Lesson 77: One Home That Received Jesus and More Pharisee Confrontation
A Blending of The Four Gospel Records. Welcome again! This is lesson #77. In our last lesson we covered two great parables, the parable of the Good Samaritan and the parable of the sheepfold. Someone has said in the parable of the Good Samaritan, the robbers attitude was, "what is thine is mine if I -can take it by force." The attitude of the priest and the Levite was, "what is mine is mine and I shall not divide." But, the attitude of the Samaritan was, "what is mine is thine if needed and I will be happy to divide." These three attitudes still characterize the world today. Even the lawyer concluded the Samaritan as neighbor. The bottom line was that Jesus said, "Go, and do thou likewise." In the parable of the sheepfold; we learned there is care and protection in God's fold, known as the church or kingdom. Jesus is the door of that sheepfold and there are rules for entrance. Any who do not enter by the rules are considered as thieves and robbers trying to climb up another way. The more you study those parables, the more you'll appreciate them.
O.K. let's back up to Luke and finish up ch. 10. We'll start reading in Luke 10:38. We're going to read the rest of Luke ch. 10, beginning in v.38. Are you ready? "Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving/ and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou are careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." This is the first time we have met Mary and Martha; but, we'll meet them again in our study. We learn later that they lived in Bethany, (John 11:1). Bethany was only a mile or two from Jerusalem. It was located to the northeast on that lonely road to Jericho we talked about in our last lesson. Post Bethany on your map now please. It is city # 21, the spelling is B-E-T-H-A-N-Y. Notice the words in v.38, "as they went." Probably as Jesus went on that preaching and teaching tour where the 70 disciples were sent out two by two. Remember the instruction Jesus gave his disciples on where and how to find a place to stay? Jesus no doubt followed the same rules and "a certain woman named Martha received him into her house." Martha was a very conscientious lady, she wanted everything to be just right around the home. Martha would have made a good Kentuckian. She was probably baking cakes, making potato salad, and all kinds of goodies. I've often wondered if Jesus liked fried chicken as well as most preachers. Martha took her house work very seriously. And that certainly is commendable. But, so many GOOD PEOPLE put so many good things ahead of their Christianity. And that was the problem with Martha. It's hard for us to keep our priorities right. That lawyer, up in v.27, knew that the Bible requires loving the Lord "with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind..." But, Jesus showed the PROBLEM was with DOING. I heard the story about a magazine salesman that tried to sell a farmer a farm magazine. The salesman said the magazine would help the fanner control bugs, there were articles on fertility, marketing, planting, harvesting, etc. The salesman said these thing will increase your yields, you'll get a better price for your products and you'll make more money. Sign right here! The fanner said,NO I DON'T WANT IT. The salesman said WHY? Surely, you want to make more money. The fanners said, yes, but I know more to do •now than I'm doing. So, DOING can be a problem. Not everyone recognizes it like that farmer did. So many GOOD PEOPLE in this old world know what to do; but, it doesn't get it done. Any excuse seems to be good enough to miss the worship service. Bible study can wait. So, many good people need to be told what Jesus told Martha, "one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part." You can see Jesus' attitude. And, Jesus' attitude carries a great message for us.
Now, let's read some more, the first 13 verses of Luke ch. 11. Got it? Let's begin in Luke 11:1. Are you ready? "And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom coma. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"
The substance of this passage, I'm sure you will recognize, is contained in the sermon on the mount, in Matthew's account. Jesus had taught the disciples to pray at the time of the sermon on the mount which was the time the apostles were appointed. However, this may have been other disciples, some of the seventy for example, that were not present before. Jesus often prayed long prayers. It would appear that John the Baptist may have taught his disciples to memorize certain prayers as was also customary of the Pharisees. The prayer that Jesus gave was a model prayer. Idle repetitions in prayer were forbidden by Jesus. But, persistence is encouraged. The idea of "importunity", that big word in v.8 is simply persistence in a shameless way. Jesus teaches we are to practice importunity in prayer. The example is that friendship was not enough to arouse the friend to get the bread because it was so much trouble. Remember they didn't have electric lights or matches; so it would be a lot of trouble to get up, locate the bread, open the door, etc. But, the thing that will cause the friend to arise and give out the bread is shamelessly continuing to knock and ask. After a time, he would give out the bread to get rid of the pesky neighbor, you see. V.9, 10, 11, 12, 13 is a continuation of the teaching of persistence and importunity, with a contrast between how much more the heavenly Father can discern our needs than men can care for their children.
