Handbook of Luke
Jesus the Son of Man
The special emphasis of Luke is the Humanity of Jesus. Representing Jesus as the Son of God, Luke features His Kindness toward the Weak, the Suffering and the Outcast.
While each of the Gospels was intended ultimately for All Mankind, Matthew seems to have had in immediate view the Jews; Mark, the Romans; and Luke, the Greeks.
Jewish civilization had been built around their Scriptures. Therefore Matthew appeals to their Scriptures.
Roman civilization gloried in the idea of Government, Power. Therefore Mark calls particular attention to the Miracles of Jesus as exhibiting His Superhuman Power.
Greek civilization represented Culture, Philosophy, Wisdom, Reason, Beauty, Education. Therefore, to appeal to the Thoughtful, Cultured, Philosophic Greek Mind, Luke, in a complete, orderly, and classical story, which has been called the "Most Beautiful Book Ever Written," depicts the Glorious Beauty and Perfection of Jesus, the
Ideal, Universal Man.
Then, to these three Gospels, John added his, to make it clear and unmistakable that Jesus was GOD in Human Form.
His name is mentioned only three times in the New Testament:
Colossians 4:14, where he is called the "Beloved Physician," Philemon 24, where he is called Paul's "Fellow-Worker"; and II Timothy 4: 11, indicating that he was with Paul in the dark hours of approaching martyrdom. In all three passages mention is made also of Mark, indicating that Mark and Luke were companion workers.
In the latter part of the book of Acts, the varying use of the pronouns "they" and "we" indicate that Luke was with Paul from Troas to Philippi, in the early part of Paul's Second Missionary Journey and that, about 6 years later he re-joined Paul at Philippi
at the close of Paul's Third Missionary Journey, and was with him, through his Imprisonment in Caesarea and Rome, to the end.
Quite commonly it is thought that Luke wrote his Gospel about the year A.D. 60, while Paul was in prison in Caesarea; and followed it with the Book of Acts during Paul's imprisonment in Rome the next two years; for the two books, addressed to the same person, are, in a sense, two volumes of one work.
Luke's two year sojourn in Caesarea, A.D. 58-60, afforded him abundant opportunity to get, firsthand, from original companions of Jesus, and first founders of the Church, accurate information concerning all details.
Caesarea was only a few miles from Jerusalem. Jesus' Mother may have been still alive, at John's home in Jerusalem. Luke may have spent many precious hours with her, listening to her reminiscences of her Wondrous Son. And James, Bishop of Jerusalem, Jesus' own Brother, could have supplied Luke with full details of the whole
story of Jesus' Life.
The "Synoptic Problem"
Matthew, Mark and Luke are called the Synoptic Gospels, because they give the same general view of Christ's Life, recording, to some extent, the same things. "Their authorship, mutual relations, and possible connection with a common original" is called the "Synoptic Problem."
By some it is thought that Mark's was the earliest of the Gospels, and that Matthew enlarged Mark's, and that Luke made use of both. Others think that Matthew wrote first, and that Mark made an abridged edition of Matthew's Gospel.
It is not necessary to think that Matthew, Mark or Luke quoted from or in any way made use of the others. The events of Jesus' Life and His Sayings were repeated orally for years by the Apostles and others, and were in common circulation among Christians. They were the substance of the daily preaching of the Apostles.
It is likely that, from the beginning, many of these things were written down, some perhaps in a mere fragmentary way, others in more complete form. And when Matthew, Mark and Luke wrote their Gospels, they chose that which suited their purpose from the fund of knowledge oral or written which was the common possession
of and in general circulation among Christians, to much of which Matthew had been an eyewitness, and which they themselves had told times without number.
Many Narratives (1), were already in existence, about Jesus. Luke carefully and painstakingly examined all Authentic Records, and consulted all available Eyewitnesses and original Companions of Jesus, that he might sift our the Exact Facts.
Theophilus (3), to whom this Gospel and the book of Acts are addressed, or dedicated, was a Roman Official of high rank, as indicated by the title Most Excellent. It is not known who he was. Possibly, he may have been one of Luke's converts, in Philippi or Antioch. It may be that he bore the expense of publication of Luke's two books, in having copies made for many Churches.
Only Matthew and Luke tell of the Birth and Childhood of Jesus, Luke more fully than Matthew, each narrating different incidents.
(For chronological arrangement of these incidents woven together see under Luke 2:39.)
The EVENT on which Old Testament prophecy converged was at hand, arrival of Messiah. The closing Old Testament utterance was that Elijah would re-appear as his harbinger (Malachi 4:5-6). An angel now notifies the saintly old priest that his child, yet to be born, is the one to whom that prophecy pointed (17). Jesus so interpreted
the passage (Matthew 11:14). John another Elijah.
General Expectation of the Messiah
Josephus, Tacitus and Suetonius state that there was general expectancy over the East that the time for the Messiah to appear was at hand. It was based, partly at least, on Daniel's "70 Weeks' Prophecy." (Daniel 9:24-27). By the popular interpretation, the 70 weeks was understood to mean 70 sevens of years, that is, 490. The decree to
rebuild Jerusalem, from which they were to be reckoned (Daniel 9:15), was issued 457 B.C. Hence the time was about up. The Son of God was about to appear.
The Glow of the Supernatural
It was the evident intention of the writers to show that Christianity had a supernatural origin. Long foretold, it did not take place without heavenly evidence that the Event of the Ages was at hand. He was born of a Virgin. His forerunner was born of a barren woman who was past the age for child-bearing. Angels announced it to Zacharias, to Mary, to Joseph, and to the shepherds; and saved the child from being murdered. Wise-Men were supernaturally guided from distant lands to pay their homage, and to provide means for the child's flight from Herod.
This is commonly called the Annunciation. The Messiah was to be born in David's family. It had been a thousand years since David, and there had come to be thousands of families of Davidic descent. God, in looking them over, to choose the one through whom His Son should come into the world, passed up the ruling families around
Jerusalem, as His eye rested on a humble woman, in a lowly home, in an obscure village of the distant hills of Galilee. What a woman she must have been, to be thus chosen of God to impart and mold the human nature of His Son! And how her heart must have thrilled at the angelic message that she was to be the mother of the Divine
King of the Ages!
The Virgin Birth
Luke is thought to have gotten his story of Jesus' birth directly from Mary herself. Matthew probably got his from Joseph. Both state plainly, explicitly, unmistakably and unequivocally that Jesus was born of a Virgin. From the beginning, in unbroken sequence, it has been held as a tenet of the Church, till the rise of modern criticism. If we believe in the Deity of Jesus and his Resurrection from the dead, what is gained by discrediting the Virgin Birth? The Resurrection is the greatest of miracles. If we do not believe that, why concern ourselves with Christ at all? If we do believe it, then why carp at the other parts of the miraculous story? His supernatural exit from the world pre-supposes a supernatural entrance into the world. To call Jesus an illegitimate child is nothing less than blasphemy.
Mary and Elisabeth were kin (1:36), "cousins" (AV), "kinswoman" (RV). Elisabeth's home city is not named, except that it was in the hill country of Judah (19). As she was of the tribe of Levi (1:5), it may have been Hebron, which was a Levitical city (Joshua 21:11). Mary's Song of Thanksgiving (46-55), called the "Magnificat," is similar to Hannah's Song at the birth of Samuel (I Samuel 2:1-10).
In her meditations she, probably, had uttered these thoughts over and over till they took the beautiful poetic form in which they here appear as her personal liturgy. Mary was with Elisabeth for three months (56) , time for John's birth (16) . Then she returned to Nazareth. (See on Matthew 1:18-24.)
The naming of the child, and his father's prophecy, filled the countryside with expectancy. (See further under Luke 3:1-20.)
What is here told in chapters I and 2 is omitted in the other Gospels, except the statement in Matthew 1:25-2:1 that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and the return to Galilee (Matthew 2:22-23).
The birthplace of Jesus was a center of historic associations. The city of David. Rachel's burying place. The home of Ruth. 15 miles to the south was Hebron, the home of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 10 miles northwest was Gibeon, where Joshua made the sun stand still. 12 miles west was Socoh, where David had slain Goliath. 6 miles north was Jerusalem, where Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, the magnificent capital of David and Solomon, the scene of the ministry of Isaiah and Jeremiah, the center of
God's age-long effort to reveal Himself to mankind.
The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, oldest church building in Christendom, was built originally by Helena, mother of Constantine the first Christian Emperor of the Roman Empire, A.D. 330. There is e cave-like room underneath the church that is said to be the actual manager room in which Jesus was born. There is a tradition that this same room was a part of the ancestral home of David and Boaz and Ruth. In this room Jerome the Latin scholar spent 30 years, making his Translation of the Bible into Latin.
