate themselves to his service. Then let them go and show to others the evidence that they are cleansed. Let them go and mingle, like a restored leper, with their families and friends, and show by the purity and holiness of their lives how great is the mercy that has cleansed them. AB

4.                    And being asked by the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God cometh, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation. The question of the Pharisees was doubtless a covert criticism. More than three years before this Jesus had begun to say that the kingdom of heaven was at hand (Matt 4:17); and they thought that after all this preparation it was high time that the kingdom should commence. The Pharisees were looking for some manifestation of the sovereignty of God in the realm of the civil and the external, which would raise the Jewish nation to conspicuous supremacy, but they are told that the work of the kingdom is internal and spiritual (John 3:8; 18:36; Rom 10:8; Col 1:27), and that its effects are not such as can be located in space. They were seeking honors and joys, and would find contempt and sorrow (Am 5:18-20). FG

5.                 The Days of the Son of Man. When he says, Ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, he either means, ye of this nation, ye Jews, and addresses his disciples as if they should bear witness to the truth of the declaration; intimating that heavy calamities were about to fall upon them, and that they should desire in vain to have those opportunities of returning to God which now they rejected; or, he means that such should the distressed state of this people be, that the disciples would through pity and tenderness desire the removal of those punishments from them, which could not be removed because the cup of their iniquity was full. But the former is more likely to be the sense of the place. ACC
    If the Pharisees looked eagerly for a sensuous external Messianic kingdom, so also would the disciples be tempted in the days to come to cherish a somewhat similar yearning. Knowing that Jesus was to come again to rule in power and in great glory, they would, under the stress of persecution, hunger to see one of the days of his rule. This longing for the coming of the Christ is frequently expressed (Php 4:5; Tit 2:13; Jas 5:7-9; Re 22:20). FG

6.                 Son of Man: The Son of man here means the Messiah, without affirming that he was the Messiah. Son of Man is a title of Christ, assumed by himself in his humiliation, John 1:51. It was understood as a designation of the Messiah, according to Old Testament predictions, Psa. 80:17 Dan. 7:13,14; but appears to indicate especially his true humanity or oneness with the human race. It is applies to him more than eighty times in the New Testament.

7.                    For as the lightning, when it lighteneth out of the one part under the heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven. Against all this Jesus warns them, telling them that when the kingdom of heaven does at last assume a visible shape in the manifestation of its King, that manifestation will be so glorious, universal and pronounced as to be absolutely unmistakable.

8.                 Before my kingdom shall appear in that glory, I must suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. You may be seduced to think that I am going to put on a crown as a secular prince to deliver you from your enemies. Alas! I am going to a cross. I shall have a day, but this is mine enemies' day, and the power of darkness, both with reference to me and you. Look for nothing in or from this generation but to see me mocked, scourged, spit upon, buffeted, hanged upon a cross, rejected by men; these will be the issues of Divine providence as to this generation; look for better things hereafter, but look for no better from or in this generation. MP

9.                 Conditions include all the ordinary occupations and enjoyments of life. Though the antediluvian world and the cities of the plain were awfully wicked, it is not their wickedness, but their worldliness, their unbelief and indifference to the future, their unpreparedness, that is here held up as a warning. Note.--These recorded events of Old Testament history--denied or explained away nowadays by not a few--are referred to here as facts. JFB
   In these verses our Saviour declares, that Jerusalem's destruction, and the world's final desolation at the great day, would be like the destruction of the old world in the days of Noah, and like the destruction of Sodom in the days of Lot, and that both in regard of unexpectedness, and in regard of sensuality and security, as they before the flood were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage; that is, wholly given up to sensuality and debauchery; and did not know, that is, did not consider, the floods coming, until it swept them away; thus was it before the destruction of Jerusalem, and will be before the end of the world,
   Hence we learn, that as the old world perished by infidelity, security, and sensuality, so will the same sins be prevailing before the destruction of this present world.   As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of man. WBN

10.            We have the story Gen. 19:26. She looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. Lot and his family leaving Sodom, she either looked back as not believing what the angel had said, or as moved with the miserable condition of the place, or as loath to leave her estate and goods; however, in disobedience to the command of God, Luke 17:17, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. God turneth her into a pillar of salt. It is a dreadful caution against unbelief, disobedience, worldly mindedness, contempt of God's threatenings, and keeping a love for the forbidden society of lewd and wicked persons. MP

11.            This declaration was fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, in respect to the temporal life of the Christians; and it will be fulfilled at the last day in its highest sense, in repsect to the eternal life of all believers, even though they may have been slain for Christ's sake. FBN
   Shall find it. Shall find the spiritual, eternal life through loss of the life of earthly ambitions and pleasures.  Christ's aim is to impress by means of striking contrasts the true meaning of life and of love and the self-denial each calls for. TC
  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. For a comment on similar expression, FG

12.            The disciples desired to know where this manifestation and division would take place, looking upon it as a local prediction. Jesus gave a proverbial answer, the meaning of which is that sin courts and draws to itself punishment and destruction just as a carcass draws winged scavengers. Applying his words, we may say that as the corruption of the antediluvians drew upon them, the devastation of the flood, and as the crimes of the Sodomites called down upon them, the fires from heaven, and as the unbelief of the Jews of Christ's day caused the destruction of Jerusalem and the death of the nation, so the wickedness of the men of the last times will result in the ending of the world. The word translated "eagles" is generic, and included the vultures also (Pliny, Natural History, 9.3). It is likely that the Revision Committee retained the word “eagles” instead of “vultures” because of the mistaken notion of Lightfoot and others that our Lord here makes a covert allusion to the eagles which were borne upon the Roman standards. A passage similar to the latter part of this section is found at Matt 24:17-41. FG

