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Page 12: The Life of Christ Following the Harmony of the Gospels
An ongoing series on the life of Christ, following the Harmony of the Gospels found in the Thompson Chain Bible. We are beginning at Jesus' baptism (paragraph 47) and will continue until His ascension. The gospel harmonies attempt to place each event of the life of Christ in order and give the relevant scripture as recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Index Page, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Back to 164: Discourse on Counting the Cost
Down to 166: Parable of the Lost Coin
165: Parable of the Lost Sheep - Luke 15:1-7
1 . Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.
2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
Jesus had recently silenced His critics, made up of those in the religious circles, by healing a man of dropsy at the Pharisees supper, on the Sabbath day (Par. 162).
The common people flocked to hear Him and He preached to them; not an easy message but rather that to be His disciple one had to forsake all and be ready to die for Him (Par. 164).
At this point the publicans and sinners (tax collectors and prostitutes) flocked to hear Him. Jesus heard the murmuring, This man, eats with publicans and sinners. Jesus heard them and of course He already knew what was in their hearts. He then proceeded to give three parables that illustrated the very heart of God reaching out to the lost. They are the Parable of the Lost Sheep, The Parable of the Lost Coin (Par. 166), and the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Par. 167)). These three are all part of one teaching, and should be studied together.
Luke 15:3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying,
4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
Jesus asked, "What do you do if you have a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away? Is there one of you that will not leave the ninety nine other sheep and go search in the wilderness for the lost one? Do you not lift this shivering lamb and hold him close to your body to give him warmth? When you see your friends, do you not say to them, 'Rejoice with me, I found my lost sheep, he's back safely in the fold now.' Of course you do."
7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
"Well," Jesus continued, there is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than ninety nine just souls who need no repentance."
Conclusion and Application:
The publicans flocked to see Jesus. Jesus had previous extended an invitation to Matthew as he collected taxes, "Follow Me." Matthew did so and gave a great supper in honor of Jesus. Of course the only people who would accept his invitation were sinners, just like himself, and us. These folk knew Matthew and his former life. They saw a changed and different person now, following the Master. People watch and read our life and listen to our testimony. If our deeds match our words, they are impressed and are open to hear the gospel.
A great painting comes to mind of the Good Shepherd reaching down to the lamb who has been stranding on the side of a steep mountain. Another of the Gentle Shepherd cradling a little lamb in His protective arms.
A song also comes to mind:
The Shepherd went out to search for His sheep
And all through the night on the rocky steep
He searched till he found him
With love bands he bound him
And I was that one lost sheep
All of us have strayed at one time or another. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Perhaps we wanted a bit of excitement or we wanted to gratify our carnal lust. The Shepherd didn't berate the sheep when He found Him. No, He lifted him up and gave him warmth and shelter from the elements as He joyfully carried him back to the fold. What a picture of The Good Shepherd which Jesus described in John 10:1-17 ( Par 153). The apostle Peter called Him the Chief Shepherd and Bishop of your soul (I Peter 2:25).
The publicans and sinners flocked to hear Jesus, even as He was preaching on the cost of discipleship. People aren't impressed by easy believism, they want to hear it straight. There is a cost to discipleship. This is not found in legalism but rather in a mutual relationship with the Master. We forsake all and submit to Him totally as the shepherd and keeper of our souls.
Jesus our Shepherd, God in the flesh, had a compelling drive to seek the lost.
Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor: He hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised,
Luk 4:19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
May we ever seek to have the same drive and anointing.
1. Anybody identify with the lost sheep? The carping Pharisees? Or both?
2. Anybody identify with the publicans and sinners?
3. Jesus had called Matthew and Matthew introduced Jesus to his sinner friends. Shouldn't we do the same?
4. Do we realize the effect of our testimony, both good and bad?
4. How does the picture of the joyful shepherd compare with that of an austere God ready to strike us down for the slightest misstep?
