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LIFE OF CHRIST
A Harmony of the Gospels

LESSON  ELEVEN

   

DISCOURSE  ON  SIGN-SEEKERS

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Matthew 12:38-42
 
(38) Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You."
(39)  But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.  (40)  For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.  (41)  The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.  (42)  The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here."
NKJV
Luke 11:16,17a  24-32
(16)   Others, testing Him, sought from Him a sign from heaven.
(17)  But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them ...
(24)  "When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.'  (25)  And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order.  (26)  Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first."
(27) And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!"
(28)  But He said, "More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"
(29) And while the crowds were thickly gathered together, He began to say, "This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet.  (30)  For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation.  (31)  The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.  (32)  The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here."
NKJV

Sought a sign from heaven
Luke 11:16 says  “a sign from heaven.”
Something of an immediate and decisive nature,  to show,  not that His miracles were real  –  that much they were willing to concede  –  but that they were from above,  not from beneath. See Deut. 9:24
Also “Woe to the rebellious children, says the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me"    Isaiah 30:11  NKJV

This seeking of signs was typical of the Jews.
1 Corinthians 1:22, 23  "For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness"

Jesus told John the Baptist
Matt 11:6  "And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me."

Evil and adulterous generation

1. Jeremiah 3:14 Return, O backsliding children," says the LORD; "for I am married to you...
2. Jeremiah 3:20 Surely, as a wife treacherously departs from her husband,  So have you dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel," says the LORD.
3. Jeremiah 31:32 My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD.

Under the Old Covenant,  the Jewish nation was represented as in a marriage contract with the Lord of hosts.  All unfaithfulness and disobedience was considered as a breach of this marriage contract,  hence they were guilty of adultery.

So will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth

This was the second public announcement of His death and resurrection.

The first was John 2:19 & 21,  when He said:
Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up ... But He was speaking of the temple of His body.

The men of Nineveh

Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian empire.  It was founded by Asshur  (Gen 10:11).

1. Situated on the banks of the River Tigris,  to the northeast of Babylon.
2. A city of vast extent, and of corresponding wickedness.
3. It was 48 miles in circuit; its walls were 100 feet high and 10 thick, and were defended by fifteen hundred towers, each 200 feet in height.
4. In the time of Jonah it contained six hundred thousand inhabitants.
5. The destruction of Nineveh, threatened by Jonah in forty days, was suspended, by their repentance, two hundred years.
6. It was then overthrown by the Babylonians about six hundred years before Christ.
During the siege a mighty inundation of the river Tigris took place, which threw down a part of the walls, through which the enemy entered, and sacked and destroyed the city.
This destruction had been foretold one hundred and fifteen years before
by Nahum
(Nah 1:8)
"But with an overwhelming flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof:"
(Nah 2:6) "The gates of the river shall be opened, and the palace shall be dissolved."
7. Its ruins have been lately discovered by Layard, and have contributed much to the establishment of the truth of Scripture history.
8. Those remains are on the east side of the river Tigris,  nearly opposite to the city of Mosul.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The voice of God,  threatening temporal judgments,  caused a whole people to repent,  who had neither Moses nor Christ,  neither the Law nor the Prophets;  and who perhaps never had but this one preacher among them.  What judgment may not Israel expect who had all this and still continued impenitent?
What judgment may not we expect who have all this and more – the actual indwelling of the Spirit of God Himself – if we continue in rebellion and disobedience?