13.            The “body” evidently refers to Jerusalem and by extension to the entire Jewish economy. For all practical purposes the nation of Israel was dead. They rejected the Messiah, had repeatedly turned away from Jehovah to serve idols, and were so laden with human traditions, they no longer deserved to be regarded as God’s people. DS

 


Lesson 65, The Pharisees’ Question about Divorce, Matt. 19:1-12; Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18

1.   What question is put to Jesus by the Pharisees?

2.   They asked if it is lawful for a man to put his wife away for “every cause.” What law were they concerned with?

3.   To what Bible passage did Jesus appeal in his answer?

4.   What is meant by “a bill (writing) of divorcement?”

5.   Was this a command given by Moses or a permission? (see verse 8 and discuss “suffered,” “permitted” NKJV.)

6.   How is the lawful marital relationship described by Jesus? (Those who lawfully marry are what?)

7.   What is meant by “put away”?

8.   What is the exception Jesus gives?

9.   What does adultery mean?

10.                       Who has the right to join two people together as husband and wife?

11.                       Who has the right to sever that relationship?

12.                       In Mark’s account, in verse 11, who is meant by the “her” in “commits adultery against her?”

13.                       Does a woman have the same right to divorce an adulterous partner as the man does?

14.                       What reaction did the disciples have to all this?

15.                       Define a “eunuch” and explain what Jesus meant about them in Matt. 19:12.


Help with Lesson 65

1.      Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? Of the different schools of the rabbis in our Saviour's time, that of Hillel taught that a man might put away his wife for any cause, because this divorce was permitted "if she found not favor in his eyes," De 24:1, and this was suitable to the current exposition of these words. On the other hand, the school of Shammai maintained that the wife was only to be put away for adultery, from the words which follow in that text, "because he hath found some uncleanness in her." The Pharisees seek a resolution of this question, "tempting him;" that is, trying to induce him to decide this question, either against the law of Moses, or else, as He must do, against the determination of one of their two famous school, and thus to render Him offensive to them. Dr. Whitby. BFB

2.      The reference to Moses in the context means the law to which they had reference was the Mosaic law. That law allowed divorce to a man on his finding of something “unseemly” – Deut. 24:1. The Jews were severely divided over the meaning of “unseemly.” (See help for number 1 above).

3.   See Gen. 17; 2:24. Note that they asked about cause for divorce (putting away) and Jesus cited Scripture dealing with the cause to stay together. Note, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). DS

4.      The Law of Moses allowed a man to divorce his wife when she found "no favor in his eyes, because he has found some uncleanness in her" (Deut 24:1). The primary purpose of this legislation was to prevent him from taking her again after she had married another man-"an abomination before the Lord" (Deut 24:4).
   This law was intended to discourage, rather than encourage, divorce. A public document known as a "certificate of divorce" was granted the woman. This permitted her the right to remarry without civil or religious sanction. Divorce could not be done privately.
   The Mosaic Law called for severe penalties for certain types of "uncleanness." Adultery carried the death penalty by stoning for the woman. If a man believed that his wife was not a virgin when he married her, he could have her judged by the elders of the city. If they found her guilty, she could be put to death (Deut 2:13-21). Although a man was allowed to divorce his wife, the wife was not allowed to divorce her husband for any reason. Legally the wife was bound to her husband as long as they both lived or until he divorced her (1 Cor 7:39). NIBD

5.      Moses did not command, but only permitted it. e)pe/treyen, and laid it down that it should not be done hastily and passionately by mere word of mouth, but in a set form, with a written document properly prepared, attested, and executed before a magistrate, in order to give time for reflection and secure proper evidence. – CGNT

6.      And they twain shall be one flesh?]  Not only meaning, that they should be considered as one body, but also as two souls in one body, with a complete union of interests, and an indissoluble partnership of life and fortune, comfort and support, desires and inclinations, joys and sorrows. ACC

7.   Put Away: a)polu=sai “To losse from, to loosen, to unbind; to let go free, to set free, to release from.” Also, “To dismiss, to send away from.” “To let go, put away, to divorce from (the marriage). ERL

8.      . . .  it is plain that Matthew represents Jesus in both places as allowing divorce for fornication as a general term (porneia) which is technically adultery (moicheia from moichaw or moicheuw). RWP
   porneuw “To commit fornication, lewdness, to play the harlot.” ERL
   “Properly of illicit sexual intercourse in general.” – HT

9.      Adultery. “To have unlawful intercourse with another’s wife; to commit adultery.” JH
   Committeth adultery. Because he is married still to his former wife, who is still his wife in spite of the divorce; so, too, if any man marries the divorced woman, he marries another man's wife. PNTC

10.                          Jesus went back to the original law propounded by God and recorded by Moses, and shows from it: 1. That marriage is a fundamental principle of social order, God having it in view from the creation, and hence making them male and female (Mark 10:6). 2. That the relation of marriage is superior even to the parental relation (Mark 10:7). 3. That by it the pair become one flesh, so that a man is as much joined to his wife as he is to his own body (Mark 10:8). Now, since a man can only be separated from his parental relations or from his own body by death, which is an act of God, so it follows that the superior or similar relation of marriage can only be dissolved by the act of God. Thus Jesus draws the conclusion that no man or body of men, whether acting in private, civil, or ecclesiastical capacity, can dissolve marriage otherwise than according to the decrees of God. FG

11.                       (Same help as no. 10).