This was a census of the Roman Empire. Roman historical records place the Enrollment of Quirinius in A.D. 7, which was 10 or 12 years after Jesus was born. This historical discrepancy was for a long time troublesome to Biblical students. But in recent years ancient papyri have been found from which it is learned that Quirinius was TWICE governor of Syria. Luke expressly says it was "the first" enrollment. It has been found also that people were required to so to their ancestral homes for the census. Thus, the spade of the archaeologist goes on, confirming, one by one, even to minutest detail, the historical accuracy of Bible statements.
The Amazing Providence of God
The Messiah was to be of the family of David, and to be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2-5). But the chosen parents lived at Nazareth, 100 miles from Bethlehem. A decree of Rome requires them to go to Bethlehem, just as the child is to be born. Thus God makes the decree of a pagan empire to be the instrument of fulfilling his prophecies.
The word translated "inn" may mean a public lodging place, or the guest room adjoining a private home. Hire it is thought to have been the latter probably the home of their Davidic kin, same "house" where the Wise-Men later came (Matthew 2:11). The hundred mile journey from Nazareth, by foot or on a donkey, for a woman about to give birth to a child, must have been long and hard. Crowded out of the guest room, temporarily, by others who had arrived earlier, they hid to lodge in the stable. The sacred moment arrived, and the Son of God had an animal feed-trough for his cradle.
After the shepherds came and told their story, no doubt the best the home afforded was open to Joseph and Mary.
The traditional "shepherds' Field," where the angelic choirs sang the birth-day hallelujahs of earth's new King, is about three_quarters of a mile east of Bethlehem.
It is now celebrated on December 25th. There is nothing in the Bible to indicate it. This date first appears as Jesus' birthday in the 4th century, in the West. The Eastern church date is January 6th.
Gabriel was the name of the Angelic Prince sent from heaven to direct arrangements for the Son of God's arrival (Luke 1:19, 26). We presume he was the angel who appeared to the shepherds (2:9, 13). And also, the one -sent to Joseph (Matthew 1:24); and directed the flight to Egypt (Matthew 2:13, 19). He had given to Daniel the Seventy Weeks' Prophecy (Daniel 9:21). How interested was he in human redemption! And how we will love to make his acquaintance when we get to Heaven.
That they offered two pigeons instead of a lamb and a pigeon is an indication that Joseph and Mary were Poor (Leviticus 12:8).
Luke here proceeds directly from the Presentation in the Temple to the Return to Nazareth, omitting events recorded in Matthew 2:1-21, Visit of Wise-Men, Flight to Egypt, Slaughter of Children, and Return from Egypt.
Chronology of Jesus' Birth and Childhood
Mark and John say nothing about the Birth and Childhood of Jesus. Matthew and Luke record different incidents (see under Luke 1:5-80). To harmonize these into exact chronological sequence is not easy. Here are approximate probable dates:
Why Christ was born 4 years "Before Christ"
When Christ was born time was reckoned in the Roman Empire from the founding of the city of Rome. When Christianity became the universal religion over what had been the Roman world, a monk named Dionysius Exiguus, at the request of the Emperor Justinian, made a calendar A.D. 526, reckoning time from the Birth of Christ, to supersede the Roman calendar. Long after the Christian Calendar had replaced the Roman Calendar it was found that Dionysius had made a mistake in placing the birth of Christ in 753 from the founding of Rome. It should have been 749, or a year or two earlier.
The first few months as a babe at Bethlehem. Then a year or two in Egypt. Then at Nazareth. The incident in the Temple indicates that he was a remarkably precocious boy. But of this childhood the Bible says little. Jesus was eldest of a family of seven children. They were poor. So we infer that Jesus early learned responsibility. How we wish we had a glimpse of his home life-how the Son of God as a growing boy bore himself under the daily round of irritations usual in such a situation.
The Apocryphal Gospels are full of ridiculous fables about Jesus' childhood miracles. They are totally unauthentic. The Bible says the Cana miracle was his first (John 2:11).
Jesus had a devout and sensible mother, who from earliest childhood had taught him Old Testament stories and precepts. Then there were schools connected with the synagogs. After he was 12 he must have visited Jerusalem regularly at least three times a year at the great festivals; and, no doubt, at an early age, the wicked splendor, glaring corruption and utter godlessness of the hierarchy that ruled in the name of God, burned into his soul, and filled him with a holy zeal to stop it. Then, too, along with his human education, there must have come to him gradually his pre-incarnation knowledge.
At the age of 12. This is thought to have been his first trip to Jerusalem. So interested, and utterly engrossed in the discourses of the teachers, he failed to miss his parents for tree days after they were gone. And they failed to notice his absence from the caravan group for a whole day, till they came to the evening resting place. It must have been a rather large company, extending a long distance over the road. The parents felt sure that their self-reliant boy was somewhere along the line, and that he was abundantly able to take care of himself, till the evening round-up.
Jesus' Knowledge of the Old Testament (47). At that time the Old Testament constituted the written Word of God. Jesus loved it. His familiarity with it at the age of 12 astounded the great theologians of the Temple. He lived by it. Used it to resist the tempter (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10). Went to the cross to fulfill it (Matthew 26:54). Uttered his dying agonies in quotation from it (Matthew 27:46). To the Old Testament writings there has been added another group of writings, called the New Testament, centered around the life of Jesus himself . If what Jesus had of our Bible was dear to him, it
seems like a thousandfold dearer ought what we have be to us.
"In my Father's House" (49, RV), "About my Father's business" (AV). Literally, "In the things of my Father." This saving rather puzzled his mother. Probably she had not yet told him of the nature of his birth. She had just spoken of Joseph as his "father" (48). In his reply, his speaking of God as "my Father," possibly, conveyed to her a hint that he knew her secret.
How we wold love to know something of Jesus' life from 12 to 30. But God, in his wisdom, has draw a veil over it.
The Language of Galilee
Aramaic was the common language of the people. This was the language Jesus used. He was instructed in Hebrew, the language of the Old Testament Scriptures. He must have know Greek, for it was the language of a large part of the population, and the universal language of the time. Jesus was familiar with the Hebrew and Septuagint Old Testament. His own language is superb.
Situated in a basin in the south side of a hill 1150 feet above sea level. From the top of the hill, ten minutes climb, a view unrivalled in Galilee. To the north a beautiful panorama of fertile hills and valleys, dotted with prosperous cities, snow-capped Hermon in the distance. Nearby, 3 miles distant, was Gath-hepher, the ancient home
of Jonah. To the south the Plain of Esdraelon extending from the Jordan to the Mediterranean, the principal scene of Israel's age-old struggle for existence. Ten miles to the west of Nazareth, in full view, Mt, Carmel, where Elijah, in his contest with Baal, had called down fire from heaven. To the Southwest, about the same distance, the pass of Armageddon, famous battlefield of the nations, which suggested to Jesus the name of the great final battle of the ages in which he himself will lead his own to victory. To the South from Nazareth, only eight miles, Shunem, where Elisha raised the Shunammite's son to life. Nearby the spring of Harod, where Gideon with his 300 had put the Midianites to route. And Jezreel, where the infamous Jezebel had met her unhappy fate. And Mt. Gilboa, where king Saul war slain by the Philistines. And Endor, where the witch had called back Samuel's spirit. The river Kishon, where Deborah and Barak subdued the Canaanites. All this in full view from the top of the hill of Nazareth. What a center of historic associations. We can imagine that Jesus often climbed the hill, and meditated deeply on history that had been made to bring him into the world.
The preaching of John is told by all Four Gospels (Matthew 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8; John 1:6-8; 19-28). Luke's account is fullest.
The story of John's childhood and youth is passed over in one sentence (1:80). He shunned the habitations of men, and lived in the solitude of the wild and bleak region west of the Dead Sea.
He had known from childhood that the Event of the Ages was at hand, and that he had been born to herald its arrival.
Reared in daily view of Mt. Nebo, from whose heights Moses had viewed with longing eyes the Promised Land and spoke of the Promised Messiah; overlooking the Jordan where Joshua had crossed, and Jericho whose walls had fallen at Joshua's blast; living in the same region where Amos had pastured his flocks and had dreamed of a Coming Davidic King who'would rule ll nations; often visiting the brook Cherith where Elijah had been fed by the ravens; he meditated deeply on the history that was now heading to its climax, and waited for the call of God.
Knowing he was to be the Elijah of prophecy (1:17; Matthew 11:14; 17: 10-13; Malachi 4:5, not Elijah in person, John 1:21), intentionally, perhaps, he copied the habits and dress of Elijah.