The Queen of the South

The Queen of  Sheba – a tract in Arabia, near the shores of the Red Sea – came from a remote country, “south” of Judea. 1 Kings 10:1-9 “When the Queen of Sheba heard…she came to test him…and when she had seen all of Solomon’s wisdom…she said…it is true…however I did not believe the words until I came…and, indeed, the half was not told me…blessed be the Lord God which delighted in you…”

The Prophet Jonah was a Jew sent to the Gentiles The Gentiles believed
The Queen of Sheba was a Gentile who came to visit Solomon, a Jew The Gentile believed

Excerpts from Farrar

Had Jesus given them a sign from heaven,  would it have had any permanent significance for the moral heirs of those who were taunted by their own prophets with having taken up the tabernacles of Moloch,  and the star of their god Remphan,  though they were guided by the fiery pillar,  and quenched their thirst from the smitten rock?  Signs they had seen and wonders in abundance,  and now they were seeing the highest sign of a Sinless Life,  and yet they did but rebel and blaspheme the more.

No sign should be given,  then,  save in prophecies that they could not understand.  And those men of Nineveh,  who repented at the preaching of Jonah,  and the Queen of Sheba,  who came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon,  should alike rise up in the judgment and condemn a generation that despised and rejected one greater than Solomon or than Jonah.

For that generation had received every blessing:

The evil spirit of idolatry and rebellion that distempered their fathers had been cast out of them by:
1. The Babylonian captivity
2. The Maccabaean revival ... (during the 400 years between the Old and New Testaments)
3. The wise and noble rule of the Asmonaean princes
4. The preaching of John the Baptist

The old abode of idolatry had been swept and garnished by the proprieties of the Pharisees,  and the scrupulosity’s of  Scribes;  but,  alas!  No good spirit had been invited to occupy the empty shrine,  and now the old unclean possessor had returned with seven spirits wicked than himself,  and their last state was worse than the first.

(Life of Christ by Dr. Frederic W. Farrar Copyright: 1949)

THE  TRUE  KINDRED  OF  JESUS

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Matthew 12:46-50
(46) While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him.  (47)  Then one said to Him, "Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You."
(48)  But He answered and said to the one who told Him, "Who is My mother and who are My brothers?
(49)  And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, "Here are My mother and My brothers!
 (50)  For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother."
NKJV

Mark 3:31-35
(31)  Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him.  (32)  And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, "Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You."
(33)  But He answered them, saying, "Who is My mother, or My brothers?
(34)  And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, "Here are My mother and My brothers! 
(35)  For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother."
NKJV

Luke 8:19-21
(19)  Then His mother and brothers came to Him, and could not approach Him because of the crowd.  (20)  And it was told Him by some, who said, "Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see You."
(21)  But He answered and said to them,
 "My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it."
NKJV

Not only did Jesus have a natural,  physical mother,  Mary;  but He also had natural,  physical brothers and sisters. Actually,  they were half-brothers and half-sisters: 

They all had the same mother,  Mary,
but they had different fathers.
The Father of Jesus was God
The father of His sisters,  and brothers was Joseph.

We are not told the name of number of His sisters,  but we do know that He had at least four brothers, named James, Joses, Simon, and Judas.

We know from Matthew that Joseph was a carpenter
Matt 13:55 Is this not the carpenter's son?

And we know from Mark that Jesus inherited the business, which by custom went  to the oldest son

Mark 6:3 Isn't this the carpenter?

His mother and brethren

stood without, desiring to speak with him
When they should have been
standing within, desiring to hear him

When Jesus identified His  TRUE  family,  He said that they were the ones who

“do the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
By saying this, He did not exclude His natural family
He merely included any and all who would yield to that Spiritual birth,  in which case we would all have the same Father.

John 1:12
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

2 Corinthians 6:17-18
Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you. I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the LORD Almighty."

Galatians 3:29
And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Romans 8:16-17
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,  and if children, then heirs -- heirs of God and joint heirs (equal heirs - brothers) with Christ,  if indeed we suffer with Him,  that we may also be glorified together.

