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LIFE OF CHRIST
A Harmony of the Gospels

LESSON  EIGHTEEN

   

DISCOURSE  ON  THE  NUMBER  OF  THE  SAVED

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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."
NKJV

Strive to enter

agonizesthe agonize, compete, strive

Signifying to "contend"  as for the mastery.
Originally it was to contend for a prize in the public games;  and thus conveying a sense of struggle.
The word is kin to the "agony" of the garden (Luke 22:44),  and certainly teaches that one must put forth more personal effort than merely casually  "accept"  salvation.

Many will seek ... will not be able

(v 24) They seek the wrong way Not striving
(v 25) They seek at the wrong time When the door is shut
(v 25) They seek in the wrong place Stand outside
(v 26) They seek upon the wrong plea We ate and drank with you
(v 26) They seek with the mouth, but not with the heart Seek with the whole heart

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

This portion corresponds to Matthew 8:11,12.
It is the closest communion with the most eminent followers of God. But if we desire to inherit the promises, we must be followers of  them who through faith and patience enjoy them.

We must imitate:

Abraham In his FAITH
Isaac In his OBEDIENCE unto death
Jacob In his HOPE and EXPECTATION of good things to come

According to the Jewish idea,  one of the main elements of the happiness of the Messianic kingdom was the privilege of  participating in splendid festive entertainments along with the Patriarchs of the nation.

They shall come from the East ... West ... North ... South

That is,  the Gentiles,  in every part of the world,  shall receive the Gospel of the grace of God,  when the Jews shall have rejected it,  and will have the privileges of the Chosen Ones in the Kingdom.

THE  MESSAGE  TO  HEROD

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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!
'"
NKJV

Depart from here

He was on His way to Jerusalem (v. 22),  probably from Perea,  and thus away from the jurisdiction of Herod.

Herod wants to kill you

Lactantius says that this Herod was the person who chiefly instigated the Jewish rulers to put Jesus to death -
fearing lest he should be expelled from the kingdom,  if Jesus should be permitted to set up His Kingdom.
Haunted by guilty fears,  probably,  Herod wanted to get rid of Him,  and seems,  from the Lord's answer,  to have sent these Pharisees,  under the pretence of a friendly hint,  to persuade Him that the sooner He got beyond Herod's jurisdiction the better it would be for His own safety.  Jesus saw through both of them,  and sends the cunning ruler a message couched in dignified and befitting irony.

Tell that fox

Describing his cunning and cowardice - that crafty,  cruel enemy of God's innocent servants.
Jesus knew his heart,  and saw that he covered his desire for the destruction of  Jesus under the pretence of zeal
for the law and welfare of  the Jewish people.  A symbol among the Jews appears to have been the emblem of  a wicked ruler,  who united cunning with cruelty,  and was always plotting how he might aggrandize himself  (increase his power)  by spoiling the people.  The ultimate dream of  Herod Antipas was to attain the power and rule that his father,  Herod the Great,  had.  Jesus of Nazareth was another stepping stone in that direction,  and Jesus saw through his whole scheme.

I shall be perfected

Literally,  "I am being perfected,"  or  "completed."
Here He speaks of a future day,  "the third day,"  with a present accomplishment.
Another veiled reference to His death, and on the third day, His resurrection.

A prophet ... perish outside of Jerusalem

"... for it will never do for a prophet to be destroyed away from Jerusalem"  (Amplified New Testament).
An awful severity of  satire upon  "the bloody city,"  of  which He says in verse  34 "... Jerusalem, who kills the prophets, and stones them that are sent"

He could paraphrase it:  "He seeks to kill me,  does he?  Ah!  I must be out of Herod' s jurisdiction for that.  Go tell him that I neither fly from him nor fear him,  but Jerusalem is the prophet's slaughter-house and I must go there."

Note:  The two times He speaks about the progression of 3 days (Vs. 32,33).

The First Is prophetic concerning His death, burial, and resurrection, at which time "cures" and power to cast out devils were completed and procured for use by His  "body,"  and at which time He was  "perfected by obedience unto death."
The Second Is a statement concerning His natural progress and journey toward Jerusalem at the time.

DISCOURSE  AT   A  CHIEF  PHARISEE'S  TABLE

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Luke 14:1-24
(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.
(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."
(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.'"
NKJV

To eat bread on the Sabbath

Some would wonder why there should be an invitation or dinner given on the Sabbath day.
The Jews purchased and prepared the best dishes they could procure for the Sabbath day,  in order to do it honor.