5. Are we not expected to be seeking the lost and extending a hand of mercy to them, just like the Shepherd?
Back to 165: Parable of the Lost Sheep
Down to 167: Parable of the Prodigal Son
166: Parable of the Lost Coin - Luke 15:8-10
8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.
10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
A poor woman of the region had ten coins, perhaps her dowry which was precious to her. She lived in an unlighted adobe hut with straw on the floor. When she lost one coin, she lit a candle and began to sweep and search diligently until she found it. She then called her neighbors and asked them to rejoice with her because she had found the lost coin. Just as these people rejoiced, there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repents.
Conclusion and Application:
This parable focuses on the heart of God in regard to the lost sinner. The individual coin that the women lost wasn't of any great value, but nonetheless it was hers. It was part of the treasure that she valued and help dearly. It wasn't fitting that it should be on the unpaved floor and eventually be pressed into the dirt and be forever lost.
She lit a lamp and began a systematic and diligent search. She didn't give up until she found it. The coin bore an image of the emperor of Rome and it didn't belong in the dirt. We were created in the image of God and we don't belong in the dirt either. We belong with the rest of His treasure. Though we be of little value and absolutely unworthy , we mean a lot to Him and He will not give up until He finds us and restores us to our proper place. We are His jewels and He is gathering us to His collection
I Timothy 1:15 Faithful is the saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief:
Malachi 3:15 And they shall be mine, saith Jehovah of hosts, even mine own possession, in the day that I make; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
1. What parallels can be drawn between Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-18, Luke 24:47 and this parable?
2. Do we comprehend the very heart of God? How he grieves for the lost and is not willing that we perish (John 3:16-17)?
Back to 166: Parable of the Lost Coin
Down to 168: Parable of the Unjust Steward
167: Parable of the Prodigal (Lost) Son - Lu 15:11-32
Jesus related The Parable of the Prodigal Son which is the third in a group that reveal the heart of God in relation to the lost sinner. In this story the father perfectly illustrates the our loving heavenly Father. The son demonstrates that which we all know perfectly well; this is going our own willful way until events cause us to come to our senses and cry out for forgiveness. The elder son paints a perfect picture of the Pharasaic rigidity and legalism.
A certain man had two sons. The younger went to his father and demanded instant payment of his inheritance. This was lawful, but he was expected to care for the father in his old age. However, the son fled from this and all other responsibility and journeyed into a far country. While the money lasted, he had a lot of friends and a lot of good times. Eventually the money ran out and his friends departed.. He had come to the point that no one would even give him a loan. When things couldn't possibly get any worse, a famine came upon the land.
The only job that he could find was as a keeper of swine. He was ragged, hungry and dirty. He desired to eat the swine's food which would have been the ultimate indignity. At this point he came to himself. He remembered his father's house where the lowliest servant was well cared for and had more than enough to eat. He said, I will arise and go to my father's house. I will confess my sin and express my willingness to simply be a servant.
Luke 15:17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
Next we see a picture of our heavenly Father. As the son journeyed towards home, his father was looking down the road hoping that he would see his son returning. He was not disappointed. He saw the son approaching while he was still a great distance away. He was moved with compassion and ran to the son. In a display of great emotion he embraced his son and began to kiss him upon the neck. As the son was confessing his sin, the father ordered the servants to put a ring on the son's finger and shoes on his feet. The fatted calf was killed and a banquet was held in honor of his return. There was much merriment with music and dancing.
Luke 15:20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
The elder son returned from working in the field. He heard music and dancing and enquired of a servant as to it's meaning. He was enraged when told that his wastrel brother had returned and that the father had ordered the fatted calf killed and a banquet in the younger son's honor. He expressed his outrage to the father and reminding him that although he had been faithful in all things, the father had never seen fit to kill the fatted calf for him to have a party with his friends. I believe it grieved the father's heart as he reminded the elder son that all that the father owned was his. He should be happty and rejoice at the return of his lost brother.