He lived on locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:4). Locusts had been used as food from earliest times. They were roasted, or sundried, and eaten like parched grain. Are said to taste like shrimp.
When John was 30 years old his call came. The nation, groaning under the cruelties of Roman bondage, was electrified by the stentorian voice of this strange, rugged, fearless hermit of the desert, crying.on the banks of the Jordan that the long-foretold Deliverer was at hand.
The place of his .preaching was the Lower Jordan, over against Jericho, on one of the main cross-roads of the country, and a principal gateway to Jerusalem.
The burden.of his cry was "Repent." His preaching experienced immense popular success. The whole land was stirred. Great multitudes came to his baptism (Matthew 3:5). Even Herod heard him gladly (Mark 6:20). Josephus says that he "had great influence over the people, who seemed ready to do anything that he should advise."
He required those who professed repentance to submit to baptism, introductory to the ceremony of Chrisrian Baptism.
At the height of his popularity he baptized Jesus, and proclaimed him the Mesiiah. Then, his mission accomplished, he passes off the stage. He had roused the nation, and presented the Son of God. His work was done.
However, he continued preaching and baptizing for a few months, moving northward to Aenon (John 3:23).
About a year after he had baptized Jesus, he was imprisoned by Herod, to satisfy the whim of a wicked woman (Matthew 14:1-5). This was at the close of Jesus' Early Judean Ministry (December, Matthew 4:12; John 3:22; 4:35).
The place of his imprisonment is not named. It is thought to have been at Machaerus, east of Dead Sea, or at Tiberias, on west shore of Sea of Galilee, at both of which places Herod had a residence. He was beheaded about the time of the second following Passover (Matthew 14:12-13; John 6:4).
We wonder about John's doubt (Matthew 11:3). He had borne such confident and positive testimony that Jesus was the Lamb of God and the Son of God (John 1:29-34). But now, as he mused behind dungeon walls, he was puzzled. Jesus was not doing what he thought the Messiah would do. He evidently shared the popular notion of a Political Messianic Kingdom. God did not reveal to him everything as to the nature of the Kingdom. Even the Twelve were slow in learning it. (See on Matthew 10.)
Assuming that John began his ministry shortly before he baptized Jesus, it lasted about a year and a half. 30 years in seclusion. A year and a half of public preaching. A year and 4 months in prison. Then the curtain. This is the brief epitome of the man who ushered in the Saviour of the World, and of whom Jesus said there had not been born a greater (Matthew 11:11). John did no miracles (John 10:41) .
Chapter 3:21-22. Jesus is Baptized. (See on Matthew 3:13-17.)
Chapter 3:23-28. Genealogy of Jesus. (See on Matthew 1:1-17.)
See note on Matthew 4:1-11. In all three accounts, Matthew, Mark, Luke, it is stated that it was Satan who tempted Jesus.
Jesus said a good deal about Satan.
Called him "the enemy" (Matthew 13:39).
"The evil one" (Matthew 13:18).
"The prince of this world" (John 12:31; 14:30).
"A liar," and "the father of lies" (John 8:44).
"A murderer" (John 8:44).
Said that he "saw him fallen from heaven" (Luke 10:18).
That he has a "kingdom" (Matthew 12:26).
That "evil men are his sons" (Matthew 13:28).
That he "sowed tares among the wheat" (Matthew 13:38, 39).
He "snatches Word from hearers" (Matthew 13:19; Mark 4:15; Luke 8: 12).
That he "bound a women for 18 years" (Luke 13:16).
That he "desired to have Peter" (Luke 22:31).
That he has "angels" (Matthew 25:41).
That "eternal fire is prepared for him" (Matthew 25.41).
The Bible represents Satan as:
"The tempter" (Matthew 4:3).
"The prince of demons" (Matthew 12:24; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15).
"Source of demoniacal possession" (Matthew 12:22-29; Luke 11:14-23).
That he put the betrayal into the heart of Judas (John 13:2, 27).
That he perverts the Scripture (Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:10, 11).
That he is"the god of this world" (II Corinthians 4:4).
That he is "the prince of the power of the air', (Ephesians 2:2).
That he "fashions himself into an angel of light" (II Corinthians 11:14).
That he is our "adversary" (1 Peter 5:8).
He is "the deceiver of the whole world" (Revelation 10).
Calls him "the great dragon," "the old serpent" (Revelation 12:9; 20:2).
The "seducer of Adam and Eve" (Genesis 3:1-20).
That he will "flee if resisted" (James 4:7).
That he caused "Paul's thorn in the flesh", (II Corinthians 12:7).
Hindered Paul's missionary plans (I Thessalonians 2:18).
Caused Ananias to lie (Acts 5:3).
That Gentiles are under his power (Acts 26:18).
That he blinds the minds of unbelievers (II Corinthians 4:4).
False teachers are "a synagog of Satan" (Revelation 2:9; 3:9).
Can produce false miracles (II Thessalonians 2:9).
Is the moving spirit of the "Apostasy" (II Thessalonians 2:9).
As a roaring lion seeks to devour Christians (I peter 5:8).
ls overcome by faith (I Peter 5:9).
Is wiley (Ephesians 6: 11).
Is the spirit that works in the disobedient (Ephesians 2:2).
Moved David to Sin (I Chronicles 21:1).
Caused Job's Troubles (Job 1:7-2:10).
Was the Adversary of Joshua (Zechariah 3:1-9).
Gets the advantage of Christians (II Corinthians 2:11).
Evil men are his children (I John 3:8, 10).
Is there really a devil? The language of Jesus certainly indicates his own belief in the existence of a personal devil. Jesus knew what he was talking about. If Jesus,was merely accommodating himself to popular error, his words are no revelation of truth at all, for who, then, can discern between the actual truth that he is aiming to teach and the error that he speaks of as if it were truth?
The Galilean Ministry. 4:14 to 9:51
Luke gives nothing like as much space to the Galilean Ministry as do Matthew and Mark, (See notes under Matthew 4:12 and Mark 1:14).
Luke, like Matthew end Mark, passes entirely over events of the year between Jesus' Temptation and beginning of his Galilean Ministry, as told in John 1:19 to 4:54. (See on Mark 1:14-15).
This seems to have been his first return to Nazareth since his baptism over a year before. As fas as we know he had spent the intervening time in the Wilderness, at Cana, in Capernaum, and in Judea (John 2:1, 12; 4:46), They marveled at his gracious, magnetic and evident powerful personality in speaking, and were amazed. They could hardly believe that it was their own humble townsman. Even in that small town Jesus had lived so quiet a life, and was from such a lowly family, that the synagog congregation scarcely recognized him (22). The point in his reference to Elijah and Elisha is that they were sent to Gentiles, not Israelites-a hint of his own mission, This,
and the performance of miracles in other towns then his own, so offended their narrow provincialism that they flew into a frenzy and attempted to kill him. The brow of the hill from which they attempted to dash him down may be seen at the right of the photo
under Luke 2:51-52.
Chapter4:31-37. Demoniac Healed, (See on Mark 1:21-28.)
Chapter4:38-39. Peter's Mother-in-law. (See on Mark 1:29-31.)
Chapter 4:40-41. Multitudes Healed. (See on Mark 1:32-34.)
Chapter4:42. Retirement to Pray. (See on Mark 1:35-37.)
Chapter4:43-44. Journeying about. (See on Mark 1:38-39.)
Chapter5:1-11. Call of Peter, James, John. (See on Mark 1:16-20.)
Chapter 5:12-16. A Leper Cleansed. (See on Mark 1:40-45.)
Chapter 5:17-26. A Paralytic Healed. (See on Mark 2:1-12.)
Chapter 5:27-32. Call of Levi (Matthew). (See on Matthew 1:1.)
Chapter 5:33-39. Question about Fasting. (See on Mark 2:18-22.)
Chapter 6:1-11. Eating, Healing, on Sabbath. (See on Mark 2:23.)
To these men He was entrusting the issue of his life' work. Of course he knew that He Himself, from heaven, through his Spirit, would guide and direct help them. Nevertheless their natural traits and talents had to be considered. And before making final choice Jesus spent all night long in prayer to God.
After two years of training (see under Matthew 10) he sent them forth to be his "witnesses to the uttermost parts of the earth." The New Testament tells only a little of their work-that in Palestine, Asia Minor, Greece and Rome.
Perhaps the Twelve agreed among themselves to go in different directions. Or, each may been guided to go wherever he thought best. They went, part time, in pairs. No doubt each visited the work of others.
Paul, about A.D. 62, said in Colossians 1:23, that "the gospel had been preached in all creation under heaven." Thus, within 30 years the Story of Christ had been told over the know world.