Lightfoot give an example of this custom from the rabbins:  "Rabba Bar Rabh Houna went to the house of  Rabba Bar Rabh Nachman.  He set before him three measures of rich cake;  to whom he said;  'How did you know of my coming?'  The other answered,  'Is there any thing more valuable to us than the Sabbath?'  The Gloss is:  'We do by no means prefer thee before the Sabbath;  we got these things ready in honor of the Sabbath,  not knowing any thing of thy coming."'

They watched him

There were maliciously watching,  which is the frequent meaning of the word,  and as this context plainly shows. The conduct of  this Pharisee was most detestable. Professing friendship and affection,  he invited the Lord to his table,  merely that he might have a more favorable opportunity of  watching His conduct,  that he might accuse Him.

Dropsy

A disease of the body causing swelling due to excess water.
The face of  the patient is often very much bloated.

They chose the best places

The Jews at this period had adopted the system of  "triclinia"  from the Greeks and Romans,  and the  "chief seat"
was the middle seat in the central  "triclinium,"  or couch on which the honored guest was reclining.
The closer one was to this coveted spot,  the more honored he was.

Give place to this man ... or ... go up higher

A reproduction of  Proverbs 25 :6,7

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.     (NKJV)

The host did not hesitate to regulate the position of  his guests after they had settled it for themselves.  He gave
the highest in rank the chief place,  sending the men up or down as circumstances required.

Morier was at an entertainment in Persia where the governor of  Kashan entered and took the lowest place.  The host,  on discovering him,  pointed with his hand to an upper seat,  which the governor took,  the other guests making way for him.

Began to make excuses

There were three excuses given which correspond to the tares in the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:22; Luke 8:14):

(v. 18) The 1st Must see his field - Cares of the world
(v. 19) The 2nd Must prove his oxen - Deceitfulness of riches
(v. 20) The 3rd Married a wife - Pleasures of this life

The master of the house, being angry

The custom was that messengers were sent to invite the guests to a feast;  when not only relatives,  but also all persons of the same division of  caste in the neighborhood,  were invited.  A refusal to attend was considered as a great affront and insult.
It is probably to just such a custom that He here refers.

3 FOOLISH MISTAKES (OR EXCUSES):

1. Bought land without seeing it (or wanted to see it again)
2. Bought oxen without seeing them (or wanted to see them again)
3. Willing to leave his wife for other things but not this (wasn't asked to divorce her -just come to a dinner)

Let us again examine our PRIORITIES and MOTIVES
All 3 of these are good and important in their place, but they must not become more important than the Lord!

Excerpts from Farrar:

     Jesus told them a parable to show that  "to eat bread in the kingdom of heaven"  might involve conditions
which those who felt so very sure of  doing it would not be willing to accept.  He told them of a king who had sent out many invitations to a great banquet,  but who,  when the due time came,  was met by general refusals.
     One had his estate to manage,  and was positively obliged to go and see a new addition to it.  Another was deep in buying and selling,  and all the business it entailed.  A third was so lapped in contented domesticity that his coming was out of the question.
     The king,  rejecting,  in his anger,  these disrespectful and dilatory guests,  bade his slaves go at once to the broad and narrow streets,  and bring in the poor and maimed,  and lame and blind;  and when that was done,  and there still was room,  he sent them to urge in even the houseless wanderers by the hedges and the roads.  The application to all present was obvious.  The worldly heart  - whether absorbed in the management of property,  or the acquisition of riches,  or the mere sensualists of contented comfort - was incompatible with any desire for the true banquet of the kingdom of heaven.
     The Gentile,  the harlot,  and the publican,  the laborer of the roadside and the beggar of the streets,  these might be there in greater multitudes than the Scribe with his boasted learning,  and the Pharisee with his broad phylactery.  "For I say unto you,"  He added in His own person,  to point out the moral more immediately to their own hearts,  "that none of those men who were called shall taste of  My Supper."
It was the lesson that He so often pointed,  "To be invited is one thing, to accept the invitation is another. Many are called, but few are chosen."
(Life of Christ by Dr. Frederic W. Farrar Copyright: 1949)

The call is urgent - "go quickly - compel them" - the feast is prepared - the house must be filled.