12.                          The phrase "committeth adultery against her" means adultery against his wife -- not the woman he married after putting his wife away. The "her" is the "she herself" whom her husband sinfully divorces (verse 11)_ "She herself' is not the second wife. Neither is the "her" of verse 11.
   Verse 11 deals with a man who divorces his .wife and marries another woman. It is "his" wife that is divorced and Zt Is "he" who then will "marry another" and the "her" against whom adultery is committed cannot be the "another" -- the second wife.
   Verse 12 reverses the situation. Now "she" commits adultery against "her" husband by doing the same thing to him. Things are reversed. The "she" that commits adultery (verse 12) is the "her" against whom the husband committed adultery (verse 11). The "she" in verse 12 is not the second woman whom the man sinfully married. Therefore, the second woman is not the "her" against whom a husband committed adultery. DS

13.                        And if a woman shall put away her husband]  From this it appears that in some cases, the wife assumed the very same right of divorcing her husband that the husband had of divorcing his wife; and yet this is not recorded any where in the Jewish laws, as far as I can find, that the women had such a right. Indeed, were the law which gives the permission all on one side, it would be unjust and oppressive; but where it is equally balanced, the right being the same on each side, it must serve as a mutual check, and prevent those evils it is intended to cure. Among the Jews there are several instances of the women having taken other men, even during the life of their own husbands.  Nor do we find any law by which they were punished.  Divorce never should be permitted but on this ground-"The parties are miserable together, and they are both perfectly willing to be separated." Then, if every thing else be proper, let them go different ways, that they may not ruin both themselves and their hapless offspring. ACC

14.                          If the case of the man is so with his wife, it is not expedient to marry. The disciples illustrate not only the hardness of heart of which Jesus spoke, but also the wisdom of allowing divorce under the law of Moses. FG

15.                       Eunuch: In the courts of oriental monarchs, the charge of the female and interior apartments is committed to eunuchs.  Hence the word came to signify merely a court officer.  Such were Potiphar, Joseph's master, Gen. 39:17, and the treasurer of Queen Candace, Acts 8:27.  Our Savior speaks of some who "have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake;" that is, who have voluntarily abstained from marriage, in order more effectually to labor for the kingdom of God, Matt 19:12; and the apostle Paul commends the same abstinence in certain exceptional cases in time of persecution, 1 Cor 7:26,27. ATSD

 

 


Lesson 66, Jesus and Little Children, Matt. 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17

 

1.   For what purpose were people bringing children to Jesus?

2.   What could have motivated people to want Jesus to touch their children?

3.   Why would the disciples rebuke Jesus for allowing this?

4.   With what was Jesus moved when he was rebuked? Why do you feel this was so?

5.   What does “suffer the little children to come unto me”?

6.   What does “of such is the kingdom of God?”

7.   Does this mean infants and small children are brought into the kingdom by “Christening” or the practice of sprinkling water on them for baptism? If not, why not?

8.   What is meant by receiving the kingdom as a little child?

9.   Think of the sight of a small child held lovingly in Jesus’ arms. How could this be a sequel to what Jesus had just said about keeping marriage together?

 


Help With Lesson 66

 

1.      And they were bringing unto him little children. According to Buxtorf, children were often brought to the presidents of the synagogue in order that they might pray over them. The prayers of a good man in our behalf have always been regarded as a blessing; no wonder, then, that the mothers of these children desired the prayers of Jesus in behalf of their little ones. It was customary to put the hand upon the person prayed for, probably following the patriarchal precedent (Gen. 48:14,15). Compare Acts 6:6. FG
   These are termed by Luke, Luke 18:15, ta brefh, infants, very young children; and it was on this account, probably, that the disciples rebuked the parents, thinking them too young to receive good. ACC

2.      It is quite possible that news of making contact with Jesus had healing powers. “And behold, a woman, who had an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: for she said within herself, If I do but touch his garment, I shall be made whole” (Matt. 9:20-21). The same is indicated in Mark 6:56; 8:22. It was a common practice for parents to take their children to the Rabbis to receive a blessing. Jesus’ fame at this point attracted folks with children to come to him for blessing, especially for their children. In a much more spiritual application, bring our children to Jesus in his church today is the greatest thing parents can do for their offspring. DS

3.      Rebuked them (e)peti/mhsan au)toi=$). No doubt people did often crowd around Jesus for a touch of his hand and his blessing. The disciples probably felt that they were doing Jesus a kindness. How little they understood children and Jesus. It is a tragedy to make children feel that they are in the way at home and at church. These men were the twelve apostles and yet had no vision of Christ's love for little children. The new child world of today is due directly to Jesus. RWP
   The disciples rebuked them. That is, reproved them, or told them it was improper. This they did, probably, either
(1.) because they thought they were too young; or,
(2.) because they thought they would be troublesome to their Master. AB