Traditions, variant and uncertain, are that most of the Twelve sealed their testimony to Christ with their martyrdom.
So, all in all, allowing for one traitor in the group, Jesus' choice and training of the Twelve was a grand success.
This is commonly taken to be an abbreviated from of the same sermon as that recorded in Matthew 5, 6, 7. In Matthew 5:1 he "went up into the mountain and sat down and stood on a level place" that is, from a higher location. He could have done both, seeing the transaction involved considerable time.
The two records are somewhat different. We cannot be sure whether they are different reports of the same sermon, or substantially the same sermon delivered on different occasions. Jesus was teaching continually, and it is likely that he uttered some of these words, in varying forms, hundreds of times. This may be a collections of his representative saying, a short of summary of his main teaching. Their literary beauty, as well as their matchless teaching, is unexcelled in literature.
Here is a short of condensation of Matthew 5, and 7. Some of Jesus' teaching such as loving our neighbor as our self, loving our enemies, and doing unto others as we would that they should do unto us, are so high above our selfish human nature that we are in the habit of excusing ourselves from even trying to live up to them by saying to ourselves that Jesus surely knew that he was setting before us impossible ideals.
However, Jesus himself lived up to them, and taught unequivocally that we must keep our hearts free from resentment, no matter how we may be mistreated; and not only that, but that we should actually seek the welfare of those who seek our hurt. Not possible? Yes, it is, in some measure, by the strictest self-discipline, and by the gracious he;p pf God, possible to love those who hate us.
To practice the Golden Rule, even in small measure, makes us happy, helps us in business, and in every relation of life. It is the most practical thing in this world. In serving others we sere ourselves. People like to deal with those who believe in ans practice the Golden Rule. Try it, and see.
The Golden Rule is not a sufficient basis for exemption from military service. Jesus was speaking to INDIVIDUALS, not Governments. Governments are ordained of God (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17). Criminal elements have to be suppressed by force. Jesus expressly stated that his kingdom could exist within the kingdom of Caesar (Matthew 22:21). The fist Gentile to be admitted into the Church was a Roman soldier (Acts 10:1). He was not required to renounce military service. A judge, or a military man, may, in his own heart and life, practice the principles of the Golden Rule, so far as he can as an individual, while as an officer of the law or the government he must follow strictly the rules of justice. Governments may, in certain respects, and in certain limited measure, follow the Golden Rule. But if force were abandoned, it would mean anarchy, with a free hand for murderers, robbers, rapists and every vile criminal. Let us have clear thinking on this point. As much as we abhor war, a Christian is not at all to be commended for making the Golden Rule an excuse for letting others do the fighting to preserve his liberty.
Such words as these, and there are plenty of them, make it very plain that Jesus intends to be taken seriously. There is going to be a day of sad disillusionment for many who make glib profession of his name (Matthew 7:22-23). DOING the things Jesus taught, PRACTICING then in our LIVES, is what will count in the final round up.
This is told also in Matthew 8:5-13. A Centurion was a Roman officer in charge of a hundred soldiers. At that time Palestine had been under Roman control about a hundred years. Roman officers, all too generally, were brutal and despised men. But some of them, influenced by the Jewish religion, were good men. The first Gentile to
be received into the Church was a Centurion, named Cornelius (Acts 10).
This Centurion had built the Jews their synagog in Capernaum (5). In this same synagog Jesus had often taught, and had healed the demoniac (Mark 1:21-23). In 1905 a German expedition uncovered the remains of a synagog which appeared to have been built in the 4th century A.D. and under it the floor of a still older synagog which is thought to have been the actual synagog in which Jesus taugh! (Mark 1:21; Luke 7:5). On the West wall are the stone seats where the Scribes and Pharisees sat. The pulpit was at the north end. One may see almost the exact spot where the Lord stood.
Ruins of Synagog in Capernaum
This is one of the tree resurrections. (See Mark 5:22 and John 11:1) Jesus may have raised others (Luke 7:22). He commissioned the Twelve to raise the dead (Matthew 10:8).
Chapter.7:18-35. Messengers from John. (See on Matthew 11:1-19.)
There is not the slightest basis for identifying this woman with Mary Magdalene, or with Mary of Bethany. This anointing is NOT the same is the anointing at Bethany (John 12: 1-8). An oriental banquet was sort of public affair. Jesus half reclining on a couch, his face toward the table, his knees bent back, it was easy for the woman to approach. Weeping, kissing his feet, bathing them with the costly perfume, and wiping away the falling tears with her hair-how she puts us respectable people to shame in thus bowing low in abject humility and devoted adoration at the feet of her Lord.
Jesus was very tender in his attitude toward women who had made a mis-step (John 4:18; 8:1-11). Yet no one ever attributed to him questionable motives (John 4:27).
Three are named, beside "many others'" Nothing further is known of Susanna. Joanna was wife of Herod's steward, from the kings palace. She belonged to the group of Jesus' closest friends. She was among those at the tomb (Luke 24:10).
Mary Magdalene was the most prominent and outstanding leader among the women. She is named more than any of the others' and usually first (Matthew 27:56, 61; 28:1; Mark 15:40, 47; 16:1, 9; Luke 8:2; 24:10; John 19:25; 2O:1, l8). She was the first to whom Jesus appeared after his resurrection. That she was named among those who "ministered of their substance" (3), suggests that she was a woman of some wealth. That she had been healed of "seven demons" (2), is no indication that she was unchaste. Demons caused sickness and disease of various kinds (see under Mark 5:1-20), but are nowhere connected with human immorality. Unquestionably she was a woman of unblemished character. She was NOT the sinful woman of the preceding chapter. It is simply unthinkable that Jesus would accept a common prostitute as the leading woman of his group.
It may be a good thing that we humans among ourselves make a distinction between respectable sins and- gross sins, and put a sort of disgrace upon those who are guilty of certain forms of gross sin. The fact that we do may help to save our human society from utter ruin. But to God sin is sin' And it is, no doubt, just as hard for God to forgive
our respectable sins as it is for him to forgive those who have brought upon themselves the disgrace of society. For a prostitute to have her sins forgiven and be accepted in the fellowship of the saved, is one thing, but it would be quite a different thing to immediately place such an one at the head of religious work.
Chapter 8:4-18. Parable of the Sower. (See on Matthew 13:1-23.)
Chapter 8:19-21. Jesus' Mother, Brothers. (See on Matthew 12:46-50.)
Chapter 8:22-25. The Storm Calmed. (See on Mark 4:15-41.)
Chapter 8:26-39. The Gerasene Demoniac. (See on Mark 5:1-20.)
Chapter8:40-56. Jairus' Daughter Raised. (Told also in Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:22-43.) Three times Jesus raised the dead. (See on Luke 7:11-17 and John 11.)
Chapter 9:1-6. The Twelve Sent Forth. (See on Matthew 10.)
Chapter 9:7-9. Herod's Perplexity. (See on Luke 3:1-20.)
Chapter 9:10-17. The 5,000 Fed. (See on John 6.) Between verses 17 and 18, about 8 months intervene.
Chapter 9:18-20. Peter's Confession. ( See on Matthew 16: 13-20.)
Chapter 9:21-27. The Passion Foretold. (See on Mark 9:30-32.)
Chapter 9:28-36. The Transfiguration. (See on Mark 9:2-13.)
Chapter 9:37-43. The Epileptic Boy. (See on Mark 9:14-29.)
Chapter 9:43-45. Passion Again Foretold. (See on Mark 9:30-32.)
The pathos of this incident is that it was while they were fresh from the Transfiguration. And the further pity was that it was in response to Jesus' announcement of his approaching crucifixion. Worse still, they repeated the performance when they got to Capernaum (Matthew 18: 1-5; Mark 9:33-37). And again, as they neared his crucifixion (see on Matthew 20:20-28). What infinite patience Jesus must have had! And what a master-workman with men!
Told also in Mark 9:38-40. Another rebuke of John, for wanting t0 monopolize the privilege of working miracles. And another immediately following, for anger (52-56). Three rebukes in a row.
The period between Jesus' Final Deparrure from Galilee and his Last Week is usually spoken of as the Perean, or Later Judean, Ministry-partly in Perea and partly Judea: Perea east of Jordan, in Herod's jurisdiction; Judea west of Jordan, under Pilate's jurisdiction.
Mentioned also in Matthew 19:1; Mark 1o:1. This is thought to be identical with Jesus' visit to Jerusalem at the Feast of Dedication (December), John 10:22. Thus, the Perean and Later Judean Ministry covered a period of about four months.