DISCOURSE  ON  COUNTING  THE  COST

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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!
"
NKJV

Hate

An idiom of  preference.
From the Greek verb "miseo,"  which means to hate, detest, or abhor - however,  it is also used in the sense of

regarding with less affection,
to love less, or
to esteem less.

It is in this second sense that the word is here used, which is clarified in Matthew 10:37.

He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

We see this same idiomatic expression used in Romans 9:13

Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

The Hebrew idiom also appears in Genesis 29:30,31

Jacob ... loved Rachel more than Leah

The lesson here emphasizes the necessity of determining:

The priority of  family wishes and opinions
As opposed to
The priority of the will of God

It is inevitable that we must all eventually choose between the two.
He cannot be my disciple - not only not allowed,  but it is not in the realm of possibility to follow Christ unless we love Him first and foremost.

3 Things Necessary To Be A Disciple Of Christ

(v. 26) Love Him above all else
(v. 27) Take up our cross and follow Him
(v. 33) Forsake all

His Cross

All must bear the cross,  but not necessarily all the same cross: each one  HIS OWN cross.
"Whoever does not persevere and carry his own cross and come after Me, cannot be My disciple."
(Amplified New Testament)

To build a tower

Probably this means no more than a dwelling house,  on the top of which according to the Asiatic manner,  battlements were built:

1. To serve as a place on which to get fresh air
2. To serve for refuge from and defense against an enemy
3. To be used for prayer and meditation

Build a tower ... Make war

In these two parables,  two things are taught,  which come together into one great lesson:

1. It is better not to begin, than to begin and not finish.
2. They point out the absurdity of those who undertook to be disciples of Christ, without considering what difficulties they were to meet with, and what strength they had to enable them to go through with the undertaking.

He that will be a true disciple of  Jesus Christ shall require no less than the mighty power of God to support him. Though the contest for salvation be,  on our part,  an awfully unequal one,  the human will,  in the exercise of that "faith which overcomes the world" (1 John 5:4),  and nerved by power from above, which  "out of weakness makes it strong (Hebrews 11 :34; 1 Peter 1 :5),  becomes heretical and will come off   "more than conqueror."

But without  ABSOLUTE  SURRENDER  OF  SELF  the contest is hopeless.

PARABLE  OF  THE  LOST  SHEEP

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Luke 15:1-7
(1)  Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him.  (2)  And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, "This Man receives sinners and eats with them."  (3)  So He spoke this parable to them, saying:
(4)  "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?  (5)  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  (6)  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'  (7)  I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance."
NKJV

Receives sinners

Receives them in a tender manner;  treats them with kindness;  does not drive them from his presence.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

'Welcomes sinners,'  into his company
(from the UBS Handbook Series. Copyright (c) 1961-1997, by United Bible Societies) (Biblesoft)

This was the very purpose for which Jesus came:

Luke 19:10
For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."

A hundred sheep

Parables similar to this are frequent among the Jewish writers. The Lost Sheep is an emblem of  a heedless,  thoughtless sinner:  one who follows the corrupt dictates of his own heart,  without ever reflecting upon his conduct,  or considering what will be the issue of his unholy course of life.

It is interesting that throughout the Scriptures we are referred to as sheep:

1. No creature strays more easily than a sheep
2. None is more heedless
3. None is so incapable of finding its way back to the flock, when once gone astray
4. It will bleat for the flock, and still run on in an opposite direction
5. None is more helpless when left to itself - either to find sustenance or protection
6. None is more defenseless
7. None is more exposed to be devoured by dogs and wild bests
8. Even the fowls of  the air seek their destruction
(Clark says he has known ravens often attempt to destroy Iambs by picking out their eyes)

This is the second time Jesus referred to lost sheep.

Matthew 18:12 There it was designed to show the care God takes for the preservation of  believers,  as a reason why we should not offend them.
Luke 15:4 Here it is designed to show the pleasure God takes in the conversion of unbelievers,  as a reason why we should rejoice in it.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)
 

PARABLE  OF  THE  LOST  COIN

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Luke 15:8-10
(8)  "Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?  (9)  And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!'  (10)  Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
NKJV

Silver coins

A "drachme," equal to a roman "denarius," about 17 cents, or a day's wage.
All ten would total about  $1.70.