4.      But when Jesus saw it, he was moved with indignation, and said unti them, Suffer the little children to come unto me; forbid them not: for to such belongeth the kingdom of God. But Jesus was indignant at their officious interference, and directed that the children be brought to him, declaring at the same time that the kingdom of heaven be composed, not of little children, but of such as are childlike in their nature. FG
   Was much displeased. Because, first, it was a pleasure to him to receive and bless little children; and, secondly, they were doing what they were not commanded to do--interfering in a case where it was evidently improper. AB
   He was moved with indignation: The word is ingressive aorist, became indignant, and is a strong word of deep emotion (from agan and achthomai, to feel pain). RWP

5.      Suffer: signifies "to permit, suffer," VEDBW. Literally, "leave alone." Compare Mark 14:6; 15:36; Luke 13:8. Sir J. Cheke: "Let these children alone." VWSN
   Suffer the little children to come unto me (&Afete paidi/a e&rxesqai pro/$ mh\). Mark has the infinitive erchesthai (come) not in Matthew, but in Luke. Surely it ought to be a joy to parents to bring their children to Jesus, certainly to allow them to come, but to hinder their coming is a crime. There are parents who will have to give answer to God for keeping their children away from Jesus. RWP

6.      Twice "kingdom" is used of the redeemed (Rev. 1:6; 5:9). "The kingdom of God" and "the kingdom of the heavens" are linguistic variations of the same idea. Jewish idiom often substituted a suitable term for deity (Luke 15:21; Matt. 21:25; Mark 14:61; I Macc. 3:50; Pirke Aboth 1:3). Matthew preserved the Semitic idiom while the other Gospels render it into idiomatic Greek. See Matt. 19:23-24 for their identity of meaning.
   The kingdom of God is also the kingdom of Christ. Jesus speaks of the kingdom of the Son of Man (Matt. 13:41; 16:28), "my kingdom" (Luke 22:30; John 18:36). See "his kingdom" (Luke 1:33; II Tim. 4:1); "thy kingdom" (Matt. 20:31; Luke 23:42; Heb. 1:8); "the kingdom of his beloved Son" (Col. 1:13); "his heavenly kingdom" (II Tim. 4:18); "the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Pet. 1:11). God has given the kingdom to Christ (Luke 22:29), and when the Son has accomplished his rule, he will restore the kingdom to the Father (I Cor. 15:24). Therefore it is, "the kingdom of Christ and of God" (Eph. 5:5). The king­dom of the world is to become "the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ" (Rev. 11:15). There is no tension between "the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ" (Rev. 12:10).
   Children have the nature and heart that must characterize all who become subjects to Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords. SN

7.      Those who have construed this as commanding or even permitting either infant baptism or an infant church membership, have abused the text. They are indebted for these ideas, not to the Bible, but to their creeds. The incident told in this section is a fitting sequel to the discourse on divorce. The little children, the offspring of happy wedlock, and a source of constant joy and pleasure to faithful husbands and wives, serve by their presence to correct false impressions as to supposed inconvenience of an indissoluble marriage bond. The sight of them in the arms of Jesus could not fail to leave a good impression with reference to the married life. FG
   Baptism is an act of obedience prompted by faith (Mark. 16:16). Only those capable of professing their faith are subjects of baptism. It is a personal choice and not something forced or chosen by others. Thus infants, while not guilty of any sin, do not have that capacity to choose to be baptized or to express faith. Therefore what Jesus says here in no way justifies the erroneous conclusion that he endorsed infant baptism. DS

8.      As a little child (hôs paidion). How does a little child receive the kingdom of God? The little child learns to obey its parents simply and uncomplainingly. There are some new psychologists who argue against teaching obedience to children. The results have not been inspiring. Jesus here presents the little child with trusting and simple and loving obedience as the model for adults in coming into the kingdom. Jesus does not here say that children are in the kingdom of God because they are children. RWP (Receiving the kingdom with a childlike spirit is the requisite for admission into the kingdom of God.)
   As a little child. With the temper and spirit of a child teachable, mild, humble, and free from prejudice and obstinacy. AB

9.      How happy would it be if all parents thus felt it to be their privilege to present their children to Christ! The question with a parent should be, not whether he ought to present them by prayer, but whether he may do it. And so, too, the question respecting infant baptism is not so much whether a parent OUGHT to devote his children to God in this ordinance, as whether he MAY do it. It is an inestimable privilege to do it; not a matter of mere stern and iron-handed duty; and a parent with right feelings will come to God with his children in every way, and seek his blessing on them in the beginning of their journey of life. Our children are given to us but for a little time. They are in a world of danger, sin, and woe. They are exposed to temptation on every hand. If God be not their Friend, they have no friend that can aid them in the day of adversity, or keep them from the snares of the destroyer. If He is their Friend, they have nothing to fear. The proper expression, then, of parental feeling, is to come and offer them early to God. A parent should ask only the privilege of doing it. He should seek God's favour as the best inheritance of his children; and if a parent may devote his offspring to God if he may daily seek his blessing on them by prayer--it is all that he should ask. With proper feelings, he will rush to the throne of grace, and daily seek the protection and guidance of God for his children amidst the temptations and snares of an ungodly world, and implore Him to be their guide when the parent shall be laid in the silent grave.
   So, children who have been devoted to God; who have been the daily objects of a father's prayers and a mother's tears; who have been again and again presented to Jesus in infancy and childhood; are under the most sacred obligations to live to God. They should never forget that a parent sought the favour of God as the chief blessing; and having been offered to Jesus by prayer and baptism in their first days on earth, they should make it their great aim to be prepared to meet him when he shall come in the clouds of heaven. AB

 

Lesson 67, A Rich Young Ruler, Matt. 19:16-29; Mark 10:17-30; Luke 18:18-30

1.   What does Mark say about the ruler who came to Jesus?

2.   What question did he ask Jesus?

3.   What is eternal life?

4.   How did Jesus answer his question?

5.   In calling Jesus good, what application did Jesus make and/or imply about himself?

6.   The ruler said, “All these things have I observed from my youth up.” What does this tell one about the man? (Can one obtain eternal life now by keeping the commandments?)

