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For New King James text and comment, click here.
Luke 13:22-14:35; John 10:22-42 Listen
In this passage, we see the following in Jesus' ministry:
We're talking Pharisees and Sadducees again (Luke 13:22-30)
22 And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.
23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,
24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to 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:
26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.
27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
28 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.
29 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.
30 And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.
After reading from the beginning of Luke 12 (see notes), one might deduct that very few are actually on their way to life in the Messianic Kingdom that Jesus has been preaching; Jesus has been blasting the hypocrisy of the most well-respected religious leaders of his day. Based on Jesus' comments, a man asks Jesus in verse 23, "Lord, are there few that be saved?" Jesus explains that there are a lot of religious people around them, but they have rejected the message of salvation (talking about the religious leaders). However, the little people (common man) received the message of salvation. Those hypocritical Pharisees and Sadducees rejected the message, prompting Jesus to point out in verse 30, "And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last." I guess being religious like the Pharisees and Sadducees just isn't enough. There's one more interesting and very telling statement here by Jesus when he says in verse 29, "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." In other words, there will be Gentiles who will be in the presence of God while unbelieving Jews will be without. To a Jew in Jesus' day, that's ultimate irony.
|Mishnah (MISH-nuh): An early written compilation of Jewish oral tradition, the basis of the Talmud.|
Interestingly enough, the many-versus-few-saved controversy raged among the Jews in the first century much as it does among Christian Bible scholars today. We know from the record of Jewish oral tradition (Mishnah) that some scholars then held to the notion that only the committed adherents to Judaism would enter the Messianic Kingdom, while other Jewish authorities in the first century held that only those who blatantly rejected Judaism would be exempted. You can imagine the thought processes that must have been working when this man had heard a message from Jesus that even the Pharisees weren't guaranteed a place in the Kingdom - yet another doctrinal deviation from the two positions held during that era. (For more information on the Kingdom message, read the introduction to Matthew 5 - click here.)
|Herod Antipas, a son of Herod the Great by his Samaritan wife Malthace. He was tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea during the whole period of our Lords life on earth (Luke 23:7). He was a frivolous and vain prince, and was chargeable with many infamous crimes (Mark 8:15; Luke 3:19; 13:31, 32). He beheaded John the Baptist (Matt. 14:1-12) at the instigation of Herodias, the wife of his half-brother Herod-Philip, whom he had married. Pilate sent Christ to him when he was at Jerusalem at the Passover (Luke 23:7). He asked some idle questions of him, and after causing him to be mocked, sent him back again to Pilate. The wife of Chuza, his house-steward, was one of our Lords disciples (Luke 8:3). (Easton's Bible Dictionary)|
Let's try to scare Jesus out of Jerusalem (Luke 13:31-35)
31 The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee.
32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.
33 Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.
34 O 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!
35 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.
The Pharisees (of all people) warn Jesus to flee Jerusalem lest Herod kill him. Do you suppose they had an ulterior motive here? Jesus replies that Herod does not control his destiny. And...by the way...he's not going to be intimidated into leaving Jerusalem by a bunch of weasel-mouthed Pharisees either! Verse 32 is packed full of implications, "And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected." I'm certain that Jesus' disciples must have reflected back on these words later on and realized that Jesus was undoubtedly speaking of his resurrection. Notice the bold words Jesus uses to say, in essence, "Herod (that fox) does not control my destiny."
If you're looking for Messianic implications, they're all here in these five verses, though subtle as they may be. Verse 35 has particular significance when Jesus says, "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." Jesus pulls together two prophetic passages of scripture to make his point here. The first is drawn from Jeremiah 22:5 (see notes), "But if ye will not hear these words, I swear by myself, saith the LORD, that this house shall become a desolation." In that passage, Jeremiah is prophesying the fall of the "house" of Judah to the Babylonians. That fall was finalized with the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. From that time through Jesus' day, Israel had been subservient to other nations. Since that time they had been looking for a Messiah, and that's what makes the second part of that verse so significant. It's a quotation from a Messianic Psalm, Psalm 118:26 (see notes), "Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD." The "name of the LORD" in that passage is the special name for the God of the Jews, Jehovah (aka Yahweh). After the resurrection of Jesus, the authentication of Jesus as the Messiah will be complete; Jesus is Jehovah. So...Jesus is telling them that, while Jerusalem has suffered the desolation prophesied by Jeremiah, Jesus is the Messiah "that cometh in the name of the Lord."
Incidentally, Jesus again quotes from Jeremiah 22:5 (see notes) and Psalm 118:26 (see notes) in Matthew 23:38-39 (see notes).
Healing the man with dropsy (Luke 14:1-6)
1 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.
2 And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy.
3 And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?
4 And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go;
5 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?
6 And they could not answer him again to these things.
Jesus goes to the house of "one of the chief Pharisees" on the sabbath day, presumably after a service at the local synagogue. This "chief" Pharisee was probably a member of the Sanhedrin, the ruling council over the Jews in Jerusalem. At the dinner, verse 1 indicates "they [the Pharisees] watched him [Jesus]." The Greek imperfect tense for "watched" there would indicate careful scrutiny over a period of time. Then, a man with a disease just happens to show up on the sabbath in front of Jesus and the Pharisees. Coincidence...or...a setup?