In these two parables of  the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin, we see:

1. The Seeker's Loss One
2. The Seeker's Activity Seeks Diligently
3. The Seeker's Persistence Seeks Until Found
4. The Seeker's Love Brings It Back
5. The Seeker's Joy Calls Friends & Neighbors to Rejoice

Parables of this type afford many useful allegories to preachers of  the Gospel,  by which they may edify their hearers.  But let us not loose sight of the main reason of  this portion - the murmurings of the Pharisees and scribes because Jesus received publicans and sinners, and even ate with them.
Jesus answered the murmurings of  these hypocritical self-styled judges with these two parables,  the basic meaning of which is:  "You turn from these lost ones with disdain,  and because I do not the same,  you murmur
at it:  but a very different feeling is cherished in heaven.  There,  the recovery of even one such outcast is watched with interest and hailed with joy;  nor are they left to come home of themselves or perish;  for 10!   Even now the great Shepherd is going after His lost sheep,  and the Owner is making the diligent search for the lost property;  and He is finding it,  and bringing it back with joy,  and all heaven is full of  this joy."

PARABLE  OF  THE  PRODIGAL  SON

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Luke 15:11-32
(11)  Then He said:  "A certain man had two sons.  (12)  And the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.' So he divided to them his livelihood.  (13)  And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.  (14)  But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want.  (15)  Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.  (16)  And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.
(17)  "But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!  (18)  I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you,  (19)  and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants."'
(20)  "And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.  (21)  And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.'
(22)  "But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.  (23)  And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry;  (24)  for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' And they began to be merry.
(25)  "Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.  (26)  So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant.  (27)  And he said to him, 'Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.'
(28)  "But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.  (29)  So he answered and said to his father, 'Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.  (30)  But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.'
(31)  "And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.   (32)  It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.
'"
NKJV

The portion of goods

According to the Jewish law of inheritance,  if there were but two sons,  the elder would receive two portions,  the younger the third of all movable property.
A man might,  during his lifetime,  dispose of all his property by gift as he chose.  If the share of  the younger child was to be diminished by gift or taken away,  a person presumably near death must make the disposition.
No one in good health could diminish,  except by gift,  the legal portion of a younger son.
The younger son thus was entitled by law to his share,  though he had no right to claim it during his father's lifetime (Clark mentions the custom in the East where the son could demand his inheritance from the father,  and his father could not refuse.  However,  this appears to be in India,  and there is no evidence that the Romans or the Jews ever observed this custom).
The request must be regarded as asking a favor on the part of the Son,  and on the part of the father,  of  granting that favor as a gift.

This is MAN,  impatient of Divine control,  desiring to be independent of God,  seeking to be his own master;  that "sin of sins,  in which all subsequent sins are included as in their germ,  for they are but the unfolding of this one." (Trench)

Thus  "God,  when His service no longer appears a perfect freedom,  and man promises himself something for better elsewhere,  allows him to make the trial:  and he shall discover,  if need be by saddest proof,  that to depart from Him is not to throw off  the yoke,  but to exchange a light yoke for a heavy one,  and one gracious Master for a thousand imperious tyrants and lords." (Trench)

To feed swine

This was considered one of the most degrading employments,  not only by Jews,  but by other nations as well. Among the Egyptians,  for example,  the swineherds were completely cut off from society. They could not worship the gods,  or marry even the lowest of the people.

Pods

Translated "husks" in the KJV.
The pods of the carob tree,  and means  "little horns,"  because of their shape.
The tree is about 30 feet high,  with a crown of like spread,  which matures fruit in 30 years,  and has glossy evergreen leaves and leathery leguminous pods.  The fleshy pods are from 6 to 10 inches long,  and one inch broad,  with pea-like seeds embedded in a sweet pulp.  It was a staple cattle food throughout the Mediterranean basin,  and the poor eat the pods.  Called  "St. John's Bread"  from a belief that carob pods rather than insects were the locusts which John the Baptist ate. 
Edersheim  quotes a Jewish saying,  " When Israel is reduced to the carob-tree, and they become repentant."

He came to himself

A striking expression,  putting the state of  rebellion against God as a kind of madness.
It is a wonderful stroke of art,

to represent the beginning of  repentance - as the return of a sound consciousness

Little by little Satan will blind our understanding unless we remain surrendered.

The best robe

That chief garment that was laid by,  to be used only on birthdays or festival times.