The Four Accounts of the Perean-Judean Ministry
Their rejection of Jesus infuriated James and John, who then and there gave an exhibition of why Jesus had nicknamed them "Sons of Thunder" (Mark 3:17). Jesus, without resentment, changed his route, on his way toward Jerusalem.
More than a 1'ear before Jesus had said that same thing to a scribe who offered to follow him across the lake (Matthew 8:19-22). Probably he had made that answer many times to those whom he knew were looking for a kind of preferment which he did nor have to offer. Jesus' replies to the second and third men did not, of courser mean that we should ignore the tender ministries of earthly, life. The Bible teaches over and over that one of the truest marks bf a Christian is to be thoughtful and considerate in all the relations of family life, especially in times of sorrow. Jesus means that the things of God are of infinitely greater importance, and in case of conflict there should not be a moment's hesitation. God first always.
This seems to have been on his final departure from Galilee. His purpose was to complete the advertisement to the nation that the Messiah was there. Probably, they were sent ahead of him down the Jordan valley, 4 or 5 months before his death.
How Did Jesus Finonce His Work?
Jesus was a poor man, "had not where to lay his head.', For some three years he traveled about, much of the time with a considerable entourage; and at least twice organized large preaching expeditions. In part they lived on the hospitality of the people (Matthew 10:11). He received offerings from the well-to-do, end others (Luke 8:3). From the multitudes of followers, and of the sick that he had healed, he could have amassed a fortune and lived like a king, if he had so chosen. But he lived and died in poverty.
The extent of their journey is nor stated. Probably it was all the way down to the Jericho region, Jesus following more slowly. Their success, to Jesus, was a foregleam of Satan's overthrow. But notice that Jesus warned them not to be too exultant even over their good works. The real cause of joy is Heaven (20).
This is one of the most superb classics on the subject of Human Kindness in all literature. Luke had just told about Jesus being rejected by Samaritans (9:52). Here is Jesus' reaction: to exalt a Samaritan to the love of all future ages.
Jesus himself was the Kindest man who ever lived. It is said of him, and it is said of no other in history, that if all the deeds of Kindness that he did in three short years were written, the world would not contain the books (John 21:25).
Jesus talked a great deal about Kindness, just the plain, old-fashioned every-day habit of common Kindness.
Judging by what he said, he would rather see that in his followers than any other trait of character. Not that our kindness will save us. If we are ever saved, HE saves us. But there are things in us that please or displease him.
Jesus put so much stress on this thing of Kindness that he identifies himself with those who need it, and in effect tells us that we cannot be friends with him and at the same rime be indifferent to the suffering (Matthew 25:40, 45).
He intimates that hear.en will be inhabited exclusively by those who have learned how to be Kind and only Kind and always' Kind. Jesus came to build a world of beings like himself, and when completed no others will be there (Matthew 25:34, 41).
He further intimates that there are going to be some surprises in the Day of Judgment. Some who have been accustomed to think of themselves es very religious are going to find out, after it is too late, that they have been altogether overlooking the thing the recording angles have been taking down (Matthew 25:44).
Jesus further makes the remarkable statement that not one single act of kindness, no matter how small, will, in the economy of God's government of the universe, ever go unrewarded (Matthew 10:42).
However, we must remember that Jesus does not mean that we should give encouragement to able-bodied lazy men. Laziness is one of the greatest of sins. The Bible nowhere excuses it. "If any man will not work neither let him eat" (II Thessalonians 3:10).
This is thought to have been at the end of his great publicity campaign down the Jordan valley, heralded by the Seventy. He was now approaching Jerusalem for the Feast of Dedication (?) (John 10:22). Mary and Martha lived at Bethany, which was on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives, about two miles from Jerusalem. This incident is recorded to show that Jesus thought that listening to the Word of the Lord is of great importance.
Jesus, although he was the Son of God, and claimed to have been in some respects equal with God, yet, in the days of his flesh, he seems to have felt himself utterly dependent on a Power higher than himself; and he prayed a great deal.
Here are some of the recorded instances:
In every recorded prayer Jesus addressed God as "Father" (Matthew 6:9; 1:25; 26:39, 42; Luke 11:2; 23:34; John 11:41; 12:27, 28; 17,1, 5, 11, 21, 24, 25): so different from the bombastic, labored, lofty and ponderous openings of many "pastoral" prayers.
Given in longer form in Matthew 6:9-13. We doubt that Jesus intended this as a form to be repeated in unison in religious services. We rather think they were meant to be a sort of norm, to guide us in our approach to God, and on the subject matter of our petitions.
And above all things, why say "Our Father "which"'? ''Which" is neuter gender. God is a Person, not a Thing. Why not say "Our Father "who"', as in the RV?
Jesus put considerable emphasis on Secret. Prayer (Matthew 6:6). This does not rule out attendance upon, and participation in, public prayer. We should never be ashamed to pray, or to give our testimony to our faith in prayer, as occasion may demand. But we should be on guard lest our thought is what impression we are making on the people. Prayer is the expression of ourself to God. It is a matter between ourselves and God; not something to talk about. By far the larger part of our Prayer Life should be absolutely SECRET, so as to give ourselves no chance to fool ourselves on our motives. If, before and after every important act or decision, we will lift our heart to God, for guidance, or strength, or in thanksgiving, and never say anything
about it to anybody, not even our most intimate friend, not even our husband or wife, but let it be strictly a matter between ourselves and God-if we will do this often, and keep it positively to ourselves, there is no other one habit that will do so much to give us joy in life and strength for every emergency-as thus to go through life hand in hand with an All-Powerful Friend whom we take into our confidence and consult about everything with which we have to do, even to the smallest detail.
Chapter 11:5-13. Persistence in Prayer. (See on Luke 18:1-8.)
Chapter 11:14-26. Casting out Demons. (See on Matthew 12:34-37 .)
A woman called out to Jesus, "Blessed is the mother that bore you'" Jesus answered "Rather blessed are they that hear the Word of God, and keep it."
Jesus' day there was in the literature of his nation a group of writings, which we now call the Old Testament, which the people then commonly regarded as having come from God. Jesus shared that popular notion. He loved those writings. To him they were not just "Hebrew Thought," bur the actual Word of God. Jesus himself had had a part in their writing, They were the main item in his education (see on Luke 2:40).
In Bethany, Mary sat at his feet listening to his Word. Jesus called it "the one good thing" (Luke 10:42).
There came one and said, "Your mother and brothers stand without, desiring to see you." Jesus answered, "My mother and my brothers are they that hear the Word of Cod, and do it" (Luke 8:19-21).
Again Jesus said, "The SEED of the kingdom is the Word of God" (Luke 8:11). A soul can be born into the kingdom of God only through the, seed of the kingdom, the Word of "God (1 Peter 1:23).
"Man shall nor live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).
"If a man believe not the Scriptures, neither wilt he believe though one rose from the dead" (Luke-16:31). "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my Word shall not pass away" (Matthew 24: 35).
Chapter 11:29-32. Signs. (See on Matthew 12:39-42.)
Chapter 11:33-36. The Lighted Lamp. (See on Matthew 5:13-16.)
Chapter 11:37-54. Pharisees Denounced. (See on Matthew 23.)
Jesus,dealt a good deal with Motive, that is, the thing within ourselves that makes us do what we do, and guides our conduct. In his sight our Motive is ourself. Our one grand Motive should be the desire for God's approval and the fear of God,s disapproval. The religious people of Jesus' day-performed many of their religious practices for man's approbation'(Matthew 6:1-18). It is still a part of our nature with which we have a constant struggle. When we are with irreligious people we are tempted to be ashamed of our religion; but when we are with religious people we desire to be considered religious, and this desire sometimes leads us to pretend to be more religious than we really are, and leads to hypocrisy. The desire for man's approbation, within proper bounds, is legitimate and laudable. But the one grand fact oi existence is COD. The one thing that really matters is our relation to HIM. Let us ever keep HIM in mind, and how our thoughts, motives and deeds stack up in HIS sight.
Many of the things in this chapter are contained in the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5, 6, 7). Jesus had favorite sayings which he uttered again and again. One of them was about God's unfailing Care and Guidance of His People (6-12).
Notice especially Jesus' warning of hell (5). He appealed repeatedly to the fear of hell as a motive of life. (See on Luke 16: 19-31.)
Notice, too, his saying that one day every secret thing about our hypocritical selves shall be known (2-3). God's unerring phonographic plates ere recording our every inner thought and secret act, to be played aloud one day before our startled selves, and the assembled universe, when we shall be recognized for what we really are, "Unpardonable sin" (10, see on Matthew 12:24-37).