Conclusion and Application:
These three parables, of The Lost Sheep,The Lost Coin and The Lost Son, paint a picture of a loving Father who is not willing that any man should perish (Matthew 18:14; John 3:16, 10:28; II Peter 3:9). He is grieved when we are separated from Him and is actively waiting for us to come to our senses and return home. He is not vindictive and does not hold our past sins against us. As soon as we repent and confess our sin He forgives us and cast our sins into the sea of forgetfulness (Hebrews 8:12, 10:17). He could have refused the son request to return home. He could have denied him to even work as a servant. Instead he ordered a ring to be placed on his finger, which was a sign of status and signified that he had been restored to the family. Shoes on the son's feet showed that he was not a servant. Servants did not wear shoes.
The elder son paints a sad picture of the Pharisees to whom Jesus was speaking. He had no forgiveness in his heart. All he could think about was himself. He had lived a good live and had kept all the rules. He could not be moved by the plight of his brother.
This parable perfectly illustrates repentance. It is coming to ourselves, confessing our sin and determining to make an about face and do the right thing. Jesus preached, "repent and believe the gospel"and "except you repent you will likewise perish." (Mark 1:15; Luke 13:3,5)
Throughout the book of Acts, repentance is the first order of business for those seeking salvation (Acts 2:38, 3:19, 8:22, 17:30, 26:20).
1. How well do we identify with the younger son? The elder son?
2: Do we comprehend the heart of God towards us, his wayward children?
Back to 167: Parable of the Prodigal (Lost) Son
Down to 169: Parable of Dives and Lazarus
168: Parable of the Unjust Steward - Luke 16:1-13
Jesus gave two parables on the proper use of money. Two segments of His usual audience were the ever present Pharisees, who had a high regard for material possessions and converted publicans who prior to their conversion had made their living by the dishonest use of money.
The first of the two parables was the The Parable of the Unjust Steward. This parable is not easily understood, and thus has many conflicting interpretations. (My main sources are The Christ of the Gospels by J.W. Shepard and the Pulpit Commentary)
Luke 16:1 . And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.
2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.
3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.
4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.
5 So he called every one of his lord's debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord?
6 And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.
7 Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.
8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
A certain rich man upon finding out that his steward had been cheating him, dismissed him from his post, but not before a final accounting. The steward, realizing that he was unable to perform manual labor and too proud to beg, came up with an ingenious plan. He called in all of the rich man's debtors and discounted their debt from fifty to eighty percent. He reasoned that he would obtain their gratitude and thus be welcomed into their homes after he was dismissed from his stewardship. The rich man was actually impressed, even though he had just been cheated.
Conclusion and Application:
Jesus stated (Luke 16:9-13) that the children of the world are more prudent and shrewd in their dealings with one another than we who are laboring for the kingdom. We must use our financial resources in such a way that when our earthly stewardship is over and we enter into the heavenly realm, we will be welcomed their by those whom we have helped along the way. If we cannot be faithful in handling the mammon of this world, how can we be trusted to handle the eternal riches of the kingdom. We simply cannot serve God and mammon. We will cleave to one or the other, we cannot serve both.
Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
See God Wants You Rich! Http://about-him.com/page45.html
Back to 168: Parable of the Unjust Steward
Down to 170: Discourse on Forbearance, Faith and Humility
169: Parable of The Rich Man ( Dives) and Lazarus - Luke 16:19-31
Jesus continued speaking to His disciples, many of whom were converted publicans. The Pharisees were also present. To them Jesus gave the parable of The Rich Man (Dives) and Lazarus. You have wondered why that the name Dives never appears in the text. Dives is the Latin adjective for Rich in the Latin Vulgate bible translation.
19 . There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
Jesus makes a vivid contrast between the lifestyles of the rich man and the poor beggar. The rich man was clothed in a costly coat of purple which denoted his rank in society. His under garment was made of imported linen. Lazarus was dressed in filthy rags. No doubt the rich man entertained lavishly and set a fine table for his rich and wealthy friends. The beggar had to contend with the dogs for the garbage from the his table.