The Robe represents  DIVINE  ROYALTY  AND  PURITY

A ring

Giving a ring was in ancient times a mark of honor and dignity.
A royal proclamation was not in effect without the stamp of the King's ring.
When Pharaoh gave Joseph the ring (Genesis 41:41,42),  he gave Joseph the power and authority of  Pharaoh himself.

The Ring represents  DIVINE  POWER  AND  AUTHORITY

Shoes

Slaves went barefoot.
Those who were captive had their shoes taken off, and when they were restored to liberty their shoes were restored.
Also, the very poor did not have shoes.

The Shoes represent  DIVINE  LIBERTY  AND  ABUNDANCE

The fatted calf

In ancient times the animals provided for public feasts were first sacrificed to God.
The blood of the beast being poured out before God,  by way of atonement for sin,  the flesh was considered as consecrated,  and the guests were considered as feeding on Divine food.

The Calf represents  DIVINE  RECONCILIATION  AND  ATONEMENT

Without Christ, we all fall into one of these three categories:

1. The Sheep Knew it was lost but didn't know how to get back
2. The Coin Did not know it was lost, and did not know how to be found
3. The Son Knew he was lost and knew how to get back

Compare the Prodigal Son with the man in the parable of the Good Samaritan

The Man in the Parable of the Good Samaritan The Prodigal Son
1. Left City of God 1. Left House of Father
2. Went Down to Jericho 2. Went to a Far Country
3. Fell among thieves 3. Chose wicked Friends
4. They Beat Him 4. There was Great Famine
5. Left for dead 5. Feeding Swine
6. Found by Good Samaritan 6. Accepted by his Father

Compare the Elder Brother and the Pharisees

1. (Vs.2, 29, 30) Both murmured
2. (V s. 2, 30) Both were jealous of sinners
3. (Vs. 2, 27-32) Both lacked love for sinners
4. (V s. 2, 28) Both were sullen
5. (Vs. 1, 2, 25-27) Both saw sinners blessed
6. (V s. 1, 2, 26) Both were ignorant of what was happening
7. (V s. 2, 28) Both were angry
8. (V s. 3- 7,  28) Both were entreated
9. (Vs. 7, 29, 30) Both claimed to be justified in their actions
10. (Vs. 2, 28-32) Both sought to keep sinners from being blessed
11. (Vs. 2, 28-32) Both had no mercy on sinners
12. (Vs. 29; 18:9-14) Both bragged on themselves
13. (Vs. 29;  Mt. 23:28) Both were self-righteous
14. (Vs. 29; 18:9-14;  Mt. 23:3) Both claimed to keep the commandments
15. (Vs. 2, 29) Both found fault

It may also be remarked,  that those who were since called Jews and Gentiles,  were at first one family,  and children of the same father:  that the descendants of Ham and Japheth,  from whom the principal part of the Gentile world was formed,  had fallen off from the true religion.
And now Jesus shows that the Gentiles,  being received into the favor of God,  are made,  with them,  fellow heirs of the kingdom of heaven.

PARABLE  OF  THE  UNJUST  STEWARD

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Luke 16:1-18
(1)   He also said to His disciples: "There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods.  (2)  So he called him and said to him, 'What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.'
(3)   "Then the steward said within himself, 'What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg.  (4)  I have 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 master's debtors to him, and said to the first, 'How much do you owe my master?'  (6)  And he said, 'A hundred measures of oil.' So he said to him, 'Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.'  (7)  Then he said to another, 'And how much do you owe?' So he said, 'A hundred measures of wheat.' And he said to him, 'Take your bill, and write eighty.'  (8)  So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.
(9)   "And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home.  (10)  He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.  (11)  Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?  (12)  And if you have not been faithful in what is another man's, who will give you what is your own?
(13)  "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
"
(14)  Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him.  (15)  And He said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
(16)  "The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.  (17)  And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.
(18)  "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery
."
NKJV

Steward

THIS PARABLE WAS SPOKEN TO THE DISCIPLES

The steward had general charge of the business of the house,  and especial care of the heir.
The office is a very ancient one. Abraham had a steward, Eliezer (Genesis 15:2).
The steward was generally an old faithful slave,  though sometimes free men were so employed.
The honorable position of  the steward is seen in the fact that he was considered to be ruler over the household.
He assigned to the members of  the household their several duties,  and paid to each his or her wages.
He was the paymaster.
He kept the household stores under lock and seal,  giving out what was required;  and for this purpose received a signet ring from his master.