This disease called "dropsy" we are told was one in ancient manuscripts described as a swelling of parts of the body due to fluid collecting in the tissues. As Jesus sees the man, he queries these influential leaders regarding the appropriateness of healing this man on the sabbath. It's interesting to me that there seems to be no dispute this day. What's the difference? Could it be that because this was, presumably, one of the honored guests of the "chief" Pharisee, perhaps making him one of those highly-esteemed Jewish leaders, no one wanted to interfere with his healing? They really were a bunch of hypocrites, weren't they? Think of all the other times Jesus was railed against for performing the same act of healing on commoners on the sabbath. This "favoritism" notion is supported by the discussion that follows in verses 7-14.
Incidentally, there really was no prohibition in the Law of Moses regarding healing on the Sabbath. That provision had become part of the oral traditions appended to the Law.
Who's the big guy here? (Luke 14:7-14)
7 And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them,
8 When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him;
9 And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.
10 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.
11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
12 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 neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee.
13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:
14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
This hypocrisy (verses 1-6) doesn't go unnoticed by Jesus. He then begins a parable taken right out of Proverbs 25:6-7 (see notes) about good banquet etiquette which says, "Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen." However, I think the intent here was really to draw a contrast concerning the lack of objection these leaders had regarding the healing of the influential man on the sabbath day when they had furiously objected to such activity on the sabbath when it involved common people. In verse 12, he turns his attention to the host regarding the social status of his guests - mostly people who can return the hospitality. Jesus admonishes him to consider inviting those who have no ability to reciprocate with an invitation - "the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind." These Jewish leaders did know how to scratch each others' backs (so to speak).
The point of this parable must not be overlooked. It's about the self promotion of the Pharisees. They exalted themselves rather than being exalted by God. There's certainly a lesson to be learned by all of us from this parable: Let God do the exalting; let's just do the serving.
Let's change the subject (Luke 14:15-24)
15 And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the Kingdom of God.
16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.
23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.
Perhaps this man who seems to interrupt Jesus as he's addressing the host of the banquet is trying to take some heat off the hosts when he blurts out in verse 15, "Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the Kingdom of God." Then again, it may be that this man is ready to get down to the purpose for which they have invited Jesus to dinner - to harvest some words of indictment against Jesus. There seems to be a trend: When Jesus is present, the subject always seems to get around to the Kingdom message, so let's get started. It is safe, therefore, to assume that the parable beginning in verse 16 concerns this Kingdom presentation. The Kingdom message was what Jesus preached throughout his earthly ministry. This message specifically addresses the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah and the establishment of the Davidic throne, and based in Jerusalem. (For more information on the Kingdom message, read the introduction to Matthew 5 - click here.) In this crowd of Jewish leaders, it would be assumed that any overthrow of Roman authority by the Messiah would automatically include these leaders in the new government. However, when you read the parable Jesus spoke before these influential Jews, it would appear that he is telling them right to their faces that they are out in lieu of the common, neglected Jewish populace. Look at the conclusion of the parable in Luke 14:24, "For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper." The Jewish leaders had opportunities to embrace the Messiahship of Jesus, but declined the invitation. Incidentally, the marriage supper of the lamb in Matthew 25 (see notes) outlines this very same issue of entry into the Messianic Kingdom (aka Kingdom of Heaven aka Kingdom of God).
The sacrifices of discipleship (Luke 14:25-35)
25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,
26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
34 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?
35 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Now the setting has changed, and here's the great multitude that seemed to accumulate around Jesus. What is their interest with Jesus anyway? Well, he miraculously healed and preached the message of the Kingdom. In the peoples' minds, this was the real deal; Roman oppression may very well soon come to a screeching halt in lieu of the Messiah's reign...and here's that Messiah... right here in their presence. Little did they realize that becoming a disciple of Jesus at this point meant quite the opposite from their anticipations. It would mean following him to his crucifixion in the very near future. Discipleship at this point is not at all what the people following him think it is. (Click here to see the notes regarding discipleship on Matthew 16:24-27; Mark 8:34-38; Luke 9:23-26.) You must understand this concept in order to differentiate between the call of discipleship by Believers today in contrast to this special call to discipleship then that involved forsaking everything, including one's family ties, to follow Jesus to the crucifixion. Ultimately, who did follow Jesus to the crucifixion a few weeks later? The answer is in Mark 14:50 (see notes), "And they all forsook him, and fled." So, with the crucifixion just weeks away, do these people really want to become disciples? Consider this: Unless these people have no consideration whatsoever for the impact this will have on their families and don't even mind losing their own lives, they cannot be disciples on this last stretch of Jesus' ministry to the death.
Jesus uses two examples in making the point regarding one's failing to count the cost of success:
Jesus then makes another emphasis to his point when he says in verse 33, "So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." Many teachers have massaged and massaged these verses to try to explain away these extreme requirements and make them fit general discipleship. Jesus fully understands that no one will actually follow him to his death and therefore, no one accurately counted the cost for this special-purpose, to-the-death discipleship.