22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
The Jews of that day believed that Abraham's bosom was the resting place of the righteous Jewish dead. Gehenna was the place of torment for the sinners. Both places were in Sheol or Hades, the place of departed spirits. (The Christ of the Gospels - J.W. . Shepard, page 428) Jesus used this imagery to make His point. While the beggar was being comforted in heaven, the rich man found himself in fiery torment.
24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
Suddenly the rich man becomes aware of the poor beggar whom he had often seen eating the garbage from his table. He cried out to Father Abraham to send Lazarus with just a drop of water to cool his tongue and relieve the torment of the flames. Abraham kindly refused and reminded the man of his prior life when he had opportunity to help such as Lazarus, but he was too taken up with self to notice. He also reminded the man that the poor beggar was now in heavenly bliss. Also there was a barrier there that no man could pass over.
27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:
28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
The rich man then appealed for Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his five brothers. Abraham stated that they had Moses and the prophets. If they would not believe them, they would not believe one who had raised from the dead.
Conclusion and Application:
What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?
If we have been blessed with this life's goods, we have an obligation to those less fortunate. An eternal reward is waiting for things as simple as giving a cup of water in the name of the Lord. (Mt 25)
Hell is a real place of torment. Some people feel the much of the imagery used by Jesus is only symbolic and that mention of fire and brimstone are only exaggerations to make a point. I am not of this opinion. It will definitely be eternal. separation from God with much anguish and torment, and in my opinion literal eternal fire.
Heaven is very real also and is the hope of the believer. There, we will have no more pain, sorrow or death. The Lord God will wipe all tears from our eyes.
It is said that, "As a tree falls so does it lie." It is appointed to man once to die and after this the judgement. I f we haven't made provision for eternity in this life, it will be too late when we get to the other side.
Back to 169: Parable of The Rich Man ( Dives) and Lazarus
Down to 171: Discourse on the Second Coming
170: Discourses on Forebearance, Faith and Humility - Luke 17:1-10
Reading this passage, it is difficult to see a connection between the several subjects: It is the opinion of many scholars that the incidents in this section of Luke are unconnected but too important to leave unrecorded. The four parts are:
Luke 17:1 . Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones (Mt. 10:42; 18:10,14; Mk 9:42).
Offences will come, but woe to you if you are the offender. Just as the Lord looked tenderly on the beggar Lazarus, He also looks upon each and everyone of his little ones. He clothes the lily and feeds the raven (Luke 12:24-27) and takes notice when a lowly sparrow falls to the earth (Luke 12:7). Many of us, like the rich man, find ourselves in superior positions, by no doing or merit of our own. How then, do we act towards those who have very little of this worlds goods? Those of other races and cultures? How about those who are weak in the faith? Do we act as lords over God's heritage?
3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
We can avoid offenses by having a forgiving spirit towards those who do us wrong. Jesus said that if our brother trespasses against us we are to rebuke him. I believe He is telling us to communicate with our feelings in difficult situations rather than to let resentment build within us. If our brother repents, we are to forgive him, even up to seven times a day (comp. Mt. 18:22). It is entirely possible that when we rebuke our brother, we will find that we ourselves share some blame in the situation, and therefore we must ask forgiveness also.
5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.
6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
Upon hearing this the disciples realized that their faith was weak and they asked the Lord to increase it. Jesus said the if they only had a little, they would be able to command a Sycamine tree (Mulberry) to be plucked up and cast into the sea. (Which tells me that I don't have a whole lot of faith). Jesus is simply saying, "Use the faith that you have. It will be sufficient to keep you from falling."
7 But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?
8 And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?
9 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.
Lest any of us feel exalted because of things such as position, ability, heritage, education, Jesus reminds us that He is the Master and that we are the servants. We have nothing of ourselves. Our self righteousness stinks in His sight. We can do nothing to impress Him or earn His great salvation. Our greatest efforts pale greatly when compared to the Savior pouring out His life's blood on our behalf. Anything that we accomplish on behalf of the kingdom, is simply because of Him. He endued with power by the baptism of the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:8), and we can do nothing on our own. His grace saved us, keeps and empowers us. It is all of Him and nothing of us. We are indeed unprofitable servants.