Wasting his goods

Literally "was wasting;"  not merely a past offence,  but something going on at the time.  He was not only being profuse and profligate,  but he was accused of embezzling his master's substance.

Cannot dig ... ashamed to beg

He could not submit to become a common day laborer,  which was both a severe and base employment,  and he was ashamed to beg.  As these were the only honest ways left to him,  he found he must continue the system of dishonesty in order to provide for his idleness and luxury.  It seems strange that he is ashamed to beg,  but not ashamed to embezzle.

They may receive me

That is,  the debtors and tenants,  who paid their debts and rents,  not in money,  but in  "kind;"  such as wheat,  oil,  and other produce of their lands.

A hundred measures of oil

Measures in this verse is "batous" - "baths."
The bath was a Hebrew measure,  but the amount is uncertain,  since,  according to Edersheim,  there were three kinds of measurement in use in Palestine:

1. The original Mosaic Corresponding with the Roman
2. That of Jerusalem Which was a fifth larger
3. The common Galilean measurement Which was more than a fifth larger than the Jerusalem

His debt was approximately about  7 1/2  to 9  gallons of oil,  and the steward reduced it in half.

A hundred measures of wheat

Measures here is "korous" -"cors."
The cor was 10 baths;  the dry and fluid measures being the same.
His debt was approximately  75  to 90  gallons of wheat,  and 1/5 to 60-72 gallons,  or 80 cors reduced it.

Commended the unjust steward

The master of the steward merely acknowledged that the steward had made quite a plan to provide for himself.
There was nothing the master could do about it,  for the debtors would stand by the steward because it was to their benefit.  The master could not prove that the new contracts were not the old ones.
This account of  an Asiatic custom from Capt. Hadley' s Hindostan Dialogues:

A certain deputy,  while his master was gone,  established a court of justice.  Having searched for a good many debtors and their creditors,  he learned the accounts of their bonds.  He then made an agreement with them to get the bonds out of the bondsmen's hands for half the debt,  if they would give him one fourth. Thus,  any debtor for 100 rupees,  having given 50 to the creditor,  and 25 to this knave,  got his bond for 75 rupees.

Shrewd - the KJV translates it "wise", and "wisely"
However, it is not necessarily wise in a good and acceptable sense,  as if the unjust steward had done the right thing, but "shrewd," or "sagacious."

Make friends ... by unrighteousness mammon

This was possibly a parenthetical expression aside to Judas Iscariot.
Jesus was not suggesting that they go out and embezzle.
This is contrary to Vs. 10-13,  and all other Scriptures that teach that riches gained unjustly must be restored to the rightful owners.
To insinuate that riches gained by unjust means are sanctioned by Jesus, or that they gain one a passport to heaven if they are sanctified to God,  is a perversion of the words of Jesus.

The Syriac Peshitta has:
"And I also say to you, Use this earthly wealth, however acquired, to make friends so that
When it is gone, they will receive you and you will have everlasting habitation."

The point of this remark is the  NECESSITY  OF  PREPARATION  FOR  THE  FUTURE.
Jesus qualified this by His explanation in verses 10-13.
He emphasizes faithfulness and honesty ... the importance of being trustworthy,  and the rewards involved in such.
He also emphasizes the impossibility of  "serving"  (being a slave to)  riches and possessions,  while at the same time claiming to be a servant of God.  As the love of one is the  "root of all evil,"  and the love of the other is the root of all good,  He says it is absolutely impossible to love both,  and the one you love is the one you serve.

PARABLE  OF  THE  RICH  MAN  AND  LAZARUS

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Luke 16:19-31
(19)  "There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.  (20)  But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate,  (21)  desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.  (22)  So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.  (23)  And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
(24)  "Then 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 in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.  (26)  And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.'
(27)  "Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house,  (28)  for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.'  (29)  Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.'  (30)  And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.'  (31)  But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.
'"
NKJV

The story of two beggars  -  One in this life  -  One in the next life

There was

This account has been referred to parable,  and,  indeed,  Jesus used it in a parabolic sense,  in order to illustrate a spiritual truth.  However,  we must not forget that Jesus said,  "There was a certain rich man. ..."
Although we refer to it as a  "parable,"  the facts of the illustration stand as fact  - not as merely a hypothetical case conjured up to make a point.  The men were real,  and the situation was literal!