Let's put this passage into perspective. First of all, know this: Salvation and discipleship are not one in the same. Discipleship should follow salvation, but they are not one in the same. Second of all: To pass on the opportunity to physically follow Jesus to the death during his earthly ministry did not mean that these people declined salvation. Jesus had already chosen his disciples for his earthly ministry. Jesus, having complete foreknowledge of events that would soon take place, discouraged these late comers from becoming his disciples at this stage of his ministry. Many over the years have misunderstood this passage to mean that one cannot serve God without forsaking family. That takes this passage out of context; that's not taught here. What is taught is that Jesus' time on earth was short; he had no home; those who follow him (literally accompany him in his journeys) at this point would be called upon to make huge personal sacrifices to follow him to his death. Here's an important concept on serving God: When God requires it, he gives you the grace to offer it.
And for those who adamantly insist that discipleship and salvation are one in the same, these words of Jesus are particularly difficult to reconcile. Salvation is consummated when one responds to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and accepts Jesus Christ as Savior of one's life. Consult the commentary on Galatians 2:15-21 for clarity on this issue. Discipleship is based upon a personal choice to follow Jesus' example after salvation. Of course, discipleship should follow salvation, but they are not one in the same.
Jesus confronts the Pharisees (John 10:22-42)
22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.
24 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.
25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.
26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
30 I and my Father are one.
31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
33 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.
34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
36 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?
37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
38 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.
39 Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand,
40 And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode.
41 And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.
42 And many believed on him there.
While this appears to be a continuation of the confrontation that began between the Jews and Jesus after he healed the blind man in John 9:1-10:21 (see notes), it is not. Some time has lapsed according to verse 22 where we get a definite time fix for this occasion - the "Feast of Dedication." The Feast of Dedication, now known as Hanukkah, was established as a memorial to the purification and rededication of the temple by Judas Maccabeus on Kislev (December) 25, 165 B.C. Click here to see a chart of the Jewish Festivals. The temple had been defiled three years earlier by Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Antiochus, the king of Syria, had captured Jerusalem, plundered the temple treasury, and sacrificed a hog to Jupiter on the temple altar. This attempt to destroy Jewish tradition and religious practices resulted in the Maccabean revolt, which, after three years, was successful in defeating the Syrian armies and liberating the Jewish people. Therefore, this festival was established as an annual event along with the other festivals found in Leviticus 23 (see notes). Since this festival is observed on Kislev 25 (Jewish calendar) each year, the date falls within a few days of the celebration of Christmas. The Jewish calendar does not precisely track each year with the Roman calendar. Click here for an explanation of the Jewish calendar. We can, therefore, conclusively place this event to have taken place during Hanukkah just prior to Jesus' crucifixion. For more information regarding this chronology, look at the chronological note found at John 10:1-21.
These Pharisees (and sympathizers) are looking for a direct statement of incrimination in verse 24. If Jesus will proclaim himself to be the Messiah there, these Pharisees can go ahead and present him as a threat to Caesar's rule. But Jesus' time is not yet. Jesus differentiates these men with evil intent from real followers with a sheep analogy. Sheep (real believers) have eternal life and hear the voice of their shepherd (Jesus). These sheep have eternal life. The message got through. These Jews show their refusal to receive Jesus as their Savior by taking up stones to stone him in verse 31 after Jesus makes a definitive statement about his identity in verse 30 when he says, "I and my Father are one." Some today dispute the deity of Jesus Christ by insisting that Jesus is not proclaiming himself to be God in the flesh in verse 30. This passage clearly indicates that Jesus did indeed proclaim his deity here, and the Jews clearly understood it in verse 33 when they say "...thou, being a man, makest thyself God."
Then their verbal duel with Jesus becomes most interesting. Jesus confuses them in their outrage in verses 34-35 by quoting Psalm 82:6 (see notes), "I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High."
Here's a note from the Expositor's Bible Commentary with regard to Jesus' usage of Psalm 82:6:
Had Jesus not meant to convey a claim to deity, he undoubtedly would have protested the action of the Jews by declaring that they had misunderstood him. On the contrary, Jesus introduced an a fortiori argument from the Psalms to strengthen his statement. Psalm 82:6 represents God as addressing a group of beings whom he calls "gods" (Heb. elohim ) and “sons of the Most High.” If, then, these terms can be applied to ordinary mortals or even angels, how could Jesus be accused of blasphemy when he applied them to himself whom the Father set apart and sent into the world on a special mission? Jesus was not offering a false claim; he was merely asserting what he was by rights.
Jesus uses this passage from the Old Testament, one which the Pharisees obviously did not understand, to thoroughly confuse them. How do you reply to that? Let's face it, they were simply no intellectual match against God in the flesh.
At the conclusion of this confrontation with the Pharisees, verse 40 tells us that Jesus heads across the Jordan River away from Jerusalem. That is the region known as Perea.