Notice that Jesus declined to enter into this man's family dispute. He did not attempt to run everybody else's business.
The rich fool had gotten his money honestly-through the productiveness of his land. Nevertheless in God's eyes he was a "fool" (20), because he had his heart on this world and not on the world to come. Rich in this world, a pauper in the other. This world lasts
only a little while, the other world lasts Forever.
This is a part of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:19-34), which Jesus repeated. Jesus was right at home when he was talking about heaven. His language here is superb. And the sentiments are among the most important he ever uttered.
Christians are citizens of heaven, sojourners here awhile, cumbered with daily earthly cares, but their eves ever fixed on the eternal home-land. An estate there which we build while here. Only that which we give to God is ours forever. Said one man to another; of an acquaintance who had just died, "How much did he leave?" Answered the other, "He left it ALL." Even so. Shortly we must, every one of us, quit our earthly tent, and leave to others that which we called ours. Fortunate for us if we have sent on ahead for a Reservation in the Eternal Mansions of God.
Jesus thoughts pass from heaven to the glorious day of his Second Coming, and warn that it might be to a sleeping world in the dead of night (38). Blessed are the faithful who are ready to welcome their returning Lord.
This parable (41-48) is meant for every Christian. But degrees in talent and position entail corresponding degrees in responsibility. Fearful is the warning here for faithless pastors.
Though Jesus came to bring Peace, he knew he would be the occasion of Strife. It reminded him of the world's hostility to himself, and how he wished it were over.
They were well versed in things that were of no great matter, but woefully stupid in their attitude toward him.
The two recent disasters, which had horrified the nation, reminded Jesus of the horrors of Judgment Day (1-5).
The Barren Fig Tree (6-9), was used by Jesus to illustrate the Patience of God with Jerusalem, whose day of doom was fast approaching, and with individuals generally.
The Woman Bowed Together (10-17). Jesus, moved with pity, did not wait for the woman to ask to be healed. He welcomed the opportunity to shame the Pharisees.
Mustard Seed and Leaven (18-21. See on Matthew 13:31-33).
"Are There Few Saved?" (22-30). Jesus, here, answered that many who expect to be saved are going to be sadly disappointed. But in Matthew 7:14 he answered the question plainly.
"Herod Would Fain Kill You" (31-15). Jesus evidently was in Perea, Herod's domain. He was safer there than in Judea. His answer: "You, not Herod, are my murderers. Jerusalem, not Perea, the place for it."
A Sabbath Healing (1-6). He had just healed a woman in the synagog on the Sabbath (13:10-17). This was in a Pharisee's home at a Sabbath feast. The Pharisees had no compunctions about feasting on the Sabbath. But to heal the sick was simply unforgivable. (See on Mark l:l-6.)
Advice to Guests (7-11). Jesus insisted that self-seeking assertiveness defeats its own aim. The way of humility is better, and leads to real advancement. It is the "meek" that shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). It is the lowly publican, and not the proud Pharisee, that pleases God (Luke 18:9-14). It is the humble who shall receive final exaltation (11). Jesus said that a number of times (Luke 18:14; Matthew 23:12).
Kindness to the Unfortunate (12-14). There is no virtue in entertaining those whom you expect to return the favor. Rather spend the effort on those who can do nothing for you, with your eye on the heavenly reward. How often Jesus advised us to keep our eyes on heaven. (See on Luke 10:25-37.)
Excuses (15-24). Jesus had no illusions as to the general reception of his Kingdom. He knew that many, from the religious leaders of his own nation, and the nation itself, to the distant Gentiles, would flout him and his offer of eternal redemption, giving the most trivial excuses, preferring for themselves the husks of the world.
Cost of Discipleship (25-35 ) . These are stern words. Following Jesus was a far more serious business than the multitudes imagined. He knew that they were following him with slight conception of his kingdom. That is the reason he used such strong statements. Jesus did not mean that we should hate our parents or our children (26).
Faithful devotion to those who are our own flesh and blood is one of the unfailing teachings of Scripture. But Jesus here means that if it is necessary to make a choice between Him and Them, there must not be the slightest hesitancy.
The Severity of Jesus. Jesus said some things that sound so hard and impossible that in themselves, apart from other sayings, they might discourage anyone from even
trying to follow him. He came to bring us the priceless gift of Everlasting Life. But he will not force it on us. The prime condition on which it may be obtained is that we want it more than we want anything else, and that we LOVE HIM more than we love anything else. Jesus requires, and must have, the FIRST place in our hearts. If he has that, his mercy is infinite. But if we make him secondary to our every whim, and treat him as such, he will spew us out of his mouth.
This chapter, following the exacting words of the 14th, is like the calm after the storm. So different that one would scarcely attribute them to the same person. However, they are not contradictory, but only supplementary.
The starting point is that we give ourselves unreservedly to Him. There can be no divided loyalties. Once we enthrone him as the Lord of our life his compassion is boundless. We may stumble and stumble and stumble. But as long as we keep our face toward him he will forgive and forgive and forgive, till at last, by his grace and power,
everything that is displeasing to him shall be banished from our lives.
This is illustrated by the three parables in this beautiful chapter: Joy over finding the Lost Sheep, Recovery of the Lost Coin, and Return of the Prodigal Son. It is a companion chapter to the story of the Sinful Woman of Luke 7:36-5O and of the Adulterous Woman of John 8: 1-11.
It is a glorious picture of the Heavenly Father and his angels welcoming home returning souls. When we grow discouraged over our sinfulness this is a good chapter to read.
The Tenderness of Jesus
Jesus was not only the kindest man who ever lived. He was the tenderest. He loved to forgive. He himself was without sin. But how his heart ached in sympathy for those who were having a hard time with their sins.
One of the most beautiful pictures in all the Bible is that of Jesus and his tenderness toward the sinful woman weeping at his feet (Luke 7:36-50).
The fact that he was tender and forgiving toward that outcast wayward woman is a sort of guarantee that he will be tender and forgiving toward his Church.
Even if we have not sinned the way the woman had, we have sinned, And to Cod, sin is sin.
And it is, no doubt, just as hard, perhaps harder, for God to forgive our respectable, refined, polite, selfish, snobbish sins, as it is for Him to forgive the grosser sins of the battle of life.
It is no small consolation to know that the ONE before whom we ourselves shall stand to be judged is that kind of Person. He was merciful to that broken woman in the thing in which we need his mercy. We may therefore feel that He will be merciful to us in the things in which we need his mercy.
Is this tenderness of Jesus toward the weak and wayward an encouragement to keep on sinning? No. It is the very thing that produces in us a determination to overcome.
And the closer our walk with Him, paradoxical as it may seem, the more we realize our sinfulness, and need of his mercy.
Jesus commends his foresight, not his dishonesty; his providing for his future, not his crooked method of doing it.
A."measure" of oil was about 9 gallons. A "measure" of wheat was about 11 bushels.
As the steward made friends by the use of his master's goods, so, we should make friends by the use of our own means. It is a beautiful picture (9): those whom we have befriended will be at the door to welcome us home to heaven.
Jesus said hard things about money, or rather love of money. Covetousness is one of the most ruinous of sins, the cause of many crimes.
We have to have money to supply our daily needs. But the struggle is in our hearts, as to whom we really serve, and depend on, the money itself or Him who gives the money.
They ridiculed Jesus' teachings about money, because they were lovers of money, worldly-minded professional religionists.
It is difficult to see the connection in the verses about the Law and Divorce. Perhaps Jesus meant that since the Gospel was so profoundly influencing the people it was harder for Pharisees to justify their hypocritical teachings. While they professed to be guardians of the law, they ignored the teachings of the law about divorce, allowing
it for any trivial cause.
"Abraham's bosom" (22), is Paradise, the intermediate state in which souls of the just await resurrection. "Hades" is the intermediate state of the lost, awaiting judgment.
Jesus here gives a conversation between Abraham and Lazarus after death. To what
extent it is imaginary we do not know. But its implications are rather plain:
For one thing, angels are on hand at the death of saints to bear them away to glory.
For another, the lost are in torment (23).
And, there is an impassable gulf between Paradise and Hades, implying that death ends our opportunity for salvation.
And, the Scriptures are entirely sufficient to bring men to repentance (31).
And, the standards of this world are not to persist in heaven:
Many of those who are first here will be last there. Those who occupy high places here may be in the lowest there. And many of those whom high church dignitaries here ignore may be their masters there (Matthew 19:30; 20: 1-16; Mark 10:31).