Back to 170: Discourses on Forebearance, Faith and Humility
Down to 172: Parable of the Unjust Judge and the Pharisee and the Publican
171: Discourse on the Second Coming - Lu. 17:20-37
20 . And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
Jesus was asked by some Pharisees just when this kingdom He had been preaching would appear. They had visions of grandeur for the coming Messianic kingdom. The coming Messiah would rule the world from the holy city Jerusalem. All would be peace and tranquility. All Jews would be resurrected and saved. They really didn't see how this lowly itinerant preacher could fit into the picture. Jesus replied that His kingdom was spiritual. It resided in the hearts of the redeemed.
22 And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.
23 And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.
24 For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.
25 But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.
Jesus then turns to His disciples and let's them know that dark days are on the horizon. The cross is just ahead. They will be cast out of the synagogues, beaten and persecuted, betrayed by their own flesh all because of their confession of Him.(Mark 13:9-13; Luke 21:12-19). There will be many false messiahs in the future. They will hear of wars, famine, earthquake and pestilence. These will just be the beginning of sorrows (Matthew 24:4-8).
Jesus then gave a description of life at His coming. It will be just as it was during the days of Lot and Noah. Eat, drink, be merry, buy sell and trade, day in and day out with no thought to the future or the soul's eternal destiny. . At some future point, He will be instantaneously revealed and judgment will soon follow.
26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
The phrase," in that day" (vs. 31) seems to continue the setting as the coming of the Lord. However the language is similar to Mark 13:25 and Matthew 24:17 which describes the destruction of Jerusalem.
31 In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.
32 Remember Lot's wife.
33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
37 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
Life will be proceeding as usual. Some will be ready and some will not. There will be no time to make amends. It will be too late to repent and accept the Savior. Every eye is going to see Him and those who pierced Him will wail (Revelation 1:7). The days of His mercy will be over and the day of His vengeance beginning (II Thessalonians 1:8; I Peter 4:17) . Men will cry to the rocks and mountains to fall on them and to hide them from the sight of His face. It will be too late. The day of His wrath has come (Revelation 6:16).
For us it will be a different story. We will be transformed instantly and changed into His image (I Corinthians 15:52). Something awaits us that we can't even imagine (I Corinthians 2:9). God will be with us and wipe all tears away and there will be no more pain sorrow suffering or death(Revelation 7:17, 21:4). As the apostle said, "Even so come Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20).
Back to 171: Discourse on the Second Coming
Down to 173: Discourse on Divorce
172: Parable of the Unjust Judge and the Pharisee and the Publican Lu. 18:1-14
1 . And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
Men ought always to pray. The Psalmist said, Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice (Ps 55:17). The epistles tell us to be instant in prayer (Ro. 12:12). We can have contact with the throne of God while we are doing our daily mundane tasks. Some folks talk on cell phones while driving, we can be talking to the Master. We should worry about nothing, but take everything to the Lord in prayer (Phillippines 4:6). As the old song says, "O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear. All because we will not carry, everything to God in prayer."
2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
Jesus gave a contrast between the poor defenseless widow and the powerful judge, that fits us all. We are utterly powerless and at the mercy of the powers that be, except that we have a judge that we can take our petitions to with the confidence that He hears us.
4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
The widow came continually to the judge with one cry, "Avenge me of my adversaries." Jesus assurred us that He hears our petitions. The answer may not come immediately, but we must not stop presenting it to Him. Surely, God will come to the aid of His elect, just as this unjust judge did for the poor widow.
8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
Prayer and faith are inseparable. Will we be found praying when he comes? See: Everything to God in Prayer
9 . And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
The Pharisees were known for their long prayers. They would stop on a busy narrow street and spread their arms and make a long prayer, to be seen of men (Matthew 6:5-6). The publicans were a despised class of people who collected taxes for the Romans and cheated people in the process.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
The Pharisee reminded God of just how good he was. I don't steal, I'm not unjust, I don't commit adultery, and I'm certainly not like that publican over there. Lord, I fast twice a week and I pay my tithes. Surely you are impressed with me?
