Lesson 80: Jesus Visited Another Feast and then Retired to Perea
Luke 13:31-14:14, John 10:22-42
A Blending of The Four Gospel Records, This is lesson # 80. Welcome again to our study. We want to read first, from the book of John. We'll begin in John 10:22, if you'll find that. You will remember in our last lesson, in Luke 13:22, it was said THERE that Jesus went through the cities and villages, teaching and journeying TOWARD Jerusalem. We're assuming this is the same occasion. Let's read John 10:22-23. Two verses. Are you ready? "And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch." O.K. the feast of the dedication mentioned here was in early December on our calendar and it lasted a week, very much like the feast of tabernacles back in October. This feast was not one of the five occasions required by the Law of Moses. This was a feast that had been added by the Jews. It represented a time almost 200 years before (164 BC) when the temple had been plundered and desecrated by Antiochus Epiphanes, a Syrian king who had offered a pig on the alter as a way of infuriating the Jews. There was a great struggle; but, a Jewish patriot by the name of Judas Maccabaeus finally led the Jews to victory to the point where they regained control of the temple. The temple was rededicated and the worship of Jehovah was restarted. That day in December was celebrated in the future years very much like one of the Jewish feast days. Here in John 10:22 is the ONLY PLACE that this celebration it is mentioned in the scriptures. The story is told in the book of I Mace. 4:52ff. The book of Maccabees is not a canonical book; i.e. it is not scripture. This happened during those 400 silent years between the O.T. and the N.T. But, Jesus went back to Jerusalem during the feast of dedication, near the end of AD 32. V.23 said that Jesus walked in Solomon's porch, one of the many portico of the temple. Solomon's porch was on the east side of the temple. We'll get back to what happened there in a few minutes; but, let's go back to Luke ch. 13 and read v.31-35. Please turn there. Let's read, beginning in Luke 13:31. Are you ready? "The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence; for Herod will kill thee. And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I will do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. Nevertheless I must walk today, and tomorrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. 0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, Your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."
Some of the Pharisees came to Jesus pretending to be his friend and told him that Herod, i.e. the tetrarch of Galilee, the one that killed John the baptist; would kill Jesus also. They came in some hurried, rushing way and said, "Get thee out, and depart hence", i.e. in haste. But, apparently it was some kind of a trap that Herod himself had instigated or at least was participating in. Because in v.32, Jesus sent Antipater Herod a message by these very Pharisees. So, Jesus perceived their wickedness and referred to Herod as a "fox." Have you heard of a person being foxy? i.e. tricky, cunning and crafty? The three days mentioned in v.32-33 do not mean three days until Jesus' death; but, he likely made allusion to his death and resurrection in those words. The time had been established, Jesus knew the time; so, he fearlessly stood up to the rulers of both the Jews and the Romans. In v.34 and 35, Jesus gave a lamentation, i.e. he made a sad and tearful statement or expression about Jerusalem. How distressing it must have been for Jesus to try to persuade the Jews and especially the Jewish leaders to change and get prepared for the coming kingdom; but they ignored him and were even collaborating with Herod to get him killed. Jesus repeated this lamentation in Matt. 23:37-39. Some, think Luke refers to the later occasion and may here have this out of chronological order. Of course, no one know such things for sure. Jesus made the statement in v.35, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." Applied to both Jerusalem and the temple; that statement in one sweeping sentence; described the future history of the city and the temple. In less than 40 years later the city and the temple were literally wiped off the map. We'll find more teaching on this before the end of our study. If you have never observed firsthand how an old hen can protect her chicks under her wing when danger approaches; you cannot get the full import of this illustration and Jesus' feelings. Undoubtedly, Herod thought that sooner or later Jesus would declare himself the king of the Jews and create difficulty for Herod. And, it's likely that Herod didn't think that up by himself; his Pharisee friends were prompting Herod a little with THEIR crafty words also.
O.K. let's go back to John ch. 10. We want to start reading in John 10:24 and we'll read the rest of the chapter. Remember now, it was the feast of dedication and Jesus was in Solomon's porch in that December weather. Let's read, beginning in v.24. Are you ready? "Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. And Jesus answered them, I told you, ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them god, unto whom the word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken; say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works; that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. Therefore they sought again to take him; but he escaped out of their hand, and went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode. And many resorted unto him and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true. And many believed on him there."