Heaven and Hell
The story of the Rich Man and Lazarus is one of the many, many side-lights on the hereafter to be found in Jesus' teachings. He talked much about the future life. He appealed to the hope of heaven and the fear of hell. He spoke often of the unhappy fate of the lost as well as the blessedness of the redeemed, setting them over against each other. Run through these passages and see (Matthew 5:12, 22, 29, 30; 6:20; 7:21-27; 10:28; 13:39-43, 49-50; 18:8-9; 22:13, 23:33; 25:23, 30, 34, 41, 46; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 12:4-5; 16:22-28; John 3:15-16, 36; 5:24, 28-29, 39; 6:27, 39-40, 44, 47, 49, 50, 51, 54; 17:2). Note how often the words "heaven," "hell," "eternal life" occur.
It is a pity that the present day pulpit so generally deprecates the very motives that Jesus himself appealed to. One of the most Powerful stimulants to good and deterrents from evil in this life is a profound conviction as to the reality of the future life, and that our estate there will depend on our behavior here. A heart firmly fixed in heaven will surely mean e more careful walk in this world. This one has an end. That one lasts forever.
Jesus here seems to imply that unwillingness to forgive is the cause of many losing their souls.
In Matthew 18:21-35 Peter asks Jesus how often must we forgive, and Jesus answered "seventy times seven."
Then the disciples cried out, "Lord, increase our faith." If we have to be that forgiving, we need more Faith.
Then, to help their faith, Jesus speaks of the Unlimited Power of Faith, and then by the parable of the obedient servant shows them that Humility is the groundwork of Faith.
This seems to be told, not only as one of Jesus' miracles, but to show that he gladly used his power to heal for those who would not even thank him for it, illustrating the kindly unresentful heart which he had just been talking about. Also, it shows up the Samaritan in a good light compared to those of Jesus' own race. Those nine Jewish lepers surely must have been hardened characters nor even to thank Jesus.
To the Pharisees Jesus said "The Kingdom of God is within you," a matter of the heart. Then his thoughts passed to the future, and he discoursed to the disciples about the glorious day when He would come in power with the redeemed of all ages. (See on Matthew 24.)
This, like the story of the Friend at Midnight in Luke 11:5-13, was told for the one specific purpose of teaching that God will honor Patient, Persistent, Persevering Prayer, In Matthew 6:7 Jesus warned of "vain repetitions," and added "Your Father knows what things you need before you ask Him." How reconcile this with the persistence of the widow and the importunity of the friend at midnight (Luke 11:8), which Jesus commended? Well, it is nor always easy to reconcile two sides of any truth. Our own desires must be tempered by the calm submission to the Will of God. Yet God does want us to present our desires to Him, without allowing ourselves to become discouraged if there is delay in the answers. To learn how to pray successfully is a matter of life-time study and severe self-discipline. For one thing, we must learn how to Forgive (Mark 11:25). And in Matthew 7:12 prayer is directly connected with the practice of the "golden rule." The one prime requirement, however, is FAITH.
Assuming that we ourselves do all in our power to answer our own prayers, God's promises for those who have FAITH are simply amazing. Note below the emphasis on Faith in the statements of Jesus
The Power of Faith
Jesus prayed a great deal, (see on Luke 11:1). And he talked a great deal about Prayer. Here are some of the things he said about FAITH as a part of the act of prayer:
Some of these statements seem like oriental hyperbole. Nevertheless the emphasis that Jesus put on FAITH is just simply astounding. We are not sure that it can be explained away by calling it "hyperbole." Nor by interpreting these strange, strong words to mean only that Jesus was conferring upon the Apostles special powers as
a divine attestation to their mission in founding the Church. We know that Jesus did give the Apostles power to work miracles that it would be foolish for us to claim. We know also that the Apostles could not use those powers at will. Sometimes they could work miracles. Sometimes they could not. In Ephesus multitudes were healed by
handkerchiefs that had touched Paul's body (Acts 19:12). Yet at another time Paul could not heal even his own beloved co-worker, and wrote, "Trophimus I left at Miletus sick" (2 Timothy 4:20). So it seems that God used his own judgment as to when to let the Apostles work miracles.
When Jesus talked about Prayer and Faith, strange as some of his words may sound to us, he knew what he was talking about. He came out of the unseen world, and he was perfectly familiar with forces and powers that play behind the veil that we know nothing about. We ought not yo be too determined to explain everything that Jesus said about Prayer so as to bring it within range of our finite understanding. It might be, if only we would apply ourselves with enough Patience and Persistence to the practice of Prayer, that we could reach attainments that we do not ordinarily dream are possible.
Jesus certainly meant something by these words. He did not talk just to hear himself talk. We think he was aiming to teach some of the most fundamental lessons of human existence for all mankind of all generations. God holds in His hands the workings and inter-workings of the forces of the universe, and is able to bring into play powers that we know nothing about to supplement and control those that we do know about. Jesus said that God may be induced to do this through our FAITH in HIM.
Pharisees were so generally self-righteous and hypocritical in their haughty attitude toward their fellow-men that the word has almost become a synonym for "sham." They bore that same self-complacency in their attitude toward God, as if they thought that God would feel honored to have their homage. Jesus, in his soul, loathed religious
pretense. The bitterest words he ever uttered were against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees (Matthew 23). He did not condone the sins of publicans and harlots. He came to save them. Being acknowledged sinners, it was easier for them to take the first step and confess it. This parable is aimed to show that the fundamental basis of approach to God is a realization of our sinfulness and the need of His mercy.
This incident is related also in Matthew 19:13 and Mark 10:13-16. Jesus had just spoken of the publican being on his way to salvation because he was depressed with his sinfulness. Here he indicates that heaven will be exclusively occupied by child-like people. No pompous fellows in heaven, strutting around as if they owned the universe.
There are plenty of them in the Church here. But not so up there. Jesus said flatly, "Except you become as little children, you shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3). A little child is teachable, trustful, free from mental pride, unsophisticated and loving. Jesus loved children. The disciples did not think children
were important enough to bother with. That made Jesus "indignant" (Mark 10: 13-14).
Also told in Matthew 79:16-30; Mark 10:17-31, Jesus told him to give all. Jesus did not mean that everybody should give up all their money to follow him. Zachaeus offered to give half, and Jesus bestowed upon him salvation (Luke 19:9).
But this young ruler was too much in love with his riches to be of any use in the kingdom of Christ.
A "needle's eye" (25), is thought by some to be the small gate for foot passengers situated in or by the large city gate, through which a camel, by kneeling and with great difficulty, could pass. More generally it is thought to be an actual needle. At any rate, Jesus meant an ''impossible" thing (27). Then modified it by saying that the impossible
for men is possible for God.
Note the wonderful promise to those who give up all to follow Jesus (28-30). It is amplified in Mark 10:28-31. A hundredfold in this life, and in the world to come, Life Eternal.
Social Standing of the Disciples
They were mostly from the humbler classes. But some of them were wealthy and influential. Peter, James, John and Andrew were well-to-do business men. Matthew, being a tax renter or collector, probably was financially well-to-do. Among the women who went about with Jesus was Joanna the wife of Herod's steward, a woman from the palace of the king. Martha, Mary and Lazarus were among the wealthy families around Jerusalem (see on John 12:1-8). Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus, were members of the Sanhedrin. The Nobleman of Capernaum (John 4:46), was probably an officer of
Herod's court. The Cenrurion of Capernaum, who built their synagog (Luke 7:1-10), was an officer of the Roman army. Zacchaeus the publican was a rich man (Luke 19:2).
Told also in Matthew 20:29-34 and Mark 10:46-52. Matthew says there were two blind men. Mark and Luke mention only one. Luke says Jesus was entering Jericho. Matthew and Mark say it was as he went out. Mark calls him Bartimaeus. Possibly one was healed as Jesus entered the city, and the other es he left. Probably' as Jesus entered, they followed along, and after Jesus was through at the house of Zacchaeus, placed themselves by the road where they knew he would pass. Just before he healed the blind man, Jesus trad told his disciples, for-the fifth time, that he was on his way to Crucifixion (31-34): Bur they did not understand (34).
Zacchaeus was a chief publican, head of a large office of tax collectors. Publicans were classed with harlots (7, Matthew 21:31-32). They were hated generally, because the taxes were for a foreign power. Jericho was a city of priests. Jesus chose a publican rather than a priest to abide with. Zacchaeus was converted immediately, and gave genuine evidence of it. Jesus had told the rich young ruler to give "all" (Luke 18:22). Zacchaeus gave "half" (8), and Jesus pronounced him an heir of salvation.
This differs in some points from the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), but it illustrates the same general truths: that we are accountable to the Lord for the way we use our means and time;that there will be rewards and punishments when Jesus comes; that we are in training here for life there. It is a parable of the Second Advent. "A far country" (12), in this parable, and "after a long time" in the parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:19), hint a long interval between his First and Second Coming. The "wise" virgins prepared for it. (See further under II Thessalonians and ll Peter 3.)