7.   What did the ruler lack?

8.   What was the response of the ruler?

9.   The three different reports of this show the man was a _________ and he was _______________ and very ____________. Give the passages from each report.

10.                       What did Jesus say to his disciples about riches?

11.                       What verse shows that Jesus loved him?

12.                       Jesus said it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a wealthy person to go to heaven? Please explain your understanding of this.


Help with Lesson 67,

1.      There ran one to him, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? The action of this young man in running and kneeling shows that he was deeply anxious to receive an answer to his question, and also that he had great reverence for Jesus. He seemed to think, however, that heaven could be gained by performing some one meritorious act. He made the mistake of thinking that eternal life is a reward for doing rather than for being, a mistake from which the Roman Catholic Church developed the doctrine of "works of supererogation." FG
   There came one running. Mark adds that the young man came "running," and "kneeled" in the way. He alone tells us that "Jesus beholding him loved him" [Mark 10:21]. PNTC

2.      Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? An inquiry which had been put to him before, but this time it came from one who thought that he had already done all that would entitle him to eternal bliss.  The question was not "What is the way of salvation?" but, "How can I merit heaven?" SDC
   Eternal life was an article of his creed, though then denied by the Sadducees, a prevailing party: he thinks it a thing possible, that he may inherit eternal life, looking upon it not only as set before us, but as offered to us; he asks, What shall he do now that he may be happy for ever. Most men enquire for good to be had in this world (Ps 4:6), any good; he asks for good to be done in this world, in order to the enjoyment of the greatest good in the other world; not, Who will make us to see good? MH

3.   Eternal Life:   A person's new and redeemed existence in Jesus Christ which is granted by God as a gift to all believers. Eternal life refers to the quality or character of our new existence in Christ as well as the unending character of this life. The phrase, everlasting life, is found in the Old Testament only once (Dan 12:2). But the idea of eternal life is implied by the prophets in their pictures of the glorious future promised to God's people.
   The majority of references to eternal life in the New Testament are oriented to the future. The emphasis, however, is upon the blessed character of the life that will be enjoyed endlessly in the future. Jesus made it clear that eternal life comes only to those who make a total commitment to Him (Matt 19:16-21; Luke 18:18-22). Paul's letters refer to eternal life relatively seldom, and again primarily with a future rather than a present orientation (Rom 5:21; 6:22; Gal 6:8).
   The phrase, eternal life, appears most often in the Gospel of John and the Epistle of 1 John. John emphasizes eternal life as the present reality and the present possession of the Christian (John 3:36; 5:24; 1 John 5:13). John declares that the Christian believer has already begun to experience the blessings of the future even before their fullest expression: "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent" (John 17:3).NIBD

4.    

5.      And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good save one, even God. To the address of the young man, namely: "Good Master" (Mark 10:17), Jesus replies, "Why callest," etc., and to his question, "What good thing," etc. Jesus replies, "Why askest," etc. The ruler using the inconsiderate, conventional language of the thoughtless, had taken an unwarrantable freedom with the word "good." Jesus shows that if his language had been used sincerely it would have committed him to a declaration of great faith, for he had addressed Jesus by a title which belongs only to God, and he had asked Jesus the question concerning that of which God alone was fitted to speak. As the ruler had not used this language sincerely Jesus challenged his words. The challenge showed the ruler that he had unwittingly confessed the divinity of Jesus, and thus startled him into a consideration of the marvelous fact which his own mouth had stated. This is done because the young man would need to believe in the divinity of Jesus to endure the test to which he was about to be subjected (1 John 5:5). FG

6.      Thou knowest the commandments. The ruler still sought for some prominent commandment, but was referred to the last six of the Decalogue, these being at that time more frequently violated than the first four. For the last commandment, "Thou shalt not covet," Jesus substitutes its equivalent, "Do not defraud," and "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," the last being a summary of all the six (Ro 13:9). FG

7.      Go, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. The command to sell all is not a general one, but a special precept needed in this case, 1. To dispel the ruler's self-deception. On the negative side his character was good, but on the positive it was deficient. He had done his neighbor no harm, but he had also done him very little good. 2. To show impartiality. The invitation of Jesus shows that the ruler desired to be in some manner a disciple, and hence he is subjected to the same test which the other disciples had accepted, and of which Peter soon after speaks (Mark 10:28). Paul also was rich in self-righteousness like this man, but cheerfully sacrificed all, that he might follow Christ (Php 3:6-9). The reference to treasure in heaven and the invitation to follow Christ tested the ruler's obedience to the first four commandments of the Decalogue as condensed in the great summary or first commandment. (Matt 22:37,38.) Though the ruler perhaps did not fully realize it, those who heard the conversation must afterwards have been impressed with the great truth that the ruler was called upon to make his choice whether he would love Christ or the world, whether he would serve God or mammon. The whole scene forms an illustration of the doctrine expressed by Paul, that by the law can no flesh be justified (Ro 3:20), for perfection is required of those who approach God along that pathway; those, therefore, who have done all, still need Christ to lead them. FG