The Jews had undoubtedly decided that they were going to stone Jesus under the accusation of blasphemy as was outlined in Leviticus 24:16. The question in v.24 was an attempt on their part to get a clear and open declaration on the part of Jesus. They said, "How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly." In their state of heart, it wouldn't have mattered what Jesus said or how plainly he stated anything; they were determined not to believe. Occasionally, Jesus told someone straight out that he was the Christ, e.g. the woman at the well (John 4:26) and the man that was born blind (John 9:37); but usually Jesus depend upon the works which he did to establish his identity. He called those things to their attention on this occasion; but, in v, 30 Jesus told them what they wanted to hear. Jesus said, "I and my Father are one." This is the same thing Jesus had said back in John ch. 5; which was almost two years before the present occasion. So, in v.31, John says, "they took up stones again to stone him." Apparently, they already had the stones ready. Did you notice, John said "again." John refers back to John 8:59. They would have stone Jesus many times had it not been for the fact that their status under the Romans had deterred them. But, this time Jesus faced them with rocks in hand. He looked them eyeball to eyeball and said, "Many good works Have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?" I get the impression from v.39 they changed their mind and decide to arrest him; but as Jesus had done on other occasions, he escaped out of their hand. After the festival Jesus went into the edge of Perea, if you'll find that on your map. V.40 says Jesus went beyond Jordan, i.e. across the Jordan to a place where John-the Baptist had preached and baptized two or three years before. The last three words in v.40 tell us that Jesus lived there in Perea for awhile. Many people came to Jesus there in Perea. It is evident that Jesus continued to do miracles there in Perea because v.41 states that some observed that John the Baptist did no miracle. That was one of the outstanding difference they saw in Jesus and John. But, because of the things that John had said about Jesus many believe on Jesus in Perea.
It must have been past the middle of December in AD 32 when Jesus went back into Perea. If I have calculated correctly, everything else written in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John apparently happened after that time; or, in other words the remaining 39 chapters still ahead of us were written concerning the last three or four months that Jesus lived.
Beginning in Luke ch. 14, that writer give us about three more chapters before we catch back up with the other writers. So, I am assuming that the next three chapters (or so) in Luke's account are some of the teachings that Jesus did east of the Jordan. Luke give us some valuable teachings of Jesus in this section and some outstanding parables of Jesus that give us great insight. So, let's get started on that section; beginning in Luke 14:1. Please find that. let's read the first 14 verses. Are you ready? Beginning in Luke 14:1, let's read. "And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him. And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisee, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; and answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? and they could not answer him again to these things. And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honorable man than thou be bidden of him; and he that bade thee and he come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbors; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and. thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just."
O.K. back to the beginning of Luke ch. 14 and we'll try to re-hash a few thoughts. What was a chief Pharisee, v.1? I'm not quite sure of that term; but, it probably means simply a respected Pharisee ; with strong influence. It might imply that he was a member of the Sanhedrin like Nicodemus was. In John 3:1, John said Nicodemus was a RULER of the Jews, this may be Luke's way of saying the same thing. This was on a sabbath day, I trust you notice in v.1. The text rather implies that Jesus might have been invited for the purpose of them watching him. I would assume that the disease call "dropsy" in v.2 is the same as the disease we know by that name; this is the only place in the N.T. it is mentioned. But, Jesus perceived that he was being watch; so, he cornered those who claimed to know and asked them the very question that prompted their watchful eye. V.3 calls them lawyers and Pharisees and I suppose that include the chief Pharisee. Jesus put the question to them this way, very straight forward and very frankly, "Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?" But, they wouldn't answer. There was no passage in the O.T. that forbid it. Obviously, the Pharisees and lawyers were persuaded otherwise; at least, that was the general view. But, they wouldn't offer any O.T. evidence; so, Jesus healed the man, as they looked on and let him go, dropsy-free. Then Jesus discussed the matter further for their benefit by using the same argument he used back in Luke 13:15. The sabbath law did not forbid acts of mercy, but the Pharisees and the lawyers by their traditions had added a few amendments.
V. 7-14 is a simple lesson in being a good host and a good guest and good manners. There is a great lesson in humility and in this example or parable Jesus gave some points that would certainly make life less embarrassing and help us to avoid misunderstandings and keep good rapport with those whom we associate, i.e. at a banquet. But, the principles are broader than that. However, the big value in v.7-14 is simply that it sets the stage for the parable that follows in v.15-25. This is a bad place to break; but, we DON'T have time to add that parable to this lesson. So, if you'll re-read this and hang on to this; we'll be already to start the parable of the great supper in our next lesson. In v.7-14, Jesus spoke of a WEDDING FEAST; a different type of supper than he was participating in at the time, most likely to keep the host on this occasion from feeling Jesus was being personal or criticizing his table arrangement. McGarvey and Pendleton perceive the table arrange like this, and I quote: "The...Grecian table, then in use had three sections which were placed together so as to form a flat-bottomed letter "U." The space enclosed by the table was not occupied. It was left vacant that the servants might enter in and attend to the wants of the guests who reclined around the outer margin of the table. The central seat of each of these three sections were deemed a place of honor." (un-quote!). In other words two tables side by side with their ends bumped up against a third table and the space in between the two tables being reserved for serving. We'll get bade to this in our next lesson. We'll be starting in Luke 14:15, the parable of the Great Supper. Until then, have a good day.