Chapter 19:29-44. The Triumphal Entry. (See on Matthew 21:1-11.)
Chapter 19:45-48. The Temple Cleansed. (See on Matthew 21:12-17.)
Chapter 20:1-8. "By What Authority?" (See on Matthew 21:23-27.)
Chapter 20:9-20. Parable of Vineyard. (See on Matthew 21:33-46.)
Chapter 20:21-26. Tribute to Caesar. (See on Mark 12:13-17.)
Chapter 20:27-40. "The Resurrection." (See on Mark 12 18-27.)
Chapter 20:41-44. "David's Son." (See on Mark 12:35-37.)
Chapter 20:45-47. Scribes Denounced. (See on Matthew 23.)
Chapter 21:1-4. The Widow's Mites. (See on Mark 12:41-44.)
Chapter 21:5-36. Discourse on the End. (See on Matthew 24.)
Chapter 21:37-22.:2. Plot to Kill Jesus. (See on Mark 14:1-2.)
Chapter 22:3-6. Bargain of Judas. (See on Mark 14:10-11.)
Chapter 22:7-38. The Last Supper. (See on Matthew 26:17-29.)
Chronological Outline of Jesus' last Week
(Told also in Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; John 18:1.) Gethsemane was a garden near the foot of the western slope of the Mount of Olives. The traditional site cannot be far from the actual site.
The human race started in a garden. Jesus suffered his agony in a garden. He was crucified in a garden, and buried in a garden (John 19:41). Paradise will be a garden.
The most pitiful incident in the whole sorrowful story of Jesus' suffering was that night in Gethsemane.
We wonder why he dreaded his death. We read of martyrs being burned at the stake with songs of joy on their lips. But Jesus, whom we think of as stronger than ordinary men, when he was brought face to face with his death, acted as if he just could not go
through with it, and cried out in anguish that, if possible, it might not be.
We wonder why. It must be that Jesus knew that he was going to suffer something that men do not ordinarily suffer in death, or at least that they do not know beforehand that they are to suffer.
Jesus died for the sins of the world. Whatever theory of the atonement we may hold, Jesus, in some sense or other, died to save us from being lost. He must, therefore, have suffered something of what we will suffer if we are lost. Else how could his death save us from being lost?
Jesus had come out of eternity knowing that the Cross was at the end of the road, for he knew that he was coming as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. As a man, he left Galilee, and set his face steadfastly to go to Jerusalem, walking with steady
tread, never wavering, never faltering, knowing that the Cross was at the end of the road.
But now he had come to the end of the road, and there stood that ghastly thing. It made even Jesus the Son of God temporarily entertain the thought of turning back. The language of his three prayers shows that the "possibility" of not going to the cross was in his mind.
Then, as the two or three or four hours of wavering passed, and he put out of his mind all thought of escape, and set his face like steel to go to it, what it meant to him made him sweat drops of blood, and so weak that God sent an angel to strengthen him.
We can never in this world understand the awful mystery of the atonement-why it had to be. Only this-it was to save us. The simple story of Jesus' suffering, whatever else it may mean, has been the most blessed influence that has ever been in the world.
Chapter 22:47-53 Jesus is Arrested. (See on John 18:1-12.)
Chapter 22:54-62 Peter's Denial. (See on John 18:15-18.)
Chapter 22:54-23:25 Trial of Jesus. (See on Mark 14:53.)
Chapter 23:26 Simon of Cyrene. (See on Matthew 27:32.)
On the way to Calvary. "Weep not for me, but for yourselves and your children" (28), seems to be an echo of the murderous words they had just heard, "his blood be on us end on our children" (Matthew 27:25). And, Oh, how His Blood has been on them through all these centuries!
Chapter 21:3249. The Crucifixion. (See also on Matthew 27:26-56; Mark 15:21-41; and John 19:17-37.)
Both robbers at first joined in the mockery (Matthew 27:44). But one changed his mind. And, in one respect, he put the disciples to shame. For two years or more Jesus had tried so hard to teach them that his kingdom was not to be a kingdom of this world. Now he was dying. To them that was the end of his kingdom. No thought that he would come to life again to reign in glory. But to the robber not so. Perhaps, from the outskirts of a crowd, he had heard Jesus talk of his kingdom. And, though Jesus was now dying, the robber still believed that he had a kingdom beyond the grave (42). Amazing! A robber understood Jesus better than Jesus' own intimate friends. Blessed Jesus! He surely loved sinners. As he returned to God, he bore in his arms the soul of a robber, first-fruits of his mission to redeem a world.
Crucifixion was Rome's punishment for slaves, foreigners, and criminals who were not Roman citizens. It was the most agonizing and ignominious death a cruel age could devise. Nails were driven through the hands and feet, and the victim was left hanging there in agony, starvation, insufferable thirst and excruciating convulsions of pain. Death usually followed in four to six days. In Jesus' case it was over in six hours. (See under John 19:33-34.)
The "True Cross"
There is a tradition that the actual cross on which Jesus was crucified was found, A.D. 325, under the site of the present Church of the Holy Sepulchre, identified by a miracle of healing on one who touched it. Tiny fragments were sold. There was such demand for it that there was invented the miracle of the "multiplication of the cross," so that pieces could be removed, and yet leave the cross intact.
Chapter 23:50-56, Burial. (See on John 19:38-42.)
Outline Story of the Crucifixion
Arranged in order from tbe four accounts
Chapter 24:1-10 The Women at the Tomb. (See on Matthew 28:1-8.)
Chapter 24:11-12 Peter Runs to Tomb. (See on John 20:3-10.)
This is mentioned also in Mark 16:12-13. This was on the way to Emmaus. Emmaus is thought to have been on the road to Joppa, about 7 miles northwest of Jerusalem. It may have been the home of these two disciples. The two disciples were Cleopas and an unnamed companion.
It was in the afternoon. Jesus had in the early morning already appeared to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18); and also to the other women (Matthew 28:9-10). But these two disciples had only heard the report that the tomb was empty, and that angels had announced that Jesus was risen (22-24).
The time is not stated. It was probably just before or just after he had appeared to the Two, in the afternoon. In the early morning he had sent a special message by the angels and the women to Peter (Mark 16:7. See note there).
See also on Mark 16:14-18 and John 20 19-23. "The Eleven" (33), was the name of the group as a group. In this instance it was only ten, for Thomas was absent (John 20:24), Note their joyous belief (34), and yet their "disbelief" (41), even after he had showed them his hands and feet. Faith and Doubt alternating.
A week later, he appears to the Eleven, in Jerusalem (John 20:26-29).
Afterward, to Seven, by the Sea of Galilee (John 21).
Again, to the Eleven, in a Mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20).
And, to James, time and place unknown (I Corinthians 15:7).
This is told also in Mark 16:19 and in Acts 1:3-12. Verses 44-49 seem to belong to his final appearance rather than to the appearance just mentioned in verses 3643; for that evidently was on the first Sunday evening, and in this he tells them to "tarry at Jerusalem" (49), which must have been after they had gone to Galilee and returned
to Jerusalem. Then he led them out of Jerusalem to his beloved Bethany. His forty days of post-resurrection ministry finished, his earthly mission accomplished, waiting Angel Chariots bore the Triumphant Saviour away to the throne of God.
The Four Resurrection Accounts Compared
Jesus' Appeoronces After His Resurreclion
l. To Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9-10), early morning
2. To the Other Women (Matthew 28:9-10), early morning
3. To Two, on way to Emmaus (Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-32)
4. To Peter (Luke 24:34), sometime that day
5. To the Eleven (Mark 16:14, Luke 24:36-; John 20:19-),that night
6. To the Eleven (John 20:26-31), a week later, Thomas present
7. To the Seven, beside the Sea of Galilee (John 21)
8. To Eleven (and 500?), in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20)
9. To James (I Corinthians 15:7). Time and place unknown
10. Final Appearance, Ascension (Mark 16:19; Luke 24:24-; Acts 1:3-)
Later, Jesus made a special appearance to Paul.
In I Corinthians 15:5-8, 27 years after the Resurrection, Paul lists the appearance thus; "He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve, then to above 500 brethren at once, then to James, then to all the apostles, last of all to me."
The statement in Acts 1:3, "showed himself alive by many proofs by the space of 40 days, speaking things concerning the kingdom of God," along with similar statements in Acts 10:41 and 13:31, implies the possibility that he may have made many appearances beside those recorded, and that his post-resurrection ministry may have been more extensive than we know