WOES   UPON  PHARISEES,  SCRIBES,  AND  LAWYERS

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Luke 11:37-54

.(37)  And as He spoke, a certain Pharisee asked Him to dine with him. So He went in and sat down to eat.  (38)  When the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that He had not first washed before dinner.
(39)  Then the Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness.  (40)  Foolish ones! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also?  (41)  But rather give alms of such things as you have; then indeed all things are clean to you.
(42)  "But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.  (43)  Woe to you Pharisees!  For you love the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.  (44)  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like graves which are not seen, and the men who walk over them are not aware of them.
"
(45)  Then one of the lawyers answered and said to Him, "Teacher, by saying these things You reproach us also."
(46)  And He said, "Woe to you also, lawyers! For you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.  (47)  Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.  (48)  In fact, you bear witness that you approve the deeds of your fathers; for they indeed killed them, and you build their tombs.  (49)  Therefore the wisdom of God also said, 'I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute,'  (50)  that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation,  (51)  from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation. 
(52)   "Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.
"
(53)  And as He said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to assail Him vehemently, and to cross-examine Him about many things,  (54)  lying in wait for Him, and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him.
NKJV

To dine

aristeésee to take the principle meal:
Strong's NT:709
(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

This is the verb form of the noun  “ariston.”
This signifies the first eating of the day.  The Jews made but two meals in the day;

ariston Their breakfast or dinner, because it was both, and was but a slight meal.
deipnon Their chief meal or supper,  after the heat of the day was over;  and the same was the principal meal among the Greeks and Romans.
Josephus says that the legal hour of the  “ariston,”  on the Sabbath,  was the sixth hour,  or at twelve o’clock at noon,  as we call it.  It was probably close to the same hour on other days as well.

He had not washed before dinner

How  “diligently”  the  “traditions of the elders”  required the Pharisees to wash is illustrated by Lightfoot in extracts from Rabbinical writers.  He states that they make mention

 “of the quantity of water sufficient for this washing – of the washing of the hands,  and of the plunging of them; of  the order,  when the number of those that sat down to meat exceeded five,  or did not exceed;  and other such like niceties.”

The Pharisees washed regularly before meals as a ceremonial observance.
Jesus' neglect to do so seemed to be a direct refusal to keep the Law,  and an insult to his host.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

He wondered particularly,  as he had been among a mixed multitude,  and they esteemed the  "touch"  of such persons polluting.  They never ate,  therefore,  without such washing.  The origin of the custom of washing with so much formality  "before"  they partook of their meals was that they did not use,  as we do, knives and forks,  but used their hands only.  Hence,  as their hands would be often in a dish on the table,  it was esteemed proper that they should be washed clean before eating.  Nor was their impropriety in the thing itself,  but the Pharisees made it a matter of ceremony;  they placed no small part of their religion in such ceremonies;  and it was right,  therefore,  that our Lord should take occasion to reprove them for it.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The absurdity they were guilty of:  "You Pharisees make clean the outside only,

you wash your hands with water,
but do not wash your hearts from wickedness;
these are full of covetousness and malice, covetousness of men's goods, and malice against good men."
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

The Pharisees were the Puritans of Judaism,  who were exceedingly strict about the external observance of the Law.  Jesus criticized them drastically for their hypocrisy,  for they harbored all kinds of covetousness and cruelty in their hearts.

Ye fools
A term that Christ used seldom, and only of those who were morally perverted,
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

Full of greed

harpageés pillage, extortion,  ravening, spoiling.
Strong's NT:724
New American Standard Bible Inside of you,  you are full of robbery and wickedness
American Standard Version Your inward part is full of extortion and wickedness
New American Standard Inside of you, you are full of robbery and wickedness
Revised Standard Version Inside you are full of extortion and wickedness
Amplified Bible Inside you yourselves are full of greed and robbery and extortion and malice and wickedness

Here the sense is that the cup and platter were filled with what had been unjustly taken from others. That is, they lived by their wickedness;  their food was procured by dishonesty and extortion.  This was a most terrible charge;  and as it was applied,  among others,  to the man who had invited the Savior to dine with him,  it shows that nothing would prevent his dealing faithfully with the souls of people.  Even in the Pharisee's own house,  and when expressly invited to partake of his hospitality,  he loved his soul so much that he faithfully warned him of his crimes.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The  Six Woes