8.      Teacher, all these things have I observed from my youth. He had kept these commandments as far as he knew his heart and as far as he understood their import. FG

9.   Luke 18:18 – Matt. 219:20 - Luke 18:23

10.                           A rich man shall hardly enter]  That is, into the spirit and privileges of the Gospel in this world, and through them into the kingdom of glory.  Earthly riches are a great obstacle to salvation; because it is almost impossible to possess them, and not to set the heart upon them; and they who love the world have not the love of the Father in them.  1Jo 2:15. To be rich, therefore, is in general a great misfortune: but what rich man can be convinced of this?  It is only God himself who, by a miracle of mercy, can do this.  Christ himself affirms the difficulty of the salvation of a rich man, with an oath, verily; but who of the rich either hears or believes him! ACC

11.                          Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. – Mark 10:21
   Jesus--loved him. What occurred afterwards showed that the young man did not love the Saviour, or was not a true disciple. So that this expression denotes, simply, natural affection; or means that Jesus was pleased with his amiableness, his morality, and his external regard for the law of God. At the same time, this was entirely consistent with deep sorrow that he would not give his heart to God, and with deep abhorrence of such a love of the world as to blind the mind to the beauty of true religion, and to lead to the rejection of the Messiah, and the destruction of the soul. AB

12.                          It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. The needle's eye here is that of the literal needle, and the expression was a proverbial one to indicate that which was absolutely impossible. Lord George Nugent (1845-6) introduced the explanation that Jesus referred to the two gates of a city, the large one for beast of burden, and the small one for foot-passengers. This smaller one is now called "The Needle's Eye," but there is no evidence whatever that it was so called in our Saviour's time. In fact, as Canon Farrar observes, we have every reason to believe that this smaller gate received its name in late years because of the efforts of those who were endeavoring to soften this saying of Jesus. FG
   A proverbial expression denoting literally a thing impossible, but figuratively, very difficult. JFB

 

Lesson 68, The Death and Resurrection Prophesied, Matt. 20:17-19; Mark 10:32-34; Luke 18:31-34

1.   Where was Jesus going at the time described in these passages?

2.   On the way what did he start teaching his disciples?

3.   To whom did he say he would be delivered?

4.   Whom does Jesus say would condemn him to death?

5.   To whom does he say they would deliver him and for what purpose?

6.   Luke’s account says why this was to happen to our Savior. What is it? (Luke 18:31).

7.   According to Luke, did the disciples understand all this?

8.   What does it mean when it is said, “this saying was hid from them?”

9.   How does he describe his resurrection from the dead?

10.                       How could he have known all this so accurately?

 


Help with Lesson 68

1.      And they were on the way, going up to Jerusalem. Dean Mansel sees in these words an evidence that Jesus had just crossed the Jordan and was beginning the actual ascent up to Jerusalem. If so, he was in Judaea. But such a construction strains the language. Jesus had been going up to Jerusalem ever since he started in Galilee, and he may now have still be in Peraea. The parable of the vineyard (Matt 20:1-16) which closed the preceding section was likely to have been spoken before he crossed the Jordan, for Peraea abounded in vineyards. FG

2.      The Son of man shall be betrayed]  Or, will be delivered up.  This is the third time that our Lord informed his disciples of his approaching sufferings and death.  This was a subject of the utmost importance, and it was necessary they should be well prepared for such an awful event. ACC

3.      Shall deliver him to the Gentiles. That is, because they have not the right of inflicting capital punishment, they will deliver him to those who have--the Roman authority. The Gentiles here mean Pontius Pilate and the Roman soldiers. See Matt 27:2,27-30. AB

4.      The Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests and scribes; and they shall condemn him to death. Chief Priests and Scribes. The high priest, and the learned men who composed the Sanhedrim, or great council of the nation. He was thus betrayed by Judas, Matt 26:15. He was delivered to the chief priests and scribes, Matt 26:57. AB

5.      And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good save one, even God. To the address of the young man, namely: "Good Master" (Mark 10:17), Jesus replies, "Why callest," etc., and to his question, "What good thing," etc. Jesus replies, "Why askest," etc. The ruler using the inconsiderate, conventional language of the thoughtless, had taken an unwarrantable freedom with the word "good." Jesus shows that if his language had been used sincerely it would have committed him to a declaration of great faith, for he had addressed Jesus by a title which belongs only to God, and he had asked Jesus the question concerning that of which God alone was fitted to speak. As the ruler had not used this language sincerely Jesus challenged his words. The challenge showed the ruler that he had unwittingly confessed the divinity of Jesus, and thus startled him into a consideration of the marvelous fact which his own mouth had stated. This is done because the young man would need to believe in the divinity of Jesus to endure the test to which he was about to be subjected (1 John 5:5). FG

6.   All the things that are written through the prophets shall be accomplished. Jesus on his final journey to Jerusalem foretold to his disciples his coming death and resurrection.  It grieved and perplexed them because such an ending to our Lord's life dashed their Messianic hopes and thoughts and left him an apparent failure. . . . It was in some respects strange that the twelve did not understand this prediction.  It was the third time Jesus had told them about his coming passion.  His words were too clear to be mistaken. TC

7.      And they understood none of these things; and this saying was hid from them, and they perceived not the things that were said. So fixed and ineradicable was their false conception of the Messianic reign that they could not believe that what Jesus said could be literally true (Matt 16:22). Only later did the full significance of his saying dawn upon them (John 12:16-14:26). FG

