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|This is the New King James text of the passages.|
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 one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” ¶ And He said to them,
24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
25 When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, “Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’
26 then you will begin to say, “We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’
27 But He will say, “I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’
28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.
29 They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God.
30 And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will 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 who are 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 indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will 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, "They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and 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 ¶ On that very day some Pharisees came, saying to Him, “Get out and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You.”
32 ¶ And He said to them, “Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’
33 Nevertheless I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.
34 ¶ “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!
35 See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, “Blessed is He who comes 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 to them, “Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, 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, "See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is He who comes 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 you will not hear these words, 'I swear by Myself,' says 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 is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We have blessed you from 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 comes 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 Now it happened, as He went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath, that they watched Him closely.
2 And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had dropsy.
3 And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”
4 ¶ But they kept silent. And He took him and healed him, and let him go.
5 Then He answered them, saying, “Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?”
6 And they could not answer Him regarding these things.
Jesus goes to the house of "one of the rulers of the Pharisees" on the sabbath day, presumably after a service at the local synagogue. This "ruler" 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 ¶ So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them:
8 “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him;
9 and he who invited you and him come and say to you, “Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place.
10 But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, “Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you.
11 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
12 ¶ Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid.
13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.
14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid 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, "Do not exalt yourself in the presence of the king, And do not stand in the place of the great; For it is better that he say to you, 'Come up here,' Than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince, Whom your 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 ¶ Now when one of those who sat at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!”
16 ¶ Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many,
17 and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, “Come, for all things are now ready.’
18 But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, “I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’
19 And another said, “I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’
20 Still another said, “I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’
21 So that servant came and reported these things to his master. 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 here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’
22 And the servant said, “Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’
23 Then the master said to 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 to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste 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 who 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 to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste 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 ¶ Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them,
26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.
27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—
29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see 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, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?
32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.
33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
34 ¶ “Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?
35 It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has 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), "Then 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, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has 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 ¶ Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.
23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch.
24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
25 ¶ Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.
26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.
29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch 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 I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?”
33 ¶ The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”
34 ¶ Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, “I said, ‘You are gods” ’?
35 If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),
36 do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, “You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
37 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me;
38 but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.”
39 Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand.
40 ¶ And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was baptizing at first, and there He stayed.
41 Then many came to Him and said, “John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about this Man were true.”
42 And many believed in 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 "...You, being a Man, make Yourself 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 said, 'You 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.