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
The publican recognized his unworthiness and cried out, "God be merciful to me a sinner." One thing I see in common throughout scripture is that great men such as David (Psalms 51) , Daniel (Dan. 9:9-10), Isaiah (Isaiah 6:5) and the Psalmists (Psalms 106:6) who had contact with God, recognized their own sinfulness and unworthiness.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Jesus repeated this kingdom principal once more, "If we exalt ourselves we will be abased, if we humble ourselves we will be exalted."
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173: Discourse on Divorce - Mt. 19:3-12; Luke. 10:2-12
3. The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
The ever present Pharisees who constantly followed Jesus decided to bait Him on the subject of divorce. Jewish thought at the time was divided between liberal and conservative, just as it is today. The liberal followers of the rabbi Hillel would allow divorce for any reason, such as burning the bread..The followers of the rabbi Shammai held a very strict conservative view that only allowed divorce in the case of adultery. The Pharisees reasoned that if Jesus took a position He would alienate one side or the other. Furthermore, Herod had just put John the Baptist to death for condemning his unlawful marriage to his sister-in-law. If they could induce Jesus to say something against Herod, their troubles would be over and Jesus would be losing His head also.
4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Jesus avoided their traps by referring to God's original intent for marriage. It was to be a bond of one man and one women for life.
7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
The Pharisees then appealed to the law of Moses who had allowed divorce. Perhaps they could get Jesus to criticize Moses.
8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
Jesus responded that Moses had allowed divorce because of the hardness of the people's hearts. It wasn't God's intention in the beginning. The words of Jesus are rather absolute: if a man or women divorces their mate and marries another, they are committing adultery.This caused the disciples to ask if it wasn't better to not marry. Jesus responded that not all men were morally capable of such.
Conclusion and Application:
The modern church is divided on the subject of divorce and the divorce rate in the church is staggering. It seems that every family has been affected. One thing I have noticed is that quite often when a person divorces because of mental and physical abuse, non-support or alcoholism, they tend to jump right back into the same fire when they remarry, and are no better off than thay were in their first marriage.
I puzzle over the fact that Jesus said some men should marry because they were not capable of remaining celibate, while apparently expecting a divorced spouse to do so.
In I Corinthians 7 Paul states that he is giving his own opinion (v6) and not speaking by the commandment of the Lord . He reiterates the commandment of the Lord and states that if one is divorced they should remain unmarried. However, he extends liberty to one whose unbelieving spouse had departed (v15). I puzzle over this also.
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174: Little Children Blessed - Mt. 19:13-15; Mk. 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17
Matthew 19: 13 . Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.
14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence. 13 . And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
15 . And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.
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175:The Rich Young Ruler Mt.19:16-30; Mk.10:17-31; Luke 18:18-30
Mt. 19:16 -30 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
A young rich ruler of the synagogue had no doubt been a silent observer as Jesus ministered to the people. He, like the apostle Paul, considered that he was blameless in keeping the law of Moses. However, there was an emptiness in his heart, something was missing. He had probably struggled with the idea of approaching Jesus for some time. He probably observed Jesus blessing the little children. When he saw that Jesus was leaving to return to Jerusalem, he came running.
He addressed the Lord as “Good Master.” "What big and noble thing can I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus said, “You know the law, what does it say? Don’t kill, Don’t commit adultery, Don’t lie, Honor your father and mother and treat your neighbor as yourself?” “Lord, I’ve done all of this, what else is lacking?” Jesus looked upon him with compassion and love and gave him a two part answer: If you want to be perfect, sell your possessions and distribute the proceeds to the poor and take up your cross and follow me. Then you’ll have treasures laid up in heaven. The young man hung his head and went away with great sorrow, for he was very rich.