8.      But Luke saith, they understood none of these things; that is, surely they believed none of them, the saying was hid from them. The words were plain enough, but they could not reconcile them to their reason, they could not conceive how he who was the Messiah could die; nor get over the prejudice of his being a temporal prince, and exercising a kingdom in this world. For his rising again the third day, they could not believe it. MP
   They understood none of these things, as had been the case before, Luke 9:43-45; and St. Mark tells us (Mark 9:32) that “they were afraid to ask Him.” It was only at a later period that the full significance of all these words dawned on them (John 12:16). We must learn, as Pascal says, to love divine truths before we understand them. The Apostles refused to admit the plain meaning of these clear statements (Matt. 16:27). CGNT

9.      See Hosea 6:2; and let the reader observe that the passage should be read thus: In the third day he will raise HIM up, (wnmqy) and we shall live before him: his resurrection shall be the pledge, token, and cause of ours. ACC.
   The third day. The day the third. In Matt 20:19 it is "the third day" while in Mark 10:34 "after three days" occurs in the same sense, which see. RWP

10.                          Now are we sure that thou knowest all things] Is not the following the meaning of the disciples? We believe that thou art not only the Messiah who camest out from God, but that thou art that God who searchest the heart and triest the reins, and needest not to be asked in order to make thee acquainted with the necessities of thy creatures; for thou perfectly knowest their wants, and art infinitely disposed to relieve them. (See John 16:30). ACC


Lesson 69, A Wealthy Publican (Zacchaeus) and a Parable,
Luke 19:1-28

1.   What are some of the things that distinguish Zacchaeus as a publican? Why did he climb into a tree?

2.   What does “Publican” mean?

3.   When Jesus saw him, what did he tell Zacchaeus to do? Why?

4.   What was the reaction of the crowd around Jesus?

5.   How did Zacchaeus reply to the crowd? See Exo. 22:1-4 and Num. 5:7 and apply it to his reply.

6.   What did Jesus announce to the crowd about Zacchaeus? See verse 9.

7.   What mission does Jesus announce at this time? See verse 10.

8.   In the parable beginning in verse 12, whom does the nobleman represent?

9.   What does going away into a far country to receive a kingdom represent?

10.                       What did he give to his servants before he left? What do you see in this as an application to the servants?

11.                       How did the servants react to the nobleman? What do you see in this in reference to Jesus?

12.                       Upon his return what did he call for from his servants? Tell what each of them had done while he was away.

13.                       How did the nobleman deal with the last servant who came to him?

14.                       What does it mean concerning the kingdom of God that those who hated the nobleman and would not allow him to reign over them, that they should be slain?


Help with Lesson 69

1.      Chief among the publicans] Either a farmer-general of the taxes, who had subordinate collectors under him: or else the most respectable and honorable man among that class at Jericho.
   He was rich.] And therefore the more unlikely to pay attention to an impoverished Messiah, preaching a doctrine of universal mortification and self-denial. ACC
   Little of stature. He hath a great curiosity to see him, and runs before to find out a convenient station; but perceiving the crowd was great, and knowing that he was too low of stature to look over all their heads so well as to satisfy himself, he climbeth up upon a sycamore tree, by the way side in which he knew that he must pass. MP

2.   Publican: The Roman Government did not collect its own taxes. Instead of doing so, it divided the empire into districts, and sold the privilege of collecting the taxes in these districts to certain capitalists and men of rank. The capitalists employed agents to do the actual collecting. These agents were usually natives of the districts in which they lived, and those in Palestine were called publicans. Their masters urged and encouraged them to make the most fraudulent and vexatious exactions. They systematically overcharged the people and often brought false accusation to obtain money by blackmail. These publicans were justly regarded by the Jews as apostates and traitors, and were classed with the lowest and most abandoned characters. The system was bad, but its practitioners were worse. The Greeks regarded the word "publican" as synonymous with "plunderer." Suidas pictures the life of a publican as "unrestrained plunder, unblushing greed, unreasonable pettifogging, shameless business." The Turks today collect by this Roman method. Being publicly condemned, and therefore continually kept conscious of their sin, the publicans repented more readily than the self-righteous Pharisees. Conscience is one of God's greatest gifts, and he that destroys it must answer for it. FG

3.   Abide at thy house. Remain there, or put up with him. This was an honour which Zaccheus did not expect.  The utmost, it seems, which he aimed at was to see Jesus; but, instead of that, Jesus proposed to remain with him, and to give him the benefit of his personal instruction. It is but one among a thousand instances where the Saviour goes, in bestowing mercies, far beyond the desert, the desire, or the expectation of men; and it is not improper to learn from this example that solicitude to behold the Saviour will not pass unnoticed by him, but will meet with his warm approbation, and be connected with his blessing. Jesus was willing to encourage efforts to come to him, and his benevolence prompted him to gratify the desires of the man who was solicitous to see him. He does not disdain the mansions of the rich any more than he does the dwelling-places of the poor, provided there be a humble heart; and he did not suppose there was less need of his presence in order to save in the house of the rich man than among the poor. He set an example to all his ministers, and was not afraid or ashamed to proclaim his gospel amid wealth. He was not awed by external splendour or grandeur. AB

