Lesson 76: Two Great Parables
Luke 10:25-37, John 10:1-21
A Blending of The Four Gospel Records. Welcome to lesson #76. We need to keep in mind the fall of AD 32 was less than six months before Jesus died on the cross. In our last lesson we learned that Jesus went into many villages and cities teaching. Before he went to those villages in Judea and Perea to teach the people on their own soil; Jesus had sent his disciples two by two to heal and to cast out devils and to teach that the kingdom of God was nigh. As Jesus visited the various places where the disciples went; he must have used many of the same parables he had used in Galilee several months before. Matthew told us in his 13th chapter that Jesus taught on his tours almost exclusively in parables. Matthew and Luke were strong on recording the parables of Jesus for our benefit. But, John has only one or two full blown parables in his whole book. However, recorded in the first dozen (or so) verses of John ch.10 is an outstanding parable that only John preserved for us; usually called the parable of the sheepfold. Also, Luke in his 10th chapter gives us the parable of the Good Samaritan. As a memory aid you can remember these two parables are both in the 10th chapters. The parable of the Good Samaritan is based upon a medical emergency and you will remember Luke was a doctor; so, I suppose it is natural Luke recorded this one. Let's take the Good Samaritan first. It begins in Luke 10:25 and continues down thru v.37. About, 13 verses. But, we're going to break it into two readings. First we'll set the stage for the parable and then the parable. Let's read Luke 10:25-28 first. Like most of Jesus' teaching in Judea; it was directed at or in dialogue with the Pharisees and scribes. Let's begin reading in Luke 10:25, are you ready? "And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou has answered right: this do, and thou shalt live."
O.K. this man is identified as a lawyer in v.25. The word "scribe" and word "lawyer" are apparently used pretty much interchangeably. They were almost always Pharisees, who copied the scriptures and supposedly knew the O.T. plus all the laws of traditions. But, you noticed, I trust in v.25, this lawyer stood up and TEMPTED Jesus. Now, look at his question! "Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" That is a great question. His question laid it on the line! And, it's too bad that he didn't really want an answer. But, as you just read it, he asked the question to TEMPT Jesus. That means he wanted to test Jesus. He undoubtedly thought that Jesus would lay down some new rule that was not part of the O.T. and he would ridicule Jesus and expose him for not following the Mosaic Law. But remember, Jesus knew what was in man. Thus, Jesus tossed the (hot potato) question right back to the this supposed expert. "What is written in the law? how readest thou?" That's like saying, you explain it to me, you claim to be the expert. Tell me what does the Bible say? So, the lawyer was on the spot to give the very best answer he could. His answer is a quote from Deut. 6:5 and the last part about loving one's neighbor came from Lev. 19:18. This statement was no doubt a contraction for the whole 10 commandment law. The first four of the 10 commandments deal with man's relationship to God, which is summarized in the first part of the lawyer's answer. The last six of the 10 coitmandments had to do with man's relationship to his fellow man and thus was summarized by the lawyer by loving one's neighbor as himself. Jesus praised the man for his answer: "Thou hast answered right..." Now, don't miss the hooker in Jesus' answer, "This DO, and thou shalt live." You see, Jesus put the emphasis upon the DOING. The point is that the lawyer said it eloquently; he quoted accurately; but, it was mostly theory, and good Sunday school talk, and it said: look how smart I am. Jesus' drove home the point, "this do!" and thou shalt live. This angle undoubtedly threw the lawyer into an awkward position when he saw Jesus' point about being a doer and not a hearer only. So, Luke says that to justify himself; he began to play upon the definition of the word neighbor. He asked Jesus, "who is my neighbor." (v.29). This is where Jesus parable came in; so, let's read the rest of it, v.29-37. Are you ready? Beginning in v.29. "But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him: and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I cone again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that showed mercy on him, then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise." Alright, the section of road that Jesus described was part of that standard road to Galilee that we talked about before. When they came down the Jordan and then ascended the mountain to Jerusalem. Jericho was down in the valley, city # 20 on your map, between the "N" and the "E" in the word wilderness. From Jericho to Jerusalem was an elevation of about 3500 feet in a distance of 20 miles; so, the road followed in deep ravines up the mountain a good part of the way and it is said there was one inn about halfway in between. The man was going down the mountain pass when he was intercepted by thieves; who stripped him, wounded him, and left him half dead. Clothing was far more valuable in that day than in our day. First a priest came by and then a Levite. Jesus placed these two elements into the parable because they represented people who had been set apart for God's service. But, they both passed by on the other side, i.e. they view the man and went on providing no help. I heard the story once about a Sunday School teacher that was teaching this story. After she had read the story, she asked the class, "Why did the priest and Levite pass by on the other side?" One little boy, said: Teacher I know! She said why, Johnny? The little boy said, "that man had already been robbed." I don't think that was the reason. But, why did the Samaritan stop? The answer is at the end of v.33, "when he saw him, he had compassion on him..." And you know the story of how the Samaritan cared for the man, putting him on his own beast or donkey and hauling him to an inn; pouring in oil and wine, i.e. medicated and nursed the man back to health and payed the bill. Jesus injected the Samaritan into the parable because the Jews looked upon the Samaritans as dogs, not because the Samaritans wouldn't let Jesus stay all night in their village only a few weeks before. So, Jesus asked this Jewish lawyer, "Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves?" Apparently, the lawyer liked Jesus' illustration and he answered honestly, "He that showed mercy on him." But, notice he wouldn't say the word Samaritan. What did Jesus say to the lawyer? "Go, and do thou likewise." You see, Jesus again emphasized the DOING part, and that's the message to you and me.Now, let's read the parable of the Good Shepherd in John ch. 10. We're going to start in John 10:1 and we'll read down thru v.21. Are you ready? Beginning in John 10:1. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his is own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And the stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him; for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them; but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth, and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? Others said, these are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?"