Jesus remarked to his disciples that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to be saved. This made the disciples wonder. If keepers of the law could not be saved and a rich man could not be saved, just who could be saved? Jesus answered that that which was impossible with men was quite possible with God.
Mark 19:23 ¶ Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
This prompted Peter to ask, “What about us? We’ve left our homes and businesses and have been following you for three years now?” Jesus answered that everyone who had forsaken houses and lands and family would receive a hundredfold blessing in this lifetime and in the future life would sit with Him judging the twelve tribes of Israel. However, once again the admonition is given that the first shall be last and the last shall be first.
Conclusion and Application:
When the young ruler addressed Jesus as "Good Master," was he just being courteous or was he trying to flatter Jesus? Perhaps he had a glimpse of His Deity? I don't know. What do you think?
What do I lack? This question can only be answered at the feet of Jesus on an individual basis. We know that our good works and religiosity won’t save us. We know that the blood of Jesus will. The answer is still to deny ourself and take up our cross and follow Him.
It is said the “eye of the needle” refers to a gate in Jerusalem where the camels had to squat down to pass through. However the disciples took our Lord’s statement as meaning that it was impossible for a rich person to be saved. Jesus replied that what man saw as impossible was very possible with God.
The current prosperity doctrine that is sweeping the church is in direct opposition to our Lord’s teaching in this parable. See God Wants You Richhttp://about-him.com/page45.html
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176: Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard - Mt. 20:1-16
Matthew 20:1. For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.
It is apparent that the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard is a direct reply of the Lord to Peter’s question in the preceding segment, “What about Us?” Here Jesus again lays out kingdom principals that are in direct opposition to our human way of thinking.
A farmer had a crop that needed to be harvested. He went to the market place where men were waiting to be hired as day laborers. He sent them to his vineyard and agreed to pay them a penny for a day’s labor. He went again to the market place at the third, sixth, ninth eleventh hour of the day, and hired other laborers, agreeing only to pay them that which was right.
When the day’s labor was finished the farmer told his steward to assemble the workers and pay them, beginning with those who had been hired at the last hour of the work day. He gave them a penny. The fellows who had started earlier in the day naturally thought that they were in for a big payday. How disappointed they were when they also received a penny. They grumbled about how unfair it was for those who had started late to be paid as much as they who had worked through the heat of the day.
The farmer replied that he had paid them as they had agreed and that it was his right to pay others as he saw fit. He then questioned why they were resentful of his goodness towards others. Was it because they had an evil heart?
Jesus concluded the story with a warning once again that the first shall last and the last shall be first.
Conclusion and Application:
Jesus said that the first shall be last and the last shall be first, several times in the gospels (Matthew 19:30' 20:16; Mark 9:35,10:31; Luke 13:30). Looks like He must have meant it, Eh?
How often have we seen those who have been laboring in the kingdom for a long time become jealous and suspicious of others who are just beginning? How often do we see some who feel that they have seniority rights on the kingdom of God? Too often, I’m afraid.
Until the time of our Lord’s ascension, Peter and the others still had an earthly view of the kingdom. This all changed at the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost. Their perspective changed. They realized that God’s kingdom was more than they had ever imagined . It encompassed the whole world for ages to come. They willingly gave their lives to preach the gospel throughout the word.
No amount of suffering or difficulty in living for the Lord can begin to be compared to that which Jesus suffered when He laid down His life for us.
Throughout the church age, many have labored to preach the gospel in difficult and dangerous circumstances. Many have had all of their possessions confiscated and have suffered physical torture and death. We could say that they have truly labored in the heat of the day.
Others of us have had it pretty cushy. We wear nice clothes and drive to air conditioned churches where we hear a gospel of entitlement to the riches of this world. The biggest suffering some of us have had is for somebody to call us a “born againer” or God forbid a “holy roller.” That really shakes us.
There is really no comparison between those who have suffered so greatly for the gospel and most of us. In spite of this, God has promised us a reward if we hold out to the end. It doesn’t seem fair, does it?
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Last modified: 02-14-2007
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