4.   They all murmured. That is, the Pharisees who were here, were highly discontented that Christ went to a publican's house, whom they looked upon as the worst of men; their eye was evil, because Christ’s was good. Whither should the physician go, but to the sick? The whole need him not.  However, the envious Pharisees censure and condemn him for it. Lord, who can hope to escape the aspersions of censorious tongues, while spotless innocence, and perfect holiness, falls under the lash of them? It is sufficient for the servant to be as the master. WBN

5.     And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord, Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have wrongfully exacted aught of any man, I restore fourfold. Zacchaeus stood to give emphasis and publicity to his words. He does not mean that he is in the habit of giving half his goods to the poor, but that he does so now, immediately, on the spot, without delay. He does not merely promise to do so hereafter, or to make such a provision in his will. The laws of restoration in cases of theft or fraud will be found at Ex 22:1-4; Nu 5:7. The proposition of Zacchaeus to restore fourfold suggests that the bulk of his wealth had not been gained in dishonest ways, for if so he would not have been able to make such a restitution. FG

6.      Today is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. The visit of Jesus had converted Zacchaeus and brought salvation to his house. Though as yet Jesus was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt 15:24), and was not proclaiming salvation to the Gentiles, yet he could consistently receive Zacchaeus, for, though an outcast publican, he had not so forfeited his sonship in Abraham as to bar him from this right. He was one of the "lost sheep," the very class to which Jesus was sent. FG

7.      For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost. A publican was looked upon as a lost man, who had forfeited his privileges as a son of Abraham; but Jesus restored the lost one, and raised him to a higher position than that which he had occupied by birth.  Sin has not lost us so much as Jesus gives us. SDC
   The great errand that Christ came into the world upon, it was to seek and to save lost sinners: this he does by his blood, by his word, by his Spirit, and by his rod. WBN

8.      A certain nobleman] In the following parable there are two distinct morals intended; let it be viewed in these two points of light. 1. The behavior of the citizens to the nobleman; and, 2. The behavior of his own servants to him. 1. By the behavior of the citizens, and their punishment, (Luke 19:14,27,) we are taught that the Jews, who were the people of Christ, would reject him, and try to prevent his reigning over them in his spiritual kingdom, and would for that crime be severely punished by the destruction of their state. And this moral is all that answers to the introductory words, Luke 19:11. And they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. 2. The other moral extends itself through the whole of the parable, viz. that the disciples of Christ, who are his servants; and who made a good improvement of the favors granted them by the Gospel, should be rewarded in proportion to the improvement made under the means of grace. This latter moral is all that is intended by Matthew in Matt 25:14, &c., who mentions this parable as spoken by Christ after his triumphant entry into Jerusalem; though Luke has here placed that event after the parable. ACC

9.      A certain nobleman went into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. Those present were looking for the crowning of Jesus at Jerusalem, but he was to ascend into that far country called heaven and was there to receive the kingdom of the earth (Acts 2:32,33; Matt 28:18), and his return in earthly majesty is yet to take place (1Co 11:26).FG

10.                          Ten pounds. The word translated pound here denotes the Hebrew minah, which was equal to about 15 dollars, or œ3. The pounds here denote the talents which God has given to his servants on earth to improve, and for which they must give an account in the day of judgment. AB
   Ten pounds; the gifts and opportunities of doing good with which he intrusts men. Occupy; use in a right manner.

11.                          But his citizens hated him, and sent an ambassage after him, saying, We will not that this man reign over us. In addition to the servants, this nobleman had citizens, or subjects who owed him respect and reverence pending the confirmation of his kingdom, and homage and obedience after that confirmation. But their hatred of him led them to oppose his confirmation, saying, "We will not," etc. These citizens represented the Jews, and Theophylact well observes how near the Jews came to repeating these very words of rejection when they said to Pilate, "We have no king but Caesar . . . Write not, The King of the Jews" (Joh 19:15,21). FG

12.                       And it came to pass, when he was come back again, etc. Thus Jesus shall call us to account for our stewardship (2 Cor 5:10), and some, despite the long absence of their Lord, and the rebellion of the citizens, will be found to have been faithful. FG

13.                          Then wherefore gavest thou not my money into the bank, and I at my coming should have required it with interest? The word here translated "bank" means the table of the money-changer and is so translated at Matt 21:12; Mark 11:15, and Joh 2:15. It would appear from this passage that the money-changers were willing to borrow and pay some rate of interest. The bank, therefore, was not a thing incorporated and watched by the government, but merely an individual with whom money might be secure or not, according to his personal honesty. Our present banking system has been the slow growth of many centuries. The lesson taught is that we should work with others if we have not self-confidence enough to work alone. FG
   This servant had already told two lies. First he said the master was an austere or harsh man. This is a lie for the Lord is merciful and gracious. Next he called his master a thief because he reaped where he did not sow.  Finally the master said to him that why did you not add insult to injury and loan the money out at interest so you could call your master a "usurer" too!  If the servant had done this, his master would have been responsible for his servant's actions and guilty of usury. GBN

14.                          But these mine enemies, that would not that I should reign over them bring hither, and slay them before me. See Luke 19:14. A reference in the first instance to the Jews who were citizens of Christ's kingdom and who were justly destroyed for rejecting him when he ascended his throne. A reference in the second instance to all the inhabitants of the globe who are all in his kingdom and who shall be destroyed at his coming if they have rejected him. It is a fearful thing to contemplate the destruction of sinners, but it is more fearful to think of sin, rebellion and uncleanness being tolerated forever. FG

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