Lesson 79: More Teaching and Healing Along the Way
Luke 12: 49-13:30
A Blending of The Four Gospel Records. Welcome to lesson # 79. We're going to continue our reading in Luke 12:49. All of Luke ch. 12 thus far has been devoted to a discourse of Jesus given to the apostles and disciples; but, indirectly he taught large crowds of Pharisees and others. After Jesus had given a parable about the watchful servant; Peter interrupted Jesus to ask if that applied to the apostles "or even to all." Then Jesus turned his discussion around and talked about the other servants, I..e. disciples who were unfaithful. Jesus said the faithful would be rewarded according to their obedience in relation to their knowledge and the unfaithful would be punished according to their obedience in relation to their knowledge. There are many, many things that could be gleaned from these parables and teachings. But since we have touched on most of this back when Jesus was teaching in Galilee; we're going to move a little faster where some of these things have been discussed before. Let's begin reading in Luke 12:49 and read down thru v.53. Are you ready? "I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: for from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law." Christ's coming and Christ teaching brought a great conflict into the world. He came to bring peace and Jesus gave the loving basis upon which peace and tranquility could be attained upon the earth. But, it would not be so; Jesus realized and understood and taught that it would not work that way. That was the ideal. But, the ideal does not prevail. Sin and strife and competition and disobedience is constantly present. Thus, Jesus said in v.49 his coming was like sending fire upon the earth and that fire was already kindled when he was speaking. In v.50 Jesus speaks of his suffering and passion in the coming months as a baptism, i.e. a flood of suffering. The agony of the cross faced him and that brought great pressure in terms of distress and depression. It was a form of facing the death chamber. Jesus said, "how am I straitened till it be accomplished!" Notice the word straitened here is that strait that means a narrow passage, or a narrow way. V.51-52-53 is an expression and an illustration of the great conflict that Jesus brought upon the earth. We still have the Jewish religion today. We have other religions antagonistic to the Jews that have developed. The Jews persecute Christians and the Christians have divided and departed into many denominations. Then there are the atheists and the agnostics. And, today families are divided just as Jesus predicted in these verses.
Let's read three more verses: Luke 12:54-55-56. Are you ready? "And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, strightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is. And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass. Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?" Jesus said in effect, it's amazing how people can cunningly read the signs of nature and piece together the indicators of weather. But, read the Bible and they all disagree and go in their separate directions. It was no more amazing then than now.
O.K. three more verses in Luke ch. 12. V.57-58-59, let's read. "Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right? When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him: lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison. I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence till thou has paid the very last mite." John the Baptist and Jesus had made it so plain about the coming kingdom and the things that were impending but it seemed not to even dent the thinking of the disciples themselves. These things were going to bring on great difficulties for many standing there. The Jewish leaders thought of Jesus as their enemy. Jesus appealed to them to correct these things before it led to great civil and military struggles.
Alright, Luke ch. 13. Let's read nine verse. Luke 13:1-9. Are you ready? "There were present at THAT season some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? Itell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower of Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down."
"That season" in v.1 is thought to mean UPON THAT OCCASION; thus, tying this to the things said back in Luke ch. 12, that we just covered. Pilate was mentioned once before in our study. Can you remember where he was mentioned before and who he was? Pontius Pilate was the governor of Judea. This was outlined in Luke 3:1. He sat on the same throne that Herod-the-great and Archelaus Herod had earlier occupied. He was to Judea what Antipater Herod was to Galilee. It seems that Pilate would have been out of his jurisdiction executing Galileans; but, apparently it happened. This is not the last time we'll meet Pontius Pilate, so get a good grip on that name. None of the commentators seem to know anything about the Galileans that Pilate killed and mingled their blood with their sacrifices. But, even though we know nothing else of the circumstances; it sounds like a pretty gruesome occasion. We don't know who the "some" were that told Jesus about this gruesome murder in v.1. But, the point is that they thought evidently; that the Galileans were sinners, great sinners, and this was a retribution for their sins. That seemed to be a common idea back then and the idea is still prevalent today. We talked about this before, you'll remember, in John 9:2; some assumed that the man which Jesus healed, that was born blind, happened because of either HIS or his parents sins. In the book of Job, Job's friend made that assumption. But, Jesus dispelled that idea in John ch. 9 and he further dispels the idea here in v.3. Sin and misfortune are not necessarily connected. Suffering is almost always brought about by sin; somebody's sin. For example, if a drunken driver kills a little child on the highway; it was not brought about as a result of the little child's sin. But, nevertheless the suffering was brought about by sin. But, misfortune is not retribution for sin in the sense that the sinner is the only one that suffers. So, Jesus told these people that they could not conclude that those Galileans' fate was because they had committed some great wickedness. However, Jesus warned those to whom he was talking with, that they must repent, i.e. change their mind and serve God in the right spirit; or they would meet up with a much greater fate than the Galileans had met. Of course, Jesus was speaking of eternal torment. Jesus mentions another case in v.4 in which 18 persons were killed, when a tower fell. The word "tower" simply mean what we would call a house. The pool of Siloam was somewhere in the south east quadrant of Jerusalem. I would assume that tower that fell was some where near to the pool. But, notice that Jesus draws the same conclusion in v.5. If you'll observe, v.5 is an identical repeat of v.3. AND a statement of Jesus that makes repentance an absolute requirement for salvation.