We covered v. 14-32 of Luke ch. 11, back at the time we cover Matt. ch. 12. So, we're going to skip down to Luke 11:33. We'll read v.33-34-35-36. Luke 11:33-36. Are you ready? "No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore, that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light." Again, you recognize, the substance of this passage was also in the sermon on the mount. The passage is here addressed to different people. Notice that the contrast in v.34 is between "when thine eye is single" and "when thine eye is evil." H. Leo Boles says the idea in v.34 is (and I quote): "as a blurred eye dooms the whole body to darkness, so does a prejudiced, worldly heart shut off the light of God and doom the miserable man to the darkness of delusion and death." (un-quote). That seems to accord with v.35-36.
We're going to finish the chapter. Luke 11:37-54. So, get your eyes on Luke 11:37. Let's read. "And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat. And when the Pharisees saw it, he marveled that he had not first washed before dinner. And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. Ye fools, did not he, that made that which is without, make that which is within also? But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you. But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them. Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also. And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchers of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchers. Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: that the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zechariah, which perished between the alter and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation. Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered. And as he said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things: laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him."
O.K. Jesus was invited to dinner by a Pharisee (v.37) and Jesus accepted the Pharisee's invitation. We don't know who the Pharisee was; but, he was friendly to Jesus. But, the Pharisee was soon disappointed in Jesus because he did not wash his hands before eating, according to v.38. The ASV here uses the word "bathe" and another translation says, "wash his hands." We are not told what the Pharisee actually said to Jesus; it simply says he "marveled." But, I trust you remember Matt, ch. 15. It had to do with the oral traditions of the Fathers; we've talked about this before. I think the tradition was that they wash their hands
before eating and if they had been in a crowd; they were to bathe their entire body. So, I'm not sure which end of the tradition that this Pharisee "marveled" at. However, when Jesus perceived the Pharisee's thoughts; Jesus didn't spare any courtesy or politeness to denounce their traditions. It may seem a little strange to you that Jesus as a guest would speak out so strongly. But, you must realize that the Pharisees went to extreme on their traditions and they tried to equate them to scripture. And Jesus wanted it made very plain and very clear that they were NOT scripture. This accounts for Jesus' scathing reply in v. 39-44. Jesus first made the point that it is more important for a man to be clean inside, (that is) spiritually honest and obedient. It's that inward man principle, you see. It is not sinful to be dirty outside. It might not be very sanitary, but it is not sinful. Jesus was not against cleanliness; but, it was not to be a ceremony as the Jews were making it. A lady told me once that cleanliness was next to godliness. I told her that was not in the Bible. She said, yes but it ought to be. If we feel very strongly about something; there is a tendency to try to bind it on others. But, Jesus made the point that we CANNOT make OUR traditions scripture. But, what God does NOT require; we have no right to require it by traditions and imply that God requires it. That's the message, loud and clear. Secondly, after Jesus had made his point on that subject; Jesus attacked some other traditions of the Pharisees also; as he did on the occasion of Matt. ch. 15. There are three of these and each start with the words, "Woe unto you, Pharisees!" (v.42, 43, 44). He said (#1) they made a big deal out of giving 10 percent of their little garden herbs and spices, etc.; but, they thought nothing of passing over much weightier matters. (#2), they went after a lot of vain glory, titles, etc. (#3) in v.44, notice that Jesus included scribes in this accusation and also called them "hypocrites." If I understand this correctly, the Pharisees had another tradition which said that touching a grave made them unclean, (that is) ceremonially unclean and required bathing, etc. So, Jesus was saying unto the Pharisees, that they were like graves walking around and polluting others by their spiritually dead teachings. What Jesus said here is very, very similar to what he said on another occasion recorded in Matt. ch. 23, that we haven't covered yet.
But, when" Jesus mentioned the scribes, it says in v.45 that a lawyer spoke up and said in effect: You are insulting us, sir! What did Jesus say? "Woe unto you ALSO, ye lawyers!" The lawyer may have though that Jesus would apologize if he confronted him directly. But, Jesus attacked the lawyers for their traditional conduct and brought three charges against them also. Each of these start out, "Woe unto you..." (v.46, 47 and 52). (#1) was that the lawyers loaded the people up with a lot of traditional junk; but the lawyers were very cautious not to do anything themselves. (#2) He said that their fathers, (that is) those ancestors that helped make those traditions to start with were the very ones that had killed some of God's prophets. And they were building monuments to those ancestors, (that is) the lawyers were instigating it. (#3) Jesus said that the lawyers had not taught the O.T. scriptures, but instead they had taught a lot of trifling junk about their traditions that had in effect confused others and interfered with their true obedience to the scriptures. Then in v.52 Luke is saying in effect that this was not the end of the dialogue on that occasion; but, it all added up to trying to catch Jesus in saying something wrong, so they could accuse him. Nothing constructive, in other words! Until our next lesson, have a good day.