Was clothed

This verb is in the "imperfect" tense - "was being clothed."
It denotes his Habitual Attire - it was a way of life - always living in abundance.

Purple

Originally the purple fish from which the color was obtained,  and thence applied to the color itself.
Several kinds of these were found in the Mediterranean.
The color was contained in a vein about the neck.

Under the term  "purple"  the ancients included three distinct colors:

1. A deep violet,  with a black or dusky tinge
2. Deep scarlet or crimson - the Tyrian purple
3. The deep blue of the Mediterranean
The dye was permanent.

Alexander is said by Plutarch to have found in the royal palace at Susa garments that preserved their freshness
of  color though they had been laid up for nearly two hundred years;  and Mr. St. John relates that a small pot of the dye was discovered at Pompeii that had preserved the tone and richness attributed to the Tyrian purple.

This fixedness of color is alluded to in Isaiah 1:18 - " ...though your sins were as scarlet. ..."

Fine linen

From the Greek word "byssus."
Yellowish flax,  and the linen made from it.
Herodotus says it was used for enveloping mummies,  a statement confirmed by microscopic examinations.  He also speaks of it as a bandage for a wound.
Some of the Egyptian linen was so fine that it was called  "woven air."
Sir Gardner Wilkinson says that some in his possession was,  to the touch,  comparable to silk,  and not inferior in texture to the finest cambric.  It was often as transparent as lawn,  a fact illustrated by the painted sculptures,  where the entire form is often made distinctly visible through the outer garment.
This material was enormously costly.

Fared sumptuously

Also in a continuous tense - "...habitually ... reveled and feasted and made merry in splendor every day."
(Amplified New Testament)

Was laid

From "ebebleto," "was thrown" - he was cast carelessly down by his bearers and left there.
" ...there was (carelessly) dropped down and left a certain utterly destitute man (reduced to begging alms) and covered with (ulcerated) sores." (Amplified)

Desiring to be fed

"Eagerly"  and not receiving what he desired.
The same thing is implied in the story of the prodigal,  where the same word is used,  "...he would gladly have filled his stomach,"  but the pods did not satisfy his hunger.

As the rich man lived in continual luxury and satisfaction,
Lazarus lived in continual pain,  misery,  want,  and hunger.

With the crumbs

Some suppose that by these  "crumbs"  are meant the pieces of bread where with it was customary at table to
wipe the fingers,  an act rendered necessary by the practice of conveying the food to the mouth by means of the hand  (in other words,  the bread served the purpose of a napkin).
When the fingers were thus wiped,  the fragments of bread that had been used for this purpose were thrown to the ground,  where the dogs were allowed to get them.

We see by this the connection with the closing part of the text:  "...the dogs came and licked his sores."
With the dogs he had his food,  and the compassionate beasts not only permitted him to partake of their food,  but also nursed him in his sickness.

Abraham's bosom

A Rabbinical phrase,  equivalent to being with Abraham in Paradise.
"To the Israelite Abraham seems the personal center and meeting-point of Paradise."  (Goebel)

A Comparison:

The Rich Man Lazarus
1. Clothed in purple and fared sumptuously ever day 1. A beggar full of sores that the dogs licked
2. Died and his body was buried with a lavish funeral 2. Died and his body was disposed of contemptibly
3. His soul went to hell 3. His soul was carried by the angels to paradise
4. Cried for mercy and begged for Lazarus to cool his tongue with a drop of water 4. He was in comfort, ease, and luxury
5. Concerned about those he had left behind, and led astray 5. Had no regrets of  the past life
6. Retained soul and spirit faculties capable of feelings, emotions, and all other soul passions 6. Retained soul and spirit faculties capable of  enjoyment of eternity with God

Matthew 16:26
For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?      (NKJV)

Luke 9:25
For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?      (NKJV)

Philippians 3:7-11
But what things were gain to me,  these I have counted loss for Christ.  Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of  Christ Jesus my Lord,  for whom I have suffered the loss of all things,  and count them as rubbish,  that I may gain Christ  and be found in Him,  not having my own righteousness,  which is from the law,  but that which is through faith in Christ,  the righteousness which is from God by faith;  that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection,  and the fellowship of His sufferings,  being conformed to His death,  if,  by any means,  I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.      (NKJV)

 

(End of Lesson Eighteen)

 

 


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