The enterprise of sheep was not only a staple in their economy, it was an honorable and respected industry in Israel. The Jews were a shepherd people. Shepherding was the occupation of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David and many, many more. They THOUGHT of themselves AS a shepherd people. The O.T. is full of references to the sheep industry. In the 23 Psalm, PEOPLE are symbolized as sheep. "The Lord is MY shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh ME to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth ME beside the still waters..." Many, many prophecies referred to false shepherds and God's flock, etc. At the time of Jesus, I understand it was common to house several small flocks together at night in one small enclosure they called "a sheepfold." The fold was usually inside of a thorny hedge, an open enclosure made from stick, rocks, etc. A porter stayed inside the fold with the sheep at night. The gate usually opened only from the inside, only the porter could open it. The portersjob was to protect the sheep from any predators, including thieves and robbers. Thus only one porter cared for several small flocks at night. When morning came, the shepherds would come and separate the flocks and go their separate ways. The sheep learned to follow their own shepherd's voice. That •was the major method of separating the flocks. Now, put your parable interpretation
power to work! What are the parallel elements? The sheep represent disciples. The sheepfold represents the church or the kingdom. Jesus said in v.7, "I am the door of the sheep." Now, that's an unusual characterization; but, concentrate on the thought. To get into the church; one must go THROUGH Jesus. Do you get it? Gal. 3:27 says, "For as many of you have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." You see, there's just one way to get into Christ's fold. Now, back up to v.1, "He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber." You see, the Jews were expecting a kingdom, remember, their concept was an earthly kingdom; so, they didn't accept Jesus as the doorway into that kingdom. They were trying to climb up some other way and get into the sheepfold without coming through that door, called Jesus Christ. Therefore they were using the technique of a thief or a robber, (that is). they refused to follow the established rules. Jesus' disciples listen to and follow Jesus' voice. They do not follow strangers. Down in v.9 Jesus said, "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved..." Where are the saved? In Christ's fold. In Christ's church. V.10, "The thief cometh not, but for to seal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." Notice that, this follows the account of the man that was born blind and was cast out of the synagogue by the Pharisees. Thus, Jesus characterizes the Pharisees as hirelings, in v.12, and thus NOT true shepherds.
Now,Iwant you to focus on v.16. Back more than 30 years ago; I worked for Kentucky Experiment Station one summer in Lexington. I worked side by side with nice young man most of that summer. In one of our small-talk discussions one day; Imade the point that the Bible teaches only one church. He got a little loud, abusive, critical and quite frankly, up-set at that thought. So, when his tongue ran-down to where I could get a word in edge-ways; I ask him if he could bring me a scripture from the Bible that taught that there was more than one church. The next morning he had it! John 10:16. At least he was convinced, he had it, "other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice..." Now, let me ask YOU: What about it? Does the verse here teach that Christ has many churches? What does it teach? Well the point is that, Jesus NOT ONLY, came to the Jews; but, Jesus came to the Gentiles as well. The other sheep in this verse are the Gentiles. Jesus came to the Jews first and also the Gentiles, Rom. 1:16, Rom. 2:9, Rom. 2:10 and on and on. The Gentiles were not grafted in until later, read Rom. 11:11ff. But, do they form two separate churches or many churches? Read all of John 10:16 real slow and real close. Jesus speaking, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also Imust bring, and they shall hear my voice; AND THERE SHALL BE ONE FOLD AND ONE SHEPHERD." How many folds? ONE! How many shepherds? ONE! The very verse that some use to teach denominationalism, actually condemns it by teaching the opposite. Jesus is the good shepherd (v.11); "the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." Now, learn this and learn it well, v.18; Jesus said, "No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." Jesus died for the sins of the world voluntarily. He was not forced to do it! "The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep." That includes you and me! Have a good day!