This is the first of the "Woes" - the second set of  "Woes" is found later in Matthew 23:1-36

1. (v 42) To the Pharisees
You tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs,
and pass by justice and the love of God
2. (v 43) To the Pharisees
You love the best seats in the synagogues
and greetings in the marketplaces.
3. (v 43) To the Scribes & Pharisees
You are like graves which are not seen,
and the men who walk over them are not aware of them.
4. (v 46) To the Lawyers
You load men with burdens hard to bear,
and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.
5. (v 47) To the Lawyers
You build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.
In fact, you bear witness that you approve the deeds of your fathers;
for they indeed killed them,
and you build their tombs
6. (v 52) To the Lawyers
You have taken away the key of knowledge.
You did not enter in yourselves,
and those who were entering in you hindered.

Mint and rue and all manner of herbs
Rue - a small garden plant, used as a medicine.  It has a rosy flower,  a bitter,  penetrating taste,  and a strong smell.
They tithed even the vegetables that grew in their gardens,  they were careful about tithing even the tiny leaves and seeds from the herbs,  but failed to meet the larger obligation of love to their fellow men.

The best seats
The front seats in the synagogues were usually reserved for the most important members.

Graves that are not seen
The tombs were whitened with lime,  so that they could be easily distinguished,  and thus prevent the Jews from being ceremonially defiled by approaching them.  This whitewash became soiled and washed off by the rains,  and it was therefore necessary to renew it at intervals.  This was usually done in the middle of the month Adar,  when the streets and sewers were mended.

As one might unconsciously walk over a grave concealed from view,  and thus contract ceremonial defilement,  so the plausible exterior of the Pharisees kept people from perceiving the pollution they contracted from coming in contact with such corrupt characters.

Any contact with a corpse or with a grave was a defilement.
Even to step on a grave without knowing it they held to be a breach of the Law.
Jesus said that the Pharisees,  by their example,  caused other men to break the Law and defile themselves.

These Pharisees were within full of abominations, as a grave of putrefaction;  full of covetousness, envy,  and malice; and yet they concealed it so artfully with a profession of devotion, that it did not appear, so that they who conversed with them, and followed their doctrine, were defiled with sin, infected with their corruptions and ill morals.   
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Lawyers
Men learned in the law;  but it is not known in what way the lawyers differed from the  "scribes,"  or whether they were Pharisees or Sadducees.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The lawyers are reproved for making the services of religion more burdensome to others, but more easy to themselves, than God had made them.

The sepulchres of the prophets
The martyrs of one generation become the heroes of the next.
It was easier for the children to build monuments to the prophets than for their fathers to obey them.

From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias

Abel The first martyr of Old Testament history (Genesis 4:8)
Zacharias The last martyr of Old Testament history (2 Chronicles 24:20-22)
According to the order of books in the Hebrew Bible, which, unlike the English Bible, ends with Chronicles.

Ye have taken away the key of knowledge
Jesus accused the experts in the Law of not fulfilling their tasks.
They were supposed to enlighten the people by explaining the Law;  instead,  they had kept them in ignorance.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

By their traditions they had taken away the true method of interpreting the prophecies:  they had given a wrong meaning to those scriptures that speak of the kingdom of the Messiah,  and the people were thereby hindered from entering into it.

Our Lord's six  "woes"  against the Pharisees and lawyers (students of the Mosaic law)  were certainly spoken in anguish and not in anger (see Matt 23).  These religious men majored in trifles but ignored what was really important.  They loved to be recognized and honored by men but forgot about the honor that comes only from God. They glorified the past but would not help those around them who were needy.  Instead,  the religious leaders only made the burdens heavier for the common people.  Jesus saw this kind of religious hypocrite as the murderer of the truly righteous  (2 Chron 24:20-27),  and He knew that soon they would crucify Him.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright (c) 1992 by SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.)