The parable of the barren fig tree follows those comments that Jesus made in the first five verses. The point is that God is longsuffering and has a reasonable tolerance; but there is a limit to even divine forebearance. The Jewish nation had had more than ample time to bear fruit. John the Baptist came preaching the kingdom was at hand. Jesus came preaching to get prepared for the kingdom; but, the Jewish leadership in particular had ignored those warnings. The idea of a vineyard is sometimes used as a synonym for the church of kingdom; a place that is cultivated under God's care as the husbandman. This fig tree had been given a choice spot. The time was well past that it should have produced fruit. It would be give more than ample time and the intensity of cultivation and nutrition would still be supplied; but, there was going to be a limit to tolerating fruitlessness. This parable could be interpreted either to the nation or to the individual. If there was no response, they would be cut down and their end would be worse than the doom of the Galileans or the 18 in the tower of Siloam. This amplifies, "but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."
O.K. v.10-17 is apparently a different occasion; another run-in with the Pharisees about the sabbath doctrine. Let begin reading in Luke 13:10. Are you ready? "And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not his woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him." All through Jesus' ministry he continued the miracles of healing. They are interspersed from beginning to end. The same was true in Galilee as was with his Judean ministry. It would appear that the only miracles these writers take the time to touch on are those where something unusual happened, i.e. something unusual other than the miracle itself, certainly Jesus' miracles themselves defied the very laws of nature. It looks like the miracles alone would have eventually convinced everyone to accept Jesus' claims as the messiah; but, the fact that it didn't convince them; helps us to see how hardened and how set the Jewish leaders were upon NOT accepting Jesus. On this occasion, a woman bent over for 18 years, released from her misery in a moment of time; the synagogue leader did not question the healing, he got up-set because it was on the sabbath day. You might observe also that in v. 11, it says she "had a spirit of infirmity," thus, I would assume this condition was again caused by a demon as we've discussed before. But, Jesus showed clearly that the Jews did not hesitate to do other chores like watering their animals on the sabbath. Thus, Jesus classified them as hypocrites in v.15. However, according to v.17, Jesus' point came across strongly and "all his adversaries were ashamed."
You should have v.18-19-20-21 already highlighted in your bible. We covered those four verses at the time we covered Matthew ch.13 when we considered the many parables about the kingdom. Jesus prophetically likened the coming kingdom to (#1) a grain of mustard seed, and (#2) to leaven, that makes the bread rise. Jesus gave those parables AGAIN in Judea or where ever he was; but, we won't discuss them again.
However, I would like to read Luke 13:22-30 and try to cover that in this lesson. So, let's read, beginning in v.22. Are you ready? "And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first; and there are first which shall be last."
These teachings were done on that tour over Judea and Perea where the Lord sent the seventy disciples two by two. But, during that round (v.22): this happened near the end; when Jesus was headed back toward Jerusalem. This was probably about December of AD 32. And, during one of those sessions where the disciples had went two by two; someone asked the question: "Lord, are there few that be saved?" Did you ever wonder about that question? Have you ever asked that question? The Jews apparently had widely differing views on that question. It seems many of the jews thought that all Israel would be saved in a manner like the time they left Egypt under the leadership of Moses. But, Jesus here puts it on an individual bases in v.24. Notice how he says this; "When once the master of house [i.e. the one in charge] is risen up, and hath shut to the door..." You see, the parable of the barren fig tree, indicated there would be a time of reckoning. When that time comes; it's going to be like this. Some are going to beg and plead and offer excuses and some will undoubtedly think they have obeyed. But, notice the terrible words of Jesus (v.25), "I know you not..." Very much a repeat of Matt. 7:13-23. A different time and a different occasion; but, the teaching is the same. There are last that shall be first; and there are first which shall be last (v.30). That goes back to Luke 12:47-48. Until our next lesson, have a good Day.