THE  PARABLE  OF  THE  RICH  FOOL

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Luke 12:13-21

.(13)  Then one from the crowd said to Him,  "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."
(14)  But He said to him, "Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?"  (15)  And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses."
(16)  Then He spoke a parable to them, saying:  "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.  (17)  And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?'  (18)  So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.  (19)  And I will say to my soul,  "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry."'  (20)  But God said to him,  'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?'
21 "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
"
NKJV

Soul, you have many goods laid up
Great possessions are generally accompanied with:

1. Pride
2. Idleness
3. Luxury
And these are the greatest enemies to salvation.

You fool
áfroon mindless, stupid, ignorant, egotistic, rash

This man is called a  “fool”  because:

1. He deemed a life of secure and abundant earthly enjoyment the summit of human felicity.
2. Possessing the means of this, through prosperity in his calling, he flattered himself that he had a long lease of such enjoyment, and nothing to do but give himself up to it.

Your soul will be required of you

James 4:13-16
Come now, you who say,  "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.  Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills,  we shall live and do this or that." But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.    (NKJV)
“Go to now, ye that say, today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get grain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeared for a little time, and then vanished away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”

Isaiah 40:6
The voice said, "Cry out!"  And he said, "What shall I cry?"
"All flesh is grass, And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.    (NKJV)

James 1:9-11
Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away.  For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes.  So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.    (NKJV)

Rich toward God

Proverbs 8:18
Riches and honor are with me, enduring riches and righteousness.    (NKJV)

Proverbs 10:22
The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.    (NKJV)

Ephesians 1:18
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened;  that you may know what is the hope of His calling,  what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.    (NKJV)

Hebrews 11:26
Said of Moses:  Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt;  for he looked to the reward.    (NKJV)

1 Peter 1:4
To an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.    (NKJV)

THE  PARABLE  OF  THE  WEDDING  FEAST

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Luke 12:35-40

(35)  "Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning;  (36)  and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately.  (37)  Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them.  (38)  And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 
(39)  But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come,  he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.  (40)  Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
"
NKJV

Let your waist be girded
Alluding to the long garments that were worn in the eastern countries;  and which,  in traveling and serving  (which was here the case),  were tucked up in their belts (or girdles).
The meaning is to be in readiness. Preparedness for Christ’s coming is the prominent idea.

Matthew 24:44
Therefore you also be ready,  for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.    (NKJV)

Mark 13:35, 36
Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming -- in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning -- lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping.    (NKJV)

Matthew 25:13
Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.    (NKJV)

1 Thessalonians 5:5,6
You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.    (NKJV)

Revelation 16:15
Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.    (NKJV)

1 John 2:28
And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.    (NKJV)

THE  PARABLE  OF  THE  WISE  STEWARD

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Luke 12:41-48

.(41)  Then Peter said to Him, "Lord, do You speak this parable only to us, or to all people?"
(42)  And the Lord said, "Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of  food in due season?  (43)  Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.  (44)  Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has.  (45)  But if that servant says in his heart, 'My master is delaying his coming,' and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk,  (46)  the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.  (47)  And that servant who knew his master's will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.  (48)  But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of  him they will ask the more."
NKJV

Servant
doúlou a slave
A steward was often a slave who was charged with managing his master's household.

With the unbelievers
Or, rather, the “unfaithful.”
Persons who had the light and knowledge of God’s word,  but made an improper use of the privileges they received.

The persons mentioned here differ widely from unbelievers or infidels

The Gentiles Did not believe because they did not know
The Servant Did not believe because he chose to ignore the knowledge he had

An abstract of the good steward

1. He is appointed, not by himself, but by the vocation and mission of his Master
2. He must look on himself, not as the master of the family, but as the servant
3. He must be scrupulously faithful and exact in fulfilling the commands of his Master
4. His fidelity must be ever accompanied by wisdom and prudence
5. He must give the the sacred family their food; and this food must provide them True Nourishment.
6. This must be done in its proper season

Four characteristics of the evil steward

1. He has little or no faith in the speedy coming of Christ
2. Governs  with an absolute and abusive dominion
3. Turns to gluttony and drunkenness
4. Knows the Master's will, but does not prepare for it

Isaiah 5:1-7

Speaks of  Israel and Judah being God’s pleasant acreage or vineyard
How God watched over them
He expected them to yield a crop of justice
But found He bloodshed instead
He expected righteousness
But heard cries of deep oppression

Luke 13:6-9

Speaks of giving another chance to bear fruit
If it doesn’t bear fruit, God will cut it down
Those who have not turned to God will not have another chance

Shall be beaten with many stripes
Criminals among the Jews could not be beaten with more than forty stripes; and as this was the sum of the severity to which a whipping could extend,  it may be all that our Lord here means.
But,  in some cases,  a man was adjudged to receive 80 stripes!
How could this be, when the law had decreed only thirty?
Answer:  By doubling the crime.
He received forty for each crime;  if he were guilty of two offences, he might receive 80 stripes
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

Cut him in two
This can be taken literally,  for the Roman masters had power of  life and death over their slaves.
To mismanage an estate would have brought the death penalty.

To whom much is given ... much will be required
God's judgment will be fair.

Those who have little light or little opportunity of knowledge
Have had few means of  improvement
Receives lighter punishment
Those who have had much light or much opportunity of  knowledge
But have not taken advantage of it
Have not shared it with others
Receives greater punishment
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

THE  PARABLE  OF  THE  BARREN  FIG  TREE

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Luke 13:6-9
(6) He also spoke this parable: "A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.  (7)  Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard,  'Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?'  (8)  But he answered and said to him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it.  (9)  And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.'"
NKJV

The Correlation:

1. A certain man God Almighty
2. Had a fig tree Historically, the Jewish Nation     (Isaiah 5)
Spiritually,  the believer
3. Planted in his vineyard Established in the land of Judea
Established in our lives
4. He came seeking fruit He required that His people should walk in righteousness,
in proportion to the spiritual culture He bestowed on them
5. The keeper of the vineyard The Lord Jesus,  for God hath committed all judgment to the Son
6. Cut it down Let the Roman sword be unsheathed against it   (70A.D.)
7. Let it alone Christ is represented as intercessor for sinners,  for whose sake the day of  their probation is often lengthened  (40 years),
during which time He is constantly employed in doing every thing that has a tendency to promote their salvation
8. You can cut it down A time will come, that those who have not turned at God’s invitations and reproofs shall be cut off, and numbered with the transgressors

These four parables each speak of:

1. The necessity to be prepared for the coming of the Lord
2. His coming as unexpected and sudden
3. Reward for willing preparation
4. Punishment for ignored opportunity

Isaiah 5:1-7

Now let me sing to my Well-beloved
A song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard:

My Well-beloved has a vineyard
On a very fruitful hill.
He dug it up and cleared out its stones,
And planted it with the choicest vine.
He built a tower in its midst,
And also made a winepress in it;
So He expected it to bring forth good grapes,
But it brought forth wild grapes.

"And now,
O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah,
Judge, please, between Me and My vineyard.
What more could have been done to My vineyard
That I have not done in it?
Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes,
Did it bring forth wild grapes?
And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard:
I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned;
And break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.
I will lay it waste;
It shall not be pruned or dug,
But there shall come up briers and thorns
I will also command the clouds That they rain no rain on it."

For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel,
And the men of Judah are His pleasant plant.
He looked for justice, but behold, oppression;
For righteousness, but behold, a cry for help.
NKJV

 

Those who approach His coming in unbelief,  greet it in fear
Those who prepare for His coming in faith,  greet it in anticipation


(End of Lesson Eleven)

   

 


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